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Inbox: It's an overall culture

Bigger challenges are coming

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Packers defense

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

I have a great idea for "Packers Unscripted." Next episode we get to see Spoff and Wes have a smelling salts challenge. Whoever sniffs the most in 60 seconds wins.

And once again we're off.

Andy from Clive, IA

Greetings and salutations. Who are the next guys(s) up to take the place of Raven Greene? I didn't realize how many snaps he played, but basically a starter's load.

It'll be interesting to see how the Packers go about this with the hybrid spot. I think either Will Redmond will take it, or Adrian Amos will move there in those packages and then Redmond or Vernon Scott takes Amos' normal position. Or there'll be less use of the hybrid player and inside linebackers will get more snaps.

Julius from Providence, RI

I'm sure you will cover this in your Path to the Playoffs, but I saw that if the Packers and Seahawks win that guarantees the Packers a playoff spot, even if they lose the division. How does this make sense?

I haven't been able to get my mind around that one, which I hate to admit. But I will not be advising in Path to the Playoffs to root for the Seahawks. The Packers can get their playoff spot any number of ways and will possibly be fighting with the Seahawks for seeding, so Seattle losses will be the greater benefit.

David from San Francisco, CA

Not much discussion here yet about the Vikings' enormous matchup with the Bucs this weekend. If Minnesota pulls it off, they'll improve to the six seed via tiebreaker and likely secure a playoff spot. Also worth noting it might ask of the two seed to host Tom Brady in the first round. Another motivation for us to fight for that first-round bye.

The Vikings-Buccaneers game will have major implications on both teams and the NFC playoff picture, but neither team will secure anything, not with three more games left.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

I have to respectfully disagree with Mike (in his Mid-Week Chat) on who we'd like to win between Minnesota and Tampa Bay this weekend. For one, the Packers haven't done well in rematches versus teams that have smacked them around the first time they played each other in the past decade. Tampa could be our first-round opponent. I'd like them on the outside looking in. And two, the Vikings play the Saints in a few weeks and they might not bring their "A" game if they have nothing to play for.

I see your point, and it's an interesting argument. I would counter by saying if the Vikings – who beat the Packers two weeks after the Buccaneers did, and at Lambeau no less – help Green Bay by knocking off Tampa Bay and New Orleans as you suggest, they'd be as dangerous a playoff opponent as anyone.

Kaygee from Bet Shemesh, Israel

Anyone notice Packers lead the league in scoring? When was the last time they led for the season?

2014.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I know winning is a wonderful thing, but have you ever seen a team as close as the current Packers team? It seems they have a genuine concern for one another and the celebrations are not orchestrated, they generally care about one another. Where do you think that came from? I personally think it starts with Aaron Rodgers.

Not to diminish the role of Rodgers and other locker-room leaders, but I think it starts at the top. It's an overall culture that Matt LaFleur and this coaching staff generated last year, and it has carried over to this year. Winning certainly helps, but these guys are close, and by all accounts they've stayed close despite all the limitations of 2020.

Dan from Madison, AL

Is anyone tracking the next major milestone for the Packers, in that with six more Aaron Rodgers TD passes, Green Bay will be the only team in NFL history to have three QBs combine for 1,000 TD passes for a single franchise? (Starr 152, Favre 442, Rodgers 400 and counting). Put in perspective, the Bears would have to combine their top 17 passers in history to equal 1,000 TDs thrown. Is Packer Nation blessed or what?

That's pretty cool. A family friend shared with me an editorial last week from the Chicago media that said the Bears' top three QBs in their history haven't combined for 50,000 passing yards, while Rodgers has 50,000-plus and Favre had 60,000-plus in Green Bay. On top of that, the Bears don't have a single receiver with 500 receptions, and Davante Adams became the Packers' fifth to hit the number. It's an astonishing perspective. What it means to get the QB position right should never be undersold.

Robert from Verona, WI

I know Aaron Jones has missed some time this year and shares some of his workload with Jamaal Williams, but I noticed he has 145 carries on the year compared to Derrick Henry who has 271 carries. Henry seems to be built to take punishment, but he led the league in carries last year with 303 and is on pace to eclipse that number this year. Do you think his workload will catch up to him, or do you think his size/frame is enough to offset the heavy usage?

There's no way to know for sure. Some workhorses turn out like Emmitt Smith and Adrian Peterson, some end up more like Larry Johnson and Michael Turner, and there are a whole bunch who fall in between. My gut says Henry will be in between, leaning more toward the front of the group.

Howard from Appleton, WI

I watched the Bills-49ers Monday night, and I was amazed by the play of Josh Allen – not so much his throwing (though he does well getting the ball to his receivers) but the way he sees the field, carries himself, and leads his team. What especially made it amazing is my memory of the only other full game I had seen him play, against Green Bay in 2018, he was flat-out horrible in every respect. What are some other noteworthy instances of dramatic improvement you have witnessed?

At quarterback, it's a long list, starting with Hall of Famers like Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. His rookie year in Indy, Manning threw 28 picks and had a 71.2 passer rating. More recently involving current players, this week's opponent, Matthew Stafford, comes to mind. As a rookie in '09, he completed barely 50% of his passes, threw 20 picks and had a 61.0 rating. Another upcoming opponent, Ryan Tannehill, fits the bill, too.

Randy from Fort Myers, FL

After watching all the extra points missed in the last weeks both with the Packers and Vikings, I looked it up and 2020 represents the worst year in extra points in league history. Apparently fans are good for extra points.

All righty then.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Last Sunday, Jim Nantz stated AR seems really relaxed and enjoying himself during the production meeting. Who attends those meetings and what is discussed/covered? Thanks!

I'm not certain on all the specifics, but the broadcast crew (booth announcers, sideline reporters, a top producer or two) will hold meetings with the head coach, QB, and perhaps another top player. They get background information about the game plan and preparation, with the promise that it's confidential and only to be used during the broadcast. They'll also try to get a behind-the-scenes anecdote or two from the season they can share on the air. Often the broadcasters attend the last practice of the week for the host team and meet with them after. They conduct the meetings with the visiting team upon arrival at the hotel.

Neil from Sun Prairie, WI

Good morning Mike and Wes, just a reminder that out of an abundance of caution the NFL has banned all teams from participating in slobberknockers for this season, including playoffs. Hopefully they will return next season. Thanks for your support.

That's funny, but I feel like I shouldn't be laughing.

Terry from Sun Prairie, WI

What player in Packers history had the most yards per rush in one game?

In a game with at least 10 rushing attempts, that honor belongs to Billy Grimes, who had 167 yards on 10 carries (16.7 avg.) vs. the New York Yanks on Oct. 8, 1950.

Daniel from Allen, TX

Mike: I'm sorry, but Weston was wrong. Strawberry is the best Starburst flavor. Are you with me? Also, do you think the Pack might start using more starters on special teams to improve the coverage unit?

No way, man, it's cherry for sure, and orange is next for me. I don't think throwing starters on special teams in December when they haven't practiced those duties for four-plus months would be all that wise.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers WR Allen Lazard from the 2020 season.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Regarding the Pack not drafting a WR (because it hasn't been discussed enough already) the hard thing to swallow is, seeing Rodgers' level of play it's hard to imagine Love taking over any time soon. Maybe not ever. So why not add a useful weapon? Many of the rookie WRs would (statistically) be our No. 2 or 3 receiver in catches/yards/TDs. But here's the thing: With so many teams drafting WRs this year, the demand may be down next year and the Pack could draft one then if they want.

All valid points.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

While "another weapon" for A-Rod would always be welcome, it's past time to stop second-guessing the 2020 draft. By the time the Pack's turn came up at 26, the top six WRs were off the board. What kind of cotton-headed ninnymuggins would you have to be to burn your No. 1 pick on the seventh-best WR prospect?

Also valid. The immediate help to the offense was supposed to come from AJ Dillon and Josiah Deguara. That hasn't worked out for various reasons. Next spring is a new draft, and we'll have plenty of time to talk about it.

Flavio from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Good morning, II. Yesterday, Wes mentioned that you need the full Aaron Jones in the headline for SEO purposes. Could you please explain what "SEO" means?

It stands for "search engine optimization," which means trying to get your article closer to the top of news searches when someone types a player name into Google. If the full name (Aaron Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams) is in the headline, as opposed to just the last name, your story has a better chance of rising to the top of a search.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Mike, I enjoyed your "What's possible for Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams" and the historical significance it presents. This season with Rodgers hitting so many milestones sort of reminds me of 2007 when Favre started taking down all-time records all season long. One milestone I am surprised to see no publicity on is Rodgers passing Unitas on the top 10 of all-time wins. He is three wins from topping Tarkenton for No. 9 on the list.

I hadn't looked at that list in a long time. Of the guys in the top 10, Rodgers has the fourth-best winning percentage (.659) behind Brady, Manning and Roethlisberger.

Jack from Racine, WI

With all recent deaths of Packer Hall of Famers, how many men in the Ring of Honor are still alive? I can only think of Kramer and Favre.

From the Lombardi era, it's down to Kramer and Robinson. Including all the names, Favre, Wolf and Lofton also remain with us.

Patrick from Hampshire, IL

Our defense gets a lot of deserved criticism for giving up big plays (e.g. a TD on fourth-and-18). Can we also give them credit when it's due? Two consecutive sacks to push the Eagles out of field-goal range in the first quarter. Only three more plays then a punt after they gave up a 41-yard passing play deep in Eagles' territory. That was remarkable defense. I'm getting more and more confident in our D as we get closer to the playoffs. I hope they can continue to improve.

Those two sequences you mentioned were significant. They were also big reasons Wentz got benched. But all moments matter. Larger challenges are coming and the real tests will be rising to the occasion then.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

Is MVP just code for "best player"? Or is the MVP title given to the player (read: quarterback) who has the most impact on his team, his team's season and its playoff prospects? Take the names "Aaron Rodgers" and "Patrick Mahomes" out of it: Do you think a player's age factors into who is named MVP? Should it? I can make a case for rewarding the "old guy" still playing at the top of his game. I can also make a case for acknowledging the abilities of the next generation of greatness.

I think the voters have different opinions on the "best player" vs. "most impact" debate. And they might view it differently in different years, depending on the types of seasons certain players have. But I don't think they take age into consideration at all, nor should they, when they cast their votes.

Michael from Morrison, IL

Echoing sentiments from earlier this week, Ford Field has been a tricky place for the Packers as of late. In the last 10 trips to Detroit, Green Bay is just 5-5 with three of those wins coming courtesy of last-minute scores. With a seemingly rejuvenated team, the Lions shouldn't be taken lightly on their home turf.

Not at all.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Good morning! The trending opinion is the standard one: Teams are better off with the top seed and therefore a bye week. But honestly, doesn't it seem that the Packers' two worst games came off their bye and their mini-bye? This team seems to me to get its juice from playing together. What do you think?

Needing to win three games to get to the Super Bowl versus winning only two is a huge difference that dwarfs any other consideration in my book.

Keith from Fishers, IN

Before the season started there was a lot of angst about how we were ever going to stop/beat SF. Now it looks like they won't even make the playoffs (what a difference a year makes!). Who do you think would be the hardest NFC team to beat if GB faces them in the playoffs? Minnesota because of their running game? TB because they dominated GB? Saints because it could be at NO? Someone on the rise like NY or Washington? Goff's Rams? I see multiple possibilities. What say you?

Just beat the Lions. Happy Friday.

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