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Inbox: It's going to be a Packers home opener nobody will soon forget

All four of those running backs can make each other better

QB Aaron Rodgers

Don from Riverton, UT

"Genetic brand self-compelled mower." Some statements come into play once in a while and you think, "That's the one and only time in the history of all mankind!"

In reading Spoff's Inbox Friday, I have to admit John's line knocked me on the floor a little bit. I had to gather myself before writing this morning's edition. That was an all-timer.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Nothing would be sweeter than two division wins in the bank in as many games. Let's strap 'em up and see what happens. GO PACK GO!

The Packers' fast start in 2019 began with back-to-back NFC North wins. Take care of business within your division and you likely will be one of those last 14 teams still standing in January.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

Krys Barnes starting was a very big surprise to me, and it appears to most others. I was wondering if the restrictions on reporting the team instituted for training camp had anything to do with this. Without these restrictions would he have been so easy to get through waivers? I am guessing it did, so it turned out to be a great move, however disappointing it was to me at the time.

Barnes starting Sunday was news to me. I didn't see him take a single rep next to Christian Kirksey in camp, so it's not like the media was keeping this big secret. Now, the fact the Packers were able to sneak Barnes to the practice squad for a couple days probably is a byproduct of the other 31 teams not having preseason film on the undrafted rookie.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

What three players should I pay close attention to Sunday?

Barnes is one of them with Adrian Peterson on the other side of the line of scrimmage. AJ Dillon could see an uptick in his workload Sunday and Robert Tonyan will be a key piece in two-tight-end packages if Josiah Deguara doesn't play. Tonyan may not have four catches for 60 yards every game but he does all the little things right, and that's what the Packers value most out of their tight ends.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

It was interesting to hear that Barnes was a four-star recruit out of HS. So the high-level talent was actually there all along. Was it just the testing numbers that weren't good enough coming out of college? It looks like his instincts and awareness are an excellent example of what game speed means vs. combine speed.

Yeah, Barnes was a victim of the COVID-19 offseason. He wasn't invited to the combine and then had his UCLA pro day canceled. It's similar to the situation Vernon Scott was in at TCU. In the end, Barnes got where he wanted to be.

Thomas from Appleton, WI

Do you think getting Dillon a half dozen carries a game could actually make Jones more efficient?

I do. I don't think it's a coincidence Tyler Ervin picked up 21 yards on a jet sweep the play after Dillon bulldozed his way forward eight yards on first down. All four of those backs play off one another and can make each other better.

Barton from Tulum, Quintana Roo Mexico

So much fun watching NFL football after so many months of purgatory! Didn't the Packers' offense look much more diverse and unpredictable than last season, making it harder for the Vikings' defense to defend? I hope that continues. Oh, Aaron Rodgers was throwing darts! Wow!

The Packers won on early downs and that meant fewer third-and-long situations. Fewer third-and-longs means more unpredictability. That's the beauty of LaFleur's offense in its peak form.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Every player's injury must be thought about differently. Would the team rather have an 80% Kenny Clark play a full season or sit out three games and have 100% Clark for the remaining games? Does is make a difference on the decision with it being this early and the season, record, opponent, or any other factors?

I don't know what the timeline is for the Pro Bowl defensive tackle but the Packers need a healthy Kenny Clark. That's the goal. Frequent II readers know my stance on soft-tissue injuries and how tricky they can be. You gotta be smart.

Neal from Ft Worth, TX

Against Minnesota, were there any snaps when both Za'Darius Smith,Preston Smith and Rashan Gary were on the field together? With Clark out this week, might we see more of it given Gary's talents in stopping the run effectively?

Yeah. The Packers have base and dime packages with the Smiths and Gary, so they have options. Gary and Za'Darius Smith are around 275ish, which is a hamburger shy of what most defensive linemen seem to be playing at these days. At the same time, the true D-tackles need to step up to replace a player of Clark's caliber. The Packers have to play clean up front or Adrian Peterson will make them pay for it.

Shane from Reno, NV

Gary was the player I was most interested in watching Week 1. One specific play stood out to me. Dalvin Cook ran right past the D-line and Gary was up in it, as well. Gary flips a U-turn and catches him from behind. His acceleration was nuts. I can't believe he caught up to Cook. Can't wait to see more.

That stood out to me, as well. Gary flips his hips more like a defensive back than a D-lineman. He didn't have a sack but recorded two quarterback hits. Gary made his presence felt.

Steve from Palm Springs, FL

Hi Wes and Mike. First of all, a great start to the season among all the uncertainty. Do you think Kingsley Keke could be a key player against the Lions? I thank you both for the insight and effort in your forum.

Yeah, Keke needs to be a big part of it – especially if Montravius Adams still can't go due to that toe injury. Keke has some of those attributes that Mike Daniels had – natural twitch, powerful and capable against the run. He just needs to put it together more consistently. This is a huge test for the former fifth-round pick.

Kevin from Westminster, CO

Did the offensive pace vs. Minnesota correlate with time-of-possession dominance?

Yeah, and the barrage of first downs kept the Vikings' defense on the field. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy once that happens.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, would you please explain how motion plays help the defense show their coverage plans?

It forces defenses to declare their coverage and matchup. It's no different than when a running back motions out from the backfield and splits out wide. It's the game within the game.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

"Swerve." What a great nickname for Tyler Ervin. Do you know what it means? He definitely is exciting lining up all over the field and on returns. Where do you think his most production will come from this season other than the obvious return specialist?

Doesn't it kind of explain itself? He's Swervin' Ervin. He said a college teammate of his, Noel Grisby, gave it to him his freshman year at San Jose State. It fits his game to a T. I think most of his production this year will go back to Lori's question and answer, and the story I wrote Friday. When Ervin is coming on motions and jet sweeps, the defense has to pay attention. The more eyes that are on Swerve means fewer eyes elsewhere.

Mitch from Stevens Point, WI

I personally would love to see the conferences ranked 1-16 at the end of every year and have the AFC vs. NFC match up across the board for the 17th game the following year. We would always get a Super Bowl rematch. My question is: With players like Jaire Alexander playing with so much instinct and Detroit running several trick plays last year, how much are the coaches harping on the players to have good eye discipline? The flea-flicker and the David Blough touchdown were killers.

That's going to be paramount. With Golladay not playing, I fully expect Darrell Bevell to dig into his playbook to create big plays. And we all know what Matthew Stafford is capable of. Focus and discipline will be crucial on Sunday.

Nate from Pueblo, CO

I'm getting tired of all the mainstream media talk about Rodgers being angry, more focused, reinvigorated, chip on his shoulder, etc., since the draft. He's never been anything less than a true professional who's given his absolute best in every aspect of his game to the Packers.

The people who matter know. And one other thing about how Rodgers is talked about in the mainstream media – notice how they never mention him tapping his chest after a bad throw or going up to teammates to apologize if a pass isn't where it's supposed to be. He did that several times in camp with Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He keeps teammates accountable but also holds himself to that same standard.

Mark from Seattle, WA

On the injury report, what is "NIR" and please explain "veteran rest."

NIR stands for "Not injury related." If a player doesn't practice in full, teams must give a reason. The Packers have had a plan for Marcedes Lewis the past couple years, no different than Julius Peppers in 2016.

James from Santa Maria, CA

Morning boys, so there still seems to be much consternation about the last Packers draft. Some other "experts" going as far as to say it "will hurt the Packers for years to come." How about some facts the Packers are an embarrassment of riches? Thirty years of first-ballot Hall of Fame QB play. Ron Wolf to TT to Gutey and the prototype Mahomes/Jackson QB waiting in the wings! What say you? Can we put the baloney to bed?

I couldn't care less what the so-called experts say. Like I wrote last Friday about the Packers flying under the radar, you'll never appease the pundits so don't even try.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

With all the churn on the practice squad this year so far, how much of an impact does this have on the salary cap? I realize the salaries are low in NFL terms, but do they get signing bonuses also?

No. It's just an increase in base salary for playing in the game. It's only a difference of a few thousand dollars each week, per player. Now that's not exactly chump change to you and me, but it is only a fraction of a $200 million cap.

Mike from Niles, IL

You've already received several posts from me as to "Why didn't we draft Denzel Mims" regardless of what he did or didn't do in Week 1, and/or his injury status (he's on IR on my fantasy team). You know, some of us serious Packers fans get tired of being called stupid and hypocritical by you, when you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Come on ban!


The Green Bay Packers practiced at Lambeau Field on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020.

Mark from Seattle, WA

As if time doesn't go by fast enough already, it's seriously been five years since those three potential first ballet HOFers have played? Yikes! (Seems like Megatron retired three years ago.)

I thought the same thing. What's crazier? Calvin Johnson is still only 34. He'll go down as one of the youngest players to ever be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tom from Onalaska, WI

Wait, with all of the hand wringing concerning if there would be football or not, I may have completely forgot...Do seven teams make the playoffs this year in each conference? Which means there will only be one first-round bye?

Correct. Only the top seeds in each conference get a bye to the divisional round.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

Wes, how far apart will you and Mike be on Sunday's game at Lambeau? Will you be able to talk to each other during the games? Do you have to pass a COVID test before entry into the stadium?

For the very first time during my time with packers.com, Spoff and I will watch a game at Lambeau Field from different parts of the stadium. I will be in a suite on the sixth floor because I'm in the Tier 2 group that's testing daily. Spoff will be holding things down in the press box.

Pat from Lester Prairie, MN

Hey guys, first time to try this! How cool would it be if the team still did the Lambeau Leap on Sunday in "memory" of the fans! Is there anything prohibiting that from happening?

It sounds like Aaron Jones is ready to do a Lambeau Leap on the tarp. I don't know if that's allowed but I guess we'll find out Sunday.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The Crown threatened The Castle under siege

Invaders from across a narrow sea from a strange land of Lions and Tigers threaten

Arise brave men of the Bay

The time to defend the Kingdom is at hand

It's going to be a Packers home opener nobody will soon forget. Enjoy the game folks!


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