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Inbox: It's gonna happen, eventually

There are two critical elements all championship teams must have

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Keith from Dearborn, MI

Another Ryan Grant! Imagine the confusion when another Weston Hodkiewicz comes to the Packers to write.

Can you imagine such a thing? Good morning!

Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI

In response to Spoff's answer in II Thursday morning regarding Ryan Grant and the mention of him as a running back or being No. 88....ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Nobody in the building was happier than I was to see Grant wearing No. 11 at practice today. It's not even close.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

What does Ryan Grant have to do to gain the trust of AR and coach and become an immediate contributor to an offense in need of WR depth?

Be himself. This isn't some undrafted rookie we're talking about. He's a savvy veteran with 80 NFL games under his belt. Grant is an intelligent player. That's a good place to start. Now, he needs to pick up the playbook and get to work. Because the Packers may need him this Sunday.

Dylan from Belgrade, MT

Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – the main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

To quote Allen Lazard, "Hakuna matata."

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, it's my birthday so do me a solid and answer this question. My son was wondering what the meaning behind Za'Darius Smith's sack celebration was. I suggested it was he was putting the QB to sleep. Do you have any deeper insight into it?

Z was catching some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZs.

Jimi from Nederland, CO

Wes, I was watching Allen Lazard's media scrum and noticed you giggling behind him with someone. Were you the kid in school that whispered the entire class thinking that it didn't distract others around you? Maybe kicking the legs of the seat in front of you? I've watched an interview with Tae earlier this year, and he snapped at the media a little bit for conducting a sidebar while he was speaking. Was it you?

Man, you guys catch everything, don't you? I was just remarking to Jason Wilde how funny this was after he and I spent training camp typically interviewing Lazard by ourselves in the auxiliary locker room. How fast things change in this league. To the last part of your question, Adams jokingly snipped at communications coordinator Nate LoCascio for loudly repeating Aaron Rodgers was headed to the podium in the media auditorium…twice.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I'm a little surprised that with all these fast, aggressive playmakers on D they haven't scored a TD yet. Who's your guess for the first defender to put up six? Mine is Preston Smith. All those sacks, a ball's gotta pop free sometime, and he always seems to be in the mix.

Preston is a good bet, especially with his cover skills. I'm going to go with Jaire Alexander, though. He has too much speed and athleticism not to pop one here soon. It's gonna happen, eventually.

Lori from Green Bay, WI

Will the short week be a disadvantage for the Packers?

It's definitely a challenge. The Raiders are still kind of banged up coming off the bye, but they've had two weeks to prepare for this game Sunday. The Packers, who have an extensive injury report this week, had just six days outside of their offseason prep.

Derrick from Rockaway, NJ

He might just be a role player, but B.J. Goodson looks like he's getting comfortable and appears easily overlooked for why the run defense has improved the last few weeks. Who are some other unsung heroes the past few weeks?

Agreed on Goodson. He looks to be settling into his role in this defense. I thought last week was the best the defensive line and inside linebackers have played together against the run. They're in for another stiff test Sunday with Josh Jacobs. My other unsung hero we haven't discussed is Adrian Amos. He's playing out of position to make the dime defense better. That's the very definition of selflessness.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What are your thoughts on the importance of good team management and culture? It seems both are often overlooked in the chase of winning, but they are also critical to that same winning. Just look at some of the league's perennial strugglers.

Those two elements are critical. Talent will only take you so far. If a team doesn't have that "It" factor tying everything all together, it'll never win it all. As we've talked about time and time again, the margin for error is too small in a league to succeed with a team that doesn't like each other. The good news is Green Bay has both the talent and locker-room chemistry to compete…and that makes them legitimate contenders.

Jon from De Pere, WI

With the success of the Smiths it got me thinking, when was the last time that Green Bay had two players with double-digit sacks the same season? Did a little research and found out you have to go all the way back to 1993 when Reggie White and Bryce Paup accomplished it. Makes you realize how special what we are watching really is.

It's been a minute since two rushers have accomplished that feat. We were talking with the Smiths in the locker room Thursday when a reporter brought up how the two already have more combined sacks (13) than they did all of last season (12½).

Garrett from Iowa City, IA

Hi, I was wondering if there was any status update for Darnell Savage. And how important do you think he is for our secondary and a defense as a whole?

Savage hasn't returned to practice yet but he no longer is in a walking boot. That's a good sign. Ankles are tricky. It's a day-to-day deal.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It was great fortune for the Packers that the Raiders chose to trade away Khalil Mack last year. Now the Packers don't have to deal with him this weekend, nor will they have to in four years when the Packers and Raiders play again!

That's one way to look at it.

Jon from Baraboo, WI

Good morning Wes! Can you please teach us the correct way to pronounce "Vitale"? I've heard it a few different ways.


Mick from Madison, WI

Insiders, I thought I heard Aaron Rodgers asked Allen Lazard what route he wanted to run in the huddle. From there, Aaron called the play to get him this route and get him the ball. Is this common? Seems like a bit like sandlot football, which is fine. Furthermore, it seems very exciting to know Aaron can ask the receiver what route he wants to run so Aaron can set up the play accordingly so the other moving parts of the other nine players can be in the right position to succeed.

I don't think it's uncommon, especially with a young player entering the game for the first time. Rodgers and Lazard found something that worked for them – and executed.

Matt from Orlando, FL

AR12 has said many times that it's important to have confidence in his receivers. Does the goal line slip/drop by Darrius Shepherd diminish that confidence or does he get a "pass" due to the slip? I've been rooting for him since preseason.

One dropped pass and a muffed punt can't wipe out all the equity Shepherd built with Rodgers and this team over the past five months. He needs to get it cleaned up quickly, but the Packers aren't going to dismiss everything else he's done in practice since signing with Green Bay in May.

Chester from Peoria, IL

Seeing Jace Sternberger was the first "designated to return" player the Packers are choosing to return from IR, who are some other players that would seem more likely than others to be that second player to return?

Raven Greene (ankle) and Lane Taylor (biceps) are the only other players who are eligible at the moment. I don't know a timeline for either player.

Stephan from Vienna, Austria

What are the rules on a kickoff, if the ball touches the end zone and bounces back on the field? Like when the kick returner waves for a touchback and walks off and doesn't look anymore.

It's lava the second the ball touches the end zone now. It doesn't matter if it bounces back into play. The NFL made that rule alteration two years ago.

Bob from Rome, NY

Mike's comment, "Did anybody see the ball break the plane on fourth-and-goal Monday night? I didn't," and neither did I. What is the ruling when one official signals one call and another signals another? In this case down short of the goal line and the other touchdown. I thought all scoring plays were to be reviewed and it seems like the decision was made very quickly. I don't hear the pundits making this a talking point. Thank you!

It's up to the official, Clete Blakeman, to make a ruling. It was a tough call to officiate. My only gripe is he didn't discuss it with the two side judges. He just ruled it a touchdown. Why wasn't there any further discussion, if only for show? That part didn't make it into the questions of the postgame pool report. Go figure.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Mike said, "I think the ultimate point of emphasis should be if it's not obvious, don't call it." But then, what is obvious to you might not be obvious to me, and might be something entirely different for the refs on the field. There's really not a simple solution here.

The more complicated you make something, the more difficult it becomes to find a solution. I believe we've reached that crossroads.

David from Riverwoods, IL

I was thrilled to see how our clock management worked out at the end of the Detroit game. However, as I was watching the clock tick down to 0:02, I was thinking that maybe we'd be better off calling the timeout with 0:11 or 0:12 on the clock – just in case we were called for a false start on the FG attempt. If there had been a false start, wouldn't the clock have been wound down to 0:00, cancelling the FG attempt and ending the game?

Are we really still asking hypotheticals about a game from five days ago? Matt LaFleur said he trusted his specialists to convert the 23-yard field goal. He ran the clock out because he didn't want to give the Lions any "glimmer of hope" or chance to get the ball back. Frankly, if you can't make a 23-yard field goal, then you don't deserve to win at this level. And a false start wouldn't have required a 10-second runoff because the clock was stopped.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

After struggling to cover the Eagles' tight ends, I thought it was a bit of an under-covered story about how we rebounded to stop another good set of TEs for the Lions. Who drew the coverage assignments for the Lions game?

The Packers did a nice job of containing T.J. Hockenson (four catches for 21 yards) and Jesse James (one catch for eight). I think that's a credit to Amos and Tramon Williams for how sticky they were on the Lions' talented first-round pick. They caught one break with Hockenson's drop in the end zone but otherwise plastered him well.

Allen from Birmingham, AL

II: We attended the game with a couple of friends, one of whom is a college football referee. His take: Don't put your hands near their face. Also, if you get flagged once for something, don't do it again. He said that he tells his crew in the pregame meetings, "Let's call the train wrecks, not the fender-benders."

Thank you.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Is there any advantage or disadvantage to having played the Raiders in the preseason?


Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

I heard John Kuhn talking on the radio this week about the slipping on the field being due to players wearing incorrect shoes for the field conditions. He said it will definitely be corrected for next week. It just shows how there are so many details to consider and it takes a village to win.

It indeed takes a village…and the right pair of Nikes.

Douglas from Richland, WA

Thank you II for providing me with my daily dose of the Green Bay Packers. I have a 27-year-old niece (Haeli Knight) having her leg removed tomorrow due to cancer. She is a mother of four beautiful boys. She is a big fan of our beloved Green Bay Packers. Gentlemen, I'm asking for a shout-out for her from Packer Nation during her time of need. I know it would put a smile on her face knowing Packer Nation is behind her. Thank you for your time.

All the best to Haeli and your family.

Tim from Upland, CA

The best way to put all this "asterisk" and officiating talk in the rear-view mirror is to beat the Raiders. After all, it's all about "Just win, baby!"

Enough about win No. 5. The Packers need to go out and get this sixth victory on Sunday and keep writing their story.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The new Packers TV app is amazing. Spoff and Wes look much better on a 50-inch screen in HD.

Derek's words. Not mine. Anyway, Spoff will close out the week with you guys tomorrow and then we'll get back to our normal rotation. Enjoy the game, folks.