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Inbox: It's good the league took notice

Kevin Greene was passionate and intense, but also thoughtful and considerate

CB Jaire Alexander

Michael from Winfield, IL

As a diehard Packers fan, Kevin Greene was still one of my absolute favorite NFL players of all time. Too soon, too soon. I was ecstatic when GB signed him as an assistant coach. What stories can you share to commemorate this great man?

I only covered K.G. for two years and yet I have so many memories, whether it was the time I asked Greene about the NFL fining Nick Perry for the hit he delivered on Andrew Luck during a sack ("YOU CANNOT CONTROL AN ACCIDENT!") or when I informed him his good friend, Ric Flair, gave a pep talk to the San Francisco 49ers prior to the teams' 2012 NFC Divisional playoff game (After moments of disbelief, he ended by saying: "Well, I'll need to have a talk with him about that."). Greene was passionate and intense, but also thoughtful and considerate. I know he touched many lives, both on and off the field. My heart goes out to his wife, Tara, who fought so hard for Kevin to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and their two children.

Steve from Bozeman, MT

Does Clay Matthews force the fumble in Super Bowl XLV without Kevin Greene giving him the motivational words on the sideline? Talk about a difference-maker during both his playing and coaching days. RIP to the legendary sack machine.

Greene was a Hall of Fame pass rusher, who is third on the all-time sack list. Still, the clip of him imparting that "It is time" line to Matthews is the first thing that pops into my head whenever you say the name Kevin Greene. I know Matthews valued those five seasons with him. Even after Greene left, Matthews kept a photo inside his locker of Greene from one of his WCW matches, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to his mentor.

Charlie from Morgan Hill, CA

Seven Pro Bowl selections shows true recognition of their efforts in a year where there's no game even though they won't be available if there was!

The fact a legitimate argument could be made for a few more on top of that tells you everything you need to know about how talent-rich this year's team was.

Richard from Menasha, WI

Great to see the seven Pro Bowl selections for the Packers. Call me a "homer" but I really think there were three snubs. Corey Linsley, Kenny Clark and Hunter Bradley all should have made it. Did Linsley's injury play a part in that snub?

It's a shame Linsley didn't make it. I'm not sure everything that went into it, but he is a Pro Bowl-caliber center and has been for some time. I was happy to see Elgton Jenkins get the respect he deserves for how well he's adapted to crazy circumstances, becoming the first Packers O-lineman since the NFL-AFL merger to start at guard, center and tackle. It's good the league took notice of him and Jaire Alexander, two young players who easily could be overlooked. The other one that left me scratching my head was Evan Engram getting in ahead of Robert Tonyan. That's a sizeable snub for Big Bob.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

So correct me if I'm wrong, but won't this year have the fewest Pro Bowl nods in memory? With no game, it's not like people will drop out with injuries and require replacements. Kind of makes it even more exclusive, no?

Correct. The NFL didn't announce any alternates this year since there will not be an actual game.

Seven Packers were named to the Pro Bowl rosters. Check out photos of them from the 2020 season.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Packers fans are too close to their team. No team in the NFL is without warts. We just happen to see our team's every week. If other teams are so much better and will beat the Pack in the playoffs, why do we have the best record? Any team can beat any other team any given Sunday (or Monday, Thursday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday). Ask the Rams with a great defense why it lost to a team without a win. We just have to play better than our opponent on game day.

A win is a win, folks. The best teams find a way, even when it isn't their best day. The Rams didn't bring their A-game Sunday and the Jets made them pay for it. It's a teaching moment for every team still in the playoff hunt.

Matt from Omaha, NE

Am I wrong in thinking, an ugly win (a.k.a. wakeup call) right before a playoff-caliber opponent may be better than rolling to a win before a letdown to the Titans?

It might work that way with some teams but LaFleur and his staff do a good job of evaluating performance regardless of the result. A loss might make deficiencies more apparent to the average viewer but I think LaFleur's attention to detail is the biggest reason the Packers have yet to fall into a losing streak during his head-coaching tenure. They'll make the necessary corrections heading into Sunday.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I think the D getting harped on for "allowing" the Panthers back into the game is a misnomer. They only allowed one TD in the red zone, they stood tough against the run, and in cases for the Panthers' "scoring drives" they really didn't give up many chunk plays. If the offense does a little better stopping their lull, it may have looked different. Still kinks, obviously, but also good improvement.

The offense started fast but defense is what won the Packers that game, with Barnes slapping the ball out of Bridgewater's hands on the goal line being one of the biggest defensive plays of the season. They need to cut down on the number of explosive passes but the defense finished strong. That was the type of performance a defense can build on.

Curt from Westby, WI

In all three losses this year, the Packers lost their momentum in the game and couldn't recapture it. What is the key to getting that momentum back, rather than collapsing?

Stay within themselves and remember what it does well.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

The Titans' game very likely will come down to third-down conversions, for several reasons. The Titans' D is third worst in third-down conversion percentage, and the Packers' O is first. If GB cannot convert third downs on offense and keep Derrick Henry off the field, it may be a long night for our front seven. Or front eight…or nine…whatever it takes to stop Henry before he gets started.

Henry will get his yards – he's been held under 75 rushing yards only three times this year – but the key is keeping him and that Titans' second-ranked offense off the field as much as possible. The defense, on the other hand, is 27th in yards, 29th against the pass and has the fewest sacks in the league (14). I like the offense's chances against those numbers. Ball control and time of possession will be telling.

Tory from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning! Do you think Matt LaFleur will be able to help the defense come up with a plan to shut Henry down this week considering he coached him and seemed to have released Henry's potential while he was there?

There is no magical formula or defensive package to stop a player like Henry. The defensive front needs to play gap sound, and linebackers and DBs have to rally to the ball. It's nearly impossible to stop Henry but you gotta limit him.

Corey from Bethlehem, PA

A victory for our defense this week would be if no one gets stiff-armed into oblivion by Derrick Henry.

Exactly. It takes a village.

Brian from Trinity, FL

Like most fans, I'm expecting Henry to have a big day against the Packers' defense. This will be a good challenge for the Packers' offense to respond. Do you think that we might see AJ Dillon (baby Derrick Henry) finally be given an opportunity? I thought they drafted him for just this situation. Time to unleash the beast!

That likely depends on the status of Jamaal Williams and his quad injury, but Dillon looked good last week and now has two games under his belt post-COVID. Stay tuned.

Margo from Solvang, CA

Hi guys! I can't remember a game where we took so few shots down field in the passing game. It seemed like we threw lots of slants and check-downs. Were the Panthers doing something different in the secondary that we weren't prepared for?

Carolina started slow but made the right adjustments, mixing up loaded boxes with soft coverage. That strategy also enabled them to keep cloud coverage over Davante Adams for most of the evening. The Panthers were also successful in generating pressure with four-man rushes.

Bob from St. Germain, WI

First-time writer but longtime reader. Hey guys, Coach LaFleur indicated in his press conference that the offense needed to run the ball more and seemed to indicate that perhaps the play option should have been to run rather than pass. He indicated they need to be more patient with the running game. Are these comments directed towards Aaron Rodgers who has the option to pass? It seems like last year there were some concerns about opting out of run options when the offense bogged down. Thanks.

It wasn't directed at Rodgers or any one individual. There's so much that goes into those decisions. I'm sure it's something LaFleur, Rodgers and the offensive coaches will go through this week to tie all loose ends together.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Wes, did you know that Mason Crosby has started a savings & loan right in Green Bay? I know why. He did it because he's MONEY.


Tom from Dade City, FL

Hi II. I just went back and looked at the Panthers' losses, and except for the Tampa games, eight points was the most they had lost by. Against KC and NO, they were really close. So that wasn't as bad as it all seems. Losing Krys Barnes with the eye may have hurt us in getting stops. I sure hope he gets well quick. We will need him against Tennessee!

LaFleur said during his day-after presser on Sunday that Barnes should be OK, which is big for the defense. I wasn't here for Sam Shields' first season in 2010 but Barnes has impressed me probably more than any other undrafted rookie I've seen over the past eight years. That's not to say he hasn't made mistakes but Barnes plays with both intelligence and aggressiveness. It's not easy to balance those two, especially when he's communicating the defense.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Morning Wes, Mike and II. Is the list of voters from the AP Coach of the Year award published or known? I saw an article that listed a few of the sports writers and broadcasters that included Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth, Tony Dungy and Herm Edwards. It's hard to believe in Green Bay's storied history we have only had two winners while Chicago has won seven, Baltimore (Colts) five, New England four, New York (Giants) four and Washington four. Hopefully, this isn't a case of small-market prejudice.

If the Packers go 13-3, then I don't think there's any debate who the NFL Coach of the Year should be. If LaFleur didn't win last year, after engineering the biggest single-season turnaround in franchise history, then he should win this year under that same criteria.

John from Long Valley, NJ

I am torn concerning getting the bye. GB has struggled after a bye and they have good mojo right now (excluding Saturday). Other hand, get healthy (e.g. Jamaal Williams), don't travel, tough weather assuming we can play in it! I would like to finish with two wins and 13-3 again, to show last year wasn't a fluke. I also want AR getting that MVP since GB has less weapons than KC thus showing his importance. Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts.

Fans always get nervous about January byes but that is a huge advantage for the top seeds in the NFC and AFC. To me, there is nothing better than getting the No. 1 seed, resting up and being one win away from playing that elusive NFC title game at Lambeau Field. It's the path of least resistance to the Super Bowl…as the crow flies.

Statham from Pineview, GA

When was the last time a QB and WR from the same team led the league in passing and receiving TDs? I know, I know, there are still two games left. However, it is definitely within the grasp of Rodgers and Adams.

And that's despite Adams missing two games!

Kyle from Simpsonville, SC

Not at all to look past what should be a great game against the Titans, but if Chicago can keep it up and take down the lowly Jags on Sunday afternoon, we may very well get a Week 17 matchup at Soldier Field with the Bears playing for the final playoff spot and the Pack to lock up the lone first-round bye. Perhaps the carping about the expanded format (mine included) has been premature?


Paul from London, Ontario

Good morning! Many thanks for your hard work to put out content for Packer fans everywhere! Does (or did) ML treat this week as a "micro" bye and give the guys a day off? It seems that any extra time off is a big plus at this point in the season.

Kinda. They pushed everything up a day, with the players taking off Monday instead of today. They'll practice today, Wednesday and Thursday, and break Friday for Christmas.

Ronald from Panabo, Philippines

Insiders, just wondering have you talked to any fans in attendance about the experience? It must be intimate, like a high school game, no lines for food or the restroom. But it sure is hard to get the wave going.

I've talked to quite a few folks who enjoyed it. It's certainly an unprecedented experience that I hope we don't repeat in 2021. In a year where everyday life has been upended, it was neat to see all the frontline workers in attendance Saturday.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Will Jacksonville tank for Trevor this weekend, essentially giving the Bears a bye week before our final game? If the NFL always follows the money, wouldn't it make sense to have a lottery with the teams who don't make the playoffs? It would be must-watch TV.

"Tank for Trevor"? Or "Go Hard for Gardner!" See, I can bumper-sticker, too!

Bob from Rome, NY

Dear Mike and Wes, I know you put an end to bumper stickers but I got this last one: "Never second guess Spoff and Wes." I'm having some printed and I'll be sure Santa puts one each of your wife's stockings! Merry Christmas everyone – Stay safe and healthy!

Haha, if you are serious, I have just the spot for it in my cubicle.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

Wes Hod, I'm picking up my Dearborn ham tomorrow. Got me thinking...what would a Christmas dinner look like in a Seattle Ferris-wheel car with Spoff? Would he just come empty-handed and expect you to bring the whole meal?

It would look like a mess. What viewers didn't see two years ago in Seattle was how I nearly hurled over everyone once we got off the Ferris wheel.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

I've never seen or heard someone say "Happy Christmas" in any form. I'm not against it, just saying it felt funny to read at the end of yesterday's Inbox.

Merry Holidays to you and yours!