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Inbox: It's imperative the Packers have a 1-2 punch

The occasional schematic change-up has value

RB Jamaal Williams
RB Jamaal Williams

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

So who plays what instrument on the "Unscripted" intro? I feel like Spoff is definitely the one playing guitar and Wes is the drummer.

Sorry, but I can't even read the sheet music for "Hot Cross Buns."

Scott from Martinez, GA

Why would FOX not protect the Packers-49ers game?

Because it protected the Cowboys-Patriots game in the same time slot instead.

Timothy from Spooner, WI

I certainly don't want to jinx our team, but what is the franchise record for fewest turnovers in a season? Seems the team must be on a record pace this year with so few turnovers. It likely has plenty to do with an 8-2 record.

The Packers have turned the ball over seven times (five lost fumbles, two INTs) through 10 games. The franchise record for fewest in a season is 13, in 2014. As an aside, the Packers have not fumbled the ball (lost or recovered), at all, for four straight games, the first time that's happened in a single season since 1967. I think the bye week is the right time to throw these stats out there.

Jon from Columbia, MO

Hey II, before Monday night, Mike wrote that who we should want to win "really depends on whether your goal is a first-round bye or the No. 1 seed." But it just occurred to me that the Seahawks and the Niners cannot both get a bye because they are in the same division. So we are really in a race with just one or the other of them. For that reason, it was definitely better that the Niners lost on Monday.

You are absolutely correct.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Has any Packers coach ever won Coach of the Year?

The official Associated Press award was won by Lombardi in '59 and Infante in '89. That math is interesting. Other media outlets also awarded such honors to Lombardi in '61 and '67 and McCarthy in '11.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi II, thanks to Mike for his story about Daryn Colledge's service in the National Guard. When we beat the 49ers last year in Lambeau, we played against a backup QB and we won the turnover battle 3-0. It still took a great comeback by Aaron Rodgers and an interception by Kevin King to win the game. The 49ers were 1-5 after that game, but they looked like a very good team on both sides of the ball. Was there anything from that game that made you think they'd be so good in 2019?

You could see the running game they were developing and the makings of a solid defense. They made major additions to those foundations with Coleman in the backfield and Bosa, Ford and Alexander in the defensive front seven, and then of course got Garoppolo back.

Dan from Naperville, IL

What are the rules for a bye week? As in does the team determine number of days off for players or the league contract?

The CBA stipulates during the bye week the players must be given at least four consecutive days off, including Saturday.

Ralph from Monchengladbach, Germany

As the bye week is the offseason's little brother, I hope this question is allowed: Is it discussed in the CBA negotiations to bring back more than two players from IR? I could imagine allowing one more player back for teams that enter the postseason.

Interesting thought, but it's not a collectively bargained issue. Either way, I don't know if it's high enough on anyone's agenda to push for change right now.

Matthew from Portland, OR

Hi friends. The first few weeks of the season saw a bunch of big-name quarterbacks go down to injury, but now many are back. In addition, the teams who have had to replace big name QBs have done a decent job.

I believe the number of victories by backup QBs this season is now up around two dozen. That's pretty amazing, because the Mason Rudolphs of the world are always susceptible to a game like last night.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

That Steelers-Browns game was ugly. What should the NFL do to address this? Or how could the refs prevent things from escalating to the point where a player took an opponent's helmet and used it as a weapon?

This one's not on the officials. They aren't going to be able to prevent a player from completely losing control, and when a guy starts swinging a helmet around, the officials have to protect themselves to a certain extent. Myles Garrett needs a multi-game suspension, and I won't argue with however long the league wants to make it.

Ben from Encinitas, CA

WYMM called out Geronimo Allison and Jake Kumerow for some big blocks in the run game. I especially liked Geronimo pushing his man way downfield on the 15-yard Jamaal Williams run. How much does this added factor of a receiver's blocking ability figure into their playing time?

A lot when the game plan is to run the ball a bunch.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

There was a third-down play in the second half of Sunday's game where the cameras were on Green Bay in the defensive huddle. The play was called, and I saw Za'Darius Smith shake his head in disgust. I immediately thought, "He's dropping back into coverage." Then he did. I think he likes rushing the passer better.

Who wouldn't? But the occasional schematic change-up has value.

Michael from Dover, PA

Why do so many fans seem to get hung up in power rankings, MVP candidates and other white noise? So much of it is nothing more than an opinion and some opinions are proffered simply to agitate (see: Bayless, Skip). Last I checked roughly two-thirds of the way through a season that is moving past far too fast the Pack sits at 8-2, first in the NFC North and currently the No. 2 seed. I couldn't possibly careless about what Skip Useless has to say. I'm enjoying this season as it is.

Does this mean "serenity now" actually works?

Michael from Madison, WI

Very impressive offseason pickups by Gute! It would appear we have two double-digit Packer sackers this year. When was the last time Green Bay had that? Was it White and Jones?

No, you have to go all the way back to 1993, when White had 13 and Paup had 11. White and Jones came close in '95 (12 and nine, respectively), and Kampman and KGB almost pulled it off in '07 (12 and 9½).

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

I, too, was surprised to see the 49ers throw three times and give the ball back to Russell Wilson with time on the clock in overtime. It seemed a mistake in the moment. But I shouldn't have been surprised; this is the same Kyle Shanahan who kept throwing in Super Bowl LI instead of managing the clock. Tom Brady made him pay.

I had the same thought when I woke up Tuesday morning.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

I have seen several outlets where Jimmy Garoppolo was recently criticized for the amount of INTs he has thrown, and the counterpoint was that a lot of his throws were actually drops or deflections from the intended receiver. Watching the Seattle game I am coming around to this same viewpoint. It seems Jimmy's accuracy is OK and it really is the receiving core that is having issues holding onto passes.

I haven't watched San Francisco a lot, but I watched enough of Monday's game to confidently say the Niners win that game if Garoppolo's receivers catch the ball.

Jack from Chicago, IL

The question about Wes's wife joining him on a road trip got me thinking. Do Mike and Wes share a hotel room on road trips? I imagine if this were true, hilarity would ensue.

Ha. We get our own rooms, and we appreciate them.

Tyler from Stevens Point, WI

In the infancy of replay, two decades ago, I can't recall. I was 10-12, but my question is, what was the perception? What did fans and teams think when it began? Today, we have slow-mo, zoom-in, 4K quality to see blades of grass separate a cleat from the out-of-bounds line. What was it like when low-light projection, and 3500-pound wood-box tube TVs were the technology standard?

The phrase "indisputable video evidence" carried the day. A lot more video was "disputable" then than now, in my opinion, though there were certainly arguments in that regard. But I also think the officials missed fewer obvious calls because they weren't bogged down by all the safety rules they now must watch for as well.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

Here's a bye-week question for you to ponder...Who makes your all-time undrafted team?

In Packers history? Sorry, I don't have the energy to put together an entire squad right now, but it would be difficult to build a stronger position group than the secondary I can rattle off the top of my head – Willie Wood, Johnnie Gray, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields. And if you're talking undrafted but not necessarily homegrown, Eugene Robinson enters the equation, too.

Joe from Sherman, IL

Will the "Lego" Packers make an appearance this year?

Stay tuned.

Shane from Coralville, IA

II, I travel 70-80% of the time for work and despite my experience, I still forget things I need from time to time. Have you ever found yourself forgetting something you need on a road game that makes for a good laugh?

I could laugh at just about anything being forgotten except my computer.

Derek from Norton, KS

Aaron Jones won't be in the MVP conversation as long as the offense continues to utilize Jamaal Williams in its current fashion. I believe Aaron will gladly take a successful season as a team over individual accolades. Do you believe split carries or a "bell-cow back" is more beneficial to a team's success? When you look at the top teams this year, there are examples of both at or near the top of the league.

It depends on the player and the team. I think given the track record for Jones through his first two years in the league, it's imperative the Packers have a 1-2 punch for the long haul.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, Aaron Jones is in the MVP conversation because the offense is loaded with talent and No. 12 is their leader. That trophy is chatter. The only MVP that matters is given out in February. No. 12 will be nine years removed from his last February MVP. This next game is big in the quest for No. 12's second February MVP and two additional games at 1265.

Yup yup.

Brayden from La Crosse, WI

Jaire Alexander had an amazing first four games that earned him a spot on the quarter All-Pro team. The game following he had a rough game against Amari Cooper, one of the game's best, and since then he seems to be a little more precautious when attacking the ball. Are quarterbacks throwing to Jaire less because I have not heard much of his name called during the game? Also, I would love to see him pick that ball off because those plays are the ones that solidify you as an All-Pro.

QBs are definitely challenging King more, and they've both let some turnover opportunities get away, really. They are going to get chances soon enough they and the Packers can't afford to miss.

Brandon from St. Paul, MN

You have talked about how the 49ers game being moved to prime time makes the following week's trip to New Jersey more challenging. How much responsibility does the head coach have regarding weekly logistics and planning? Specifically, how much of his bandwidth is dedicated to those types of ancillary details the common fan never has to worry about? Do you have more examples of important but overlooked responsibilities?

The schedule and agenda for the entire football operation ultimately fall on the head coach – practices, meetings, game-planning sessions, what's getting done when and how. There's a huge administrative component to the job.

Terry from Rothschild, WI

What is Spoff's favorite memory from covering sports in the Wausau area?

It will always be covering Wisconsin Valley Conference football. I was on the sidelines for a number of epic rivalries, including one game between D.C. Everest and Wisconsin Rapids (coached by Vince Biegel's grandfather, Ken) that ended 70-63, in regulation, with 18 of the 19 touchdowns coming on offensive plays from scrimmage. I think it was something like 1,200 total yards of offense in 48 minutes. Insane.

Mike from Hastings, MN

A great article on Daryn Colledge but I wish it would've come out three weeks ago when I, with nine other Packer fans/shareholders were in Sonoma and saw, but didn't stop at, 3 Fat Guys Winery. It would have been our first stop.

You mean nobody on your trip saw that name for a winery and Googled it on their phone?

Ric from Longmont, CO

Hello. When does asking for the return of the "Path to the Playoffs" column cease to be a bannable offense? Asking for a friend.

We're almost there. In the meantime, I've written a bye-week column that'll post Saturday for what to keep an eye on around the NFC.

Renee from Green Bay, WI

We are at the bye week for the Packers, does it come with an extra day(s) off for you? Been a very exciting season to this point, what has been the most memorable moment for you? Was it a certain game, play, interview...?

The win in Dallas is the one that stands out to me so far. Davante Adams and Williams were out, and the Packers were coming off their first loss. When that score was 31-3 is when I started thinking seriously that this might be a special season. With that, after this column, and having filed the just-mentioned Saturday piece in advance, I'm going to disconnect as best I can for a couple of days. I will be sitting down late Sunday night, though, to write Monday's II, so I'd love to see all kinds of questions come in from late afternoon Sunday through the evening on your observations from the other games. I'm hoping we'll have plenty to talk about. See you then. Happy Friday and enjoy the bye weekend.