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Inbox: It's on the Packers to not get distracted

Then nothing is truly sacred

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San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Chris from Gridley, CA

I have tickets along the 50-yard line for Sunday's game. Watching a game in person is different than watching it on television. Do you have any advice on how to watch the game in person?

Enjoy not listening to TV announcers, first and foremost. In all seriousness, if you have a wide enough view, see where the safeties line up pre-snap and what kind of shifting around the defense does. That'll give you a sense of what the quarterback is trying to read.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What player on the Niners should Packers fans be watching, and why?

George Kittle on offense and Nick Bosa on defense. I think how the Packers defend Kittle, and the matchup with Bosa on the edge, are the most intriguing elements to this game. The latter got even more intriguing with the news Wednesday that Elgton Jenkins' status is uncertain due to an ankle injury.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

On Cephus' TD, we clearly blew coverage. But was it Kevin King or Eric Stokes that was supposed to cover the sideline when both went with crosser into the post area? Almost a great recovery by Stokes to get there, but was late and a pretty easy score. You could see he was clearly upset, but at himself or someone else? And in reference to yesterday's closer, should it be thoughts? Or what say you?

LaFleur didn't specify blame on the TD. He only told us that the defense plays that coverage differently in the red zone than elsewhere on the field, and one of the guys did not play it the red-zone way. Honestly, I don't even pay attention how someone closes a submission. I'm focused on the content, and if a response comes to mind, I'll post it and answer. That's it, that's all.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Through two games opposing tight ends have done a lot of damage against us and now we get to face one of the better ones in the league in George Kittle. What can be done differently to prevent Kittle having another huge game?

That's the million-dollar question this week, in my view. The easy answer is to put bracket coverage on him, with a linebacker in front and a DB behind (see Play No. 1 vs. Hockenson in my WYMM this week), but that's going to leave vulnerabilities elsewhere. Where's the best place to sacrifice defensively? That's why the coaches get paid a lot more than I do.

Linwood from Travelers Rest, SC

My unsung hero pick for the game is Josh Myers, center. Rarely heard his name called. All clean snaps. Good blocking. Never looked lost. Can a performance get any better from a rookie? What does he need to do to step up to the 49ers' challenge? Thanks for your continued multi-faceted coverage of the Packers.

Unprompted, Rodgers mentioned Myers after the game Monday, so that says something about how it looked and felt to the three-time MVP in the heat of battle. The challenge now in a true road game is keeping the communication on line calls clear and managing the silent count/snap properly.

Andy from Columbus, TX

I just wanted to defend Amari Rodgers a bit. Wes stated that he needed to get north and south on his punt return. We could see that, I doubt he could. There was a wall return set up to his left so that's where he ran. It wasn't the greatest execution. Normally if you don't follow your blocks on a return, you get creamed.

If that's where he was supposed to go, then he needs to get there. I saw hesitation, not decisiveness. He who hesitates is lost.

Marty from Plymouth, WI

What did you think of the constant video reminders when the Packers were on offense for the crowd to be quiet? I get that some fans think "the wave" is fun and that the team prefers quiet, but the videos of players saying "Shh…" seemed insulting and childish to me. Are our players really that easily distracted?

Why would anyone come to a game and not do everything in their power to help the team win, or avoid hurting its chances? Quiet on offense is a big advantage, so is noise on defense. It's not complicated.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

"Well, the fumbled snap was a killer for the Lions and that was all on Goff." On the radio broadcast Wayne and Rock were discussing that play and Rock said his experience is the fumble is always the center's fault.

Kudos to Larry for never shirking responsibility. But it had just started raining, the replay clearly showed the ball in Goff's hands, and it slipped out onto the turf.

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Wow, Mike, here's hoping the third time is the charm for LeRoy Butler. He's been very patient the past two years.

As I've mentioned before, there's no clear-cut first-ballot Hall of Famer in the selection process this year, so all five modern-era spots are open. This is a golden opportunity for Butler.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

If you were a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee, who would you be voting for this year? I'm confident I could name one (who is long overdue), but am curious whom else you would vote for?

Looking at last year's finalists still waiting, first off it's a shame Clay Matthews (the elder) didn't get in, and now it's up to the senior committee to do it at some point because he's no longer eligible through the regular process. So that aside, with five modern-era spots available, I'd want three to go to Butler, Zach Thomas and Tony Boselli. For the other two, I'd be choosing between Richard Seymour, Jared Allen, and two first-year eligibles, DeMarcus Ware and Devin Hester. I think all four will get in eventually and deserve to, but I don't put Ware and Hester in the same "first-ballot" category as Favre, Woodson, etc., so I'd probably vote for Seymour and Allen this time.

Linda from Appleton, WI

What was the "exciting new player introduction tunnel feature" that was publicized before the game? I saw one photo of some objects on the field near the tunnel entrance but couldn't tell what they were.

They were waist-high portable borders, for lack of a better word, for the players to run through, with the architectural feel of Lambeau's outside brick. They included video screens on all sides with the players' photos, jersey numbers, etc., as they were being introduced. All fine by me, as long as this hallowed ground doesn't turn to monster inflatables and raging bursts of flame. Then nothing is truly sacred.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

With all the established receivers we have it seems clear that every game someone will "disappear" in the stat sheet. It is equally clear that it won't be some long-term trend on the player, just the fact of the ball getting spread around. It seems every offense has to balance the "get the ball to the playmakers" with "don't be predictable." Historically the most successful passing attacks are all about spreading it around and not keying on just a few targets.

The ball is going to go to Aaron Jones and Davante Adams a lot, as it should. It's on everyone else to make the most of the handful (or less) of chances they're going to get. AJ Dillon's not going to get 4-5 carries to get warmed up, for example. Cobb won't be able to get a feel for the game. Guys like that will have to step in and produce. When they do, the play-caller feels like everything is at his disposal at any time.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I read an article that the Vikings had zero of this year's draft picks play on Sunday. Green Bay had six of their nine see time on the field. I'm not sure what to make of that.

Minnesota's draft class is dealing with a lot of injury issues, but what you said isn't true. They didn't have any draft picks take snaps on offense or defense last game, but multiple guys did on special teams.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

I DVR'd Peyton and Eli and just re-watched the game. Their take on the strategy of playing two-high is basically saying, "You won't be disciplined enough to have your best player, Aaron Rodgers, just hand the ball off over and over. You'll get frustrated and start taking shots." This is the best explanation I've heard for why we get away from the run even when the coverage dictates it. Do you think there is something to that?

Could be, but the crux of it is to not give up big chunks of yardage and force offenses to go 10, 12 plays without making a mistake in order to score. Two-high defenses are counting on a mistake, one they might try to force with a well-timed blitz. Offenses also know it can be tough to not have a miscue – a penalty, a dropped ball, tipped pass, fumble, mixup in protection, whatever – along the way, and one explosive play can really put a defense on its heels. So a great QB is always looking for that chance to grab the upper hand.

Taylor from Eagan, MN

Will Stokes take over as CB2 moving forward?

We shall see, but if that's in the works I don't think the Packers are going to make any big announcement and let the 49ers know ahead of time.

Robert from Verona, WI

It sounds like the 49ers are pretty banged up at the running back position. They certainly won't abandon the run this coming weekend, but what do the Packers need to watch out for from a team that may be looking to find some alternatives to traditional running plays? Jet sweeps? Passes to the flat? A steady dose of Kittle?

The 49ers will do their best to dress up the running game with shifts and motions, whatever distractions they can find. It's on the Packers to not get distracted, no matter who's taking the handoffs.

Kelly from Stoughton, WI

Look forward to reading the II every day, thank you both for doing it. Maybe I missed it, but how did you evaluate Rashan Gary on Monday night? I love his motor and am cheering for him to reach his potential. I do not know that anything stuck out as horrible, but I just kept waiting for the splash plays and they just didn't come. As always thanks for your insights and clarity when as fans the picture can get blurred.

I saw the Lions chip him a few times, which didn't surprise me. I didn't see the run get around his edge. He was all over Goff when the ball slipped out on the one pass attempt. I thought he played a solid game, though I'm sure he was looking for another highlight-reel play or two.

Tina from Rotunda West, FL

When will the 49ers play in Green Bay?

For sure in 2024. If the Packers and 49ers finish in the same place in their respective divisions this year or next year, they also would play in Green Bay in 2022 and/or 2023.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Is etiquette in the "office floor in a conference room with a big TV" different from the press box?

Wes and I can talk a little louder when it's just the two of us, but honestly, the content of the conversation is pretty much the same. We chat about the game, what we're seeing, etc., and we're both busy online. It's not like we're starting the wave or "Go Pack Go" chants or anything. Our work duties and respect for the job don't change.

Chuck from Cincinnati, OH

Are the four touchdowns that Aaron Jones scored the most ever at Lambeau Field?

Yes, and as far as I know, Jones is the fourth player to do it at Lambeau, joining Paul Hornung, Dorsey Levens and Carolina's DeAngelo Williams.

Ted from Amherst, NY

I know four scores is supposed to be a "Texas hat trick," but can't we be more specific and just call this one a "sombrero"?

Ha, good one. Happy Thursday.

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