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Inbox: It's one more test in a season full of adversity

There are so few players in the NFL who can do what Marquez Valdes-Scantling does

Packers offensive unit

Jeff from Ogden, UT

That horn in Minnesota is beginning to make me feel like Quasimodo in the bell tower. Every time it goes off, I hold my ears and stumble around the living room moaning "the horn, the horn."

At least we don't have to hear it for another year.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

If I counted correctly, by the end of the game, we had 11 of the 22 beginning of the year favored starters out on one form of injury or another. It is truly a game of replacements. I wonder however how that compares with the rest of the league?

Every team deals with injuries but it's starting to feel like a little much (as my grandmother would say). The Packers are down eight of their 22 preferred starters, while Aaron Rodgers is playing through what seems to be a relatively significant toe injury. Is it the bye week yet?

Jeff from Janesville, WI

The pain tolerance these players have never ceases to amaze me.

They are better men than I.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Facing Aaron Donald and Von Miller with a hobbled QB and without Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, and David Bakhtiari sounds like a death wish. Here's hoping the next men up can hold their own and that Rodgers plays as nimbly on Sunday as he did against the Vikings. Can you ask the coaches to throw in a couple of extra blocking practices for our skill guys? They're going to need to pick up some chips for us (and I don't mean the kind you dip in queso on game day).

This game is going to test the old jar theory. The Packers are facing one of the NFL's most formidable defensive fronts without three of their starting offensive linemen, two of whom are Pro Bowlers. It's one more test in a season full of adversity.

Barton from Tulum, Mexico

Bummed about Elgton Jenkins. Thankfully, Yosh Nijman is playing well and seems up to the task. Is he a LT only? Can he play guard? I'm wondering what they do when David Bahktiari returns to his left tackle position.

I have liked what I've seen from Nijman. He is big, athletic and has a good head on his shoulders. While the Packers traditionally like to cross train their offensive linemen, Nijman has worked almost exclusively at left tackle during his three seasons in Green Bay.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Tragically and woefully, getting mighty thin at tackle. With D Bak's return an if-and-when unknown, how ready is Dennis Kelly in case another goes down? And with a few that play inside having college tackle experience, which one do you think they'd move outside were it to disintegrate that far?

We talked before the season about how depth and versatility on the offensive line were among the Packers' biggest strengths. The injuries to Jenkins and Myers have whittled away at that, but Kelly, Jake Hanson, Ben Braden and sixth-round pick Cole Van Lanen are still available. Braden and Van Lanen both have experience playing tackle, if needed.

Linnea from Milford, PA

How often have both QBs from a matchup been nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Week? I can't imagine it's a common occurrence.

It doesn't happen often. Make sure to vote for the right guy.

Jason from Rockton, IL

Hi Spoff and Wes, I felt that the D-line provided a lot of good push and pressure, especially early on, but it seems that we are often one step away from affecting the play or finishing the sack. Kenny Clark seemed to beat the snap and got into Kirk's face on many occasions, and Tipa Galeai and Jonathan Garvin seemed to get some good push, as well. On a day that our secondary had trouble sticking to their man, what can the D-line do to turn that good push into some game-changing finishing plays?

The Packers applied steady pressure on Cousins but he played well against it. And the few times Cousins made a mistake, Green Bay didn't make him pay for it.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

How valuable will it be for Jordan Love to have several weeks of practice with the first-team offense? And while we're talkin' about practice, have we heard anything on why David Bakhtiari was practicing for a while and now isn't?

It's priceless for a second-year quarterback, who barely took any reps last year, to have the opportunity to run with the starting unit. As much as it would help to have Rodgers out there, his focus right now has to be on getting as healthy as possible for gameday. In the meantime, Love needs to make those snaps count. As far as Bakhtiari, it's all part of this journey. The guy has put everything into this comeback. We'll see where things are in two weeks.

Hannes from Vienna, Austria

Good morning II. After the trick play including Randall Cobb's forward pass, I was wondering why this doesn't show up as "passing" in official statistics. Did someone in the NFL statistics department have a nap?

Because it was an option, not a forward pass. Cobb shoveled the ball backwards to AJ Dillon, who then gained seven yards. I loved the play design, though. It was a great call.

Kyle from Toronto, Canada

Just curious, how does video review uphold the Kevin King interception in the end zone vs. Seattle, but then overturn the Darnell Savage interception this week? Are these plays not almost identical in terms of the ball moving slightly as they are going to the ground?

There wasn't much difference other than the camera angles. Sometimes what happened and what's visible on replay are two different things. I'm sure Savage would tell you he just needs to hold onto the ball.

Tim from Cameron, WI

Just curious, if you know. How often does the secondary personnel practice catching the football?

The secondary coaches run the cornerbacks through pass-catching and ball-tracking drills pretty much every practice.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

Guys it was a matter of time before the "what even is a catch anymore" would include balls being intercepted. I honestly think because of all the handicapping of defenses by the league the Savage catch should count. Ball and two feet down not juggling looks very legit to me. The ground caused him to lose it. Man, I hate the ground sometimes!

Again, I have no expectation on what's a catch anymore. I just wait for the officials to tell me what happened.

Kevin from Arlington, OH

How much did the Packers miss Allen Lazard's blocking against the Vikings?

That was a big loss, but I felt like the receivers played well against Minnesota. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had the big catches but made a couple downfield blocks, Equanimeous St. Brown had one of his better days as a Packer and Cobb is so reliable. The Packers need Lazard back but that receiver room keeps getting better.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The 75-yard TD to MVS was a thing of beauty. Great pass, great catch and run. But watching the replay (what you might have missed?) I saw AJ Dillon in blitz pick-up make an initial block, and then slide to his right to pick up another Vikings blitzer, creating a clean pocket, and enabling Rodgers to drop the dime. Beyond that great play, how would you score AJ Dillon's first NFL start?

I wrote about that in our game notes. Dillon did everything that was asked of him, especially in pass pro. There were a few times where Dillon was the last line of defense in front of Rodgers and held his ground. I wish Dillon would've gotten a few more carries, but all-in-all, I thought he was solid.

Will from Morris, IL

Working so I didn't get to see the game, but I see in the stats that MVS had 10 targets and four receptions. Were the misses throwaways or dropped passes or what?

Not drops. Just Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling having difficulty getting going. I think MVS had two catches on his first eight targets but you saw late what happens when their speed and timing sync up. If the Packers are going to make a title run, MVS is going to be a big part of it. There are so few players in the NFL who can do what he does.

Jordan from Roscoe, IL

Is there a chance that Rashan Gary returns vs. the Rams?

I would think so. Gary practiced all week before the Packers erred on the side of caution Sunday. While the Packers cross their fingers for a Za'Darius Smith return, they're going to need to ride Gary and Preston Smith down the stretch. It certainly would help if Gary could go against the Rams.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Do you think it's the holder that is Mason Crosby's problem?

Spoff said it best. A lot has happened this year and Crosby just needs to get his mojo back. The 54-yarder was a good first step but then the 32-yarder banged off the left upright. The Packers are still working through some things right now with the field-goal operation but I still have confidence Mason will find his way back.

Joseph from Fuquay-Varina, NC

A field goal was the difference. Does this prolonged drought from our veteran kicker begin to have a mental impact for him? I know Crosby has had a long outstanding career but at this point I'm wondering if it's getting to him.

A lot of people have mentioned the field goal being the difference but it was more than that. Greg Joseph missed an extra point earlier but Minnesota later converted a two-point attempt to get that point back. If Crosby misses a field goal, others have to step up. As well as the Packers played in spurts, the team had too many miscues.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

Mike, really liked the answer about Wayne Gretzky and Wilt Chamberlain. Great accomplishments. Let's not forget Oscar Robertson. He averaged a triple-double over one complete season. And to top it off, he was only one-tenth away (in assists) in the next season from averaging a triple-double for two consecutive seasons. He also later helped the Bucks win their first championship.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Don Hutson's 1942 season. Hutson had 74 catches that year. Nobody else had more than 27. Hutson had 1,211 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns. Future Packers head coach Ray "Scooter" McLean was second in both categories with 571 yards and eight TDs. There are no words to illustrate just how dominant Hutson and Cecil Isbell were that season.

The Green Bay Packers faced the Minnesota Vikings in a Week 11 matchup on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021.

Dale from Aurora, CO

There was a strange call in the first quarter. The ref was heard saying I warned you. Five-yard penalty. False start, I believe, was the call? Who was the false start on? Could you guys clarify that call.

Weird deal. Shawn Hochuli flagged Green Bay for a false start because of how Lucas Patrick threw his head back. I've never seen that before and Matt LaFleur said Patrick didn't do anything different than what Green Bay always does. LaFleur said he was talking with the league on what exactly the issue was, so we'll see where that goes. In my opinion, it felt like a situation where Minnesota's coaching staff gave the officials a list of things to keep an eye on before the game (e.g. Rodgers' cadence, Billy Turner's get-off, etc.), which is typical, and Hochuli's crew worked off it like a grocery list. That's all I can surmise. Hochuli perseverated on the Packers' O-line like it was the only thing worth officiating.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

Happy Tuesday Insiders! Now that my BP has settled after Sunday's Packer vs. Vikings/refs game I can ask my question. The penalty disparity aside, why wasn't Jefferson called for multiple OPIs? I saw at least two blatant ones where he made contact, extended one or both arms and knocked the defender off balance. Maybe I lied and my BP isn't settled.

I guess that didn't make the official's list. It is what it is. Like Spoff said to me before we left Sunday night, that's a call you're going to get maybe three times out of 10. You just can't bet on it, especially with Jefferson being a budding star in the league.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

May I just take some space to applaud you both for your professional handling of the copious number of submissions regarding officiating you undoubtedly receive. We all know it's an issue, but to address it with class, yet still get your point across requires talent. Thank you.

It's easy to rip on officiating when it affects your team but the reality is it's a problem across the entire NFL. Honestly, I don't even blame the referees. My issue is more with this carousel of yearly emphases, the lack of accountability for poor officiating and the direction things have headed. As Spoff said, the system needs to be reworked. Because right now, in my opinion, we're officiating a constantly evolving game with outdated principles.

Jake from Muncie, IN

What a weird week...Did the Bills forget to show up or are the Colts that good?

The Colts aren't bad but Jonathan Taylor is that darn good. I was wrong on Taylor, folks. I didn't think he had what it took to be a featured back in the NFL. Taylor is a legitimate franchise running back.

Tony from Denver, CO

I actually think there's some merit to taking away Thanksgiving games from teams who are struggling, at least temporarily. The Thanksgiving Day games are typically among the most viewed games all season since people often plan their day around watching the games. It seems a waste to fill such a prime TV spot with a matchup between teams that are a combined 3-16-1. Thoughts?

My thought is who cares? It's Thanksgiving. It's tradition. I don't need frontrunners to entertain me. And if you don't like the matchup, then take a nap.

Norm from Barron, WI

I think Greg Olsen does a great job as an analyst. Regarding our pass coverage against the Vikes, he seemed to know exactly what they had done before, and what they were going to do, as well as variations of it. Shouldn't we know that also? I suppose it comes down to who is on the field?

I enjoyed the call from Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt. They didn't beat dead horses, and I found them to be steady and easy to listen to.

Jeff from Vandenberg SFB, CA

Wes, are you going to wear your "My Editor is Hotter Than Yours" shirt this Sunday?

And that's exactly what I needed to turn the page.


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