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Inbox: It’s Packers season

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Al from Green Bay

The Packers escaped Chicago without committing a turnover. If they play turnover-free ball again on Sunday__.

Good things will happen. Good morning!

Zach from Hoagland, IN

I want to add to Dave from Sparta, WI's question. I can't remember being more impressed with the way a defender played that exact situation out as I was with Kevin King last week when he made his first career sack. He felt it and his instincts led him off the WR, to attack the QB at the exact right time. I even texted a good buddy of mine (who happens to be a Bears fan) after that play and told him King is the key to our whole team this year. If he can play with those instincts and his size...wow.

I feel like there’s a segment of Packers fans that has forgotten how good King is when he’s on the field. As Tramon Williams said this week, there just aren’t many 6-3 cornerbacks out there who move the way King does. He needs to stay healthy but all signs point to him being a difference-maker for this defense in 2019.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The most interesting story coming into this game seems to be the Vikings’ outside runs and their previous opponent’s inability to set an edge. This puts the spotlight directly on our EDGE group and really highlights how the personnel there has fundamentally changed not just in players but player types. We are now much larger and I am excited to see how the difference manifests itself over last year when our defense also struggled at times with smaller personnel.

This is a good take from Steven. All the struggles Atlanta had in trying to stop Minnesota’s run game started with its inability to set the edge. This will test the Smiths’ discipline but both veterans are more than capable of handling it. As exciting as they are as pass rushers, the Smiths don’t mind doing the dirty work, either.

Evan from Middleton, WI

What do you think the over/under should be on TDs to Graham this year? Around 5½ seems about right to me.

Graham’s second year in New Orleans? 11. His second year in Seattle? 10. If Graham stays healthy, I’ll take the over.

Dan from Chippewa Falls, WI

Which TE do you think will have the biggest impact against this Vikings defense? Let's not forget if not for the PI Graham drew at the beginning of the third, this group would've gone over 100 yards against da Bears.

I really wish there was a statistic that recognized yards players draw by penalty, whether it’s a receiver drawing a deep pass interference or a pass rusher forcing a hold. That DPI was a big play against Chicago.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Do the Vikings have a weak spot on defense? Perhaps linebackers dropping into coverage? Might be a big weekend for Packers tight ends.

If there is any weak spot – and that’s a BIG if – it could be cornerback behind Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. Mackensie Alexander already has been ruled out, Mike Hughes is doubtful to make his return from that ACL and newly acquired Mark Fields is questionable with a groin injury. I’m curious what the Vikings’ nickel and dime look like Sunday.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

If or should I say when the Packers beat the Vikings, does it put the North and the rest of the league for that matter on full alert?

It puts two division wins in the Packers’ pocket. I’d say that’s an early statement to the rest of the league.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

After watching the latest Rock Report, I can surely agree that as of right now, Darnell Savage is a keeper! It can’t go unappreciated having a safety that can come 20 yards downfield to prevent a running back from gaining more than two yards. That’s impressive speed. How does Darnell remain a keeper after facing the Purple People Eaters in Week 2? An interception? Three passes defensed?

By doing exactly what he did in Chicago – staying accountable, playing with sound fundamentals and trusting his athleticism when the situation calls for it. It’s not always easy to stand out at the safety position, but Savage really flashed against the Bears. You’re starting to see why he climbed draft boards the way he did leading up to April’s draft. He’s a true talent.

Braden from Denver, CO

Hey guys, I noticed that two players were on the injury report, Bryan Bulaga and Tramon Williams, with the injury being listed as "veteran rest.” What is that? Is that basically saying, "This guy’s been around awhile and has earned some rest”? Love the column, keep up the awesome work.

Yeah, it’s just being smart with veteran players. The Packers took a similar approach with Julius Peppers back in 2016. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t think Williams has ever had a veteran rest day. Green Bay has had a plan to keep Bulaga as healthy and fresh as possible. It seems to have worked out well so far.

Subhadeep from Rocky Hill, CT

Interesting reading Rodgers-Zimmer matchup. The one I always thought of was Peyton-Belichick matchup as a QB-HC chess game. What other QB-HC matchups comes to your mind as the top candidates?

Rex Ryan and Tom Brady was the first one to come to mind. That doesn’t make it the right answer, but that was a fun rivalry for as long as it lasted.

Steve from Gatlinburg, TN

Why all the angst over the punter's reps? I golf as much as possible but there's no way I could do so every day without getting worn out. Even pro golfers don't play more than a couple of weeks in a row in order to save their bodies for the big tournaments. Kickers must have fresh legs for peak performance.

Just so I’m clear on this – did you just compare your golf game to the preparation of a professional athlete?

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

II, I have to say that I am torn! The millennial in me wants to stand during an entire game as a show of support for the team, much like the student section at a college basketball game. However, the nice guy in me wants to be respectful of others behind me who may want to sit, especially since I am a taller guy who takes up a lot of viewing space. What should I do? Only stand on scores? Stand on defense, but sit on offense? Either way, I promise I will NOT do the wave while on offense.

Do you want to be respectful or help your team win? As a tall man, you could force everyone to their feet on third downs. And when the offense is on the field, feel free to sit down and be as quiet and respectful as you want.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

I absolutely love the tie-equals-loss idea. Think about late season drama for playoff positions. Week 17, GB a game behind both Chi and Min. Ordinarily, GB cannot win division. If tie equals loss, a Chi-Min tie, coupled with a GB win over Detroit, GB theoretically can still win division if the tiebreakers fall right. The ability to gain a full game on both Chi and Min in a week they play each other would really make the last week of the season interesting.

Spoff really opened a can of asparagus with this idea.

Kurt from East Peoria, IL

I think tie games actually help decrease the number of tiebreaker scenarios for the playoffs. 10-6 is better than 9-6-1. It is less likely two teams finish 8-7-1 than two teams finish 9-7. The only thing worse than a tie game, apart from my grammar and punctuation, would be tiebreaker scenarios for teams with identical records, deciding who goes to the playoffs.

For all the discussion we’ve had on the topic this week, I’m actually cool with ties. They’re fine. I’ve never had a problem with them.

Rick from Boyd, WI

The problem with counting ties as losses is that it might mess with playoff seeding. Could a team with more “legitimate” losses edge out a team with a tie/loss due to mitigating factors such as strength of schedule?

I’d settle for 15-minute overtimes again.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

With Minkah Fitzpatrick wanting out of Miami and a player Green Bay was interested in during the draft, do you think giving up a second-round pick to acquire is a move Gute would favor? There is little doubt Minkah is a good fit for the Pack's defense and a productive player to boot. A second-round pick is hard to part with but this is an ascending player with a high upside and still young with three more available years on his current contract. It seems like it could be a great deal.

Historically, the Packers haven’t been keen on trading draft picks for players during a season. But they also haven’t historically signed four high-profile unrestricted free agents, either. I’m sure Brian Gutekunst and his scouts will do their due diligence. Regardless, Green Bay is in a good spot right now at safety.

The Green Bay Packers held practice inside the Don Hutson Center on Friday in preparation for their Week 2 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Nick from Brodhead, WI

What are the chances LeRoy Butler gets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year? If not this year, does he get in at all?

I truly believe in my lifetime Butler will get in the Hall of Fame. He deserves to be in the same conversation as John Lynch, Steve Atwater and the other fine safeties waiting for enshrinement. The Hall of Fame opened the floodgates this year with a 20-member class (five modern-era players, 10 seniors, three contributors and two coaches). So while that doesn’t increase Butler’s odds of making it this year, I think that move will help loosen the logjam if he needs to go the senior committee route someday.

Brock from Albany, NY

Hey Insiders, just curious what you thought the odds would be of seeing a Packer get inducted in the Hall of Fame this year? The list of nominees was extensive, but to my surprise, Sterling Sharpe was left off after being included last year. I figured with the larger class this might be his best shot, with guys like Nick Collins being nominated. What are your thoughts? Thank you! A pleasure as always.

I believe Sharpe’s window closed as a modern-era candidate because it’s been 25 years since he last played. His best shot at enshrinement is now through the senior committee.

Bill from Champaign, IL

Thanks guys for all your work and insight. Just something I thought I saw during the Bears game. On I think the last punt the Bears moved their outside defenders in and left our gunners uncovered. Could JK (or who would) make an adjustment to fake the punt and throw it outside? I don't believe there was anyone within 15 yards of our gunner. Just wondered if someone has the authority to change that from a punt to a fake punt and pass.

Technically yes, but that would have been getting cute considering it was a chance to pin the Bears back for a defense that had dominated for 3½ quarters until that point. Plus, not every punter can throw like Johnny Hekker.

Nic from London, UK

I'm not a big fan of how in places like KC, SEA and NOLA crowd noise can directly influence the game. It's great if an engaged audience can help motivate your team or get in your opponent's head a bit, but when they start literally impacting your ability to perform because you can't hear, I think that's an unfair advantage. Where do you situate the line?

Like 25 feet behind the visiting bench, I guess.

Duane from Madison, WI

Wes, seeing you always wear multiple layers during "Unscripted,” do the studios in the sub-sub-sub basement at Lambeau needed to be heated even in the summer?

It’s funny. I had this conversation with Spoff after we did the show on Friday. I usually wear multiple layers just in case Spoff and I wear the same shirt on that particular day. True story.

Chase from Phoenix, AZ

I have a question for you, but it’s for the “Unscripted” segment. Does the “sponsor” ever get mad for forgetting to do his time slot? It’s a question I have wondered about since last year and the many missed Campbell’s Soup spots.

We’re only required to do the read twice a week, but thanks for following that closely. We appreciate your patronage.

Tim from Grimes, IA

We have a general idea of game-day activities for the players, but what is your game-day schedule? Assuming a home game with a noon kickoff, what's your arrival time, pregame duties, postgame, and when do expect to get home? Any press box rituals?

Good question and probably a boring answer. For Sunday’s game, I’ll get to Lambeau Field around 7:30-8 a.m. to get settled before we shoot our live Q&A on the field around 9:15 a.m. Afterwards, I’ll go upstairs, grab something quick at the omelet station and then do pre-game radio at 10:50 a.m. I’ll then eat lunch, probably make a snarky remark about how Demoski is dressed and then get ready to work. Sorry it’s not more exciting.

Bo from Iowa Falls, IA

Wes, your responses to the questions along the lines of "Will they wear No. 88?" raised a question. When Vic created this column, he said that the readers wrote it. If you were to eventually get annoyed or frustrated with a single question that became something like a running gag, would you: continue the spirit of the column, ignore the masses and do what you see fit, or find a way to put a kibosh on the source of the frustration?

Do you not see me continue to publish No. 88 questions and comments despite it being the bane of my existence?

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

“Hi, Lillian.” An instant Classic! I couldn’t stop laughing. Wes, please buy Mike a beer to soften the blow.

I’m assuming there won’t be any Christmas cards being sent from the Spofford household to Knoxville, TN, this year.

Richard from Madison, WI

Have you ever gone to ESPN.com and looked at the schedule of upcoming games? Next to each one is a link to "Tickets as low as $XX." Guess which team needs three digits for the price?

That doesn’t surprise me in the least. It’s Packers season. Enjoy the game, everyone.

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