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Inbox: It’s pretty simple: Finish strong

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Dave from McFarland, WI

A or B? A. a few draft positions. B. knowing you can come back from two touchdowns twice in one game, that your new receivers’ and QB’s chemistry arrow is pointing way up and that quitting will never be part of your culture ever? Beat the Lions!

There’s no better way to earn trust than in the heat of battle. Good morning!

Al from Green Bay, WI

Beyond a Packers win on Sunday, what are you hoping to see that will help generate optimism for next year?

I think it would be neat to see Kyler Fackrell get that ½ sack he needs for his first 10-sack season. His story is compelling for two reasons in my mind. Fackrell stayed the course from the beginning, but it’s also a reminder of how players develop and grow. A good segment of the fan base was down on Fackrell during his first two seasons. Now, he’s going to wind up leading the defense in sacks.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what is your mindset heading into the final game of a season with no playoff implications?

It’s pretty simple. Finish strong. I’m still excited to cover this game and maybe a few records. Plus, Green Bay has won two of the last three for the first time since Weeks 4-6. If the Packers take care of business Sunday against the Lions, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The Packers don't give an award or recognition for biggest surprise for a rookie or newcomer. They should. Tyler Lancaster's development has been phenomenal as an UDFA. I think if you put together a tape of his snaps this year and compared them to a tape of first-round pick Kenny Clark’s rookie snaps, Lancaster would compare well. Have any other rookies or newcomers been a big surprise to you? Thanks Wes.

Lancaster has been exceptional, especially since there really isn’t another bona fide one-technique nose tackle on the roster. If Lancaster didn’t work out, I’m not sure what the Packers would have done without Clark. Tony Brown and Equanimeous St. Brown are probably the other newcomers who have impressed me. Both have the necessary skill sets to be playmakers in this league.

Denise from Sequim, WA

Thank you for the article on Tramon Williams and his ability to play all but four snaps through 16 weeks of the NFL season. Given his love for the Pack and ability to prolong his career through yoga, meditation and proper nutrition, would it be reasonable to hire Tramon as an assistant coach/consultant to implement/oversee a Packers’ alternative approach to physical and mental wellness? Maybe implementing such a program would help decrease the vast amount of injuries the Pack seems to have yearly!

As I wrote in the article, Williams is an open book. He’s only a few lockers away if any teammate ever wants to pick his brain. Once his playing days are over, I’ll be curious to see what Williams does next. He could coach. He could train. He could get into media. The guy is smart and engaging. He’d be great at any and/or all of them.

Jacob from Kansas City, MO

Loved the piece on Tramon. He's been one of my favorite players for a long time, and doesn't get nearly enough credit for everything he's done on and off the field. Throughout his career he has handled his business like a true pro. Do you think he has a chance to make the Packers Hall of Fame?

I’d argue he’s first-ballot (four years after his final NFL season).

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Sounds like a big jump for Blake Martinez in sacks this year. Have you guys noticed a jump in pass-rushing ability or increase in opportunities for him?

It’s probably a mixture of Martinez stepping his game up this year and Mike Pettine’s penchant for sending blitzers from all sides of the field. It reminds me a little of how Dom Capers used A.J. Hawk during his five-sack season in 2013.

Erwin from Dallas, TX

Insiders, I read every day you post. This is more of a statement and not meant to be derogatory, it is simply generational. My generation was all about whoever won the most received the trophy. That was only for first, second and third. There was no everybody gets one, so no one’s feelings are hurt. The current 20s-30s are everyone gets the same so they all feel good. It’s how they were raised. The playoffs are perfect. Rewards for accomplishments. Win, you're in. Work and set yourself apart. Thoughts?

While I don’t necessarily agree completely with your overall assertion – I’m 31 and that’s not the way I was raised – I do agree with your take on the NFL postseason. Division titles and playoff berths mean something in this sport. To me, it’s the perfect system.

Roland from Oconomowoc, WI

If I was asked my biggest disappointment of the season it would have to be the play of special teams. I think there are five games that letdowns in special teams cost us the game. I realize the Packers do not win or lose on one play, but this theme showed up way too much. A close second was the Clay Mathews non-penalties that cost us dearly early in the season. What was it for you?

It definitely was the botched calls on Matthews earlier this season. Not because they cost the Packers, but because I no longer understood the game. All I’m asking for is some nuance. Fortunately, I believe the league has demonstrated more of that during the second half of the season. Matthews still doesn’t get that sack and QB hit back, though.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Why is everyone so concerned about changing the playoff structure? What we have now makes sense and is the most fair. Stop wanting to change things for change sake.

It’s also an odd year for this topic to bubble back to the surface. It’s not like the 11-5 Patriots from 2008 or the 10-6 Cardinals from 2013 getting snubbed. I’d say three to five nine-win playoff teams is plenty.

Richard from Madison, WI

Of the 53 guys who will be on the roster for the season closer against the Lions, how many were on the 53 for the season opener against the Bears?

Thirty.

Michael from Morrison, IL

Guys, while this season hasn't gone the way we would have liked, it's hard to say that it hasn't at least been exciting. Three remarkable comeback victories, an emerging cast of defensive playmakers, and a core of offensive stars staying mostly intact for 2019. Even in sub-.500 years, I think Vic's mantra that "memories make us rich" can still hold true. P.S. Here's hoping Sunday's game ends with a Mason Crosby game-winning walk-off field goal.

I’ve said this before, but I think it says a lot about the players and coaches that the Packers weren’t blown out in any of their losses this season. Yes, they came up on the short end of the coin flip a few times, but they played until the very end. That’ll be my lasting takeaway from the 100th team in franchise history.

William from Lima, Perú

While I know what accountability means, I don't know what people mean when asking for a coach to hold players accountable. Do they want the coach to call them out in press conferences? Maybe bench them? I truly hate when people just repeat arguments just for the sake of it...

I’ve never understood how some fans can’t recognize why 98 percent of coaches don’t walk to the podium and put their players on blast. If you’re a supervisor, what good does it do to go in front of the office and scold an employee? That’s not productive. You do it one-on-one in your office. Corrections take place in the film room. Only criticism is derived from the podium.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

The Packers had a long, hard-fought season. What training facilities are available in the offseason?

Most players will return home or travel to offseason training facilities, but those under contract are permitted to individually work out at team facilities. It’s well-documented how Mike Daniels lives and trains in Green Bay every month of the year.

Mario from Montevideo, Uruguay

Hi Insiders. This season we've seen several Packers being released/traded. What has become of them and those who are playing, how are they doing on their new teams? Keep up the good work and happy 2019 for you and your families.

I couldn’t give you a true assessment on any of their play, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had 60 tackles and a forced fumble in eight starts for Washington. Ty Montgomery has 126 total yards in five games, but has been inactive the past two weeks.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Fourth-down strategy has changed dramatically in the last few years owing to well-publicized analytics on the subject. Punt fakes seem to be undergoing a follow-on trend and given that it is a fourth-down play. It seems logical that teams will be asking more from their punter beyond kicking, much like RBs must now catch proficiently. Will we see punters starting to go through the combine and being expected to run and have a physical presence given the increased scope of the punting game?

I mean, punters already go through many of the same drills at the NFL Scouting Combine as other positions. I guess there’s nothing technically prohibiting a team from asking a punter to go through additional passing drills. That’s up to the individual player, though.

Scott from Hayward, WI

Does it ever bother you that when an opponent commits a penalty inside their own 10 or 20, they only get penalized half the distance? Sometimes on a 1-yard penalty. Would it make sense to give a coach the option to enforce the full penalty by adding it to how far the opponent would have to go for a first down? Example: First-and-25 from the 20 on a 15-yard penalty instead of first-and-20 from the 10?

You know, I never thought about it like that. I need to think about that for a bit. What do all of you think?

Hope from Pecatonica, IL

Did I read it right that Oakland may play all their home games in London? I don't see how that is possible. I know there have been more games played in London. Will Green Bay be going there anytime soon? Thanks for all the great contributions to the Insider Inbox! Insider Inbox is always informative and entertaining as well! Happy New Year everyone and GO PACK GO!

I’ve neither seen nor heard that. I don’t think it would be feasible with the future of the organization still being on the West Coast. Plus, they’d probably have to set up a football operations department on the East Coast to handle in-season tryouts and things of that nature. As it relates to the Packers, we should get some clarity on London in the next month.

Randy from Mukwonago, WI

After reading about Clarke Hinkle, whom the Packers’ practice field is named after, I’m curious as to the amount of historical material given to new players at their orientation. Is this something the team provides or are new players on their own to catch up on the history of the team they’ll be playing for? Reading about Hinkle is truly inspiring.

Mike McCarthy always made sure to incorporate the Packers’ history into his presentations to the team early in training camp and throughout the season. I’d assume the next head coach would do something similar. Hinkle’s story is incredible. You may want to confirm this with Cliff, but I believe it was Ron Wolf who had a lot to do with honoring Hinkle in that way.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Path to the playoffs next year? I hope Spoff doesn't have to. With the direction the talent of this team could head, Pack back with the crown. Then the path is to No. 1 or 2 seed. Extremely ambitious? Criticism coming? Maybe. But I am supportive of these guys moving forward.

Now that would be a great follow-up to this season.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Not a question, just a comment: Thank you for all your hard work!

Thank you and thanks to everyone who stayed with us throughout the season. Insider Inbox wouldn’t be possible without your participation. Enjoy the final meaningful game for the next nine months everybody.

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