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Inbox: It’s the name of the game

181011-Wes-Inbox-2560

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Where's Waldo...I mean Wes?

I mentioned this on the Tuesday edition of “Unscripted”, but my Grandma Hod passed away early Monday morning. Three days later, it hasn’t quite sunk in. I’m heartbroken. She was one of the most influential people my life and one of my biggest supporters. Always active, she worked until the day before her passing at Kugel’s Cheese Mart in Lena, Wis. I cannot thank her enough for all of her love and memories. I will cherish them forever. She was the best grandma a kid could have and I’m going to miss her. I want to give thanks to Spoff, Duke Bobber and everyone in the digital department for picking up the slack for me the last few days.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Wes, James Jones picked the Packers to win the next four. Got to love his enthusiasm. What do you feel needs to take place for this prediction to come true? I'll go with better quarterback play.

Hey, never say never with this team. Stranger things have happened. The Packers don’t need better quarterback play. They need better everyone play. What did I tell you guys last week? There are ups and downs to every NFL season. The shutout win over the Bills was a high and the performance in Detroit was a low. The main thing is picking up a big win Monday against San Francisco and head into the bye week with some momentum.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

If Spoff has "Mike's Mid-Week Chat," will Wes ever do something similar outside of the Inbox? Maybe "Wednesday Wisdom with Wes"?

Oh, you didn’t catch “Mike’s Mid-Week Chat with Wes” last summer?

Mike from Novato, CA

Just some observations on the 49ers; they could easily have beaten Minnesota in their game. Kittle was wide-open and dropped a sure TD and the next play was Mike Hughes' pick-six. They dropped one sure pick of Cousins, and could have had another. I know the Packers won't be overlooking them, but the fans shouldn't, either.

If you look at the numbers, the 49ers are not a bad team. They’re 11th in total defense, seventh against the run, fourth in rushing offense and 15th in total offense. What’s been the biggest hang-up? San Francisco is 32nd in turnover margin (minus-eight). What Mike McCarthy said about protecting the football wasn’t just talk. It’s the name of the game.

Daeren from Rochester, MN

The 49ers’ defense allows a touchdown 63.2 percent of the time to opponents in the red zone. Could this be Jimmy Graham's breakout game?

It could be, but I mean hasn’t he already had one of those games? A bogus holding call wiped out his first 100-yard performance and touchdown with the Packers in Week 2. But yes, this matchup appears tailor-made for a productive day for No. 80.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Good morning! I hope we get more questions about the upcoming game against the 49ers. I know the Packers coaches and players are already working on the game plan to give them the best shot at victory. In the Inbox, we fans tend to focus on the coulda/woulda/shoulda aspects of the previous game for far too long since we aren't part of the game-planning. I appreciate the effort to help keep us looking forward! Which one-on-one matchups are you looking forward to seeing against the 49ers?

How the 49ers defend Graham and how the Packers defend George Kittle. Those two things may go a long way in deciding this game Monday.

Gabriel from South Brunswick, NJ

I saw Aaron Rodgers say he thought the Pack were fine but they were just "off.” I agree with what he is saying, but how are some ways they can save their season and potentially win it all? I think it starts with protecting the ball, and turnover differential. Your thoughts?

I think it’s three things – starting faster, winning the turnover battle and finishing strong. The Packers did that in the 22-0 shutout win over Buffalo, but weren’t able to repeat it on the road against the Lions. You’ve seen the offense move the ball. You’ve seen the defense gets stops. Protecting the football is paramount.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

Here's something I've always wondered about but have never heard a satisfying explanation: Announcers always talk about how the first 15 offensive plays of the game are "scripted,” which I take to mean set up ahead of time and just followed – like a script (as opposed to what you guys do on "Packers Unscripted"). But how can that be? Doesn't the play you run depend on the result(s) of the previous play(s)? So can you really script more than the very first play?

Mike McCarthy has touched on this in the past about how the rules aren’t quite as rigid as they once were. Coaches have an outline for how they want their offense to attack the opposing defense, but everything is fluid.

John from Charlottesville, VA

For all of the fans out there asking why we aren't seeing more from Jones, why don't you ask them one question? When AR has to drop back 20-plus times in a row to play catch-up, who do you want pass protecting him, your best blocker or an average one? Any and every hit on him in those situations brings additional risk of injury. If Williams is 20-out-of-20 in pass protection and Jones is 18-of-20, I'll take Williams every single time even though Jones is on my fantasy team.

I’ve grown tired of the national pundits bringing up how Jones didn’t have a carry in the second half. The Packers were trailing 24-0. What do you expect? You’re playing catch-up and Williams and Montgomery are the two-minute running backs. Jones is an amazing talent, but there’s more to the game than what the final stat sheet reads.

Zach from Delavan, WI

Outstanding video on Cole and his Make-A-Wish experience at Lambeau. I love seeing those type of events. It seems so much of the human interest or player-related stories are on the negative actions of those that have made poor decisions. This affects the teams’ and the league’s reputations. I wish we had more of these types of stories in the media. I know they are out there, but don’t sell like the drama and scandal stories do. Keep up the good work.

Speaking of which, Mike Vandersnick did a phenomenal job with the Make-A-Wish video. It definitely brings a tear to your eye. I’m glad Cole had an unforgettable day.

Chris from Davenport, IA

I would just like to point out C.J. Beathard and George Kittle have the chemistry they have because they played on the same team in college and helped lead Iowa to its one and only 12-0 season (Go Hawks). Also, I would like to ask have there been any examples of two or more players from the same college, particularly the same draft class also, that played together in the pros? If so, any for Green Bay?

I’m sure there are tons of examples around the league of players who shared the same roster in college. Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson were college teammates at Vanderbilt who arrived in Green Bay the same year in 2012. I’m sure there are others if I had the time to look through drafthistory.com.

Chris from Edmonton, Alberta

First off, I want to congratulate Drew Brees on the amazing achievement. The guy is a class act and an unbelievable talent. Many say records are meant to be broken. In your opinion what would be the most "untouchable" record in the NFL? Let's call it, the NFL equivalent of Wayne Gretzky's point total in the NHL or Cal Ripken's consecutive games in the MLB.

Favre’s consecutive starts streak. It’s not even close.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Have to comment on this: Drew breaks an NFL record for most yards passing and is flagged for taunting! Yikes.

Of course.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

Vikings fans are used to kicking woes, so I laughed when people in Minnesota were saying Mason Crosby has to lose his job. To me it is how you start a kicking problem when you start to get down on a guy who has been so reliable. Was there anything from the game film or coaches’ comments to indicate what might have been an issue and what has Crosby done this week to prepare for San Francisco?

We haven’t heard from Mason Crosby or Ron Zook this week. Zook will talk to the media Friday and I will be interested to hear what he says. Everyone has an off night. Crosby had been lights-out before that game. He just needs to make sure it doesn’t snowball. He’s a veteran who knows how to handle adversity, make the necessary adjustments and move on. He’s done it before.

Steve from Broadstairs, England

There are several matchups on the Packers’ remaining schedule after the bye that catch the eye. Which one are you most looking forward to and why?

How a relatively healthy Packers team coming off the bye fares in Los Angeles. Despite the Rams’ success, it still could be a Lambeau Field West game based on how tickets are selling. It’s a great test that could catapult Green Bay into the second half of its season.

Jake from Chantilly, VA

Richard Sherman has been quiet this season when it comes to creating turnovers, but he's still a solid DB whose performance is probably being overshadowed by other things happening in San Francisco. Last week receivers had trouble getting open. How will the Packers remedy that this coming Monday facing a corner who will likely end up in Canton?

I don’t know if Sherman is still patrolling only the left side of the field like he did in Seattle, but he’s still one of the better press-man cornerbacks in the NFL. He’s also bounced back from the Achilles injury brilliantly. As a spectator, I’d like to see Davante Adams work across from Sherman Monday night. Adams is coming off 140-yard performance against one of the league’s top cornerbacks in Darius Slay. Sherman would be another great test. It’s a marquee matchup every football fan wants to see.

Lazaro from Corpus Christi, TX

Am I the only one who wants to see Tony Brown more? I like his attitude and I think he plays with some swag and determination. I don’t know how many snaps he played against the Lions but I saw him on two plays including the “taunting” play. I think he could turn into a really good corner if given the chance. How do you feel about him?

If you saw his numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine (he ran a 4.35-second time in the 40-yard dash), you’d see why he was one of the top recruits in the country when he committed to Alabama. The taunting penalty was unfortunate, but he has gifts you cannot coach.

Dallas from Ames, IA

Just wondering how many teams have a place like the Atrium and Titletown? A bad day fishing with my boys turned into a good day spent playing on the field, the playground and walking around Lambeau, and I didn’t even get to the brewery.

It’s fairly one of a kind. There’s Patriot Place near Gillette Stadium, but that’s mainly retail shops and chain stores.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

At the start of the season the defense needed to show the most improvement. Can we take a second to acknowledge and appreciate that after the first five games Green Bay is sixth in total defense according to ESPN NFL statistics?

The Packers’ defense is now fourth in total defense (313.8 yards per game) and second against the pass (208.8 ypg). There’s always something to work on, but Mike Pettine’s guys are giving their team a chance to win.

Ryan from Bismarck, ND

Is this the week we see Bashaud Breeland play in his first game as a Packer? He should be able to step in and produce by now, or is he still not at full health?

Breeland popped up on the injury report with a hamstring last week, so I’m not sure how much his being inactive in Detroit had to do with that injury or just needing another week to get acclimated. We’ll find out more with today’s practice.

Rob from Aiken, SC

If you’ll indulge me I have one more question on the muffed punt that I haven’t seen asked or answered. At the end of the play when the Lions picked up the ball, no one tackled anyone or downed it that I could see. The Lion guy set the ball back on the ground and it was then picked back up by a Packer. How is it Lions’ ball with no one tackling or downing it?

I don’t know. There was little I understood about the officiating on that play. As Spoff pointed out, the blue beanbag was never thrown when it allegedly hit Kevin King to indicate the ball hit a Packers player.

Thomas from Vista, CA

What is “quarters” defense?

It’s a cover-four defense with four deep defensive backs and three underneath. It’s a man-to-man defense with two safeties over the top.

Bob from Spokane, WA

Why hasn't anyone taken a chance on Dez? I hear people say he has lost a step, but why not give him a try? Our WRs are made of glass at times, and he is a workhorse who hasn't missed much time. If he had that production with Romo, why couldn't he do well with Rodgers?

Didn’t Bryant say he’s going to wait until later this season to sign somewhere?

Scott from Palos Park, IL

I would argue punt returner is an inaccurate title. Sometimes it is important to be a punt catcher (so the ball does not bounce off someone's back). I am not blaming Tramon Williams because it is not an easy skill to master, and it is hard to reacquire after a long absence, but who are the other options on the roster after Cobb?

The Packers have three players listed on their depth chart at punt returner – Randall Cobb, Tramon Williams and Jaire Alexander. Williams was the only one suited up Sunday. It’s a thankless role Williams does a fine job handling.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Brewers in the NLCS. Badgers in the Big House Saturday night. Packers on MNF. It's great to be a Wisconsin sports fan in 2018! Keep up the good work, Insiders!

And Chael Sonnen fighting in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix! OK, he might not have any ties to Wisconsin, but the American Gangster is always free to stay at my place if he comes here.

Bryce from Billings, MT

Hey Wes, Pampers or Huggies? I go with Pampers Swaddlers for my boys.

Whatever Ma Hod gives us a coupon for that week.

Justin from Raleigh, NC

Hey Mike, no question. I just wanted to mention how much my family enjoyed the Legendary tour through Lambeau, and how pleasantly surprised I was that my son and I got the good fortune of running into you before the tour kicked off!

It isn’t called the “Legendary” tour by accident.

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