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Inbox: It's up to everyone to bring the juice

Rashan Gary works for every dollar on his paystub

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TE Marcedes Lewis

Charles from Mondovi, WI

What will be the toughest challenge for the Packers' defense Sunday?

The unconventional nature of Chicago's offense, whether it's David Montgomery's return to the backfield or Mitchell Trubisky's scrambling ability. The Bears have the weapons to beat you if taken lightly. The Packers need to come out with energy and play with purpose. A largely empty stadium offers a strange new twist on the NFL's oldest rivalry and it's up to everyone to bring the juice this Sunday.

Marty from Rexford, MT

Would you care to make a friendly wager on when the announcers of a Packers/Bears game will NOT mention this is the NFL's longest rivalry? I'll bet you it won't happen in my lifetime…Um, wait a minute. Could you please give me a moment to rethink what I just said?

No problem. Maybe take it easy these next two days.

Derek from Norton, KS

The battle of the trenches is being talked about greatly. Are there weaknesses on Chicago's back end that you look for the Packers to attack?

It's a good unit. Kyle Fuller is an elite perimeter cornerback and the Bears must be breathing a sigh of relief Eddie Jackson is back after being a high-risk contact of an infected COVID-19 individual. That being said, PFF actually has pretty low grades on Buster Skrine, Jaylen Johnson and Tashaun Gipson despite the Bears boasting a top-10 pass defense. That's not to mention Skrine was added to the injury report Friday with an ankle issue and he's now questionable for Sunday. Given Davante Adams' versatility and Allen Lazard being back in the lineup, I'm curious how the Packers attack the middle of the field.

Zachary from Kathleen, GA

Yesterday, I re-watched Rashan Gary's draft video. Man, I cry every time I watch it. I love when he tells Matt, "Yessir...I'm ready to go to work." I believe he has delivered on his promise. After seeing him demolish the final drive in the Jags game, I think opposing QBs should be worried. I think he will turn into an absolute playmaker. Za'Darius Smith said it well when he said that we (him and Preston Smith) will have to change his last name.

I'm neither a scout nor a soothsayer. I cannot predict what type of career Rashan Gary is going to have. What I will say is he's the type of player who works for every dollar on his paystub. His God-given ability helped make him a first-round pick, but his natural drive should turn that potential into production. As Mike Smith said last year, those guys don't fail. They just don't. Still only 22, Gary's arrow is very much pointing up.

Neil from Turnbridge Wells, UK

Morning gentlemen, which player in your humble opinions isn't getting the recognition/praise that his performances this year deserve?

Adrian Amos. We've talked a lot about Jaire Alexander this year, and rightfully so, but Amos has been so steady and reliable on the back end. I also don't know if he's ever appeared once on an injury report. Amos is a sure tackler with good field awareness. His breakup against the Colts was picture-perfect. He continues to stack successes in the secondary.

John from Madison, WI

Favorite Packers/Bears moment – how about a couple of older ones? Either Chester Marcol running his own blocked field goal in for a touchdown to win the game in overtime in 1980, or the "After further review..." touchdown pass (also to win the game) during the Majik Show in 1989. I can't choose between the two.

Two good picks. Mine is still the 2013 regular-season finale in the winner-take-all game for the NFC North title. Because there are so many substories built into that final play. It also was special watching the play unfold from the Soldier Field press box.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Matt LaFleur on Davante Adams: "I've probably learned more from him than he has from me." That kind of humility makes for a great leader. I have been a teacher in one form or another my whole life and I learned along the way that often the student teaches you. Respect to Matt LaFleur.

You accomplish nothing when you act like you know everything. But if you acknowledge what you don't know, everything is open to you. LaFleur is a brilliant offensive mind, but his stewardship of the team over the past two years has been his most underrated trait. He listens to his players and that makes the team better.

Louie from Santa Fe, NM

Good morning. Do you think we will soon see Robert Tonyan throw an option pass, and if so, to whom?

I'll use my old Cobb (the former QB) answer here – if there are 60 passing plays prepared for Sunday, I want Aaron Rodgers throwing every one of them. There's plenty of room for creativity in all three phases – but don't overthink it.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I personally think David Montgomery might be the most average RB of all time. I'd be more worried about the Bears opening the playbook for Trubisky knowing that his time in Chicago is coming to an end soon. And don't sleep on Darnell Mooney. Anyways, my question for the day is has anyone ever DNP due to tryptophan? Hope you guys had a wonderful holiday!

I haven't heard the tryptophan excuse yet but there's still time. Whatever your opinion is of Montgomery, he is a tried-and-true running back. The Bears had to use Cordarrelle Patterson in a prominent backfield role in Montgomery's absence and the results weren't great. With it being Trubisky's first game back, I would think Matt Nagy would want to get the run game going to help out his quarterback. You can't take Montgomery for granted.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

The Packers have yet to play for a full 60 minutes. It's either two quarters before or after halftime. Do you expect them to put four quarters together sometime this season? It sure would be a welcome change of pace.

It's nearly impossible to play 60 perfect minutes at this level with a world-class competition on the opposing sideline. It's not like the Washington Generals standing over there, allowing the Packers to do whatever they please. What Green Bay needs to do is close the gap between these long, sustained drives and rapid three-and-outs. Consistency is how the Packers started the season 4-0. They need to get back to that, on both sides of the ball.

Tom from Green Lake, WI

Good morning! I'm curious about the Bears travel plan. Because of the Sunday night game, will the Bears stay over on Saturday or come up for the game on Sunday. With COVID-19, I wonder if more teams that play a Sunday or Monday night game might travel the day of the game if they are nearby.

The Bears will fly in Saturday night. There's some dehydration and fatigue involved with any flight, so teams will try to travel the day before games at all costs. It's a soft-tissue thing.

Rod from Middleton, NJ

Insiders, a follow up on Rich from Grand Rapids; when rushing the QB with an unhindered path, so many times defenders whiff because they have too much momentum and the QB can dodge them at the last moment. Wouldn't it be better if the rusher broke his rush down at the last moment? In doing so, the QB will still notice them but be forced to take his eyes from downfield to deal with the rusher. Rusher is still in position to make the sack but also the delay allows for brethren help.

Possibly. But you also have to remember we're talking about the handful of times each season most of these guys will have a legitimate chance at sacking a quarterback. These decisions are made in an instant. Plus, rushers also have to be mindful of hitting the QB in a legal fashion.

Andy from Verona, WI

Another set of big names testing positive for COVID. Is there a contingency plan for the NFL to add a week if there are too many games postponed due to COVID?

The NFL outlined a Plan B about a month or so ago, with an option of an emergency Week 18, but right now the league is still pressing forward with a 17-week regular season.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

Is it possible that reduced offensive holding calls this year has led to some of our struggles at pressuring opposing QBs? I don't like bringing the zebras into things, but every week I see at least a couple of plays where Z or Kenny Clark get held right in front of the passer and nothing gets called. It's really frustrating.

Possibly. It does seem like there have been fewer sacks this year but we're going to have to wait until all the bye weeks are completed or even after the regular season to have reliable data to compare to previous seasons.

Dale from Lima, NY

If I counted correctly, there are 21 players on the injury report right now...which is, I believe, roughly double what it was last week. Is playing in a dome that much harder on their bodies?

Studies have shown playing on turf is harder on players' bodies, so it wouldn't surprise me.

Aaron from Maryville, MO

What happens if there is a tie in the division?

Champion is determined by head-to-head record, then division record, best winning percentage in common games, best winning percentage in games played inside the conference, strength of victory, strength of schedule, and so on.

Bette from Chamberlain, SD

Do you think you will win the division this year?

Probably not. I haven't played "Madden" in years.

Max from Toledo, OH

Any thoughts about the play calling for the Cowboys?

I have to disagree with McCarthy on the fake punt. Spoff and I reviewed the film. The ball carrier is 23 yards behind the first-down marker when he comes on the end-around. John Fassel is a brilliant special-teams coach but that wasn't a good call there. Now, before everyone keeps piling on, can we just take a second to appreciate how the Cowboys just went through maybe the worst preparation week imaginable with the passing of their strength-and-conditioning coach? I'm not trying to make excuses for Dallas' collapse but it is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

Paul from Middleton, WI

I think it's time the NFL took Thanksgiving away from both teams. It isn't even fun football to watch and hasn't been for a while.

The Lions and Cowboys have combined for four playoff wins over the last 24 years…this was it? Thursday finally put you over the top, huh?

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.

Subhadeep from Middletown, CT

Got a question on the gear Leighton Vander Esch from Dallas Cowboys wears. His back/neck area has something that looks like some sort of support for his head or neck. Is that a special gear for certain positions or any condition that he specifically has?

Vander Esch was born with spinal stenosis. He wore a neck collar going back to his time at Boise State.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good morning. No Packer question today because I'm curious what you think the chances are the NFL has a team go undefeated in the regular season (Steelers) and winless in a season (Jets). I realize there's six to play and the Steelers have a real test this weekend, but I wondered what the II thinks. Also, has this ever happened, in the Super-Bowl era of the NFL, previously?

It certainly would be unprecedented, though the Houston Oilers came close to going winless (1-13) during Miami's undefeated season in 1972. Coincidentally, the Dolphins also won just one game when New England enjoyed its undefeated regular season in 2007.

Steve from Ellenton, FL

One more year has passed without either of you publishing any of my stream of unconsciousness. Kudos, you are to be commended. Keep up the good work, seriously. Happy Holidays.

And we appreciate you coming back for more in spite of it all.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Rivalry renewed,

on almost frozen tundra,

November's last breath.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's Dean's time!

Drumroll, please.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Ominously the unseen enemy continues to lurk ever closer and threaten all

Now a century-old rivalry is renewed with a foe that Men of the Bay have battled over 200 times

A battle that must be won to assure your place as King of the North

Once more few will witness but many will see as you test your worthiness to wear the Crown

Rise and fiercely defend our hallowed ground Men of the Bay

The time is at hand

Yes, it is. Another chapter in football's greatest rivalry gets written Sunday. Have a good weekend.

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