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Inbox: It’s up to them to cash in

WR Jake Kumerow
WR Jake Kumerow

Drew from Vincennes, IN

Can we get the etymology of "yowie wowie”?

Wes does have a toddler at home now.

Michael from Morrison, IL

Guys, with as much history as the Packers and Cowboys have against each other, which game in the rivalry is the most memorable for you personally?

As far as games I’ve covered, the Matt Flynn comeback still ranks up there for me. It was so improbable. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, it’s one of only two times in 13 seasons in this job I’ve texted my wife at halftime just begging to get on the plane and come home. The other was at Detroit in 2015.

Joe from Hartford, CT

Gentlemen, great job Spoff on the line play. Solid play by all on those plays. Where was the breakdown on the running game? If the rest of the plays looked like that I can’t help to believe they are getting close to bust it out.

Regarding the run game, it’s all about consistency. In the locker room Monday, Corey Linsley described the challenge as making the proper in-game adjustments to the different defensive fronts they’re seeing. With a new scheme, it can be tricky to get everyone on the same page all the time. They adjusted well against Minnesota, but not as well the last two games. As the season goes along, those adjustments with a new scheme should become more second-nature.

Mike from Augusta, GA

I know this a violent game, and analysts like Aikman keep telling us “no one wants to really hurt anyone else.” However, for years we see totally unnecessary hits like the one on Williams or the hit that put Jermichael Finley out of football. Are these players really that out of control on the field that they can’t see a play is over, or that the guy is defenseless and down? You have the pulse of the players, please help me understand.

Players are taught from when they started playing the game to go all-out, all the time. At this level, their livelihood can depend on physically dominating the other guy, so some are going to do whatever it takes. Baked into this sport forever has also been a culture of intimidation, of sending a message, etc., which isn’t to be confused with a desire to injure. But it comes awfully close to the line and at times the worst results are entirely foreseeable if unintended. The NFL has been trying to change this culture for years now, but some are going to play the way they’ve always played until they no longer can. The league would probably love to ratchet up punishments, but there’s an appeals process and the system is collectively bargained. The union is in a tough spot because it has to represent all players. I’m not going to come down too hard on a player with no history of questionable tactics who loses control once in a high-speed moment, but for the players with track records, the real question is why they keep getting contracts and opportunities to play. I think the answer is there are GMs and coaches who believe the culture those players espouse helps them win. When you get down to it, that’s the attitude that really needs to change. Sorry for the long answer.

Bob from Springfield, IL

Not a question. On the II jersey I think I prefer Spoffkiewicz. Have a great day Insiders!

That appears to be a popular opinion.

Dan from Augusta, KS

I think it was 2-37-1 Jeff who brought the bad luck with the Packers apparel? Jeff would have to be banned from the jersey sale. Sorry Jeff.

You folks spend way too much time thinking about this stuff.

Derek from Barron, WI

"Filling gaps, finishing to the ball and gang-tackling." In response to this concept stated yesterday in II, is the Packers’ limited success in stopping the run because we have players in the wrong gaps, overplaying the run, therefore exposing a cut-back gap, or because they can are not winning the battle against the blocker to secure the gap? I don't have access to go back and rewatch and slow down the tape to watch the individual battles.

As usual in these situations, it’s never just one thing. Defenders have to get off blocks. They can’t get shoved too far out of their gap. They also can’t take a chance on shooting a gap that opens another one. It’s hold-your-ground assignment football, which should regularly keep someone free to make the tackle, and he has to make it.

David from Valdosta, GA

AP Stylebook updates: Singular “they” now acceptable. Merriam-Webster also added use as a singular a couple of weeks ago. Rejoice.

I stand corrected.

Michael from Hammond, IN

Do you see Jake Kumerow getting an increased role in the offense?

If he’s healthy enough to play, sure. We’ll see about his shoulder injury as the week progresses, but he was back on the practice field Monday. If opportunities present themselves for Kumerow, Lazard and Shepherd, it’s up to them to cash in.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

AR12's game against Philly was the best he has played since '16. Not just raw stats but the movement and precision and velocity of throws. I also could not help notice that his big day also coincided with the less-stat-sheet-friendly assessment of how he escaped the pocket. I have not seen him successfully escape the pocket through the middle as frequently as he did in a long time. Did you see Philly rushing him differently than the previous three opponents?

It was more about Fletcher Cox, an interior rusher, getting pressure. When Rodgers sidestepped him, the escape route was through the middle. Similarly, when he avoids pressure from the edge, the escape is to that very space the defender has voided. To your point, I thought Rodgers played a couple of really good games in ’17 right before the broken collarbone, but his movement against the Eagles did help reveal how limited he was on that knee last year. I think the zip on his throws speaks to two healthy legs as well.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

Safe to say that after Tomlin threw the challenge flag on MNF for that ridiculous OPI call that ultimately wasn't overturned, there is no point in challenging PI.

That seems to be the message getting sent. With PI, it’s going to take a lot to change the call on the field now. I doubt we’ll see an overturned TD due to an OPI flag thrown from New York, like we did in Week 2 vs. the Vikings, ever again.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

Officials can let a play "play out" and then still call it as they saw it, can they not? For example, a quarterback gets hit and the ball flutters forward. The officials can let it "play out" as if it were a fumble, but after the play is "played out" to its completion, they can rule it incomplete. That, then, is the "call on the field" if/when the play is reviewed. That's my understanding of how those plays can be officiated. And if that's not actually what happens...it should be.

I’ve gathered that is what’s now happening, which I think is somewhat new. There was a play in the Vikings-Bears game Sunday on a pass to Diggs that got knocked out and the Bears recovered. The call on the field was incomplete, but the Bears challenged and were awarded a turnover when the replay ruling was catch-fumble. I thought for sure with the original call of incomplete, a whistle would have blown, killing the play and by extension any review. But they allowed the Bears to challenge and awarded them the ball, which means they must have let it play out and then ruled incomplete on the field after the fact. So either what you say is correct, or the system has no protocol within the realm of traditional officiating anymore.

Dave from Eau Claire, WI

With regards to the interference replay calls, I read something the other day that no one seems to be aware of. Apparently the replay official has been told if they have to slow the film down to clearly see interference they are not supposed to call it. This may help explain some of the odd calls happening lately. It's not about being "blatant" or "egregious," it's about the timing.

If that’s true, it’s not going to fly because all the fans at home are watching those replays in super slo-mo. The decisions have to match up, reasonably at least, to what the fans see at home or you’ll have an even bigger credibility problem.

Greg from Knoxville, TN

I used to be a fairly serious NASCAR fan until the powers that be changed the rules, the playoff system and a variety of other things that diminished my interest. Ratings and attendance have dropped. Is the NFL over-officiating the game with replays and penalties which will ultimately lead to dwindling ratings? I hope not.

Most early returns in 2019 show ratings equal to or above those from this time last year.

Jonathan from La Crescent, MN

Maybe instead of listening to the announcers and the “expert” in the studio discuss replays, especially pass interference and illegal hits, the NFL should provide the fans with a live audio of the officials discussing the replays. Thoughts?

In the immortal words of Aerosmith, whose song was an absolutely perfect match to the closing credits of an all-time favorite sports movie, “Dream On.”

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

With all these officiating questions, who is/was your favorite official that made you laugh?

Nobody could give the business like Ben Dreith.

Packers players built a playground at Center Street Park in Milwaukee as part of the NFL “Huddle for 100” initiative.

Jim from Tomahawk, WI

Has there ever been a division (since there were eight divisions) that had all four teams have a winning season?

No. Since the current division format was instituted in 2002, there have been a handful of instances no one in a division posted a losing record, meaning the last-place team was 8-8. It occurred twice in ’02 (AFC East and West), ’07 (AFC South and NFC East) and ’08 (NFC East and South) but hasn’t happened for a full decade now.

Swami from Menomonee Falls, WI

It was indeed a fantastic defensive play call on Dak Prescott's Hail Mary throw. Also makes us realize how great Aaron Rodgers is, to dodge/move away from a similar blitz to buy an extra second or two more in the 2015 divisional playoff game vs. Arizona to throw the touchdown to Jeff Janis to send the game to overtime.

I’m reminded of the arm strength required to get that throw to the end zone – rolling left, falling down and throwing back across his body – anytime I see a Hail Mary fall short, regardless of the pressure on the QB.

Paul from Indio, CA

While I am overjoyed that Kansas City was able to pull out the win against Detroit and keep us atop the NFC North, it upsets me that over the past three weeks we have gotten our opponents’ best shot, meanwhile, the Lions have caught their opponents on an off day. I know you have to play the teams on your schedule, but this should level out. Right?!?

That’s a dangerous and misleading way to view and rationalize the happenings in the NFL. I’d suggest you give credit where it’s due. The Lions look like a team that’s going to be a factor all season long.

Myles from Mesa, AZ

Hello II! It is often stated the Cowboys’ passing game is at its best when using play-action off the run game. Containing the Cowboys' rushing attack will be crucial for a Packers win on Sunday. If you had to pick one player from the Packers' front to have a monster game on Sunday, who would you choose?

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

With the Cowboys loss to the Saints does that add urgency and fuel to the Dallas fire or is it a blueprint to stopping the Cowboys’ offense and Elliott?

A little of both. The Cowboys’ strong start was questioned due to their schedule, so they’re still out to provide an answer. It’s also difficult to keep a player of Elliott’s caliber down for long.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

Would you rather be going in to Dallas to play a team that was 4-0 with perhaps an overabundance of confidence, or a 3-1 team now desperate to hold serve at home at not drop to 3-2? It seems to me the Packers’ challenge this week just got more difficult.

That, too.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

I know you guys hate it when fans write in saying bad things about the Packers, especially after a loss, but I think you serve a better purpose than you think. I have, on occasion, written in, voicing my displeasure with my team. But while you guys take us to task, realize that you offer a place to vent. Sure, we could write our letter and never send it. But knowing that no one heard us doesn't help. We need to be heard. And that's all. Just delete us and move on. Thank you.

I get that. It comes with the territory. As long as you remember the “submit” button can function as an invitation to be exposed and/or ridiculed as an over-emotional, irrational fan lacking any meaningful perspective, then we’re cool.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

Mike and Wes, a genuine note of thanks. I am not a morning person and struggle to get up. But I have a new strategy. I save “Unscripted” from the previous day and when my alarm goes off, it’s much easier to get up knowing I have that waiting. It’s become part of my routine while I’m getting ready and it’s an enjoyable way to start the day. Thank you very much for the time you put in and the intriguing, well-articulated discussion.

I’m not a morning person, either, so now I have this motivation when the thrill of finding out what’s in Wes’s lunch wears off. In all sincerity, thanks.

Bobby from Normal, IL

Clearly a foul ball. I’m not a Brewers fan, but I’m frustrated for you. It’s not simultaneous if it clearly hits the bat then the wrist. Baseball doesn’t have it right either.

Nope, but it also was a 3-2 pitch nowhere near the zone. Would have been as lucky a break as a shattered-bat blooper dropping into no-man’s land instead of finding a glove for the third out. But that’s baseball.

Robert from Verona, WI

We’re pretty spoiled right now as Wisconsin sports fans (Bucks, Brewers, Packers, Badgers), but unfortunately when you have high expectations, the letdowns hurt that much more. Nice season, Brewers, let’s get ’em next year.

Well said. It was a September to remember. I guess October is on the Packers. Happy Wednesday.

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