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Inbox: It was the most meaningful performance of the year

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Jeff from Janesville, WI

It may have been a meaningless game to some, but to me, it felt special for some reason. Not quite sure how else to describe it.

The best feelings in life are those you cannot fully describe. Good morning and Merry Christmas!

Mike from Algoma, WI

I’ll admit, I was one who felt resting Rodgers (from injury, not tanking to get a higher pick) was the only sensible thing to do. Unfortunately, I was missing the bigger picture, which I see now. That may be the best “meaningless” game I’ve seen. How can you not be entertained? (Which is what all this boils down to). GO PACK GO in 2019!

It was the most meaningful performance of the year. It truly was. Do you know how easy it would have been for those players to pitch their tent and call it a day? Nobody would have blamed them down 15 in the fourth quarter. Yet, they dug deep and endured. Tramon Williams and David Bakhtiari gutted through injuries. Aaron Rodgers put the offense on his back. They played to win the game and they succeeded, but not just in the victory – in themselves.

Douglas from Overbrook, KS

It seems like this could have been the galvanizing game, if it was played earlier in the year. Win on the road after being down big. Offense and defense have a great fourth quarter/OT. Young guys getting involved. Overcoming the deficit, injuries, and special-teams blunders. And the cherry on top of having an almost perfect OT drive. This game happens in Week 3 or 4, it could have changed the narrative in the locker room. This team needs to focus on what it took to win this game all offseason.

It might not have changed the narrative for 2018, but if the Packers play their cards right next Sunday, it could help alter the mindset heading into 2019. Listening to Aaron Rodgers after the game, he mentioned how he didn’t want to look back 20 years with any regrets. Whether it equated to a playoff appearance or not in 2018, that locker room believes in itself and the potential of the core of this roster.

Tom from Crystal Falls, MI

They finally finished a game on the road. It was to the lowly Jets but it was a road victory. Hopefully something to build on for next year!

And it saves Spoff and me from getting asked three days a week all offseason about the last time the Packers went winless on the road.

Kyle from Gilroy, CA

Hey Insiders, do all the people complaining about our draft position realize if there is a player we really, really covet we have the ability to move up a spot or two? There will be plenty of solid prospects in the top 10-15. People need to chill.

If you’re a fan and feel compelled to cheer for a loss, that’s your prerogative. I can’t change you. But what gets me all hot under the turtleneck is when these “fans” pollute my Twitter timeline with these takes or lambast others for not carrying their same glass-half-empty viewpoint. As Philbin said, the future will come soon enough. Worry about all that then. Right now, try enjoying being on the winning end of one of the most thrilling games I’ve ever covered.

James from Durango, CO

Insiders, from a certain point of a view if we beat the Lions, then our record would have improved since last year. Keep being dominant at home! 7-8-1

And there’s the glass-half-full perspective.

Nate from Aurora, IL

To those who want to phone it in and cash in on a higher draft pick, you fail to realize there’s a game within the game. There is plenty to win on every play of every game – one perfectly executed block, one burst through an open running lane, or one solid tackle. A winner’s mentality makes you compete every play for fear of losing a single play. Losers want to phone it in...

Building a locker-room culture is more than wins and losses. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle that’s bigger than one game or one season.

Daniel from Delta, PA

Amazing win and what a crazy 100th season it's been. I do hope Adams can get Nelson's yardage record next week because he's only going to get better and there are plenty of league records, not to mention Sharpe's franchise receiving TD record, for him to chase the rest of his career. I think we're in for something special next year with the rookies having been forged by fire this year.

The biggest compliment you can pay any professional athlete is calling a player “dominant.” Adams has been consistently dominant all season. I’ve also never witnessed a player catch more contested balls than Adams this year. Those aren’t 50/50 throws when Davante Adams is being targeted. They're all 17's.

Phil from Marietta, GA

I'm not a Wisconsinite, so I never boarded the hype train, but do you think Jake Kumerow might be the real deal? If you had to guess (and I know you'll probably just say, "Let's see how it all plays out”), who would you pick to be the WR most likely to take a big jump next year? Thanks for the great work and Merry Christmas!

Adams made a comment after the game about Kumerow I thought really spoke volumes about him as a player. He mentioned how dangerous he could be with a bit more seasoning and exposure to the offense. Kumerow isn’t young by NFL standards – he turns 27 in February – but it just feels like there’s still a lot of upside to his game.

Paul from De Pere, WI

From where you were watching, were the PI calls legit in OT, or did Bowles have a point? Did AR get star treatment?

The calls could have gone either way, but I felt there was enough contact involved to make them justifiable. It also jived with how the game had been officiated.

Steve from Niagara, WI

I really like Joe Philbin and all he brings to the organization, and I really don't think it was fair to expect major improvement or massive change from this team at the point in the season he took over. Do you see any chance they let him reset his offensive staff and special teams, leave Mike Pettine do what he does on defense, and give him a shot to run the show going forward? Thanks.

This is how I put it during my pregame appearance on the Packers Radio Network. Philbin’s name will be in the hat when Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst begin the process of selecting the Packers’ next head coach. I expect there to be quite a few names in that hat, but Philbin will get his opportunity to state his case for the job.

Robert from Joplin, MO

I wanted to give credit for two catches the Jets had. The first set up their first touchdown. One hand?! Jumping?! While getting hit?! That was incredible. The second was an incomplete pass (due to out of bounds) in the fourth quarter and in the end zone. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him get up with the ball in his hand after sliding into the wall and diving with one hand to catch it. Wow!

That diving non-catch in the back of the end zone is one of the prettiest incompletions you’ll ever see.

Paul from Gorham, ME

This may be a question best suited for the offseason, but I will forget it by then! We’ve seen tremendous QB performances across the league. Do you think that extreme QB ratings can be viewed as a team liability? Could a huge QB rating indicate an unbalanced offense, as we’ve seen at times with Rodgers?

Not at all. Rodgers had a 112.2 passer rating the second time he won the MVP in 2014. That was as balanced as the Packers’ offense has been in my seven-plus seasons on the beat. That stat you’re probably looking for is pass attempts compared to designed runs.

Bob from Cadillac Ranch, Zimbabwe

Regarding the “illegal shift/12 men on the field” situation...was that the first time that a review resulted in a penalty being assessed?

Mike McCarthy threw the red flag a few times to challenge the defense potentially having 12 players on the field. However, that’s the first time I recall that penalty being assessed upon automatic booth review inside two minutes and/or overtime.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I just realized residents of the NYC area who are into Wisconsin sports have quite a week. Packers at Jets on Sunday, Bucks at Knicks on Tuesday, and Badgers vs. Hurricanes in bowl game on Thursday. That would be a fun five days. Have you ever been on a road trip to see more than one game in the same trip? Merry Christmas to all of you at the Insider Inbox.

I never accomplished that, but my old boss, Mike Vandermause, once pulled the double-double of covering the NFL owners’ meetings and Brewers spring training in Arizona. My friend, Zach Heilprin, is pulling the Wisco trifecta this week in New York.

Bill from Sheboygan, WI

Watching the Jets game on TV it sounded like there were more Packer fans in the stands than Jet fans. Did it sound that way at the game also?

It was fairly split, which favors Green Bay. In the end, the Packers fans in attendance made their voices heard in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Bill from Sheboygan, WI

People talk about how bad the Jets are, but I see an up-and-coming team. Sam Darnold looks like the real deal.

I’m no scout, but I was exceedingly high on Darnold throughout the pre-draft process. You can go back to old episodes of “Packers Unscripted” where I waxed poetic about Darnold being the top QB in that star-studded draft class. He has work to do, but the guy can make all the throws. It’s been a tough year, but I can tell you there’s a lot of optimism in New York right now.

Steve from Wabasha, MN

If you could go back in time to watch one player in one game in Packers history, which would it be? After seeing that Don Hutson holds the record for most receptions in a game at 14, I would like to have been there for that.

I would like to go back and watch the man throwing all those passes to Hutson – Cecil Isbell, quite literally my favorite Packers player of all-time.

Turbo from Green Bay, WI

It was nice to see Kevin Greene coaching again. He's still stoking the fire.

The pass rusher is there to AFFECT GAMES!

Wes from South St Paul, MN

Mike/Wes, on the subject of expanding the playoffs, the NFL is the only major sport that has byes in the playoffs. I would like to see the four division winners and the next four best records in the playoffs and everyone plays. No. 1 plays No. 8, etc. This puts more teams in the playoffs and doesn’t lengthen the season. Your thoughts?

The NFL is the only major sport that has byes in the playoffs…and it’s the only major sport that gets it right.

Tony from Kaukauna, WI

Wes, Watson beat Big Ben both weeks! I'll let it slide since I'm still the CHAMPION! How did you finish? Merry Christmas to all and thanks for another great year of Inbox!

The belt is coming home. A league record four titles in 15 seasons. Don’t call it a dynasty. Call it reality.

Jason from New Hampton, IA

As the season winds down, what do you look forward to come Monday, Dec. 31?

Seeing my kid awake and finishing my wife’s Christmas present.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how was the plane trip back after a win different from a plane trip back after a loss?

A lot more talkative.

Jeremy from De Soto, KS

Was Coach Pettine able to give you some recommendations to go out to eat?

Ha. I didn’t ask him for any. A good friend of mine runs a quaint Italian restaurant in the East Village that’s a must for me every time in New York.

Kyle from Jenison, MI

Mike, regarding that DVRed episode of “Big Bang,” a heads-up. When we moved in 2014 and I was about to return our receiver to the cable company, I realized that I would be losing a certain 2011 sporting event and a couple hours of postgame coverage, which I had re-watched many, many times over those three years. There was a crazy moment when I considered keeping the unit and paying for it. Also, has Wes watched the copy of “Fletch” I sent him last year?

It’s sitting on my bedroom dresser. That’s the third thing I’m planning to do once the season is over.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Merry Christmas, Insiders. All I want for Christmas this year is one week of the Inbox without grumps and pessimistic questions. Have a great week and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful day with your family and closest friends.

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