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Inbox: Now is the time to stack that success on the road

Packers were rewarded for their improvement with a much-needed victory Sunday


David from Brown, FL

I have a finance teacher in school who worked on Wall Street for 15 years. He is one the meanest teachers in class you will ever meet. After having him for multiple semesters, I find myself more cynical, more sarcastic, and yes, slightly meaner. I think that the Inbox has done the same thing to Wes, and I love it.

This place has hardened me over the past 2½ years. I can almost feel the hair poking out of my chest. Good morning!

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

What is the biggest difference in preparation between a Thursday and a Sunday game?

It's like working on three hours of sleep instead of a full eight. Winning these games comes down to who better handles the attrition of the week. Physically, it's difficult for players to be at their absolute best in this setting.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Is there anything specific the Pack needs to accomplish to execute in the fourth quarter Thursday? Is there something tangible, like a condition behind our struggles late in games on the road, or has it just been a run of rough bounces and worse timing?

Protect and move the football. That's what was lacking in the fourth quarter against the Rams and the Patriots. The Packers took care of business Sunday at home. Now is the time to stack that success on the road and build a winning streak.

Al from Austinmer, Australia

The fans know it. The media knows it. Maybe the Packers coaches now, finally, after Week 10, know it. No. 33 needs to carry 15 or more times a game. Please tell me he'll get his carries vs. the Hawks.

Jones is a revelation. It's been that way since he got his first opportunity last season. For my money, he's the most explosive runner the Packers have drafted in the modern era. They've had good backs, but nobody with that kind of explosiveness in my lifetime. Jamaal Williams also has had his moments, but that game was tailor-made for Jones to have a career day.

Toua from Milwaukee, WI

I know this Packers team is a throwing team, but maybe it's time to change philosophy about the offense. They need to rely on the running game more. Wouldn't it help Rodgers more if teams need to also focus on Jones in the running game? I hope the run-pass balance shows up at Seattle.

The Packers don't need to be a passing team or a run team. They need to be a balanced team. While game situation sometimes dictates how a game plays out, the Packers have always preached balance since the beginning. The most balanced team I covered was in 2014 when Aaron Rodgers won his second NFL MVP award. He had a pair of 1,200-yard receivers in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, and a 1,100-yard running back in Eddie Lacy.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

How long has it been since the rookie draft class, in total, has looked this good, contributed this much, and given us this much hope for the future?

2013. That nucleus of Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari and Micah Hyde was special and helped catapult the Packers to the NFC Championship Game one year later.

JT from Paris, KY

"I've got Packer fever and the only prescription is more Greene!" Nice example of next man up. Will Raven Greene get more snaps going forward?

These are the stories that make sports special. Here's an undrafted rookie from the FCS ranks who scratched and clawed his way to the NFL with grit and sheer determination. As they always say, performing on special teams is how you punch your ticket to offense or defense. Greene was called upon in several big spots Sunday and he proved the moment wasn't too big for him. I also thought it showed great faith on the Packers' part calling the direct snap to Greene after he only recently replaced Jermaine Whitehead in that role. Have a day, young man.

Nick from Chicago, IL

Greene is a stud full of swag and tricks. I think his nickname should be "Greene Magic."

Or "Greene is gold."

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how long has the team been practicing the fake punt?

They've been working on that all season. The only recent wrinkle was Greene as the personal protector.

Jeremy from Newnan, GA

Loved the fake punt up by 16, especially after the Dolphins did it to us earlier in the game. I'm sure one of those situations where if it didn't work the play-calling would get blown up, but I loved not letting the foot off the accelerator.

I don't think the Packers called that play to get one back on special teams, but I felt that play helped Ron Zook's unit end an up-and-down day on a high note.

Zach from Stevens Point, WI

While generally our special teams have not been great, our kick-coverage unit has been very good this year. Especially Oren Burks! Anyone else standing out on special teams in a good way?

The Packers did exactly what they needed to do against a game-breaking returner like Jakeem Grant, holding him to 20.8 yards on four kickoff returns.

Andy from Eau Claire, WI

I noticed that the Packers are tied for the league lead with 31 sacks. I thought pass rush was a weakness of this defense. What do you make of it?

Sacking NFL quarterbacks isn't easy, but Mike Pettine and his defensive players are finding ways to get the job done.

Vincent from Boston, MA

Insiders, there are only seven games left in the season, but the Packers have a better record than Dallas, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle. Sunday's game showed Valdes-Scantling continuing to separate himself from the other first-year receivers and proving he belongs on the field, and the line opening holes for Aaron Jones to streak through. All around us the wolves are howling, but really, isn't it time to just "chillax" and enjoy the season?

I know several of you like to paint me as an eternal optimist, but that performance didn't surprise me one bit. The Packers played two of their better games against L.A. and New England. As long as the team stayed the course and didn't get frustrated, I thought Green Bay wins that game against the Dolphins. The Packers are improving and they were rewarded with a much-needed victory Sunday.

Dave from Lake Mills, WI

I was glad to see Marcedes Lewis getting into the passing game more. I hope that down the stretch, they go 2-3 TE sets. Defenses would have a rough time having fast enough players to cover Davante Adams and MVS and also having big enough guys to bring down Jimmy Graham and Lewis.

Lewis warned everyone not to sleep on him. Miami did and the wily veteran responded with the biggest passing play of the afternoon. But you're right, it is important to establish Lewis as a pass-catcher, so defenses can't sell out for the run every time he enters the game.

View the best shots from Sunday's Week 10 matchup at Lambeau Field.

Brady from Lodi, WI

How does MVS not make the third spot on the (very short) list of bright spots? 23 catches for 402 yards and two TDs, and he's only regularly played since Week 5. This isn't Madden. He's done amazing, especially considering his fifth-round draft tag. So many of our picks from this year, week after week, are looking more like steals, and Gute's roster changes every week seem to be the smarter move. We all need to cheer up. We can still make the playoffs.

If Marquez Valdes-Scantling isn't on your bright spots on this year's team, then you're either not paying attention or purposely avoiding the positives. MVS is a special talent who's had to grow up fast in the NFL with the injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

Tyler from Bessemer, PA

Is it too soon to order my Alexander jersey?

Two more PBUs for the rookie first-round pick. That's now eight in the last three games. Alexander looked good playing outside, too. He's developing into quite the playmaker.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

Concerning the value of Jimmy Graham: I heard the announcers say, "A good block by Graham" more than once yesterday. Saw it too when I watched for it. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

You don't need to be Marcedes Lewis to be an effective blocker. To me, blocking for skill-position players comes down to effort. Yes, some are unequivocally better than others, but I've always boiled it down to one question – are you willing? Graham certainly is.

George from North Mankato, NM

I can't wait to see the hand signals and silent count that Aaron Rodgers will have to use due to crowd noise in Seattle. Hopefully the Packers faithful will travel for the game allowing for some traditional audibles throughout the game. This week will pose a tough test in patience as everyone gets on the same page with plays being changed at the line of scrimmage. Has Aaron ever said how difficult it is to change the call when no one can hear you?

Yes, the design and acoustics of CenturyLink Field are challenging for opposing teams, but the Packers have a veteran offensive line that's played in Seattle and knows how to communicate in that environment. I think the bigger story is traveling to the West Coast on a short week.

Kristen from Surprise, AZ

I keep hearing about the difficult environment at CenturyLink. How much different is it than Lambeau Field and how does that difference affect the team? I also saw that crowd noise will be a factor for Tuesday's practice. How will they do that? Thanks!

I'd say it's in the conversation with Minnesota as the loudest environment in the NFL. The two loudest stadiums I've ever been in were CenturyLink during the 2014 NFC Championship Game and the Vikings' home opener at U.S. Bank Stadium in 2016.

Kyle from Eden Prairie, MN

I have a question on the play involving the EQ "penalty." Since Adams had achieved the line to gain prior to the penalty being called, would it have been first-and-10 from 15 yards farther back had Miami not also committed a penalty, therein offsetting the entire play? If so, how interesting that a penalty against Miami essentially negated a Green Bay first down.

Correct. Yeah, it was an odd series of events.

Donny from Elkhorn, IN

I watched the block by St. Brown several times. He came from nearly straight on from the front, delivered the block with his shoulder to the chest and didn't launch himself. Textbook physical football. The only thing blindside was the opponent looking to the side and that's not on EQ. Is the NFL trying to legislate against tough hardnosed football?

They're trying to protect defenseless players and rightfully so. I don't think St. Brown was trying to be malicious. He's a young guy rushing back to the play to help a teammate. That's a tough call for the referees to make in the heat of the moment. The flag didn't surprise me. You have two guys colliding at full force. It's going to look violent.

Jerry from Erie, PA

I am concerned with Byron Bell. I watched him injure his left hand. He had to hold it and not go in his stance for the next play. I think he has done a quality job at guard. Can you let us know if he is OK with the hand? The team needs his steady play.

Bell said after the game he dislocated his finger, but popped it back into place. He's good to go. That was a solid performance for the eighth-year veteran to build on.

Cameron from Springville, UT

Kind of an oddball question that popped into my head, but when was the last time, besides color rush, the Packers have worn white at home? Has it even happened?

Prior to the color-rush phenomenon, the Packers last wore their white jerseys at Lambeau Field back in 1989. I'm pretty sure you'd have to go back to the 1950s for the last time they wore white pants at home, but I'd check with Cliff on that one.

Matt from Denver, CO

Do you think Trevor Davis will return both kickoffs and punts or just punts? Either way, we are in need of a game-changing moment on that side of the ball, for the better.

He did both for the Packers last year. He's more than capable if Zook and McCarthy want to go that direction, especially depending on Bashuad Breeland's status with that groin injury.

Gary from Chippewa Falls, WI

MM has been very good at preparing for Seattle. If the players do their jobs they should win. The game plans since 2014 have been great. Execution is the key.

The Packers have a history at CenturyLink, but they had the Seahawks' number in their last three meetings at Lambeau Field. Russell Wilson has a 75.8 passer rating in five regular-season games against Green Bay, completing 58.0 percent of his passes for 925 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Packers have to keep the pressure on.

Raymond from Marquette, MI

When is the last time the Packers have won at Seattle, if they ever have?

Oct. 12, 2008. Aaron Rodgers threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers' 27-17 win.

Joe from Wauwatosa, WI

Just a quick question on IR rules. Once someone is designated to come back after the eight-week waiting period, is there another week waiting period before they can play, or is that just to have practice time to get up to speed (thinking Trevor Davis here)? Also, can you give a quick rundown of players who would still be able to come back for us this year under that rule besides Kumerow and people that were clear year-ending injuries like ACL (Kyle Murphy specifically)?

Any player who is placed on injured reserve after the start of the regular season is eligible to be designated to return. Right now, the Packers only have three candidates – Davis, Kumerow and Geronimo Allison. Murphy isn't eligible because he was placed on IR during the final roster reduction and not carried on the initial 53. If a player is designated to return like Davis, he can practice after six weeks and return to the field after eight.

Nathan from Milford, IA

Does bringing back Davis off IR mean they probably won't return Kumerow (if healthy) unless another WR gets hurt?

Remember when undrafted rookie Makinton Dorleant was the player designated to return from injured reserve two years ago? Anything is possible.

Bob from Sydney, Australia

"... then watch either the Vikings or Bears pick up a fourth loss next Sunday night, and go from there." Great, Mike. Another draw?

I called Mike on that one, too, during Monday's episode of "Unscripted."

LeeAnn from Corydon, IN

Hi Wes, I'm not sure how long Marge has been working for the Packers, but we need to start a campaign to get her in the Packers HOF. She's an institution.

More like in-stitch-tution, am I right? I'll see myself out.