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Inbox: Styles come and styles go, but tradition lasts forever

This is a measuring-stick game for the Packers at a pivotal point of the season

QB Aaron Rodgers

Evan from Durango, CO

Let Dean cook!

As long as I'm standing – or I guess, sitting – and penning the last Inbox before gameday this season, there will be a Dean poem sending us into the weekend. He is not the poet we deserve but he's the poet we all need right now.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, I haven't seen much of the Colts. Who do we need to watch when Indy has the ball?

Philip Rivers. I don't care what year it is. I don't care who he's playing for. I don't care he'll be 39 in a few weeks. Rivers has been a thorn in the Packers' side for 15 years. And the Packers have to get to him quickly because that football won't be in his hands for long.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

Against Tampa it was clear early, the Packers were getting beat physically and the Bucs were getting after Aaron Rodgers early and often. This weekend is another physical challenge for the Pack. How will the team improve upon the Tampa performance and what should we look for early on?

This is a measuring-stick game for the Packers at a pivotal point of the season. The Colts are fast, physical and well-coached. Green Bay can stand toe-to-toe with any team in the league when it comes to speed and strength. The moves it has made have been geared at improving in those two areas, specifically. But they'll need to prove their superiority against a Colts team looking to go on a run.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

It seems like Matt LaFleur likes to pound it on the ground early. With the Colts' solid front-seven, do you think he continues that trend or puts the ball in Aaron Rodgers' hands early to try and open things up a bit for the ground game in kind of a reverse order?

You can question Indianapolis' strength of schedule (.421) but you cannot argue with its defensive production. The Colts present all kinds of challenges with a defense that's top five across the board. Tennessee had some success running against that front (157 yards and a touchdown) but just didn't threaten enough in the passing game. The Packers need to do both, with equal enthusiasm, to leave Lucas Oil with a win Sunday.

Kyle from Waunakee, WI

I have been waiting to see Jonathan Taylor go off and have a big game for the Colts, but it hasn't happened yet. He had a 100-yard game but many carries. Have you seen anything that points to a cause? Blocking, play calls, vision, speed, other?

Beats me. Taylor has good size for the position and runs well. I've heard some talk about hesitancy at the line of scrimmage, but I really thought it was going to be the Taylor show after Marlon Mack tore his ACL, and to date, it hasn't been. Taylor was out-touched by Nyheim Hines last week, while Jordan Wilkins also had more carries.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

How much of an impact do you think Allen Lazard can have against the Colts this weekend?

A sizeable one if given the green light for Sunday. Lazard is a perfect complementary receiver for Rodgers and Davante Adams. He consistently beats one-on-one coverage, knows where he is on the field at all times, and catches the ball with regularity. Oh, and he blocks. The Packers need that player in this offense.

Dan from Augusta, KS

I only wanted to point out that if LaFLeur is downgraded for Coach of the Year because of Rodgers, then Mike Tomlin should be held in the same regard since Ben Roethlisberger is obviously the difference from last year's team. Also, whenever there is any doubt, always root for whoever the Seahawks are playing. Always.

Everyone knows my feelings on LaFleur's candidacy dating back to last season. It still baffles me LaFleur didn't get it after orchestrating the biggest one-year turnaround in franchise history. Fine. But voters better not change their criteria this time around. Because while Rodgers is performing at an MVP level, the Packers have made ends meet without key skill-position players for most of the season – and that's credit to LaFleur.

Paul from Kolodziejski, CO

Was it just me or did the Packers use much less pre-snap motion against the Jags? If so, what do you attribute for the move, or in this case lack of movement?

The Jaguars consistently played with seven or eight defenders in the box and have an inside linebacker who plays sideline-to-sideline, so it might not have been the right matchup for all the motioning. Plus, Green Bay also lost Tyler Ervin to the rib injury.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

I saw in Wednesday's II that the Colts have only had "nine giveaways" so far this year. My recollection of Phillip Rivers in his years at San Diego was that he was prone to interceptions. What is different this year besides change of locale?

Rivers' career is fascinating. While the premise of your question isn't wrong – Rivers has led the NFL in INTs twice in his career – he's also had seasons where he's only thrown 10 or 12 INTs over an entire 16-game season.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

I am not relishing seeing Mr. Rivers again so soon after last season (or his stats in 2015). Is his game different this year with Indy than his SD years? That said, how do you see him as HOF-worthy? He certainly has great career stats but I've always grouped him with Stafford, Dalton, Romo, Ryan and a few others for lack of playoff success.

He's playing like he always has. I know there have been some questions about his arm but Rivers continues to be very high-percentage with his quick releases. As far as the Hall of Fame thing, this answer has always been very simple for me. Is Eli Manning Hall of Fame-worthy? If so, then Rivers better be, too.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

For some reason I have always remembered Philip Rivers having monster games against the Packers. Is this perception valid?

Rivers has thrown for 1,488 yards in four games against Green Bay (372 yards per game) but also hadn't beaten them until last year (1-3). I have to say my favorite Rivers memory was from 2015 when he threw for 520 yards in a game that went right down to the wire. After a narrow 27-20 Packers win, a few of us reporters were talking to Casey Hayward and told him exactly how many yards Rivers had just thrown for. He paused for a second, visibly in shock, before blurting out with a laugh, "Bend but don't break!"

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

II, when was the last time Aaron tried a QB sneak and when do you predict he will try his next?

I don't know the last time it happened but Rodgers defended his sneaking ability Wednesday (while also saying the run against Jacksonville was the right call, just didn't execute).

Kent from Lewiston, ID

What's the weather forecast look like at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis come Sunday?

Cloudy with a chance of dome.

Rob from Edinburgh, Scotland

A quick follow-up to Statham's question yesterday regarding the fans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Is it realistic to expect significant numbers of Packers fans at the stadium on Sunday, or are the Colts prioritizing season ticket holders?

My hunch is it'll be a pro-Colts crowd but I saw quite a few advertisements for single-game tickets. If we know anything about Packers fans, they don't let good tickets go to waste.

Steve from Scranton, PA

Wes...reading through this week's Dope Sheet, I noticed the Packers are 1-0 vs. Colts in playoffs. Old folks like me remember the game: 1965 Western Conference playoff, 13-10 OT win. Historically significant as GB kicker Don Chandler appeared to miss a short FG at the end of regulation, but it was called "good" by officials and sent the game into OT. The following season, the uprights were significantly lengthened, a predecessor to the laser goalposts you youngsters constantly dwell on!

Can you just imagine? Chandler's kick goes up, the ball is seared, and falls to the ground in a thud as Vince Lombardi shouts, "What the hell is going on out there?"

Greg from Princeton, MN

Replace the pylons with lasers. Confusion solved.

Now that's just ridiculous.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

The Jax game could be of benefit from the perspective of a meaningful fourth quarter. It seems last year we had more crunch-time moments. I can't think of a tight fourth quarter played since the Seattle playoff game. Am I wrong?

Not any that ended in the Packers' favor. The Jacksonville game is a good one to have in the back pocket, though. Because when Green Bay needed to dig deep on both sides of the ball, the offense and defense responded.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I was rooting for Minnesota on Monday night. It won't matter if the Vikings are 7-5 after the next three games if the Packers are 10-2, especially with the Vikings having road games against Tampa and New Orleans. The Pack just needs to take care of their business.

That's my viewpoint but that doesn't mean Spoff is wrong. As inconceivable as it might have been a month ago, the Vikings could easily be 7-5 by this time next month. But that shouldn't matter as long as the Packers handle their business.

Shane from Philadelphia, PA

I recently saw that if Yannick Ngakoue makes the Pro Bowl this year the Vikings will lose a fourth-round draft pick instead of a fifth. I know how the Inbox feels about the Pro Bowl voting process and all of the Packers snubs in recent years, but recruiting Packers fans to rally and vote Yannick in would be an amazing way to exploit the voting process and hurt the Vikings' draft stock. Would love to get the II involved and spread the word.

I saw this was already gaining traction in the mainstream. The Ngakoue situation is one of the most bizarre things I've seen in the NFC North in a long, long time. It made sense why the Vikings acquired him, especially with Danielle Hunter's neck problems, but then they cut bait too soon. If you're going to rent the player, rent the player – and get the compensatory pick if he leaves as a UFA. Ngakoue has been in Baltimore for a month and is still the Vikings' sack leader by 1½.

Tony from River Falls, WI

How about that "chop-block" call on Billy Turner? I feel like he shouldn't have been penalized since he was pushed and falling, but the announcers mentioned this and agreed with the call. Thank you guys for the work you do every day!

I jinxed everything by complimenting the officials after the Packers' first five games of the season. I don't care that they missed the call but seriously how many times do you see a flag thrown for a chop block over the course of the season? Once? Twice? Was it really that necessary in that instance?

Kevin from New Milford, CT

Looking at the Rock Report on the final series...Rashan Gary gets the sack on second down, then he has Jake Luton in his grasp before he escapes and gets tripped by Preston Smith. If you watch the end of that play he's still chasing Luton as the QB goes down. Then on fourth down, Luton gets flushed out of the pocket and Gary is in hot pursuit as he scrambles before the incompletion. He's proving himself in a big way in Year 2 and I can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out for No. 52.

The sooner fans quit lamenting the fact Gary isn't already Reggie White, the more they'll appreciate what he's already doing at 22 years old. He still has a long way to go, but he's taking the right steps to getting there.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

The Dope Sheet photo showing the Colts-Packers linemen facing each other could be from any era. Kudos to both franchises for keeping their history alive in their brands! You can have your foofy video game Seahawks, Jags, Bucs, Pats uniforms. Give me those classic Packers, Colts, Bears, 49ers, Steelers, Chiefs looks any day. Timeless.

There are thousands of different brands of soda out there these days, but nothing beats Classic Coke. Styles come and styles go, but tradition lasts forever.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Please clarify some defensive statistics terminology. Would a sack also count as a QB pressure? How about a QB hit? And a knockdown? Assuming a sack also counts as a tackle, is it also recorded as a tackle for loss? Thanks for keeping the Inbox on the sunny side.

Correct. Thanks for your over-easy question.

Dale from Lima, NY

Now that David Bakhtiari's in the bag, who's the next priority to get an extension?


Steven from Payson, AZ

Knowing there are a couple of high-profile contract negotiations ahead, how will the cap affect Green Bay's decisions?

That depends on how many lunches Spoff's agent works into his deal.

Jeremy from De Soto, KS

Earlier this year, my wife and I visited our friends in Green Bay. We drove to Platteville and stayed at a well-known hotel chain. Later in the weekend we had beers at a place with a garage in Suamico. Can I consider myself a Tour de Inbox participant?

Participant? You won the whole race!

Michael from Milwaukee, WI

I assume you won't publish this...But I'm guessing that starting a question/comment with "I assume you won't publish this" is the fastest and easiest way to have you guys publish something.

Not true. "Good morning Wes/Mike" is the fastest and easiest way.

Bill from Somers, NY

Terry Bradshaw dismissed the Packers' chances in the postseason due to their poor run defense. What do you think of his opinion?

I don't.

Stephen from Menomonee Falls, WI

Just watched/listened to my first episode of "Unscripted." Why did I wait so long?

Your words, not mine.

Angele from Madison, WI

Not a question; comment. I really enjoy the quirky mix of factual Packers coverage, amazing writing by Mike and Wes, inside jokes, and yes poetry. My morning routine of reading II with my coffee starts my day off right every time. I can't think of anything else that has moved me to tears more than once, but also made me laugh out loud many times. Thanks to all contributors, for your unique talents and insights! Keep the poems coming, Dean!

And that's why we keep doing it. Oh, and before I go, quick shout-out to Pa Hod, our most loyal reader, who celebrated his birthday Wednesday. We love you, boss. Have a great day, folks.


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