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Inbox: That counts for a lot

There’s still a lot of work ahead


Deborah from Myersville, MD

Jeez, winning feels great. I was more traumatized by last year than I realized.

Perspective is everything. Yeah, sorry, it's me again. Wes needed some more special-project time. It'll be worth it. Trust me.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

What are the major threats the Packers need to prepare for from the Chargers? And where's the pep rally being held?

Keenan Allen and Philip Rivers have been at this a while, and Mike Williams is averaging 16 yards per catch this year. But the new guy in the mix is running back Austin Ekeler. In eight games, as a receiver out of the backfield, he's got 500 yards, five TDs and 10 yards per catch. On defense, Joey Bosa has seven sacks. The pep rally will be at Tom's Urban within the LA Live area.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

Do you think it's more likely the Chargers sacking Whisenhunt galvanizes their offense or does it damage their preparation time for the weekend?

It won't cut into prep time. Game-plan day for coaches is Tuesday, so they're planning for the Packers with new voices in charge. The move is intended to spark the offense with something fresh. We'll get a first-hand look as to whether it works.

Col from Ludlow, UK

How is it the Chargers prefer to play the Packers in their 27,000-seat stadium, rather than let's say Wembley, with upwards of 85,000 seats? Is there a financial incentive to stay at home, rather than playing in front of what would be a more friendly crowd in London? If this is the case, is it going to take a rule change to get the Packers to play overseas? They play international games for one reason only. Not their fault, but are the Pack at a disadvantage long term?

The Chargers chose to protect their game against the Packers so they could use variable ticket pricing to their advantage to generate additional revenue. As I noted in the offseason when the international games were announced and the Packers weren't on the list, the league gives teams "hosting" an international game a stipend for the loss of an actual home game. If the league had really wanted Chargers-Packers overseas, it could have boosted the stipend. Voila. Obviously, the Chargers feel they're making more money this way. What it all means for the Packers' future prospects overseas I don't know. I suspect the league is simply going to step in and just make it happen at some point, somehow, some way.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The Chargers have lost a lot of close games late, but that also means they aren't putting distance between the opponent during the first three quarters. After being such a good team last year what has caused such a deep decline?

Don't overthink it. That team was good last year because it was good in close games. They were 6-1 in games decided by one score on their way to a 12-4 record. Pulling out the close ones at crunch time was the difference between a playoff season and a mediocre one. Then they won a one-score game in the wild-card round, too. This year it's been the opposite. Their mark in one-score games is 2-5 and was teetering on 1-6 until the hooked kick in Chicago. They're in every game but they've faltered at key moments, especially against Detroit and Tennessee.

Jack from Racine, WI

When Aaron does the knee down at the end of the game, does this go against his rushing yards and his rushing average?

Not that he cares, but yes. Rodgers has kneeled on the ball 11 times so far this season for minus-12 yards, so take those out and his rushing numbers are 14 attempts for 85 yards, a 6.1 average.

Josh from Salt Springs, New Brunswick

First off, I want to thank you guys for all you do. I have recently downloaded the Packers app on Roku, and what a game changer it has been. Truly great content on there. Also am I correct in saying, since beating the Chiefs, now AR has beaten every other NFL team now?

He had done that a while ago. He got his first win at Arrowhead, though. He is now past the halfway point as far as trying to beat all the AFC teams on the road in his career (nine of 16). The only NFC franchise he hasn't beaten away from Lambeau is New Orleans. Glad you're enjoying the TV app. For those interested, it's available on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, just for giggles once, could you post the cry-baby laments that you get from fans during a game? You must have gotten some doozies during the second quarter of the Chiefs game.

For the day-after Inbox, I don't even read anything submitted before the end of the game. I'm already subject to enough of that from the in-game live blog.

Mike from New York, NY

When the offense is on the field, is our defensive staff off to the side planning how to adjust for the next time on the field, or is the defensive staff watching the opposing defense to give insight into how the opponents are playing? Likewise, does the offensive staff give insight to the defense how their opponent is playing? I can see the benefit of doing that, but also understand there isn't a set amount of time between switching possessions and preparing is more important.

When the defense comes off the field, its coaches are focused entirely on the next time the unit takes the field, not what's taking place in the interim. The insight into what the opposing defense is doing mostly comes from the offensive assistants watching from upstairs.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

A lot of people have been using yards to argue how bad our defense is. Yes, we give up a lot of yards, but our average points surrendered is just shy of 21. That puts us tied at 11th for fewest points given up per game. Out of those 12 teams averaging 21 points a game or fewer, only six of them are scoring over 20 points per game. I'm okay giving up 20 a game when we're averaging around 27 per game. Those six are all playoff contenders, and we're 2-0 against those teams, by the way.

That's why I focused on the overall effort. Giving up 17 points and 200-plus yards in one quarter is not good. But seeing only 24 on the scoreboard at the end of the game is a legitimate recovery from a rough stretch. That snowball could have turned into an avalanche Sunday night. It didn't.

Mike from Algoma, WI

I think I count 16 players on the "D-train" celebrating the fumble recovery. Could that have been a penalty? Does this show a lack of discipline?

A lot of folks have been asking about the penalty possibility, and apparently the SNF announcers brought it up. Players are allowed to come off the sideline to join in a celebration, but those players must be in uniform. Anyone not suited up is not allowed to partake, but celebrations are not limited strictly to the players on the field at the time of the play. That's the rule, as far as I know. The caution is with the potential for a delay of game.

Joel from Yagur, Israel

Halfway through the season and the Packers are one of only five teams with a strength of schedule above .500 and a winning record (Saints, Chiefs, Panthers, and Texans are the others). Of those teams the Chiefs, Panthers, and Texans have only actually beaten one of the teams they've faced with a winning record. The Panthers are 1-2 against .500-plus teams and the Chiefs and Texans are 1-3. The Saints are 3-1 and we are 3-0. What do you think this says about our team, and the others?

It says the Packers are 7-1 at the midway point. No offense to your research, which is interesting, but the resume doesn't get you into the playoffs, the results do, and there's still a lot of work ahead.

Anthony from Southington, CT

Fantastic job with WYMM! Great to see such magnificent execution! One other play worth mentioning was the TD pass to a Jones on the quick flip pass. Although the announcers were gushing about the bad matchup of Jones vs. a LB, the blocks by David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley were stellar. Another play with exceptional execution!

Of course, but nobody missed those, right? So they don't fit. Just giving you a hard time. Thanks for the interest in the piece.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

With the Packers cutting Shepherd, who's the next man up returning punts?

We may not actually find out until Sunday. No one knew in advance Sullivan would be returning kickoffs in Kansas City.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

Reid continuously shows the value of a game plan. He consistently used traffic coupled with his team's speed to have a free man for Moore to hit. How does a coach plan for Aaron Jones when we have a quarterback that can drop a dime anywhere on the field? I know the other Aaron is begging for a safety to start doubling a running back.

If defenses start shading a safety over the top on Jones when he lines up wide against a LB, it'll be up to the other perimeter players to take advantage and find open space. If defenses adjust by matching a DB straight up on Jones, Rodgers can motion him (or Williams for that matter) into the backfield and run against a lighter box. Jones' performance in Kansas City started the chess match for real.

Mike from Lompoc, CA

As a lifelong fan, stockholder, and avid Inbox reader, I wind up in some challenging conversations defending the Packers' performance week to week. Recently I've been hit with the critique that the Packers' defense is merely opportunistic, not stout and thus dependent on turnovers to win (citing the no-turnover Detroit and Philly games). We did win the Detroit game, but I'm wondering, is this a fair criticism, and if so, how would you respond?

The Packers' defense isn't currently what it was in the first three weeks of the season, but I'm not writing off the potential for it to get back there. The ups and downs aside, I like what I've seen from this defense in the fourth quarter of games. Dallas scored 14 in the fourth quarter trying to rally from a huge deficit. This group has given up 24 points in the fourth quarter of the other seven games. It has gotten numerous late-game stops that have really mattered. That counts for a lot.

Rob from Knoxville, TN

My wife and I are thinking about coming up for the Chicago game. Will the game time be changed?

Hard to say. That could depend on the Chargers, who are scheduled to host the Sunday night game that week against Minnesota. If the league bails on that matchup, I suspect FOX will protect Rams-Cowboys in the 3:25 p.m. CT slot, which could put Bears-Packers in play. However it shakes out, any change would have to be announced by Dec. 3.

Josh from Ozark, MO

Mike's stat about the Chiefs running one play, the McCoy fumble, on offense in 11:07 to me epitomized standing tall despite getting punched in the mouth. We went into half having given up a 14-point lead and Rodgers gets sacked on the last play. Defense has a couple great plays on the first drive of the third to force a punt, and then that stretch. The Packers are finding ways to win with the full roster. So who's the next unsung hero?

I don't know. Do you know when Season 3 is coming out? Just kidding. Three days in a row, in season, and my mind wanders. I still think Marquez Valdes-Scantling is due for a breakout game. I also believe Tramon is going to make a big play on defense at some point. It's fun to wait and see when the wins keep coming.

John from Boston, MA

I've been reading II for years but this is my first submission, inspired by Cheryl from Glens Falls. This weekend, I also watched the Sunday games in a hospital with my father-in-law (a Steelers fan) who was recently admitted for a severe pancreatic disease. It is an evil, horrible disease but please know that you two are not alone, and have the backing of Packer and Steeler Nation. I am glad that football could provide you both with a temporary distraction, as it did for us. There is always hope.

Thanks for writing in.

Casey from Tempe, AZ

To Jeff's point yesterday, the Packers were also on the road as opposed to home, preparing on a normal week as opposed to having a mini bye, and were starting a QB whose only experience was preseason and mop-up duty. The NFL doesn't care how you get to 7-1. Enjoy the victory over a tough opponent and a well-coached team on the road. On to the Chargers and another 1-0 week please.

Happy Wednesday.