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Inbox: That experience matters this time of the year

The Packers have to get after Stafford and turn that pressure into takeaways

WR Equanimeous St. Brown
WR Equanimeous St. Brown

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Nice piece on Yosh Nijman, Wes, but I think Aaron Rodgers was only partially correct when he said, "Oh my gosh, Yosh, that was amazing. We need to see more of that." What we NEED to see is the entire O-line doing "The Robot" after EVERY touchdown. I think my life would then be complete.

Now that would be an interesting sight to see.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

I smiled through the Yosh Nijman interview and couldn't help but be drawn to him. His statement in conclusion to his answer, and I paraphrase, that he was grateful for those who were grateful for him was dripping with insight. It's one of those statements that I hope will help me live a life where I do no harm.

This is what hurts about not being in the locker room anymore because I feel like there are so many interesting guys on this team that we don't really know. I'm not just talking about, "Oh, so-and-so is a good quote." I mean like just people with unique backgrounds and perspective. Nijman is high on that list for me.

Joe from Exeter, CA

Does extensive familiarity with Matthew Stafford count for much, or does the new team/new scheme create a big enough change that the individual familiarity doesn't count for much?

It counts. Stafford is in a new scheme but many Green Bay defenders know how dangerous he can be if left to his own offensive devices. Stafford is a tricky puzzle to solve, especially if he gets into a rhythm, and this Sean McVay offense has complicated matters even more. The Packers have to get after Stafford and turn that pressure into takeaways. Otherwise, it could be a long afternoon.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Two things. One, you gotta be able to rush Stafford. When Stafford's been uncomfortable in the pocket, their offense has sputtered. Two, I'm not concerned about the "maybe Aaron Rodgers doesn't need practice, his weapons need it with him." Yes, it's less ideal. But a young Josiah Deguara recognizing and adjusting his route for the TD had strong implications. Everyone is still communicating.

The Packers lost on Sunday but I still felt like that was an important game for the complementary players in Green Bay's offense. Deguara, AJ Dillon and Equanimeous St. Brown banked important reps in Minnesota that could pay dividends during a deep run. The hope remains the Packers can get healthy and stay healthy but it doesn't always work out that way. Take Nijman for example. He was thrown into the fire early on and now will make his biggest start of the season after Elgton Jenkins' knee injury. That experience matters this time of the year.

Matt from Burlington, WI

Yosh is the one that has helped me believe so much more in the O-line group and coaches. They are easily the best in the league. So much talent in the group. Yosh is big. Aside from Yosh's height, could he play on the inside on the O-line?

The Packers took the right approach with Nijman and focused the 6-foot-7, 314-pounder's training on tackle. That's not to say he couldn't play inside but I think Nijman's two best traits, his athleticism and footwork, are best utilized at tackle.

Asha from Zion, IL

With all the injuries and adversity the team has faced this season, how does the team remain in a playoff-contending mentality?

Just guys stepping up. "Next man up" isn't just a mindset. It's a reality. When guys such as Nijman, Rasul Douglas and Deguara step up to make a big play, that can be heartening for the entire roster. Again, winning isn't just overcoming what you've lost. It's about continuing to improve with what you find.

Peter from England, UK

Hi Mike/Wes, do you think this game will mean more for ML knowing he is battling with Sean McVay, a friend more than other coaches in the league? Do you think they will have a side bet of a bottle of wine or dinner out, the loser having to pay? Keep up the good work chaps.

Well, first, gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir. Secondly, I don't think there's any more meaning in this game for LaFleur going up against McVay. LaFleur wasn't putting off Thanksgiving dinner because he needs to beat his buddy. He was doing it because the Packers need to win this football game. LaFleur has played McVay's teams before and he'll do it again; perhaps even before the book is closed on the 2021-22 NFL season.

Nic from London, UK

For a stretch of five years or so, we wanted a TE (frequently an Iowa product) drafted in the first as our perceived last missing piece. Since then, none of those TEs drafted have exactly set the league on fire at Kelce, peak Graham, Gronk or even Waller levels. Good thing we don't run the front office…

Scouting is not an easy business, folks. Like most teams, the Packers invested a good number of draft picks into the tight end position over the past decade. Meanwhile, the best prospect turned out to be an undrafted quarterback-turned-receiver-turned-tight end out of Indiana State.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, is our coach hotter than theirs?

Nope. I love you, Lori, but I'm not touching that one.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

For all the talk of Donald being healthy this game, how are the Rams looking in the secondary beyond Jalen Ramsey? They lost some big production to free agency and it would seem that Marquez Valdes-Scantling and ESB could play significant roles in taking pressure and focus off of the main weapons.

There aren't many household names in that secondary besides Ramsey but it's still a formidable group. Taylor Rapp is having his best season as a pro and 2020 sixth-round pick Jordan Fuller leads the Rams in tackles. Beyond that, I don't know much about Robert Rochell and David Long. It will be interesting to once again see how the Rams play Davante Adams, whether it's Ramsey matching him or mix-and-matching.

Kevin from Ocean Isle Beach, NC

A twist to a standard question. What do the Rams need to do to stop our Packers?

LA has to win up front. Aaron Donald was banged up last January but his visible frustration was symbolic of how that whole Rams defense felt in that 32-18 loss. LA needs to pressure with four, limit the big plays downfield and be stout in the red area if it has any hope of winning Sunday.

Stu from Shawano, WI

Greetings II, and thanks for all you do. So, Packers beat Niners, Niners beat Rams, therefore, Packers beat Rams, correct? If not, why not?

It's a matchup league and some teams are better equipped to deal with others, so I'm not sure the Pythagorean theorem applies to football. That being said, the Packers are finally embarking on this long-awaited stretch of home games. They gotta make it count.

Linda from Portage, WI

What is the probability that the Packer game time for Sunday, Dec. 12, will be moved to an earlier time and how many days do they have to notify the teams that they are moving the time?

I believe that decision would need to be made next Tuesday, but as bad as the Bears have been, I can't see NBC flexing out a game involving Aaron Rodgers and a contending Packers team.

Dale from Fenton, MI

Equanimeous St. Brown is quite the linguist, it seems. What language was he speaking at the end of his press conference?

Er sprach Deutsch. His mother, Miriam, is from Germany.

Johnny from Madison, WI

Given Mason Crosby's career FG% of 80%, there's a 7% chance that he would have missed 8 of the 23 FGs he's attempted this year. That's low, but not astronomically low. When you attempt as many as Mason has (445), you're going to go through slumps. That's when it pays to have a coaching staff who trusts their players and a veteran who can fight through and keep his confidence till they start flying straight again.

It's not easy to find a kicker in the NFL. Period. It's dang-near impossible to find a kicker in the middle of an NFL season. So, I say dance with the one that brung ya for the last 14 years.

Eric from Rochester, MN

Happy belated Thanksgiving, II! I am grateful reading you every day! I was wondering if you could explain the coin-flip deferral process. I think the layman's understanding that if Team A wins the coin flip and chooses to defer, that automatically means that Team B will receive the kickoff. I have seen you guys explain that it just means Team A will defer to the second half, where Team B ultimately receives the kickoff. Can you clarify specifically what all this means? Thank you so much! GPG

Deferring just means Team A is deferring its choice to kick or receive until the second half. So, naturally Team B chooses to receive (although Chicago tried to defer the deferral). Then, Team A chooses which way it wants to kick.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Calling Jonathan Taylor a legitimate franchise running back seems like faint praise to me. Some consider him the best RB in the NFL.

I wasn't trying to equivocate. All I was doing was admitting I was wrong about Jonathan Taylor and he is an elite back. In a world of know-it-alls, a reminder it is OK to be wrong every once in a while.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

I used to think that Hochuli was one of the best officials and was pleased to have him officiate a game. I couldn't believe all the penalties called in the game Thursday. What happened?

This isn't meant to be a dig at Shawn Hochuli but I think you may be thinking of his father. There are two Hochulis. Ed retired in 2018.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

So if you are catching a ball, it's possession, two feet, and a football move. But if you catch a ball going out of bounds, it just two feet and possession. Does falling out of bounds count as a football move?

I have no idea what a football move is. I know what a night move is. But I have no clue what a football move is.

Chuck from Gold Canyon , AZ

G'day Wes. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with family. LaFleur asked for clarification from the league regarding the Darnell Savage near-interception and the Lucas Patrick head-bob penalty. Since Hochuli called another one against the Cowboys, the NFL doesn't have an issue with it. After the train wreck (28 penalties) the Raiders-Cowboys game became, can we request that we don't want his crew to call another Packers game? Let teams decide the outcome does ring true with his crew.

Unfortunately, that's not how it works. I don't want Inbox to devolve into a daily evisceration of NFL officiating. I fear we're going to have to live with it for the remainder of the season. My only hope would be the NFL takes a scrub-brush approach to officiating this offseason.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Is it the bye week yet? This has been such a long wait for what will be a much deserved and needed break after what hopefully, will be a big win versus the Rams.

My car is sputtering into the rest station. I can't imagine how the players feel after four straight months of nonstop football.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Injuries mounting,

Rest is on the horizon,

Take care of business.

Say something cool, Dean.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Our offense finds its mojo but the defense let opportunity slip through its fingers

Yet another devastating injury fells a star and the Packers fall to their border rival

No time to mourn the loss as the powerful Rams invade the frozen tundra

A must-win game to keep hope alive for the playoff bye

An opportunity to overcome a season of devastating injuries

An opportunity to show your worth against a star-studded contender

Seize that opportunity Green and Gold

One more to go before the break. Enjoy the game everybody.