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Inbox: That's a credit to the entire group

The film doesn’t lie, my friend

Offensive line

Charlie from Embarrass, MN

Insiders, I look forward, eagerly, every morning to see if my question was answered only to be disappointed time after time. What does a person have to do to get a questioned answered?

I don't know, ask the kind of question that somehow fits your hometown's name? I couldn't help but notice.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Are you amazed the level the offense is performing given how injuries have hit the receiving corps?

If you had said before Monday night the Packers would be without Davante Adams and Allen Lazard and would end up a fourth-and-inches from putting up 37 points, I wouldn't have believed you. But I actually think what the offense did with the line injuries and shuffling up front through the first few games was more impressive, all things considered. It didn't seem to matter who was playing where, and that's a credit to the entire group.

Dom from Boise, ID

Unfortunate to hear about Josiah Deguara. I'm sure the Packers will be fine, but are players such as John Lovett, Jace Sternberger, and Marcedes Lewis going to be able to fill in at H-back as well as Deguara?

I don't see Lewis taking it on, but Sternberger played it some last year, and Lovett can handle parts of the role as well. That's a tough deal for Deguara. You hate to see a young player lose the opportunity he was going to have.

Logan from Brentwood, TN

I'm watching a periscope that Paul Kuharsky is doing about the Titans getting caught practicing and he is the one that posted pics on Twitter. Titans fans are not happy w/him. What is your opinion on beat reporters doing something that can negatively affect the team like this? Just doing their job?


Carmen from Trimbach, Switzerland

Hi Mike and Wes, I was really excited to see Za'Darius Smith have such a great game against the Falcons and don't want to take anything away from his performance. But WYMM had me wondering: Isn't it a bit much to ask from a fullback or tight end to block him one on one? Thank you for keeping us informed every day.

It's a tough task, for sure, but those plays/assignments aren't designed for a fullback or tight end to block him for 3-4 seconds like an offensive tackle would, just get in his way enough for the play to develop. They failed in that basic attempt multiple times.

Jeremy from Split, Croatia

In watching the clips that Spoff pulled together of Z doing his thing, I noticed that he seems to use a stutter-step to get offensive linemen moving the wrong way. Is this a normal technique for a pass rusher, where he's just unusually effective at it?

It's effective for a pass rusher who's quick enough to execute it but also strong enough to bull rush when necessary. An offensive lineman usually has to be ready to absorb power first, which is why a stutter-step, from a guy who's also fast, can work.

Fong from Wausau, WI

What do you think about using AJ Dillon for those short yardages? Line up in I formation and have AJ use them huge legs. They can still go play-action out of it. Aaron Jones is better picking gaps and bursting through, but not plow through bodies for 2-3 yards. I would like to see it a couple times during a game and see the results.

I don't mean to pick on anyone, especially from a town I know fondly, but I'm really getting worn out by this question. Listen folks, LaFleur admitted he made a bad play call on fourth-and-goal when he saw the Falcons line up in cover zero (everyone at the line, nobody back), and he should have called a timeout. Jamaal Williams never had a chance on that play. Dillon wouldn't have either. The failed fourth-and-1 at midfield in New Orleans? Lazard missed the block on the safety crashing down, and Jones had no chance. Dillon wouldn't have either.

Dave from Comer, GA

Can we figure out a way for both Minnesota and Seattle to lose Sunday night? I cannot root for either team.

Yeah, that's a tough one. We never know how the rest of the season is going to go, but I do think a Seattle loss might benefit the Packers more in the long run.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Interesting year. 2020 draft class is kind of nonexistent now. No contribution from Jordan Love, very little so far from Dillon, Deguara out for year, no fourth-round pick, Kamal Martin yet to contribute. So far only Jon Runyan has been impactful. Still 4-0. Wow.

When you reach a conference title game and your draft slot is 30, improvement is far more likely to come from within than from a rookie class, unless you're turning over a ton of starters, which the Packers weren't. They lost two expensive free agents, cut an overpriced tight end, didn't re-sign a backup outside linebacker because last year's first-round pick was on the rise, and didn't bring back a veteran nickel corner at retirement age. That was pretty much it. They plugged some gaps in free agency, were counting on young players to develop, and drafted mostly for the future. The 2017 draft class – Kevin King, Jones, Williams – has had its biggest impact, by far, the last 1½ seasons compared to its first two despite six of the picks from that year no longer being on the team. So what does that mean? Stay tuned.

Dave from Phoenix, AZ

Good morning II, while I am enjoying the very bad start of the season for the Cowboys, I can't but feel bad for MM. I thought it was a good hire for them and was excited for him, as well as he'll always hold a soft spot in my heart for bringing us a title, but it's not looking like it's turning out the way it was supposed to be so far. Do you think the game has passed him by and if fired, will he be regulated to an assistant from here on out? He has the talent in Big D, just like he had in GB, too!

McCarthy took over a team in Green Bay that had gone 4-12 with Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Ahman Green, William Henderson, Chad Clifton, Scott Wells, Mark Tauscher, Aaron Kampman, KGB, Nick Barnett, Al Harris and Nick Collins. The Packers also had just drafted A.J. Hawk and Greg Jennings plus signed Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett as free agents. And he started 1-4, without a pandemic offseason, and was subsequently 4-8 before winning 17 of his next 20 games. I realize McCarthy is a miracle onside kick from being 0-4, but if I were Dallas, I'd be willing to give him some time before entertaining the "game has passed him by" talk.

Nate from Sioux City, IA

We've heard a lot lately about the cadence and its effect on the pass rush. Aaron Rodgers' mastery of this improves the play of all his linemen by giving them a split-second advantage and keeping the defenders from anticipating the count. David Bakhtiari is widely regarded as one of the best left tackles in the game. If Bakhtiari played for another team, would he still be one of the best or does Rodgers' presence make him elite? Was Bakhtiari just as good with, say, Brett Hundley under center?

Bakhtiari was named second-team All-Pro in 2017, when Hundley started nine games and played most of a 10th. I'll also add that before this year, Bakhtiari has had to work off a silent count for half the games he's played in his career. The film doesn't lie, my friend.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Now that preseason is over, what are you expecting around the league?

Well, if the officials don't start calling more offensive holding and less DPI, and if full, noisy stadiums are not on the horizon, I'm expecting lots of points to continue being scored.

Donald from Possumneck, MS

I think it would be wise for both of you to stay away from each other's lunches until this corona thing passes. Stay safe Insiders!

I Googled it to make sure it's a real place, but is that really where you're from, or are you just trying to expand the Inbox's reach?

Tim from Ottawa, Canada

People are complaining about the messed-up season because of COVID. I think back to the strike years of '82 and '87 if you want to talk about messed up. A few cancelled games and teams playing uneven schedules can be compensated for by eliminating the divisions like in '82 or simply going by best W-L percentage. Example, if one team goes 10-6 and another 9-5, the 9-5 team has a better W-L pct. Some fans may not like it, but a perfect season is beginning to look unlikely.

I warned everyone in this space over the summer to be prepared to accept some inequities. The NFL is going to do what it takes to get through this season, whether or not it means everything is completely and totally fair.

Jeremy from Thousandsticks, KY

Insiders, what do you think of the Eagles winning their first game of the season after four games, and it catapults them into sole possession of first place in their division?

I think the tie on their ledger could end up having huge implications down the line. It did for the Packers in 2013.

Corey from Henderson, NV

Could the 2017 RB draft class go down as one of the greatest in history? Fournette, McCaffrey, Cook, Mixon, Kamara, Hunt, Conner, Cohen, Williams, Mack, Hill, Jones...and that doesn't include some of the lesser-known backups like Perine and Foreman. Every one of those guys in that first batch are starters, most are stars, and a couple have broken the mold for what a RB should be. And the Packers got two of those guys.

It's an impressive collection. I'm not big on the "greatest in history" questions because it doesn't take much research to find the 1952 class produced three Hall of Famers (Ollie Matson, Hugh McElhenny, Frank Gifford) and the classes of '57 (Paul Hornung, Jim Brown) and '95 (Terrell Davis, Curtis Martin) produced two each. Then you find the '83 class (headlined by Eric Dickerson, Curt Warner and Roger Craig) had nine different guys rush for at least 3,000 yards in their careers. Meanwhile the '90 class (topped by Emmitt Smith) produced eight different backs with a 1,000-yard season and the '08 class (Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Jamaal Charles) had 10. That's probably more than you bargained for, but there's certainly potential in that '17 group to make some comparisons down the line. It could be an interesting discussion someday.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

I know it didn't happen, but suppose Begelton had been elevated twice before being signed to the active roster. Now that he has been released, if he is re-signed back to the PS would he have two more elevations again?

Yes. It's two elevations per player with a "free" return to the practice squad without the player being subject to waivers. The Packers didn't use the elevation for Begelton this past week, but signed him to the active roster for the game instead, because a team only gets two elevations per game and they were used for Billy Winn and De'Jon Harris. That's two elevations for Winn, so if the Packers want him up for another game, they'll have to sign him to the 53.

Dylan from Cary, NC

Any chance the NFL just pauses everything for a week or two to reset?

I doubt it, if the virus is affecting only one or two teams.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Hey fellas, remember last summer when multiple sports news outlets were assured the Packers would cut Jamaal Williams this offseason? Our memories can be worse than defensive backs', if you know what I mean.

Neither Wes nor I ever bought into that "assurance." It never made sense to me.

Erich from Sheboygan, WI

Is the IR three games or three weeks?

I believe it's three games. I may have misstated previously.

Arthur from Altoona, WI

When more than one player wears the communication helmet, as on Monday night, are there two separate helmets or one that they share? Since I have never played organized football I assume that due to health and fit that each player would have a different helmet adjusted for himself.

That's correct. Any players who might wear the communication helmet would bring two helmets to the sideline – one with the speaker and one without. It sounds like based on Pettine's comments Wednesday that Barnes and Summers were going back and forth between their separate pairs of helmets.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

Raven Greene's presence on this D along with the rise of Krys Barnes really has allowed us to be stout in the run game and better in the hook and curl zones. If they remain healthy, will we see increased roles and further production from them?

I think that's a distinct possibility.

Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

Vic's mantra "Players not plays" penetrated my brain. However, looking at ML's play-calling, I think it should be "Plays that let the players play how they play best." If you had to give percentages, what percentage would you give each of these aphorisms in describing the 2020 Packers, both on offense and defense?

I have no idea how to give percentages, but don't misunderstand Vic. His mantra was never to mean that plays don't matter. It's always about having better players first. Then it's about calling plays that fit your players. But ask any coach if he'd rather have a great player or a great play, and he'll always take the great player.

Edwin from Des Plaines, IL

"I'll permit glowing as long as it's no brighter than 60 watts." Technically, wattage is a measure of power, not brightness. The metric unit of brightness (illuminance) is "lumen." An incandescent bulb needs more wattage to create the same brightness as an LED bulb. It would be more accurate to say "as long as it's no brighter than 800 lumens."

I'll make sure Wes is properly illuminated on the subject, and I'll see myself out.

Buck from Onalaska, WI

Insiders, what do the Packers have to do best this weekend to win?

Stay safe. Happy Thursday.