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Inbox: That’s how a young player earns trust

180920-Wes-Inbox-2560

Stephen from Washington, D.C.

I know some people are worried about Washington being a “trap game” but I'm not. The Packers have a chip on their shoulder after the tie with the Vikings and will clean things up in the red zone, which is usually a very good area for Rodgers and the WRs. I'm calling it now – Packers win by two scores or more and settle for only one field goal.

You heard it here first from D.C.’s own. Good morning!

Colin from Tripoi, WI

Guys, is there anything else we can talk about besides how not to hit a QB? I know it's going to happen again and again but would like to think about anything else for now. Please.

I’m open to taking questions about Washington? Anyone have any?

Jason from La Crescent, MN

Maybe college teams and the NFL should start encouraging players to get at least a minor in physics since it seems the only way to be sure you avoid an illegal hit is to do some quick physics calculations in your head before making a tackle. With the incredible rate at which the brain is capable of processing information it should be a piece of cake.

I guess not.

Glen from Leesburg, VA

Now that Aaron Jones will be on the active roster for game day against Washington, do you know who will become inactive due to this?

Oh, here we go. The Packers opted to keep Darius Jackson as the fourth running back and waive cornerback Deante Burton to make room on the roster to activate Jones. Jackson seems to have some flexibility on special teams, so I suppose it’s possible all four could be active.

Tim from Spokane, WA

I know everyone is excited about Aaron Jones coming back but I feel like Montgomery is being overlooked. He hasn't had many carries but he's averaging almost 5.5 yards per carry, and he can line up just about anywhere on the field making it difficult for defenders to match up against. From what I've seen his pass protection is pretty good, as well. Do you think the coaches are being cautious with his number of carries and playing time due to his injury history?

The Packers’ backfield is at its best when all three of those running backs are healthy and available. The only downside is you can’t get them all on the field at the same time. Montgomery has improved immensely in pass protection and proven he’s capable of handling as many snaps as he’s given. It’s a long season. He’ll get his chances.

Jagger from Mishawaka, IN

I think Jamaal Williams’ blocking is something a lot of people don't pay attention to. I saw a clip of him totally shutting down, I believe, Eric Kendricks on a blitz for the entirety of the play allowing Rodgers time to make a play. Do you think that's one of the "natural instincts" or something that can be taught and mastered?

Probably a little of both. That’s a credit to Ben Sirmans’ teachings and also Williams being ahead of the curve fundamentally when he was drafted. Aaron Rodgers mentioned Wednesday how Williams put together some fantastic teaching tape against the Vikings with his pass-blocking. Yes, rushing yards and touchdowns are fun, but it takes more than that to succeed at this level. Doing what Williams did Sunday is how a young player earns trust.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Is anyone excited to face off against A.D. one last time? I can't imagine there's much left in his tank.

It’s been a tale of two games for Adrian Peterson. He looked good in the opener against Arizona, racking up 96 yards and a touchdown, and then produced only 20 yards on 11 carries against Indianapolis. This will be the 18th time the Packers have squared off against Adrian Peterson in the regular season, so I can promise you Green Bay will be ready for the best version of A.D. Another chapter in that rivalry is about to be written.

Joe from Asbury, IA

For those clamoring about the DL pass rush, just go back and watch the game and keep an eye on 76. He was in the backfield a lot. If not for the flag-football rules on QBs he would have had a sack. He obviously thought "Curt" threw the ball and didn't want a roughing call. I think the DL is just fine, it's the injury to King that is worrisome, any update on him?

It doesn’t look like he’ll play this week and that’s a pity. I thought King looked like a legit No. 1 cornerback during the first two games. He played Stefon Diggs brilliantly when in his coverage.

Mike from Ridgewood, NJ

With Kevin King not playing Sunday, which isn't a great thing, will we see Jaire Alexander start at No. 2?

The Packers have a decision to make on the boundary if King sits against Washington, especially with Davon House popping up on the injury report Wednesday with a biceps injury. Both Alexander and Josh Jackson can play outside, and Alexander did a little of that after King exited. So that’s a call Mike Pettine and Joe Whitt Jr. will have to make this week depending on the availability of King and House.

Tony from Aurora, CO

Jaire Alexander with the swag and keeping it appropriate as a Packer rep, and shutting down a reporter hilariously (and maybe better copy for the reporter). I look forward to watching his already good interview game improve along with his already good football game.

I can’t think of a rookie who has entered this locker room and been more comfortable in his own skin than Alexander. That’s a great attribute for any professional athlete to have, but I think it’s even more valuable for an NFL cornerback. He has the right kind of swagger.

Mark from Franklin, TN

After the Bears game, Rodgers said that he worked out a bit in their indoor facility to prove he could play. I'm just curious, is there some hidden facility deep within the bowels of Lambeau Field or does that mean he took an underground drive over to the Don Hutson Center?

In the past, they’d drive down to the Hutson Center like they did with Rodgers to test his shoulder before the Atlanta game in 2008. That’s still at their disposal, but now they often use the CRIC (conditioning, rehabilitation and instructional center), which is attached to Lambeau.

Charles from Omaha, NE

I have heard multiple references to "the NFL is doubling down" on their mistake. But the NFL is not some nebulous organization accountable to nobody – could Mark Murphy not initiate a conference call with a handful of owners to coordinate having the NFL change officiating?

I don’t think they can make any drastic adjustments in-season. Like the catch rule, the best course of action is probably sticking a pin in it until after the season and revisiting the rule changes at the offseason owners’ meetings.

Barb from Marengo, IL

I’m appalled at some of the behavior by so-called “professional football players.” This has a wide variety of ways in which it is displayed, from not showing up for work because you want more money, or yelling at your coach on the sidelines to abandoning your team at halftime. Thankfully, we don’t see this on the Packers team. Do you give some credit for this to Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff? Is it similar to a lenient parent whose child walks all over them?

I can’t speak on what’s happened in other NFL cities and nobody knows everything that led to Vontae Davis retiring abruptly at halftime. However, the Packers always have placed an emphasis on finding high-character players who will fit into the culture of the locker room. You don’t always bat 1.000, but Green Bay has hit a fairly high percentage.

Aiden from Eau Claire, WI

I like what I’ve seen from the likes of Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, and JK Scott so far. But which of our rookies do you think has the best chance to make the all-rookie team for 2018?

All three of the players you mentioned have shined, but their respective positions – cornerback and punter – have produced some early standouts. Michael Dickson is doing some remarkable things in Seattle, as well, and Denzel Ward was the NFL Rookie of the Week for Week 1.

Steve from Janesville, WI

Was kind of worried with Davante and G-mo moving up the pecking order in the receiving group. They have been great but cannot help but miss Jordy. What a great Packer.

Terrific player and individual. I agree. Now let’s move on, Steve. It’s September.

Eljay from Airdrie, Alberta

Once again I think it's time for the NFL to adopt rules and procedures from the CFL. In the CFL, coaches can challenge roughing the passer and PI. The coach is only permitted one challenge per half, so the coach must prudently decide when to throw a challenge flag. If the NFL adopted this and provided, as Coach McCarthy said, "more clarity” on what constitutes roughing the QB, I think the correct call will be made. FYI: The CFL adopted the two-point rule in '75, the NFL in '94.

OK, I’ll bite. I think you make a good point, but I don’t know it would have mattered in this case. The same New York office that doubled down on the Matthews’ ruling likely is the one that would’ve judged the review. The spirit of the rule is well-intentioned. It’s the implementation that’s been clunky in my humble opinion.

Brian from Springfield, IL

Do you think that pass rushers will start to move away from just hitting the quarterbacks to other techniques due to how the new rules are being called? Instead of hitting and tackling a QB and maybe getting a penalty, could rushers start going for the ball or QB's arms or something else? I just get the feeling that something has to give, and the traditional way of sacking the QB may be what gives and it would be a shame.

I hope what happened Sunday is more an extension of the preseason than a sign of what’s to come, but for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction in this league. If this is the way the game is going to be played this year, defenses will make the necessary adjustments.

Cameron from Ridge Haven, NC

When my brother and I would play Madden growing up we would implement the rule that you could never call for a fair catch. This enticed us to punt the ball more rather than going for it on every fourth down. Well, one game I was down by a score and on the ensuing kickoff, launched the ball straight up, which allowed my coverage ample time to run 15 yards and hit his lineman catching the ball leading to a fumble which I recovered. Why don’t the Packers just do that?

Because the NFL hasn’t created a rule banning fair catches? Am I missing something here?

Mark from Amarillo, TX

Do you think quarterbacks will now begin "flopping" to influence a roughing call? Good thing Aaron has acting experience! Actually the thing I really wanted to ask is, on last-second field-goal attempts like Sunday's game, wouldn't it be wise to have Graham and the tall leapers in the middle of the alignment to give them a better chance at a block?

Would Wes Hodkiewicz do that? Absolutely. Now would an NFL quarterback? I can’t answer that, but that’s the danger of living in that gray area. As far as last-second field goals, I think it would have to be a pretty long kick (lower trajectory) for Graham’s pure height to come into play. I know the Packers used Julius Peppers in that capacity, but he also had a defensive background.

Patrick from Gardenville, Ontario

Have you got a chance to chat with Jimmy Graham? What’s he like with the pads off? I hear that he is a very private person but he sure enjoyed his touchdown followed by a leap in preseason and celebrated with passion.

I haven’t had a chance to speak with Graham one-on-one, but I know he’s been a popular addition to the locker room. He’s quiet and unassuming, but has a likeable personality. I’ve heard nothing but good things from his teammates.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Inbox double-down Wednesday, as I have resided both in Greensboro and Waunakee in prior jobs (the only Waunakee in the world). If the Packers ever try the SB play to throw to the QB, who besides Cobb has the arm to pull that kind of play off?

Davante Adams definitely could.

Chris from Evans, GA

If Clay’s hit was roughing the passer, how on earth was Barr's hit last year on Rodgers legal?

I guess because Rodgers didn’t leave the ground when he was getting driven to the ground?

Jeppe from Copenhagen, Denmark

Vic once made an Ask Vic where he did not edit any of the answers he got. Will you please do that again sometime?

Some days it’s very tempting.

Mark from Oregon, WI

If Clay Matthews sacked Weston Hodkiewicz, could he get flagged for burping the alphabet?

If Clay Matthews sacked Weston Hodkiewicz, there would be no more Weston Hodkiewicz.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

When I bought my condo, it needed to be near a Metro and near the 2018 pep rally (all about location, location, location) and a rooftop pool is nice, too. Looking forward to the pep rally on Saturday, will you be signing Inbox-themed pillows and T-shirts? Any chance to get a (root) beer with Wes? Also, what other team holds pep rallies on the road? How cool is that? Packer fans truly are everywhere.

I don’t know of any other teams that do pep rallies with Mike Spofford and Wes Hodkiewicz anywhere else in the NFL. So bring your pillow and shirt, and I’ll bring my pen, Vinny.

Rocco from Green Bay, WI

Why are the Packers always wronged by league rule changes? Because they have to be. Because they're the heroes the league deserves, but not the one it needs right now, so we'll wrong them. Because they can take it, because they aren't heroes. They're silent guardians, watchful protectors, green and gold knights. Or something like that, anyway.

Cue music. Fade to black. Onto Washington.

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