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Inbox: That's how you have to play that position

Optimizing the scheme is nice, but execution is still paramount

CB Kevin King
CB Kevin King

Thomas from Blaine, WA

Separate the wolves from the sheep? Is that like wolves in sheep's clothing? Or the little boy who cried wolf? Or do we want to be wolfish? Now I just feel sheepish...

And once again we're off, … so we might as well get going.

Myles from Mesa, AZ

Hello II! With Patrick Mahomes out on Sunday, who will the Packers' defense need to shut down to come away with a victory?

Travis Kelce is the biggest concern in my book, given what the Oakland tight ends did. Tyreek Hill is next on my list. Pettine will have to scheme a little to try to limit Kelce's opportunities. With Hill it comes down to making tackles. Many folks are asking who will be responsible. For Kelce, Amos and Burks could be key, but Pettine may have additional ideas. No matter how well Alexander plays, the Chiefs will get Hill the ball in one way or another, which is why I'm focused on the tackling part. That's on everyone.

Steven from Springfield, IL

Sorry, I can't help but do the math. There are 2,430 regular season MLB games each year and only 256 NFL games. Therefore, it is vastly more difficult to throw a perfect game. Internet searches claim there have been 219,472 MLB games in history and only 15,790 NFL games. That comes out to one perfect game every 9,542 games compared to one perfect passer rating every 208 games. Based on these estimates, a perfect passer rating is probably more similar to a complete game shutout in today's MLB.

There we have it.

David from Philadelphia, PA

Maybe I'm overthinking, but it seems a bit unfair the Packers had to play two straight games against teams coming off a bye and now another who played a Thursday game the week before. Andy Reid is such a great coach that giving him extra days to prepare is scary. As of October of last year, Reid is 16-3 after a bye. Definitely a disadvantage when it could've been KC scrambling to prepare with a backup QB.

Please think a little harder about what you're actually complaining about here.

Brady from Madison, WI

Something that I think has gone entirely unappreciated in the Packers fan base is the large part that Kevin King has played in the dramatic improvement of the defense. He takes a lot of flak, but nobody can argue the difference he's made in his first season he's had uninterrupted action. His three INTs are good for t-2nd in the NFL right now, which is tied with guys like Stephon Gilmore, Tre'Davious White, and Janoris Jenkins. And he's only 24. This kid's special.

He just needs to stay on the field, and I don't think he's playing at 100 percent right now, but he deserves credit for getting out there because he does make a difference. What I liked most was seeing him come right back after giving up a tough catch to Ateman against pretty good coverage and get the pick on the next play. That's how you have to play that position.

Evan from Waupun, WI

Congrats to Aaron Rodgers on the perfect passer rating Sunday. But could somebody explain the passer rating stat? A-Rod completed 25-of-31 passes on Sunday. I just don't understand how 25-of-31 could be just as good as 31-of-31. To me, 31-of-31 is perfect.

That would be a perfect completion percentage, but not necessarily passer rating, which takes all the production into account. Aside from touchdowns and interceptions, yards per pass attempt is a key component of the formula. Throwing for 300 yards on 25 attempts versus 40 attempts, for example, gives a vastly different rating. To demonstrate with regard to Rodgers' outing Sunday, if you punch in 31-of-31 with five touchdowns and no picks but for half as many yards (215), you get a rating of 135.2. Still outstanding, but even with no incompletions still not really that close to 158.3.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

The Packers need this player...the Packers should consider that player...given the team chemistry doesn't it seem that adding a player at this stage can be risky? Would you be surprised if Packers stayed pat with the players we have? Amazing pictures online of the Packers-Raiders game. Capturing the positive expressions (including smiles) on the faces of many players during the plays. The players look like they truly want to be on the field competing. How do you improve on that?

To ignore an opportunity to improve the team based solely on "chemistry," when the team has endured only one loss to test that chemistry, would be arrogant and misguided. But I will say with what the Packers have going, a new acquisition (aside from the usual bottom-of-the-roster shuffling) would have to be deemed in advance a good fit in the locker room. Intangibles aside, the cost of a trade always factors in as well. Gutekunst and his staff will do their homework.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Several years ago I attended the game in KC when Denver and Manning were unstoppable in a high-scoring game. That game set the highest crowd noise until Seattle's piped-in noise supposedly beat it several weeks later. KC trailed most of the game, but the noise was unbelievable and electric from start to finish. There's going to be a lot of juice in their house. Besides the silent count and scoring points, is there anything else we can do to neutralize or keep the crowd from affecting the game?

Not really, other than making plays that stem the tide and turn momentum. Mahomes or no Mahomes, the Chiefs have a lot of talent and will generate surges with their home crowd. In a tough environment, you have to weather those storms and limit the damage. For all the big plays the Packers' defense has given up, the unit has done a commendable job of shaking those off and getting a stop or forcing a field goal after they occur. That's an extremely valuable trait to have, especially if you can take it on the road with you.

Tim from Windsor, CO

The return of "The Belt" had a few friends and I discussing its origination. I was under the impression that Rodgers created it as a way to have fun when he practiced with the twos and threes under Favre. Is there truth to this story?

Yes. As the scout-team QB, Rodgers would break out the belt when he made a big play against the first-team defense in practice. The first time I recall seeing it in a game was in 2009, at Pittsburgh if memory serves.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

From Reddit: Aaron Rodgers is 5-2 in belt-mock games. 166/235 passing for 2,118 yards, 25 touchdowns, and two interceptions. Suh also mocked the belt in the Week 17 Flynn shootout win with Rodgers on the sideline.

You folks have too much time on your hands. Though I will add, in one of the two losses, Detroit's Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL with a belt mock in 2014, so it's truly not a good idea.

Mike from Ames, IA

If he's activated soon and healthy, you have to think Ibraheim Campbell has a role in this defense after the way they looked up the middle on Sunday, right? People keep talking about bringing in help via trade, but we also have to let the guys in the room get in there.

Once he's ready, I see Campbell being the best replacement for Raven Greene in the hybrid spot. Echoing Ricky from Philly, that move combined with Savage's return shifting Amos back where he belongs can certainly help. But I also thought the point LaFleur made on Monday was a salient one. There's a tendency to try to do too much pre-snap and the Packers have gotten caught. Optimizing the scheme is nice, but execution is still paramount.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Clearly QB1 is in a better place this season. What do you attribute that to most? Health, scheme, chemistry, supporting cast, other phases contributing...?

All of the above, but I don't dare try to get inside Rodgers' mind to rank them.

Josh from Denver, CO

Is the Inbox rife with gnashing of teeth about the Sanu trade? It feels like a lot of fans have written off Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison for the year. I don't think either of them have played nearly their best ball of the season yet.

Me neither. Not even close.

Randy from Naples, FL

No one has mentioned the penalties in II. Three penalties for 20 yards. That is huge. In fact it's our best game since Week 8 last year when we only had two against the Rams.

With none declined to boot, and from the Alex Kemp crew that has the fourth-highest average of total flags per game amongst the 17 officiating crews this year.

Ben from Poughkeepsie, NY

I know it's way too early to be talking about a Super Bowl matchup, but how cool would it be if we got a Rodgers vs. Brady matchup for the 100th season Super Bowl? Two of the best to ever do it, dueling it out. Of course it would only be right for the Lombardi to return to Titletown by the end of it, though. The idea of it is exciting, but there is still a long road ahead to get there.

Very long.

Drew from Tomahawk, WI

Did Blake Martinez get credit for a forced fumble on the Carr fumble/touchback play? He clearly hit him before the ball came out, and I'd argue that if he didn't hit him then Carr hangs on and gets a TD. If not is there a way for coaches/players/executives (or fans?) to appeal and get a stat correction?

He was credited with a forced fumble.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

I am looking ahead to when Davante Adams returns to the active lineup. The offense has exhibited success in recent games as Aaron Rodgers has targeted numerous receivers, and numerous receivers have been making valuable receptions. Do you anticipate Rodgers will continue to target multiple receivers, or will he be likely to rely once again on Davante Adams as his first and foremost target?

You get the ball to your best players when the opportunities present themselves. Rodgers will look for Adams because he's the best receiver, and he's open a lot. If teams scheme to take him away, it should allow for other guys to make plays because they're doing so now without Adams on the field.

Mike from Madison, WI

Last year after the Bears' fumble out of the end zone someone here (I believe) summed up the rule nicely. When the defense is on the field they are protecting their property (the end zone) and if the offense loses the ball on "my property" then it is my ball now. I like the rule and I think it makes sense. You shouldn't reward the offense with another opportunity when they are being reckless with the football. When the offense is down by the end zone, ball security should be a top priority.

I believe that was in 2017 in Chicago, actually, but regardless … I was in the other camp on this rule for a long time. Arguments like yours and Wes's have made me come around. Carr's carelessness with the ball was inexcusable. The consequences are harsh, but that's all the more reason to play smarter.

Ciaran from Tullow, Ireland

I don't get the controversy on the fumble over the goal rule. If anything I would like to see it extended all down the sideline. If an offensive player is careless enough to fumble possession they shouldn't be rewarded by the fluke of being near the sideline. Reward great defensive play.

Another popular sentiment but this would go too far for me. In the field of play, make the defense recover it.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

With consecutive road games at KC and then out west in LA, will the team be going on a two-week road trip or will they return home and fly out again? Seems they could save some wear and tear by staying out West.

No, two separate trips. The logistics of moving the entire football operation to another location for a week are far more complicated than simply flying back and forth.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Hi Insiders, would you please remind us how wins-losses and percentages work with the infamous tie? Specifically, how is Detroit at .417 when their record is 2-3-1?

A tie counts as half a win, so the Lions have 2½ wins in six games, which computes to .417.

Chris from Katy, TX

There's been a lot of talk about how odd this year's Packers schedule is. To add one more layer to it, if the Week 3 (Denver) and Week 6 (Detroit) games were switched, the schedule would be, in order: three NFC North games, two NFC East games, four cross-conference, two NFC third-place finishers, other two NFC East games, other three NFC North games. One scheduling flip away from having a perfect sandwich of a season.

Did I mention y'all having too much time on your hands?

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

Good morning, fellas. So with our defense ebb and flowing and our offense picking up steam like a freight train, how would you say our Packer identity is unfolding?

One win at a time. The more ways you can win in this league, the better off you're going to be. So far, the Packers have won with defense, and they've won with offense. Most important, they've been the better team in the fourth quarter in five of seven games. That'll work.

Amber from Freedom, WI

I wanted to share a cool story that all started with this column. About five years ago I started commenting and asking questions here. It was a cool community of Packer fans. About two years ago we started a Facebook chat that has grown to 10 of us all from here. We talk every day and have become super great friends. I got married this past weekend. A few of them made the trip. It was the first time I met two of them in person. This column brought really great people into my life. Thank you.

You're welcome. Cool story indeed and a great way to end today's column. Happy Wednesday.