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Inbox: That’s how you want it to look

CB Kevin King and S Darnell Savage
CB Kevin King and S Darnell Savage

Evan from Middleton, WI

1-0.

That’s the goal. Good morning!

Adam from Irvine, CA

Is it just me or does something seem different with this team than years past? I was on edge the whole game thinking, “OK, they’re going to score” and it didn't happen. I was smiling after the game; instead of cheering for a win like I usually do, I just sat back with a big smile on my face.

That was as encouraging a defensive performance as I can remember from a Packers opener. They effectively pressured Mitchell Trubisky, they stopped the run, got off the field on third down and generated a turnover at a critical point in the game. That’s how you want it to look. Yes, it’s only one game but that is one heck of a start. You could feel the swagger in the postgame locker room.

Sean from Wenatchee, WA

Last season’s opener saw the Pack get four sacks and a turnover and I thought it was evidence they had a great defense. Then in hindsight I realized it was more of a rusty Bears offense. I’m cautiously optimistic.

I don’t think the two are comparable. The defense had four sacks…on four quarterback hits in last year’s opener. The Packers hit Mitchell Trubisky 11 times Thursday night. It was an endless storm of pressure. Furthermore, Chicago rushed for 139 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry a year ago. It had 46 yards and didn’t have an individual carry for more than eight.

Dave from Germantown, IN

When was the last time the Packers limited a team to a 20 percent conversion ratio on third down or forced as many punts as Chicago had last night?

I don’t know that statistic, but the game reminded me a lot of the Packers’ 17-3 win over San Francisco in 2015. There was confidence every time the defense came on the field it was going to get a stop. That’s special.

Bob from Cadillac Ranch, Zimbabwe

Did I see a stat in the on-screen crawler that said the last time the Packers defeated the Bears while scoring 10 or fewer points was in October of 1932? Seriously? Is that really true?

Didn’t the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 to close the 2010 regular season?

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

I just couldn't believe the wing span on Preston Smith. He’s like a power forward that takes up a lot space on the line.

And when you mix in Za’Darius Smith, that spells a world of trouble. You need to see those two guys up close to appreciate what kind of athletes you’re dealing with.

Matt from Fort Myers, FL

Why did Rashan Gary only get six snaps against the Bears, and who will he normally be relieving when he comes into the game? Would he be coming in for Z?

The Smiths played nearly every snap on defense. That left Gary and Kyler Fackrell to rotate in the dime package. I’ll say this about Gary – he was impactful in those six snaps.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Coach Pettine on the sidelines. More energy apparent from the players. How much can we attribute those things to a new HC? Is this version of the Packers looser? Chemistry wins championships?

It’s a sum of the whole – a solid game plan, energized players and wall-to-wall trust. The result was one of the most energized postgame locker rooms I’ve been in. There’s confidence this is no one-week wonder, either. They can sustain it. Chemistry does win championships and winning breeds confidence.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

I would like to claim credit for the new name for our free-agency additions. I’m thinking...“Super Smith Bro’s.” I’ll see myself out.

You should really get that to their marketing folks. That was a first for me last night – watching two players conduct an actual media session together. They’re having fun right now.

Daryl from St. Louis, MO

I think it is safe to say the law firm of Smith, Smith & Amos is open for business.

Or this one.

Ross from Hudson, WI

I never thought I would hear someone say, “My favorite part of the game is when the Packers forced the Bears into third-and-40.”

That also was another first for me.

Miranda from Rochester, NY

Even though he was drafted at No. 21, do you think Savage is still the steal of the draft? He is always in the right place, always around the ball and incredible instincts. I thought for sure he was going to get a pick in that game. This secondary is scary knowing they are all young and will only get better.

It’s just one game but Savage looks like he belongs. His athleticism and 4.36 speed were on full display. The guy closes distance fast, whether it’s chasing down a ball carrier or ranging to disrupt a pass.

Kyle from Santa Cruz, CA

Smith. Smith. Amos. Savage. Can we talk about Jaire Alexander for a second? What an absolute beast of a game he had. Great coverage and an insane pass defense nearly leading to a tip drill for Williams. Taylor Gabriel looked like he was playing defense against Alexander at times. Kevin King’s near-INT playing man defense on the inside on an out route gets an honorable mention.

Alexander has exceptional talent and athleticism but his internal drive is perhaps the most underrated part of his game. The guy just competes, relentlessly. Even if a pass gets completed on him, Alexander fires right back the next play. I truly believe that tandem of Alexander and King could be special if those two guys stay on the field.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

How many snaps did Kevin King play against Da Bears? Should we expect to see that increase next week?

King played 42 snaps against the Bears. Assuming there are no setbacks, I’d imagine that number will continue to increase in the weeks ahead.

Visti from Farum, Denmark

And the most important player was a kid, looking like he is fresh out of high school. Good punt time and time again until the game was on the line. Then let’s put their backs against the wall with a great punt! Thanks JK.

It was a great start for Scott and the Packers’ special teams. He hit a rough patch late last year but the leg talent is there. He’s a very special talent and it seems like he has a coach in Shawn Mennenga who can pull the potential out of him.

Brian from Palm Harbor, FL

I was encouraged that Rodgers said that he can get better at not taking that play clock down to the last second. But he hasn’t been able to do it for several years now. Why do you think that they continue to snap the ball so late and what do you think Rodgers meant when he said he could fix it? Apparently he can’t hear me screaming at the TV to snap the ball.

Rodgers said after the game he needs to get out of the huddle quicker. He said this is going to be a process. The Packers have three straight home games to keep working at it.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

Kudos to Brian from Reno. The tradeoff Rodgers consciously made to take the five yards for delay vs. burning that last timeout was brilliant. It's not only the saving of a TO for a potential drive under two minutes, the ability to make a challenge turned out to be pivotal when the Bears’ big pass play gets reversed. It had to be tempting to take the timeout based on the down, distance and field position. It erased the unwise challenge ML threw out on the OPI which could have been the big story.

And then Rodgers came right back and found Robert Tonyan for a big pickup on the next play. I don’t deny the Packers’ offense had some rough moments against the Bears, but it stayed level-headed the entire time and scored when it absolutely needed to. Minnesota is another opportunity to grow.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

The offense didn’t look great, which I expected, being a new offense against a great defense. I’m not big on X’s and O’s so I didn’t notice a whole lot of the offensive scheme, but one thing I did notice is it seemed there was at least one tight end in on every play. Do you know if that is the case?

There was a tight end on the field on every snap to the best of my knowledge. Matt LaFleur used a lot of two-tight-end packages, too, with Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan. The Packers had a good rotation going with Jimmy Graham (35 snaps), Lewis (34 snaps) and Tonyan (20). The three combined for six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Robert from Chicago, IL

I've seen some talk about the touchdown pass to Graham being out of character since it was riskier than a throw Rodgers would usually make, but wasn't Rodgers expecting to get a 12-men-on-the-field call? I was surprised there was no flag because based on the camera angle right before the ball was snapped there was clearly a Bears player sprinting off the field who didn't look very close to making it. To me it looked like he thought he had a free play.

The way Rodgers snapped the ball led me to believe he knew it was a free play. Either way, it was good to see Rodgers and Graham connect in the end zone. Like we thought last year, that could be a big ace up the offense’s sleeve.

Caleb from Nashville, TN

Gotta say I’m feeling very thankful for Davante right about now.

I’ve said it all summer, folks – be grateful for Davante Adams.

Greg from Brooklyn Park, MN

Initially thought the first-half-home and second-half-road (mostly) schedule was not good. Now I think the first half will allow Pack to work out the kinks at home and if the defense is as good as we’re hoping, second half could be fun. Defense travels right? What say the gurus?

I will never say an opener is a must-win but that road win over the defending NFC North champions makes life immeasurably easier for the Packers, who now get three swings at home to start to establish their identity on offense and defense.

Steve from Waupaca, WI

Not yet mentioned is how huge is the 10-day mini-bye we have to work out kinks and prepare for the home opener?

That and also how the team can now rest up for a full weekend before transitioning into a normal week.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

I enjoyed the job the D did on Thursday night and the OLB and S positions looked as good as expected. The thing I was most encouraged by was the play of the DL. After letting Daniels go I trusted that the staff knew what was best, but it was a "trust by verify" type of situation for me. Do you think we got some verification against the Bears or is there a better litmus test coming up in the schedule?

I don’t want to circle back to who is or isn’t on the roster at this point. I simply think this game showed the Packers have the pieces they need to be successful. They used a rotation of Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster and Fadol Brown as the third defensive lineman in base and moved around Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry in the sub packages. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith can rush with their hand in the dirt, and Lowry can also anchor from the seven-tech spot. Mike Pettine moved those guys around a lot Thursday night and will continue to do so moving forward.

Dano from Seal Beach, CA

It was great news Allen Lazard moved from the practice squad to the 53. I don’t see that they filled behind him on that squad and now have only nine. Will they fill it with the positon that left, WR, or with another more needed position? Do you know why it is not filled immediately?

It won’t be vacant for long. I’m sure Brian Gutekunst and his personnel department will fill it out by practice Monday.

Jon Marc from Columbia, MO

I have a feeling that "We've got a defense" will get enshrined in Packers lore right next to "R-E-L-A-X" and "I think we can run the table.”

We shall see. There’s plenty of history left to be written.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

I have played and watched football for more than 50 years and I have never seen a defensive holding call on a lineman on a run play. Is that even a thing? I didn’t see anything unusual on the replay.

No – and definitely not one on a run play that lasted like a few seconds. There were plenty of moments that made me scratch my head. I’ll leave it at that.

Jake from Athens, GA

Wes, how did your fantasy draft go? I’ve been catching flak all week from my friends for taking Green Bay’s “terrible” defense. I didn’t get any today.

I got Zeke Elliott at No. 8 because everyone passed on him. So I got that going for me…which is nice.

Elliot from Minneapolis, MN

I know it’s early in the season and coming off a huge win, but it was fun watching the inside-the-locker-room Matt LaFleur speech. Definitely seems players love him as a coach so far.

Aaron Rodgers said it best: “It’s not every day you get your first win as an NFL head coach.” And as I said in Thursday’s Inbox, this is when the 2019 Packers begin to write their story. That was a good first chapter. Enjoy your weekend, everyone.

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