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Inbox: That's the first notch on the board

You can feel the confidence growing on we-fense

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CB Jaire Alexander

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Wes, don't know if I agree with your answer to Sarah from Neenah's question on what you look for in players? You started off with "character." I had flashbacks to Bart Starr being asked that question and his answer was always, "He's a fine young man and a credit to the community." You knew right then that the guy couldn't play.

What a head coach tells the media and how the Packers' scouting department grades prospects behind the scenes are two completely different things. I feel Spoff is a man of great character, but I don't want him playing middle linebacker for me. When I say "character," I'm talking about high-level players such as Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and De'Vondre Campbell. As great as it is to draft an elite prospect or sign a free agent, they have to fit into the culture of your football team, too.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Pointing out that things will open up as defenses contribute more to stopping AJ and AJ – I think it could also be more frustrating to a defense after that – if they are able to bottle the RB up, then still not get off the field because a random WR gets a catch (whether moves chains or is a 55-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins, which I literally called two seconds before it happened).

The more holes you drill in the dam, the more difficult it gets to stop the surge. As the Packers rode their run game, the play-action pass became more and more devastating. That's the point I kept making with my comment last week about the Packers being 10-0 in the regular-season under Matt LaFleur when Jones and Dillon combine for at least 25 touches – it's not just the touches. It's everything the offense gains from that level of execution.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Which RB performance did you enjoy more? Jones might've had the flashier stats but my goodness, Dillon was a cannonball splintering the D-line!

There's just no letup with Jones and Dillon. Jones goes to the sideline for a breather. Congratulations, now you have a 247-pound man lowering his shoulder into your chest.

James from Appleton, WI

You can plan for the kind of team you want to be, but I guess every season, to some extent, you have to find out what kind of team you are. When the Packers were backed up in their own end zone, I expected a run fake and a quick out to an outside WR for three or four yards. But they had no doubts about giving the ball to AJ Dillon. I guess the offense has that part pretty well figured out.

Every NFL team is going to have success running the ball at various intervals of a season. But the great ones can do it even when the opposition knows it's coming. It's a mentality as much as it's a skill. The offense feeds off watching Dillon bully his way up the middle for four yards.

Tim from Allouez, WI

Aaron Rodgers' career stats vs. Chicago are indeed mind-boggling. In fact, he's done to the Bears over his career in the equivalent of two full seasons of games what he's done to the league in his MVP seasons of 2020 and 2021. The win-loss records. TDs to INTs and passer ratings are remarkably similar.

It sure is somethin'.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

That may have been a poor pass by Fields, but that was also one of the most earned interceptions I've seen. Jaire Alexander made an absolutely spectacular play on that ball covering so much ground on the play. Then to be able to extend and reach to finish it off was astounding given the energy and effort he made just to reach that point. This is Jaire's year; I can feel it. With the secondary and front they have now, he will finally get the opportunities to provide DPOY-worthy highlights all year.

Alexander's closing speed on that play was ridiculous. It's good to see him get that pick. Because everyone knows he won't have nearly as many opportunities as most of his cornerback peers in the NFL. You gotta make those count.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, which play of the game was your favorite? Jaire's INT was awesome!

The Alexander INT and Quay Walker basically coming across the field to stop Fields short of the end zone prior to the goal-line stand on fourth down. Football is more than 40 times and bench reps, but those plays showcase the intangibles that made Walker a first-round pick.

Check out behind-the-scenes photos of the Green Bay Packers' locker room before and after their Sunday Night Football victory over the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sept. 18, 2022.

Tony from Cedarburg, WI

Sammy Watkins looks like another great find by the Packers. Routes seem so crisp. Looking forward to seeing him continue to grow with this offense. I could see him with career high in receptions this year (65 his second year).

Watkins was a good signing for Green Bay. Yes, he felt like he had something to prove this year, but perhaps Watkins' greatest attribute is his willingness to fill any role the Packers ask of him. He joked after the game that he's blocking more now than he ever has in his career – and he loves it. That's not always a given when a team is signing a veteran receiver who was once a No. 4 overall pick. Again, it comes down to character, ability, scheme fit. Watkins checked all the boxes.

Daniel from Huntersville, NC

One thing I noticed watching Christian Watson: He absorbs those initial tackle attempts and knocks the defender back, taking a second tackle attempt to bring him down. Once he gets more involved in the passing and jet-sweep game, look out. There's another freight train coming!

And the more ways the Packers can use Watson's talents. His combination of size and speed could be a real problem for secondaries as Watson matures as a player. There were a few things to clean up from Sunday but experience earned is experience gained.

Noah from Williamsport, PA

Watson's speed impressed me on the 9-yard jet sweep so much I was begging for a chance for the guy to get the ball in his hands all last night, and Romeo Doubs had some great moves on that 20-yard pickup on second-and-long. Can we assume ML has more plans to get these two involved into the game for next week? I have a feeling our rookie situation at WR just needs a couple kinks ironed out and we could have a scary WR room towards the end of the season.

I like the pacing. They're not forcing the ball to the rookies. They're introducing them to the offense. The Doubs play was big on several fronts. After the game, Allen Lazard mentioned Green Bay hasn't run many designed receiver screens under LaFleur. Not only did Doubs have the patience to allow his blocking to develop but he also had the speed and vision to maximize available yards on the play.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

While two games are by no means a trend, I wonder if the opponents' impressive opening drives are a result of us struggling against the initial scripted plays. I remember from last year, one of the hallmarks of the defense was the ability to make adjustments, both during games and as an overall unit for the season. This theory would give me a lot of hope yet for this D to perform up to the hype from the summer.

I wouldn't chalk it up to struggling against scripted plays as much as the defense just needs to come out with a sense of urgency. Once the Packers get that first first-down stop, they're usually OK. That's why the Preston Smith sack was so essential in the second quarter. If you win on first down, good things start to happen. If you lose, then the opponent can open the playbook a little wider.

Matty from Durango, CO

Wes, you're a team owner. A genie grants you one of two wishes: 1) You'll have the world's best talent evaluator for the rest of your life, or 2) You'll have the world's best coach for the rest of your life. I'd choose No. 1. You?

It's probably No. 1 but a great coach can get the most out of a locker room, too. My thinking is if you consistently assemble the best draft class every year, you should be able to find a good coach to make something of all that talent.

David from San Antonio, TX

Is it me or is Josh Myers a great downfield blocker?

His athleticism shows in space. It's not easy to put a hat on a hat at the second level, especially for an offensive lineman. But Myers seems to have a knack for digging out linebackers downfield and it's aided some big gains for the backfield.

Lee from Saint Paul, MN

If the Packers' D cleans up the running game, it will be hard for other teams to beat them. I believe they can and will fix it. Oh, one more thing, Aaron Jones should have more than 15 carries per game from now on, history should tell us why. Thank you.

The good news, in my experience, is that it's much easier to make corrections defending the run than it is if a defense is getting gashed through the air week after week. Joe Barry's unit still has work to do but it was the correct response Sunday night. Now, it's onto Tampa.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Nice rebound game! There are still some issues to clean up but definitely a step in the right direction. Good to see Allen Lazard and Elgton Jenkins on the field again and knocking off some rust. What do you think will be the biggest challenge next week in Tampa?

As much as the media will want to make this about Rodgers and Tom Brady, this game likely comes down to Leonard Fournette and the corrections the Packers' defense makes up front. If Mike Evans really doesn't play Sunday, then I expect Tampa to ride its bell cow.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good morning. Do you see Mike Evans' suspension as a major disadvantage for the Bucs next week? Seems like they're already having issues (similar to the Packers) on offense, and this might end up being the advantage we need to get the W.

Considering how much Evans getting tossed hurt my fantasy team this past week, I'm sure the Bucs aren't doing jumping jacks over it. The Packers have handled Evans pretty well in the past but certainly that's one less weapon for a passing offense already missing a couple key pieces.

Dom from Newark, DE

Hello Insiders. Hate to be pessimistic but I saw someone ask a similar question yesterday. If Chicago sticks to the run, how different is that ballgame and what happens when we play a team like Tampa who won't be as forgiving an opponent?

It's no different than if the Packers stick to the run last week against Minnesota. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, my friend.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Regarding pass-rushing stats, is a sack also counted as a QB hit and a QB pressure? Is a QB hit also a QB pressure? Or can a pass rusher only achieve one of those stats during a play?

It counts for all categories. It's the same as a sack also counting as a tackle for a loss.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

The special teams showed up. We didn't get a return for a TD, but, neither did they. We did not get set up deep in their territory, but, neither did they. No blocked field goals or punts.

As Spoff noted, you're seeing how impactful a player like Dallin Leavitt can be for Rich Bisaccia's units. In addition to the tackles, Leavitt also helped get his teammates fired up on the play Isaiah McDuffie stopped Trestan Ebner at the Chicago 20 early in the second quarter. You can feel the confidence growing on we-fense.

Bill from Sheboygan, WI

It sure is nice having a punter that gives the punt team a chance to make plays. I thought they looked pretty decent! Now they just need to keep stacking these games before we can say things have changed.

And Pat O'Donnell appears to be a darn good holder, too.

Dave from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Has Amari Rodgers been relegated strictly to kick and punt return duties? It seems like Watson has become the go-to jet sweep guy. Are you surprised he hasn't been more involved in the offense?

There is enough flexibility in the offense for all the receivers to be involved on that play. Again, Rodgers' focus is special teams, and he had a solid 20-yard return against the Bears. It starts there for the second-year wideout. If Rodgers keeps performing, he'll get more opportunities.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

This is nitpicky, I know, but I can't stand that those little forward touch passes to a runner in motion count as passes and not rushes. Do you know the rationale for that? I mean really, it's hardly different than handing the ball to the streaking runner. In my view, Aaron Jones had two rushing TDs on Sunday night.

LaFleur said the play is part of the team's run installs, but since the quarterback pushed the ball forward, it counts as a pass. It's no different than those shovel passes Brett Favre used to do. Call it whatever you want. All that matters is it results in positive yards and points. It worked on Sunday.

Frank from Cedar Falls, IA

Random Monday morning thought: Randall Cobb's career stats – 596 rec, 7,219 yds, 52 TDs, infamous bear hunter. Is he a future Packers Hall of Famer?

Absolutely. With 28 more catches, Cobb will pass James Lofton for fifth all-time in career receptions for the Packers (531).

Woody from Kill Devil Hills, NC

Kudos to the Packers website for providing the radio broadcast of the game. Throughout the '60s we watched the Pack on TV but listened to the radio – like 93.2% of other Wisconsinites I knew. When I moved back to WI in 1989 until moving out again in 2013, it was the same TV and radio. With my season tickets, I listen to the game while in the bowl. I now continue that experience with the Sunday Ticket and radio broadcast from the site. At 72, this old man feels young again.

I'm thrilled to hear you're enjoying the broadcasts.

Jeff from Wauwatosa, WI

Hi guys, I think everyone should curb their excitement. So, they beat the Bears. We didn't learn anything about the Packers from that game.

I'm sorry beating the Bears has grown tiresome for you, Jeff.

Scott from Hayward, WI

If we want to keep it simple, a team generally needs 10 wins to qualify for the playoffs. Every win beyond 10 means bigger and better things, but we need to grind out a minimum of 10 wins, regardless of how impressive or who they're against. We are 10% of the way to the playoffs. Let's be happy with the WIN, armchair quarterbacks.

That's the first notch on the board. Gotta keep climbing.

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