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Inbox: That's the fun part

Should be really interesting no matter what

TE Tucker Kraft
TE Tucker Kraft

Dan from Richmond, VA

"Tooting his horn all the way to church"? I know we expect odd things from a man who puts asparagus on brats, but I have no idea what to make of this latest Wes-ism. And I'm the son of a preacher man! Any explanation on behalf of your esteemed (but a bit eccentric) colleague, Mike?

I'm the only one who could ever reach him … and I got nothin' for ya.

Bruce from Fox Crossing, WI

I have been reading "The Greatest Story In Sports" by Cliff Christl (a must read for any Packer fan). In Volume 1 its show a copy of THE DOPE SHEET from Oct. 30, 1921. Is this where the original Dope Sheet started way back then? Crazy stuff.

Correct, it goes back to Curly and the early days.

Craig from Sussex, WI

I feel like this will be the Packers Super Bowl game this year! I don't expect a win but a competitive game right to the end would say a lot.

The Packers will play to win, and whether or not they're successful, as Wes said we'll learn something. I said after the Thursday night humbling two months ago the Packers found out how big the gap is they have to close. Now we'll find out how much they've closed it.

Spencer from Hampshire, IL

Guys I tell ya, the injury report this week is not too pretty. Lot of important pieces are banged up on a tough short week.


Doug from Woodington, OH

Mike, what's the general vibe surrounding the team heading into a quick turnaround? On a holiday, to boot.

The general vibe is they've got a big game to play and nobody else cares that they're really banged up on a tough short week.

Will from Rochester, MN

Do the Lions get to request whom they'll play on Thanksgiving? And if so, do you think they wanted to show the nation they are now the team to beat in the NFC North by choosing the Packers?

No, they don't get to make the choice. The league does. For a lot of years when the networks were bound by conference, and the Detroit game on Thanksgiving alternated between FOX and CBS, the opponent would also alternate between an NFC one (often a division foe) on FOX and an AFC one on CBS. Now it doesn't really matter because any game matchup can be on any network, but it's still the league's call.

Larry from Woodridge, IL

Happy Thanksgiving Mike, Wes, and all II readers. There seem to be a lot of questions with no answers regarding how bye weeks are scheduled. Here's one I think may have an answer, but it's beyond me. Why are there no byes this week? I'd think it would be great from a player's perspective to get a bye during the week of Thanksgiving.

Occasionally in the past I've seen teams get a bye on Thanksgiving weekend. But my guess is now with three games on Thursday and one on Friday, byes would shorten the Sunday slate too much for the league's liking, TV-wise.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen: First off, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! Not sure if this was mentioned or thought of but two of the three Thanksgiving Day hosts had to play on the road this past Sunday (Seattle and Dallas) while Detroit got to play at home. Maybe it would help balance things out if the NFL made all Thursday hosts play on the road and visiting team have a home game. Your input greatly appreciated!

The computer spits out what it's gonna spit out. The Lions play four of their next five on the road after Thanksgiving, and that fifth game is on the road on a short week (Saturday night) after a road game the previous week. So they have their own scheduling challenges coming up.

Dale from Fenton, MI

"His powerful bull rush puts Johnson on skates..." A phrase so mighty it put me on skates. Way to go, Mike!

That's one of my favorite gems I've found on the film in a while. I had sincerely missed it.

Tom from Columbus, NJ

Has ML changed up the play calls/scheme a bit or has the young offense stopped making as many mistakes? The offense just feels and looks way different (better) than when we were slumping. Just curious as to what the major factor for that is. I'd also like to note, the schedule down the stretch (for GB and others) looks like it benefits GB. Win the games you're supposed to and things could get real exciting. Go Pack Go!

The offense is continuing to clean up its game. That's the biggest factor. Yes, there are still mistakes out there, which is why nearly 800 yards of total offense the past two weeks has produced just 42 points. But there are far more plays with everyone executing and eliminating mistakes. I know it sounded like coachspeak before when the offense was struggling that it was one guy here, one guy there messing up and they couldn't move the ball. But it truly is a team game, and fewer mistakes leads to better overall execution.

Al from Green Bay, WI

No, Jordan Love is not Patrick Mahomes. But I watched the Monday night game and I saw the Chiefs score zero points in the second half. The morning-after coverage focused on the MVS drop of a potential winning TD pass (hard to see as an MVS supporter), but I also saw off-target passes and a very untimely intentional grounding penalty on a play where Mahomes held the ball too long. If an MVP QB can make those mistakes, I think we can give JL some grace for his. The progress is undeniable.

Again, execution is an everybody requirement. I thought Mahomes made some incredible throws down the stretch in that game, but his teammates didn't help him. Crazy to think the Chiefs are averaging less than six points per second half this season. On the flip side, the play of the game for the Eagles was the 41-yard pass to the goal line, which Hurts underthrew from a clean pocket. Smith made a tremendous adjustment to slow up, go down, and still catch it over the shoulder. Team game.

Gary from Arvada, CO

Good morning, Mike. I know it takes two to tango, but I don't envy Gutey's challenge of whether, when, and how to negotiate a contract extension for Jordan Love. Do it too soon, with a thin body of work, and the risk is high. Do it too late, and pay too high a price. Any thoughts or just glad you are not GM Mike?

The latter for sure. If and when the time is right, it'll get done. These things have a way of working themselves out.

Brent from Paris, Canada

With many of the rookies getting a lot of playing time, can you tell if they are on pace to break any team/league rookie records for snaps played, or any other key statistics? I know they are way ahead of any other teams this year.

I don't have any snap counts in front of me, but I'm watching a couple of marks. With Luke Musgrave having 33 catches and Jayden Reed having 32, Sterling Sharpe's franchise rookie record of 55 receptions in 1988 isn't out of reach (though how long Musgrave will be out with this abdomen injury appears uncertain). Musgrave already needs just one catch to tie Bubba Franks for most in team history by a rookie tight end (34 in 2000). Yardage-wise, nobody's going to match Billy Howton's 1,231 yards in 12 games in his rookie season of '52, but the next three on that list are Lofton at 818 (in '78), Sharpe at 791 and James Jones at 676 (in '07). Reed is at 463 and counting.

Brian from Charlotte, NC

On the pass that Love missed down the sideline to Luke Musgrave it looked like there was a lot of open space for Luke to run, but couldn't really see on the telecast. How much room was there?

A considerable amount.

Thomas from Ludwigshafen, Germany

I like the development of the young pass-catchers, but I think we can't just take the receiving stats and say they already made it. Of course the young guys get more opportunities when you don't have a lot of veterans. I guess a TE usually isn't getting so much playing time if you have some established TEs. I just can't wait to find out who of the young guys will become difference-makers.

All true, and that's the fun part.

Benjamin from Guffey, CO

In last game, would more tricks with Nixon have been a possibility? Or does that just go too dangerous because of his value on defense/STs?

Nixon was gutting that game out on a bum ankle he hurt in the first half. I don't think adding more to his plate was/is a viable option.

Craig from Temperance, MI

Did I see T.J. Slaton after a tackle do the gravedigger on Sunday? Do we have the next Gilbert Brown?

He did, and I don't think it was the first time. There's plenty to like about what Slaton has done this year, but due respect, he's got a ways to go to be another Gilbert.

TC from Waunakee, WV

Good morning, gents. That felt like the game where much of this young team found their big-boy pants. I'm watching mostly for growth, but wins feel pretty dang good, too. Besides Love, whose improvement since last week impressed you the most? Happy Thanksgiving…here's wishing you a smooth and rapid return flight, and my thanks for working on the holiday so the rest of us can enjoy Thanksgiving football.

To your improvement question, my answer would be Rasheed Walker. He let Khalil Mack get away from him a couple times, but he stepped up his game for sure.

Garin from Minnetonka, MN

"I questioned in the live blog at the time whether the pass was catchable. Huge call." Maybe it's been called recently, but I feel like this factor isn't really taken into consideration anymore by refs. It gets mentioned by announcers, and I know the rule hasn't changed, but it seems like it's just ignored by refs nowadays.

It seems the current assumption is these are world-class athletes who might catch almost anything if there's no contact impeding them. It's as though the question isn't "Was it catchable?" but rather "Would he have had a chance to catch it?" A subtle but meaningful difference.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

What was your take on the defensive performance? To me it seemed pretty poor, the Chargers were three drops away from another three TDs. I realize that's life in the NFL, but defenses normally don't get bailed out that often.

It feels to me the defense is riding the same rollercoaster as last year. Too much up and down. Playing with an almost entirely backup secondary must be taken into account, but the unevenness overall feels way too familiar.

Doug from Lake Elmo, MN

It's interesting to hear the Vikings pundits trash the Packers on the all-sports radio channel in the Twin Cities, even after Sunday's results. Looking forward to the rematch on Dec. 31.

I couldn't care less what some radio pundits have to say, and I give Kevin O'Connell a heck of a lot of credit for turning around what could've been a lost season. I am curious now how they respond to that tough loss in Denver. After hosting the Bears and taking their bye, the Vikings have two AFC road games and then finish Lions-Packers-Lions. Should be really interesting no matter what.

Austin from Manassas, VA

The Packers win if … they match the Lions' physicality. I feel like the Lions have whipped us in the trenches in each of their recent wins. How do we stop this trend?

Stop the run and handle Hutchinson. That's why I mentioned both of those on Monday. If you can slow down their running game and limit Hutchinson, you are matching their physicality.

Kevin from Dalton Gardens, ID

In regards to your comment about the stadium announcer shutting down the wave at the Chargers game, who is the stadium announcer and could you tell us a little about them?

That would be Bill Jartz, who has one of the most recognizable voices in northeast Wisconsin. He has worked at WBAY-TV2, Green Bay's ABC affiliate, for the past 40 years, first as sports director and now for a long time as news anchor. Bill has been the PA announcer at Lambeau since 2005.

Tom from Cambridge, MA

In response to Theresa from Sylvania, OH, maybe we should all start singing "Kenny Clark do do da do do do" like the AFC Richmond fans on Ted Lasso.

Wes and I will start in the press box and see if it catches on.

Jim from Maple Grove, MN

Mike, so what you're saying is that you're not up there in the press box, waving your Titletown Towel, banging on the glass, and yelling "GO PACK GO!"? Special thanks to Vic for the mental picture (Spoffified for our mutual entertainment). I still think of that Ask Vic answer from all those years ago and smile.

Me, too.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Just want to wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving as well as a safe journey to and from Detroit. Thanks for all you and your department do to keep the fan base informed, entertained, and up to date.

Thanks, and Thanksgiving wishes to everyone out there as well. Wes will have the column for the morning of the game and then I'll be with you again for the recap Friday. All the best. Happy Wednesday.

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