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Inbox: That's the potential beauty of a game like Sunday's

Nearly every week serves as some sort of gut-check in the NFL


Kyle from Ottawa, Canada

How's the grounds crew doing adapting Lambeau Field to 80 yards for Sunday?

Best Inbox submission from north of the border, ever. Nicely done.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

There's special chemistry among the players this year. During the Smiths' locker room interview yesterday, we see Fackrell get "handshake-faked" in the background by some guy. It shows the chemistry permeates the organization. The players have bought into the "team-first" philosophy and have checked their egos at the door. I believe this will serve the team well when controversy or tough situations come later in the season. Who was the handshake faker anyway? Please tell him that was awesome!

That would be Andy Gruber, and if you haven't been faked out by Andy, you haven't worked here long enough.

Phil from Marietta, GA

I know it's very early and a division title is by no means assured. But I'm tempted to look at possible playoff seedings and therefore cheer for the Bears to beat the Saints this weekend. Am I crazy?

A little. I personally feel this NFC North is going to be brutally difficult to win, so until further notice, I'm all for anything that helps the Packers in the division first.

Nick from Richmond, VA

As we continue with the season, should we be pulling for the other teams in our conference to win to show how tough our conference is, or do we hope they lose every game and give us a nice cushion and easy road to be division champs?

Anytime there's an AFC vs. NFC matchup, root for the AFC (well, you know, except Sunday at Lambeau). If my quick research is accurate, right now the NFC is 19-10 in cross-conference matchups. The NFC was 11-3 through the first three weeks and it's been a little more even since. Still, that's a pretty big disparity and one reason the conferences look so different right now.

Ryan from Irvine, CA

What happens to the clock when a penalty is assessed and is there a rule of thumb for when the penalty yardage is added to the end of the run vs. replay the down? Does the time go back on if the play "never happened"?

The clock doesn't move on a pre-snap penalty that kills the play. Time is not put back on the clock for completed plays that are wiped out by fouls, though. Post-snap defensive penalties for holding, etc., are added to the end of running plays. On pass plays, the offense has to decide whether to take the play or the penalty.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

Mike, the schedule doesn't do the Packers any favors having to play for three straight weeks against well rested opponents. If you consider how banged up we are I think this is an opportunity to gauge the character of the team.

Nearly every week serves as some sort of gut-check in the NFL. When you're decimated by injury at one particular position, that certainly qualifies.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I read an article about the CBA negotiations and it stated the door is wide open to a 17-game regular season while reducing the preseason to three games. It didn't mention where the additional game would be played. Are all of the 17 game regular-season proposals suggesting the additional game be at a neutral site?

I don't know the details on all the proposals, but the league has certainly dropped hints about wanting a more extensive international series and might push for each team's "extra" game to be played outside the country.

Michael from Winchester, VA

With the Chiefs' loss of Mahomes, did their extra rest just give the Packers a small advantage in the form of more time to prepare for Moore? Obviously the team won't be thinking about that until after Oakland, but is there someone on the coaching staff pulling out old film on Moore, or does that wait until Monday, too?

There are assistant coaches assigned to begin work on the next opponent once the current game plan has been implemented and repped, so that'll start this weekend and the full coaching staff will dive in Monday night into Tuesday. From the Chiefs' perspective, if anything the mini-bye gives the team as a whole more time to process life without its star QB. I think mentally Kansas City will be in a better place come next Sunday night than it otherwise might have been.

Jake from Brooklyn Park, MN

What is it you've said? It's not just who gets hurt, but when they get hurt. I know, just beat the Raiders, but that Chiefs game looks a lot different with Mahomes out. Does it take any pressure off of a player (e.g. Savage) to return from injury knowing the opposing team's star that they would directly match up against is out?

I really don't think coaches and players look at it that way. If a guy is healthy enough to play, he plays. If not, he doesn't.

Sean from Aubrey, TX

I think the Chiefs should be smart with Mahomes and sit him for their next game, then play him the next. You know, in the interest of player safety. Rest and then test. The fact that their next game is against the Packers and the one after that is against the Vikings has nothing to do with it. The mantra of "it's not who you play, it's when you play them" has never been truer.

Mahomes beat the Lions with a last-minute drive, it appears he'll miss the games against the Packers and Vikings, and then he'll be back when the Chiefs play the Bears in December. This injury could have a significant impact on the NFC North race, but you still have to play the games.

Nic from London, UK

Ugh. Mahomes out for duration TBD. Roethlisberger out. Chargers struggling. Is it OK to be frustrated that it already looks like playoffs will run through NE? I'm going to be sending the most positive thoughts in the world for the entirety of Deshaun Watson's body, he's going to have to be the Iron Man to Brady's Thanos. But you know, with a happier ending for him.

Don't count the Chiefs out. They can overcome this, and they'll be determined to show they can next Sunday night. But that's enough about next week.

Chase from Ft. Wood, MO

No more sack celebrations? I understand the reason but I feel like there could be some middle ground. The defense is the main reason we are 5-1, let them have a little fun. Maybe tell them to run back to their side of the line and celebrate there or something. P. Smith "ground slap" takes all of two seconds. C'mon man.

LaFleur clarified on Friday he's not against the celebrations, he just wants them to be quick. Everything's fine.

Brad from Escanaba, MI

Love watching our running game this year, as long as we can get a passing game going as well. Do you think this is the best running back trio we have had since Levens, Bennett and Henderson?

No disrespect to Jones, Williams and Vitale, but I think folks are being a little quick to dismiss Lacy, Starks and Kuhn from 2013. That trio combined for 1,709 yards and 15 TDs on the ground, and another 427 and a score through the air, efforts that helped keep the Packers afloat with Rodgers missing seven starts.

Koen from Prague, Czech Republic

Is there still any unsung hero on the team? We have seen new names step up and deliver results and it's great to see we have depth in the team. But anybody flying under the radar, waiting for their spot in the limelight?

That's the potential beauty of a game like Sunday's. Nobody knows.

Adam from Menomonee Falls, WI

No question just a realistic comparison for Lazard. 2013 Jarrett Boykin anyone?

Interesting thought. I don't think Lazard has to match Boykin's 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns for the comparison to be valid, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind.

Jeff from Highland Park, IL

My problem is that the league is not open about how they are using replay. Obviously, they will only overturn the call on the field when the call is blatantly wrong. Mike has a point about ceasing to give precedence to the call on the field. If you are going to use replay, you might as well go all the way with it. By the way, regarding the controversial touchdown call for Detroit, I believe that a call of touchdown is irrevocable on the field and takes precedence over a competing call.

If your last point is true, I've never heard that. But it at least would help explain how and why Blakeman, who had already signaled first down Packers, suddenly turned on his microphone and said it was a touchdown without consulting the only official who raised his arms.

Cliff from Granville Centre, Nova Scotia

Mike, on your Mid-Week Chat, there were several comments about the slippery conditions. You mentioned there was a change in temperature (presumably downward, given that it was a night game) and wondered if that was a factor. As temperature decreases in the evening, the relative humidity of the air will increase and dew can form. It would start out as a thin film that wouldn't necessarily be obvious to the touch. That may be your culprit, but I'm not sure that changing cleats would help.

There you go.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Rules question: If a field goal is kicked on third down, is blocked and is recovered by the kicking team behind the line of scrimmage, is it then fourth down with the kicking team having another chance to attempt a field goal?

Yes, the series of downs would continue. The kicking team could also try to pick up the blocked field goal behind the line of scrimmage and advance it to the line to gain for a first down.

Caleb from Concord, CA

Can a coach challenge that a play clock was at zero, and therefore the play was dead? For example, if Preston Smith's offside gets flagged, but Detroit's delay of game does not, would there be any recourse?


Sam from Janesville, WI

I never knew or thought about who sends in the subs, but it leads to another question. How soon after the play is over do the position coaches know the next play in order to know who to send in?

If the personnel group is changing for the next snap, it's being communicated over the headsets immediately.

Jon from Hampshire, IL

Six games into 2018 things didn't look terrible (3-2-1). However, it was evident that something wasn't right (besides AR12's questionable health) and it bears out in the numbers for the same period in 2019. 70/30 pass-run ratio last year versus 60/40 this year, scrambles and kneel-downs not included. It feels like the commitment to run the football and manage the game flow has been one of the top two or three differences for the 2019 squad. Is this your experience from the Insiders' seat?

The commitment to run the ball is definitely greater, and I've seen Rodgers not only making more on-time throws from the pocket, but also taking the check-down way more often. The outlet in this scheme is usually parked near the sideline rather than in the middle of the field, where it was for years previously. I don't know if that's had an effect on Rodgers' approach; just an observation. The scrambles and off-schedule plays are less frequent, but there's naturally a higher percentage of success and fewer throwaways because he's not living on the run. We'll see how it all gets managed on Sunday with the receiving corps shorthanded from the start.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

With all these questions about the difference between 2018 Rodgers and 2019 Rodgers, is I don't see 2019 Rodgers trying so hard to make plays like 2018 Rodgers was. He's taking what the defense is giving him and not forcing it as often. I'm assuming this is because he knows the defense can pick the team up, if needed, this year.

I think Rodgers knows in order to maximize what the offense can do, he has to let the evolution and progress of the offense this first year take its course. But yes, that's easier to commit to with a different defense backing him up. It all points to how important the victory in Week 1, and how it unfolded, was for this team.

Ron from Kimberly, WI

II guys, when it comes to game-planning, I understand that part of it is determining what the other team does well and try to take that away. Are there ever cases when the coaches say, "They are expecting us to do this, so let's do that." Or is it, "This is what we are going to do, try and stop us."

All of the above. You have to come into a game with what you want to do, and what you will do if you can't do what you want to do.

Julius from Providence, RI

I am surprised no one here commented on Rodgers breaking 3,000 rushing yards. He is sitting now at 27 rushing touchdowns. Will he break 30? And how many QBs have over 40,000 passing and over 3,000 rushing?

I believe that's a class of three – Rodgers, Tarkenton and Elway.

Todd from Brighton, MI

LED billboards around the Detroit area have an official wearing a cheesehead. Funny, but if the players buy into that their season is over, right?

I think we're going to find out a lot about the 2019 Detroit Lions when they host Minnesota on Sunday.

Amy from Bayport, MN

The new Packers TV app is terrible. I have a nice routine watching Unscripted, Rock Report, Packers Daily, interviews and pressers on a tablet while I cook and wash dishes. Now that I've seen everything in 46-inch HD how can I ever go back? I have to figure out how to see the living room TV from the kitchen (maybe with a complicated system of mirrors) or buy a new TV for the kitchen, find a place to hang it and run the necessary cables. Who has that kind of time and money? Thanks a lot

We do our best.

Douglas from Richland, WA

Wes, you and Spoff are truly remarkable people. Thank you so much for the kind words during our hard time. It is important for me to let you know what your shout-out meant for my niece Haeli and the family. You made this grown man cry for the acknowledgement that you gave us during this time. You and Packer Nation will always carry a special spot in my heart. Thank you Packer Nation, thank you Insider Inbox. Go Pack Go. This is a memory I will cherish forever!

Have a great weekend, everybody.