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Inbox: That's what leaders do

There’s something to be said for coaches who teach their players the art of resiliency


Paul from Minneapolis, MN

The NFL is timeless, even as the game changes or players come and go. Zach from Clarkfield was Antonio Freeman. Spoff was James Lofton. I was Carroll Dale. Who is next?

Jake Kumerow? Good morning!

Joe from Redding, CA

Born and raised in Wisconsin and a diehard Packer fan, but been in Northern CA for the last 11 years. Rodgers' connection to the area has allowed me to see a few more out-of-market Packer games. Now I'm immensely grateful for Rodgers' donation for Camp Fire relief. Go Pack! Life is more than just football.

Thanks for your message, Joe. My wife's family lives in Northern California and I've been to Redding many times. It's a beautiful region of the country. To your point, times like these remind us life is more than wins and losses. It's bigger than passer ratings and Pro Bowls. It's banding together for a greater purpose and being grateful for what you have. What Rodgers did for his hometown and surrounding communities doesn't surprise me. That's what leaders do.

Jim from McLean, VA

Who on defense will make an impactful play when the Vikings focus more attention on Kyler Fackrell?

Mike Pettine has moved players around a lot this year, including Fackrell. That's no different than what the Packers have done with Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and other defensive playmakers in the past. If the Vikings devote more attention to Fackrell, then it's up to Pettine to find ways to free him and others to win their one-on-one matchups.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I know it's next man up, but how do we survive Mike Daniels being out a few weeks?

The Packers are still in an OK spot with Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry taking the bulk of the reps in nickel and dime, but **Pettine pointed out Wednesday** evening how the defense will need Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams to step up. Rookie seventh-round pick James Looney also has been on the practice squad all season.

Rob from Antioch, IL

What do you think is the key for Sunday's game against Minnesota? I will be watching the Packers' offensive tempo. If they slow it down they will lose the game. I have seen them score at will when they speed up the offense and wear out the defense, not to mention the 12-man calls that affords.

I don't disagree, but my biggest key is keeping Kirk Cousins and Minnesota's offense one-dimensional. As Spoff pointed out, the Vikings' 31st-ranked run offense is a sleeping giant with Dalvin Cook in the fold. Yes, Cook is averaging only 3.6 yards per carry, but there's a 70-yard carry in there. He's as explosive as they come. The Packers' front needs to hold its ground.

Kevin from Tulare, CA

Any chance that Mike Pettine wins a postseason assistant coach/coordinator award? Is there one? With the youth, turnover, and injuries to the defensive personnel, I think he's done an amazing job turning that unit around in Year 1. What say you guys?

I say Pettine has rolled with every punch thrown the defense's way this year. Whatever personnel the Packers have had available, Pettine has put together workable plans that have helped keep Green Bay in every game it's played.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

Longfellow, indeed! You gave me a grin, Wes, imagining how many English lit majors might be lighting up the Inbox and squawking to protest. But seriously, best wishes and high hopes that this year LeRoy Butler will make it to the Hall of Fame.

Baby steps. Regardless of whether he gets voted in, I think it would be tremendous if he made the cut to the final 15 for the first time. That would get Butler's name in the room and give Pete Dougherty the opportunity to state his case. As impressive as Butler's resume is, statistics don't tell the whole story. The reality is the Packers likely don't get over the hump without his playmaking in their secondary.

Kurt from Wauwatosa, WI

What can be done to support LeRoy Butler's HOF nomination? We have to get the word out and "advertise" his qualifications. He really invented the new safety position and also overcame amazing adversity both physically (legs) and in his childhood conditions.

Packers fans need to keep the groundswell of support going. In my opinion, Butler is the most universally beloved player of his generation. I've yet to find anyone who says a bad thing about the guy. He deserves it based on his career alone, but he's also been a tremendous ambassador for the Packers – much like Jerry Kramer before him.

Dillon from Gilbert, AZ

Insiders, if a player makes an All-Decade team, doesn't that effectively guarantee he's a Hall of Famer? I just don't see how someone can be considered the best at their position and not get in. Thoughts?

I'm going to run this question by Cliff, a former Hall of Fame voter. He'd have a much better perspective. Personally, I've always felt those All-Decade teams are meaningful because those teams were assembled by individuals who covered the league in a substantial way. To me, it's one of the few barometers we have to review past generations.

Rick from Des Moines, IA

Congratulations to LeRoy Butler making the Hall of Fame semifinalists! I am feeling old now. Has it been that long since the debut of the Lambeau Leap already?

You know what makes me feel old? Champ Bailey also was named a semifinalist Tuesday.

Mark from Iron Mountain, MI

What's the latest on draft pick Cole Madison?

Whatever we wrote two months ago.

The Packers were back at practice Wednesday afternoon ahead of Sunday's divisional game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cam from Winnipeg, Canada

I'm a lounge manager, and on Monday night, every guy was glued to his seat, eyes never came off the TV unless they were refreshing their fantasy scores, and the place went crazy for every TD after TD. Once the game was over every table was talking about how exciting the game was. This is exactly what the NFL wants and I believe it will do more to make it like this more often.

I'm sure of it. Who doesn't love a good high-scoring game? But the real question is why did you love watching a 54-51 game on Monday Night Football? Because it hadn't happened before. If teams start regularly putting up 40 or 50 points a game, then it loses its novelty. It no longer becomes unique. It's predictable. There is such thing as too much of a good thing.

Brian from Sussex, WI

I can't see teams going the direction of developing defenses that live on the big play without concern of slowing down offenses. It might be good for winning a lot of regular-season games, but don't see it successful at winning championships. Relying on that type of a defense to win three (at least) playoff games against teams likely good at not allowing defenses to get big plays is unlikely.

I don't think any GM builds a defense with the intention of getting gashed in yardage but making the big play when it matters most. However, there's something to be said for coaches who teach their players the art of resiliency and never giving up regardless of the circumstances. So that even when it might not be your day, there are still things you can do to help your team win.

John from Madison, AL

I share fans' concern with the scoring on Monday night. I certainly don't want to see the NFL turn into arena football BUT I think fans need to chill. What we saw Monday night was extremely rare and we may not see that Monday Night Football scoring record broken in most of our lifetimes. Remember, it took 35 years to break the Packers-Redskins record.

True, but defenders also were able to touch skill-position players as recently as five years ago.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

My wife wants to know the reason the Detroit Lions began playing on Thanksgiving Day.

Believe it or not, it started back in 1934 when owner George Richards wanted to play on the holiday to get more fans at the games because attendance was rather low. One thing I didn't realize until this year came courtesy of the Sporting News, which recently had a story that mentioned the Lions weren't the first team to play on Thanksgiving. However, they gained that reputation thanks in part to a radio station Richards' owned that was affiliated with NBC, which then began broadcasting the games. And that is the rest of the story.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

Over/under on Rodgers' passing yards this season: 4,500.

Drew pulls the rare in-season double-double. I'd say that's probably likely given Rodgers is averaging 307.3 passing yards per game, putting him on pace for a career-high 4,916 yards.

William from Rosedale, IN

In the NBA, trash talk is almost expected. I am sure it happens in the NFL too. From your experience, who has been an active participant in the trash-talk arena and is able to give more than take?

Mike Daniels seems proficient in the art of gabbing with opponents. Jaire Alexander also appears to be very boisterous and outspoken in that capacity based on what I've seen so far this year.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, I have been watching the Packers' signings to the practice squad. At times there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the position or the length of time a player stays on the squad. Are they looking for best player available or looking to fill a need? And even more so for the players that are invited in for a tryout?

That might be how it appears on the surface, but I assure you there's ample research behind every player the Packers sign. At the end of the day, the personnel department is looking for unrefined, but talented, prospects to develop into contributors such as Tramon Wiliams, Geronimo Allison, Reggie Gilbert and now Robert Tonyan.

Paul from Cumming, GA

Could you post the definition of "hindsight bias" and comment on how it might be relevant to the Inbox community?

The tendency to view events as more predictable than they really are in hindsight. Or as I always like to say – it's easier to read the book when it's already written.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

Wow. Really thought there would be some questions about new practice-squad signee Teo Redding. Is he really a WR, or have we added another running back at No. 88?

I figured it was only a matter of time before this question was asked. Thanks for not disappointing, Rob.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Chase Daniel will be starting for the Bears. If this isn't the Football Gods giving the Packers some help I don't know what is. Packers have to take advantage and start their run this Sunday.

Sure, but injuries will be a factor for both teams. The Lions also are without Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones Jr. Also, it's not like Daniel isn't a capable NFL quarterback, either. He has a few pelts on the wall.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Do you know if the Packers' vets still prank the rookies with the free turkey bit at Thanksgiving? Hopefully, that time-honored tradition continues.

I know there are a few lighthearted things Packers players do with their rookies, but the locker room typically plays things straight during the holiday season, with veterans often hosting rookies and young guys who are away from their families.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

All right, it's Thanksgiving Day and you are hosting more than 30 family members. You also choose to invite the legendary trio of Jason Wilde, Rob Demovsky, and Vic Ketchman. One has to cook the entire meal, one has to QB your team in the family tackle football game, and one has to narrate each of the Thanksgiving NFL games while the TV is on mute. Who gets what?

Demovsky cooks, Wilde is the quarterback and Vic narrates the game.

Jamie from London, UK

Inbox, I have been located in London for the entirety of this season and, due to time-zone issues, often cannot watch the game live. When I wake up I instantly grab my iPad, load up NFL GamePass, and start watching the full reply while ignorant to what happened across the Atlantic. Too many times this season it has led to a heartbreaking two hours to start the day. Just tell me, this Monday, should I check the score before I watch the game?

Never. You're only guaranteed 16 episodes a year of the greatest show on Earth. Why spoil that? Enjoy the games – win, lose or draw.

Brian from Pleasant Prairie, WI

I've held my tongue for a while now, I can't be the only one who has to stop and process that people typing II are referring to the Inbox, and not randomly dropping the number two willy-nilly. Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

I kind of like it. Makes Spoff and I feel like we're hip, which isn't typically the case.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Maybe these geezers should stop napping all day if they want more than two hours at night.

Doug from Eugene is my late entrant for the "Inbox comment of the year" after that line about Canadeo Wednesday. Well done.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Food for thought: If everything for which you had not said, "Thank you," was taken away, how much would you have left? Wes, I am so grateful for you, Mike and the Insider Inbox. Happy Thanksgiving.

And we are eternally grateful for you, Lori.

Kim from Eagan, MN

Wes, will you be signing autographs at the pep rally on Saturday?

If someone wants me to devalue their Packers merchandise, I'm happy to oblige them.

Rich from El Cerrito, CA

Inbox, a huge thanks to A-Rod for his donation for those impacted by the fires. Living in the Bay Area we have had terrible smoke for a week that closed schools, but we all know this is nothing compared to the losses up in Butte County. If you are in a position to, please follow Aaron's lead and donate for fire relief efforts, or closer to your home. Thanksgiving has extra meaning this year.

Something for all of us to consider this holiday season. Have a safe, fulfilling and happy Thanksgiving, folks!