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Inbox: That's why the Packers pegged him the way they did

The Philly defense will challenge Green Bay

G Jon Runyan

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Good morning. All I want for Christmas this year is a WYMM segment for every play of every game this season. I promise I've been a good boy. Thanks in advance, Mr. Spofford.

I've never had Jesus ask me for a Christmas gift before. I'm flattered.

Barry from Sun Prairie, WI

II. Timeout. College or NFL. Who determines if it's a full timeout or a 30-second timeout? The coach, the refs, a captain, TV or God?

The network deities.

Scott from Noblesville, IN

I keep reading "Aaron Rodgers wasn't hit" during the Bears game, and yet the Bears were penalized for roughing the passer, which video seemed to show, and the announcers said, was a hit to the head. Does the penalty negate the official stat? Secondly, do "inactive players" get paid the same rate as those who are "active" on game day?

Yes on the penalty. Regarding pay rate, depends on the player's contract.

John from Sioux City, IA

Being an old baseball fan, in the huddle proceeding the 39-yard strike to Robert Tonyan, it appeared that Aaron shook off two play calls from LaFleur prior to calling the play. Never noticed that before.

Or the head coach was just asking the QB a couple of yes-or-no questions to get a feel for what he wanted to do next.

Tom from Dollar Bay, MI

Spoff, on the Trubisky fumble in the third quarter, the ball moved forward and Mitch recovered his own fumble. The ball was spotted at the point of recovery. I thought that if the fumblee recovers a ball fumbled forward, the ball returns to the spot of the fumble, not at the point of recovery. Am I wrong?

The rule applies to another offensive player recovering a teammate's fumble, but only on fourth down, or in the last two minutes of either half or in overtime. A player can gain yards by recovering his own fumble anytime.

John from Belleview, FL

In my first middle-management job back in 1985, I got a reputation for being very even-keeled, never overreacting to good or bad things. My boss pulled me aside one day and said sometimes you have to pretend to lose your temper. ML strikes me as a person who will do that when the time is right to make a point.

I get the sense his competitiveness is such that he doesn't hold back with the players when necessary. As I said Monday, we don't know what goes on behind closed doors, but LaFleur's approach is not to make a public spectacle of himself or do anything just for show, and I respect that.

Jacob from Mason, OH

How is it possible that we see two such different teams every week?

The Colts and Bears are very different teams, yes.

Mark from Des Moines, IA

What is the biggest challenge for the Packers when facing the Eagles on Sunday?

Protecting Rodgers. Philly has 36 sacks on the season and ranks third in the league in sacks per pass play. Jim Schwartz defenses always get after the quarterback.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from his MVP season.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Good morning, Mike. I noticed that Wentz has only one more TD than INTs (16/15). Aaron has a much better ratio (33/4). For fun I checked out QBs with five or more games played that are upside down with more INTs than TDs and there are six (not counting Taysom Hill). We are blessed to have Aaron and I hope our D can take advantage of Wentz's propensity.

After watching MNF, I've become convinced Wentz's statistical regression is mostly tied to a banged-up O-line and a lack of downfield targets. He's constantly under pressure (sacked a league-high 46 times), which leads to hurried, inaccurate and at times risky throws. Philly's front has not managed injuries and lineup shuffling the way Green Bay's has. The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor in the first round to be a big-time weapon but he's not there yet. I thought Wentz was on his way to league MVP in '17 before he got hurt that December. There are a ton of issues around him and it's led to a talented QB having issues as well.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Mike, curious on your opinion with PHI on Monday night. I saw a pretty good defense, success with play-action, though Wentz running for his life dropping back for a pass. Is their OL weak or missing pieces currently? If it wasn't for giving up the big plays, I thought they didn't look horrible against the Hawks and I realize the Packers won't look past them. Thanks II for the great read every day.

I saw a Philly defense that will challenge Green Bay. Cox, Hargrave, Barnett and Graham make a formidable front. Seattle was 2-for-10 on third down, but penalties gave the Seahawks some conversions. I was surprised they left Slay one-on-one vs. Metcalf all night. Metcalf had 177 receiving yards, which was 77% of Wilson's 230 passing yards and 59% of their 301 total yards. At some point, don't you have to make someone else beat you? It'll be interesting to see if they take the same approach with Adams or change it up. I believe Philly's O-line was on its 10th different combination in 11 games Monday night. The injuries have kept piling up and created a constant struggle.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

Is it really analytics that tell coaches to forego a chip-shot FG on a fourth-and-4 halfway through the fourth quarter when they're down 11 points? Or is it just arrogance? I am baffled by the trend of coaches to not come away with points that could help their teams' psyche early in a road game or coming down the stretch in the fourth. Momentum is real.

I absolutely did not understand Pederson's decision to go for it on fourth-and-4 in the red zone with eight minutes left in an 11-point game. And I never will.

Cindy from Oshkosh, WI

What a catch Richard Rodgers made in the final seconds in the end zone Monday night. He can add that to his Hail Mary in Detroit memories. Gotta feel good for the guy.

It's funny. He was supposed to be the "tip guy" on the Detroit play, but as he surveyed the situation on Aaron's moon ball, he thought everyone else was too far back in the end zone, and he was right. Monday night he was there for the tip, and snagged it one-handed no less.

Tyler from Stevens Point, WI

So the Packers finally got Rodgers a first-round WR, eh?

One way to look at it. I think he could provide the same boost to the return game Tyler Ervin did last year, and he's a bigger offensive threat on the jet sweep.

Chuck from Richfield, WI

Should fans who gave Gutekunst the full fire and brimstone heat after his "non-move" for PED-cheat Will Fuller owe a him venison sausage or cheese giftpack to say thank you?

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Tough living on the MN border and listening to all the Viking news but how does Carolina score two defensive TDs and still lose the game? How many times do you think it's happened before?

That has to be awfully rare. I think I saw a stat once that a team scoring a defensive TD wins about 70% of the time. For two defensive scores, it's gotta be in the high 90s. A huge missed opportunity for the Panthers, who could have gone into their bye at 5-7 and hoping to get McCaffrey back to make a late run. The Packers will have their hands full regardless in three weeks, but McCaffrey will make that game an even tougher task.

Statham from Pineview, GA

I think it's fair to say that our offense can hang with any team in the league. I also think it's fair to say a playoff run could depend solely on how well our defense complements the offense. How much will three of our next four against Sanders, (potentially) McCaffrey, and Henry tell us about how ready our D is for that playoff run?

The Tennessee game will be the biggest barometer because the Titans are such a complete team. But there are three games to win before then.

Packers RB Aaron Jones celebrates his birthday Dec. 2. Take a look at photos of him from the 2020 season.

K from Homosassa, FL

The addition of a seventh playoff spot plus the equal ineptness so far by the East has set up a very interesting December for the NFC. Currently only three teams – Falcons, Lions, Panthers – are not within a game of a playoff spot. Is there still the possibility of an eighth team making the playoffs?

Only if the regular season is not completed, from what I understand. We're all hoping that's not the case.

Joe from London, England

Longtime questioner, first time answered. With Kevin King in a contract year, I have a couple of questions. Do you believe he has done enough to demand big money, either in Green Bay or on the open market? If so, do you believe it is worth re-signing him given the high risk attached due to his injury issues? After all, the most important ability is availability, and I believe he should only be re-signed if his affordability reflects the injury risk.

The market is TBD on King. When he plays, he's a legit high-level cover man. But he's missed a ton of games over four years. Clubs will have varying opinions on value there. My prediction is he'll find out what he's worth in March and the Packers will decide if they agree.

Lee from Conifer, CO

Now that we are at about the three-quarter stage of the season, I think we have enough info about who might be the Packers' ROY, although with injuries, it might be a little harder than previous years. At first, I thought about Krys Barnes, but then things changed. AJ Dillon was a preseason favorite, but Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones are such rock stars this year that he hasn't seen the field much. I'm not sure and I would love to hear your opinion. My opinion is Jon Runyan so far, but things can change.

I'd say it's between Runyan and Kamal Martin. With Corey Linsley out for a while here, I'd expect Runyan to start a few games now.

Jeff from Ogden, UT

Runyan has some "road grader" in him. I like that.

I think that's why the Packers pegged him the way they did, an All-Big Ten tackle as a guard, from the get-go.

Steve from Green Bay, WI

I know there's coach of the year awards, but how about offensive line coach of the year? Coach Stenavich has to be hands down the winner this year if there is such an award.

There is an assistant coach of the year award, and Stenavich would be a great candidate. The AP has handed one out since 2014 and the PFWA since 1993. The AP's has always gone to a coordinator thus far, though, and the vast majority of the time the PFWA's has as well.

Brian from Sussex, WI

This pains me, but I'm likely cheering for the Vikings for their next four games. The Vikings can help the Packers with some of the wins, so I want them to have something to play for through the NO game. I would cheer for Detroit to keep them out of playoffs in Week 17, though.

I'll keep that sentiment in mind when I write this season's inaugural Path to the Playoffs later this week.

Randy from Highland, IL

Gentlemen, please clear up something for me. It was my understanding that all team facilities were closed by the NFL on Monday and Tuesday and it was even mentioned in "Unscripted," but it seemed like you were in the Packers' facility when you filmed "Unscripted." Thank you for all you do for us fans.

The team facility here is the lower level where the meeting rooms, training room, locker room, weight room and CRIC are located, and it's been off limits to anyone but essential football personnel since the players returned in the summer. I haven't set foot down there since January. The business offices within the stadium are considered a separate entity.

Perry from Beloit, WI

Just read that the top CBS crew will be calling the game vs. the Eagles on Sunday. I love Nantz and Romo, but any idea why they would be calling the game? Normally FOX would cover it seeing as it's two NFC teams against each other.

This one has been slated for CBS since the schedule was released in the spring. The league started allowing for changeups to the "traditional" NFC/AFC network alignments a few years back. Normally, the Jacksonville and Tennessee visits to Lambeau would have been CBS games (visiting team's network in a cross-conference matchup). Maybe because CBS had no early games when the Jaguars played here due to the final round of the Masters, and NBC took the Titans game for SNF, the league gave the Philly game to CBS so it would get the Packers once in a big time slot. Just reading the tea leaves.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

The Eagles' defense has been the only thing keeping them in games this season. What do the Packers need to do to put up some points on them?

Stay balanced. Anytime the Packers' run-pass balance, not play calls but production-wise, can resemble Sunday night's, they'll be tough for anyone to stop.

John from Green Bay, WI

Like everyone else I am enamored with Elgton Jenkins' flexibility to move around on the line. But we're so quick to forget the original interior lineman by trade who kicked out to LT and held his own when needed: Mike Flanagan in 2002!

Great memory, and then Flanagan – who had some really rough injuries to overcome early in his career – moved back to center the following year and made the Pro Bowl.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Because Mason Crosby has been so steady for so long, I don't feel he's been lauded enough for the amazing year he's having. No missed FGs, and Sunday's missed PAT was so close I believe the laser uprights would've singed the pigskin. Has II decided yet whether a FG is good or no good if the ball touches the laser? The laser is much narrower than the width of an aluminum post, so I'm inclined to call it good if the ball explodes in flight.

The laser would be aligned with the current outside edge of the goalpost, and the exploding ball is no good. It's the ultimate rejection.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

I like the name Elgton.

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time … before I spell it the old way again. I'll see myself out. Happy Wednesday.