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Inbox: The Chargers have dealt with it once

Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Even if there were another Weston Hodkiewicz in the world somewhere, there’s no one like OUR Wes, or you either, Mike. We Packers fans are truly blessed. Thanks to you both.

There is also only one subjunctive tense, and I smile when it’s used properly.

Matt from East Troy, WI

II, what are the Chargers looking out for with Packers?

I suspect their biggest challenge is figuring out a defensive plan for both Jones and Adams, if Adams indeed returns this week.

Peter from Oconomowoc, WI

II, how big of an advantage do you think the Packers gain from this upcoming game being held at Lambeau West?

Not as big as the Steelers enjoyed when their fans invaded that stadium last month, because the Chargers have dealt with it once. But anytime it’s not a true road game, you take it.

Robert from Katy, TX

Biggest concern heading into LA?

The Packers’ continued struggles with winning the field-position battle. It has to change or it’s going to cost them a game.

Mike from Ames, IA

Can't get through Halloween without thinking of Ken Ruettgers' jack-o-lantern helmet. Haven't seen anything like it in the NFL in a long time. Would that sort of thing be allowed these days?

Ha, not a chance. Not without clearing a triple-level appeals process with the league office.

Carl from Sussex, WI

A team that went 12-4 and to the playoffs last year; with a new offensive play-caller, and Philip Rivers, Casey Hayward, Melvin Gordon, and Joey Bosa. Packers are coming off a hard-fought prime-time battle. And even though it will probably be 80% Packer fans, it's still a road game two time zones away. Color me apprehensive; this one has "trap game" written all over it.

When you find that many reasons the other team can beat you, it’s not a trap game. That’s why I don’t believe trap games exist in the NFL. They only exist if you don’t really prepare for the opponent, because there are always ways for another NFL team to beat you.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

Good morning, Wes and Mike. If the Packers would have squeezed in two additional superheroes on their Halloween graphic, one for each of you, who would each of you be? Keep in mind that you are both superhero sports writers in my book!

You’re too kind. I’m good with Encyclopedia Brown, if that’s allowed.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

Great combo in Woodson/Harris for Hall of Fame! Some players every time you see them you just miss them on the field, they become timeless. Those are two I think about defensively all the time. Who are some of your favorite defensive players you think are timeless for the Packers?

As far as defensive players I’ve covered, Woodson will always rank near if not at the top. Collins and Kampman are up there, too.

George from Manassas, VA

Mike, I grew up in Wisconsin and was rooting for the Brewers too. Still, you know baseball, and I guess you weren't the only one to underestimate our Nats.

I honestly didn’t think in this day and age a playoff schedule could be successfully navigated, and a championship won, with a shaky bullpen. But the way Martinez deployed Corbin as both an effective reliever and starter was the game-changer, and he even stuck with the plan after Corbin’s one rough postseason bullpen outing. Only two true relief pitchers were needed to help the Nats win the games they needed to win. It’s astounding, really.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Gotta be impressed with the Nats. MKE was six outs away from victory, leading 3-1 with Hader toeing the slab. The margin between defeat and glory is so very thin ...

Four outs, but who’s counting.

Bill from Kenosha, WI

Elgton Jenkins has been quietly successful this season. When does he start seeing some acknowledgement?

At this rate, I fully expect Jenkins to make the PFWA All-Rookie team. I’m not sure what other recognition could come his way this early.

Ryan from Fredericton, New Brunswick

Regardless if this gets posted, I hope my thanks finds Wes and the Lancaster family for a genuinely moving article. It has stirred much reflection, and fear, as parenthood has been an overwhelming task. Brad Lancaster sounds like the man I am struggling to be at times. Parenthood became more complicated this past May when my 1-year-old was diagnosed with a kidney tumor. We hopefully get (clean) final results this November. Sometimes even a sports article can make a human difference.

On this first day of the new month, here’s to the November you’re praying for. All the best to you and your family. I think we all struggle to be the parent we want to be at times, whether the challenges are large or small. It’s part of the human condition. Familial love is the one thing that comes with no regrets in my book. That’s another universal element to Lancaster’s story.

Jesse from Canton, GA

Do you think that the Packers are the favorite to win the NFC at their halfway point?

How can there be a favorite given the schedules that remain? The 49ers will be playing the Seahawks (twice) plus the Saints, Rams and Packers. The Vikings will be playing the Cowboys, Seahawks and Packers. The Seahawks also have the Eagles and Rams. The Packers finish with four of six on the road post-bye. The list goes on. For me, there’s no favorite at the moment.

Christopher from Marina Del Rey, CA

It is interesting that after the win over KC, the rampant tergiversation over the state of the Packers, and of the LaFleur/Rodgers relationship has seemingly abated. I refer, of course, to the “analysts” pontificating hour after hour after hour over what are, in truth, hypotheticals and opinion that we sheep are supposed to ruminate upon like fodder as though it were manna from heaven. Do you ever find yourselves tempted to tune in to these shows to remind yourselves you are on the right path?

No thanks. I firmly believe you have to be comfortable in your own skin to give the audience your best, and from there it’s up to them. Tergiversation? That’s an Inbox first right there.

Erick from Vancouver, BC

Insiders! Is there, in your opinion, any upside to having a fresh Davante Adams  when he comes back? Assume the toe gets healed, the rest of him has stayed out of harm's way and should feel significantly better than had he played these past weeks, right?

Fresher legs generally don’t hurt.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The roster currently is at 52 and I'm thinking the 53rd spot is for Jace Sternberger or Ibraheim Campbell. The Packers may wait as long as possible to decide who fills the spot. How long do the Packers have for that for the player to still be eligible to play Sunday?

The roster move would have to be made by Saturday afternoon.

Michael from Pewaukee, WI

The Packers are 7-1 this season, compared to 3-4-1 at this point last season. What statistic most explains the turnaround from 3-4-1 to 7-1 in one year?

The 14 takeaways, which are one less than the total for all of 2018. Next I would say Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combining for seven receiving TDs in eight games. Last year in 16 games they combined for one.

Ben from Ames, IA

Is it too early to call this the best Packers team since 2014?

In general, yes, because the 2015 team started 6-0, and the 2016 team was better than all but one team in the NFC after Thanksgiving. But strictly by the eye test, I say no, because this team is showing a resolve I don’t think those teams had.

The Green Bay Packers practiced inside the Don Hutson Center to prepare for Sunday's Week 9 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Louie from Santa Fe, NM

If someone said that Davante Adams would not have a touchdown and the Packers would be 7-1, would you have thought it would be possible?

Honestly, no, but that goes back to the previous question.

Randy from Trophy Club, TX

Rashan Gary...very talented football player, but it makes no sense to me why the Packers would draft a player so high having just signed two top-tier players at the same position. With a top draft pick like that it makes more sense to draft someone who can contribute significantly right away. Gary could conceivably be a backup his whole first contract...not good bang for your buck. Can you make more sense of this for me?

Pass rushers and corners are the two premier positions on defense in this league. You can never have enough of either. The Packers had to overhaul a premier position and did so.

Royal from Oconomowoc, WI

To those who believe that 12’s throw to Williams for a touchdown was a fluke, watch the throw to Jake Kumerow for the first down. Same throw while falling down to his right. AR is amazing with his ability.

When I saw the end-zone view on the all-22 of the throw to Kumerow, I immediately hollered for Wes to come over to my desk. I had no idea from the press box how ridiculous that throw was.

Bob from Ortez, CO

Will the NCAA change that allows players to make endorsement money incentivize longer college careers?

I doubt it.

Doug from Eugene, OR

Hello Insiders! Each of the last few years, we've been "looking" for a couple things. We've been talking each season about establishing an "identity," and we've been looking for a statement by Rodgers (a la "RELAX") to somehow capture a theme for the season. Barring the unforeseen, I see the statement being "I just want to win." and the identity being a team that will find any way to win and has the talent and coaching to do it. How crucial is a single identity in today's NFL beyond winning?

Finding different ways to win will always serve a team well. I believe the immense variation of scheme employed on both sides of the ball in today’s game make an “identity” in the longstanding connotation of the term less relevant.

Nick from Oquawka, IL

There have been criticisms of the Packer defense being opportunistic and giving up lots of yardage. But isn’t that how good defense is played anymore? It’s a tall order in this day and age to routinely stop good offenses between the 20s, but if you can get stops in the red zone and capitalize on opportunity while putting pressure on the quarterback I think that’s what makes a good defense today. The great ones seem few and far between.

The way the game’s rules are slanted, making key plays at key times goes a long way defensively.

Matt from Kula, HI

Most of Gute’s moves have proven to be sound. One exception has to be the Trevor Davis trade. The return game hasn’t been good and Shepherd didn’t work out. Plus Davis was just starting to blossom as a receiver. Gotta believe the GM would like a do-over on that one.

It happens to them all. Comes with the territory. But the best ones don’t look back, only ahead.

Kyle from Watertown, SD

The four Super Bowl trophy backdrop that is used in a lot of the media stuff packers.com puts out is different from the room in the HOF with the four trophies. Are the trophies in the HOF replicas or other way around?

My understanding is the trophies in the Packers HOF are the genuine articles. The ones in the players’ entrance are replicas. But good luck telling them apart.

Bob from Bement, IL

Regarding strength of schedule as the tiebreaker for worst record/first draft pick, is that based on the team with the poorer schedule strength getting the better pick? Obviously, that makes them the "worse" of the two and "earning" the higher draft spot.

Correct.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, I love the noon games. Are there any league restrictions on how many late, Sunday, Monday, or Thursday Night games a team plays?

Teams can be scheduled for a maximum of five prime-time games, but flex scheduling can create more.

Ryan from Chicago, IL

The Miami Dolphins are currently in complete tear down and rebuild mode. Has this ever worked in the NFL? Will it work for them?

I don’t think anyone’s ever legitimately tried it. Turnarounds have been known to happen more quickly in the NFL than the other major sports, so teams have chased that rather than attempted Miami’s approach. We shall see.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

Here's a fun factoid for the week: The Packers have an opportunity to go 4-0 against their AFC opponents for the first time since 2007 when they won all four games against the AFC West.

All righty then.

Linda from Hastings, MN

Getting ready for Sunday, I need to know whether the Packers will be in green or white jerseys?

White. The Chargers are wearing their alternate dark blues.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Mike, in regards to Rick's question about taking a penalty at the end of the game to run time off the clock, any penalty in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter stops the clock. It doesn't matter if the penalty is accepted or declined. You can only pull that trick Belichick pulled if there are more than five minutes left.

There’s always a catch.

Thomas from Dunkerton, IA

The CBA allows a limited number of padded practices. What happens if a team that has a large number of padded practices early in the season trades a player to a team with more padded practices later in the year? Does that player then have to sit out a practice or is the number based on team and not individual players? This would normally be a "bye week" type question but the recent deadline got me wondering.

The limit of 14 padded practices also stipulates 11 of them must be held within the first 11 weeks, with only three over the last six weeks. Plus, a team can use two in a single week only once. So nothing could get too far out of whack, and the limitations apply to teams, not players.

Nate from Torrance, CA

Longtime Packer fan finally going to my first game on Sunday! Also a longtime II reader but never submitted a question before so I figured why not make this a week of firsts? I'd like to continue submitting questions so I gotta ask: What are the top three ways to guarantee that your question will NOT get posted? Ya know, so I can avoid those things. Thanks!

There are no absolutes in the Inbox. You just never know. It’s part of the charm.

Chuck from Horicon, WI

Wondering when the Pack leaves for San Diego? Years back he got them out there a couple of days early to adjust and get hydrated! Water, water and more water!

The team charter leaves late this afternoon, but I hope it’s not going to San Diego.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Good time for a trip to LA? Enjoy the sunshine!

We’ll do our best. Happy Friday.

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