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Inbox: The chemistry is undeniable…and so, too, is the potential impact

Being a leader is about the words you say and how you play the game

TE Robert Tonyan
TE Robert Tonyan

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

A new year and a new final post before games. Who is Dean's replacement? Will it be the same person week-to-week? The true mysteries of the season! I will be watching from enemy territory waiting on a flight home after celebrating my sister's induction into the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in Eagle River Saturday. Congratulations to "Coach Becky" and the rest of the new inductees.

It was a great run – and we thank Dean for his service – but it's time for a new season and new traditions. I look forward to figuring out in time what will be painted on this canvas.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

I know it does not count for anything in the end, but I really like the mix of captains selected for this season. Can't wait to see them on the field!

What I love about what Matt LaFleur's Packers have done with captains is the blend of players who were chosen. You obviously have your staples (Aaron Rodgers and Marcedes Lewis), but it's also neat to recognize heart-and-soul players such De'Vondre Campbell and Aaron Jones. That's what this game is all about. Being a leader isn't how loud or often you speak. It's about the words you say and how you play the game.

Patrick from Oronoco, MN

Good morning, Wes. It was my understanding that in prior years captains were broken down between two offensive, two defensive and two special teams. Any idea why there were no "we-fense" captains this year?

That's how they used to do it under Mike McCarthy. Last year, they had three offense, three defense and one special teams. According to LaFleur, the top six vote-getters were selected as captains this year.

Nate from Manitowoc, WI

Which rookie do you see having the biggest impact this year?

Quay Walker. He's going to play a lot and working next to Campbell should help the young man immensely.

Nathan from Manitowoc, AZ

Will part of the game plan be to run at Za'Darius Smith? With the way he gets upfield he seems vulnerable to the cutbacks on zone running plays.

When Smith is coming off the edge, that sounds like a good plan. But the tricky thing is determining where he'll be lining up. That's where Rodgers' hard count and pre-snap adjustments could come into play. Much like the Packers did with Smith, I expect Ed Donatell to move him around a lot.

Sam from Janesville, WI

My new favorite quote: "I wake up and I just want some steak!" What would you rather see from Jaire Alexander, six INTs on the season or hardly ever getting targeted?

I had heard a few rumblings that this was our video department's favorite Jaire interview to date. It did not disappoint. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. I'd rather see six INTs. We already know he'll hardly ever be targeted. That's nothing new.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

I'm sure you guys are every bit as anxious as we are for the Packers to play so you can discuss actual issues versus theoretical ones. After the playoff loss and the preseason, I'm still worried about special teams. Have you seen things at practice that lead you to believe there is hope on the horizon?

Absolutely. It starts with Rich Bisaccia. No words can do justice for what it was like watching those early practices in organized team activities. It was all non-contact but the sense of urgency in Bisaccia's coaching was real. Rodgers touched on it, too. There's been a shift in culture with that unit. Now, you gotta do it out on the grass on Sundays but I believe the accountability there will allow that group to prosper as the season wears on.

The Green Bay Packers elected captains for the 2022 NFL season.

James from Appleton, WI

Sunday would be a good starting point for the long era of the Vikings being haunted by their decision to trade draft picks to divisional rivals who then drafted talented receivers.

Sure, why not? Like Rodgers has said, we all need to have modest expectations for Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure this season. However, Watson and Doubs will have opportunities to affect the game just like Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling did in their rookie seasons. Whatever snaps they receive, those rookies need to be ready.

David from San Antonio, TX

Wes, what are the chances we see some deep shots to Christian Watson against that Vikings secondary ala MVS?

With Lazard doubtful, anything is possible. But I think the name on the tip of the tongue of Packers fans should be Robert Tonyan. He had a smooth recovery and is expected to play Sunday. That's a big deal. The chemistry is undeniable and so, too, is the potential impact.

Brandon from Austin, TX

What is the best way to limit the Vikings' offense with their new head coach? He'll be scheming guys open very similar to how LaFleur does.

You gotta contain Dalvin Cook. Everything speeds up for the Vikings' offense if Cook is rolling, especially on early downs. If I've learned anything from the Shanahan coaching tree, it's the run game is the catalyst in all these offenses.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders! When the schedule is put together by the NFL, why does Green Bay seem to lack noon time starts?

Because the country wants to see the Packers play. That's the price of being a perennially good football team with a once-in-a-generation quarterback.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Good morning II. Although the preseason doesn't reflect what the D can do, there's been a lot invested on that side of the ball. I keep hearing all the praises from the media, the coaches, and even the players themselves. I can't help but also have great expectations for them. (Yeah, I had to grab them for my fantasy team.) Anyway, can I expect a fairly dominant performance from them?

I do. Seven first-round picks, two All-Pros and so many returning veterans cannot be wrong. The Packers need to stay healthy and within themselves. But if those two things happen, I feel the defense could be something special.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Do you think the Packers may use AJ Dillon as more of the bell cow and use Aaron Jones as the receiving back?

I know this is difficult for people to wrap their toes around but believe me when I tell you this – the Packers will use them both interchangeably. There's a beauty in how Jones and Dillon have developed. They're peanut butter and celery. Pineapple and pizza. Chocolate and grasshoppers. It doesn't seem like they should go well together, but they do – and that's what makes them dangerous.

David from Janesville, WI

Mike/Wes – Bisaccia said, "We're going to have to overcome some successes we have, and we're going to have to overcome some not-so-much successful plays that we have." What do you think overcoming successes refers to? McCarthy used to say that how you handle success can be more difficult than how you handle adversity. Do you think this is along the same lines? What do you think constitutes a dangerous success on "We-fense"?

I'm reminded of the expression, "Success is never owned. It's rented. And rent is due every day." I think that's what Bisaccia is referring to. If the Packers have modicums of success, they must understand there's still many more battles left to be won. If you don't, that's when complacency sets in and robs you of everything.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

Josh Allen did a great job spreading his passes to seven different receivers. How many do you think Rodgers will connect with on Sunday?


Ethan from Farley, IA

Is there anybody more fun to watch play quarterback right now than Josh Allen?

He's up there. Allen is like a mature-day Brett Favre with a little more athleticism. He can beat you in so many ways, as the Rams discovered on Thursday night. The Buffalo Bills are must-see TV right now.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi II, the Bills certainly delivered a message Thursday night, even when their QB led the team with 56 rushing yards. If the Packers' offense were to put up big numbers Sunday, would the message be more significant if they dominate running the ball with power runs, jet sweeps, and some gash plays, or dominate through the air with our veterans and rookies making key plays? You can't choose both in this hypothetical. We're ready for some football!

B, just because of how much the passing game has been under the microscope since the Davante Adams trade. If Rodgers and Co. come up with a big day through the air, it would send a major statement to the rest of the NFL.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning! What do you think will be more important: the Packers' D getting off the field after third down or the O staying on the field after third down?

You want both, but it's an offensive sport. If the Packers can't convert on third down, it's going to be tough sledding.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, is it now the goal of every NFL team and its opponent to have fewer than seven turnovers per game?

In a perfect world? Yes. But football is far from perfect. Just win, baby.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Can we officially now retire the notion of Jalen Ramsey being the best corner?

Ramsey is still an excellent cornerback but that thought did flutter through my mind after he was burned on the touchdown. Rank corners however you want to rank them, but that's not an image I've seen very often with No. 23.

Edward from Canton, SD

Can a player be activated from the practice squad the morning of gameday, or must it be done earlier in the week?

I think that move would have to hit the transaction wire today. That's how it was handled last year unless it was a COVID replacement.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

Will the Packers carry three running backs on the team this year?

Maybe at some point…but not today. And if they want a third RB on the gameday roster, the Packers are free to elevate Patrick Taylor or Tyler Goodson from the p-squad.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Greetings, gentlemen. In a typical season there are "points of emphasis" for officiating crews (stirs bitter memories of, for example, the absurd roughing-the-passer penalties on Clay Matthews several seasons ago). Maybe I've missed it, but are there any "points of emphasis" this season? If so, what are they and will they be advantageous or disadvantageous for GBP? BTW, go get that ridiculous Helga horn.

Illegal contact will be the point of emphasis for September, with a binding week-by-week lease after that.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Where do the Vikings keep that annoying horn? OK, it's probably a recording, though I still want to stuff an electronic sock in it before Sunday. Go Packers!

In an annoying garage.

Jeff from Mogadore, OH

How does Lambeau rate on the noise meter for noisiest stadiums?

It depends on how many people are standing.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Mike mentioned in the last mid-week chat getting charter buses on road trips. Do you share the buses with the players? I just have this image of Mike wedged in between T.J. Slaton and Devonte Wyatt or two big OL on the bus...

We have our own bus that may or may not be called, "The Spoffwagon." But there's enough room on road trips that there's no need to cram together. In 6½ years with the Packers, I haven't had to sit on Spoff's lap yet.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Derek's keys to victory:

1) Aaron Rodgers plays like the MVP.

2) The pass rush (Rashan Gary in particular) keeps consistent pressure on Cousins.

3) The "we-fense" doesn't commit an error that translates into points.

If the Packers win the pass-rush battle, I think they win this game.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

And so, it begins.

Put the poems in the scrapbook and the baloney in the fridge. It's time for football. Enjoy the game, everybody.