Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: The difference is significant, as expected

Simpler said than done


Scott from Sussex, WI

Has the NFL considered eliminating a day of the week, in order to reduce the amount of days between Sundays? Or would that have to be collectively bargained?

And once again we're off, so we might as well get going.

Brian from Pensacola, FL

I'd like to add onto Wes's response to Tim from La Crosse. You can also run Christian Watson diagonally. I just wanted to make sure you were covering all the angles, no matter how obtuse they maybe.

Oh boy.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

"Teams must marry the run and the pass." I've officiated two ceremonies. If you'll allow me, I'm happy to do the honors: I now pronounce you Run and Pass, you may now experience full consistency!

This crowd is really on a roll today.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Good morning Insiders! Russell Wilson is not having his best of years in Denver. What made him so great in Seattle that we still need to watch out for? It seems he doesn't have that rapport with his WRs like he did with Lockett and Metcalf.

Don't sleep on Wilson. His passer rating this year is 99.0, considerably higher than last year (84.4) and he's regained more mobility. His 65.9% completion rate is higher than all but three of his seasons in Seattle.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, Wes talked about trust inside these walls. Do you see clear signs that the team remains tightly knit regardless of the external noise?

I'm not going to pretend to judge how tightly knit a specific team is without talking to the players about it, but that's part of the culture LaFleur has fostered since he got here, so I have no reason to doubt these guys are together. What I sense this week more than anything is a team eager to get back out there, play a game, and get back in the win column.

Chase from Milwaukee, WI

Hey fellas, since the Raiders game, we've been hearing ML and QB1 talk about how they need easy completions. They seemed to try that with multiple screens Monday that didn't do much damage. What does "easy completions" mean to you and does this mean a lot less deep balls for vertical threats like Musgrave, Watson, Reed?

The Packers' screen game has struggled. I mentioned that the other day. However it's schemed up, easy completions would get the ball to guys quickly with room to work. Simpler said than done, but I think the Packers will try to establish those types of plays more before taking their shots.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Looking at six or so ex-GB receivers around the NFL, (even Lazard given his contract) none of those on the NYJ, Bears or KC roster look worthy of being kept here versus the vetting we are doing of six-plus rookies and second-year guys. No matter this season's outcome, kudos to the front office.

I like the approach as well. It has its drawbacks in the short term, but the potential long-term payoff is substantial.

Brian from Trego, WI

How do all the brainiacs that evaluate NFL draft talent completely get it wrong on a guy like Brock Purdy who pretty much lights up the league in his rookie year and continues to win?

If I knew that I wouldn't be, no offense, spending much of my week chatting with you folks. Hey, sometimes a system and a player are a great match. I'm not denigrating Purdy and calling him a "system quarterback," but I think a comfortable fit certainly helps a young QB find his footing in this league. It doesn't happen for everybody.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

"Since their '57 title and subsequent Layne trade, the Lions have qualified for the postseason a dozen times, but they're 1-12 in playoff games (0-11 on the road)." Thought it was worth mentioning the Lions home playoff loss was to the Packers in 1993.

Figured someone would. Yup, Favre to Sharpe for the win.

Steve from Hurricane, UT

I failed to notice and no one else has asked that I've seen. Who had the com helmet/green dot and called the plays on D while Walker and Campbell were/are hurt?

Inside LB coach Kirk Olivadotti confirmed earlier this week it was Isaiah McDuffie.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

The Jets derived some motivation from Sean Payton's unprofessional comments about Nathaniel Hackett in their showdown with Denver. Hackett was well liked in the GB locker room as well. Have you sensed any extra juice among Packer players to stand up for their former OC?

This sentiment and query is more popular in the Inbox than in the locker room. I haven't heard it come up with the players at all. If any are motivated in some way, that's fine I guess. Spending too much mental energy on it sounds like a distraction to me, though.

Blake from Itasca, IL

I believe Aaron has said he has no desire to coach post-playing once before. Given the circumstance and the participation AR has had on the sidelines, do you think this chain of events has made him reconsider coaching in the future? Asking for a league...

I doubt it. Being on the headset and involved on the sideline during a game is one aspect of what otherwise is a 12-to-16-hour-a-day job from August through January.

Jon from Guttenberg, IA

Regarding last plays of the game and officials not calling penalties, that seems common across almost all sports (basketball, etc.). Whether it's a league policy or more likely the gut of a referee, it reflects leaving the final outcome up to the play of the players vs. a whistle. Especially true in the playoffs, and when the call would be interpretive as well (PI, etc.). Players also seem to know the last play allows for more aggressiveness. That goes for both the defensive and offensive player.

I agree.

Mike from Niles, IL

Mike, were you actually serious when you suggested to Mike from Littleton that teams should allow refs' fear of throwing last-second flags to dictate the type of plays they called?

Only in the circumstance of already having been given one extra chance via a last-second flag, as in the Buffalo game. I just don't think the odds are good you're going to get another one on the very next snap if the defense decides to throw caution to the wind.

Herbert from Palm Desert, CA

Good morning, I'm so tired of listening and reading about how bad NFL officiating is. Few people understand the speed and violence of play on the field. That alone makes it difficult to officiate. Add seven men watching 22 from angles that can't be completely controlled while we sit on the couch and criticize. How many times does the TV broadcast search their 20 cameras for the best angle because the original isn't definitive? Oh, and then slow it down frame by frame for us. Sorry, rant concluded.

I hear you, believe me. But as I've said for years in this space, the problem is having the fans see all those angles and replays on TV but not having the actual results match them as much as reasonably possible. Yes, the league loves controversy, and this is one way it's created. The league also is doing a better job with quick fixes not requiring challenges when an error is obvious (thanks Gavin from Albuquerque). But there's this constant push-and-pull between how much should be subject to replay and where to draw the line. Steven from Sauk Rapids, MN, brought up the defenseless/head-neck penalty late in the Niners-Browns game that had a major impact on the outcome. It's darn close, based on the action and the letter of the law. I fail to understand why the league doesn't feel a bang-bang, incredibly difficult call to make at full speed, which is safety-related to protect players but can alter the course of a contest, isn't worthy of review to make sure it's right. Same with RTP. I think both the players and fans deserve to have those calls scrutinized more and not left to happenstance, especially when we hear every week about players getting fined for plays that weren't flagged, or getting flagged for similar actions but not fined. As I mentioned (again, as my face keeps getting bluer) in my mid-week chat, I think if safety-related calls were put under the purview of replay, the officials on the field wouldn't have such an overfilled plate and might do a better job with the garden-variety stuff and other judgment calls. Maybe not, but I think that approach is at least worth a try. Nobody from 345 Park Ave. has asked for my opinion, though. Sorry, now my rant has concluded. Thanks for indulging.

Laurie from Sheboygan, WI

While Anders Carlson is having quite a successful season so far, it is still hard to believe we are in an NFL season without Mason Crosby. If just sort of drifting into the sunset is the end of his stellar career, that will be very sad. What are the chances someone will end up needing a very good veteran kicker later this season or for next season? It seems to be a position with very little turnover midseason.

You never know how these things go. Anything could happen anytime. While the Packers certainly appear to have found their next long-term kicker, I'm holding out hope we haven't seen the last of Crosby on an NFL field.

Jake from Decatur, GA

You said it often last year (and I wholeheartedly agreed) that Green Bay's struggles in the offensive red zone were very atypical of the LaFleur era and likely a big reason for the down season. Now, we're 9-of-10 in goal-to-go and still at 2-3 on the season. That seems like cause for optimism to me. If we can just start moving the ball better, we seem to do fine scoring, and I assume concepts that work to convert touchdowns are also good for converting third downs. Or am I way off base there?

I'm not sure how much overlap there is between red zone/goal-to-go and third-down situations. I'm sure there's some. But your overall point is salient. The Packers have gotten points on their productive drives. They just have to move the ball more regularly. The inability to finish did bite them vs. the Raiders, though. That game saw the one goal-to-go failure, and in the fourth quarter the Packers got a first down in enemy territory twice but came away with nothing.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

How important is starting field position per analytics in a drive resulting in a field goal or touchdown? That is assuming that you have access to such info. Also where do the Packers rank as to drives started inside their own 20? My perspective is that we seem to have bad field position more often than most teams but as TK from Grafton suggested one's perspective may be skewed.

I don't have lists of other teams in front of me, but with apologies for the math, I can tell you the Packers have started drives inside their own 20 a total of 13 times this season and have scored on four of them (two TDs, two FGs; 31%). Starting at the 30 or better (not including clock-killing situations), they've scored on 11-of-17 drives (six TDs, five FGs; 65%). That latter category includes taking over in opposing territory after a turnover, but still, the difference is significant, as expected. Most of those backed-up drives have come in the last three games.

Dan from Richmond, VA

Lots of talk here lately about how the game is strongly tilted in favor of offenses and unfairly toward defenses. Then I read an article in a major newspaper about how NFL defenses have "caught up" this season, along with some compelling stats to back that up (e.g., nine teams allowing less than 300 yards per game to date). I'm not smart enough to know if this is just part of the natural ebb-and-flow of the game or something more, but I found it interesting food for thought and further discussion.

I read that Week 6 saw the fewest points per game across the league (18.4 per team) since Week 15 of 2014, roughly 8½ seasons. There are ebbs and flows and things shift. The season is also only one-third complete, though.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

The Lions have a tough game this weekend at Baltimore. If they were to lose and we can beat the Broncos that would put us squarely back into the mix in the North with the Vikings up next weekend. Coming off of two losses and a bye week I would hope we aren't looking ahead to next week. But the opportunity is certainly there. Just beat the Broncos.

You said it. Happy Friday.

Insider Inbox

Insider Inbox

Join writers as they answer the fans' questions in Insider Inbox