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Inbox: The game needs more people like him

The NFL didn’t mess around with how it handled the fallout from Thursday night

CB Tramon Williams
CB Tramon Williams

Jim from Marengo, WI

Mike and Wes, do you do any cross-the-hall, self-scouting of each other doing the bye week?

Yes. Except we call them "cross-the-cubicle" meetings. Good morning!

Don from Riverton, UT

Are all veterans timed in the 40 each year by their teams? Specifically, I'm wondering where Tramon Williams stacks up against the youngsters! I know his value is measured in many other ways on and off the field but I'm a numbers geek.

Once a player makes the league, the stopwatches get put away. Tramon still laughs about keeping up with the youngsters, though. My old colleague, Pete Dougherty, used to talk all the time about the biggest reason for Donald Driver playing as long as he did was because he maintained his lower body so well. Even in his mid-30s, there was still a springiness to his game. I put Tramon in the same category. He cuts no corners.

David from San Francisco, CA

One thing the Packers do very well with their 1-2 backfield is rest Aaron Jones in the third quarter and then unleash him well-rested in the fourth quarter. Jones looks pretty bell-cow to me in that fourth quarter.

I don't know Jones' rushing yards by quarter but both he and the Packers have often been fresh in the fourth quarter of games this year. That's led to a lot of touchdowns and a lot of wins.

Steve from Benson, AZ

I assume the Packers learned from the egg they laid against the Chargers. What changes are in store for the 49ers?

I feel confident saying Matt LaFleur and his staff will have a better plan in place for the second West Coast trip. Schematically, San Francisco's defense is a real challenge. At the same time, the Packers are an 8-2 team. Be patient and do what you do well. Davante Adams and those running backs need to be a huge factor in that game. You have to match force with force.

Mike from Elrosa, MN

I liked going for the touchdown before halftime in the Carolina game. I thought we would have also gone for it on fourth-and-3 to ice the game. Do you think LaFleur should have tried to finish the game on offense? Please elaborate your feelings on this. Thanks.

I've said my peace about going for it before halftime but I'll gladly add I was absolutely in favor of punting on fourth-and-3. It backed Carolina up to its own 11 and made the Panthers travel the full length of the field. By the time they got back to the 43 (where JK Scott punted from), a full minute had been drained from the clock and the two-minute warning had passed.

Richard from Madison, WI

So Jaire Alexander and Kevin King have "both let some turnover opportunities get away, really." What do you think of the old observation that "if they could catch the ball, they'd be wide receivers"?

Sure, but Alexander and King have that playmaking ability in them. That's what makes them so dangerous. Those plays happen in the blink of an eye. They must learn from them and catch lightning the next time it strikes.

Thomas from Dunkerton, IA

With all the talk of the game being flexed and the late flight back, has the team ever considered staying an extra day or do the logistics prevent it? If Monday isn't a field practice day anyway, why not set up training tables, a film room, etc., and keep on a more normal schedule and fly back Monday evening? Or does Wes have enough clout to slam his fist on the table and yell, "I'm not being away from my family another day! We fly Sunday night!"

As long as it's safe to fly from a weather perspective, I see no reason not to fly home immediately. Logistically, it's much easier to hop on the plane, get back to Green Bay and have all the necessary resources at your disposal to begin recovery the next morning.

JR from East Moline, IL

Am I wrong in thinking that theoretically the Niners could finish 14-2 (Seattle, Seattle) only to earn a wild-card spot? And when you and Spoff travel, which of you is Neal Page and which is Del Griffith?

If the 49ers win out but lose again to Seattle in the regular-season finale and the Seahawks win out, then Seattle would win the NFC West and San Fran would be a 14-2 wild-card team. It's an unlikely scenario but possible. Spoff and I have separate rooms and direct flights, so fortunately we haven't discovered who would be Neal and who would be Del.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Ten games in. Was all that worrying about "12" not getting any preseason snaps unfounded?

Unfounded, unwarranted and unnnnnnnnnjustified. Sorry, I just take every available opportunity to quote Kevin Greene.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Steven from Silver Spring, MD, brought up a point I have argued for years. I really think the interception stat is very misleading. All that is given is the number of interceptions. I'd like for someone to do the work and go back and check out every one of Favre's (or any other QB's) interceptions and count how many were tipped or dropped. I would love to see how many were actually the fault of the QB.

I don't know about Favre but I'm fairly certain three of Rodgers' four interceptions over the past 26 games have come off dropped passes. You can throw the prettiest pass ever seen but someone needs to catch it. That's the beauty of football.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

A question for both of you. If you could interview a Packer who has passed away, who would it be and what one question would you ask him?

Cecil Isbell. Do you wish you'd played longer? Did you ever regret your decision to retire after 1942?

John from Twin Peaks, CA

Maybe you can address this for me this week. During the Chargers game, there was a penalty called while receiving a kickoff, "double-team" block on the receiving team. I'd never heard that call before, ever. What's the background behind that, and what is the rule that was broken?

That rule was a part of the kickoff changes in March 2018. The two players back with the kickoff returner (once referred to as "the posse") are not allowed to "wedge block" or double-team one player trying to cover the kick.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Players are constantly shuffled in and out during a game (except in hurry-up mode). How is this information communicated? Are coaches yelling from the sidelines or do the headset-equipped leaders on the field communicate what the next play will be, so that players know they aren't in it?

Teams have all these plays and packages ready. Once the call comes in to the quarterback, skill positions react accordingly. The position coaches also keep an eye out for their specific players. In some cases, there are basic substitution rules like a receiver heading to the sideline after running a deep route.

Chris from Flower Mound, TX

Congrats to Tramon Williams for being nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. How ironic that award is named after the Steelers' family owner. How does the NFL manage chippy games? What warnings and oversight will be in place for the Dec. 2 game?

First, congratulations to Tramon on being honored for the second consecutive year as the team's Rooney Award nominee. The game needs more people like him. They don't come any classier than ol' No. 38. Based on my experience, there don't tend to be many shenanigans in those type of rematches. In most cases, everyone is on their best behavior.

Joe from Cedar Grove, WI

Wow...What a mess of a situation in the Steelers-Browns game. I can't even remember the last time a Packer was even remotely involved in that kind of dirty scenario. The only one that comes to mind is Charles Martin body-slamming Jim McMahon in '86. Regardless, the league's really got its hands full with this one.

The NFL didn't mess around with how it handled the fallout from Thursday night, suspending Myles Garrett indefinitely and sitting Maurkice Pouncey (three games) and Larry Ogunjobi (one). The Martin/McMahon incident obviously was inexcusable but this was embarrassing on so many levels given what we know now about head and neck injuries. It was a bad look for everyone involved, which is why I felt it was right to fine both organizations.

Scott from Hayward, WI

That fiasco could have ended Mason Rudolph's career. An NFL football helmet (4-6 pounds) being swung by a 275-pound man is a potentially lethal weapon. Both are fortunate that the outcome wasn't worse.

It was ugly. I'm interested to see how the NFLPA handles the aftermath of the ruling. It tends to push back on fines/suspensions, so I imagine this won't be any different (despite the fact one of its players had a helmet swung at his head). All three players have three business days to appeal. Former NFL players Derrick Brooks and James Thrash are the joint-appointed appeals officials.

Garrett from Spring, TX

One player tries to rip the helmet off a guy and fails. His would-be victim tries the same and succeeds. Only the latter is ejected. Are we really in such a pretty-boy QB era that they can commit egregious personal fouls and have those ignored by replay? If Rudolph isn't suspended, I'm not buying a jersey this Christmas.

It appeared Rudolph was displeased with Garrett bringing him to the ground, but his grabbing of Garrett's helmet is what escalated matters. The NFL left the door open for additional discipline. I'm sure Rudolph will be fined for his role, at the very least.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

Is it too much to ask for some kind of consistency from the officials in New York? How was the hit by Randall enough to get him ejected? It didn't look as bad as the hit that took Jamaal Williams out against the Eagles.

A hit on a defenseless receiver downfield in space will always draw more ire from officials than a football scrum.

Al from Rapid City, SD

Very dangerous game on Thursday night. Several suspensions should be handed out. Do you think it I has anything to do with sloppy officiating? How can players get that frustrated especially when they're winning?

I'm with Spoff on this one. It's on the players and coaches, not the officials, to control themselves in those situations.

Darren from Warrington, UK

Myles Jack should receive a lifetime ban from playing and criminal charges for his actions last night. It was mindless violence and an example needs to be set.

Hey now, let's leave Myles Jack out of this.

Jake from Athens, GA

Since we're on bye, what do you think is going on in Cleveland? Just judging by name recognition, I'm having trouble thinking of a more talented team, but in their division the Browns are second to only the still-winless Bengals.

The Washington experiment in 2001 proved the biggest names don't always win the games. The same could be said about the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles' "Dream Team." If you don't have the right mix of leaders, camaraderie and direction, then the names don't matter.

Tim from St Louis, MO

I didn't want to bring it up until the bye, but there was a lot of questions and discussion about the free kick or fair-catch kick. Our Packers have one of the successful ones in NFL history. On Sept. 13, 1964, Paul Hornung hit a 52-yard field goal off a fair catch at end of the first half against the Chicago Bears that is the longest made off the fair-catch kick.

I was aware Hornung's 52-yarder was one of the six fair-catch kicks that have been made in NFL history. What I didn't realize until researching it Friday was that it came as a result of an Elijah Pitts fair catch on a punt. Since the field-goal post was near the front of the end zone, Vince Lombardi opted for the free kick from the Green Bay 48 and nobody had any idea what was happening. People talk about Bill Belichick's knowledge of obscure NFL rules. How about the original old ball coach? Four years later, the Bears returned the favor, though, when Mac Percival made a 43-yard game-winner at the Packers' expense.

Evan from Durango, CO

Which Packer do you think has the best chance to be included in the XL Hall of Fame class the NFL is pushing through for the 100th season? My bet is on LeRoy Butler, both for a stellar career and also for "inventing" the Lambeau Leap. Are there any other candidates you think will get serious consideration?

Butler is still a modern-era nominee, which remains a five-player class this year. The potential 20-inductee class comes from a one-year expansion to 10 senior candidates, three contributors and two coaches. For that reason, Sterling Sharpe might have the best candidacy for enshrinement in 2020. I'm not saying the odds are great but they're probably as good as anyone with Packers ties.

Salongo from Hailey, ID

I got a David Bakhtiari jersey in the offseason since my No. 52 left GB. I'm thinking I need a 1/11 jersey now. But what should I print over the numbers?

"Do Your Job," if you're serious about it. "All Gas," if you're not.

Alexander from Muskego, WI

Bye-week question: You guys ever thought about doing "Packers Unscripted" with a live studio audience? Or live from Lambeau?

That's kind of what the pep rallies are like…except with Wayne hosting…and minus the Cousins Subs reads.

Dennis from Batavia, IL

Flexing the San Francisco matchup until after closing on opening weekend of deer hunting season is appreciated by all of us blaze-orange-wearing Packer fans. I will be enjoying the day in the woods with my 86-year-old dad before tuning in to the game. Have either of you ever been deer hunting?

I am not a hunter but I know Pa Hod and many others are pleased with this development. Congratulations to you all.

Greg from Ridgedale, MO

More of an opinion than a question – when asked which Packers I would like to see in the Pro Bowl, my answer is NONE. I want them to be getting ready for the game the next week.

I forget which player told me this years ago but I remember asking something like, "What was your best Pro Bowl season?" The answer: "The one I didn't play in." Enjoy the weekend, everyone.