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Inbox: The keys are the keys

That’s a lot of chain moving

LB Quay Walker
LB Quay Walker

Brent from Delano, MN

OK, if BG's selection of JL would allow GBP to beat the KCC and PM with his PhD that would A-OK with the II right?


Dave from Comer, GA

No question, but an observation. I just love the look of fear and apprehension on Mike's face when Larry starts introducing you three on Three Things. It is obvious that nobody except maybe Larry knows what's going to be said.

It's a challenge as the leadoff guy to stay focused on what you're planning to say when you have no idea how you're going to be introduced, and if you'll have to react to that off-the-cuff right before. But that's what makes it fun.

Trish from Columbus, OH

Please assure Wes that the video version of "Unscripted" is not just for the diehards! It's for everyone who can't abide those ear-splitting Sirius interruptions in the podcast!

Duly noted. 'Preciate the audience regardless.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, with the Chiefs favored and expected to win are the Packers playing with house money Sunday night?

If that's the way some want to look at it, fine I guess. But I guarantee you there isn't a single individual walking out of that tunnel Sunday night wearing Packers gear who won't expect to win the game.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Mike, I am seriously concerned about the readers' heightened expectations and approach to playing the Chiefs. It could indeed be a watershed game and springboard for this young Packers team like it was for Denver, but it also may not. How do you see things unfolding Sunday night? What new wrinkles might ML employ?

I have no idea what might unfold, but I don't think this game is about new wrinkles. Other than the deep shot on the opening snap, Detroit really wasn't either. It's about the Packers continuing the progress they've shown on offense, which has featured sharper execution, leading to regularly explosive plays. Defensively, it's about winning the battle up front for a second game in a row against a playoff-caliber team. The defense's unevenness is generally rooted there, whether it seizes or loses control at the line of scrimmage.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Some of the talking heads on TV have referred to the Packers' offensive line as "undersized" and supposedly a detriment to their performance. Are you buying this?

The only Packers player up front who's a tad undersized for his position is Zach Tom at right tackle. If one player on an entire unit generates such a perception, that's an incredibly lazy and inaccurate observation.

Jim from Roscoe, IL

Zach Tom has played lights out at RT. Is there a chance the Packers move him to LT in the offseason? It seems like it would be easier to draft another RT or move Rasheed Walker over.

Ask me again in five months, at the end of April.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

I thought that it was interesting that Cliff noted any discussion of players for the Packers Hall of Fame is only shared in private. Are either of you involved in any of the Hall of Fame discussions? Or is that secret also?

Neither Wes nor I is on the selection committee.

Joseph from Sioux Falls, SD

This is a little late, maybe already discussed, but did you see that Jayden Reed was the fastest ball carrier of Week 11?! On that end-around versus LA he got up to 21.52 mph and still looked like he had some more burst, if needed. I know it's not normally someone in the slot that is taking the top off of a defense, but he could.

I remember commenting in the live blog at the time I thought Reed might've still had an extra gear on that TD run.

Dave from King Ferry, NY

I saw a mind-blowing stat, Christian Watson was clocked running 21.53 mph on the first play against Detroit. That is insane given it was with the weight of all of his gear! How does that rate with the fastest speed recorded in a game?

Reed at 21.52, Watson at 21.53. Given their different strides, it would be fun to see them side-by-side in a 30-yard sprint. I believe the top speed ever recorded in an NFL game was by Tyreek Hill his rookie season, at 23.24 mph. Hill also hit a shade over 22 mph earlier this season.

James from Appleton, WI

We've seen it with other players and now, hopefully, with Jordan Love: The coaches don't name the starters; the starters name themselves.

Opportunity may not always stem from a meritocracy, but longevity certainly does.

Ty from Jamestown, IN

My oh my … things are sure looking up and the anti-Love crowd has had a few bad weeks now. That said, who is the guy in your mind that has quietly or maybe unnoticeably been progressing the most that no one seems to be talking enough about? I say Tucker Kraft. Who you got?

Malik Heath. I know everyone saw his four catches in Detroit, but a couple of those were not easy grabs, and I saw some impressive blocking from him on the offensive film as well.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Different from rushing Goff, I am thinking the Packers need to rush in a more disciplined manner against Mahomes to minimize his ability to hurt you on the run. What is the key to staying disciplined and yet still getting pressure?

Stay square when pushing the pocket, get all the leverage you can, and let the QB make the first move. He could still get away, but he has an even better chance if he sees where a rusher abandons lane integrity first. Mahomes isn't just Kansas City's second-leading rusher. If you take out his kneel-downs (15 for minus-17 yards), he's run the ball 38 times for 322 yards, or 8.5 yards per scramble. That's a lot of chain moving.

Jason from Portsmouth, UK

Morning guys, with the Chiefs rolling into Lambeau Sunday night, you know they offensively are going to mix things up with a lot of motions/sweep reverses/flea-flickers and trick plays from coach Andy Reid. With that said what are your keys on our defense to try and contain these plays and prevent these chunk plays?

The keys are the keys, as in defenders reading their keys and executing their duties, whether that means staying home or chasing an assignment. More often than not, the reason a trick play works is a defender has his eyes in the wrong place and overreacts to something he's not supposed to be focused on.

Steve from Wabasha, MN

I was crossing the street the other day when I saw a car coming. I have been walking rather nonchalantly so I decided to jolly jog the rest of the way. From now on there will be no more lollygagging only jolly jogging.

Tucker Kraft is as down-to-earth as they come.

Nathan from Williamstown, MA

When the TV broadcast crew interviews players/coaches leading up to a game, do they usually send someone in person? With the primetime game this week, do you have to worry about Cris Collinsworth making a grab for Wes's lunch?

The broadcast crew is usually in town by Friday for a Sunday game, and we'll often see them at Friday's practice. Their production interviews are worked in during that day. On Saturday, they'll usually head to the opposing team's hotel and do those interviews upon arrival.

Hannes from Vienna, Austria

Good morning II. Considering all the preparation you have to do before the SNF matchup, will you have time to watch one quarter or two of the SF-PHI game?

I'm hoping to catch a good portion of the second half of that game in the press box, yeah.

Laurent from Montreal, Canada

Hello Insiders. I just saw that Aaron Rodgers got his 21-day practice window opened to return from IR. Would that feat qualify for the comeback player of the year award? I'm pretty sure Damar Hamlin will run away with the award but I would be curious to know how many players came back from a ruptured Achilles in the same season? Thank you!

The only comparable one I'm aware of was when Cam Akers ruptured his Achilles in mid-July 2021, just before training camp, and was back on the field for the Rams in the final regular-season game that year and for LA's playoff run to the Super Bowl.

Dale from Crivitz, WI

Good morning, guys. Still glowing after Lions game. I watched most of the weekend games and I was confused by one disparity in intentional grounding calls. In an early game, intentional grounding was called, and the ref called it a 10-yard penalty. In one of the next games, it was called again, but was a "spot" foul, which was what I thought it was supposed to be! Am I missing something or is this an either/or call? Love your website! Thanks for all you do!

Intentional grounding is a spot foul if it occurs more than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. It's a 10-yard penalty otherwise. Both applications also result in loss of down.

William from Fairhope, AL

"The plan starts with four hands on Jones as often as possible." That's a good one for a follow-up. Please explain how the hands of an offensive lineman can be used to "block" a defensive player, and avoid a holding call. And the lagniappe would be to hear more – like, do some of the best offensive lineman study how to do "just enough" with their hands to avoid the penalty flags?

You made me look up lagniappe, so for that I thank you for the nugget of knowledge. Offensive linemen use their hands to deliver an initial punch to their opponents. They also will grab jersey and/or pads within the torso framework to neutralize movement, which is totally legal if the defender is not trying to move laterally. If the grabbing occurs outside the torso, such as on or around the shoulder pads, or if the defender moves laterally and the lineman doesn't stay directly in front of him, that's when the holding flags come out. Yes, linemen push the limits of their hand placement and activity all the time.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Can you please enlighten us on the wet carpet?

I don't normally go out of my way to clue people in, but it had been a while since that joke resurfaced. Google wet carpet and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Then the posts from the last two days will make sense.

Steve from Ellison Bay, WI

Best kick of all time? How about temperature and pressure handicapped Tynes 47 yards in OT at whatever it was below zero at Lambeau in 2008 for a trip to the SB?

That was another one that came to mind for me, as far as a kick I've seen in person, but I wasn't going to bring it up.

Chase from Carmichael, CA

Not an all-time clutch kick, but my favorite missed kick is definitely the time Mason attempted the free kick going into halftime. My buddy and I were in line with the uprights so we had a perfect view on whether it was going in. We didn't expect Mason to make it, but as that ball flew through the air we all got wide eyed and stopped breathing, because it was looking way closer than any of us were expecting. It may be an exaggeration, but I swear that ball was only a foot short.

It landed about a yard into the big white o/b stripe in the back of the end zone. He probably needed another 2-3 yards on it to make it. If it had been warmer than 10-degree wind chill that day, he might've had it.

Kevin from Westminster, CO

How do the press box culinary choices differ from day and night games?

Well, I don't expect to see the omelette station Sunday night, but I'll manage.

Michael from Alpharetta, GA

Jordan Love certainly seems to be progressing as Packer fans have hoped, but I'm still wondering about his deep ball. Yes, he hit Watson against Detroit but it seems that every deep ball Love throws forces our receiver to slow down or stop instead of hitting them in stride. It appears that Love has the arm strength, so what accounts for the underthrown deep balls? Curious on your thoughts.

I addressed this and several other QB-related topics in my mid-week chat if you're inclined to check that out.

Doug from Woodington, OH

Happy Friday, Inboxers! Looking forward to the live blog Sunday night, Mike. The game will be on my TV, but I'll still be glued to the goings-on as you're supplying us the details. Is there a particular position group you think must be successful to assist a GB victory?

I think this game hinges on the Packers' pass protection. Linemen, tight ends, backs, everybody. Protecting Love gives Green Bay its best chance.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

I'm wearing my cheesehead to work tomorrow. Just to make sure everyone remembers where my allegiance lies. I sure hope that decision ages well.

It's a bold strategy, Dustin. Let's see if it pays off for ya.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Mike, I'm hoping that stacking back-to-back wins makes your guys' job more palatable. Sorry that you've had to suffer the fools on occasion this season. However, I have to admit that I find the terse responses highly entertaining. Unlike a fish, I like the barbs.

It's never personal, just about keeping it real.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

"Show me" game, indeed, Dean. I sure hope no one else has been badgering you guys with this tomfoolery.

Happy Friday.

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