Presented by

Inbox: The margin was razor thin regardless

That’s usually what it takes

220131-insider-inbox-2560
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford

Dale from Prescott, WI

"Playoffs a crapshoot." Statement justified.

And how.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Good morning. It was as if the rest of the playoffs were so embarrassed by wild-card weekend, they felt like they had to be extra good to make up for it.

I didn't think championship Sunday could come close to last weekend, but I was wrong.

Emma from Winter Garden, FL

I've never witnessed such incredible back-to-back playoff weekends. Just when you think a team might be out of it, they keep clawing their way back. The Super Bowl is truly going to be super!

Let's hope.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I recall people making comments about how going all-in wasn't working so well for the Rams after their loss to the Packers earlier this season. What are those people saying now?

It worked out for them in the end. Plenty of moments Sunday, it could have gone the other way. Beckham and Miller became difference-makers down the stretch for them. The margin was razor thin regardless.

Vince from Auburn, WA

So happy for Matthew Stafford. I've always been a fan of his for his toughness and leadership.

That fourth quarter was Stafford's moment. Down 10, he led his team on three straight scoring drives to get to the Super Bowl. Two terrible 15-yard penalties on the Niners and a dropped INT certainly helped, but Stafford ultimately came through. The one deep ball down the middle that should've been picked could've changed everything, but he was still the better QB in the fourth quarter, and that's usually what it takes.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

So much for home-field advantage this year. The Rams game was an embarrassment for LA. Home championship game, with a chance to play a home Super Bowl, they restrict ticket sales to LA County only, and the 49er fans STILL negated the advantage.

Both teams going silent count with a conference title on the line. I'm not sure we'll ever see that again.

Lee from Grants, NM

Welp, at least we no longer hold the record for biggest blown lead in the fourth quarter of a championship game. So we got that going for us.

And the Bengals tied the record for the biggest halftime deficit overcome in an AFC title game.

Steve from Wauseon, OH

Do you think the Kansas City writers are glad they don't have an Inbox?

That's a brutal loss, but nobody's feeling sorry for a team that had reached the Super Bowl two straight years. It was an incredible turnaround by the Bengals in that game. They hadn't stopped the Chiefs until, literally, the last play of the first half. Then they gave up just three points the rest of the game, and those came at the fourth-quarter gun to boot. Remarkable.

Russell from Shell Lake, WI

Well, I guess we're not the most stunned football fans anymore. It's KC in case you were wondering.

One week after the Chiefs left the Buffalo fans absolutely gutted.

Brian from Almond, WI

So are the Chiefs wasting Mahomes' years? Or is getting to and winning the Super Bowl just really hard?

Ha, good one. It's hard even for the teams that make it look easy a lot of the time.

Tom from Highland Village, TX

It's a funny game. First half, Mahomes GOAT? After halftime, Mahomes goat.

And he almost blew getting the game to overtime.

Matt from Philadelphia, PA

No Brady. No Mahomes. Man, it feels like the Packers really blew a golden opportunity to win a Super Bowl this year. That being said, Rodgers should definitely stay in the NFC. The AFC has way too many good, young QBs. Aaron Rodgers best chance to make another SB is to stay in a winnable division and a winnable conference.

Sums up many of my thoughts.

Ben from Fort Worth, TX

Mike, I sure hope Rodgers watched the AFC playoffs and realizes what is going on in the AFC (I'm sure he did and does). With Burrow (yes, I'm putting him first), Mahomes, Allen, and even Carr made it in. Throw in Herbert and Jackson, and the AFC seems to be a tough conference, with the AFC West being especially tough. It seems his easiest path to a Super Bowl still lies in the NFC, especially being in the NFC North. I also don't see another NFC team he would be interested in. Crossing fingers.

If Rodgers wants to play elsewhere, it's hard for me to envision the Packers trading him to an NFC team. I doubt that's an option.

Brandon from Atlanta, GA

Given the relative strength and poise of the offensive line the last few years, I am eager to see a Stenavich-coordinated offense next season.

Assuming the reports are true and making it official is a mere formality, this is a huge career opportunity for Stenavich. When LaFleur hired him in 2019, he hadn't even been a full-fledged position coach in the NFL yet (assistant offensive line only). I'm a firm believer the better the Packers' ground game is, the better their offense will be, so I too am eager to see what Stenavich does at the controls now.

Mark from Geneva, IL

Well, the new Bears brass has taken the approach of stealing Luke Getsy. Feels like that is a double whammy for us. Losing a top coach with an intimate knowledge of our offense to our biggest rival.

Congrats to Luke on a great opportunity for himself as well. The knowledge element is overrated. Teams prepare based on what they see on film, not due to what someone tells them.

Michael from Weston, Canada

Do you think there will come a day we will be talking about the LaFleur coaching tree?

It wouldn't surprise me. Then again, there's no telling how all these moves are going to work out.

Mike from Franksville, WI

Since winning the Super Bowl, Rodgers has (presumably) won four MVP awards. He cemented himself as a Hall of Famer. He's also gone 7-9 in the playoffs, four of those losses coming at Lambeau Field. If this is the end, what will his legacy in Green Bay be? Bart Starr's is of winning championships. Brett Favre's is of reviving a dead franchise. Rodgers' play in the regular season is perhaps as elite as any quarterback we've ever seen, but will his postseason shortcomings always hang over him?

It's part of the deal as far as that goes. To what degree can vary depending on individual interpretations. People will remember what they want to remember.

Vic from De Pere, WI

If/when Rodgers gets back to the playoffs, no matter who with, the pressure has to be building every attempt. The way he talks about his legacy I don't see him getting over this hurdle of trying to put everything on his own back.

I don't think he does that. Others do that from the outside. But yeah, the pressure will be immense. It's also what the greats sign up for.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

Is there any credence to saying Rodgers tries too much to be the hero in the playoffs, and it usually backfires? If not, what makes you say otherwise? If so, does it potentially stem from all the times he truly had to be the hero? It certainly seems like there are times he tries to do too much, but I don't know if that is actually the case or if he has just missed some plays he normally doesn't at crucial times.

I think he has a tendency to try to be the hero when things aren't going well and there's no rhythm to the offense, nothing for the unit to lean on to be successful. It's a natural outgrowth of the position he plays and abilities he possesses.

Steven from Stephens City, VA

The legacy of Rodgers towards Packers fans should go like this. The Arizona wild-card game where we knew without a doubt he was gonna be truly special. The Super Bowl win. The fourth-and-8. The miracle in Motown. Backs against the wall divisional game against Arizona. The run the table. The he went to Jared game. I would love to hear if I missed any but all these hold a special place in my heart and will always remember the feeling I had watching Rodgers bring home the win.

Do people really call it the "he went to Jared" game? That's a new one for me.

Michael from Morrison, IL

As we continue to look back on the season that was, which four games would you pick as the most memorable from the 2021 campaign? Personally, I'd pick Arizona, Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, with honorable mention going to San Francisco (the regular-season contest, of course).

I'd put Week 3 in SF ahead of Baltimore, but otherwise I'm right with you.

Greg from Mitchell, SD

As I watched the game with SF it became clear that tight end is a weakness we need to address. Robert Tonyan does a nice job if healthy but we still need another threat down the middle. Marcedes Lewis is great blocker but can't play forever. Do you think the Packers will look for a tight end prospect in the draft this year?

They will look at every position, as they always do, and roster needs will enter the draft equation as the dust settles on free agency. But with Tonyan's return uncertain (both injury-wise and contract-wise), I suspect tight end would land in the initial group of priorities.

Jeffrey from St. Clair Shores, MI

I expect flack, but maybe it is time for a dome. Football has changed to basketball on grass (see Chiefs vs. Bills). After that game I said football is broken. You play all season one way and then have to play a different way in Dec/Jan. Especially January. MN plays in a dome and still have a killer home-field advantage. GB needs to join the modern age of football.

I don't even know how to respond to this, except I feel compelled to tell you the Vikings are 8-8 at home over the last two seasons, and in 2019 they lost the NFC North, at home, to, ahem, well … forget it.

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

So, is "Unscripted" totally unscripted? You guys do a great job and I will miss it in the coming months.

Other than having the ad reads printed in front of me, I go into each show with a notecard and brief outline of possible topics to discuss. That's it. Wes brings in (…looks around…) nada. So yeah, it's truly unscripted. Thanks for listening. We'll be back.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

I just read that Matt Eberflus will be the 17th head coach for the Bears. That got me wondering. Not to do the whole NFL, or even the NFC, but looking at the NFC North, what's the tally? I'm thinking the fewer the coaches, the greater the stability (and by extension, success). So, does that mean the Packers come out on top?

Eberflus is Chicago's 17th in a hundred-plus years of football while LaFleur is Green Bay's 15th. Minnesota's hire will be the 10th in a tad over 60 years. Campbell is Detroit's 30th in about 90 years.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Mike explained opening script plays well. One follow-up. I thought I have heard from coaches that one other reason for scripted plays is to get a feel for how the defense is reacting to each of the plays, and to provide some good all-22 photos (now iPad) for coaches and players to analyze in game. Is that accurate?

I found this in some old submissions and had meant to respond to it last week. I believe I mentioned regarding scripted plays that live info gathering is part of the process. The offense is studying how the defense is responding to personnel groupings, formations, blocking schemes, route concepts, all of it, and moving forward accordingly.

William from Speedwell, TN

Well, it's been a week since that bag over the head, punch in the gut, soul crushing loss. I can verify it still sucks. We're on to September.

A lot to sort out between now and then.

Beau from Lancaster, PA

I have gone over all the plays that could have changed the outcome of Saturday's game just as I did last year and in 2014. But I realized I really need help when I thought that if Jared Cook doesn't fumble last year, the Saints probably come to GB instead of the Bucs and the Pack may have made it to the SB. Then how close the 49ers were to not even making the playoffs this year down 17-0 in the final regular-season game. If that happens, the Pack may still be playing. I think I need a hobby.

Congratulations. You're learning how whimsical all of this is, how it can all unfold this way or that. Grasping this concept has improved my health over the years.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

After seeing someone with Packers gear on the other day, I got to wondering. Could we come up with a secret II hand sign or catchphrase to easily discern whether another Packer supporter is also an II reader? Seemed like a good way to kick off the offseason.

That sounds like one for Wes's summertime Outsider Inbox. Maybe several suggestions could bubble up.

Andrew from Edgewood, IA

Put my name in the hat for the secret tour offered by II. Get Kuhn and the rest of the media staff involved and I'll even bring my own sack lunch to be stolen.

Deal. Happy Monday.

Advertising