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Inbox: The North always tests your toughness

It’s time for some Lambeau Field football again

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Dave from Waterford, OH

I had one of those once, a Twinkie without the cream filling. I wonder how many of those happen. Do 999,999 out of a million Twinkies have the cream (or is it creme) filling? If I would have known there was no filling, I would have saved it and not have bitten into it. Of course, like a lot of things, you don't know until you bite in. You could say that experience was a metaphor. Life is not a transparent Twinkie.

You have no idea how badly I wanted to use "Inbox: Life is not a transparent Twinkie" for my headline, but then I realized Hostess Brands, Inc., isn't a sponsor.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Let's try this one more time, since not everyone got the message last week. The baloney stops NOW! There, that should do it.

That's all we were missing. Good morning!

Nathan from New York, NY

What do the Packers have to do to bounce back and beat the Lions?

Get back to what they do well – manage down-and-distance, control the football, protect the football, execute on third downs and inside the red, or gold, zone. If the defense gets off the field on third down, I believe the Packers right the ship tonight. But it won't be easy. It's going to be a gritty, physical game.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Run it down their throats, Wes.

That would be my game plan. Set the tone and keep it there. The Packers need to get back to moving people up front and giving Aaron Jones a chance to break open games. To paraphrase Teddy KGB, "Feed that man – feed that man his football." I thought AJ Dillon looked good in that No. 2 role last week, too. Those guys just need the touches.

Brendon from Payette, ID

How many times has AJ Dillon gotten less than 4 yards on a run? Although I totally agree with re-signing Aaron Jones and want to see him get carries, you have to choose the right tool for the job, and wouldn't repeated blows from Quadzilla be the key to cracking these two-shell defenses we're going to keep seeing?

To Jones' credit, he's done plenty of that, too. But yes, Eddie Lacy's power-run style broke those defenses during his first two seasons in Green Bay and helped open the passing game for Aaron Rodgers during his second MVP campaign. The Packers need Dillon to thump.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

When prepping for Detroit, is the bigger unknown what MCDC is planning or what to expect out of Goff with a new team?

For me, it's Dan Campbell and new OC Anthony Lynn, who put together a brilliant game plan against Green Bay two years ago in LA. You can't look past Goff but the Packers have seen him before. I'm more interested in how the Lions attack. There's a lot of uncertainty at receiver but T.J. Hockenson is a problem for defenses. The Packers will need to know where he is on the field at all times. D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams also can cause headaches if you let them. It's a great early-season test for this defense.

Ross from Hudson, WI

A bit of Za'Darius Smith's success came last year when he was either out in a position to get penetration or moved to a place where he got penetration. First, was that by design or individual decision based on permission to do so? Second, how will Joe Barry put Rashan Gary in a position to succeed rather than lining him up and saying beat the guy across from you?

The Packers had a package designed for Smith to move around in a "rover" position, like what Dom Capers used to do with Clay Matthews. As far as Gary, one of the reasons the Packers like him so much is they feel he can pretty much handle everything the defense asks Za'Darius to do. Barry will have to be pragmatic about how he uses Gary, with how young they are at outside linebacker behind him and Preston Smith, but I definitely think you'll see him moving around the defense.

William from Speedwell, TN

Hypothetically, had AR12 retired and Jordan Love been the starting QB with the same results, would the narrative be more positive, negative, or the same in your opinion?

The narrative would've been the narrative and popular opinion would've been in the eye of the beholder until groupthink took over. Rodgers isn't retired, folks. He's here and chasing another championship. That's what matters.

Mike from St. Louis, MO

Hey gang, which position in your eyes other than QB is the hardest to make an adjustment when you go from college to the pros?

Tight end is kind of an overlooked position in college football but its value has never been greater in the NFL.

Dan from Edgerton, WI

How long must Za'Darius sit out before he can return?

Three games. The earliest he's eligible to return is against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 17.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

So, if Za'Darius Smith could be placed on IR for three weeks, why did David Bakhtiari get six weeks instead of three?

Because Bakhtiari isn't on IR. He's on the physically unable to perform list because he's yet to pass a physical. There's a six-week wait for PUP players to return.

Fred from Morehead, KY

Hi guys! With Z on IR, what can you tell us about La'Darius Hamilton? By the way, thanks for doing a sometimes seemingly thankless and job in a very professional and humorous manner. Most of us daily readers REALLY do appreciate it!

Hamilton is exactly what scouts look for in small-school prospects. He was super-productive at North Texas with 16 sacks his final two years. Hamilton has bounced around on a few practice squads the past two years but has a good pass-rushing frame at 6-3, 260. Look, you saw how quickly Chauncey Rivers got thrown into the fire last month. Hamilton is only a few plays away from seeing the field. He has to be ready.

Rick from Caledonia, WI

Surprised to see Lucas Patrick on injury list with concussion. Was it during practice or at last week's disaster?

It was coming out of Sunday's game but Patrick made progress in the protocol this week and was back at practice on Saturday. He's questionable to go tonight. If Patrick isn't cleared, then it's a major opportunity for either Jon Runyan or Jake Hanson.

Matt from Burlington, WI

Wes, is Dennis Kelly available to play a tackle position? He seems like a piece of the "O-line" dilemma without DB69 active.

Yeah, Kelly is healthy, but the Packers haven't needed him yet. Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner are solid bookends. Right now, GB needs those two where they are.

Gene from Oconto Falls, WI

Are the Packers the only team with a long waiting list for season ticket holders?

Theirs is the longest, but I think Seattle, Denver, Baltimore, New England and Chicago have fairly long wait lists, too.

John from Livermore, CA

So, what is your opinion of the Rams-Lions QB trade/exchange? Who got the best of the deal? Are the Packers better off with Stafford out of the division?

It was a good deal for both teams, but I really liked that trade for the Rams. First, Les Snead hasn't been shy about trading future draft picks for proven players. The trade filled a perceived hole for LA and gave Matthew Stafford a chance at winning right now rather than rebuilding for the umpteenth time. And Goff gets to try to prove them wrong in Detroit; win-win.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Did you watch any games Sunday?

I mowed my lawn during the noon games, but was able to catch the Cowboys-Chargers and Seahawks-Titans. I had a blast. I can't wait to do it again after the Thursday night game in Arizona.

Steve from Seven Devils , NC

Have you ever seen a worse-called game or one more one-sided than the Cowboys-Chargers game? No PI on Chargers' last drive in the end zone. Calling Justin Herbert down by contact? Several bogus holding calls? Two TDs by Chargers nullified. The NFL league office needs to review the tape.

Reviewing the tape or actually doing something about these issues? I'm not trying to be a baby about officiating but things are not getting better. It's been a steady decline, in my opinion, since Dean Blandino gave his notice in 2017.

Donna from Oak Creek, WI

What do you say to a young generation that grew up with Favre and Rodgers and never knew the heartache from the 1970s?

Just enjoy it. My generation is unique. I recognize we've only known Favre and Rodgers as Green Bay's QB, but we also have watched a lot of bad Brewers baseball and Bucks basketball. The Bucks were world champions and perennial contenders in the '70s, the Brewers made it to a World Series and won a lot of games in the '80s, and the Packers been the torchbearers through the '90s and what's followed.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

The Bears had Jay Cutler and the Vikings have their kickers.

As soon as the game ended, I texted two of my coworkers: "Death, taxes and the Vikings' kickers costing them games." We talk so much about Favre and Rodgers but Mason Crosby and Ryan Longwell deserve a round of applause, as well.

Jon from Onalaska, WI

In the background of Packers practice pictures, you often see "janitorial supplies open to public." Is that a real business adjacent to the practice field or a "decoy" allowing players in and out?

No, it's a real business. It's not a safehouse or anything.

Jack from Black Mountain, NC

How much, if anything, does the national exposure on Monday Night Football mean to the players?

I don't think as much as it once did, if I'm being honest. Social media, instant highlights and NFL Red Zone have made players a lot more visible. When I was a kid, Monday Night Football might have been my one opportunity to watch Thurman Thomas, Kordell Stewart, Steve McNair, Curtis Martin and Tiki Barber that whole year if their teams weren't playing the Packers. It's not like that anymore.

Don from Greendale, WI

Good morning Mike and Wes, just a couple of comments. Ouch…what one-two punch to put us on the mat! Looking forward to Monday night vs. Lions in primetime in the "black and blue" division slugfest with Dillon and Williams going head to head. My son, Mike, is taking me for a birthday/Christmas present: first row on the 20-yard line on the Packers' sideline (don't know which end). I'll be wearing my fav Packer jacket with the "lightning bolts" and my Korean vets cap. Great job with the info you give.

Have a great time and thank you for your service!

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Well, it looks like Gronk will finish 2021 with around 46 touchdowns!

It's wild he retired for a year, too. Rob Gronkowski is going to keep giving defenses fits as long as he wants to.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Wes, if you can only have one (brat or hot dog), I believe the proper response is "I went to the wrong tailgate party." Here's to a good game tonight, GPG.

You're right, Gary. I would politely request TWO brats.

Jeff from Oceanside, CA

Wes, it's "chomping" at the bit, not "champing" at the bit! Haha.

Google "champing at the bit," Jeff.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

I am finally checking off the bucket list item and attending a game at Lambeau for the Monday nighter. Where will I find the Spoff and Hod autograph table before the game?

Between the dumpsters and porta-potties in Lot 3.

Christopher from Largo, FL

Can we say R-E-L-A-X this year?

Absolutely, in any language of your choosing. I'll go with German: "E-n-t-s-p-a-n-n-e-n."

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Lambeau at full throat,

National spotlight shines bright,

Have to find a win.

And have to find a…way to not do the wave while the Packers' offense is on the field.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

I don't remember proper Dean poem protocol. Are Monday poems approved for Monday night games? Or has Dean had enough of entertaining the II?

Dean submitted one Friday but I made him wait…haha. Here you go…

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

An unexpected blow has left our gridiron warriors gasping for breath and grasping for answers

Once again, dark clouds hover over the city on the Bay

Once again, the lesson is clear; victory is never given, it must be earned

A new day dawns

Golden rays of sunshine streak through dark clouds to the emerald green waters of the Bay

Rise warriors; the next challenge awaits.

And it feels like it's taken eight full days and eight full nights to get to this challenge. It's time for some Lambeau Field football again. Enjoy the game, everybody.