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Inbox: The Packers can't let him impact the game

The edge is a moving target


Mitch from Bettendorf, IA

Wes seemed tired and grumpy Thursday. Were they out of PSLs?

He was walking around the office drinking a can of Diet Coke out of his "Draft Day" mug. The can was still in the mug. So you tell me.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Interior pass rush has dogged the offense all season long. Does Miami's defense rely more on edge pressure or interior pressure? Also, what adjustments have you seen the offense make to counter the consistent inside pressure?

The Dolphins have 15 sacks in nine games, so they haven't gotten a lot of consistent pressure. Their best pass rusher is Cameron Wake off the edge, but the Packers will leave him to David Bakhtiari and adjust only if needed. In my opinion, the best counter to interior pressure is to run the football consistently and effectively, because then those inside guys have to pause a beat before they just jet up the field.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

According to an ESPN article the Pack has two rookies (Jaire and MVS) in a list of top 26 rookie performers at the halfway mark of the season. Are there any others you see that are ready to break out and join the group by season's end?

I'm with Wes in that the one I'm most curious about as he gets more playing time in the second half is Josh Jackson.

Bob from Lexington, SC

I confess, I was wrong years ago when I thought Crosby should be cut. I was wrong when I thought Adams should be cut in his Year 2. Before making another mistake, what am I missing when it seems like Perry and Gilbert are being outplayed by Fackrell? By the way, Fackrell has seemed to improve.

Fackrell has improved, and he's become a steady presence on this defense when called upon. More impact plays are the next step for him. McCarthy made it pretty clear earlier this week Perry isn't all the way back from his ankle injury, which Pettine echoed. He's played through a lot over the years, but less-than-peak performance due to health is unfortunately the too-frequent storyline of his career. When I watched Gilbert in the preseason, I saw a pass rusher who needed to work on setting the edge against the run. I believe this season has been a huge learning experience for him.

Lazaro from Corpus Christi, TX

It's obviously way too early to talk about this but a few key free agents after this season are Randall Cobb, G-Mo and Clay. Of those three, which do you see staying and which do you see leaving? I personally feel like we can afford to lose both the WRs or potentially keep G-Mo (price reasons perhaps) and I feel like they might re-sign Clay for 1-2 years while they continue to find depth at OLB. Also hope they find a way to keep Antonio Morrison. What do you guys think?

I think it's obviously way too early to talk about this.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Re: The Bears flex before Thanksgiving. The NFL talks a big game when it comes to player safety, but this has to be an instance where actions speak louder than words, yes?

Put player safety aside for a moment, competitive imbalance starts to enter the equation here, too. I get every team has to deal with a Thursday night game at some point, but they plan their work and preparation schedule months ahead of time. These decisions by the league affect that and put teams at a physical disadvantage, from a rest and recovery standpoint, for that next game. It's not right.

Lucas from Clinton, IA

My expecting wife and I are coming up to Green Bay this weekend to attend the game. Her first and my fifth. We want to explore Lambeau on Saturday. If we do the tour could we expect to see any coaches, players, or Insiders walking around? If so, that would amazing.

First and fifth game, or child? Sorry, the editor in me had to ask. You aren't likely to see any players and coaches walking around, but you might spot me, because I'll be giving my visiting sister a tour at some point on Saturday.

Bradley from Saukville, WI

I apologize you have to answer questions from people bashing Ted Thompson. How many people can pick up undrafted corners and have them turn into Pro Bowlers? I certainly cannot.

His draft record toward the end was not what it was for the large majority of his tenure. There's no denying that. But to me that doesn't diminish what he did accomplish over the bulk of his time in charge without a single draft pick in the top 20 after 2009.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

In response to Arthur, it's time to evolve a bit. He makes a great point in that mental errors and turnovers will always make a difference. In today's NFL, dominant teams combine talent with innovative play-calling. They score points like it's going out of style, creating a wider margin for error. Cleaning up mental errors and turnovers would certainly help this team, but errors will always be there. How can they increase the margin for error?

I gave my thoughts on Rodgers the other day, but the other way to widen the margin for error is to play better on special teams and win that phase of the game. The Packers' longest punt return on the season was in Week 1, and that unit blocked a punt for a big TD in Week 2. Since then we've seen a rash of flags, two costly turnovers, several offensive possessions starting backed up, and a long kickoff return of just 27 yards. Miami's Jakeem Grant has returned both a punt and kickoff for TDs this season. The Packers can't let him impact the game.

Doug from Eugene, OR

There have been a couple questions about Rodgers making a statement a la "relax." I think he already has. A couple weeks ago he said we would "find out what kind of team we have" over this stretch of games. Regardless of the outcomes, I feel we found out we have a team that can beat anyone. This team now knows exactly what the best looks like and they know they are capable of beating them. Is it possible to lose two winnable games and still have your arrow pointing up?

Forcing the Rodgers slogan/storyline has already gotten old. If it happens, it happens, but he needs to have a reason. To your other point, the Packers found out they have a team that can compete with the best. They haven't proven they can beat them. The arrow for this team can hold steady with a win this week, but it won't really be pointing up until the Packers win a road game.

Kris from Henderson, NV

Who is the bald guy with the beard that always seems to be with McCarthy when he is leaving the field?

That's Doug Collins, the team's director of security.

Tony from Eau Claire, WI

I love the "Rock Report," but am I the only one concerned about Morrison's "nastiness"? The league doesn't like nasty players taking part in extra-curricular activities away from the tackle, and the refs always seem to catch that stuff at the worst time.

Morrison plays on the edge, which is getting harder and harder to do in today's NFL. The edge is a moving target, and he must maintain awareness of that.

Jake from Athens, GA

Guys, as a longtime daily reader and faithful question submitter, I have never questioned your journalistic integrity. But maybe it's time for you to "be new." I mean, how can I keep taking this column seriously in light of its dearth of malice, hot takes, and speculation? Maybe for one week, you should do your best impressions of the writers these chuckleheads think they want you to be. Can you imagine?

No. No, I really can't.

Alex from Columbia, MD

I thought I understood NFL TV that NFC was FOX and AFC was CBS, and for interconference games the visiting team's TV network was used. However, I see LAC at OAK on FOX, and SEA at LAR on CBS. This means I have to go to a bar to watch MIA at GB as the Rams are the national game this week. Have I been wrong all this time? Nothing is real, I cannot trust my senses!

A couple of years ago, the league relaxed the stringent conference/network assignments it had used for a long time, which you described correctly. Now, the broadcasts still mostly follow those guidelines, but there are exceptions, and it seems this year there have been more exceptions.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

This has bugged me for years...what exactly does "down the stretch" mean?

It originated in horse racing, a reference to the final stretch of track before the finish line.

Bill from Greenville, NC

When was Aaron Rodgers' last rushing touchdown?

Week 16 of 2016 vs. Minnesota.

Tom from Draper, UT

It seems Vic's legacy is alive and well in II. Is "Lose this URL" the new "You're banned"?

Works for me.

Darin from Madisonville, KY

Obviously you two are well-connected through the front office and team, so do you guys ever hear the story behind the story of why players get cut or traded at times that it wouldn't make sense to an outsider? If you do, I understand completely why you don't share those stories. It would become a major distraction and that is the worst thing a journalist can do for a team. Spoff's comment the other day about Whitehead getting cut got me thinking about this.

Sometimes I know things, sometimes I suspect things, and sometimes I know absolutely bupkis. Like any employee at any company. I just happen to work at one where outsiders are curious about every last detail.

Bill from Menominee, MI

Since people always dissect what you print but don't always acknowledge what you don't, let me shed some light on the Kumerow questions. As unfortunate as it may be for Jake, he's not at a roster spot that requires another body right now. The fact of the matter is, he's missed half a season of work. Jake hasn't had the opportunity the other receivers have had to get the kinks out and build chemistry. With MVS and EQ filling in nicely, there's no rush to make roster moves. We're in Week 9.

Week 10 officially, but thanks.

David from Janesville, WI

Maybe living in Michigan the past couple years has helped me achieve perspective on this, but do you think Packers fans take for granted how hard it is win a Super Bowl because of going from Favre to Rodgers? I get we see the Patriots get to the big game year after year lately and maybe that has some factor as well, but we're watching greatness in them, playoff Brady is unreal. Just sit back and enjoy watching the game, at least we aren't these poor Lions fans.

I've given some form of this answer six ways from Sunday. In Rodgers' first 10 years as a starting QB, nine different NFC teams have gone to the Super Bowl. The only repeat participant has been Seattle, and we all know it should have been Green Bay. In that same time frame, only five different AFC teams have gone to the Super Bowl (and only four QBs due to Manning's move from Indy to Denver). I think that speaks volumes as to what teams from one conference have been up against versus those in the other.

David from Janesville, WI

I think turnovers will have a dramatic impact on Sunday's game. When it comes to interceptions, the Dolphins are the No. 1 defense while the Packers rank 21. With all the turmoil in the Packers' secondary the past two weeks, what can the Packers do to generate more turnovers?

Well, the guys in the secondary can't chase picks, because guessing can really cost you. It comes back to bothering the quarterback, which creates off-target throws, potential deflections up front, etc. On the flip side, what I like about this matchup for the Packers is I see a Miami defense that has relied on interceptions while Rodgers has tossed just one all year. If Rodgers continues to avoid throwing into harm's way, the Packers should be able to do what they need to against a defense that yardage-wise ranks 28*th* against the run and 22*nd* against the pass.

Ryan from Somerset, WI

Stats, numbers, algorithms, warm-weather teams, matchups, trends...blah blah blah! Classic cold-weather game in WI, let's get out there and hit someone!

Happy Friday, everybody.