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Inbox: The Packers have three good ones

Football is about putting talented people in a position to succeed

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RB Aaron Jones

Randy from Clarksville, TN

God Bless America. Please.

I struggled mightily with writing today's column. Even now, I can't find the words to describe how I feel other than disappointment and sadness that this is where we are. Football is so trivial right now, but this is also my job and it's why you clicked on Insider Inbox this morning. So I'm going to try my best to thoughtfully answer a few questions.

Michael from Schaumburg, IL

Your thoughts on having three strong running backs for the playoffs and how would you utilize them?

The more packages with multiple running backs, the better. It keeps defenses on their toes and also helps free up Aaron Jones in space. A running back can be an offense's best friend in January. Just ask James Starks in 2010 and Eddie Lacy in '14. And the Packers have three good ones to propel them this postseason.

Dave from Oswego, IL

I've been a Packers fan since the early '60s and don't know if I've ever seen an offense as impressive as this one. A few sources have referenced Aaron Rodgers having more touchdown passes than the team had punts, but I think their 80% touchdown efficiency in the "gold zone" is even more incredible. Has it ever happened where a team's kicker was successful on 100% of his FG attempts for a full season, but a receiver had more TDs and the quarterback had three times as many TD passes for the year?

The red zone hasn't always been kind to the Packers over the years but it's taken a complete 180 under Matt LaFleur and Nathaniel Hackett. There are a lot of ways to measure offensive efficiency but red-zone percentage may be the greatest indicator of all – and the Packers were five percentage points higher than the second-place team.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Did Derrick Henry run away with OPOY, or did Davante Adams do enough to catch up with him?

I won't get too frazzled if Henry wins it, but I just hope voters recognize what Adams accomplished in 13½ games.

Avida from Vienna, VA

Do you believe Adams will get his proper recognition as All-Pro this year? And outside of Rodgers and Adams, are there any other Packers, you believe are deserving and should be named All-Pros? As fans, we can become biased in our opinions so it is helpful to get an outsider (or is it Insider) perspective. Thank you.

This is the one I'll lose some hair over if Adams doesn't get his proper due. He is absolutely an All-Pro receiver. That's not a prediction. That's a spoiler. The Packers haven't had one in 22 years. It's time.

Drew from Vincennes, IN

Good morning! How do scouts find players from schools like Indiana State? I live an hour from ISU, and I have to admit I didn't even know they had a football team until Big Bob joined the Packers.

Casting a wide net for prospects and grinding the film. I'm reminded of how the Packers found Tim Boyle back in 2018, even though he'd had statistically one of the lowest passer ratings in Division I history. While Robert Tonyan and Dominique Dafney didn't play together, they both switched to tight end at the next level. Football is about putting talented people in a position to succeed, and the Packers have done that with those two…and so many more.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

The emergence of Dominique Dafney has been a pleasant surprise in the past two games. He stats will be modest, other than the TD catch, but he is making his presence known in the run game. Kudos to Gute for finding a late-season addition (on Dec. 12) that could really help in the playoffs.

The individual playing that "F" or H-back position isn't going to wow people on a stat sheet, but he serves an important purpose in the overall structure of the offense. For Dafney, I think it's been a perfect situation in Green Bay. Here is a guy who was incredibly versatile in college but it didn't really seem like coaches knew how to utilize him. Matt LaFleur's scheme seems tailored to Dafney's skill set and he's obviously bright to pick up on the offense in as short a time period as he has.

Andy from Madison, WI

Would you rather take into the playoffs the 2014 team with an injured Rodgers or the 2020 team with a healthy Rodgers?

This version. Without question. Rodgers, by all accounts, is healthy and in a good place mentally. The running game is multifaceted. Adams is one of the very best at his position. The defense is more talented and consistent than '14, as well. This year's team has the potential to contend for a championship.

Emily from Menasha, WI

Congratulations to Charles Woodson and LeRoy Butler. I think Charles Woodson will get in the HOF his first year. Do you think LeRoy Butler's great play along with being the originator of the Lambeau Leap will get him over the wall this year too?

Butler is going to get in the Hall of Fame at some point, but he has only five more years of modern-era eligibility. I may be the only one who cares about it, but that modern-era distinction means something to me. I get so fired up about Butler because Green Bay routinely gets the short end of the stick so often in these national popularity contests…unless you're a Hall of Fame quarterback or a player who made his name elsewhere (e.g. Reggie White and Woodson). Butler was better than Atwater. He was much better than Lynch. And it's a crying shame he's not already in Canton. I'm more than happy to debate anyone about that. Send me location.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

I may have missed it so my apologies if you've answered this question before: Assuming Charles Woodson makes the Hall of Fame, did he spend enough time in GB for his name to go in Lambeau's Ring of Honor? Good luck to him and LeRoy. Both are deserving and would be cool to see them both go in at the same time.

I don't want to speak for the organization, because I'm not privy to everything that goes into that distinction, but I think Woodson more than qualifies for the honor. He played seven years in Green Bay, was NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the Packers and won a Super Bowl.

Matt from Hawthorne, NJ

Is it me or does Marquez Valdes-Scantling remind you a bit of early James Jones? Not physically, just in terms of the amount of deep TD catches, and also the many dropped would-be 60-plus-yard TDs. Hopefully he locks it down in the playoffs and is the game-changer we all know he can be.

And that's why teams must be patient with young players. Jones is a perfect example as a guy who struggled with drops for a time but turned into one of Rodgers' all-time most reliable targets. If the Packers are going to make a Super Bowl run, they're going to need a few big plays from Valdes-Scantling. He's one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL. The numbers reflect that.

Josh from Denver, CO

How would you compare Krys Barnes to other undrafted rookie standouts the Packers have had in the past?

He's the head of the undrafted rookie class. The Packers have had some good ones over the years, but I've never seen a college free agent pick up a scheme faster than Barnes has. It's remarkable.

Chuck from Brookfield, WI

We all miss having fans in the stands. Do the Packers have plans to allow more fans into Lambeau for the postseason?

The organization has not made an official announcement yet so we can shelve these questions for now. They've kept fans in the know throughout the entire season. I promise the game won't be played without an update of some kind.

Jake from Kaukauna, WI

Good morning Mike/Wes! With the playoff teams getting paid higher rates for playoff games/making the playoffs, is their pay counted towards the salary cap?

No.

Thomas from Appleton, WI

I've always agreed with your opinions on the new postseason format, but I'd be more than happy to shut up about if we get several entertaining football games this weekend. Saturday looks great, Sunday I'm skeptical. What game interests you most? Hopefully it's a wild six games and thank the football gods the Packers aren't part of it, yet.

Football is great and this weekend should be a lot of fun. I've just felt making the playoffs in the NFL means something, more than any of the other North American professional sports. I don't want to dilute that achievement.

Alex from Colorado Springs, CO

When will the Packers wear their throwback uniforms?

Next season.

Robert from Harris, MN

You gentlemen are nothing but class. Correction without humiliation. Much appreciated and duly noted.

Usually. Just don't catch me on the wrong day.

Ted from North St Paul, MN

Hi Hod/Spoff, I appreciate both of your services for the Packers (Insider Inbox answers, "Packers Unscripted" podcasts, etc.) but my guy Larry McCarren needs to do more podcast episodes. He has great energy, insight, and humor. Wishing all of you at the Packers continued success. Hopefully there's an NFL media team of the year, you'd have my vote.

We very much missed Spoff on Tuesday morning. Can you believe that was the first "Unscripted" in which Mike didn't appear? We are eternally grateful to have Larry just across the hall, though. We'll try to get him on one more time before we put the 2020 season to bed.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Morning Insiders, Cleveland head coach is in COVID protocol. Will he be able to call into the sidelines during the playoff game or are there general outside communication restrictions imposed by the NFL?

No. Kevin Stefanski can communicate virtually with the team during the week but former Packers assistant Alex Van Pelt will be calling plays on Sunday.

Brian from Rochester, NY

Who has more to prove this upcoming weekend: Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson? If Baltimore loses, Lamar would be 0-3. Josh Allen had a miserable postseason exit last year. Expectations are high for this Bills team after a stellar regular season. A loss would be deflating.

I think Allen and the Bills, to be honest. Buffalo's defense has been playoff-caliber for the past few years but the Bills really took steps last offseason to give Allen more weapons. Buffalo has been to the playoffs. Now it needs to win.

Tony from Cary, NC

What are your thoughts on the Bears-Saints game being broadcast on Nickelodeon? I think it will be good for the NFL to entice younger viewers and potentially be a new TV revenue stream. I'm interested in seeing the superimposed slime in the end zones and Snapchat filters on replays. Should be something very different for the NFL.

It's great. You gotta think outside the box and cater to fans of all ages. I wish they had something like that when I was 7.

Eric from Chula Vista, CA

The outrage for Pederson and Eagles is not that they cheated the integrity of the game but they cheated the players on their team who showed up. To ask your players to give 100% when you clearly went in the tank is a credibility issue. To top it off, Pederson's postgame comments were out of touch with reality. If you want to tank, at least own it. Pretending otherwise is not what a leader does and I suspect the Eagles will pay a stiff price with buying into what Pederson sells going forward.

I get some are incensed by what happened in that Philadelphia-Washington game, but there's nothing you can do or say to get me to care about this topic. A 7-9 team won the NFC East. Seven wins is all it took to win the division…out of 16 regular-season games.

Jeff from Birchwood, WI

Hey guys, for some reason I've been wondering lately if over the years the Packers have won a game on every calendar date during the regular-season months? After hours of reviewing schedules/results from 1919 through the 2020 season, I found that we have won on every date in the months of September, October, November, and December. Dec. 3 has the most wins with 13. The Carolina game this year was huge, as it was the first time we have ever won on Dec. 19!

Jeff, I feel like I should give you a participation trophy or something. You'll never get those hours of your life back but we're all a bit more knowledgeable thanks to your sacrifice.

Doug from Lombard, IL

Jan. 7 will mark 10 years since my dad passed away to cancer. He did not get to see the Super Bowl run for the Packers but it was a source of escape, comfort, and healing for me and the others who were left behind to mourn losing him. Many were lost in 2020 due to COVID and other reasons, I pray that regardless of the end result, that this special season unfolding for the Packers will do the same for others as it did for me 10 years ago.

I'm very sorry for your loss, Doug. It's been a difficult, challenging last 10 months for many. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who have had your lives upended by this dreadful disease.

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