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Inbox: The results speak for themselves

One is coming if not both

quarterbacks coach Tom Clements
quarterbacks coach Tom Clements

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike the Giants are going to bring it Monday night. It's the Packers after all. To me if the run defense is solid and we win the TO battle, Packers win. You say the Packers win if…?

C'mon, man, I can't spoil Final Thoughts for a Monday night game on Friday morning.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

What happened to the weekly TV show "Total Packers with Matt LaFleur" with Larry McCarren hosting? It's no longer in the TV listings. Does LaFleur have a different show with a different name?

No, it's still around on local cable. You can also find it here.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, the Giants game feels like the ultimate trap game to me. The Packers are riding high and are solid favorites. The Giants have an extra week to rest and prepare for GB and have won two in a row. Barkley is healthy and running well and he's going against the Packers' run defense. Your thoughts please.

I don't believe in trap games in professional football, where the margins are never as great as they might appear, and if the Packers suddenly think they're good enough to just roll their helmets out there and get a win, they're kidding themselves. No way LaFleur lets that happen. As for Barkley, the Packers have to take him away and make DeVito beat them. Easier said than done, but this feels like last year's Tennessee game to me, when all the focus was on Derrick Henry. The Packers did what was required to limit his effectiveness (28 carries, 87 yards, 3.1 avg.), but repeated breakdowns in the back end led to a bunch of explosive passes from Ryan Tannehill and the Packers still lost (that was Tennessee's last victory in 2022, by the way, in Week 11; they didn't win another game, but I digress). My point is a similar game plan can make life difficult for the Giants if the secondary is in sync.

Jason from Austin, TX

I think this week will be a different challenge for this team. This is oversimplifying it, but the season began with no expectations, then during the struggles there were low expectations, now after playing excellent football there are high expectations. Maybe not high, like they were under Rodgers, but high to the point where they should be able to beat a struggling Giants team. It'll be exciting to see this young team handle this different challenge and I have no doubt they'll be ready.

I think so, too.

Grant from Janesville, WI

Aaron Donald, Chris Jones, and now Dexter Lawrence. The Pack is facing a gauntlet of premier interior linemen. What will the Packers need to do differently to win against Lawrence compared to what they faced in Donald and Jones? Lawrence is not yet a household name, but he's such a threat. 340-pound men shouldn't move that way!

I expect a similar approach, with readiness to adjust against Lawrence if something's not working. That dude was a one-man wrecking crew when the Giants beat the Vikings in the playoffs last year. Mercy.

Chris from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

What is more surprising so far this season: no 100-yard rusher or no 100-yard receiver through 12 games? Will we get one before the end of the season? Have the Packers ever gone a season without one or the other?

I have to believe one is coming if not both. According to my research (which could be wrong), the Packers went all of the 2011 and '12 seasons without a 100-yard rusher, a streak Eddie Lacy broke as a rookie in '13. They had just one 100-yard receiver in '91 and '77, but you have to go all the way back to the '72, '73 and '74 seasons to find none, a long drought snapped by Ken Payne in '75. The last full season without either? 1946.

Herbert from Palm Desert, CA

Good morning, yesterday Wes made the comment that Tom Clements is one of the best quarterback tutors around. I'm curious about what you see that led to that judgment. Is it game-day results from the stable of starters and backups over the years, or is it based on something you see in practices that those of us who can't attend aren't privy to? If it's the latter, can you give us a little insight on a drill or conversation that exemplifies your thoughts?

When we get to watch practice every day during training camp, the drills he puts the quarterbacks through are very meticulous and purposeful. You can see it as you watch them. Every QB we've ever talked to who's worked under him has appreciated his straightforward, steady approach to coaching the position – always emphasizing what could be done better, even on successful plays, but also not belaboring a mistake. Point it out, discuss why and how it needs to be fixed, and move on. The results he's achieved with Favre (who threw 29 INTs the year before Clements arrived), Rodgers, Flynn and now Love speak for themselves.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

Picking up "mannerisms" can also happen mid-game. For those readers too young to have witnessed the Ice Bowl, I believe it was Herb Adderley that noticed Cowboys world class speed wide receiver Bob Hayes put his hands in the front of his pants (to keep them warm because it was frigging cold!) when he wasn't going to be part of the play. That "mannerism" helped the Packers buttress the run game better. You gotta have talent, but sometimes the little things matter!

Vic always used to claim that hands-in-the-pants Ice Bowl episode was why it took 34 years after his playing career ended (and seven years after he died) for Hayes to get into the Hall of Fame.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Hey guys. If there were ever a year for a non-QB to win MVP, this is one of those years. Who would be your vote? I think Trent Williams, T.J. Watt, and Tyreek Hill should all be considered, personally. Thanks!

I think Hill's got a shot. I really do. If he can post the first 2,000-yard receiving season with at least 17 TDs (one per game average), he just might get it. That said, if the Cowboys beat the Eagles this week, there will be a lot of momentum for Dak Prescott's candidacy.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

When players and coaches go into the locker room at halftime, do coaches in the press box make the trek too? (Seems like a long walk for only 12 minutes.) If not, how do they (e.g., Joe Barry) share feedback to the players and talk second-half strategy?

The coaches upstairs do go to the locker room. At Lambeau, there's a non-public catwalk that runs from the press box elevator to the stairwell that heads down to the locker room, and there are golf carts with drivers that shuttle coaches for both teams back and forth.

Jake from Greenfield, WI

Are there stats tracking the amount of quarterbacks to start a game in a season? It feels like this season would have to be up there, right?

I believe last night Pittsburgh's Mitch Trubisky became the 53rd different QB to start a game this season, and if Derek Carr can't go Sunday, New Orleans will add a 54th. Last year, 66 different QBs started a game, a league record in a non-strike year.

Izzi from Raleigh, NC

On the no-call DPI against KC, Rashan Gary was egregiously held. Bad officiating is a two-way street. Or, maybe Mahomes was right, and it's further evidence the officials were simply "letting them play" in the end.

Perhaps, though I think the Chiefs RT was bailed out there by the running back coming over to throw a chip block. If that block is one-on-one from snap to throw, I think it gets flagged. But what do I know. One last word on that final drive … the potential 10-second runoff after the replay review was indeed negated by the personal foul on Pacheco. Packer Central beat reporter Bill Huber spoke with Dean Blandino and confirmed that was officiated correctly. The only clock blunder was on MVS going out of bounds backwards.

Erik from Penfield, NY

I love the Packers, I love you guys and fellow readers, and I don't want to be that guy. But the score was 14-6 at the half because of two KC holding penalties.

Because two KC offensive linemen got beat up front and resorted to holding. Winning at the line of scrimmage can take on different forms.

Peter from Union City, MI

Hey guys, it seems obvious to me that a big part of the Packers' current secret sauce is getting the quick start and forcing our opponents to abandon the run, which is our Achilles' heel. What are your thoughts on that observation, and am I missing something about how our defense against the run is going?

The Chiefs certainly didn't abandon the run, and LaFleur expressed his concerns with a couple of explosives the Packers gave up to Pacheco despite loading the box, which I wrote about Wednesday. The Packers have to be on point with their gap fits and their tackling, because if they aren't, it won't matter how many defenders they put in the box.

Tom from Keota, IA

An analyst who I respect, Patrick Daugherty at NBCSports, said this week "Love operates like the position stopped evolving in 1999. This can be a very good thing. Whereas many modern prospects are hard-wired to check down and take layups and avoid mistakes at all costs, Love actually wants to push the ball down the field. He wants to create offense. He doesn't want to keep funneling empty targets to his running back and slot options. He wants to be a quarterback." I think I agree. Thoughts?

Jordan Love's desire to push the ball downfield has been evident from the jump. It has cost him at times, but chunk plays lead to points, and that's how LaFleur calls games. Where Love has improved the most is not holding out for the big play as much if the coverage isn't a favorable look or if things break down in front of him. He's spitting the ball out to the checkdown sooner when it's warranted, which has kept the offense more in rhythm.

Dan from Augusta, KS

It's been mentioned several times about ML finally opening the playbook as his trust grows in Love. Are they opening the playbook or is the coaching staff finding what the players excel at and creating plays to put the players in a position to succeed?

All of the above.

Pat from Hudson, WI

There's an SI article calling the Packers the luckiest team in the NFL. Funny how it doesn't say anything about the six dropped passes in the loss to MN, or that all of the starting DBs have been out and they're winning with three rookie DBs, or that their No. 1 RB has basically been out since Week 1, their No. 1 WR has missed significant to injury, and they're playing without their All-Pro LT! Not sure how any of that would equate to being lucky but I guess we'll take it!

I saw the story, and the luck metrics used have nothing to do with injuries. They're based on dropped passes, dropped interceptions, missed field goals and fumble recoveries, plus when they occur. Essentially two games have pushed the Packers to the top of the "luck" list as analyzed – all the Chargers' dropped passes, and the Saints' missed field goal late in the fourth quarter.

Jack from Moweaqua, IL

Speak a little bit about locker room chemistry. I think coach summed it up when he said they're starting to believe. It seems as though whatever kinks or distractions that might've been there early in the season are no longer present. Do you guys see a change in demeanor among the guys in that locker room as a whole?

I addressed this, among several other topics, in my mid-week chat in case you missed it.

Tom from Rockford, IL

A statement: "The Pack has lost four games by a total of 11 points. They could easily be at 10-2 instead of 6-6." Go Pack (77 years of Packer loyalty).

They've also won two games by a total of four points and could just as easily be 4-8. So instead of 10-2 or 4-8 they're somewhere in between. That's how this works.

Ted from Findlay, OH

Before the season I thought that eight wins would be a success for this team. Now I believe nine or 10 wins is very possible. Based on your knowledge of the Packers and the other contenders, how many wins do you estimate will be required to play in the postseason?

I don't see an NFC team with 10 wins getting left out, and nine could be enough with the right tiebreakers.

Eric from York, PA

Morning Mike, I know the II faithful are chomping at the bit for the return of Path to the Playoffs, but I'd like to request holding off another week or two. Pack just got back to .500 and did slide into the seventh spot, but too much football remains. Yes, win out (unlikely but doable) and they're in. Let's not mess up a thrilling movie by trying to predict the outcome while almost a third of the movie remains. Our December friend has arrived, but just beat the Giants. GPG!

We are going to hold off for now, so I'll quickly list here the Packers fans' rooting interests come Sunday: Falcons over Bucs, Ravens over Rams, Panthers over Saints, Raiders over Vikings, 49ers over Seahawks. Oh, and it's champing.

Chase from Carmichael, CA

Just a friendly reminder that the last quarter plus of a season is probably the biggest test a season can offer. Teams are playing at their best, they have lots of film to study players, the weather turns colder, playoff pressures, and the wear and tear of the season can start to catch up with players. Which is all the more reason the last few games should feel good, because it gives them a foundation of confidence they can build on during the ever increasing adversity of the NFL grind.

Chase waxing eloquently on the chase. Works for me. Happy Friday.

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