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Inbox: The time will come … and they'll have to deliver

There’s a culture of accountability here

TE Josiah Deguara

Please tell me Wes would refuse to eat a Pumpkin Spice bratwurst.

I'm honestly not sure.

Adam from Newport News, VA

Just a comment coming from a Jets fan in response to what I've seen a lot of Packers fans saying in these chats. Don't overlook the talent on the Jets. Don't look at the last couple of years. This is about now. This is a new Jets team with explosive talent on both sides of the football and they are going to give the Packers a battle. Good luck to Green Bay after this Sunday.

Wes and I were chatting on "Unscripted" about just how different this Jets roster looks compared to the one we saw for the joint practices in 2021, Saleh's first year at the helm. You can see upgrades across the board, and young players who have gained valuable experience. These are the types of matchups teams like that really get jazzed up for because they can, as Nuke Laloosh so eloquently put it, announce their presence with authority. The Jets are going to give the Packers all they've got.

Anthony from Southington, CT

Do you get any sense of negativity or finger pointing within the locker room? Just wondering how this team's unity is holding up under a little adversity.

I get no sense of any issues in that regard. Nobody likes losing, but there's a culture of accountability here that starts at the top, and that hasn't changed.

Kyle from Ooltewah, TN

Although it's difficult to find rationale to not finish the game with AJ Dillon when he's been rested due to a six carries for 34 yards utilization, Matt is still the ultimate player's coach. This game was not lost because of two play calls. Whether on the field or in the office, the "coach" who takes responsibility for those around him/her will have tremendous loyalty. Can't wait to see who shows up this week to ensure coach doesn't have to take another hit due to their efforts.

Me, too.

Jason from Austin, TX

Mike, I appreciate the breakdown of the two calls at the end of the game. My follow-up question would be, if Rodgers' tendency is to throw the ball in short-yardage situations when the defense shows eight in the box, won't defenses now always show eight even if it's a disguise? Until the Packers WRs can consistently win the one-on-ones in those short-yardage situations like Adams used to, I don't see defenses doing anything different.

You may be right on that, and you're absolutely right the receivers have to win those one-on-ones. The Packers will have to make defenses pay for single coverage on the outside. For all the suggestions about jumbo packages and such in short-yardage, the bottom line is if defenses are going to man up with no help on the perimeter, the offense will always be minus-two up front trying to run the ball – no matter how many blockers you bring in – because the QB and running back aren't blocking. That's not to say you don't try it, but you don't give defenses reason not to play that way if their single coverage is good enough.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen, just a comment on the defense. Last year it was a top 10 unit. What do you see different from last year, what was viewed in training camp, and what is transpiring or not transpiring this year in relation to the mistakes? Thank you!

I don't have all the answers, though I repeat that I cautioned how difficult it is to play tough defense week after week in this league. Amidst all the positives we saw last year, the group came off a shutout of Seattle in mid-November and then allowed 34, 28, 30 and 30 points the next four games. It's not easy. But some of the shortcomings were masked with turnovers. This year? Week 1 was a coverage mess that didn't make any sense to me, and I thought on balance the unit had rebounded from that rather well, until last week. I see a group that shows spurts of playing solidly but then gets into a bad stretch that can last multiple drives – two in the second half each vs. the Bears and Patriots. The other 15 or so possessions in those two games were pretty darn good. The rough stretch lasted for five straight drives against the Giants after a stout beginning to the game, and nobody made a play to stem the tide. When someone did, with a sack, it was nullified by an unfortunate penalty (twice). It was a game that snowballed, which can happen, and the turnovers haven't been there like they were last year. That makes a huge difference. I realize I'm rambling now, but what I'm getting to is I don't see this defense letting the first five games define it. If anyone had taken the five games last season from Nov. 21 through Christmas, the playoff performance wouldn't have been viewed as possible. They know there's work to do and they're going to keep after it.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good morning, Mike. Since we are only privy to what we see on TV, I would like to know if Rasul Douglas's penalties were legit. He has performed well as an outside CB but I have wondered if exchanging Ja's and his position would help the issues with crossers. I know there was a lot of speculation in preseason of having Ja in that "star" anyway. His speed would definitely be beneficial. Do you think that is something we might expect to see more of in coming games?

We shall see. It's certainly an option, but always having Jaire Alexander in the slot limits your best corner's opportunities against the opposition's top target, even if he's not matching up/traveling/following, per se. As for Douglas' holding penalties, the one that wiped out the sack looked legit. I didn't see the other one.

Dave from Edina, MN

Somewhere in the multiverse Davante Adams is still with the Packers. The team is 5-0 and Adams was spotted high-fiving a photographer on his way off the field in London.

And I was just starting to get back into normal sleep patterns.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, in your opinion is the Packers' offense becoming more horizontal?

I think so far this season, the offense has been at its best when it has forced defenses to defend the full width of the field. The run alerts, jet sweeps, receiver screens, and outside zone runs have kept defenses on their toes laterally, which has opened up a power run or seam route in the middle that serves as a punch in the mouth. The big, explosive gains have been lacking except for improvised, extended plays, but I've seen this offense look very effective and efficient, without having to take huge chunks of yardage, when it balances the horizontal with the vertical concepts.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Mike, I love being surprised when unexpected players step up and make game-changing plays, or put up big numbers. It energizes the whole team. Aside from the usual suspects, who could you see having a big impact on offense, defense, and special teams Sunday against the Jets? I'll clock in with Josiah Deguara, Quay Walker, and Ford, respectively.

I'll go with Robert Tonyan, Jarran Reed and Dallin Leavitt.

Andrea from Barmstedt, Germany

Hello Mike and Wes, how are you today? To pick up Mike's answer to Gabor from Budapest about the international games: Mike wrote that no opponent is willing to give up a Packers game to international ground because Packers fans sell out every stadium. Can a team that is playing its ninth home game on international turf (voluntarily or forced) pick the opponent or does the league choose the game? Because with the latter one I still got hope that I don't have to wait eight years to see you in Germany.

To my knowledge, when a team is forced to move a game to an international location, the league allows it to protect certain home games from being moved. For example, this year the Packers were not interested in having a division game, nor the home games against the Cowboys and Rams, shipped to London. After such negotiations, the league picks the game.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

Just narrowing it to the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski TD last December, they were a combined 76 years, 10 months, three weeks, and three days. ARod and Big Dog were a combined 77 years and three months last Sunday.

There we have it.

The Green Bay Packers held practice inside the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.

Mark from Savannah, GA

II, if I am a defender, it's time to go back to Vic's old-school philosophy – the quarterback must go down and must go down hard. If I am going to incur a roughing-the-passer penalty these days for non-violently taking the quarterback to the ground, I sure as heck want to get my money's worth. Somehow, the league will address what is roughing the passer, one way or another. Any chance the league will put together a committee led by Jack Lambert to study the issue and propose solutions?

I've already heard rumblings of a study, committee, etc., after the season. I wouldn't advise Lambert to hold his breath hoping for an invite.

CJ from Marshfield, WI

Mike, thoughts on the TEs at the quarter-ish pole? In general, teams with strong running games like to use TEs. I understand 85 is working his way back. I was happy to see 81 with two receptions and 89 FINALLY get one with a nice peel-off route reminiscent of Ed "the Toolbox" West for the TD. But I thought 81 would be a bigger part of the offense this year coming off the injury recovery and into Year 3. He was a third-round pick that ML was pretty excited about. I can't believe this was the vision for 81.

But I also don't think the Packers envisioned Lewis still playing, nor finding Tyler Davis last year. I like the tight end group the Packers have, because of all the different duties they can perform, and everyone has experience now. Tonyan and Lewis are the leaders at the position and their playing time reflects it. The time will come when Deguara and/or Davis will be asked to play more than one or two dozen snaps in a game, and they'll have to deliver.

Brian from Trego, WI

With the Vikings playing well and facing the Dolphins this week starting a third-string QB and the Packers going against a hot Jets team, do you see this as a must-win game to be able to keep pace with the Vikings for the division title?

No one wants to fall two games back but nobody's putting any magic number on a division title in mid-October. The Vikings have won just once in their history at Miami, and it was back in 1976. Plus the ping-pong news with the Dolphins this week has somehow usurped their QB situation. So that could be one of those weird juju games, you never know.

B from Pewaukee, WI

Hi guys, I tried to look this up, is the game against the Jets the only noon kickoff at Lambeau this year and only the second home noon game since the 2020 season? Something about the angle of the sun shining on Lambeau on a cold sunny day has a unique romanticism to it that I miss. Obviously their success leads to more primetime games but, there must be a compromise somewhere!

Yes, this is the only noon home game for 2022 after having just one last year (vs. Washington). All I know is work-wise I'm going to enjoy three noon kickoffs over the next four weeks, even if two of them are on the road.

Jim from Tempe, AZ

ML has close professional and personal relationships with McVay and Shanahan, with better results against the Rams than the 49ers. Knowing a rival coach so well must help understand their tendencies in critical situations. Given ML and Saleh are "best of friends" and Mike LaFleur is the Jets OC, how do you see these intimate personal relationships impacting game-planning scheme and in-game adjustments on each side of the ball?

I have no idea and can't get in their heads. Plus, I don't know all the history they're drawing upon during the week and in the heat of the game. LaFleur admitted Thursday coaches can get caught overthinking that stuff. They still have to focus primarily on their players and what they do best.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Good morning, Mike. Now that we are starting to move past the disappointment of the last game, time for other important questions. Did you find any new favorite brews across the pond?

I tried a "roasted nuts" ale of some kind, and a cider. Both from pumps (not taps), room temp, and with decidedly different textures than I'm accustomed to. It was an enjoyable change of pace.

Jacob from Melbourne, Australia

Perhaps some are ready to throw in the towel for this season. Not me. All the reasons for optimism that were there before the season still remain and if we can clean up some key areas, things will click at the right time of year. In my experience, the best teams are the ones that face struggles, but come out swinging on the other side. Nothing good ever comes easy, we've got to stick together and just go to work.

Now Jacob's got me all fired up to run for the fridge … I mean, run through a wall.

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Last week the Pack played a surprising Giants team with the same record of 3-1, this week we face a team with our same record of 3-2. Doesn't 4-2 feel a million times better than 3-3? Just beat the new and improved J-E-T-S.

Happy Friday.

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