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Inbox: The true tests come on Sundays

Grab enough W’s and the rest takes care of itself

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

Ed from Windsor, CO

I know it is just one of 17 regular-season games, but it's a divisional rival and a debut. And it's the Bears! It seems more important than 1/17th for the psyche of the Pack. Inbox usually does not have to talk me off the ledge, but please humor me.

It's a big game. I'm not gonna lie and say it isn't, but the final result still only counts as one win or one loss when there are 16 more games on the schedule. Either way, I don't want fans to get too wrapped up in Sunday's outcome. That being said, I can't wait to get this thing started and am very excited about the story Mike is cooking up about the Packers/Bears rivalry. It puts a lot of things in perspective.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

I'm ready for Sunday. What do the Packers need to do to beat the Bears?

Play together and protect the football. That's it. Those two things would go a long way for this team, especially as it pertains to defending Justin Fields. I, too, am excited for Sunday. To me, more than any other season I've covered, this opener feels the most like Week 1 of a college football season. There are expectations but we're also not sure what to expect, if that makes sense?

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Mike said that the rivalry thing is more of a fan thing, not so much for the players and teams. Based on the comments from some of the Bears' players about the Packers, I would tend to disagree. It might be different for the Packers since they have been pretty dominant in this rivalry, but it feels like this matchup means a lot to the Bears.

I'm sure it does. Again, Chicago hasn't beaten Green Bay since 2018, but the Packers can't look it in those terms. That eight-game win streak means nothing when these two teams square off Sunday. It's about this matchup and this game.

Phil from Santa Rosa, CA

No one outside the organization really knows what to expect from the Packers this year. Do you think Matt LaFleur and Brian Gutekunst have a much better idea, or do they have to wait to see how the young players perform in regular-season games like the rest of us?

The Packers have a better grip on the situation than you and me, but the true tests come on Sundays. You can grind all the film and watch all the practices, but players ultimately have to do it on the grass. The comforting fact for Packers fans should be the team's confidence to press forward with Love under center. If the Packers didn't feel like Jordan Love could get the job done as QB1, we wouldn't be here right now.

David from Janesville, WI

Gents, the only thing more concerning than the word "hamstring" next to both starting receivers was the acronym "DNP," as well. We knew Romeo Doubs had a tweak, but I was hoping it was just limiting him a bit as he eased up to game day. Christian Watson was a surprise to me, but I could have missed something. Hopefully, they're both ready for Sunday, but if not the only available guy with NFL snaps is Samori Toure. Not ideal. Hope that run game is ready regardless.

That's the National Football League, folks. There's always surprises and rarely are there weeks where nobody is on the injury report. The Packers will give both Watson and Doubs the full week to see if they can go. If one or both can't, then it'll be up to the veteran backfield and the young skill-position players to step up.

Noel from Norwalk, CA

Good morning II. Today, there's no question to ask, no strategy to discuss, no just beat the Bears, no projections. Nothing, nada. I want to thank Wes for that touching piece on Aaron Jones. Riveting, heartfelt, the adjectives can go on ad nauseum. A story about a boy who is befriended and makes a difference in his life. How it touches the soul. Brings to the forefront the meaning of FAMILY. I got choked up as I read the entire article. A must read. Without doubt, one of your best.

I appreciate you checking it out and thanks to everyone who passed along a kind word. This story was more than a year in the making and I'm glad it turned out as well as folks say it did. The credit goes to Aaron Jones, and Angie and Carson Vandevelde for allowing me to tell their story. They all provided terrific anecdotes, including a few I feel reflect the family culture LaFleur has promoted during his four-plus years in Green Bay. Also, a quick thanks to Mike for his editing and our intern Lauren Stone for the exemplary job she did on graphics. These projects require patience and take a village to execute. Aaron Jones is a special dude and I'm glad the story seemed to capture a small piece of that.

Brandon from Billings, MT

The only question that needs to be asked today is how has Aaron Jones not won Walter Payton Man of the Year yet? Amazing story about Carson and the bond formed through the best tradition in football. Great story, Wes. GO PACK GO!

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award is a big deal and Jones should feel honored to be twice nominated for such a prestigious distinction. But more than any individual accolade, I hope Jones realizes the most important truth of all: Aaron and Alvin Jr. became the men their mom and dad raised them to be. They're both making an impact away from the field and permanently changing lives for the better. That is the greatest gift of all.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, thank you for the terrific story about Aaron Jones and his bike brother, Carson. You have a gift for writing personal stories about players that reveal who they are beyond the stats, the uniform and the field. However, I have one concern: Will the revelation of Aaron's anatidaephobia cause opposing teams to quack, flap their arms and waddle in an attempt to intimidate him?

Ha. I probably could've skipped that part in the story, but I got too much of a kick out of it not to include. Beyond quack-gate, I found it touching how 10-year-old Carson helped teach Jones and Junior how to fish, a reminder of how we can learn something from everyone we meet.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

How does Kenny Clark at defensive end instead of nose tackle affect his role in the run and pass games, and what effect (if any) do you think that move has on the rest of the front seven in their respective roles?

It keeps Clark away from the clutter, which should make him more dangerous. The depth of the defensive front intrigues me. If Rashan Gary plays as well as he's looked in practice, offensive lines have decisions to make. If Clark, Preston Smith, Kingsley Enagbare and Devonte Wyatt are regularly presented with one-on-ones, I like their chances.

Glen from Henrietta, NY

Wes! Like all GB fans, I am beyond excited for Sunday. On that note, does it make sense that our defense plays a lot of man coverage so as to have more members in the box to stymie the run game of Chicago, Fields included? Also, we know Kenny Clark is a beast up front, but which DL member are you most looking forward to seeing battle Chicago's O-line? GPG!

Joe Barry has options. The Packers can play press man. You can spy Fields. You can rush to contain, a tactic with which Green Bay has had success in the past. More than anything, the defensive front must remain gap disciplined. You can't let a player of Fields' immense talent free into the open field. As excited as I am to see Wyatt in Year 2, I felt like T.J. Slaton was one of the most improved players in camp. I can't wait to watch him.

Jacob from Butte, MT

When Aaron Rodgers was younger, he was always a threat to run for a first down. He still did that as he got older but not nearly as much. With a younger quarterback, do you see that coming back into play? Also, does that help keep linebackers in position instead of trying to double-cover receivers?

I wrote last month how Love isn't a scrambler and then he promptly started making plays with his feet against Seattle. I don't see many designed runs in Love's future, but who knows? Anything's possible. Love ran a 4.74 40 and has the athleticism to do whatever the coaches ask.

Ryan from Stevens Point, WI

Insiders, Packers just won the coin toss. Coach LaFleur manages to radio up to the press box to ask your advice. Do you elect to receive and have Jordan Love start with the ball, or do you defer with the hope he calms down on the sideline for the opening series?

If you've read my column the past four years, you know my answer. I always defer regardless of whether if it's Rodgers, Love or Mike Spofford under center. The possibility of doubling-up is too valuable.

Mojo from Brookfield, WI

If De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker each tally 100-plus tackles this season, are the Packers a top 10 defense and playoff team?

That's an interesting question. I don't know how/if the statistics correlate, but Campbell and Walker both reaching 100 tackles would suggest they're healthy and ball carriers are getting stopped closer to the line of scrimmage. So, yeah, I believe that would be a good sign for the defense. You never want your safeties to be your leading tacklers.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

If you could and had the desire to do so, what rules would change the game so running backs become the focal point of the offense again? Would doing so level salaries for players, as offensive linemen would also be more important, and quarterbacks would be less important?

A part of me longs for the days of bell-cow running backs carrying the ball 25-30 times a game, but times change. Running back is a tricky position to master and those that do often struggle in the battle against Father Time. I don't know if a rule change would affect anything. Instead, I offer this – running backs will always have a place in this game and football is a cyclical sport. What's old often becomes new again.

Josh from Seattle, WA

With the roster containing 10 offensive linemen and three rookie TEs, plus a Swiss army knife named Josiah, do you think ML will lean into the strength of the offense and create a pound-the-ball identity more this year? With the NFL trending light for the pass, it's proven to work that going big (sixth OL) in the run game allows you to convert short-yardage situations at a high percentage.

All I know is LaFleur is open to the idea. He talked after Tyler Davis' injury about how using a sixth offensive lineman in certain situations is a possibility. Whether they actually do it is anyone's guess.

Chris from Milwaukee, WI

Looking at the Dope Sheet reminded me how many former Packers are on the Bears' roster. And the Jets added a bunch of former Packers along with Aaron Rodgers. I thought that was the Vikings' MO. Does Minnesota still have a comparable number of former Packers on their roster?

The Vikings have one – Dean Lowry.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023.

Tim from Marshall, MI

Optimist here! How much attention does Green Bay get from the national media next week if we dominate Chicago in every phase of the game...? And win?

Don't know. Don't care. Winning is the important part. Grab enough W's and the rest takes care of itself.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Lions have a tremendous opportunity to set the tone tonight. To be the man, you gotta beat the man! Woooooooo!

They do…though Travis Kelce's knee injury kind of knocks my excitement for this one down a few pegs.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

In response to both Bob from Kennesaw, GA, and Mike from Niles, IL, (who should have never bothered since Mike had already explained his position previous to today's II related to that submission), Mike calmly "defended" his statements but was never "defensive." I greatly admire how he consistently presents himself. At the risk of over, calm, collected, classy.

Mike Spofford, cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

I am curious to know if every visiting press box attendant is notified that they need to have root beer available for Wes when the Packers play?

They are…and they don't care.

Dan from Wautoma, WI

Regarding Jordy's comment on cinnamon rolls and chili, while I was in junior high in Fort Dodge, Iowa, they served cinnamon rolls with chili at least twice a month. It was one of the few times I ate school lunch. It's outstanding. Go Hawks and Go Pack (Sorry Badger fans).

This is really a thing, huh? Honest to goodness, before last week, I have never heard of eating cinnamon rolls with chili.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Any truth to the rumor that Packers HOF trainer, Dr. Eugene Brusky is Bill Brasky's father? I heard Lombardi hired him after the doctor drew up the famous Packers sweep for Lombardi, and he even snuck into many games as the pulling guard.

TO BILL BRASKY! We're one day closer to football, folks.

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