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Inbox: There are plenty of ways to figure it out

The timeline is unknown

G/T Elgton Jenkins
G/T Elgton Jenkins

Dar from Mansfield, TX

How was the food and beverage lineup for this year's Spoffsgiving? Did it perform up to expectations? If you had to do a Three Things or an Unscripted about your feast day, what topics would you mention?

I'll go with Three Things. 1. I worked as little as required. 2. I ate as much as possible. 3. I wondered why I only do this once a year.

George from North Mankato, MN

Hello Mike, thought of you while adding an extra scoop of green bean casserole to my plate yesterday. Which game was your favorite?

To see Bill Belichick's special teams commit multiple game-changing blunders was, well, surprising. And I'm still in awe of the Allen-to-Diggs throw in the last 20 seconds in Detroit. Just, wow.

Ron from Long Beach, CA

Hi II, I was just thinking. If we're going to honor John Madden every Thanksgiving in each game, why don't they name the non-Dallas/Detroit game, or maybe some rotational thing, The Madden Bowl? Can you go ahead and push that to the top for me?

Superb idea.

David from San Antonio, TX

Mike, why doesn't the league generally try to schedule bye weeks for teams heading into Thursday games?

Because for a bye week the CBA mandates players get a minimum of four consecutive days off, including a weekend. There's no way to comply with that stipulation and provide adequate preparation time for a Thursday game if the bye week immediately precedes it.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Yesterday Wes mentioned the strength of schedule for the Packers was the second toughest this year. For a totally useless number bandied about during the offseason, what was the Pack's strength of schedule going into this year?


Richard from Greenwich, NY

Good day guys, has a third RB been on the active game day roster this season? Seems like a risky situation to release Patrick Taylor unless there's another RB on the PS.

There is, rookie Tyler Goodson.

Graham from Gold Coast, Australia

Is it an indictment on Jordan Love's ability that they'd prefer to play AR12 with a bum thumb over him, or is it more that they trust AR12 to perform at a high level despite the injury?

Based on what we've heard from LaFleur, I believe it's the latter.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

A broken thumb? Maybe he should have let it heal for a few weeks?

A popular sentiment from readers. We'll never know if or how much anything would've changed. LaFleur said sitting Aaron Rodgers was never a serious consideration.

William from Circle Pines, MN

With New York selectively stepping in to correct erroneous calls during times that the calls should be handled with a challenge flag, are they setting a dangerous precedent? Either New York should be assisting on all questionable calls or they should let the challenge system run its course. I for one can't wait until the coaches get out of the reffing business.

I can appreciate all the angles from which you're coming there. I think the league doesn't want to fundamentally alter a system that's been in place for so long, yet it knows adjustments are needed. That usually just delays the inevitable – significant change. But the timeline is unknown.

Ron from Round Lake, IL

Mike, I'm confused about the Hunter Henry non-touchdown non-catch. He still had possession of the ball. What am I missing?

The ball clearly scraped the ground and turned into a "juggling" catch, so to speak, as Henry rolled over. The call made sense to me. Speaking of adjustments, I think the league could simplify at least part of this question of what a catch is by just saying the ball can't touch the ground. Want to get credit for a catch? Keep the ball off the ground. Period.

Gary from Janesville, WI

Third-and-7. Receiver gains 10 yards. AFTER play gets called for taunting, 15-yard penalty. Why is it first-and-10 and not first-and-25? This has been bothering me for years.

Post-play dead-ball fouls have always been treated differently than live-ball or pre-play dead-ball fouls, but I can't tell you why. In your scenario, if the ball is placed for the next snap, the sticks are moved, and then taunting occurs, it would be first-and-25.

Gary from Davenport, IA

On Wednesday, Mike said he wasn't sure if he'd seen such a disparity as the Vikings being outscored by two points despite their 8-2 record. I am sure that he has though. In 2005, the Packers had outscored their opponents by nine points with both a 1-7 record and a 2-9 record. They were all square in points with a 3-10 record. Then the roof collapsed in Baltimore and any thoughts of outscoring the opponents during their 4-12 season were done.

It's funny how 4-12 is remembered as a disaster, and then when you look back you see losses by two, one, three and three points in the first six weeks of the season.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at II! A Packers history question. Who in your opinion is the most talented Packers player to have never won an NFL Championship/Super Bowl?

James Lofton or Bobby Dillon.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.

Nic from London, UK

Predictably, BG starting the season without an NFL-caliber WR1 or 2 has failed. Love Allen Lazard but he's not that guy, nor is Randall Cobb anymore. Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs seem promising but neither are there yet. Thinking this would work was either naivety or conceited belief in the Packers' organizational myth. The price of replacing Tay may have been too high but anticipating issues and having contingencies is literally the GM's job. A tough bar, but it's what separates good from great. Hope a lesson was learned.

I've said before there was risk in how this receiving corps was constructed, and it's my belief the plan was for Watson to evolve into a potential No. 1 as his rookie season unfolded. Needing his knee scoped in the spring, costing him all of training camp, ruined that. Plus each of the top five receivers – Lazard, Cobb, Doubs, Watson, Watkins – has dealt with injuries costing multiple games. Every guy. The Packers have paid for the risks they took but no one could have covered all the contingencies. Ultimately, the impact hasn't been about individual performance as much as the lack of continuity because the lineup of QB targets has been in constant flux.

David from Janesville, WI

Inboxers, I know the season is not over, and this is probably more of an end-of-season question, but how do you see the Elgton Jenkins contract playing out? On one hand he is extremely versatile, stepped in well at left tackle, and is a Pro Bowl left guard. On the other hand he's had a torn ACL, wasn't overly impressive as a full-time right tackle, and was moved back to guard. At one time it was expected he would be looking for tackle money, has his play warranted that? Can the Pack afford him?

The bad news is it's a situation with a lot of variables, which makes it complicated. The good news is it's a situation with a lot of variables, which means there are plenty of ways to figure it out. I don't see the Packers letting Jenkins get away.

Walt from Skandia, MI

Larry talked about Philly being the city of brotherly love for the Packers, but I think it was also the location of fourth-and-26. That still hurts.

Of course it does, and it's always hard to find anything to compensate for playoff heartbreak. But I'd argue the opener in '10, the wild-card game in '10, and the start of run the table in '16, all at the Linc, collectively, at least come close.

Johnny from Madison, WI

So I think we were being a little entitled with our disdain for the 17-game season and seven playoff teams per conference. Given we'd be all but eliminated without these changes, are you warming up to them at all?

No, because there wouldn't be such a thing as a Week 14 bye without the 17th game.

Jeff from Omaha, NE

It goes without saying that this season's struggles pose the biggest challenge ML has faced in his young coaching career. Mostly because it seems the problems lie between the ears as much as between the white lines. Busted assignments and failing to execute plays … the X's and O's type things … seem easier to fix than shattered confidence, mental breakdowns, lack of focus, and the drive to push through struggles. Who do you think ML turns to for help with navigating those challenges?

Most of his coaching friends are probably too busy to be taking calls in the heart of the season, but I know LaFleur has a strong family supporting him, and he's got plenty of his own experiences to draw upon. His years on the staffs in Houston, Washington and Tennessee were not all sunshine and roses.

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

Who are the top rookies in the league that you see being the rookie of the year? Did Watson start playing and playing well to be on that top 10 list? How does he compare to the other rookie offensive ends, especially the ones selected in the first round?

If the Offensive Rookie of the Year award is going to a receiver, the front-runner would probably be Chris Olave from New Orleans. The running backs in Houston (Pierce) and Seattle (Walker) are strong candidates as well. But if Watson has a couple more multi-TD games by season's end, he could enter the conversation. Defensively, Gardner from the Jets and Hutchinson from the Lions seem to stand out right now.

Jeff from Mesa, AZ

I don't think this has been mentioned, but the reps Quay Walker is getting at No. 1 ILB have got to pay huge dividends going forward. Hope there is no drop-off in transition when De'Vondre Campbell comes back.

There shouldn't be. Schematically, Walker has been playing the position he's always played. He didn't take Campbell's spot in the scheme, except on third downs when the defense goes dime (six DBs). The main difference is Walker's been wearing the communication helmet to call the signals in the huddle.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It was Monday night, Nov. 28, 2016. Green Bay was headed to Philadelphia to play a heavily favored Eagles team, following a string of disappointing losses. The Packers dominated, upsetting the Eagles, and starting a winning streak. And now? Green Bay, following a string of disappointing losses, is headed to Philly to play a heavily favored Eagles team. I'm not saying history will repeat, but maybe?

I'm all for the sentiment, but let's not rewrite history on "heavily favored." Philly had lost five of seven heading into that MNF matchup six years ago.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, do you think the Viking faithful will be cheering for the Packers this weekend?


TK from Grafton, WI

Do most fans seem aware of the fact that the Packers are the only team they put under a microscope which leads to a lack of perspective on the NFL in a broader sense?

I think that's just a natural consequence for those who don't watch other games or follow the league as a whole. I've joked before there's a segment of this fan base that believes the other 31 NFL teams exist only for the purpose of losing to the Packers. I'm thankful for you all, but seven seasons of writing this column three times a week hasn't convinced me I'm wrong.

Dave from Waterford, WI

What do you think the Packers' chances are against the Eagles on Sunday night?

I'll let my doppelganger handle this one.

Mike from Green Bay, WI

Hey II, as noted the Pack need to play complementary football…it's been quite the journey…I'm excited to see how the balance of the season plays out…we've seen we can beat anyone when playing up to potential…let the games begin and see how we can further muddy the NFC playoff picture. Go Pack!

Happy Friday.

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