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Inbox: There's a reason they say it takes all 11

Breakout performances often come when you least expect them

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Packers defensive unit

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I've been looking into tickets for Sunday's game and am shocked at how high the prices are for that market. Do you think that's due to the Bengals being 3-1 and more interest from local Cincy fans, or Packers fans from the surrounding areas having a once in eight-year opportunity to see their favorite team?

The latter. The Packers playing a regular-season game in Cincinnati is like a star shooting across the night's sky. Beyond just Packers fans, I think there's a lot of folks who want to see Aaron Rodgers play in person.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, could Cincinnati be a big game for Big Bob Tonyan?

I think so. His moment is coming. Robert Tonyan hasn't been getting a ton of targets but that all could change as soon as this Sunday. For example, we knew Randall Cobb was going to play more against Pittsburgh with Marquez Valdes-Scantling out, but I doubt many had him pegged for two touchdowns. Breakout performances often come when you least expect them.

Russ from Henrico, VA

So, the D is thin at corner. Are they deep enough at safety that Darnell Savage could get some time at corner?

Savage has the versatility, and speed, to play everywhere in the secondary but he's best suited to play centerfield, especially if Eric Stokes and Kevin King are both available.

Casey from Frisco, TX

In watching replays of the run by AJ Dillon to the goal line, I now see that Yosh Nijman absolutely flattened the Steelers defensive lineman he was assigned to one on one. Had you noticed that? It's hard not to get excited by what this incredibly young OL for the Packers is doing so far this season.

I've been saying for years the big thing for Nijman is going to be pad level. If Nijman gets his pads down and gets leverage at the line of scrimmage, the guy has all the tools. So, that doesn't surprise me at all.

Rod from Ephrata, PA

Good point about the defense getting more rest at halftime if you defer and the opposing team elects to take the ball to start the game.

If you ever wanted proof of how much that matters to a defense, listen to Kingsley Keke's Zoom presser from after the game. Near the end, Keke alludes to how the Packers controlling the clock contributed to a well-rested defense making a pair of huge fourth-down stops in the second half.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Good morning! Joe Burrow seems like such a likable person. His college career wasn't amazing until his last year at LSU. What qualities does he bring to the Bengals as their QB?

Burrow has everything you look for in an elite NFL quarterback. He has the field awareness, pocket presence, accuracy and outstanding football IQ. But most importantly, he's a winner. Even when the Bengals were struggling, you could tell they were going to be just fine in the long run once they could put some more talent around this kid. I love Burrow. I think he and Justin Herbert are the future of this league.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's your take on the job Zac Taylor has done coaching the Bengals?

Taylor is definitely a risk-taker, but I love his take on the Shanahan/McVay/LaFleur offensive system. I think he's taken the right approach in tailoring the system to Burrow, as well. It was a tough go at the start for Taylor but you can see the swagger building in Cincinnati.

Thomas from Pensacola , FL

We have star defensive players down for an unknown amount of time and backup players are filling the positions, earning game-time experience. When the first-string players return, does Joe Barry give them rest during the game with rotations? What matchups with the replacement players on defense are important in the Cincinnati game?

Unfortunately, injuries are the reason many young players and reserves get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Those that prove themselves are the ones who'll be in line for bigger roles once the starters return. If Jaire Alexander can't go, Green Bay's secondary is up for a stiff test against Burrow, Tyler Boyd, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Higgins is off to a slow start but Boyd and Chase have been in sync with Burrow during his fast start (72.9% completions, 9.2 yards per attempt and a 113.8 passer rating).

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Do you think we will see more offensive formations where Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are both in the backfield? It seems like this would be difficult for defensive coordinators to defend.

The Packers haven't run much of the two-RB "Pony" scripts the past two weeks but those are still in the playbook and could go back on the call sheet at any time.

Sawyer from Simpsonville, SC

One of Vic's favorite things to say was whether the team's arrow was pointed up or down. Given the evolution we've seen from this team every week, and how the scheme continues to multiply and players consistently embrace their roles and possibilities, I really think this team has a shot to continue this hot streak through the season, regardless of injuries. I know it's one game at a time, but that's what I'm excited to have seen and hope to continue to witness this season.

This depth we talked about all summer is helping the Packers stem this early tide with injuries. A 3-1 start isn't too shabby considering the Packers have been playing with their two top offensive linemen, All-Pro pass rusher and deep receiving threat. However, this is going to be another stiff test if the Packers must go without Alexander for a bit. There's a reason they say it takes all 11.

Tom from Vista, CA

It seems to be a popular thing these days to ascertain if a quarterback has "beaten "every other team. Granted this is quite a feat. Prior to the NFL/AFL merger was this considered or accomplished?

It's all a media creation in this era where so many people (myself included) are diving into numbers and factoids. I don't remember this being a big deal even 20 years ago. For example, I'm sure Bart Starr didn't lose any sleep at the end of his career because he never beat the Packers or Dolphins.

The Green Bay Packers held practice on Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.

Nathan from Lino Lakes, MN

Does the NFL have a restriction on how far out they allow teams to trade draft picks? I just saw the Indiana Pacers traded their 2025 second-round pick and don't recall seeing things like that in the NFL.

Three years.

Skip from Seal Beach, CA

Gretchen from Dousman (I also lived in Dousman) said she had the opportunity to speak with some of her childhood Packer heroes. Mine was John Brockington and I got to have lunch with him many years later in San Diego. What a pleasure! Who are some of your childhood heroes that you got to meet later in life?

LeRoy Butler. Doing a radio show with him for four years was an incredible experience. I consider LeRoy a friend. While I know I'm a very biased observer, I'll never stop trumpeting his case for the HOF. Because he deserves it.

Joel from Sand Springs, OK

Insiders, can you clarify the PUP rules? I know starting the season on PUP means at least six weeks before getting on the active roster. But I thought there was a practice window that opened prior to that? Is that the case, or can you not practice until six weeks and then you have three weeks to make the decision? Realizing it's Week 5, I'm curious as to when we might see our wonderful left tackle start coming back.

David Bakhtiari is eligible to return to practice after the Chicago Bears game. Once Bakhtiari does, the Packers have a 21-day window to add him to the 53-man roster.

Doug from Prescott Valley, AZ

Are there limits on how many players can be on returnable IR at a time?

No. It's still unlimited like last year.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

Compounding on what Wayne said about deferring, I don't think it has anything to do with the number of possessions. What it really does is gives the deferring team a chance to double up while at the same time guaranteeing the other team can't.

Call me basic but I always defer.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

It may be only in my imagination, but it seems like we're seeing more nifty plays this year from several NFL teams – particularly in the red zone. Not so much trick plays or gimmicks, but more than most years I find myself thinking "that was a nice play...how do you even defend against that?" How often do you think coaches/coordinators see a nifty play from another team, and steal it for their own use?

It happens constantly but I agree there's been a lot of innovation in the red zone, specifically in goal-line situations. I thought that little play-action into a dump-off that Kansas City ran last week was a smart design.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Today, ESPN analyzed Rodgers and Mike Tomlin looking and smiling at each other for greater than 10 minutes. This is what sports media has become. Can you guys pass a message to Rodgers that he is no longer allowed to look at, smile at, joke around with, or really interact with any other opposing team? Thank goodness for II because you're one of the only legitimate sports reporting I have left.

*This is the perfect example of why I feel like my generation had the best of both worlds in the 1990s and early 2000s. Television quality has made huge strides but things also hadn't gotten over the top yet. Now, we get uncomfortably tight zoom-in shots on Adams' face after a scary hit and TV segments on something as innocuous as Rodgers and Tomlin smiling at each other. *

Greg from Glen Ellyn, IL

Following yesterday's podcast it sounds like we're back to discussing duo monikers for our running backs. I'd like to propose one theme that I find most apropos: types of peanut butter. Smooth and Crunchy. I think we all know which is which.

That's not bad. I still like AJ2, but I may be alone in that camp.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Lots of buzz about transactions. Is there any benefit to examining the deals that did not happen to understand the inner workings of the team, or simply better to focus on who the Packers ultimately signed?

Sure, you can. But you gotta be able to differentiate between trades/signings that almost happened (e.g. Randy Moss, Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson) and those fans simply wanted to happen.

Jason from Wausau, WI

Are the Packers bringing in Jaylon Smith for a workout today or tomorrow?

This was what the Inbox submissions looked like Wednesday morning until…

Luke from Searcy, AR

Hey guys! I appreciate the work you do. I just saw Stephon Gilmore was cut because he wants more cash than the Patriots will give him. Is he out of our price range? I'm drooling over the thought of pairing him with Jaire.

And then this is what our Inbox submissions looked like for a little while in the late morning until…

Robert from Verona, WI

I bet by now the keyboard jockeys have already filled the II with complaints about the Packers not trading for Gilmore. May God have pity on your souls for having to deal with that.

By the early afternoon, these were the (nice) comments combing into the Inbox submissions…

Ryan from Bay View, WI

I know at this moment it's not finalized, but it would be pretty neat to see the Smithlets on the field together.

And by the late afternoon this is where things stood. What an exhausting day. Guys, more than ever before, let's wait until some ink dries here. Once it does, we'll have all the time in the world to discuss it. I was a huge fan of Smith's coming out of Notre Dame prior to that leg injury but he battled back and proved a lot of critics wrong during his comeback. I haven't watched much of him recently, though.

Bob from Oconomowoc, WI

That was fast, Gilmore is no longer on the table. Seems like a low price paid by the Panthers for a season rental. Provided Alexander is down for any length of time and King dealing with a lingering injury, are there any current free-agent CBs you'd like to see the Packers bring in for a workout?

The one signing we do know about was the signing of former Philadelphia third-round pick Rasul Douglas, who practiced Wednesday. Douglas is a big corner (6-2, 209) who has played a lot of football. He's well-traveled over the past 12 months but provides much-needed depth behind Stokes, King and Chandon Sullivan, whom Douglas played with for one season with the Eagles in 2018. For now, that's the move.

Matt from Burlington , WI

II, was there a corresponding move to add Douglas?

The Packers had two available spots on the 53 because of Tyler Lancaster being on the COVID-19 list and Marquez Valdes-Scantling going on injured reserve.

Scott from New Franken, WI

Hi Hod, great work as always. How come every time any player is cut or becomes available via trade do Packers fans and some of the team fan bloggers always immediately try to get the Pack Attack to get that player?

It's like Pavlov's dog. Anytime a player is cut or on the trading block, Packers fan immediately want him on the roster and act disappointed when it doesn't work out that way. It's like taking your kids to a toy store. They see all the shiny objects on the shelves but they're not the ones responsible for balancing the checkbook every month.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

Tell Spoff to go on vacation so we can get Stephon Gilmore.

OK, now that was funny.

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