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Inbox: There's just something special about that 'G'

The best part of covering the NFL is the people you meet along the way

CB Keisean Nixon
CB Keisean Nixon

Thomas from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

Hi Wes, does this count? I'm actually from Jacksonville, FL, but it's the Christmas season where gifts are hoped for and given. Merry Christmas!

Spoff warned me these submissions were coming…and I fully deserve each and every one of them.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Wes, I haven't missed an Ask Vic/Inbox since its inception. I do absolutely remember a submission from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. I remember it well because I was completely taken aback by it. I'm considering hiking into Dracula's Castle in Transylvania and putting a Packer flag in the dungeon. That might cover all the bases for worldwide Packer fans. I'll send pics!

Please do. I don't doubt there has been a legitimate Antarctica post in the column before, but not an Antarctica post in one of my columns. I'm still chasing that diamond – a legitimate diamond, no cubic zirconia.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Is Green Bay becoming a destination for corners to revitalize their career? Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon (ish), and now Corey Ballentine. Do you think it's more scheme-related, our CB coaches, or simply getting more opportunities?

In my opinion, there's nothing "ish" about Nixon. He should be included in that conversation. Las Vegas didn't tender him a first-right-of-refusal contract, which made him a free agent in 2022. Nixon followed Rich Bisaccia to Green Bay and became an All-Pro kick returner. Now this year, Nixon is proving he has what it takes to be a featured nickel cornerback in this league. I not only give Brian Gutekunst and his scouts credit for finding some great hidden DB gems but also Matt LaFleur and his staff for finding places for them on defense and special teams. To paraphrase what Nixon said earlier this week, there's just something special about that "G." It's paid major dividends for the Packers.

Kevin from Santa Rosa, CA

During the early games of this season AJ Dillon seemed to just plow into the line, get caught up in the wash and not gain a lot of yards. Now he seems to be a more patient runner. He's waiting for the hole to open up and making a cut to get downfield. Has something changed? His running style, blocking up front, the play calling or is he just becoming a better football player?

I think it's just a matter of finding your flow over the course of a long season. The blocking unit is gelling, and Dillon is seeing the holes well right now. Historically, Dillon has done some of his best running in the final month of the season.

Al from Green Bay, WI

This team plays like it's on a mission. Can it continue Monday night? I say yes. Reasons to believe: 1) MOJO. This team has it, and the results are evident. 2) Green and Gold throughout the stands. We know Packers fans are everywhere, and there will be a rowdy concentration of them in NY on Monday. 3) Revenge may not be a thing, but the Giants turned the Packers' season in the wrong direction in the second half last year in London. Not again! GPG!

All I want is for the Packers to stay on track against the Giants. You can't worry about what happened in London last year other than the players who were on that team learning from it. The Packers are favored and rightly so. Tonight, they need to play like it. You can't take a step back, not now.

Josh from Long Beach, CA

Everyone keeps trying to find a reason for the recent success of Jordan Love and the Packers. I'd like to posit a simple answer: Maybe the kid is just good and Gutey knows what he's doing. The fact we're talking about the playoffs right now and not every other question about Love imaginable should answer all of those questions. Let's watch some more and maybe fill our mouths with popcorn instead of words. I like to watch.

The best compliment I can pay Love is he's a better quarterback today, on Dec. 11, than he was in Chicago on Sept. 10. Likewise, the offense has grown in stereo with Love, and it's made Green Bay a very dangerous unit.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike or Wes, given your Insider look at the team, do you feel over time you have been able to get an accurate sensing how the team will perform week-to-week?

My answer would usually be no, but for whatever reason, I felt good about the Packers' chances last Sunday against Kansas City. I liked how steady Love and the defense were in Detroit and felt the combination of another fast start and the defense keeping the opposition out of the end zone would help Green Bay prevail…and it did. We'll see what tonight holds for the Packers.

The Green Bay Packers held a practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

How is the offensive line doing?

I think it's doing well, Terrance. The O-line has a huge challenge in front of it with Kayvon Thibodeaux, Dexter Lawrence, and an aggressive Giants front, but that starting 5-7 for Green Bay has been through some real battles and the O-line is better for it. I liked how that unit blocked the middle of the field for Dillon last week. The Giants have struggled to stop the run this season. That's where this game will be won, for either team, at MetLife.

Joseph from Sioux Falls, SD

Curious what the record is for staying unbeaten in December under the same head coach? In my less-than-a-minute research, I couldn't find anything.

The record belongs to Matt LaFleur, but I couldn't tell you who's second.

Shilo from Wildomar, CA

I am not worried about this game being a trap game: I am far more worried about Christian Watson's injury, Saquon Barkley's health, and especially Brian Daboll. Daboll impresses me as someone who can fix a flat tire with duct tape and a wad of chewing gum. I think we can win, but it's going to be harder than the talking heads are making it out to be.

Daboll is a sharp dude and deserving of NFL Coach of the Year honors last season. As London proved, the Packers must be ready for everything from Daboll's offense. Wink Martindale is as savvy as defensive coordinators come in this league. On Watson, it was hard to see him succumb to another setback with the hamstring. He was playing so well the past couple weeks. All I can tell you is what he told us this week – he doesn't believe this hamstring injury is as significant as the previous one earlier this season.

Phil from Madison, WI

I ask this with no ill will, as I know the last player on every practice squad is 10 times the athlete I ever was. With the Giants coming up, I wanted to ask your opinion of the four-year, $160 million contract they gave Daniel Jones. He has never been to a Pro Bowl, and the only votes he has ever received for any award garnered him 11th place as Comeback Player of the Year. Over Jones' first four years, his average was 15 TDs and eight INTs. Is that really the going price for an average at best QB?

I get where you're coming from. The Giants were in a tight spot this offseason. It had been six years since New York had a winning record and made the playoffs. Things were looking up for Daboll's bunch, so I don't begrudge them at all for extending Jones. He helped New York get there. This is a quarterback league and the price of QBs is rising precipitously and I'm sure every QB coming up for a contract will look at those numbers and set their value accordingly. That's what happens with any new QB deal.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Did Robbie Gould ever miss a kick against the Packers? I attended the last playoff game at Lambeau and stood up to walk out as soon as I saw him trot onto the field. Seriously, did he ever miss a kick against the Packers?

Yes, but rarely. Gould converted 36 of 39 field goals (92.5%) against Green Bay and all 48 extra points. What's more, Gould never missed a field goal or extra point against the Packers in four postseason games (7-for-7 on field goals and 8-for-8 on extra points). His last miss against the Packers came in 2011.

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

Out of all the positive things that you guys do in covering the Packers, the one thing that I like the most is your personal stories about individual players. I've been on the other end of interviews and have talked with reporters about how faith and God play an important part in my life and what I'm doing. When the newspaper comes out there's nary a mention of the spiritual part. You guys let the players speak from the heart and you let the faith speak as well. Thanks, and God's blessings.

The best part of covering the NFL is the people you meet along the way. Sometimes it's a player or coach, and sometimes it's a local member of the community. But my aim is to generate uplifting stories. It can be Emanuel Byrd honoring his late mother and aunt, or as simple as the work ethic Robert Tonyan derived from watching the sacrifices his self-employed parents made for their children. In the story I wrote on Ballentine, I asked the Packers' cornerback to what he attributes his resolve after playing for six different NFL teams in three years. His response was faith in his ability and belief God had a plan for him…so that's what I wrote. My stories will always be about the subject. The day I cannot say that is the day I need to find something else to do for a living. As always, thank you for reading.

Mark from Bristol, UK

Surely a big factor in penalties dropping as the season progresses has to be rookies and players you trade for becoming more comfortable with plays, through repetition in games and practice. This should be true for all teams.

That is a good point and makes me hypothesize the pre-snap penalties are probably down for Green Bay compared to the first month of the season. That may be where that feeling derives from.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

If Anders Carlson or Daniel Whelan get hurt in a game, who are our backup kickers?

Let's hope it never comes to that, but I've seen Jaire Alexander boom a few punts in training camp over the years. Alexander is not Craig Hentrich by any means, but for a cornerback, he's better than I would've guessed.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Whenever I'm out and about and have Packer clothes on I pretty much always run into a Packer fan. I always say to that person, "We're everywhere." I'd like to see you get a map with pins on it and then post it for all to see. I think it'd be great to see where "everywhere" is. Would that be possible? Thanks for all you guys do day in and day out. It helps all of us.

I'm told we used to do it, but the process became too much to bear. I know, I know…we're the big Green Bay Packers, but like 95% of the content you see on the website runs through five of us sitting in cubicles. Picture "Office Space."

Robert from Burke, VA

Wes, I appreciated your answer regarding the '70s and '80s doomsdayers. I've been a Packers guy since the '60s (owner since the '90s) and that talk aggravates me, too. The team, league, and game have changed. Those days are over and not coming back. The other thing I'm tired of are the "reminds me of the xxxx Packers..." comments. Nope. This year and team are their own. The script is not preordained. Enjoy the ride. GPG

I respect those who lived through the '70s and '80s. My own father did and understands why fans fear a return to that era. But please don't project your panic onto me. Not because I don't want to hear it. Because the landscape of the NFL changed in 1993 and it's never been the same since.

Jana from Duluth, MN

In James from Appleton's defense, the online version of the Dope Sheet doesn't show the cover page or give the time of the game. Not all of us look at the PDF. I'm always amazed at the amount of detail provided in the Dope Sheet! That must take a lot of time to compile.

In that case, there's this handy tab on our website that says "Schedule" that lists all the Packers' opponents, locations and…wait for it…game times!

Howie from Mayer, MN

Just a note to say thank you both for this column. I read it every day and it is a bright spot in my day. With gratitude. Lifelong fan.

Thank you for the note. These types of messages always bring a simile to my face, especially during the holidays.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Looking forward to tonight's game. Saturday's II was packed with talent. Lori, Margeaux, Al, and Derek all contributed, and I know we will see something from Dean below. I miss seeing great questions from my II world map neighbor Dar. I hope all is well with Dar. GPG!

I hope all is well with Dar, too. Funny story…Derek sent a poem last week, but I refused to publish it because the Packers won after he forgot to submit one for the Thanksgiving game. You know what Crash Davis would say, "An Inbox on a streak has to respect the streak."

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The bar was raised last week and now a primetime trip to New York
A Giants team that is well-rested and has won two in a row awaits
Last year these same Giants spoiled Green Bay's first trip to London
A season that began with no expectations evolves to a season with no limits and playoff hopes
Stay the path and avoid an upset, Green and Gold

All week, I've been saying make it count. The Packers have picked up two big victories over likely playoff teams, but this rally loses spice if they don't take care of business against the Giants. Respect the opponent, protect the football, and get back above .500. Enjoy the game, everybody.

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