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Inbox: There’s no better formula

LB Blake Martinez
LB Blake Martinez

Mike from Ames, IA

Can we get the Pro Shop to sell a Smith jersey with No. 55 on the front and 91 on the back? Will make the choosing process easier for the fans and probably sell like hotcakes. Let's lean into the power of the combined Smiths!

Now there’s an idea. Good morning!

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Great article on the defense, Wes! I love watching good offense and in recent years have averted my eyes and turned off the sound with our defense on the field. Not anymore, with our speed and attacking style the defense has become a must-see.

The Packers’ defense is must-see TV right now and it looks sustainable. In the past, even when the defense was playing well, there always seemed to be questions whether it would be sustainable week-to-week. Barring injury, this feels like a unit that can contend with the league’s most dynamic offenses. And as we all know, there’s no better formula for building a championship team than a suffocating defense.

Kyle from Santa Cruz, CA

I was at the game on Sunday and I only have one urgent question, is Jamaal Williams ever not dancing? It’s not just game breaks, he’s doing it in the huddle. I’m surprised he can stay still in the backfield before the snap. I love it.

I can’t say I’ve ever covered an athlete quite like Williams. It’s not only his dancing and pregame antics but also the way he answers questions in the locker room. He dropped “Mermaid” and “Spongebob” in the same reply about playing in the rain Sunday night. He’s one-of-a-kind and a criminally underrated running back on top of that.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I have been wondering why Jake Kumerow and Danny Vitale haven't been playing more and was excited that Danny almost scored on that pass. I know it was only training camp, but I remember both players getting accolades from the coaches and even “12” himself. I know there is an earned pecking order and only so many balls available out there, but I still wonder if they could inject some juice into our offense, especially since they seem to have a knack for making plays and 12's trust.

Well, Kumerow was hurt. He sat with a shoulder injury. However, it was good the Packers put that wheel route on film with Vitale, who played a season-high 19 offensive snaps. Not only does it show defenses they need to respect Vitale’s route-running but it also showcases the type of impact he can make in this offense. Unfortunately for my fantasy team, he was just millimeters short of the end zone.

Paul from Hewitt, WI

The Packers are getting more pressure and sacks so far this year on the opposing team's quarterback. Do you know if they are blitzing less and getting more pressure? If they are this much more sustainable than relying on the blitz.

While Mike Pettine is willing to put seven players on the line of scrimmage and occasionally throw the kitchen sink on third downs, the Packers seem to be winning more with their even three- and four-man rushes this year. I think that’s what’s wearing down offensive lines and quarterbacks over the course of four quarters.

Justin from Ivins, UT

Of the remaining undefeated teams, who do you think has faced the toughest opponents thus far? I'd say it was the Packers, Chiefs, Rams...but I may be biased.

The Packers passed two big division tests during the first two weeks and did what they needed to do to dispatch the Broncos on Sunday. The work continues on Thursday.

Brian from Sussex, WI

I'm sure Rashan Gary getting some official stats helped mellow the howl. But what I notice when watching is how often I see him close to the runner or QB – taking away a running lane, not letting the QB escape or step up. It appears he's creating impact fairly often compared to the number of snaps he's had so far this year.

Gary looked good the first two weeks, but with the Packers living in their base defense, the rookie first-round pick didn’t see much of the field. With the Packers showing more of their dime personnel against Denver, Gary played 26 snaps and responded with four tackles, his first career sack and a fumble recovery.

Glen from Leesburg, VA

When you have a game where your two first-round picks have an interception, sack and a fumble recovery, you have to like that kind of progress. I feel good that games like this will go a long way to build confidence in young players such as Savage and Gary. It's a long season, so it has to give the Packers a good feeling they can count on the young guys to contribute this early.

I’ve always been a bit leery of players who are “climbers” in the pre-draft process but Savage has made me rethink that stance. I expected to see the athleticism right away, but Savage is playing well beyond his 22 years right now. The stage hasn’t been too big for either first-rounder.

Jesse from Bonita Springs, FL

Second-and-goal from the 7 and we rushed for a TD. Moreover, we ran the play right over our rookie guard playing in his first start. Call me winsome but that’s something that will help keep our QB upright.

Elgton Jenkins had the early false start but otherwise played a clean game between David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley. It says a lot about Jenkins how well he performed right off the bat this summer. It’s only one game but I like what I see from the young guard so far.

Ronald from Edison, NJ

Were there any injuries to our starting offensive line players?

The Packers didn’t practice Monday but had to submit an estimated injury report. Bryan Bulaga was listed as limited with a shoulder injury but that was it. Green Bay is healthy, relatively speaking, for Thursday’s night game.

Tim from Appleton, WI

Why wasn’t Darnell Savage given credit for the yards he picked up after the INT?

Because the call on the field was an incompletion. If the referees officiated the play correctly, they could’ve accurately spotted the ball where Savage was tackled after the whistle was blown. Instead, there was no return and Savage was marked down where he caught the ball.

Brian from Denver, CO

You would be hard-pressed to find another punter that can flip the field like JK Scott. I hope this kid is a Packer for life. He has played an important role in this 3-0 start.

Scott has been exceptional through three games but he’ll be the first to say he has to keep it going now. There’s no denying his ability. He’s a unique talent who appears to be the answer at a position the Packers have been searching years to settle.

Andrew from Graettinger, IA

Aaron Rodgers through three weeks in 2014 (MVP year): 64/104, 697 yards, 6.7 YPA, 5 TD, 1 INT, 93.31 rating. Aaron Rodgers through three weeks in 2019: 57/91, 647 yards, 7.1 YPA, 4 TD, 0 INT, 98.56 rating. Doesn't mean the outcome will be the same but it does show that the offense isn't too far off.

Three games don’t make a season, for better and for worse. The NFL plays 16 games for a reason because everything is in constant motion. The best rise above it. We can talk until we’re blue in the face but the only way for the offense to establish the consistency it’s looking for is to play. The next proving ground is Thursday night.

Tom from Lodi, WI

I am sure it will be difficult not to look past the Eagles with eyes on Dallas but I believe the Eagles are better than their 1-2 record. Thoughts?

I haven’t quite figured out Philadelphia yet. The Eagles have been tough against the run, but also have given up the fourth-most yards through the air. What’s more, they’re pretty beat up right now. Offensively, the run game has started slowly, but Carson Wentz is always dangerous.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

For the Packers to keep winning the offense needs to improve....? For the Packers to keep winning the defense needs to improve....? For me: Offense – third-down conversions. So far this year 20%, 33%, and 22%. Defense: Stopping the run. The last two games they've given up 198 and 144 yards.

Thanks for your question…and thanks for your answer.

Julian from Menasha, WI

Love how hard the defense has been playing but a little concerned about the lack of stopping the run. What can be done to tighten things up in that department?

The Packers’ defense didn’t allow an explosive run to either Lindsay or Royce Freeman but both running backs were productive moving the chains. The front has to fill gaps, gang-tackle and not allow runners to seep through to the second level.

Mike from Augusta, GA

We all know the Packer scouts have to keep track of the progress of thousands of college players, but are they also on the hook to keep track of the progress of other teams’ practice-squad players or backup players that might become available?

There are pro and college sectors of scouting. Practice-squad players and free agents would fall on the pro side of things. But yes, the Packers have a board of available free agents, too. You have to be ready to roll with whatever punches a weekend throws at your team.

JR from East Moline, IL

Do you know what the question marks/knocks on Patrick Mahomes were going into the 2017 draft? I wonder what it was that Chicago liked more about Mitchell Trubisky.

Gimmicky offense, undisciplined in his reads and prone to taking chances downfield in hope of an explosive play. It’s kind of funny looking back at it now. Many of the knocks on Mahomes are what have made him an MVP, especially with his ability to play off-script. Scouts loved Trubisky’s size, athleticism and mechanics.

Chuck from Green Bay, WI

I think I am correct in saying the Packers have won every game they wore the throwback jerseys. Can you verify that?

Spoff reports the Packers are 7-2 in the two blue throwbacks.

Joe from Hartford, CT

Considering that the O-lineman threw Phillip Lindsay into the end zone, could the Packers challenge the TD?

As Spoff astutely observed Sunday, that’s not a reviewable aspect of the play – only whether the ball carrier crossed the end zone.

Andrew from La Crosse, WI

Could you please explain to me why the holding call on Emmanuel Sanders on the called-back touchdown was a spot foul resulting in a first-and-7 instead of the normal 10-yard penalty for a first-and-20?

A holding penalty doesn’t wipe out the outcome of an entire play. The officials ruled Freeman gained 13 rushing yards prior to the holding call on Sanders. The penalty was assessed from that spot.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

Was this Kingsley Keke’s first start this year? How did he do on his snaps? In all the talk, there's not been much said about him.

Tyler Lancaster started in the base with Montravius Adams out with the shoulder injury, but Keke made his NFL debut working in the rotation. Keke only played 12 snaps but I felt like he held his own in there.

Take another look at the Green Bay Packers' Week 3 win over the Denver Broncos.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Fans love hypotheticals and have the luxury of looking past the next game toward the future of this season. I appreciate that you keep us pointed to the next game without worrying about hypotheticals. The Packers’ D has started out very strong over the first three games. The Packers’ O hasn't hit its stride yet, but has the potential to be a force to contend with. Special teams have been making a positive difference. Here's hoping the Packers win all three phases on Thursday!

Wins are never perfect and losses are rarely an unbridled disaster. Do the Packers still have areas where they must improve on offense? Absolutely, but they’ve also done enough for the team to be 3-0 at this point. That’s all you can ask for this time of year because no team is perfect.

Terry from Rothschild, WI

I thought I would see this in Monday's II, but where does this Wisconsin sports weekend rank? Packers victory, Badgers over Michigan, Brewers with a three-game sweep? It has to be right up there!

I’d say it’s right up there all right.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

I think we can expect to see a little more experimentation at the wide receiver position. Not to blast Geronimo Allison too soon, since we are only heading into Week 4, but man has he struggled. I think that it only makes sense, not just from a fan’s perspective, to give guys like Jake Kumerow and Darrius Shepherd a little taste of competition. My Week 4 wish list is a 400-yard game for Rodgers and a TD pass to Jake Kumerow! How about yourself?

Allison is established in this offense and a veteran Aaron Rodgers trusts wholeheartedly. This is a receiver who was on pace for a 1,000-yard season a year ago before the soft-tissue injuries. In order for the offense to achieve its goals for this season, it’s going to need Allison to be the player the Packers know he can be.

Shaun from Whitefish Bay, WI

I was at the Denver game and usually go to at least one game a year, so I don't have a total comparison, but the crowd seemed energetic this year. As a person who witnesses all the home games, how do you feel the home crowd has been this year compared to others?

The crowd has been terrific – no waves and very few “Go Pack Go” chants when the offense is on the field. More importantly, Lambeau Field has been rocking on third downs when the defense needs a little extra push. It’s made for a great environment.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, why wasn't Seattle allowed to attempt the PAT after its last score against New Orleans?

The NFL made a change prior to last season no longer requiring a team to attempt the extra point if time has expired and the PAT will have no bearing on the outcome.

Carl from Sussex, WI

Your thoughts on the traveshamockery that Bart Starr's sneak ranked eighth on the NFL's list of greatest plays? I understand the play itself is rather mundane. But context is everything! Especially when compared to No. 2. If Dwight Clark doesn't make “The Catch,” the clock stops and the 49ers get another play. Starr and the Packers had no such luxury, in a game of impossible conditions. As a wise man once wrote, the bravest, most courageous play in NFL history. Should have been top five, at least.

I agree eight was too low, but those lists are just fodder for debate. What truly matters is what’s in your heart. You know the real story.

Haylee from Lil Suam, WI

What is your favorite dish at the second floor potluck? #Perks Test

One-cent meatballs.

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