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Inbox: Therein lies the advantage

Ibraheim Campbell fits right in with the Packers’ defense

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Tyler from Sioux Falls, ND

Definitely a subpar performance on Sunday but it seems people are so quick to count this team out when things go south. 7-2 almost halfway through the season with a new HC seems like a great place to be and this team has so much potential. May it be time to remind ourselves to R-E-L-A-X?

Does S-I-M-M-E-R-D-O-W-N-N-O-W fit on a T-shirt? Good morning!

Israel from West Allis, WI

I'm very excited to have Ibraheim Campbell and Jace Sternberger back. Campbell looked good last year. What can we reasonably look forward to from either player this coming week?

The safe bet with Campbell is an immediate contributor on special teams but it's also not out of the realm of possibilities he moves right into that dime linebacker role. He fit right in there last year after arriving late as a waiver claim from the New York Jets. I expect him to do it again. Adrian Amos missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring, so having Campbell back certainly provides much-needed depth at both safety spots, as well.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Hello Wes, snow on Nov. 6! How do the Packers prepare their own first-year players for the outdoor circumstances? I reckon many of them haven't had that experience often or at all, thus lacking an advantage over visiting team players?

As Aaron Jones said Wednesday: "There's no getting used to it – you learn how to deal with it." To phrase it another way, as Bane once said, "You've merely adopted (the cold). I was born into it, molded by it." That starts on the practice field. You live it and breathe it. Therein lies the advantage.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

How was the locker room atmosphere (Monday) compared to the previous weeks after a win?

It was fine. Aaron Jones also mentioned the locker room had an "inspired" vibe to it. Nobody was jumping on top of lockers or anything, but the mood was positive. Everyone in that locker room knows Sunday was not up to par and they're working towards a better result against the Panthers.

Samuel from Bay View, WI

In your opinion, which receiver is the team's best blocker?

It's a small sample size right now but I think Allen Lazard is a pretty darn good blocker. He uses that 6-foot-5, 227-pound frame well.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

How big of a game is this for Blake Martinez? Not only is he the signal caller and leader of a D that is charged with containing one of the game's most explosive players in Christian McCaffrey, but playing opposite All-Pro Luke Kuechly. Could be a great opportunity for 50 to show he deserves a little love in the national spotlight too, eh?

This is a huge week for Martinez and the defense. I get everyone is looking for reasons why the defense has struggled as of late but I think many fans are latching on to the wrong scapegoat. It's not easy being an inside linebacker in 2019. He has to be a jack-of-all-trades. He must communicate, tackle and cover with equal enthusiasm (curious if anyone gets that movie reference). If the Packers are going to turn this thing around, it's not going to be one player who does it. It's going to be all 11 on defense.

Ryan from Wrightstown, WI

I think a lot of our recent defensive struggles can be related to some health issues on that side of the ball. Kevin King with the groin, Martinez with his hand/wrist, Raven Greene on IR since Week 2, and Darnell Savage is only recently returning from an ankle injury. This team played lights out against the Bears, I thought it was the most intense performance I've seen from a Packers defense in a long time. Any word on when we might get Greene back? I'm glad to see Campbell off the PUP list!

As strange as this may sound since Greene is a second-year player and former undrafted free agent, but his injury had a rather significant butterfly effect on this defense. He played well against the Bears and the Packers didn't have a real backup to Greene in that hybrid linebacker spot besides Campbell, requiring Adrian Amos to drop into the box at times. It kind of altered the complexion of that sub-package.

Cameron from St. Petersburg, FL

Will the Packers ever play another game in Milwaukee?

No. That's what the gold package is for. Barring some unforeseen circumstance, Packers home games will always be at Lambeau Field for the rest of our lifetimes.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

What is going to be done about the offense's lack of production in the last game?

A lot. Matt LaFleur was the first to point the finger at himself this week, saying he needs to be more patient with the game plan. Aaron Rodgers added the offense must aim to get the ball into the hands of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. There was a lot of accountability in the locker room Wednesday.

Randy from Sheboygan, WI

I like the fact that we now have a running game. Do we have to run the ball the first time we have the ball? I think everyone is expecting us to run the first two downs. I just think it is a good time for play-action.

Rodgers arbitrarily offered getting Jones 20 touches and Williams somewhere between 10-15. I'm with him on that. I'd run the ball until the Panthers (22nd against the run) prove they can stop it. The onus is also on Rodgers to keep the Packers in clean plays at the line of scrimmage. Some of the biggest runs teams have hit against Carolina have come off all-out blitzes.

Timothy from Appleton, WI

Do you think with Cam Newton on the sidelines this is a Packers win?

Like automatically? Not at all. They're going to have to work for it. Kyle Allen has played winning football for the Panthers. You can't overlook him. He is a 23-year-old quarterback, though. The Packers need to generate pressure on Allen Sunday. That's how the 49ers got him out of rhythm a few weeks ago.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, do you think B.J. Goodson could be that thumper next to Martinez on defense?

I do…if the Packers are willing to play in more traditional base and nickel packages.

Phil from Plymouth, MN

I think we're all talking about this bye week way too much. It's not the miracle cure. Let's not pat ourselves on the back thinking 7-3 is pretty good, and the bye will solve all problems. Scary thought coming out of it and playing an undefeated team. Very important to beat the Panthers this week.

I take the same approach to these games against Carolina and San Francisco as I did the Los Angeles-Kansas City turn. If they can split them, the Packers will still be sitting pretty. If they can win them both, they're driving the NFC bus into December. All aboard.

Scott from Hayward, WI

So it's time for the coin flip on Sunday and we win the toss. Do we accept the kickoff to let our offense get some redemption and prevent the other team from using up half the first quarter and taking an early lead against us, or do we let the defense redeem itself with a strong three-and-out, giving our offense the advantage on field position, and guaranteeing we get the ball with the second-half kickoff? What would Carolina choose?

Since it's at Lambeau, I'd still defer if I'm the Packers. It's a warm-weather team playing in the cold. I'd send my defense out there, get an early stop and feel good about itself.

Aaron from Green Bay, WI

We haven't used a no-huddle offense very much this year and I think it showed against the Chargers. Too much time elapsed between plays and even though it was no-huddle, the defense was able to get set perfectly. Did you notice this too and do you think it will be practiced more?

That's a fair criticism. The Packers were playing on the road in a fairly loud environment, so that can be tricky. But yes, the team agrees it needs to be better and more efficient with the no-huddle.

Jeff from Sun Prairie, WI

Good morning guys. Last weekend, the Cowboys were the only visitors to win after beating the Giants Monday night.

I didn't realize the Packers (80-76) have the sixth-best road record since 2000 until I read it in this week's Dope Sheet. One, that's impressive considering they were 1-7 on the road last year. Two, it ain't easy to win on the road.

Ben from Mayville, WI

If Wes likes UFC, does he like BKB (bare knuckle boxing)? I still believe since B.J. Raji left, the Packers need a 340-plus-pound nose tackle to eat up blocks and disrupt the middle, especially with what they have now with the DL.

I enjoy MMA for the art, athleticism and occasional surprise finish. BKB is just pure brutality. It's been a few years since the 335-pound defensive tackle has been featured in Green Bay. The league shifted away from those players, but maybe we're starting to see a move back to that.

Dennis from Batavia, IL

Why do I see so many questions or posts from Packer fans with hopeful scenarios that have the Packers playing overseas in London? I hope they never have to play overseas. I want wins first and foremost and going overseas doesn't augment those possibilities for not just that game but the ones following as well.

It definitely can mess with a team's schedule. As a football historian, I think the Packers should go at least once. The Packers are one of the most recognizable brands in all of professional sports. If the NFL wants to increase its international footprint, the Packers need to be a part of that.

Al from Berwick, UK

If Packers haven't played an International Series game by our next Jacksonville game, do you think that might be when it happens? Or if we go to a 17-game schedule hopefully we will play one extra division game each season in neutral venue/overseas. That way nobody will be giving up a home game against The Packers.

That'll be in 2024, and if history is any indication, the Jaguars will just protect the game like they did in 2016. The best shot is either: A) A team relocating to London or B) a 17th regular-season game played on a neutral site.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Spoff wrote, "The fact that so many national announcers don't know the rules is embarrassing." I heard one national announcer totally contradict what he had just said on the previous play. Apparently they don't have to know what they're talking about, they just have to talk.

Broadcasting sports is the hardest thing I've done in 14 years working in media. But yes, you should still know the rules.

Noel from Norwalk, CA

Season's Greetings II! It's nice to read all the conspiracy theories why the team lost Sunday. I won't address the elephant in the room, but offer this instead: ML is a rookie head coach who in his first season has gotten everyone to feel good about the team. My question: How much leeway should we, as fans, give to a first-year head coach who looked like he was in over his head?

Are you talking about LaFleur? If that question is in regards to LaFleur, I highly recommend you watch a Bengals game.

Bob from Rossford, OH

That Bosa guy is pretty good, huh? Go Bucks!

And there's another one the Packers will have to deal with here in a couple weeks.

John from Derby, CT

Wes, I think you may have turophobia. Admittedly, I only know of this phobia because it's the word of the day on Many thanks to you and Mike for all the coverage of our favorite team. I would also like to "pile on" some praise for your recent Tyler Lancaster story – very moving. Great job!

So they ran out of food in the Chargers press box Sunday, leaving me sooooooo hungry that I actually ate a chicken burrito WITH CHEESE in it afterwards. So I guess it can be done.

Rich from Round Rock, TX

Spoff, in answer to, "How many times did Vic write about khakis?" a search of for the word "khaki" yields 196 results. Vic may not be a fan of any particular football team but I think he would agree that he is quite a fan of khakis.

That's a whole 'lotta khakis.

Cameron from Cincinnati, OH

The points don't matter, but 10,000 points to Mike for Wednesday's answer, "How many times did Vic write about khakis? I don't have the list in front of me." This perfectly epitomizes what the II is all about. You guys are truly the best, 365 days a year.

It's actually 312 days a year, but who's counting?

Jodi from Grand Rapids, WI

Doesn't giving the cat on the field air time just encourage other cats to do the same thing?

Hey, it's a copycat league, right?