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Inbox: They can really pick their spots

All pass rushers should take the warning seriously


Ed from Fort Bragg, CA

How soon will we find out about the seriousness of Rodgers' knee injury?

McCarthy will speak this morning, and Rodgers' routine is to talk with reporters on Wednesdays after practice. We'll see if we learn anything more today.

Skot from Sausalito, CA

Pack fan for life, but root for local Bay Area teams especially when they play against GBP rivals. Nothing from mind-blowing AR and the Pack comeback, but like the Bears, the Niners also blew many opportunities to beat the Vikings. The Vikings' first outing did not impress me. I'm not worried about division games.

Wow, OK. I did think Garoppolo botched some opportunities, but good defenses make it harder to execute those clutch plays because it's your only shot. There are plays to be made against every defense. What separates them is how many chances they allow. The Vikings make you capitalize on fewer chances in order to beat them.

Cindy from Oshkosh, WI

What an amazing comeback and I'm so glad I didn't go to bed like I wanted to. Chicago fans should have hope. Those Bears are for real. Unfortunately for them, they had to play Aaron Rodgers, who is unreal. I hope that he is not put in that position again. What do the Packers have to do this week, so they don't have a repeat against that Vikings defense?

Don't fall behind by multiple scores. Minnesota's defense is tough, and it's even tougher when the opponent is playing catch-up, I think, the Drew Brees comeback last January notwithstanding. They can really pick their spots to be aggressive with the linebackers and safeties when they have the lead.

Tom from Pleasant Hill, CA

The Packers almost faced a football disaster Sunday night but managed to avoid it. Let's turn our thoughts to those facing the possibility of dealing with a natural disaster such as Hurricane Florence which is heading towards the famed Edisto Beach, SC. We hope our friend Vic and the good people of SC similarly are spared the effects of this storm.

Prayers to all, including Vic of course. Please stay safe.

Bill from Menominee, MI

I caught myself several times thinking, "Who is 44? He's flying around and hitting hard." Statistically it may go unnoticed, but Antonio Morrison seemed to have played a nice game after a short training camp in GB. I'm excited to see him fit into this defense.

He could have a bigger role this week against Cook. We'll see.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

Is the Fuller dropped interception the equivalent of the facemask penalty against the Lions in 2015? Neither comeback happens without those defensive mishaps.

Valid comparison. Giving any elite QB new life is never a good idea.

Doug from Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

I really like the WYMM segments on the site, but shouldn't we be a little more reticent when choosing what information you want to provide? It seems to me any team creeping on could get some free information on some of our defensive looks and combinations. I realize everything is on film to be studied and coaches/staff will figure it out eventually, but why make it easier for them?

If opponents are coming to to figure out how to beat Green Bay, I think the Packers will be just fine.

Bob from Sydney, Australia

On to the Vikings! There's been a lot of talk about Rodgers' injury forcing him to stay on time and in the pocket, and that being a good thing. It's been addressed before, and we know you're both in favor of a fully mobile Rodgers, but is there some theoretical point that he should look to modify his game to more of an "old man's" style?

Everyone wants two ugly quarters and two spectacular ones to define how Rodgers and the offense should function all season. How about we just let Rodgers, who's a pretty smart guy, figure out the best way, given his physical capabilities at a given moment, to win a game? I think I'll do that.

The Green Bay Packers completed a fourth-quarter comeback in Week 1 over the Chicago Bears.

Ralph from Johnsonville, WI

Insiders, it was exciting to watch our secondary take a step forward Sunday night but my question is, how will they do against a quarterback that doesn't start running when his first read is covered? I believe they can be special but they are still on a learning curve. Let's hope they are there in November and December.

Everything is a work in progress in this league, all the time.

Jake from Weston, WI

Why did the end zones have white lines in them instead of "GREEN BAY" and "PACKERS"?

It's a nod to history for the 100th season. The end zones had the same lines in them in 2007 for Lambeau Field's 50th.

Daniel from Copenhagen, Denmark

This coaching staff has shown several times with Rodgers but even with the Flynn-led comeback in Dallas that they know what it takes from a coaching point to mount a huge comeback. My question is what exactly goes into a comeback from a coaching point? What do you emphasize, say to the players, change in play-calling etc.?

You emphasize the belief that if everyone does his job, the right results will follow. Other than that, you make decisions, calls, etc., with an eye on how much time remains to pull it off. Anything outside of those mindsets, to me, just becomes a distraction.

Gene from Midland, GA

Spoff, with plenty already contemplated and written about the story-esque comeback, one sub-story I keep coming back to is how much Aaron Jones' darting running style was missed on offense. I believe the Bears have a stout defense, and I take nothing away from Williams and Montgomery because their contributions aided in the win. But would you agree Jones introduces something truly unique to our offensive side of the ball? It may be only two games, but his absence is noticeable.

I agree. His return will bring another dimension, and by extension another element for which opponents must prepare.

Jake from Athens, GA

I saw King blow up a screen pass (which he seems to do once or twice every time he plays), but other than that not much out of him. Where was he Sunday night?

Apparently covering receivers the Bears weren't interested in throwing to. If there's "not much out of him" every week, that's fine by me.

Mohammed from Teaneck, NJ

Is the job of the offensive line made more difficult by Rodgers having the propensity to move around more in the pocket (to account for a moving pocket)? I'm just wondering if the injury to Rodgers made the job easier for the line because they knew where he would be during the play, and I noticed that the pocket was a lot cleaner in the second half as opposed to the first.

All are searching for an explanation for the offensive line's performance in the second half versus the first. Most of the time it's the simple answer right in front of you – the group just played better. As for the mobility issue, it cuts both ways. Sometimes a blocker's man gets a sack because he sees where the QB is going. Other times he beats his man and the QB gets away. All the linemen can do is block their men for as long as possible. The rest can't be their concern.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

My favorite McCarthy quote, when discussing the rash of injuries to hit the team a couple years ago: "Self-pity is a wasted emotion." Makes me verklempt, as I think about my first-world problems. I have so much to be thankful for...

I'm now thankful verklempt has made an appearance in the Inbox.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, who gets your vote for unsung hero for Game 1? I'm going with Jamaal Williams, who absolutely stoned a blitzing Trevathan. Tremendous work by the back there. Imagine Rodgers getting leveled instead of completing the pass to Adams.

This week he'll need to figure out where Harrison Smith will be coming from. It seems like he gets a free-run sack against the Packers at some point every meeting.

Roger from Rice Lake, WI

Due to the outcome of last year's game with Minnesota, and the subsequent loss of AR's and the Packers' 2017 season, do you see the officiating crew being a bit more diligent this year regarding hits on Rodgers? Let's face it, nothing would make the Vikings happier than seeing No. 12 carted off of the field again!

Judging by the three roughing-the-passer penalties against the Packers, the officials are on alert. The Matthews one was an obvious flag, but the calls on Perry and Wilkerson were dubious at best. All pass rushers should take the warning seriously.

John from Sioux Falls, SD

Hello Insiders, I understand Wes's discomfort with the halftime booing, but let's face it, they earned it. This isn't high school and everyone in that stadium paid a lot of money to see pro football from, by all estimations, a very good team. They didn't get that in the first half, and they let the team know it. If that's negative or hurts somebody's feelings, we probably need tougher players or coaches – but it's clear that's not the case.

The paying customer is entitled to watch the game as he or she pleases. I think the reaction defines your personal priority as a fan. Is it more important to you to support the team in the heat of the moment, or give your opinion on the performance? Different strokes for different folks.

Tanner from Tulsa, OK

Remember the announcers at the Detroit game saying "Does he have another vintage moment in him?" I think anyone doubting now knows he has many, many vintage moments left in him.

I don't think it's a matter of doubting, but wondering in the moment whether this is about to be one.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

To me the unheralded defensive play of the game was Reggie Gilbert blanketing Tarik Cohen on the final third-and-1. What's yours?

Seven snaps earlier, Alexander's shoestring tackle of Cohen when he cut that run back to his left on third down near midfield. As soon as he changed direction, I said to Wes, "Look out." Williams was the only defender directly in Cohen's path, and a Bears receiver was there to run interference. Without Alexander barely tripping him up, Cohen might have gone the distance.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

Insiders, I've noticed whenever you post a debate you two have (like the fourth-and-1 decision) I tend to agree with Wes while my dad agrees with Mike. I wonder if all that Madden corrupted us youths into thinking we can just hit the reset button if things don't go our way...

Officially it was third-and-2/fourth-and-2, and I felt the Bears made their decision to kick on fourth down when they tried to throw on third down. It was move the chains now to end the game, or take the three points. If I'm even considering going for it, I'm running the ball on third down to see how close I can get before making a final decision.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

I was pessimistic earlier, but I remember a strange knee injury of my own. I was squatting while rotating the tires and when I stood up my left knee must have been misaligned from the awkward position. It twisted, cracked, and I felt what I thought was a snap. It was awful; I couldn't even get up for at least 10 minutes and it wasn't right for days. Yet, I was alright. Different situation, but I think Rodgers will be fine.

Did the car make it to the Holiday Inn Express, too?

Tom from Douglassville, PA

I'm still puzzled near the end of the first half when the Bears had an injury. They had no timeouts left, so how come they didn't receive some kind of yardage penalty?

The officials can grant a "fourth timeout" in that situation for a legitimate injury. If a team is in need of a "fifth timeout," a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty is assessed.

Terry from Pearl, MS

Has anyone addressed the clock management by GB at the end of the first half? Why pass on third-and-19 deep in your own territory with only 50 seconds left and the Bears out of timeouts? The score should have been only 10-0 at half.

McCarthy explained **his thought process and his regrets** on Monday.

Sara from St. Paul, MN

Please describe "grading" the players. Who grades them? Is there a checklist for each position? Do players self-assess? Are grades posted for all the players to see or is it a more individual process?

The position coaches grade every play on film of the players under their charge. Elements such as assignment, technique and result are part of the grading system. I don't know how much grades are shared team-wide, or if it's just within position groups.

Wilfred from Superior, CO

Is it fair to say the secondary is fixed? Though based on only one game, I'd say some kudos are in order.

Anyone taking a bow in this league after one game – be it player, coach, scout, GM – greatly reduces his chances of ever taking another.

Jim from Rock Port, MO

Where was Davon House Sunday night? Never saw him or heard his name called.

He's the No. 5 cornerback right now, so he's playing mostly special teams with the top four corners healthy. It's nice knowing a veteran is there if/when adjustments are needed.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

"This is a different way of playing defense." Could you say more about that? I was surprised to hear praise for the D. To me I saw missed tackles, what looked like bad matchups, and Clay running all over the field like crazy but never getting home. I sincerely would appreciate an education on why we were improved. With the exception of a handful of plays, it looked like we were struggling until the last series.

Five possessions with no first downs allowed and no touchdowns surrendered over the final 3½ quarters can win a lot of games. I saw a defense that took some unexpected (at least to me) approaches personnel-wise but seemed geared toward preventing the big, gashing play. Only two pass receptions longer than 15 yards and one run longer than 11 in 66 snaps. The Bears had 17 third downs. That's a lot of chances to get off the field. You're not going to win every battle, make every tackle, or have the perfect matchup every time, but there was a lot to like for the first performance of a new defense.

Daniel from Tomah, WI

In Monday's article you mentioned, in your view, the biggest area of improvement you would like to see is pressure with the four-man rush saying, "It didn't look effective for most of the game, and it needs to be." Then you said to "remember what (you) said last week about big defensive plays, it's not how many but when" referencing Mack had zero impact in the second half, and the Fuller drop. The four-man rush (Perry) made the key strip on fourth down to end the game. Isn't this not how many but when?

Affecting the quarterback consistently and making big plays are different aspects, though not mutually exclusive. The timing of the big plays (sacks, turnovers) matters most. That said, after I went over the film, I saw Trubisky more affected throughout the game than I realized at the time.

George from New York, NY

The fans were angry at halftime my friends. Like old men trying to send back warm beer at the concession stand. The fans got back in their seats when suddenly No. 12 walked out of the tunnel and appeared before them. He was 10 stories high if he was a foot! And as if sensing the Bears' presence, he let out a great bellow. Well, you get the idea.

Easy, big fella. Happy Wednesday.