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Inbox: They did it on their own

He affects the game, it’s as simple as that

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CB Chandon Sullivan

David from Osceola, WI

I've gotta say after so many months of bad news, it's nice to be able to sit down on Sunday and watch a game like that. 2-0 baby.

It's been an enjoyable start on so many levels.

Scott from Kissimmee, FL

Has there ever been a bigger difference in PF/PA in the first two games of a season against division rivals?

I don't know, but the Packers hadn't scored 40-plus to open the season against any two opponents since they manhandled the Menominee North End A.C., 53-0, and the Marinette Northerners, 61-0, when the franchise was born back in 1919.

Statham from Pineview, GA

What is it they say about not paying RBs? Yeah, I'm not hearing it.

A popular sentiment in the Inbox, in the in-game blog yesterday, and everywhere in between. Has a running back ever fit a system better? Wow.

Ben from Groton, CT

I was unable to watch the game but watched "live" highlights on a network. For all of the people that complain about the Packers' defense, they seem to come up with big plays at the right times. Doesn't that make the defense "good"?

It makes it one you can win with. The defense had a rough fourth quarter last week and a rough first quarter this week. The other six quarters it's been a rather solid and at times momentum-changing unit. It's an uneven bunch thus far, which can look unsettling, but it has played a big part in these two victories.

Christian from Ontario, CA

What are your pros and cons of GBP's Week 2 performance?

Staying poised on both sides of the ball after the rough 14-3 start was the most impressive thing, collectively. There was no crowd to bring them back and they did it on their own. The double-up on either side of halftime was as good as it gets – two touchdowns 26 seconds apart to take command of the game. The offensive line is managing injuries fine, and the offense as a whole showed it's not lost without Davante Adams. Defensively, the main thing I don't like is the chunk plays. It's hard to clamp down on anybody in this league, but you don't give yourself much chance for a stop when you allow big plays.

Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA

Is it a coincidence the word "stupid" is hidden within "pundits"?

If pundit is defined as a national figure opining on the state of a team, as opposed to a beat reporter who covers said team on a daily basis and follows all the ins and outs of the operation, then it's not a coincidence at all. I find the former to be generally less informed.

Steve from Cedar Falls, IA

Just read a post that 11K passengers on flights have been exposed to COVID-19. My question is: With many if not all officials having employment outside football and travel to their assigned games, what steps are being taken to protect the players from a potential exposure from this avenue?

The officials are wearing masks at all times. I can't speak to their testing protocols, but game assignments are being made with geography in mind. The league is hoping 70 percent of all league officials will be able to drive to their assignments rather than fly. That's creating mixed crews on a weekly basis, and some officials working at the same stadiums multiple times, two things that are not the norm. But the league is making those sacrifices to the usual procedures to reduce the risk of virus contraction.

Ralph from Monchengladbach, Germany

Hello Insiders, is the number of injuries in Week 2 across the league higher than usual, or does it just seem so, because of the number of big names?

I think it's the big names we're seeing on the injury list more than anything. It's astonishing really. This is a brutal game.

Linda from Morgan Hill, CA

I thought in past seasons, you did four "Packers Unscripted" broadcasts a week with "Final Thoughts" the day before the game. This past week, you did one "Packers Unscripted" and a "Final Thoughts." Is that the 2020-21 schedule?

No. We actually used to do five "Unscripted" episodes per week. This year, we're cutting back to two, but various issues beyond our control prevented us from doing the second episode this past week. We apologize for that, but we hope it's just a blip and we can return to our two-per-week plan from here on out. We're all still adjusting, so thanks for bearing with us.

Mark from Monrovia, CA

Hey Mike and Wes, so I was telling my good friend who's an alum at UCLA about Krys Barnes and how good he played. He told me Barnes looked good his junior year and last year he played with pneumonia, so people thought he was too slow. Looks like a diamond in the rough that flu under the radar.

Please see yourself out.

Gail from Clarksville, TN

I miss getting to see the players and coaches in the locker room after the game. There have been many amazing spontaneous interactions that we don't get to see when the players are more composed. Do they still get together and just not allow the press or is this another loss to COVID?

I personally haven't set foot in the locker room since the day after the NFC title game loss last January, and there are no cameras allowed to capture postgame speeches this year.

Corey from Henderson, NV

Best quote of the day, from Jelani Scott and posted on NFL.com: If Aaron Rodgers is the straw that stirs the drink in Green Bay, Aaron Jones is the ice that keeps it cool.

That's pretty good. I like it.

Josh from Salt Springs, New Brunswick

I have to ask. Why is it that you guys believe Calvin Johnson is a first-ballot HOFer...based on what exactly? I mean Hines Ward was a Super Bowl MVP and he wasn't first-ballot. Terrell Owens, Randy Moss weren't, Tory Holt isn't even in yet. What is it about Calvin Johnson that makes him HOF? He played in two playoff games, both losses I believe. Don't get me wrong Megatron is elite, but historically the HOF hasn't been nice to WRs.

There's definitely a logjam at the position, and I wouldn't be shocked if he doesn't get in right away. But with all due respect to Ward and Holt, defenses didn't design their entire game plans around them like they did with Johnson. I think the only reason Owens and Moss had to wait a bit was the extensive off-field baggage both carried. There's absolutely none of that with Johnson. His career was only nine years, which is short for a HOF receiver, but he was a dominant guy of his era with three straight first-team All-Pros and six Pro Bowls. He holds the all-time record for receiving yards in a single season (1,964 in 2012) and is the only receiver in league history with another year in the top 12 on that list (1,681 in '11). He had five seasons with 1,200-plus receiving yards, four with 12-plus TDs in that relatively short career. Yes, he played in only two playoff games, but he had 12 catches for 211 yards in his first one. Perhaps I'm biased because I saw him play in-person so many times. But in my mind the guy was a man among boys on the field more often than not, and other guys about whom I've felt that way when seeing them live were Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald.

Seth from Chewelah, WA

The recent talk of Charles Woodson's HOF eligibility has me wondering: What were the circumstances of his departure from the Raiders, which allowed him to join the Packers? Were the Raiders wrong in their assessment of him? Did the Packers just get lucky? I remember being in awe of him, especially during the 2010 Super Bowl run, but I was too young to notice the circumstances of his move to Green Bay.

Long story short, when he became a free agent in 2006, Woodson's injury history and somewhat mercurial personality led to a soft market for him. He had no interest in coming to Green Bay, but the Packers were the only team to make him a serious offer, so he took it, and it turned out to be a great move for both player and team.

Josh from Huntertown, IN

I suppose the Insider Inbox will be happy the fans didn't do the wave.

I miss the fans, but I will never miss the wave.

Stephen from Green Bay, WI

Did my eyes lie to me? I swear that around 9:51-47 to play in the fourth, the broadcast showed a stat that said Packers passing 256, rushing 255 and during that someone got a 1- or 2-yard gain. Balanced to a tee. Shout out to A. Jones for an outstanding game. I haven't checked stats yet, however he might have been passing receptions leader. Interesting Year 2 so far.

It ended up 259 rushing, 229 net passing for 488 total. Most rushing yards in a game since 2003, the day Ahman Green busted off that 98-yarder. Jones did have the most receptions and receiving yards (4-68), and his 236 from scrimmage was the most in a game since Billy Howton in 1956. Lots of crooked numbers, to steal a baseball term, where crooked is a good thing.

Tim from Orono, MN

This is to help Mike Spofford understand why to go for two when down 12. At some point, assuming the goal is to tie the game using a TD and a field goal, you are going to need a successful two-point conversion. You want the knowledge of that success/failure right away, when it allows you to know if you need one FG and one TD or two TDs and adjust future decisions accordingly. If you wait for the next TD to go for two, you have less time to adjust strategy if you fail.

I understand that, but I'd still rather be down 11 so on my next possession, if I'm facing fourth-and-10 from the opposing 30-yard line, I'm kicking the 48-yard field goal to get within eight. If I go for two on my previous score and miss so I'm down 12, the game is suddenly riding on that fourth-and-10 in scoring range, do or die. Yesterday, I saw McCarthy and the Cowboys went for two (and failed) down nine with five minutes left, which follows your line of thinking. It didn't look so smart when their next TD was under two minutes and they couldn't tie the game, but it all worked out with the successful onside kick. What a way for McCarthy to get his first win in Dallas.

Ky from Santa Cruz, CA

Strategy question: Under four minutes remaining, and already up by one point, the offense scores a touchdown. Do you kick the extra point and keep it a one-score game (but force the opponent to go for two), or do you go for two and make it a nine-point game?

I kick it and assure my defense two chances to keep the lead – stop the TD or stop the two-point try.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

The cadence is the Matrix. That might be the coolest sentence ever stated in a press conference. I was thinking, though, how Aaron learned it from Favre yet I don't recall Favre being famous for drawing defenses off sides. Am I misremembering? Or has Aaron just taken it to a new level?

The latter, and I loved that line from Hackett, too.

Mike from Toronto, Ontario

Rashan Gary had 1.5 late-game sacks, which is great to see him get on the stat sheet. Obviously it's early in this season and his young career, but what do you see as Gary's contribution to this defense? He had a great bull rush in the second quarter that forced Stafford to throw early and incomplete.

He affects the game, it's really that simple. His pass rush has contributed to both of the interceptions in the first two games. He's active and disruptive. I want to get a closer look at the film this morning, but you have to like what you see so far.

Ray from Rochester, MN

No question just a comment. I see the lower case "r" in your replies now measures up to the size of all its neighbors. Those little "r's" were really annoying.

Hallelujah. As Tony the Tiger would say, that's grrrrrrrrrrrreat!

Lambeau Field hosted a Week 2 game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.

Michael from Portland, OR

So who is Joe F. Carr whom the MVP trophy was named after?

He was NFL president (what we call the commissioner now) from 1921 until his death in 1939.

Austin from Denver, CO

It seems like the defense has really locked in when the opponent is pinned deep. What causes that? Is it just because offenses tend to more simplistic in those situations? Makes JK Scott even more valuable.

This defense seems to smell blood, so to speak. It's forcing offenses to execute perfectly when it's backed up and taking advantage when it doesn't. Cashing in with the field position in their favor was a big factor for the Packers in these two wins.

Joseph from Salt Lake City, UT

I know Aaron was probably just tired of drops, but I would've thought he would've knocked the pass to himself down instead of taking the loss of yards. Am I right that I explained to my friends that he could not have thrown again since there was already one forward pass?

Correct. I think he caught it thinking he might be able to sneak to the outside and run for the sticks, but by catching it he kept the clock running and forced the Lions to take a timeout.

Dave from Tucson, AZ

Once again, the most meaningful statistic: Boyle negative rushing yards.

That'll work.

Andy from Avondale, AZ

For a banged-up O-line that has had to shuffle players around, I've been very impressed with the job they've done so far. Between protecting Rodgers and creating good openings for the running backs, you really couldn't ask for much more. Here's to a healthy week for all the big fellas in the trenches on both sides of the ball. You can't emphasize enough how important the big guys are.

Amen to that.

William from Traverse City, MI

A little early, but could this be the start of another fluke year?

Nicely done. Happy Monday.

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