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Inbox: They got everyone’s attention

Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen

Corey from Bethlehem, PA

It's a good feeling to win on a Thursday and have a week and a half to soak it in. It's more enjoyable watching the other games knowing we already have a notch in the win column.

Teams normally get 24 hours to celebrate a win in this league. The Packers got a whole weekend. But all the enjoyment is over now. It’s all about the Vikings. They certainly got everyone’s attention Sunday.

John from New York, NY

That Viking front four on their defense is going to make it hard to get a running game going this Sunday. As far as running the ball goes, I think this upcoming game will pose the same challenge that the Bears’ defense gave us Week 1. How do you see us getting over that hurdle this week?

You keep working on the fundamentals – timing, spacing, technique. There’s no magic bean for the running game. It’s going to take work. LaFleur continues to stress it’s not about the other guys, it’s about his guys. He’s demanding internal focus.

Seth from Superior, WI

Wow, 100th season opening weekend games (including Thursday) had everything that the NFL has ever seen in the 100 years. Defensive battles, blowouts, comebacks, overtime games, one of which ended in a dreaded tie. Hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. Now to our game against the Vikings. Key to the game? I say contain Dalvin Cook, and pressure Cousins. You? Thanks and I'll be at the game, hope to see you there.

Aside from the tie, which is still pretty rare, I thought the conglomeration of everything was pretty typical for a Week 1 in the NFL. It’s the most unpredictable week in an unpredictable league. Regarding the Vikings, Cook is definitely a key. He’s a special player. He’s better than any running back the Bears have. Diggs and Thielen are better than any receivers the Bears have. Burton didn’t play Thursday and the Vikings have Rudolph. Cousins is more accomplished than Trubisky. This week will be a test for Pettine and Co. on a much higher level.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Biggest shocker game of the weekend?

The dud of an opener for the Browns.

Bones from Ripon, WI

So, I didn’t notice. Who were the captains for the game and has LaFleur decided to go with different guys each week or no?

I didn’t see any C’s on jerseys, so even though there’s been no formal announcement, I’m going to assume it’s weekly captains for now. In Chicago, it was Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams on offense, Za’Darius Smith and Adrian Amos on defense, and Mason Crosby on special teams.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

I did not realize that Aaron Rodgers wore No. 8 in college at Cal. Is there a reason he decided not to take the same number with Green Bay?

The franchise’s all-time leading scorer at the time was wearing it.

Ron from Cherry Valley, IL

Great road game performance by the defense. Has anyone mentioned the Pack didn’t win on the road last year until their second-to-last game?

I believe I mentioned in Friday’s column how the burden of winning on the road last year grew and grew with each unsuccessful trip. Already getting over that hump this year could pay significant dividends.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Hey Mike, what were your thoughts about ML throwing it on second down after the Amos pick? The Bears had all three timeouts going into that drive. In that situation are you playing to win by getting a first down or do you run the ball three times and make the Bears use all of their timeouts? If it were up to me I would have run it three times, especially considering the way JK Scott was punting and how well the defense was playing.

I didn’t have a problem with calling a safe, simple pass to the outside when the Bears were clearly loaded up to stop the run in the middle of the field. I’d never want to just concede the possession to get them to burn timeouts and punt it back to them, especially when they had just put together their best drive of the game, reaching the red zone. That type of simple pass is expected to be an extension of the run game, but it just has to be executed better.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

The Jaguars had their season hopes pinned on Nick Foles and it probably ended with a broken collarbone. Given the money and importance tied to a quarterback, do you see the NFL changing the rules yet again related to QB tackling?

How many more protective restrictions can be added without just saying there’s no tackling of QBs at all? I don’t think the league is interested in going that far.

Frank from Baton Rouge, LA

An observation I'd like your view on. I'm optimistic after one game for one reason. Not talent, not new schemes, etc. After the game, I saw something special as to team chemistry, the way they acted after the game and the obvious effort during the game. The coach and the new players have changed the culture and chemistry which I think can make this team special. Do you see it or am I just seeing what isn't there?

LaFleur definitely sees it and feels it. The celebration in the locker room at Soldier Field would indicate exactly what you’re saying. But it was one game. Adversity is going to hit at some point. Your team chemistry gets challenged when that adversity hits, and it’s all about how you respond. Then we’ll know more.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

Despite the outcome of the league’s Week 1 games, we’re still a couple of weeks away from drawing any conclusions, wouldn’t you agree?

More than a couple of weeks. Way more.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

Morning fellas, so after watching the Vikings, what would be a good plan to contain D. Cook? He has speed, power and good vision.

You can’t miss tackles against a back like that. He gets a lot of yards after contact. He’s going to get some, but limiting him there is a good start.

Tom from Mesa, AZ

I know John Dorsey was in the front office in Green Bay. But every time they show him nowadays, was he the John Dorsey who played outside linebacker for Green Bay? I remember his arm pads.

Yup, same guy.

Louie from Santa Fe, NM

Kevin King’s postgame interview was priceless. His comments on the role of the defense were spot on. May the defense and special teams continue to shine and the offense play as well as we know they will. Another comment on Mr. King, he was the only Packer to be photographed twice entering pregame locker room.

I was surprised King played 42 snaps after missing a month. It would seem they were awfully careful with his hamstring injury during camp, understandably so. Whatever it takes to keep him on the field when it counts. The more he and Alexander are playing together, the better this defense is going to be.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

With September games feeling more like preseason games, should the NFL consider emphasizing inter-conference games early in the schedule that don’t affect division and playoff tiebreakers? With the computerization of the league schedule that is done, I would think it wouldn’t be too difficult of a task to make that arrangement.

I think there’s some merit to that idea. I don’t know about all cross-conference games in September, but maybe holding off on any division games until October would be worthwhile. For the six division games, play two in October, two in November and two in December. Something like that.

Tom from Walker, MI

In what area do you think we will see the most improvement from Week 1 to Week 2?

If I had to vote for something, I’d say third downs on offense. Against the Bears, nothing on third down seemed on schedule or in rhythm, and Rodgers never looked comfortable. The Packers were 2-for-12, and if I recall correctly, both conversions were on broken or extended plays. That’s no way to live on offense.

The Green Bay Packers football outreach program hosted twelve teams from across the state for the second annual Exceptional Abilities Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 7.

Joshua from Mankato, MN

The coaching staff dressed in all white on Thursday. Except Pettine, who wore black. Did he think dressing in white would be bad for his image?

That’s actually funny. Sometimes a coach will wear an outfit that contrasts with the rest so certain players can spot him easily for signals or other communication from the sideline.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

Which of our positions is the most improved?

So far, the ones that got the most new personnel – outside linebacker and safety. The difference from last year to this year was unmistakable, at least for one game.

Garrett from Houston, TX

Just wondering, are we going to get a press conference from Mike Pettine anytime soon? I'd love to hear him talk after that wonderful performance.

All three coordinators are scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday.

James from Chicago, IL

The talk in Chicago, among fans and media, since last Thursday has been all about Matt Nagy calling bad plays. Do fans understand the difference between a bad play and a badly executed play? When did it become trendy for a bunch of people who aren't privy to a coach's game plan to know if the plays that were called were bad?

Since fans started watching football.

Dan from Norfolk, VA

Glad to see the backup QB takes his photobomb duty seriously...

He has learned from the master.

Grant from Minnetrista, MN

Longtime reader, first time asking a question: Did I miss something why Josh Jackson played so little? I read that he only played in 6% of the D snaps. Was he hurt or on a snap count from a training camp injury?

Jackson is the fifth corner on the depth chart right now. Alexander, King, Williams and Brown are clearly the first four to start the season, and they’re going to play most of the snaps for the time being, health permitting. Jackson did miss a fair amount of time in camp with a foot injury, which limited his ability to compete for playing time. But it’s a long season. The depth chart can be as fluid as the roster in general.

James from Chicago, IL

The stat that flashed across the screen during the game that Bob from Zimbabwe questioned was about the last time the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 playing at Soldier Field. Apparently the last time that happened was 1932.

In 1932, the Packers beat the Bears in Chicago by a score of 2-0. As several readers pointed out, Thursday night saw the fewest points scored by the Packers in a victory over the Bears in Chicago since then.

Look inside the Packers locker room after Thursday's opening win over the Chicago Bears.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

How much better could our defense have been with a couple of "ifs" going our way. King’s dropped pick, two other tipped balls in our secondary that didn't find a white jersey, and a couple unwise penalties. It's only the Bears’ offense this past week, but we'll get a chance to validate what we could be projecting against a better offense this coming week.

Careful. Counting the ifs after a victory is just being greedy. The Bears had a ton of ifs in that game and only lost by seven.

Gregory from Waterford, MI

Can’t say enough about the Greene deflection inside the 10. Instincts and skill will take this team to greater things.

That’s one of the ifs I’m talking about. It was a deftly instinctive play by Greene, but also a rather lucky one.

Juan from San Antonio, TX

Insiders, I thought one of the keys in the win was the defense did not let Trubisky make big plays with his feet. What kept him from leaking out of the pocket this game?

The edge rushers got pressure with containment in a lot of situations. It’s easier said than done. You’re never going to bat 1.000 in that regard, but I thought Trubisky having only 11 rushing yards was a significant stat.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

Not a question but an observation. Two of the biggest plays of the night came on effective play-action, something we haven’t seen consistently in a while. Even if the run was stymied Thursday, the commitment and formation forced the defense to honor the run. On the play-action out of the end zone, Rodgers faked as hard as I’ve seen him fake in a long time. It’s a small factor but it made a difference and everyone bit.

Little things matter. The deep ball to MVS was off a double play-action. Rodgers completely turned his back to the defense on the second fake (the end-around), which takes some guts but helps sell it, too.

Donna from Portland, OR

There has been discussion about the last time the Packers beat the Bears scoring 10 or fewer points, which got me to thinking: Didn't Vince Lombardi beat the Bears 9-6 in his coaching debut? Isn't the similarity between his and ML's coaching debuts an interesting storyline that should titillate Packer fans?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Happy Monday.

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