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Inbox: They gotta keep the train moving 

It’s too hard to win in this league to dismiss the achievement

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DL Kenny Clark

Evan from Oesterle Lake, WI

What is the biggest takeaway from the Packers' bye week?

"Oh, so this is what it's like to have a weekend off."

Chris from West Allis, WI

I figured I'd just jump to the end on the parabola/ellipse discussion. According to general relativity (one of the most validated theories ever), if there are no forces acting on an object, it simply follows a straight line through space time (which is curved because … mumble ... mass … mumble). So if we're ignoring air resistance (and gravity doesn't count as a force in general relativity) once an object leaves the thrower's hand it travels in a straight line. Easy right?

What on earth happened during the two days I was gone?

Lee from Leesburg, FL

Do you feel a bye week helps or hurts momentum?

It is whatever the Packers make of it. If used appropriately, the bye can launch an undefeated team into the next quarter of its season. The Packers were pretty banged up coming out of that Atlanta game, so getting a breather was a welcome reprieve. But they gotta pick up where they left off now and keep the train moving. There's still a lot of football left to be played.

Nate from Pueblo, CO

If the regular season gets shut down, could you foresee the NFL doing something similar to what the NHL did for its playoffs? Basically the league all picked the best teams based on what they saw and let them battle it out.

…There's still a lot of football left to be played.

Chun from El Monte, CA

Win or lose this season I just want to sit back and enjoy the greatness of A-Rod. We have been spoiled for the last few decades with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. We never had to face QB issues like a majority of the NFL. Let's enjoy the show and the rest of the season. Also hope Dak recovers and his injury is not career-threatening, that was tough to watch.

My advice to any fan of an NFL team with a franchise quarterback is to enjoy him while you can because those players don't come around often. Everyone is here for championships but don't forget about the memories created along the journey.

Al from Green Bay, WI

We heard all offseason that Green Bay did nothing to narrow the gap between them and the 49ers. We know that SF has been decimated by injuries, but I haven't seen any of the pundits reverse course. What might we learn from this?

Because, as I've been saying all along, you build for the upcoming season – not the previous one. A 16-game regular season is a long venture. Some teams will falter and some will rise. Maybe the 49ers bounce back, but it also makes no sense preparing to beat the version of a team that no longer exists when Seattle, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and so many others have real championship aspirations in 2020-21.

Doug from Ames, IA

I would like to add to your answer on the difference on the 2011 team. The featured running back ended up being John Kuhn. No running attack and Cover-2 defenses stopped the Packers.

Spoff was spot on about the defense, but I agree this team has so much more backfield depth than the 2011 squad.

Paul from West Allis, WI

Reading the piece on Jamaal Williams becoming leaner made me wonder, is there a point to which an individual shouldn't be below a certain amount of body fat?

Three percent for men, though some nutritionists would advise not dropping below five.

Nic from London, UK

If our record last year was dubious, what does that make the Seahawks'? They're inches away from 1-4. Also, in large part due to injury, the early season is showing why spending our offseason chasing last year's 49ers would have been a big mistake.

You are what your record says you are. It's too hard to win in this league to dismiss the achievement. The Packers were 13-3 because they deserved to be 13-3. The Seahawks are 5-0 because they did what was required to win their first five games. Anybody who overanalyzes an NFL win-loss record needs to find a new hobby because the currency they're exchanging holds no value.

Dano from Seal Beach, CA

What do you believe is WR Reggie Begelton's biggest strength he brings to the game? I was extremely happy to see him back on the practice squad after being released. Obviously the coaches see something very positive there. With a long stretch ahead of us without a bye and a history of receivers getting injured, it seems a guy like Begelton absolutely knows how to catch the ball. Also, do you think we will see him on the active roster?

I think so. Begelton has some positional versatility and can make plays after the catch in the middle of the field. He's another young guy who really could have benefited from playing in the preseason.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

As the season progresses, you cannot help but look at the opponents on our schedule and notice the relative weakness of the opposition that we have faced and have coming up. Teams in the offseason or at the beginning of the season that looked formidable have fallen off the pace considerably. Is there a school of thought that says to continue resting starters until we face an opponent with greater challenge?

No. I think the decision to sit Davante Adams and Kenny Clark against Atlanta was more about not wanting to risk aggravating anything before the bye week. If those two are all-systems-go in practice, they'll be in the lineup Sunday. Both were on the field on Monday.

Brandon from Kasson, MN

Do you think the Packers can keep up their game pace and the scoring that they've shown through the first four games throughout the season without much depth at WR?

The Packers are one Adams away from this not being a thing and one Allen Lazard away from receiver being a position of strength. And then there's Equanimeous St. Brown. If E.Q. can provide a jolt here in the second half of the year, then the Packers will be just fine.

Chuck from Horicon, WI

Hi! I really didn't get to watch too much of the Tampa Bay game but the thing that really stood out for the time that I watched was the defense. Tampa's front four really has a push off the line of scrimmage! Our offensive line will have their hands full this week! Hopefully Rodgers can get the ball out of his hand quick! Have a great week.

The Buccaneers' defensive front is formidable, though it did lose Vita Vea, but the Packers' offensive line isn't too bad itself. David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and Corey Linsley are three of the best at their respective positions, and Lucas Patrick and Billy Turner have settled in nicely on the right side. Tampa will be a great test for that group.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

How do you think the Packers will match up against Tampa Bay this week?

Pretty well. I like this matchup for the Packers if they bring their A-game down to Florida.

The Green Bay Packers practiced inside the Don Hutson Center on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

Cindy from Mesa, AZ

Who are the special-teams leaders this year? It doesn't seem like there are as many penalties, or big mistakes as previous years, although we've hardly seen the punt coverage unit at all.

Mason Crosby, Oren Burks, Ty Summers and Will Redmond. Shawn Mennenga's unit has played clean football despite not having a preseason to get full-speed reps.

Scott from Hiawath, IA

Do you think Green Bay will re-sign Devin Funchess next year or replace him?

The Packers don't have to re-sign him. By opting out, Funchess' contract tolled. So he'll play on the contract he signed in March.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, how many "wrinkles" can the overall NFL schedule take with postponed games and the like for it to become a season with a fat asterisk?

Don't ask me. This summer, I was calling for a midseason bye for the entire league to throw makeup games in. But it's a business…and last I checked I didn't major in finance.

Arthur from Altoona, WI

I know why the players wear tape on their leg and arm muscles, but I am curious about the white tape they wear. Is that there to avoid rug burn from the artificial turf? I hope to see Dak play again.

It's to avoid turf burns. You might have noticed Tyler Ervin wearing it in Minnesota and New Orleans.

Thomas from Irving, TX

This question is from a first-time question-asker but a long-term fan and reader of II. I don't fully understand the financial/contract risk of the franchise tag in the Dak Prescott situation. Would you please provide additional information to help me fully understand? Thank you for your work and articles, especially the personal stories like the Mason Crosby family story.

The franchise tag prevents a marquee player from becoming an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year in March. The trade-off is the player is given a one-year deal that's the average of the five highest salaries at his position. Teams often use the tag to give them more time (and leverage) to reach an agreement on an extension. If the two sides don't come to terms, that player has to play on the one-year tag. While it's incredibly rare, tagged players can sign contracts with another team during the free-agent window. The team holding the player's rights then has the option to match the contract or is awarded two first-round picks from the new team.

Betty from Kiel, WI

How has this season dealing with COVID-19 changed your normal duties for the better/worse?

Almost all of it is for worse, but I give our communications staff a lot of credit for organizing the Zoom calls and making the best of a bad situation. One silver lining is I get out of the building faster after games now because I don't have so much transcription to do after locker-room availability. But overall this is not the preferred way to cover a team. It's just so hard to be a storyteller when you don't have face-to-face access with the players. But we've made it work.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

A few weeks ago, my brother was in the GB area for a weekend event. He went to Kewaunee for some lunch, 25-30 people in the restaurant and not a mask in sight (patrons or staff). Sorry Cheeseheads but, "What the (heck) are you thinking?" COVID-19 is not a political issue, it's a health issue! Wes, please tell me this is an isolated incident and people in GB are taking this threat seriously? I'm still somehow hoping to get to a game this year.

I can't do that. For how small our city is – and what the available resources are – the numbers are astonishingly bad. My wife works in a hospital. I have close friends and family members who work in area hospitals. I can't listen to the hell they're enduring, and then sit here in my ivory tower and tell you things aren't that bad. It's bad.

William from South Milwaukee, WI

Congratulations to Kyler Fackrell for his first pick-six. Too bad it wasn't enough to get his team a W. When will be the next time the Packers play his NY Football Giants?

Good for Fackrell. He was total pro in the locker room and a much better player than the fan base gave him credit for. Unless they finish in the same spot in their respective divisions, the Packers aren't scheduled to play the Giants again until 2022.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

I did not see that coming. Did the Vikings just find their defense?

They did in the first half (66 total yards, no points) but the second half was an entirely different story (248 yards, 27 points). It'll be telling how Minnesota bounces back from playing well and coming up empty against a worthy adversary. The Falcons are floundering but Calvin Ridley did go off for 136 yards on Sunday.

Don from Riverton, UT

Speaking of headlines! We often hear of newspaper and magazine writers saying, "I didn't write that, speak to my editor" when challenged about their headlines. Do Wesford and Mikowitz write their own II headlines?

Yes. We typically write our own…unless mine is really bad and then Spoff will write that, too.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Regarding click-bait headlines, my understanding is newspapers have different people create the headline than write the column. Do II writers create their own headlines?

That's not really a thing anymore – at least, at smaller newspapers. That was more common 15-20 years ago when copy editors needed to write headlines to fit whatever space was available in the next day's newspaper. With the proliferation of the web product, most of my friends in newspapers write all of their own headlines these days.

Stephen from Ottawa, Canada

As a kid, Howard Cosell was the voice I heard when watching sports without the commentary. Who was the voice in your head when you were a kid and who should be the voice for today's youths?

Pat Summerall is the first name that comes to mind. I loved his broadcasts with John Madden. If those two were covering a Packers game, it felt like a big deal. Today, I'd go with Mike Tirico.

Peter from Morganfield, KY

Calculus teacher here. I'm on Mike's side: Josh from Houston, TX, is very confused about objects falling in a vacuum. Their height is definitely described by a parabola. More importantly, Mike and Wes, thanks for giving me my Packers fix several times a week and especially during the bye week! I always look forward to II!

And thank you for teaching our children calculus, so hopefully one day I won't have to.

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