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Inbox: They're playing as a unit, and winning as a unit

Optimism is a powerful emotion when channeled properly


Gary from Davenport, IA

Did you know the Packers helped set two records the past two weeks? Their game vs. the Lions was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game ever and their game vs. KC was the most-watched Sunday Night Football Week 13 game ever. Even with the NY market on Monday night, I don't expect any viewership records because they'll be competing with another game at the same time.

So, the Packers got that going for them…which is nice. But seriously, I would like a "I was there for the 'Most Watched Week 13 Sunday Night Football Game Ever' and all I got was this T-shirt!" shirt.

Bob from Rome, NY

Wes: Be honest. Tell me I wasn't the only one screaming when Jordan Love threw the long pass to Romeo Doubs on fourth-and-1 "NO, NO, NO, YES!" I had flashbacks to the last few years and earlier this year with little or no success. Thank you!

I was speechless. That pass and catch left me without words. At the same time, it encapsulated everything I love about professional football – watching two premium athletes unite to make a jaw-dropping play few humans could make.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Clipton from Pasadena's DeVito/"Taxi" reference was gold! He shouldn't have been shown the door for that! Regarding expectations for our burgeoning Super Bowl dynasty, I feel like this season is already a success. Coming in, GB had a big giant question mark at the game's most important position. After 12 games, I believe that question is answered. We have a talented QB who can win in the NFL. I'm excited to see what this young team can do with the rest of the season!

This is a tough sport, physically and mentally. Jordan Love and this team is certain to face more adversity this season, but what we've seen over the past month is a young QB learning from experience and applying it to the present. That creates a baseline for consistency and gives me hope for the future.

Scott from Tukwila, WA

Greetings II. The Giants' defense is by no means stellar, and I'm not that knowledgeable on their players. Who does the Pack need to focus on? Are there any players in particular that can prove to be tough competition?

Like Matt LaFleur said, the Packers are 6-6. They are a .500 football team and cannot afford to look past any opponent regardless of wins or losses. Statistically, it doesn't look great for the Giants. Offensively, they're last in total yards (258.7 yards per game) and second-to-last in scoring (13.3 points per game). Defensively, New York is 28th in total yards and 25th in scoring. But this is a team that won back-to-back games heading into the bye, led by a young quarterback with nothing to lose. The Giants still have playmakers on both sides of the ball, too. Saquon Barkley is still Saquon Barkley, and Kayvon Thibodeaux has 11 sacks. The Packers must proceed with both confidence and caution.

Adam from Great Meadows, NJ

The Giants have been sacked more than any other team this season, and it's not particularly close. Rashan Gary grew up 30 minutes away from MetLife Stadium and was a legend at nearby Paramus Catholic High School. His team played at MetLife in the state final back in 2014, a 34-18 loss. Let's hope for a big Rashan Gary homecoming game, and a win this time around.

A true homecoming indeed. Gary has only had one opportunity to play at MetLife as a member of the Packers and it came in a 12-snap appearance during his rookie season. He's a much different player today than he was back then. Hopefully, Gary gets a chance to show it on Sunday.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Might Aaron Jones' fresh legs be exactly what we need for the stretch run?

Knee injuries are not fun, but Jones is no longer listed with a hamstring injury. If the MCL heals up, you'd hope Jones would be cleared for takeoff during a late-season run.

James from Appleton, WI

I was surprised to see how often on second-and-long the Packers ran the ball and made it third-and-short. Do you think the Chiefs were selling out on defending the pass in those situations, or was it just a matter of AJ Dillon steamrolling?

That's the power of positive runs. The Packers did not go backwards very often against Kansas City. That not only kept Green Bay ahead of the chains but also forced the Chiefs to bite hard on play-action.

David from Goldsboro, NC

It's been said that defenses play us differently when "9" is on the field. I get it, big, fast, and can go for a TD from anywhere. If memory serves, Bo Melton got a little quickness in him. Any chance we see him in the next few weeks?

It's possible, but I also think it could mean more opportunities for Dontayvion Wicks and Malik Heath. They might not have Christian Watson's combination of size and speed, but both rookies can play. This isn't the same receiving corps as the one forced to stem the tide without Watson earlier this season.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

First of all, that Lukas Van Ness story brought a smile to my face. I don't think it's hyperbole to say that it probably only happens in Green Bay, Wisconsin. "You rest your legs, Lukas. I've got your driveway." Our fans are the best. Second, I'm giving a midseason game ball to Joe Barry. Everyone in Wisconsin (myself included) has been mad at him for three years. His unit is on a roll, which has helped the offensive surge as well, I believe.

NFL defensive coordinator is a difficult job. I certainly wouldn't want it. You're coaching in an offense-driven league and any decision made can lead to criticism. Barry has the right disposition, though. Upon Barry's hiring in 2021, LaFleur praised him for his positivity and leadership, and I believe that permeates to his defense. In the second half against Kansas City, I had confidence the defense would keep the Chiefs off the board. They're playing as a unit, and winning as a unit.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Coach mentioned maintaining your rush lanes against mobile quarterbacks and the Packers have a few coming up. If the interior DL continues to get push does that make it easier to shut down escape routes?


Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Wes. I realize it's next man up and these guys are all professionals, though how big is it that the backups are doing so well in the secondary? I mean you can't beat game experience and it must build confidence in both the players and coaches when they are called upon again in the future.

You have to give a lot of credit to those players for being up to the challenge and Greg Williams for getting them ready to play. First and foremost, Carrington Valentine is a special talent. He's a seventh-round pick in name only. The guy has supreme confidence in his abilities, which cornerbacks need. Monday night is also a homecoming of sorts for Corey Ballentine, who played for both the Giants and Jets. I can't say enough about the job he's done. Keisean Nixon also looks like a long-term nickel cornerback, too. The Packers' secondary has made replacing five starters look a lot easier than it really is.

Ken from Florida

I loved watching RB Kenyan Drake when he was with the Dolphins, very productive. I think he is a good pickup for us, especially down the stretch. How much do you think he has left in the tank?

I don't know, but it's not a bad idea for the Packers to bring in a veteran who has been there and done that. We saw the importance of depth with the injuries Aaron Jones and Emanuel Wilson suffered against the Los Angeles Chargers. Drake is nearing 30 but played some big snaps in a pinch for Baltimore last season.

Green Bay Packers Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee De'Vondre Campbell and teammate Christian Watson joined a group of children from The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay for a holiday shopping event.

Chuck from Richfield, WI

Our assistant coaches deserve full applause for their work this year as they continue to develop and keep the youngest squad in the league focused on the next game. I haven't heard much about Packers QB coach Tom Clements during our recent upward arc to the season. Is he under contract beyond this season? I'm not clear how commitments work for assistant coaches. Thanks, II team, for keeping us steady this year.

I'm not privy to Clements' contract situation, but here's what I do know: He's one of the finest quarterback tutors you'll find. Clements doesn't want credit. He isn't walking around the Atrium looking for someone to pat him on the back. But it's the truth. Clements' quarterback track record speaks for itself.

Steve from Ellison Bay, WI

I had another senior moment when the Lions lined up for the onside kick. Watching it live is a bit of a blur and a great relief when it is successfully fielded. Watching it a few times on tape I see Coach Bisaccia confirming instructions with players, and Jonathan Owens, Eric Wilson, and Ben Sims each ignoring the ball bouncing toward them and drilling his man. We're going to be alright, aren't we Insiders?

Plays like that come down to everybody just doing their 1/11th. I have total confidence in Bisaccia to teach the game and make sure every player understands his responsibility.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

A 16-year veteran on a "practice squad"?

Welcome to the NFL in 2023, but I ain't complaining. For years, I pled for the NFL to relax its very stringent practice-squad rules. The league did and I think the game is better for it.

Mark from Bristol, UK

Mason Crosby looks like the next Rams kicker. I wish him the very best. But in looking at his impressive stats it struck me how good they are, considering the conditions he sometimes had to kick in. What if he played for a dome team? Impressive.

The Packers have their kicker – and a promising one in Anders Carlson – but I still believe Crosby is one of the 32 best kickers in the world. At the very least, Crosby deserves the opportunity to prove he can perform at a high level, especially in a dome.

Ryan from Louisburg, KS

I am surrounded by Chiefs fans still complaining about the missed PI call at the end of the game. However, they get very quiet and defensive when I point out the Chiefs benefited 15 yards (bogus call on the late Patrick Mahomes hit) and at least 20 seconds of blown time management by the officials on the two plays. Has the NFL issued any statement about these four blown calls that all could have been game changing?

The NFL used to send out a video every week of explanations of calls. I apologize if it's out there and I've missed it, but I haven't seen one in years. Otherwise, the answer to your question is no. There has been no clarification.

Tom from Beaver Dam, WI

Not a question really just a thought. Everyone including Coach LaFleur has mentioned that they were impressed with how Keisean Nixon did not retaliate against Isiah Pacheco. I love how Kingsley Enagbare jumped in to help stop that, as well. It is great to see everyone looking out for each one and having their backs. I feel they are bonding as a team.

Nixon did everything right before, during and after the play. If Pacheco had a problem, then maybe don't get pancaked into the subterrain.

Green Bay Packers players Josiah Deguara, Ellis Merriweather, Rasheed Walker, Emanuel Wilson, and Anthony Johnson Jr. went holiday shopping at Meijer for children from the Pals Program.

Tim from Allouez, WI

Just a shout out to GBP Foundation, Brown County's PALs Program and several young men we're fortunate to have in our community. Josiah Deguara, Anthony Johnson Jr., Arron Mosby, Rasheed Walker, and Emanuel Wilson on their day off participated in "Shop With A Packer" event for kids in county protective services. The players were engaging, encouraging and empathetic generating smiles, laughs, hugs, and high fives. A reminder to appreciate the person, not just the player. Thank you, men!

Thank you for passing that along and it doesn't surprise me in the least. Those are some of the Packers' finest. Tucker Kraft was asked last week about which teammate he'd call an "unsung hero" and he immediately said Josiah. Tucker Kraft added: "Josiah Deguara beats me to the facility every single day. I've said this before, Jo's a leader of men. He leads prayer pregame; he leads Bible study on Mondays. … Jo is a man of faith, he's a leader of men, and I'd follow him anywhere. He's a soft-spoken individual, but when he puts his helmet on, he's a really intense guy. And I respect him immensely."

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

On the chortling meter: Two Sundays ago, I was preaching to my congregation and talked of how we can get comfortable in our faith. As an aside, I said like getting comfortable in my chair watching the Packers beat the Chiefs. One of the members, a Chiefs fan who sits in the front said so everyone heard, "In your dreams." Would saying something about the win be chortling? Something like, "Pinch me and see if I'm awake."

That probably would be more professional than me sticking out my tongue and blowing a raspberry towards the guy.

Scott from Sussex, WI

If I were a head coach, after a loss, I would type up my frustrations in a memo. But I'd print them on transparent paper, to really send a clear message.

Are you sure your name isn't "Mitch from St. Paul, MN"?

Jen from Milwaukee, WI

You missed Tundra guy giving Simone Biles a GOAT hat! How great are our fans? Way better then T-Swift!

That was incredibly wholesome moment – and the gentleman made a hat for Jonathan Owens, too. J.O. deserves it. He's playing some good ball right now.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

"You said that, I didn't. I just posted it." Not only is this "T-Shirt" worthy, but this may also be "nameplate on the back of an 88 jersey" worthy.

And I wouldn't argue with either.

Ed from Windsor, CO

I believed the Packers had a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl in 2011 with the top seed, a bye week, and a home game, then the Giants rolled into town – season over. Then my optimism tanked another year after a certain dislocation. There is so much that goes into winning the last game and we can never know who will be healthy, who will rise, or the mystery of momentum. Our young team shows promise, so shouldn't we be cautiously optimistic we may get a shot at the title in this decade?

I think you answered your own question, Ed. Optimism is a powerful emotion when channeled properly. If you feel optimistic, who am I to say it's in error? I think the Packers have given us all reason to believe this past month. Now, let's turn that belief into action. Make it a great Thursday, folks.

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