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Inbox: This division is going to be a doozy

The backs and tight ends made the more explosive plays for Buffalo


Aaron from Point Pleasant, MD

Spoff, while at the game Sunday my girlfriend fainted and had a seizure, (she is OK now, thank God), and I am hoping the Inbox can help me connect with the Packer fan next to us who leapt over seats and aisles to get an EMT for aid, and even got police from the field to get cups of water from the Packers' bench when she came to. I know his name is Garrett, and he is a high school teacher who lives in New Jersey near Rutgers. I would love to thank him properly for dropping everything to help.

I'll post this first today in case Garrett is out there or anyone else knows him. Glad to hear everything turned out fine.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Looking for silver linings in that debacle, it sure looks like the Pack has another 83 starting to make a name on special teams, doesn't it? Now on to the Bills. What did they excel at against the Vikings?

It was telling McCarthy said Valdes-Scantling would have been given a game ball on special teams had the Packers won (they only award them after victories). His work as a gunner has been impressive early. Buffalo got after the QB. Hughes was a tough customer coming off the edge. From the highlights I saw, I think he won that game. Bakhtiari is a pro's pro, and he'll be asked to win that matchup by himself, because the Packers may have some shuffling to do elsewhere on the line.

Jason from New Hampton, IA

Alright. Stick a fork in Washington...on to Buffalo. What are the key matchups going to be and what injuries for the Packers will have the biggest impact on those matchups?

We'll have to see what shape the Packers' offensive line is in, and we might not know until the end of the week. Otherwise, I think this game is about rushing not to sack Allen, but to contain him, and giving him a lot of different coverage looks he'll have to decipher on the fly.

Sam from Greer, SC

Hey Mike and Wes, I was just as disappointed by the loss on Sunday as everyone else, but I cannot believe the amount of "fire everyone" I have seen in the last few days. Guys, we are not even one-fourth through the season yet and the division is still close. There's plenty of football left to play and this team will get it together. My question is, do you guys think we may see multiple teams from the North in the playoffs this year? I expect it will be a close division this season if nothing else.

Playoffs? You're talking playoffs? OK, had to get that out of my system. Yes, it's pretty clear this division is going to be a doozy. Didn't I tell everyone to buckle up before Week 1?

Reed from York, PA

Loved the Packers Everywhere rally. Thanks for all the work of the staff to put it on and engage the fans! Onto the Bills – what do we need to know about the rookie QB and how they were able to attack the Vikings' D?

Josh Allen is athletic and fearless, but Buffalo only put together two drives of more than 40 net yards in the game. They won it with early turnovers and taking advantage of the field position to build a big lead. Allen completed eight passes to his wide receivers for 65 yards all day, though he was admittedly protecting a sizable lead from the get-go. The backs and tight ends made the more explosive plays.

Tristan from Durham, NC

Wes looks pretty cocky in that new shirt. Perhaps he's due for a stolen lunch to keep him honest?

He was rolling on "Unscripted" to start the week and then he gets his fancy shirts. Man, trust me, I have plans. In all seriousness, the shirts made me smile.

Dennis from Ottawa, IL

Has Rodgers' lack of practice caused problems with connecting with the receiving corps? Maybe causing the connections to be off just a fraction enough to be incomplete.

Rodgers admitted after the Washington game he missed a few throws he normally hits, and lack of practice has to be a factor. It's only natural. But as I said in **my mid-week chat**, even on minimal practice Rodgers still gives the Packers by far their best chance to win every week, so you just keep working through it.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

The Dolphins DL, Hayes, has now ended his season with a torn ACL in order to avoid a roughing-the-passer call. If player safety is really the goal with the rule, I'm hoping you are wrong about the league not addressing the controversy during the season. This is going to get ugly.

I hope I'm wrong as well. We shall see.

Kevin from Bloomfield

Very interesting opinion from the announcers in Monday night's game. They were saying that with the amount of questionable RTP calls being made, defensive players might as well hit the quarterback as hard as they can and try to hurt him. Take your shot while you can, you're going to be flagged either way.

That's a rather childish approach, but I won't discount the possibility. What could have more serious consequences, as many readers are pointing out, is if defenders see no choice but to go after just the ball. Quarterbacks could be exposed to even more hand/arm/shoulder injuries than they already are. Ignoring the law of unintended consequences won't make it go away.

Alex from Columbia, MD

The league needs to be careful what they ask for: a shove from Clay on Alex Smith could easily have caused a concussion. When the torso/midsection is pushed backwards, the head stays relatively still (or even leans in) – until it snaps backwards as the rest of the body falls, and the head will slam into the ground. Every rule will have unintended consequences.

Hey, that's my line.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

We are thru three games. Who is doing worse league-wide, the replacement refs of a few years back, or the current group?

I will maintain my stance this is not on the on-field officials. They were given written rules to enforce without proper consideration for practical application, and no recourse with replay to make sure they're getting it right. McCarthy is spot-on when he continues to say not all the variables were or have been taken into account. That's not on the guys in the striped shirts.

Robert from Fond du Lac, WI

On "Packers Unscripted," Wes said that it was time to get out the red flags for the quarterback to wear. Just so you know, on Sunday I ordered a flag-football belt and flags and had them sent to the NFL offices. It is supposed to be delivered today. If you want a screen shot of the order let me know.

Something tells me you weren't the only one to do that.

Lane from Calgary, Alberta

Hi Insiders, the roughing-the-passer calls have been frustrating (to say the least) and hopefully the NFL fixes the issue sooner than later, but what can't be missed is the impact Clay is having coming off the edge this year. After a few question marks of usage and previous sack production coming into the season, he has looked great getting into the backfield and disrupting throws and making his presence felt. The calls are unfortunate but at least he is in position to make plays. Silver lining?

Matthews has played really solid football the past two games. Provided he stays healthy, I think more impact is coming minus all the controversy.

Nick from Appleton, WI

I know this officiating thing has been beaten to death by now, but I don't think that I can hear one more person explain "how tough the officials have it." These are professionals who get paid to do a job at the highest level. You don't get a pass for writing a bad column just because it's hard. My question is do you know of any recent situations where an official was fired for making multiple poor calls? It seems like we have plenty of collegiate officials waiting to move up.

Like the Big Ten ones in Iowa City last weekend who ruled the Hawkeyes' punt returner down by contact before a fumble, when he actually lost control of the ball while upright and still running?

Noel from Norwalk, CA

Good morning Inbox crew! Devastating loss on Sunday. Time to hit the delete button and move on to Buffalo. With that all being said, I want to say thanks to both of you for the pep rally Saturday night! I hope to see both of you again when you are in LA. What are your perspectives of our run game after Sunday? It looks like with three different types of runners it could be a great change of pace to augment our pass game.

I think the Packers have a significant opportunity to keep defenses off-balance with their options at running back, but I'll go back to what I said **in my postgame editorial** – the key is figuring out the most effective, productive rotation for the next three-plus months without the potential change-ups adversely affecting the rhythm and flow of the offense as a whole. You want to keep defenses adjusting, but not at the expense of becoming disjointed yourself.

Packers QB DeShone Kizer joined Packers Hall of Famer Frank Winters, the Milwaukee Police Department and Packers community outreach staff in installing a new playground as part of the 2018 Hometown Huddle in Milwaukee, Wis.

Tony from Stratford, CT

I don't see how anybody can get into a rhythm if he has to constantly rotate in and out. I think Aaron Jones can be Alvin Kamara.

If he gets that chance, he has to prove it. I think he could be, too, but thus far in his young career, he's missed a lot of time due to injuries, so there's an obvious risk to overusing him.

Mitch from Milwaukee, WI

Is college football better than professional football right now?

The college game saves its controversies for how to choose a champion. It's got that market cornered.

Dan from Tulare, SD

Nearing the end of the first half, Washington went first-and-goal with around 1:40 left in the half. Green Bay opted not to use any of their three timeouts and got the ball back with around 30 seconds left in the half. Any idea why they chose not to get the ball back with more time? Seemed like a chance to create some momentum.

McCarthy explained at that time they were in the process of figuring out the injuries to Bulaga and McCray on the sideline. All the uncertainty up front shifted the priorities in the moment.

Keith from Dubuque, IA

I really think the young defensive backs will look much different in Week 10 than they do now. Alexander and Jackson were high draft choices that will play in green and gold for a long time. What's your take?

I think a lot of things about this defense will look different in Week 10. In addition to the growth of young players, Pettine also will have a better handle on what his unit does best.

Gregory from Bay View, WI

When was the last time the Packers were 1-1-1? Has it ever happened before?

1987. Lost to the Raiders, tied the Broncos, and beat the Vikings with replacement players. Also 1973 and 1923. And just in case, the Packers were 1-1-2 after four games in 1926.

Jeff from Chanhassen, MN

When, if ever, was the last time there were four teams sitting at 1-1-1?

I don't know, but I do know there's never been three.

Don from Superior, WI

It's pretty clear now that our defense can't stop the run and we can't cover any team with a decent tight end. Shouldn't we get Rodgers fixed up for next year? The Packers have a lot of money invested in him to be wasted on a team that can't win. We should definitely get a top-five draft pick without Rodgers playing the rest of this year. Your thoughts?

Yup, sounds like a plan. Just give up after three games. Improvement is impossible. It never happens, certainly not when you're 3-3 in 2010, 1-2 in 2014, or 4-6 in 2016. Concussions, calf muscles, and hamstrings were great reasons to throw in the towel then, too.

Packers TE Lance Kendricks, a Milwaukee native, who recently helped direct a $50,000 donation from the Packers' community action initiative to the Sherman Phoenix project, visited the project construction site on Sept. 25, 2018.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

I can't figure this team out. In nearly every aspect of football, we have played both well and poorly at different times through the first three games. We could as easily be 0-3 as 3-0. Is inconsistency going to be our identity?

It's a week-to-week league. You prepare, show up, play, and start the process over again. Out of 32 teams, three are 3-0, three are 0-3, and 26 are somewhere in between. There's way too much football to be played to worry about an identity right now.

Brian from Foxboro, WI

I will always be a Packer fan, and have been since I can remember. I am 62. But as far as the NFL goes, I'm done. Because of the poor penalty calls/no calls around the league. Are there any other fans that feel this way?

Plenty, and I don't blame you. But I think you'll be back, just like everyone else saying the same thing. I'm not being judgmental or critical. We're here for entertainment. If we step back for a moment, it could be rather entertaining to see the league work its way out of this mess, right?

Daniel from Oro Valley, AZ

Do you ever see the Michael Strahan single-season sack record ever being broken?

Someday. The question is whether it'll have an asterisk next to it, if you know what I mean.

Mark from Huntington, WV

You hit the nail on the head with one of your answers. There are no gimmies in this league. Do you think fans love close, competitive games more than blowouts?

Only if their team wins.

Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada

Woods wins his first PGA event since 2013. The Lions have their first 100-yard rusher since 2013. Peterson is hitting holes likes it's 2013. What other "don't stop believing" moments can you see happening this season?

The NFC North coming down to Week 17. But that was also 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 …

Ben from Green Bay, WI

In regards to all this glass half full/glass half empty talk, doesn't it all boil down to what is actually in the glass?

It's never too early. And oh yeah, Christian Yelich for MVP. Done deal. Make it a good Wednesday, everyone.


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