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Inbox: This stretch has shown just how deep the secondary cupboard runs

The Packers needed everyone, which made the win that much more meaningful

S Jonathan Owens
S Jonathan Owens

Dave from North Potomac, MD

I couldn't be more surprised if I'd woke up with my head stapled to the carpet. Fun to watch the D knock Jared Goff off. Happy times for Hod and Spoff.

If the fans are happy, Hod is happy.

Bob from Rome, NY

Wes, happy turkey sandwich day! I hope both of you were able to spend some time Thanksgiving night with your family. Just a quick note on the first TD pass to Jayden Reed. Just enough room for the ball to get in. At first glance, I thought it might get picked. Might be a signature moment pass for Jordan Love. Your eloquent thoughts? TY

It was a highlight-reel play. I knew it was a good throw from the press box, but the Ford Field press box TVs were so far behind I didn't see a replay until halftime. That's when I saw just how insane the throw was, especially with Love lowering the arm angle. I'm gobsmacked he fit the ball in there amidst so much traffic.

Stephen from Madison, WI

Two things: 1) This game was meant to show us how much the team has grown since they first played the Lions. What's your assessment? 2) My friend and yours, Vic, would always say don't think about playoffs until after Thanksgiving. So here we are. As we are soon to meet our December Friend, are we glad?

The Packers weren't necessarily looking to make a statement in Detroit, but they left with a statement victory. We have a long way to go and six games to get there. Green Bay showed a lot of maturity and growth in that win, though. If there was ever a regular-season contest to give the entire team a game ball, that was it. The Packers needed everyone, which made the win that much more meaningful.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

The win over the Lions is a good measuring stick of the progress the Packers have made this season. I saw the following today and think it is a good measuring stick on the progress Jordan Love has made. Through his first 11 games this season, Love is 5-6 and has 2,599 passing yards with 19 TDs and 10 INTs. By comparison to Aaron Rodgers' first 11 games in 2008, he was 5-6 with 2,599 passing yds 17 TDs and 9 INTs. Strikingly similar numbers. Hopefully this is a sigh of a bright future for Jordan Love.

Time is a flat circle…or something. But yeah, Love is off to a great start. He's making plays and learning from his mistakes. That's all you can ask from a first-year starter.

Donna from Orfordville, WI

I agree that it's "just wrong" Jordan Love didn't get a turkey leg but did the other Packer players? If not, why not? San Francisco and Dallas got turkey after winning. I thought that was a tradition.

That was the most disappointing part of Thursday's game, but I cannot comment on the lack of turkey. At least, there wasn't any bologna, either.

Richie from Oceanside, CA

A question and a comment: Do you think that J-Love's progress is really getting back into a winning mentality and rhythm that he had when drafted? Three years of soaking up knowledge and waiting for the opportunity to get your chance will take some time. My comment is: Hats off to BG. He has had two terrific draft classes and can hit the trifecta with the upcoming one with a first, two seconds and two thirds. He knows how to build a team! The youngest team gets another five of the best 100.

Regardless of outcome, I just felt like Love needed to play and get reps – win or lose. To your point on Gutekunst, the Packers appear to have hit on the last two drafts in a big way. There's no crystal ball to say where the next few years will take these young guys, but the immediate returns are promising. That was the thought running through my head while watching Malik Heath on Thursday. The undrafted rookie caught four passes for 46 yards and had a couple nice blocks on 11 snaps. That's big time.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Thursday was a great win with our second-string defensive backfield. Do you think that anyone in this group will permanently replace the "starters"? Besides Corey Ballentine and Carrington Valentine at the corners has a nice ring to it.

That's not where my mind goes after a game like that. The last time we talked about the Packers having champagne problems at cornerback, everything changed. To me, the takeaway from Detroit was how impressive this secondary has been despite having just one Week 1 starter (Keisean Nixon) the past few weeks. And what else can you say about Jonathan Owens? I remember him telling us last summer how tackling wasn't always his forte. You could've fooled me. Owens is a tackling machine. This stretch has shown just how deep the secondary cupboard runs.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. It seemed like the TV announcers barely mentioned Carrington Valentine's name during the Detroit game. It seemed like he got washed out on some run plays to his side. On the other hand, he must have been effective in pass coverage, so his guy didn't make many catches. How did you see it? Thanks.

I don't know what the stats say and frankly I don't care. When a team gets off to a fast start like the Packers did Thursday, the defense's goal for the remainder of the game is keeping the opposition out of the end zone and the Packers largely did that. Detroit threw for 332 yards but struggled to turn the production into points. Valentine, Ballentine and Keisean Nixon did a great job of limiting explosives, tackling to the ball and making the Lions earn their yards the hard way.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

What are you seeing from these Packers over the last four weeks that is becoming a consistent part of their identity? Do they have the potential to become a good running team? To date, I have not seen that show up. If the Packers can shore that up, closing games will be much less exciting. While the execution covering the onside kick was solid, better to avoid that scenario altogether.

The Packers have work to do in the run game, but the strides they've made in the passing game cannot be overstated – and the contributions are coming from everywhere. Those little victories have the potential to make this offense very dangerous by year's end.

Nicole from Easthampton, MA

I feel like the team has finally found the right balance between playing loose, playing focused, and playing aggressive. It's fun to watch.

That's the power of progress. This win gives Green Bay a lot to build off. It not only beat an 8-2 team but also did so in rather dominant fashion. The Packers didn't have to mount a comeback. They played well and won the game.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

What a great Thanksgiving Day win! Our family celebration is postponed a few days until my son emerges from Covid isolation (he's doing fine). So, this win really made the day a lot brighter. The O-line did a great job. Was there much rotation throughout the game or did we stick with the same guys most of the time? Thanks for all you do.

The Packers kept the rotation going at left tackle between Rasheed Walker and Yosh Nijman, while Sean Rhyan tapped in at right guard for two series. The result? Green Bay didn't allow a sack.

Andy from Verona, WI

Was Zach Tom mainly one-to-one vs. Aiden Hutchinson, did Tom have help based on scheme, or did both tackles have to deal with Hutchinson throughout the game? Either way, this had to be a big boost of confidence for the tackles.

Zach Tom has been lights out all season and was one of the MVPs Thursday. If you need convincing, just watch what Hutchinson did against Chicago to seal that comeback win for the Lions earlier this week. Tom gave him nothing all afternoon. The Packers chipped here and there, but Tom went tit-for-tat with the former first-round pick and won.

Jon from Soldiers Grove, WI

Is it safe to say that in the postgame interview with Love when he praised the O-line for how well they protected him, that's an excellent example of complimentary football?

Yes, both complementary and complimentary.

Andy from Verona, WI

It seemed we were able to rush four and get pressure a lot of the game. It also seemed like a high dose of T-E stunts. Was that volume of stunts a new wrinkle for Detroit or something they kept going back to because of the success it seemed to have?

The Packers have run stunts all season but might have had their best success with them in Detroit. Rashan Gary had a memorable day, but that entire rush unit gave a formidable Lions O-line fits. Kingsley Enagbare and Lukas Van Ness had two hits apiece and Preston Smith nearly had a strip sack of his own on fourth down.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Patrick Taylor may not have jumped off the stat sheet, but his blitz pickups jumped out at me. PT got his second life with the team and crushed it from my spot on the couch. Bringing back a guy who knows the system has to help keep the playbook open to all possibilities. Is it safe to say that he will see some time while guys heal?

That's what P.T. does. He's a steady veteran you can trust to do his job, which is exactly what the Packers needed in an emergency situation on a short week. Taylor did well spelling AJ Dillon, particularly on third downs.

Bob from Plymouth, WI

I do not recall seeing any injuries during the Detroit game. Was anyone hurt?

Devonte Wyatt was evaluated for a concussion but returned to the game.

Bill from Coeur d'Alene, ID

I don't need to see the rest of this weekend's games. I nominate Jordan Love for Player of the Week, Matt LaFleur for Coach of the Week and Joe Barry for Defensive Coordinator of the Week, regardless of whether those categories exist or not. What a huge win!

Even before any games are played this weekend, I feel confident saying Love will be nominated a second consecutive time for the FedEx Air Player of the Week honor.

Joel from Chalfont, PA

How do the timing rules work for a free kick? If the clock doesn't start until the ball is kicked, wasn't there the risk of leaving time on the clock for the Lions to try a Hail Mary if the kick is missed?

There were five seconds on the clock, so that could have been part of the arithmetic. I honestly can't give you a blow by blow on the implications of a missed field goal off a free kick. I can appreciate why you're asking. It's such an obscure rule, but the free kick also is a very low-percentage play. I didn't lose any sleep over how the half ended.

Andy from Verona, WI

After the game, Dan Campbell said he didn't have his guys ready to play. I know a lot of Packer fans don't like it when Coach LaFleur says that same thing after a loss. Can we agree that both coaches are of high class and will always stand up for their players to help deflect criticism from them?

If you want your team to stay poised, the head coach needs to set the example. Campbell did that, and two games from now, we could be talking about the Lions getting to 10 wins and again being Super Bowl favorites.

Aaron from Tucson, AZ

The sequence when Detroit had a TD nullified on third-and-6 run but the next play was third-and-1 confused me. I rewatched it and understand it was a "spot-of-the-foul" penalty. That doesn't seem consistent with other holding penalties that I'm accustomed to seeing. Can you elaborate how that penalty differed from others? Have I been misunderstanding how that foul gets penalized all these years?

A running back is credited for the yards he gains before the holding penalty occurs, if the foul is downfield. The officials ruled the foul occurred at the Green Bay 2-yard line and the ball was marked back 10 yards from that spot to the 12. The line to gain remained the 11-yard line, making it third-and-1.

Pat from Hudson, WI

Trying a fake punt deep in your own territory while only trailing by nine early in the second half has to be the dumbest call I've ever seen! What in the world could the Lions' coaching staff have been thinking?

Campbell took ownership for the call after the game. I agree it was a bit too aggressive in that instance, especially with how your offense just cut the lead to nine with an impressive drive and two-point conversion.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Sunday night at Lambeau … Jordan Love versus Patrick Mahomes. Should be a classic!

And Mahomes' first start at Lambeau Field.

Joel from Chalfont, PA

My Hod! Steve from Luxemburg thought he was submitting a simple "complimentary" question and walked into a WWE style Smackdown from Mike. Nobody is safe in the Inbox!

To be fair, Spoff had not yet eaten his turkey roll.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Most unusual place you saw a player (or didn't recognize him)?

Danny Vitale at UFC 238 in Chicago.

Jim from Maple Grove, MN

Mike hit the bull on his answer to Colin from Victoria, BC. I think he gets a free steak! Do you think "Don't think, Meat. Just play" will get as much traction as "I don't know, Margo"?

Perhaps. Spoff's reply was great, but mine probably would have been "To announce your what?"

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. Since the game was at 12:30 p.m. we postponed our feast until 4:30 p.m. Our turkey and all the trimmings were so much more delicious this year. It was well worth waiting until after the game – it made for an even better celebration. Was yours warm and ready when you got home?

I had to warm it myself, but a plate was made in the refrigerator.

Charles from New Berlin, WI

Greetings II, I realize that gambling is verboten in Bushwood, but what is the over/under for Taylor Swift inquiries to the Insider Inbox in the next nine days?

I, for one, cannot wait to see how Spoff handles that. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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