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Inbox: This team has one thing on its mind

The Packers must rise to the challenge the Rams present

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Ron from Rockford, IL

If Bashaud Breeland gets on the field and proves he is what the Packers think he is, is it time to move Tramon Williams to safety?

I'm glad to see little has changed during my week away from Inbox. We're still all about moving players to new positions in Week 8. Any more time spent away and you guys probably would be clamoring to move me to janitor. Good morning!

Steve from Green Bay, WI

On a daily basis, I enjoy reading the Inbox and the many other football-related articles you provide. The recent "non-football" article that Wes wrote on Blake Martinez's "Unforgettable Friend" was excellent. It's nice to know a little more about some of the players' lives beyond the field. Well done and thanks for the all the great content.

I want to extend a thank you to everyone who passed along compliments about the article. Also, to my wife, mother-in-law and Spoff for helping edit and review the story that was a couple months in the making. I can't say enough about Martinez, his mom, Carrisa, and the Blaus for how open and honest they were in reflecting on Richard's life. I can't imagine how difficult it was to talk about. If there's one lesson I hope people take away from the story it's the way Richard lived his life and Martinez's thoughts on life and legacy. "It doesn't matter if you're a cool kid, whatever you think you need to do to have people like you, it's like, 'What am I doing every day to be better?' Because nothing is guaranteed. At the end of the day, how are people going to view you when you do pass away?" Powerful stuff.

Randol from Los Angeles, CA

Will there be a Packers rally out in Cali?

Mike from Lake Mills, WI

Although there is a lot of season left, with the Packers playing the Rams (current NFC No. 1) and the Vikings playing the Saints (current NFC No. 2), this week feels like the Rams and Saints can separate themselves from the rest of the conference or it can tighten up real quick with so many teams at three and four wins.

Welcome to the NFL in Week 8.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

What player matchup for GB vs. LA are you going to be paying the closest attention to during the game?

There are going to be a few good ones to watch – the Packers' interior offensive line versus Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, the defensive front against Todd Gurley, and Davante Adams possibly lining up across from Sam Shields. However, the one I'm most intrigued by is the Packers' pass rush trying to get home against Jared Goff. With several looming threats, you have to get home and not allow the third-year QB to get comfortable.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, welcome back! I don't get to see all the games in Delaware/Philly. How has Robert Tonyan been performing? Has he been on the field for offense or just special teams?

I really like what I've seen from Tonyan on special teams and in the few reps he's taken offensively. I think that goal-line package with four tight ends and a running back has been a nice change of pace.

Scott from Janesville, WI

During the game vs. the 49ers, Aaron Jones crossed the goal line. The ref stated he did not get both feet inbounds in the end zone or something of that sort. Doesn't the ball just have to cross the goal line? I was very confused as to why it wasn't ruled a TD.

I didn't see much controversy on that reversal. It seemed pretty clear the ball, in Jones' right arm, went out of bounds and he didn't step foot into the end zone. My apologies to your fantasy team, but those are the rules, Smokey.

Wes from Boone, IA

I know it's too early in the season for this Sunday's game to be considered a must-win for making the playoffs, but I think it's a must-win in regards to establishing the Packers as the scary NFC contenders we're used to seeing. The Rams are definitely the class of the NFC and the Packers are big underdogs in this game. Take this game in L.A. against an undefeated Rams team and suddenly the view of the Packers changes from a team that might be struggling to contend to a team that can beat the best.

Hey, to be the man, you have to beat the man, right? It's in measuring-stick games like these that Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers historically have done some of their best work. They might not have unfurled any catchy slogans this week, but the Packers aren't going to let outside perception shape their mentality for this matchup. Trust me this team has one thing on its mind – victory.

Daniel from Fond du Lac, WI

On "Unscripted" you were talking about Aaron Donald, and you both mentioned that DTs don't come his size. I couldn't help but think about a smallish DT who wreaked havoc in the '90s: John Randle. Maybe being quick, elusive, and strong compared to big and strong makes a player a more disruptive because O-linemen aren't used to dealing with that?

It's a good comparison. What's always impressed me with Donald over the years is he's quick and agile for the position, but also powerful enough at the point of attack to put interior offensive linemen on skates despite a 20-40-pound weight advantage. The guy is the total package.

Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL

Guys, do you think that it's all up to the defense? I'm thinking that if the defense keeps it close, we can run, run, run. Then, the play-action pass becomes super effective, the pass rush is kept at bay, the sack-turnovers are eliminated. One hand washes the other.

I think this game comes down to winning first down and not allowing the Rams to get into a rhythm with their run-action. Denver did an OK job against Goff and Los Angeles' downfield threats a few weeks ago, but it allowed Todd Gurley to bleed the defense slowly for 208 yards on the ground. It's tough to take away more than one threat with an offense as multiple as the Rams', but it's on the Packers to rise to that challenge.

Michael from Yonkers, NY

What would it mean if the Packers win the coin toss and they elect to receive the opening kickoff from the Rams?

I posed this question to my wife and her response was: "It would mean they get the ball first." I couldn't come up with anything to expand on this any further.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

The Rams look like a tough team, but it's a two-way street; Rams fans aren't excited to play "Nobody's Underdog" Aaron Rodgers, either. Also, I think the issue with the fourth-and-1 QB dive has to do with forward progress. In the end zone you just need to cross the plane, but on the field if you pull the ball back without contact by a defender, you do not get the forward progress. Brees had one on Sunday that Harbaugh wanted to challenge for that reason. Proper officiating is its only defense.

Don't get hung up on favorites and underdogs. Mike McCarthy mentioned Wednesday how he hasn't addressed it with his team and I don't blame him. I was asked to do weekly against-the-spread picks during my first two years on the beat at the Press-Gazette and was terrible at it. The main reason? Nothing is absolute in this league. On any given Sunday, a team like Buffalo can go on the road and upset a team like Minnesota.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Wes, I hope you are well. Do you read comments to your articles?

Only when someone brings something to my attention.

JD from Palm Bay, FL

Just a quick observation on the Packers Daily from Wes. I was really excited to see the quick response from Jaire Alexander where he acknowledges that he thought he knew everything but obviously didn't and that he learned things from the "across the hall" session. I love his confidence yet his desire to learn. I think he could be special. Any other insights on him?

I've liked the cut of Alexander's jib since the day he first arrived in Green Bay. Confidence and the ability to stay loose are such important traits in this game. Alexander has so much physical talent, but I think it's his personality that'll allow him to play at a high level in this league for a long time. He takes his job seriously without taking himself too seriously.

The Packers continued practice Wednesday ahead of Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Tom from Vista, CA

The Coliseum is a scary place, crummy stadium to visit, park, or view a game. Are you looking forward to a particular restaurant while in L.A.? Many gravitate to the West and the ocean. Gladstones for Fish used to be crowded with out-of-towners when fans came to town.

I'm actually excited to get a chance to cover a game at the Coliseum since it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's also the only new stadium I'm checking off my list this year. I don't have any big plans for L.A. other than a reservation at Villa Blanca.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Is Eli Manning going to the Hall of Fame? (I mean the big one, in Canton)

Eventually.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Ugh. We have to play against Ndamukong Suh on Sunday? He makes Manny Machado look like a choir boy.

Yes, Suh's reputation precedes him, but I haven't heard much scuttlebutt this year. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

Eric from Sauk City, WI

How awkward of a situation might it be on Sunday for Sam Shields to line up against the Packers? Has it ever happened where a player's safety and long-term future forced his club to let him go for his own well-being, to then have him go sign somewhere else, let alone face that former club? I wish Shields nothing but the best in long-term health, but I hope he has a less-than-average outing on Sunday.

I can't think of any other specific examples. I respect the way the Packers handled Sam Shields' situation and also understand Shields' desire to continue playing. That's his personal decision, but it's never been a question of his talent. He's proven he still has his legs. I had some issues with the language of his contract with the Rams, but it is what it is. I wish him nothing but good fortune and health.

Charlie from Morgan Hill, CA

Wes, my son and I will be proud owners at the Coliseum on Sunday. I have a feeling we'll be in the majority wearing green and gold! I'm going to make sure my brethren in my section are loud when we're on D. Hope to meet you at the pep rally!

*Slowly nods in approval*

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

Insiders, now that the Pack vs. Fins has been flexed, does that mean it will be the national game on CBS?

I would think so. Why else would you flex it? The best part was the collective groan among the Packers beat writers after Wednesday's announcement.

Joe from Dundee, IL

Wes, do you have any good snow photos from the Badgers game last weekend to share with us?

How about this one?

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Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did your son pick out his Halloween costume yet? Maybe you could get him "The Dude" sweater?

Man, that would have been an awesome idea. We already got him a pirate outfit.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

How would the Inbox respond if the Packers implemented the Raiders' business model – trade-everyone-of-value-now?

I asked myself this same question after Khalil Mack was dealt to Chicago. My thought then – not well.

Alex from Winter Haven, FL

Could we trade Wes to the Raiders for one of those first-rounders they have?

The Packers would be lucky to get a conditional Cenex gas card for my services.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Welcome back Weston. Hope your time off was well-spent.

I could not have asked for a better bye week and had an interesting present waiting for me when I popped back into the office Tuesday. For those loyal readers, you might recall my post last week about not hearing back when I wrote Ben Sheets during my junior year of high school. Well, just look at what was waiting in my mailbox upon my return. The power of the Inbox, man. Incredible. Good vibes coming your way, Ben. Have a good day, folks.

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