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Inbox: Time for a couple of firsts

It’s the new and forever normal


T from Waterloo, IA

We needed that.

Now the Packers need another one. Time for a couple of firsts. First winning streak of the season and first road win of the season. Two birds with one stone on a short week. Here we go.

Pancho from New Castle, PA

A heavy dose of seven points makes the game look a lot different.

One team was 4-for-4 in the red zone. The other was 0-for-3. That was the game.

Cameron from Brevard, NC

Great game by Aaron Jones, but a ton of credit needs to be given to our offensive line. Best run-blocking performance by them so far.

Jones had some huge holes, and he explodes through them so much more quickly than any back the Packers have had in a while. Both teams are going to be tired in the fourth quarter on Thursday night. That's when Jones can win this next game, so the Packers have to give themselves that chance.

Bob from Sydney, Australia

Gents, kinda cool to hear coach say "the Aarons," huh?

I got a kick out of it.

George from North Mankato, MN

Happy Monday! What a difference scoring touchdowns instead of field goals in the red zone makes. Do you think the special-teams units are suffering from all the injuries this team has endured? That was the only glaring weakness against the Fins. What an effort by the defense.

The Packers haven't dealt with any more injuries on special teams this year than any other year. In fact I'd say it's less. They need to play better in that phase of the game. I've been saying it for weeks.

Simon from Santa Clara, CA

Be honest, how many Marcedes Lewis submissions did you get today?

Not as many as you think, but I love how Rodgers said the play didn't "look great" either time they ran it in practice, but it worked to perfection when they called it. Football is a funny game.

Deb from Camarillo, CA

Could you please pass on a message? Our community has been hit so very hard with the tragic borderline shooting and now the fires...Please let Clay know I hope his family and his parents are safe and their homes have been spared from the devastation.

To everyone out there, please stay safe.

Dan from Stockton, CA

Good morning Insiders, I haven't heard Aaron Rodgers' thoughts on the fire that obliterated Paradise, CA, just outside of his hometown of Chico. I certainly want him focusing on football, but I have to believe that a fire that has burned over 100,000 acres and destroyed over 6,500 homes might have had some effect on his family or friends. Any word?

Rodgers addressed it at the end of his postgame news conference on Sunday. Rather than try to paraphrase anything he said, I'll just encourage you to take a listen.

Sean from Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Hey fellas, for players' jerseys, do they custom make and size each jersey? Will they take them in or let some out upon request or is everyone just wearing standard size?

They start with a standard size, but Marge and her team will customize certain things based on the players' requests.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Mornin' Mike, can you break down the St. Brown hit for us with the lens of player safety and the new rules? It looked brutal, do you get a different vantage from the press box?

It was a blindside block, which the league has made an emphasis safety-wise, but I saw afterward former referee and now TV rules analyst Gene Steratore tweeted it was legal because there was no contact to the head or neck area. The flag was thrown because it looked bad, which it did, but that play is exactly why I've been saying the safety rules need to be subject to replay.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Just finished morning coffee with Cliff's story about Tobin Rote. Sounds like the RPO QB is just the latest recycle. Can't wait for another 10 years when power-running, field-position football comes back. I still say that with all the TV money, do not be surprised when they physically expand the fields to keep feeding the run-and-gun beast.

Power-running, field-position football is never coming back, not with what drives ratings now and with the evolution of player safety. I was heading to Sunday's game as the noon CT games started, and by 12:07 p.m. I heard radio updates on four games that were already 7-0. It's the new and forever normal.

Philip from Fishers, IN

What do you think has caused such a disparity between the NFC and the AFC? Why has the NFC produced so many different Super Bowl contestants and the AFC almost half as many?

The quarterbacks. Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck are the only AFC QBs in the last decade who have provided any semblance of threat to the Brady-Roethlisberger-Manning triumvirate, and Flacco's lone breakthrough looks more and more like a fluke with each passing year. The NFC has had far more elite-level, accomplished QBs over the past decade, and now Goff is in the mix, too. We'll see what happens moving forward in the AFC with Watson, Mahomes, Mayfield, Mariota, etc. The landscape in that conference is changing.

Joe from Madison, WI

Saw Leonard Floyd wrap up Matthew Stafford in a nice bear hug when he had him dead to rights. Guess there is some wisdom in the Inbox!

Stafford needed a hug after what he's gone through the last two weeks. Sixteen sacks. Yikes. Two of Favre's last four seasons in Green Bay, he was sacked fewer times than that for the entire year (12 in '04, 15 in '07).

Dave from Coloma, MI

Can you do some investigative reporting and find out where the Lions got their kicker voodoo? With Crosby's five missed kicks and Parkey's problems Sunday it can't be coincidence.

I think they should do a kicker competition at the Pro Bowl where they all try to hit an upright as many times as they can.

Mike from Lyons, OH

Admittedly, I might not be getting the full story because I could only watch the highlights of this past game, but does Blake Martinez ever miss tackles? He seems to always be the guy that wraps up and manages to get his man to the ground when the other players whiff. Really living up to the Boar moniker.

If Martinez gets off the block, he more often than not makes the play. Can't be more impressed with his effort coming off what looked like a pretty ugly ankle injury in New England. Hopefully he did no further damage and can be ready on the short turnaround.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Question on the blocked kick: If Martinez recovered the ball while it was bouncing backwards, would it have been Packers' ball, first down since a Dolphin touched it?

Because the Dolphins touched it behind the line of scrimmage, the Packers needed to pick up the blocked punt behind the line and advance it past the first-down marker to keep the ball.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

That was hands down the best "Final Thoughts" intro ever!

It required a couple of takes because Wes's face was killing me.

Mark from Verona, WI

An observation. I was at the game. Fackrell played OLB and ILB. Did a nice job in coverage, set the edge, got after the QB. It's great seeing him contribute. He's this year's big surprise for me. Is he really leading the team in sacks?

Tied for the lead with Clark at five. He's been playing a lot, and his workload could increase even more depending on Perry's latest injury.

Nikhil from Highland Park, IL

Unfortunately, I feel like this team currently has two legitimate bright spots. 1. Jaire Alexander on defense. I don't think I've ever seen as many passes defended by anyone as what he throws down. 2. Aaron Jones on offense. I've seen other good runners, but Jones's vision and shiftiness through holes is way above normal. MVS has a chance to be No. 3, but otherwise, I'd say this whole team is underperforming. What do you think?

Whole team? That's a bit much. The depth in the secondary is getting sorely tested, but it's holding up so far. I don't like the way the defense has started a lot of games this year, but it usually finds a way to settle in. I was glad to see Rodgers come back with a pinpoint throw to Adams on a cross one play after missing an open MVS on the cross the other way. There are still a lot of ups and downs, I agree, but after the blocked punt, the Packers thoroughly dominated the second half.

Joe from Clio, MI

In the past few years, the Packers' defense all too often let opposing wide receivers get wide open in all areas of the field. This year has seen a dramatic reduction in that. How much better is their pass coverage under Pettine?

The Packers revamped their cornerback position over the last two years, and covering is what I think this defense does best right now. The unit is strongest with both King and Alexander on the field together, but Breeland has stepped up and Jackson hasn't been far off from making a big play or two.

Ryan from Elmhurst, IL

Can we give the grounds crew a round of applause? The field looks fantastic.

Agreed. First game on it in 27 days, now it gets another 21 days before back-to-back home weeks to start December.

Lee from Brisbane, Australia

As an international supporter of the NFL and more importantly the Packers, I love the intricacies of the game. My biggest shout-out goes to Davante Adams. His ability to disguise the ball is coming to him by raising his hands for the catch so late is outstanding and frankly not human (given he catches just about everything). What other things have you noticed of a player that gives him the edge on his opponent we might not immediately notice?

The "late hands" technique has been passed down through the Packers' receivers over the years, but Adams certainly doesn't take a back seat to Jennings, Nelson, et al, when it comes to his efficiency with it. As for others, when I watch offensive game film, David Bakhtiari's balance and recovery are uncanny when it appears a pass rusher might get an initial advantage on him.

John from Albuquerque, NM

On to Seattle. What do the Packers need to do on Thursday to win?

Aside from what I've already said, get Jones going again, protect the ball, and don't let Wilson scramble all over. All easier said than done in that place.

Russ from Billings, MT

My guess is the Seahawks might be tired after that game with LA. Let's not take our foot off the gas.

I admit I didn't mind seeing Seattle go all the way to the wire and lose on the road. The Packers' health in the secondary is concerning, though.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

All the "bird" teams near us in the standings lost on Sunday (Falcons, Seahawks and Eagles) to put the Packers one game out of the wild-card playoff picture. That sets up the rest of the season nicely. All the Packers have to do is to play football and it will turn out all right!

For me it's still too early to look at the wild card when the division can be had. Just beat the Seahawks, then watch either the Vikings or Bears pick up a fourth loss next Sunday night, and go from there.

Jack from Scranton, PA

Hey guys, the Packers are one of four teams in the NFL who have not won a road game this year (it was five before the Cowboys beat the Eagles). What do they need to do against the Seahawks to flip the script?

Make the plays in the fourth quarter. As badly as the Washington and Detroit games started, the Packers still had chances in those fourth quarters. Better performances at L.A. and New England were undone by late mistakes as well. Put yourself in position again and finish the deal this time.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

First off, happy we won and looked mostly good doing it. Second, I'm reminded of a couple years ago when the (Raiders?) long snapper was injured during a game and a TV commenter remarked, "It's one of those positions that you don't appreciate 'til you don't have one." No offense to our returners, but I'm excited for Trevor Davis to come back as our kick-return specialist.

The return game needs a spark. Maybe he'll be it.

Stephen from Menomonee Falls, WI

Here's a game I play. I read the response first and then try to guess the question. I'm amazingly accurate.

How'd you do this time?

Doug from Eugene, OR

Hi gents, perhaps it may help some readers to know that a great many of us like the tone of the site. In fact, it impresses me how many tempestuous individuals you respond to. In many cases you counter with a disarming take, other times you go toe-to-toe, and very rarely does their rant include anything constructive, yet you field their enmity. This fan base is in fact a bit folksy, even winsome at times, so an occasional mention of lawn care, family, or the use of an Oxford comma is part of us.

Happy Monday, everyone.