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Inbox: To pick where he ranks now would be premature

DL Kenny Clark
DL Kenny Clark

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

Wes ended his II by saying he doesn't eat cheese. As a writer covering a team whose mascot could arguably be a block of cheese, he had to know that there would be a wave of responses that Mike would have to deal with, right? Accidental oversight, or calculated revenge for all of those stolen lunches?

This ain’t his first rodeo.

Michiel from Brussels, Belgium

I feel bad for you Insiders. In one day Trevor Davis is traded and the Packers bring a guy up with the No. 88.

The hits just keep on coming.

Eric from Mequon, WI

What is more dangerous...a talented 2-0 team with momentum and confidence or a talented 0-2 team that knows going 0-3 is dire to its season goals?

We’ll find out. This one falls under, “That’s why they play the games.”

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

From the mid-week chat, "Will Trevor Davis have more of a role against Denver?"

"I'm very curious about that question myself. He's a different type of weapon for this offense and the Packers haven't used him much yet. Stay tuned." That sounds very cryptic in hindsight. Do you guys get advance knowledge of these personnel moves that you can't talk about or was it just a coincidence?

I didn’t know anything, honest. I was legitimately curious if Davis was going to start seeing more snaps on offense, given his strong camp, one big play in Chicago and the uneven production at receiver aside from Adams in Week 2. The move surprised me, but the Packers must feel good about Shepherd and the newest Smith on returns, Kumerow and Lazard as reserve receivers, and others at gunner. Opportunities for others abound.

The Green Bay Packers practiced inside the Don Hutson Center to prepare for the Week 3 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

Israel from West Allis, WI

So we all know Denver has great edge rushers. I don't know much about the rest of their D. How do you feel about the other matchups (our receivers, their secondary; their interior D-line, Jones & Co.)?

Derek Wolfe is a handful on the interior, and I expect Chris Harris Jr. to follow Davante Adams wherever he goes. But Denver’s unit as a whole has been run on through two games, so I think Jones and Williams can be productive on the ground to keep third downs manageable. The Packers can’t let the short-yardage opportunities get away like last week, though.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Patrick from Paducha seems to have already forgotten a certain disgruntled safety that asked for a trade this offseason and was subsequently released. It happens to every team.

Jeff from Frisco, TX, went to the way-back machine to bring up Bruce Clark, while Kyle from Ooltewah, TN, mentioned Javon Walker. There are plenty of others. Over time, no organization is immune.

Robert from Bear, DE

I just want to give a shout-out to Lionel Aldridge. He was always one of my favorite Packers. Southeast WI got to "know" him from his work at WTMJ back in the day. Our hearts were always with Lionel (just typing this an old man is tearing up). He was a "gentle" gentleman. Life was not easy for him, but we loved the man.

Other readers shared your sentiments.

Casey from Tempe, AZ

Ted Thompson drafted several franchise players in his tenure. I think it’s safe to say Aaron Rodgers will be tied to Ted Thompson as Brett Favre was to Ron Wolf. My question is, where does Kenny Clark rank in terms of greatest draft picks under Thompson’s watch?

Great question. After Rodgers, who will stand alone, that next tier of Thompson draft picks for me includes (in chronological order) Collins, Jennings, Crosby, Nelson, Sitton, Matthews, Bulaga, Bakhtiari and Adams. Clark is certainly on track to enter the top 10 conversation, but to pick where he ranks now would be premature. He’s only 23.

Eric from Honolulu, HI

Who do you think will be the defensive star this week?

The way this unit is playing, the tougher the call, the better.

Erick from Pewaukee, WI

Good morning gentlemen, do you possibly believe that all the rules to keep the star QBs "safe" are actually playing devil’s advocate? I feel like it's a false safety net allowing the QBs to make more gutsy moves on the field, but in doing so they put themselves in harm's way more often. It seems like back before all these rules favored the offense, they played smarter knowing that if they tried doing what QBs are doing these days they would get their head taken off with little repercussions.

I believe there’s some truth to that. I also believe the protections for “defenseless receivers” have led to more throws down the seam and over the middle that were deemed too dangerous for years, and QBs were highly reluctant to put their receivers in those positions. Not so much anymore. The game really is geared toward offense, which is why I, personally, am not as turned off as others by the emphasis on offensive pass interference that we’ve seen to start the season. Offenses have plenty of rules they’ve taken advantage of for a long time now.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

With the quick Thursday turnaround after the Broncos game, do you think any starters will see snaps reduced to keep them fresh for the next game and/or the rest of the season?

In Sunday’s game? No. The walkthrough in lieu of practice on Wednesday was to prepare physically for two games in five days. On Sunday, you play to win.

Travis from St. John’s, FL

A lot is made of a free agent facing his former team, but what about two free agents from the same former team facing each other? Advantage Flacco or Za’Darius this week?

As long as Za’Darius isn’t seeing a red jersey, I don’t think it matters.

Ramiro from Brownsville, TX

I'm wondering what’s your guys’ opinion on Payton not wanting to commit to one QB and instead going for a two-QB system this weekend? Do you feel it’s true or smoke and mirrors?

As Wes said on “Unscripted,” the Saints aren’t paying Bridgewater $7.25 million to give up too many snaps. Maybe a few.

Brian from Denver, CO

Milwaukee native now living in Denver. The media and fans here are very unhappy with Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles, as they should be. He has the reputation of holding and tackling defenders when he gets beat. Will the Packers focus on pressure on his side of the line to force him into mistakes?

A player with five holding calls in two games is going to get challenged. The Broncos are also going to start giving him help. All part of the chess match.

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

I find it very interesting that all of the teams we have an all-time losing record against started out in the AFL except the Rams. I know part of it is that we almost always stunk in the first 20-plus years that we would have played them after the merger, but even now those old AFL teams love to be a thorn in our side. Fun fact: In the Brett Favre era, the Chiefs were the only team that it took until his final season in Green Bay to beat.

Yes, the Chiefs were the last for Favre to cross off his list in 2007, after losses in ’93, ’96 and ’03. Coincidentally, Kansas City was the second-to-last team for Rodgers (in ’15), with Cincinnati his last (in ’17). For the record, Rodgers never lost to a team three times before chalking up a win on his way to beating every team in the league in his first decade as a starter.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I know that Lane Taylor and Elgton Jenkins are waging a spirited battle each week for the starting position. Defensive linemen are ideally rotated to keep them fresh. If both Taylor and Jenkins both continue to play at a high level and sort of stay tied, so to speak, would the coaching staff consider playing them both to keep the battle going and staying fresh like defensive players? Or is offensive linemen different where continuity as a unit is more important than staying fresh?

Interesting question. I suspect we’re going to find out soon enough how LaFleur feels about it.

Anthony from Southington, CT

I can't believe the "question" regarding the level of enthusiasm after the Packers’ first two wins. Only one road win last year, only one division win last year and only one win in the previous seven meetings with the Vikings. I'd say this group SHOULD have been enthusiastic after gutting out two tough wins. I actually thought it was refreshing to see after last's year's string of games where all we heard postgame was how flat everyone was. You're right, this team believes it has something!

The true test of a team’s chemistry and character is when adversity hits. The fallout will determine whether it has handled success the right way.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Of the nine undefeated teams left, who will make it the furthest still undefeated and how far will they make it?

I’ll let Grant answer that.

Grant from Plymouth, MN

The Patriots’ schedule seems to be a cupcake every year. This year looks ridiculous. Vs. Steelers (at home) looked like it might be kind of tough, but then it's three division games against the Dolphins (tanking), the Jets (mono), and the Bills, probably the best team in the division but no juggernaut. Then it's Redskins and Giants, both 0-2 and looking bad. They don't have a really tough game until Week 9 (at Ravens). How do you think the Pats would fare in the meat grinder of the NFC North?

I don’t really care. From the Packers’ perspective, what I do care about is the Patriots have their bye week right before their November back-to-back against the Eagles and Cowboys.

Jake from Brooklyn Park, MN

Not gonna lie, the blue banner on the website really made me question myself for a few minutes...

We’ll keep you on your toes.

Nathan from Lino Lakes, MN

I was impressed with the fast start the Packers had Sunday and it got me thinking. The Vikings’ and Bears’ defenses also had to learn a new offense with the change. How difficult is it on opposing defenses when they haven't seen it and there's no tape yet? Is it as simple as Rodgers has his mannerisms so it's much the same, or is there a significant learning curve for the opposing defenses?

The first quarter of the first two games showed it can cut both ways.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Both Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger were injured on Sunday, and we now know that both re-aggravated an injury from a previous game. Neither was listed on the injury report leading up to Week 2, though. Can you explain the injury report's purpose? Are there penalties for teams lying about the extent (or lack thereof) of injuries?

Teams are only required to list players on the injury report if they aren’t practicing to full capacity. Some teams list just about anybody getting treatment for anything in the training room, even if they’re going to note them as full participants in practice. Other teams only list players if their reps are reduced, as required. If Newton and Roethlisberger handled their usual workloads in practice, their teams technically did not commit a violation, even if the “spirit” of the injury report wasn’t necessarily upheld. League officials travel around and pop into teams’ practices on occasion to document how they’re managing their injury report.

Jimi from Nederland, CO

It might not have happened in the last 30 seconds, but didn’t the Chiefs get ripped off on a “roughing” the passer penalty in crunch time against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game?

True enough, but it occurred with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter with the score 21-17 in favor of Kansas City. Even after New England scored on that drive, the Chiefs scored 10 points and the Patriots seven more before the game went to overtime tied at 31. It wasn’t a game-defining call because so much more happened. On top of that, it was overshadowed by the more egregious mistake a few hours prior in New Orleans.

James from Asheville, NC

The Packers have been extra patient with Kevin King and for the first time I feel that patience has been warranted. How much upside do you see in him? Can he really be a game-changer?

Bueller…? Bueller…?

Jake from Athens, GA

I don’t care so much about having home games earlier in the year or later, as long as we’re playing at home in January. If the Packers are the team to beat in the North, and presumably the Cowboys in the East, who do you think are the best teams through two weeks in the South and West?

It’s still the Rams in the West, though I definitely have my eye on the 49ers. The South is up for grabs with the QB injuries and the Falcons wobbling early. I thought the Eagles should have beaten them to get to 2-0, and would have if Agholor catches Wentz’s perfect sideline throw, so I’m conceding nothing to the Cowboys in the East.

Bartlett from Middleton, WI

Nice article about Bryan Bulaga. I recall when he was drafted he was heavily criticized for having "short arms," and there was frustration he couldn't play left tackle. He has held his own in the NFL on that right side. Sometimes it is nice to see a solid player works out as just that: a solid player filling a critical role. Question: Are there any positions that require more than "solid play" to win? If everyone is an A-minus/B-plus player, would that beat teams with just B-minuses and a few A-plusses?

It depends where the A-plusses are, and where the opponents’ A-plusses are. It’s a matchup league. But let’s be clear about Bulaga. He was all set to play left tackle in 2013, and I think he would have succeeded just fine there, but he injured his knee on Family Night. Bakhtiari took over as a rookie and never relinquished the job. It’s worked out great for the Packers, but I wouldn’t say Bulaga “couldn’t play left tackle.” He never got to see his chance through.

Ron from Riverview, FL

Hi, Mike. I try to keep my expectations realistic. While I savor each victory, the next day I return to worry mode. Three reasons for this...fourth-and-26, Appalachian State-Michigan and the next injury. Am I paranoid or grounded?

Well, there are no Appalachian States in the NFL. Does that help?

Jeff from Appleton, WI

I seem to curse the team when I wear team gear on game day. The Packers are 2-37-1 when I am wearing gear over the last 15 years. Remember 2011? Yep, T-shirt during that one game. I want this trend to stop. I hate feeling like I have been the team curse, I haven't owned a Packer jersey since my youth, I want to rep my team. I take jersey buying seriously, so I only get the authentic kind. I have a custom throwback jersey in the shopping cart on a website, please absolve me, so I can hit "BUY!"

I can’t help you. Happy Friday.

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