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Inbox: What a journey it's been

There is no straight line to success. It takes trial-and-error.

RB Jamaal Williams and CB Chandon Sullivan

James from Santa Maria, CA

Good morning II, just a question and a welcome. Welcome to II to Dan from MI. My question is since I know all the inside jokes II readers laugh about, does that make me part of the "in" crowd? Are we now the In-Insiders Inbox? The III?

Oh, what I would do for Dan from Bridgman's blissful ignorance. It's like putting salt on pizza, Dan. Once you do it, there is no going back.

Josh from Denver, CO

Nathaniel Hackett commented that they were trying to Allen Lazard into a TE in Jacksonville. Is he now banned from the Inbox?

I talked with Lazard about this when I did my profile on him last December. He got up all the way into the 230s when he was in Jacksonville. Comparatively, he played last season in the 210s. There is no straight line to success. It takes trial-and-error. Fortunately, Lazard seems to have found the right formula, and weight, in Green Bay.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

We beat the Vikings in both contests last year and we did it with dominant running outputs. For all the changes in the MN roster, where do you see them as improved over what they had last year in terms of the front seven? I have seen a lot of players leaving but seems only the former Jags DE is the added talent that is significant.

This was my key to victory for this game. The Packers must get Aaron Jones and the running game going, preferably early. The Vikings' linebackers are as good as they get in the NFL but I think there is an opportunity there to penetrate that front after the departures of Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen. Michael Pierce would have been a problem but he is opting out this year. As much as this is a big test for the Packers, I think the same is true for the Vikings Sunday.

Jason from St. Charles, IL

It's always a tough matchup against the Vikes, but with two rookie corners, they will need to use their stud safeties to help double and maybe even triple Davante Adams at times, leaving a lot of room in the box for "33" and "30." I see a lot of ball control happening in this game to set up the play-action. This is the stuff ML must dream about at night. What is your insight? Is it possible that two rookie corners equals a big day on the ground?

I've spoken for months about how eager I am to see how LaFleur puts all these playmakers to use on offense. The pundits want to make everything about Adams and Jones, but there are very dangerous weapons in this offense if defenses overlook them. And the more attention Adams gets, the more it opens up those other options.

John from Dallas, TX

I looked into the 10 one-score games that "prove" the Packers will regress. In all but the 10-3 Chicago win and the two Detroit wins, the Packers had a double-digit lead at one point, usually early. On a team running a new offensive scheme, this might indicate that the offense had the ability to be great against good teams but couldn't sustain momentum, not that they simply got "lucky" in 10 games. Put the Year 2 offense in the same situations and I think those leads grow, not shrink. Thoughts?

Kenny Clark made a great point Friday when he talked about how it's too difficult to win in this league for a 13-3 record to be regarded as a fluke. Frankly, I think it's disrespectful to take that viewpoint. The offense looked noticeably sharper this summer. If that translates to game days, I think the doubters are in for a big wake-up call.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Does having Jerry Gray give the Packers any advantage over the Vikings' secondary?

Maybe, as it pertains to the entire defense. But like the front, there's been so much changeover in the Vikings' secondary. As LaFleur talked about, Gray's responsibility is getting his guys ready for Minnesota's receiving weapons and making sure the defense gets the most out of Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Co.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Jaire has been rather quiet this preseason. I think we are all expecting a big season from him. Will he shadow Adam Thielen quite a bit this week? Our top CB versus their top WR.

The Packers mostly played sides last year but they have traveled Alexander when the situation called for it.

Al from Green Bay, WI

In the game versus the Vikings on Sunday, there will be a Packers player that seemingly comes out of nowhere to have an unexpected impact on the game. Who might that player be?

MVS. That's not a totally out-of-nowhere pick, but I say he makes a play Sunday that changes the complexion of the game.

Neill from Hot Springs Village, AR

First Packers play from scrimmage? Jamaal Williams on a quick-hitter up the middle for eight yards. Would be 12 or more except they have Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.

I'd still like Williams' chances at gaining 10.

Mike from Ames, IA

With the roster still at 52 (as of Friday morning, I think), I assume that allows one more practice-squad player to be added to the game-day roster without being actually signed? Is that accurate under the new rules?

You'd assume wrong. In order to elevate three practice-squad players for Sunday, the Packers would need to sign one of them to the active roster. Also, to be clear, there are certain restrictions on how often a practice-squad player can be elevated without being added to the 53. The measure was put into place to allow teams more flexibility to address injuries, not to abuse it for a competitive advantage.

Russell from Lexington, KY

Granted I haven't played football in 10 years, but when I pulled my jersey up halfway like that it was because those things get hot and pulling them up lets some air in. On to the question. What do you think the chances of the league and NFLPA keeping the same practice-squad rules as well as other roster-related COVID changes (IR), given that this pandemic is over by next year?

I don't know if there's a need for a 16-player practice squad during a "normal" year but I like the flexibility the NFL has given teams. I really think the IR changes are a huge improvement. It not only gives teams the opportunity to bring more players back, but also allows young guys a chance to earn their full salary again since most players have split-salary language in their contracts.

John from Yakima, WA

If JK Scott is out for any game, who is the holder for field goals?

Tim Boyle.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

What is meant by if one of the Smith brothers gets a sack he will maybe have the No. 12 on his T-shirt and it won't represent Aaron Rodgers?

Spoff was referring to the No. 12 ranking CBS Sports gave them as a pass-rushing tandem higher in the story.

The Green Bay Packers practiced inside the Don Hutson Center on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

Paul Hornung, not Jim Taylor, has his number unofficially retired, yet Taylor was second only to Jim Brown in rushing in his era. How does Hornung garnish such respect?

That is a fantastic question for Cliff. I'll check if he's doing a mailbag anytime soon. If not, I'll try to get a reply.

Rod from Middletown, NJ

We have arrived at the football season. I find it astonishing the NFL teams have largely avoided a COVID-19 breakout during the time leading to now. That said, it seems that teams are guaranteed one game, maybe two. How important will it be to win games early given that things could come screeching to a halt very soon? Fingers, toes and eyes crossed for luck! Go Pack!

It's almost like a no-hitter. You don't want to talk about it. You don't wanna jinx it. This has taken an incredible amount of diligence and focus. As challenging as this climate is, I don't think it changes anything. Wins are important because it's a new season and teams want to start fast. Also keep in mind the NFL season is starting on time. That's one advantage the NFL had over other professional leagues.

Bob from Cortez, CO

Frequent testing, following safety protocols, couple with a shared goal and like magic, an NFL season is born?

That is an absolute credit to the 2,500-plus players who were in NFL camps last month. And the fact there were no positive tests in Green Bay after the players reported is an indicator that we, as a society, can find answers to this dreadful virus if we are smart, responsible and disciplined.

Chris from Cape Girardeau, MO

Just an observation from the season opener. Everyone will point to the Chiefs' speed and spread-'em-out play-calling as to why they dominated. But watching the game it was apparent the Chiefs owned the trenches. On the few plays the Texans won the line they ended up winning the play. Nice to see the game is still won at the lines no matter how tricky and spready teams get.

Seriously. The league is all about offense but it's legitimately fun to watch Kansas City play defense. Chris Jones is a monster and Frank Clark was a nightmare all evening for that right tackle. Defense can be fun to watch, too.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

I didn't watch Thursday's game but I'm disappointed to hear about people being rude during a moment of silence for equality. I think the NFL written messages have been clear about ending racism and inequality, they don't say "systematic" as far as I've seen. Whether you believe the system is oppressive or not, I think we can all get behind the idea that everyone is equal and people should not be judged based on race.

I did watch Thursday's game…and was very disappointed to hear that response to a moment of silence. Listening to Aaron Jones discuss it Friday was heartbreaking, considering everything his parents sacrificed for this country. I'm sure KC fans enjoyed the win, though.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, my oldest son is a doctoral student at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He said masks have been developed for musical instruments to prevent COVID aerosols from being "blown around the kingdom." The Vikings' Gjallarhorn is huge and has great COVID-aerosol-blasting potential. Will you please investigate to see if it will be masked? Please ask Evan to take a picture of it.

I'll be sure to pass that along to E. If it isn't masked, then the NFL needs to shut that thing down. You know, for player safety.

AJ from Sheboygan Falls, WI

With Wayne and Larry calling the game from Green Bay, they'll be watching it broadcast with the eight-second delay so it should sync up with the live TV, right? Otherwise, they'd have to have a telescope as big as that dang horn to watch the Packers play!

I hadn't really thought of that. You guys will have to let me know.

Chris from Sioux Falls, SD

Wes and Mike and the rest of the staff: As we are now at the start of the NFL's 2020 season, I want to thank you for providing balance and sanity during the last several months. It has been a vastly different offseason for everyone, and you and your colleagues have made a difference in conveying accurate information and supporting civic engagement. How refreshing! I appreciate it, and as a reader, I know most of the Insider Inbox readers are appreciative, too. Now, Go Pack Go!

I can't believe this day is here, the final Insider Inbox before the start of the 2020 Packers' season. What a journey it's been over the last six months.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Arise good men of the Bay

Enemies seen and unseen await

Your Kingdom once again in peril

The Gjallarhorn sounds the battle to begin

Time to enter the fray

Rise up warriors

(OK Wes, I'll see myself out)

And so will I. Enjoy the game everybody!