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Mike Pettine’s defense adds a new wrinkle to this rivalry


Tim from Charlotte, NC

Craig from Brookfield has issues...

Hey, they can't all be Lori from Brookfield. Good morning!

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, I do believe we have two slight advantages over the Vikings on Sunday. One, the Vikings have basically the same team and we have the advantage of scouting what they did last year with all the same players. Two, our defense is still trying to find its identity and we have many different players. I've seen that our defense can be improved over last year so I feel the Vikings don't know what to really expect there. Am I onto something? What do you think?

As eager as I was to see what Green Bay's defense looked like in the opener, I'm just as curious to see what form it takes against the Vikings. It wouldn't surprise me at all if we see a total shift in Game 2. I see this matchup coming down to the meeting of the defensive minds. The Packers definitely are familiar with Mike Zimmer and his defense, and certainly Mike Pettine's defense adds a new wrinkle to the rivalry.

Corinne from Chicago, IL

Pettine has emphasized that his focus is on stopping the pass in today's NFL, even if that means giving up a few running yards. This was on display against the Bears with the high number of defensive backs in the packages he used, and that seemed to work in the second half against Mitchell Trubisky. With the Vikings having an elite running back in Cook, does that defend-the-pass-first mindset likely change for Sunday (e.g., a more balanced defense against the pass and the run, stopping the run first)?

Bill Belichick's Patriots gained a reputation around the league for creating specific defensive game plans and packages depending on the opponent. I'm curious if Pettine adapts a similar approach here in Green Bay. We'll begin to find out Sunday.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Whether Aaron Rodgers plays or not on Sunday, I want to see the Packers win a big game against a really good team because of some other aspect of the team besides Rodgers. How about a great performance from the running game, or a very low scoring contest that the Packers win due to their defense.

Regardless of Rodgers' status, the Packers need everyone to step up. I think this could be a great opportunity for Green Bay's running game to do so. Every time Rodgers has dealt with an injury in the past, the best friend of the Packers' passing game has been consistent production from the backfield. Yes, the run game got off to a slow start last week and is facing a historically stingy Minnesota defense, but what better place than here at Lambeau Field to make an impact. What better time than now.

Ian from Onalaska, WI

I keep hearing people compare the defenses, quarterbacks and receivers from Green Bay and Minnesota. It makes no sense because defense doesn't play defense and vice versa. I think they can make the big plays they'll need on both sides of the ball. My biggest concern for Sunday is giving up extra penalty yards and first downs. Do you think play-style adjustments will be made to avoid flags or will players just take it upon themselves to clean up their own play?

The Packers review the officials' tape the league passes along and coaches their players accordingly. It's just important to stay focused on their assignment and keep your fingers crossed.

Ryan from Santee, CA

Who is the real Jimmy G? Graham or Garoppolo?

Easy. It has to be the O.G.

See photos of Packers guards and centers during their college careers.

Robert from Angola, IN

Has Mr. Cousins ever faced a Mike Pettine defense before? If so, how did he perform?

To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first time he's faced Pettine's defense.

Chuck from Green Bay, WI

I don't think the Packers coaching staff got the kudos they deserved for the halftime game changes in the win over the Bears. What's your take on it?

I thought the adjustments were exceptional on both sides of the ball. Mike Pettine and the defense started dictating the pace of the game after those first two series. Meanwhile, Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin did a heck of a job rolling with the punches and establishing a menu of plays for Rodgers, especially since everyone seemed to be readying for DeShone Kizer to start the second half at quarterback.

Stephen from Washington, D.C.

So if Rodgers plays, do you think he'll come out with some extra fire and payback on his mind?

If Rodgers plays, he'll attack this game with the same fire he brings to every game. As far as payback is concerned, there would be none sweeter than a home win over the Vikings.

Scott from Richfield, MN

While Kizer did not win a game last season, how might his experience playing the NFC North help him in preparation should he play on Sunday?

I'd say there was more benefit in Kizer taking some regular-season snaps inside Lambeau Field than playing a division opponent. He knows what it's like to play in the Midwest, but playing in Lambeau is a different animal.

Dana from Mayfield, KY

Will Davante Adams be ready to go on Sunday?

Adams said he hoped to play when asked on Wednesday. I'm sure he's champing at the bit to get out there. Adams again was estimated as a limited participant Friday, so there appear to be no setbacks. There no longer is a "probable" designation, so guys have to be labeled questionable if there's any doubt about their availability.

Colin from Lansdale, PA

Mike is spot-on in his assessment of Jaire Alexander on third-and-2. That was a heck of a play made by a young corner in a big spot.

Watching Alexander fly to the ball was very encouraging. As much fun as the interceptions and deflections are, those tackles and extra effort make the difference. Alexander just has the look and feel of a guy who loves to be out there. It also helps his confidence is second to none.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

What seems to be jelling as a solid group of stellar secondary players may be the best long-term news we have so far. Coverage sacks are as good as fast pressure sacks and the safeties can give more run support, right? Too soon maybe, but of Jackson, Alexander, Jones and King, how would you rank them at aspiring to either Revis Island Shutdown stars or Woodson Ball/Play-Hawking Disruption stars?

I'm high on King's potential as a shutdown cornerback because his speed and size allow him to trail a receiver across the line of scrimmage. I remember talking to his college position coach, Jimmy Lake, last year and Lake mentioning how steady and effective King was in the slot at Washington. Alexander and Josh Jackson have a lot of talent and versatility, as well. Pettine has a lot of young playmakers at his disposal.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Randall Cobb looked great in the first game. How many people are stating they were wrong about cutting Cobb in the offseason? That guy is dynamite!

Cobb had a great game prior to his 75-yard touchdown to put Green Bay ahead after the PAT. His seven catches in the second half went a long way in helping Rodgers and the offense get into rhythm. Moving the chains is what he does best.

Steve from Janesville, WI

Just my opinion: Aaron is too important to put on the field and risk injury. Vikings will cheap-shot him. Packers probably have a 50 percent chance of winning, Aaron has a better chance of getting hurt. Be smart and fight another day.

As Mike McCarthy always says, they'll gather all the pertinent information and make the best decision for both Rodgers and the team. You have to play smart, not scared.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

I just thought I'd lighten everyone's minds about Rodgers' "injury history." Aside from his torn ACL, which was in high school, he hasn't had any major injuries. Knee sprains can heal in a month or so and broken clavicles only make it easier to re-injure oneself there. He isn't playing with Father Time with these minor injuries, it's just an inconvenience to his availability, but not his health.

McCarthy mentioned Friday morning that it's his hope this type of injury could clear up for Rodgers in-season. Yes, it's not fun to play through, but it's not like he's endured a pattern of injuries with career-altering implications.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Curious how rigid the Inbox stance is on booing. Would you ever boo? Do you ever boo at baseball games? I personally never boo performance, but I will boo egregiousness. Something Fail Mary or Ndamukong Suh-to-the-groin worthy. It's great having this Packer family and the season upon us!

I save my booing for professional wrestling events.

Verne from Davenport, IA

Mike made a statement regarding the Pro Football Hall of Fame that the focus on players inducted should be on what they accomplished, not what they might have accomplished. I have argued that for years regarding Gale Sayers. I don't believe he is worthy of the HOF based on his career stats (fewer than 5,000 total yards rushing and only 1,000 yards twice). If he is in based on what he might have accomplished had he not gotten hurt, then so should Sterling Sharpe. Agree or disagree?

There is no doubt in my mind Sharpe would have been in Canton if he'd played three more seasons, but obviously that didn't happen. The part of Sharpe's story I feel doesn't get talked about enough is he never missed a game in his first seven years in the league, making 112 consecutive starts. It's tragic it ended the way it did.

Mike from Glenwood, IL

Part of why I don't trust QBR is the formula is vague and it has not been released. I can find passer rating and insert the numbers into the formula. Part of me, with the game situation being factored in, believes the rating to be somewhat subjective. Do you have access to a formula to calculate QBR?

I don't use it for three reasons – it's a manufactured statistic developed by a media entity, most of the public doesn't know how it's calculated and ultimately there's nothing wrong with passer rating, which I find to be a simple and effective way to compare quarterbacks.

Ein from Rochester, NY

I wanted to say thank you for posting II every day. On Thursday, a devastating announcement was made that my hometown indoor lacrosse team (Rochester Knighthawks) was moving and being replaced with an expansion team. I found myself scrambling to find any place to voice my confusion and sadness. There was none. It made me really appreciate this forum that allows fans to ask questions, rejoice in victory, and even collectively grieve (sometimes with pitchforks). Keep up the great work.

We're happy you choose to share your Packers fandom in this space, and if I knew anything about indoor lacrosse, I'd gladly lend a shoulder there, too.

Jacob from Glendale, AZ

I think the Packers win this week if they leave it on the grass as Herm Edwards would say. How about them Sun Devils knocking off MSU?

I know our "Unscripted" producer, Matt Arvin, is still mourning his alma mater coming up short.

Jim from Muskego, WI

Hi Wes. It is 1:30 a.m. Friday and after a very hard week of work and dealing with three kids, I am finally catching up on my Insider reading. I have just one question: Have you and Mike ever thought about fighting each other in a cage match?

It's like the Insider Inbox version of Conor-Khabib. Spoff would get me if it came to strikes in the first five minutes, but I believe my wrestling background and jiu-jitsu experience would allow me to prevail in the later rounds.

Garrett from Houston, TX

Here's to hoping like father, like son, and Cillian changes it further by pronouncing it Hod-kai-wick-zuh. Who knows, maybe in a few generations you'll be the Hesters.

One can only hope. I'm proud of my name and proud of my heritage, but I still wish I would have picked up a pen name when I started writing. It would make things so much easier, but you don't think about that when you're 18 years old.

Kyle from Plainville, MA

If you had to have one specific food every day for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My dad's venison stew.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Nothing beats a Packers-Vikings noon game at Lambeau Field, where the only cloud in the sky is generated by grilling brats.

Amen brother. Enjoy what quite possibly might be the last 80-degree weekend of 2018 in Northeast Wisconsin, everyone.