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Inbox: What will the Vikings decide to do?

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Craig from Brookfield, WI

I've submitted a bunch of really great questions, yet you never post them or respond. Boooooooo! Booooooo! BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

And we’re off, so we might as well get going.

Mike from Novato, CA

Hey guys, not a question, just an acknowledgement to...Terrell Buckley. While it's too early to judge Alexander, he has shown aggressiveness and attention to detail, and plays bigger than his height. He has acknowledged Buckley's help and advice while Terrell was CB coach at Louisville. Whatever you think of Buckley's tenure in Green Bay (and I'm among the “thumbs down” crowd), he learned his lessons well enough to enjoy a good pro career elsewhere, and become an effective coach for future NFL players.

The thing I’ve liked best so far about Alexander, and Jackson for that matter, is the moments haven’t seemed too big for them. Bigger moments are coming.

Matt from Roanoke, VA

I can't say that I've seen a veteran with as much confidence that Alexander has as a rookie. While I appreciate his play and his ability as a corner, is he going a bit much too fast? My eyes may have deceived me, but it appears that Jackson has outplayed him thus far.

There’s no need to rank them at this point. Take another look at the Bears’ third-and-2 play in the red zone late in the fourth quarter. Playing an underneath zone, Alexander began darting about four different directions as the Bears ran their route combinations and still ended up in the right spot to impact the play. One false step too far and the Packers probably lose the game.

Gerry from New Berlin, WI

If a backup QB comes in for Kirk Cousins, would that be a Cousins sub?

Ouch.

John from Atlanta, GA

Longtime reader, first-time questioner. Good discussion on the “Unscripted” podcast regarding roughing-the-passer penalties. I think the league should consider adding a “running into the QB” penalty similar to kickers. Five yards, no automatic first down. Just enough to discourage the late, non-egregious hits.

I’m intrigued by the thought process, but I think the last thing the NFL wants to do, especially with regard to QBs, is add another judgment call to the mix. A lot of rule changes are geared toward making things more black-and-white, not the other way around.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

The Vikings have a very solid defense. Do you have any insight on the strength of their depth chart vs. their starters? Any idea how this could affect the game plan?

I really don’t know much about Minnesota’s depth on defense because the Vikings stayed remarkably healthy on that side of the ball all last season. If talent is the No. 1 factor for them on defense, continuity is No. 2. They have a great scheme, but having the same guys play it, week after week and year after year now, makes a huge difference.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Spoff, in response to Tim from Upland, CA’s comment on the John Hadl trade...I’m pretty sure we could get two 1’s, two 2’s, and a third-rounder for our 34-year-old QB. Just sayin’.

Ha, good one. Hey, even Hall of Famers make mistakes with draft trades. Ron Wolf traded up in the first round for Jamal Reynolds. It happens.

Matthew from Portland, OR

Trevor Davis to IR. That's bad news. Is this the IR where he can return later or is it season-ending? Thanks for any clarification.

Anyone who’s placed on IR from the 53-man roster after the end-of-preseason cut-down deadline is eligible to return after the mandated time period, but it doesn’t mean he will. The team doesn’t have to designate its two potential choices in advance.

Robbie from Sturgeon Bay, WI

How about those Brewers! Wednesday night's game really made my season. Watching Hader progress and sort of take on the bulldog look pioneered by Jeffress warmed my heart. His demeanor on the mound was as nasty as his stuff. I hope the Brewers win the division, but even if they don’t, the win made it more likely the Cardinals will be getting the best the Cubs have to offer in their last series of the year. I hope I am cheering for the Cardinals...

Me, too.

Max from Freeport, FL

At first I thought Bulaga whiffed on his block when Mack got the strip-sack on Kizer. But when I saw the replay it looked as if Bulaga had Mack blocked and had good position and technique, but Kizer stepped to the right edge of the pocket and positioned himself in front of Mack for an easy sack and subsequent fumble. Was that sack really on Kizer?

There’s not much a lineman can do in that situation except be ready to pounce on the ball if it comes out, and Mack never made it available.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

Granted the information out there about Rodgers’ injury is very limited, but do you believe that his injury given time will get better throughout the season or will it be an all-season issue?

He said Wednesday he was feeling better, but he gave no timetable as far as how long he might be dealing with this. If he plays, what happens in the games will certainly factor.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

I bet I can guess the winner of the 100 Moments brackets.

We might be surprised what the online crowd decides.

Derrick from Watertown, SD

I thought Rodgers did a fine job on Sunday night and his passer rating suggests my perception is correct. However, his QBR was in the 40s which is considered below average. What accounts for the discrepancy in these measures? Does QBR not include the fourth quarter?

I didn’t know much about QBR, so your question prompted me to look into it. Best I can tell, Rodgers’ number was low for two reasons – the high number of yards after catch generated by his teammates, and the fact that his first two TD passes came when the Packers’ win probability remained statistically low. QBR also does not upgrade for “clutch situations,” as it used to, but it still downgrades for “garbage time.” If you look at the graphic we posted the other day about Green Bay’s win probability throughout the game, the Packers’ chances were under 20 percent at the time of the Allison TD and barely over 25 percent when Adams scored. It would appear, on the surface, that the QBR formula didn’t give much value to those touchdowns, as probability-wise they were in borderline “garbage time.” Add in the fact that the game-winning TD was a huge YAC play by Cobb, and the number spit out makes us scratch our heads. It just goes to show there’s no computer or formula that’s ever going to account for everything accurately.

Carroll from Madison, WI

You've said before that the key to offensive production against the Vikes is separation. Isn't this where Jimmy G's ability to shoulder his cover guy backwards and present a huge target may be a game-changer?

That’s always a possibility with Graham, depending on how the opponent defends him. The Bears succeeded at taking Graham out of the game, as Rodgers explained, but if that means Cobb, Adams and Allison are going to combine for 19 catches, 299 yards and three TDs, the Packers will take it. What will the Vikings decide to do against Graham? We’ll see. Last week, for what it’s worth, San Francisco tight end George Kittel had five catches for 90 yards against Minnesota.

Russ from Bowie, MD

Nice job on the WYMM segment. Very educational. Did you see anything in the performance of the secondary in the first game that shows you they can play a zone effectively? I think Mike Pettine prefers man coverage, but it's important that his defense is able to play multiple schemes. The Bears head coach said after the game that the Packers played more zone than he expected. My question is, how well did the Packers play it? We won't have the element of surprise next time.

Teams will continue to surprise one another with unscouted looks throughout September. It’s the way this works. After that, there aren’t many secrets left. The Packers caught the Bears a little off-guard with early zone looks, and Pettine said they manned up in coverage late in the game. If Pettine’s various DB packages prove effective in both man and zone, the Packers can pick and choose as they go along, rather than have the opposing offense dictate to them. But one game does not constitute proof. Green Bay is facing more accomplished quarterbacks the next two games.

Scott from Green Bay, WI

I don't care (and certainly hope the players don't care) about how many rushes Montgomery had, about how many catches Graham had, about establishing the run, or establishing a passing game down the middle. The game plan should be take what the defense gives. Pass the ball 20 straight times on the perimeter if that's what the defense is allowing, yes?

You play to win the game.

Andrew from Concord, NC

How does the defense “take away concepts from the offense,” as Mike McCarthy put it?

Personnel and alignment. If you see something on film that’s a sight adjustment by the offense, such as different route combinations run from the same formation based on the defensive set, the defense can figure out how to line up to prevent that concept from being run.

Derrick from Rockaway, NJ

Is "get prints on the tablets" the new "watch film"?

During the game, all they have access to are still photos on the tablets, not actual video.

Kris from Roseville, MN

I just saw the initial list of Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees for the year. I was surprised to see Nick Collins on the list. Too bad the injury cut his career short because he was good enough to make the Hall. He joins Sterling Sharpe with similar status. Any chance that one day there might be a special category for players who played at a Hall of Fame level but their careers were cut short by injuries?

I don’t see it happening. As much as I believe Collins and Sharpe would be Hall of Famers if not for their injuries, the process should stay focused on what was accomplished, not what might have been accomplished.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Mike, your Wednesday comment, "Everyone wants two ugly quarters and two spectacular ones to define how Rodgers and the offense should function all season," was not on target. AR has had two broken collarbones, a bad concussion, broken ankle, torn ACL, and who knows what else. Isn't it pretty obvious that we are not a playoff contender without AR, and he needs to play such that he is usually on the field? His past approach will yield to Father Time and bad hits more quickly now.

Are we now blaming this latest knee injury on Rodgers’ style of play? Sorry, that’s off target. He got buried in the pocket on a five-step drop. My point with that comment and others was that everyone’s drawing conclusions for all of 2018 from one half of one game against one specific opponent. Everyone’s also assuming the offense wouldn’t have adjusted had Rodgers not gotten hurt. The injury forced the issue in a more dramatic way, yes, but that doesn’t mean a perfectly healthy Rodgers wouldn’t have changed things up after the early struggles and found a way to win. He’s done it many times before.

Ben from Saint Joseph, MI

I know we should be focused on the Vikings game by now, but we should give Brad Epstein a shout-out here. His children's book, "Good Night, Packers," describes an exciting game in which the Packers beat the Bears at home in Week 1, at night, by a score of 24-23.

Cool. Pressure’s on for his sequel, I guess.

Nate from Amherst, WI

For some reason during your signoff on “Packers Unscripted,” I keep expecting to hear, "Party on Wes. Party on Spoff."

We’re not worthy. Happy Friday, everyone.

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