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Inbox: Who does that?

Healing time will be valuable

201006-insider-inbox-2560
QB Aaron Rodgers

Emmett from Hill Valley, CA

I have seen the future, and it is bright for Packers fans!

Even in my sleep-deprived state, this submission made me smile. Nicely done, Doc.

Tom from Cambridge, MA

Wes/Mike, I forget which one of you it was who has been so high on Robert Tonyan all summer, but you can say the last couple weeks he's looked pretty good don't you think?

Wes deserves the credit there. He didn't just hop on the Big Bob bandwagon, he was driving it.

William from Scranton, PA

Hi Insiders, is it unusual to have a good defensive performance coupled with poor tackling? Gurley will certainly get his, but hopefully the tackling will improve in the second quarter of the season.

It has to, because the last two weeks have been shaky. Last night, nothing proved as costly as the Kamara debacle in New Orleans, but the Packers missed on several opportunities for TFLs that could have made their lives easier.

Mark from Westminster, CO

No question just a comment. When your two backs combine for over 200 yards running and receiving, you're doing something right on offense.

The impressive thing is how many different ways LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers can get Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams the ball. They each caught a laser of a honey-hole throw along the sideline for a big gain, the kind of throw that doesn't normally go a running back's way. Rodgers doesn't hesitate if the look and matchup are there. He's letting it rip.

Michael from Hampton, VA

OK Wes, now you've done it. Made a grown man tear up with the article on Mason Crosby and Molly. Such a strong family and we are blessed as Packers fans to have them both on our team.

And we're blessed to have Wes on ours. I know he appreciates all the positive comments you readers sent in. If you haven't had a chance to read the story, please take the time to do so.

Tim from Spokane, WA

You'd almost think we are a very well-coached team.

Shhhhh. Nobody's giving him credit, remember?

Salongo from Hailey, ID

"We've got a lot to work on, which makes the coaches happy, and we're 4-0, which makes the players happy." Rodgers with the walk-off mic drop. Big Bob had himself a DAY, and LaFleur leaned in to long-term planning by holding out 17 while he wasn't 100% and keeping 33 off the field for much of the game. This was the snake coiling up before the strike. And we have a bye to get healthy and watch the Bears play our next opponent! What a vantage point. How excited were you after this measured win?

I thought the Packers' depth won out big-time in a battle of two banged-up teams. It never felt as though the Packers lost their command of the game, which I credit mostly to Rodgers. Four TDs against just six incompletions and a 147.5 passer rating without his top two wideouts? Who does that? The Falcons were reaching into the grab bag to find defensive backs, but still.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, what do you think will come out of the cries, etc., calling for severe penalties/fines for the Titans? I think it will be hard to prove wrongdoing.

It may be, but the league owes it to all the teams and players to thoroughly investigate and hold any individual(s) accountable if justified. That said, it's entirely possible to take precautions and follow protocols and still contract this insidious thing.

Matt from Edgerton, WI

Did you guys see the graphic during the game last night detailing that since 2008 Rodgers has 35 completions for over 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns on free plays? Crazy! Also am I mistaken or did Rodgers yell "hard count" on the free play in the first quarter on that free play?

Several folks mentioned that in the live blog. I did not see or hear it myself, but if he actually did, that's pretty funny. No chortling, though.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

As a reader and viewer I appreciate all the adjustments and changes that I have to believe you and your team have had to devise, create, and enact. Thank you for bringing us Packer news and game coverage during the pandemic. What have you found to be the trickiest challenge to overcome? What have you found to be most rewarding?

I think the biggest challenge for us has been to generate story ideas that aren't exactly the same as other media outlets, or at least to tell similar stories from different angles, given everyone's media access is the same Zoom calls. It's rewarding to succeed in finding a new story and/or angle.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Does the Don Hutson Center have grass or artificial turf?

The fake stuff.

Zach from Webster, NY

I'm calling it "The Ervin Effect." The amount of space Tyler Ervin creates for both the running game and passing game with his pre-snap motion is astounding!

And as soon as a defense starts to assume Ervin is never getting the ball on the jet sweep, Rodgers is going to give it to him. Someone will get caught ignoring him at some point.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Mike, the game has just ended, and my first thought is this: Did the Falcons' offense, via that long and longerer 20-play field goal drive, ironically keep themselves off the field?

I didn't look at it that way. I'm sure the Falcons were frustrated to only get three points on that endless drive, but they're in great shape with the Packers' defense running on fumes if their defense goes out and gets a stop. Instead, the Packers drove 75 yards in 11 plays to go up two scores, and Green Bay's defense got the breather it needed. That was a huge answer.

Jim from Lake Ozark, MO

A quick baseball question, if I may: The Central Divisions of the NL and AL sent seven of the 16 teams into the wild-card round. All seven lost their series, winning two of 16 games played. Why did this happen, why the ineptitude?

I can't speak to the AL because I don't follow it as closely, but the competitive balance in the NL Central combined with the expanded playoff field watered down the first postseason round. That said, in a three-game series, anything can happen, so it's still rather astounding they ALL lost.

Peter from Wellington, New Zealand

Hey guys! The best punter is the one who doesn't see the field, six punts all season from JK Scott. What's the fewest punts for any player during a season?

The Packers' record for fewest punts in a season is 42, but that was during the strike-shortened nine-game season of 1982. Their fewest in a 16-game season is 51, in 2014.

Monty from Hazen, ND

With a second game being postponed due to COVID, is there any provision to add extra weeks to the schedule to make up games or is that not possible due to TV schedules and stadium commitments? I don't think we're close to being done with this.

Probably not, but the league is just going to take everything as it comes and figure it out.

Kevin from Hermansville, MI

Just a comment: If you believe in momentum, then it exists. The brain is a complicated organ. Nuke LaLoosh believed he could breathe through his eyelids...so?

All the more reason never to mess with a winning streak.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Spoff, so now how many TDs has AR thrown to undrafted players in his career? Any idea of how that compares to other quarterbacks like Brady or Manning? Now that would be a cool graphic.

If somebody wants to do the research on the other guys, be my guest. I've got Rodgers for 39 now in the regular season. Tonyan just tied Kuhn atop the list with seven.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

After the trip/tackle pass interference on Robert Tonyan's third TD, how many players would have stayed on the ground immediately turning towards a referee looking for the penalty flag? Great heads-up play by 85 to quickly somersault to his feet and continue his route. To me, play of the game.

Rodgers called it a "cheapo" TD in his postgame remarks to the media, but you can't discount how Tonyan stuck with the play. I had no idea when I saw it live how he got so wide open.

Lambeau Field hosted Monday Night Football between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 5, 2020.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

I have done the math and the Cowboys can go 5-11 and win the NFC East!

Giants over Cowboys, Steelers over Eagles, and Rams over Washington next week would leave every team in that division with one win through five games. That would really be something.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

For the first time in a while it feels like the AFC is more crowded with contenders than the NFC.

Interesting thought. There's still a lotta season left and I think the NFC is gonna be a dogfight, but I see where you're coming from.

Margo from Solvang, CA

Hi Mike! Wow, there was a lot to like in this game, but my favorite was the reaction of Aaron Rodgers to a big reception by Darrius Shepherd on a free play after luring Atlanta offsides. After the catch, Rodgers was clearly excited for his receiver and gave him a big helmet slap and grin. Considering the long road Shepherd took to make the team, how big was that show of appreciation and what does that do to Shepherd's confidence going forward?

It has to be a nice boost for the young man, for sure. That's the kind of play that goes a long way with Rodgers, not only executing the freebie but standing in to take the hit after the grab. Unfortunately for Shepherd, he'll probably spend more time over the bye wishing he'd made sure he got the ball across the goal line on that diving catch a few plays later. He may have anyway, but he could have left the official with no doubt.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Calvin Ridley was the leading receiver in fantasy coming into this week, and Jaire Alexander shut him out. How does that bode for the cornerback's league hierarchy position?

It's hard for me to make league-wide assessments because there are so many teams I never get to watch, but I think there's no question Alexander is now the top corner in the NFC North, and I don't think it's all that close. Chicago's Kyle Fuller is pretty good, but I'd take Jaire.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

Game 1 – career night for Davante Adams; Game 2 – career night for Aaron Jones; Game 3 – career night for Allen Lazard; Game 4 – career night for Robert Tonyan. The Packers are weathering some injuries but they have yet to slow down. This is really fun to watch. Who's your pick for a career night in Game 5?

I'll say the carousel goes back to the beginning with Adams.

Will from Glendale, AZ

I hated seeing an early bye when the schedule came out but now it feels like a week off couldn't come soon enough.

The Packers are banged up. No doubt about it. Healing time will be valuable for more players than we initially thought.

Tim from Rochester, IL

Hello, I know you don't have locker room access, but do you have a sense about whether or not the exceptional team spirit and cohesiveness from last season has carried over to this year?

I really don't. Just being honest. But the way players talk about each other during the Zoom calls would suggest this bunch is plenty close. Winning early and often certainly helps matters.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Enough with the poetry, already.

Happy Tuesday.

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