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Inbox: You can never have enough Allen Lazards on your team

Saturday is going to be a battle, not a duel

WR Allen Lazard

Avida from Vienna, Virginia

For anyone looking past this game to the NFC Championship, Packer fans should know full well what a No. 6-seeded wild-card team entering the postseason with a 10-6 record can do. And to the lucky 6,000 fans going to the game this Saturday, please make yourself heard. I'll be disappointed if you still have a voice on Sunday. Given the limited attendance, each fan needs to do more than just their 1/6,000th. We need 6,000 fans sound like exponentially more. Thank you and Go Pack Go!

You tell 'em, Avida. Hey, Charlie didn't show up at the chocolate factory with his head down after pulling the golden ticket. He and Grandpa Joe were brimming with excitement. This is your chance to be heard.

Craig from Iron Mountain, MI

I just read the article on Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur. I cherish friendships like they have. They are special. That being said, how much will their knowledge of each other affect the game plan? I know execution is the answer, but do you believe they will have wrinkles in their offense to surprise each other?

McVay had probably the best answer you'll get from any NFL coach preparing a game plan for their close friend's team: "I don't think you want to be naive to the fact that they know a couple things that you want to make sure that you're aware of, but I also think you've got to be careful of not overthinking it." These guys know each other well, perhaps better than any other coaches in the NFL. At the same time, it isn't LaFleur vs. McVay. It's 48 Packers players vs. 48 Rams players, with dozens of coaches on each side. Saturday is going to be a battle, not a duel.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

After the Rams' win at Seattle, I figured the Rams would start playing their little games about who may be playing and who wouldn't be. I doubt that inspires much confidence among their team. I anticipate the Packers will start Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field on Saturday and the only game the Packers will play will be the one on the field.

McVay isn't giving anything away about the QB situation. Even against Seattle, the Rams had John Wolford and Jared Goff both take snaps during pregame warmups. That's their preparative but the inescapable truth is LA isn't operating from a position of strength at the moment with Wolford and Goff both on the injury report. We'll see who's under center Saturday.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Rams can be effective and have weapons that Goff can utilize well when he has the time. Is there anything more important that getting to Goff quickly on Saturday?

Stopping Cam Akers. That's the starting point in my mind. If you contain him, like the Packers contained Derrick Henry and David Montgomery, that eats away at the Ram's play-action game…which eats away at the downfield passing game for Goff. The Packers have played sound, fundamental run defense for the last six weeks. They need another big game from that front seven.

Zach from Delavan, WI

Good morning! Sooooo much Aaron Donald talk this week and his impact. What about Kenny Clark? He's no slouch himself. What impact do you expect him to have in the game this Saturday?

The national media might be sleeping on @KCBoutThatLife but I promise you he's causing the Rams a few restless nights. Clark is playing at a high level right now and is a big reason the Packers have stacked several strong performances together against the run. I think Clark is in for a big game – especially if LA pays extra attention to the edges.

Danny from Johnston, IA

I could not believe the stat I heard during the Rams-Seahawks game last week that since McVay has been the Rams head coach, they have not lost a game where they had the lead at halftime (37-0 in those games). That is a scary stat and makes me think we have to get out to a fast start in this game. I love being able to double-up, but does that change the thought process on kicking the ball away at the beginning of this game if given the choice?

Like the Packers, the Rams can shorten a game after they get up early. We're talking about the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in terms of time of possession this season. Green Bay must come out strong in the first quarter, put up points in the second and keep its foot on the throttle. As far as the coin toss, they've deferred all season. I don't see that changing now.

Ryan from Westfield, WI

Who do you think is going to better in the Rams game: Jaire Alexander or Jalen Ramsey?

Ramsey is one of the game's very best but I'll never bet against Alexander. Ever.

Jacob from Prairie du Chien, WI

Not that the accolades matter too much, but do you think Alexander will play with more of a chip on his shoulder than usual (hard to top) since Ramsey got that first-team nod instead of him? And is Ramsey more of a corner that stays on one side of the field or does he follow around the best receiver on the opposing team?

Outside perception doesn't matter to Alexander. He's his own man. Jaire believes he's the best corner in the game and that's the only ranking that matters. Ramsey can stick to a side but he did travel with DeAndre Hopkins, DK Metcalf and Mike Evans.

Don from St Paul, MN

When was the last time that the Packers had an All-Pro center?

The last time the Packers had an Associated Press first-team All-Pro was Jim Ringo in 1963. Several other centers have won other media entities' version of all-pro but Ringo was the only one to receive the whole enchilada.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Was re-watching the Week 17 finale highlights. Allen Lazard seems like a great teammate. When Dominique Dafney spiked the ball after his first career TD, Lazard immediately followed it to catch it to give back to him. His demeanor reminds me of Jordy, and the world could always use more Jordys.

What doesn't get talked nearly enough about with any of the Packers' skill-position players – even Davante Adams to an extent – is you don't have anybody clamoring to get the ball. It's about the team and Lazard perfectly embodies that selfless mentality. Lazard has had some big statistical games in a Packers uniform but he's also been a good complementary player at times and a model teammate. You can never have enough Allen Lazards on your football team.

Brian from Sussex, WI

If both healthy, which Rams QB would you rather face?

I'm not really sure what you mean by "healthy," so that's a tough question to answer. Jared Goff has a 111.0 passer rating in two games against Green Bay, so you can't take him lightly. At the same time, in real life, I'm curious how his surgically repaired thumb responds to the cold.

Trevor from Arvada, CO

I think there's one player being overlooked. I listen to way too much sports talk, and everyone is talking about Davante and Ramsey, and Donald. But I feel our one X-factor could be Aaron Jones, in the pass and run game. He's been quiet for a few weeks and I feel he is also due. Agree?

Agreed. This game will be won on the ground…and it's going to be fun to watch with the Rams looking to contain Jones, Jamaal Williams and AJ Dillon, and the Packers aiming to bring Akers back down to earth. Jones is a home run just waiting to happen, though. They need his best game.

Ryan from Holmen, WI

The Rams playing more of a two-deep look, I have to assume that we will see more opportunities in the middle of the field. Like always, it seems our focus remains on the headlines of the "stars" of Ramsey vs. Davante, but don't sleep on Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Robert Tonyan and especially Aaron Jones. Jones will have free releases behind the line of scrimmage and we all know he can beat linebackers one-on-one in the passing game.

And that's why I believe Jones is going to be such a pivotal piece of the puzzle for the Packers on Saturday. If the Rams show Cover-2, Green Bay needs to be able to run against a lighter box. As good as the 2011-12 offenses were, the Packers often struggled to break the Cover-2. That's no longer an issue with how deep and diverse the backfield is. It's the perfect complement to the threats Rodgers presents.

Tim from Cameron, WI

It sure seems like it will be difficult to move the chains against the Rams' defense. Have to think a big play from MVS needs to be in the equation.

That would be good, too.

James from Appleton, WI

If I'm a Packers offensive lineman, do I stick with my technique or do I started placing my hands on Aaron Donald's ribs?

It's not that easy. It's not like Donald is just going to let them. Plus, that could be an easy way to lose leverage. Like I said on Tuesday, just play your game and worry about what you control. Expect Donald's best and let the game unfold.

Paul from Owosso, MI

There is always a lot of talk about how the cold weather in Green Bay is such a home-field advantage for the Packers, and statistics even seem to back it up. How does a team full of players, most of whom don't have that much cold-weather experience themselves, turn into this dominant cold-weather team? Is it a practice approach? An organizational culture thing? Pure spite born out of the icy weather? Something else?

By living it in and practicing in it. You can't simulate Wisconsin winters or what it's like having to scrape off your frost-covered windshield at the apartment complex. That hardens you. If buy-in is there, it's a huge advantage for a team this time of the year – in addition to the fact the Packers know their field better than anyone.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

Man, this whole situation is scary. I feel terrible for Jared Veldheer, who was on the verge of making NFL history by playing for two different NFL teams in the same postseason. Not to sound cold-hearted, but I can't help but wonder, how long was he in the building? And if he was in the building, who was he most in contact with?

I don't have those answers. I'm sure Matt LaFleur will be asked about it later today. What I can say is the Packers' coaches, players and training staff have been vigilant all season long. Players have continued to wear their masks around the building. Furthermore, the team converted the spacious media auditorium into the offensive line room in case of something like this happening.

Craig from Appleton, WI

How does the Jared Veldheer signing affect the salary cap? Does he sign for a salary outside of the playoff game check? Do playoff game check salaries count against the cap for next year?

It doesn't. Playoff salaries are collectively bargained by the NFL. Everyone on a team gets the same paycheck and it doesn't count towards the salary cap.

Cindy from Mesa, AZ

Good morning! When we played the Rams a few years ago, their special-teams unit was a real difference-maker in a close game. How are their special teams looking this year, and what can the Packers do to minimize their mistakes during this phase of the game?

The Rams finished 30th in Rick Gosselin's special-teams rankings that were released Tuesday night. LA is averaging 20.6 yards per kickoff return and 6.9 yards on punts (without any TDs), and has used three different kickers this season (though it appears Matthew Gay has settled into that job). As far as the Packers are concerned, it doesn't matter what's happened – the special-teams unit needs to show up Saturday. Because this game is going to come down to technique and execution in all three phases.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Would you rather have Brady or Brees running your offense this weekend?

My random offense? Brady. Their respective team's offense? Brees.

Robert from Saginaw, NJ

The Jets' two wins were against the Rams and Browns, both of whom advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. This is why we watch the games.

Any given Sunday…or Saturday. We've reached the end game. It's win or go home.

KJ from Louisville, KY

Either of you have a psychology degree by chance? I get a lot of stomach butterflies and sweaty armpits leading up to and watching these playoff games even though I keep telling myself to relax and just enjoy the game of which I have ZERO control over. Then, I get mad at myself when I still get nervous and sweaty. What is the cure, oh wise ones?

I don't know but chances are you'll find the answer to what ails you in your refrigerator.

JR from East Moline, IL

If this is the year Rodgers finally gets the "Madden" cover, would you rather it be a picture of him in his Canadian tuxedo, his dude sweater, his "Jeopardy!" outfit, or with his gelled hair and soul patch from draft day?

NASA outfit.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

In about 54 hours, the Packers will take the field. I hope they execute and seize opportunity. Do those two things and live with the results. Go Pack Go!

I trust you calculated this correctly because I ain't checking it.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

A couple of days ago you posted a comment from someone who talked about his dad fighting cancer and how much it helped him watching the Packers. I too am fighting cancer (four years now) and I couldn't agree more. Watching my Packers helps take my mind off everything, even if it's just for a few hours. I start a new round of treatment on Friday, which is supposed to really do a number on me. So my request is this tell the players thank you, and win or lose, I'll be watching Saturday.

Keep fighting, Tom. We're all behind you.


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