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Inbox: You gotta have faith 

There’s value in Lucas Patrick’s brand of versatility

Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Aaron Rodgers

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

After Sunday's victory, my son is hooked on Packers football. Look for Noah from Eau Claire, WI, to be finding his way into the Inbox as soon as he learns how to spell.

Insider Inbox: It's a generational thing.

Bill from Menominee, MI

If that game would've ended in a tie, I think all our reactions should have been, "That's fair."

And the fact that it didn't makes me say, "That's football."

Jason from New Hampton, IA

I know everyone relates to a hard day at work, especially when everything seems to be going wrong. That said, I feel like Mason Crosby is a professional kicker with 15 years of experience for a reason, and that reason is that he has a process that he follows and the mental game is much less of a factor than most think. What say you Insiders?

Crosby is the total package as a kicker. He had elite leg strength coming out of Colorado in 2007. That's what helped get Crosby drafted. But his durability and mental toughness are what have kept him in the league for 14 years. Once every few years, Crosby has a game where things don't click. But that's the point – game, singular. Many fanbases feel anxiety about their kicker every Sunday, not just one game every two or three years. Sure, that wasn't Crosby's best day but there haven't been many like that, either.

Troy from Ninety Six, SC

Say what you will about the missed field goals, but the interaction Mason Crosby and Coach LaFleur had before the final kick shows just how good of a coach he is. I've no doubt the players love him and would run through the proverbial brick wall for him. If I "Madden" rated coaches, I'd give him a "99."

I loved everything about that interaction, from LaFleur asking Crosby point-blank if he can hit it to Crosby not flinching in his response. I also like what Crosby said after the game about how, "This is what I do." Football is a tough game, but LaFleur's level-headed nature and unwavering confidence in his players will guide him through whatever difficult moments he encounters. Crosby wanted to make him right – and he did. You gotta have faith and Matt LaFleur most certainly does.

Jim from St. Petersburg, FL

This season has shown us that it takes all 11 to make a field goal. The kicker has to be on point, the snap and hold perfect, every player on the line has to execute perfectly, and the ball still might be obliterated by a laser. Despite the misses, I'd take Crosby every day of the week and four times on Sunday.


Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's your favorite Crosby kick and why?

Crosby's pair of 50-yarders in the playoff win over Dallas back in January 2017. Nothing else comes close.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

Seriously, the reasoning for kicking a field goal on THIRD down so early in the overtime has escaped me. Can you help me out?

Time was irrelevant. The Bengals had already thrown a pick, so the next score wins. The Packers attempted the field goal on third down because it gives holder Corey Bojorquez a chance to sit on the ball if there's a bad snap or any issues with the operation.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Good morning, Wes. Small silver lining on all the PAT and field goal attempts: Coverage was good. I didn't see anyone coming as close to a block as in previous games.

One adjustment I noticed was the Packers used defensive tackle Tyler Lancaster as the right wing. LaFleur said the protection unit did a better job but there still are things to clean up heading into the Chicago game.

Hap from Graham, WA

Morning, Wes: Crosby is not the only Packer with ice water in his veins! If the NFL ever invented the "blue-collar, lunch-box-carrying, old-school, trustworthy, hard-hitting, clever player with absolute integrity" award it would go to Marcedes Lewis. Lots of talk about the game, not enough about him. His third-down play where he ran over three or four defenders for the first down was inspiring to say the least. Is there any other player on the team that provides as much inspiration as he does?

I'm not sure how many of you were able to catch Peter Schrager's "Espresso Shot" take on Lewis' 20-yard catch-and-run but I felt like it perfectly captured a pivotal moment in that game. That play was like an emphatic dunk after a fast-break, ending what had been an 8-0 run for the opposing team. It seems like all these top-tier Packers teams had a veteran free-agent signee who became an emotional leader. The Super Bowl XLV team had Charles Woodson. The Packers of the mid-2010s had Julius Peppers. In the LaFleur era, that guy has been Lewis.

Tom from Glen Carbon, IL

The third-down throw to Randall Cobb is as impressive of a throw as I have seen. Aaron Rodgers was under pressure, fading backwards and with a flick of the wrist threads the needle with three defensive players all around to connect with Cobb. I hope we never take for granted Rodgers' greatness.

That whole sequence was insane. For starters, I don't know how many quarterbacks can make that throw but then for Cobb to maintain his concentration on the ball with all those DBs bearing down on him was extraordinary.

Jack from Moweaqua, IL

Hey guys. Can you speak on how important depth is in this league? Despite missing Za'Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander, possibly our two best players, the depth of our defense has seriously impressed me this season so far. You guys agree?

Depth is an essential part of any championship formula. The 2010 Packers don't win the Super Bowl if not for all the men who stepped up in the place of others. On Sunday, the Packers received so many contributions from role players and reserves. Just look at the job Lucas Patrick did at center. Here's a guy who competed all summer for a starting job at guard but also has center in his back pocket. There's a major lesson to be learned in the way Patrick approaches football: There's value in his brand of versatility.

Jaimito from Corona, CA

I really felt the defense made some strides on Sunday, and should have had even better results given that the TD by Ja'Marr Chase at the end of the half would have been defended at least nine out of 10 times by Darnell Savage. When will we see "52" step up and become the force that the team desperately needs him to be?

Rashan Gary already is. I know the name of the game is sacks, but Gary is currently tied with T.J. Watt, Danielle Hunter, Micah Parsons and Harold Landry for the sixth-most quarterback hits (10) this season. If he keeps the pressure coming, the sacks will come.

John from Roanoke, VA

With all due respect to the question-selection process, I was hoping to see more love for the defense in yesterday's Inbox. This is a defense without arguably its top two players who got pressure, created turnovers, and held a star-studded offense to 22 points through almost 70 minutes of gameplay in their stadium. A lot will be said of Crosby and the offense, but this defense deserves a lot of credit.

There was quite a bit to cover after that one, John, and only so many column inches. (Editor's note: Spoff followed up on the defense in his story late Monday.) The defense, by and large, played well. Situationally, there's still work to be done in the red zone and with limiting the explosive gains, but the defense played with attitude in Cincy. The Packers set the tone in the first half and then shut out the Bengals in the third quarter. It was a good day for the defense, especially when you add in all the guys they were missing.

Israel from West Allis, WI

Regarding red-zone inefficiency, do you think that getting three starters back on the left side of the line might help?

The makeshift offensive line has done a great job giving Rodgers a breathable pocket from which to throw. In addition to firming up the pass protection, the return of David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins should help the ground game. Bakhtiari is so fluid when they send him out as a lead blocker on stretch plays and Jenkins is an earthmover at guard. If the Packers can get back to pounding the rock inside the 20, I think a lot of those perceived inefficiencies inside the red zone will start to iron themselves out.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

Kevin King has taken a lot of flak recently, but it seemed to me he had a pretty solid game on Sunday. Am I wrong?

King played his (keister) off on Sunday. He was aggressive and physical. Unfortunately, it sounds like he injured his shoulder at some point but played through it until that collision with Tyler Boyd. We'll have to see how the week goes for King. The Packers need him with Alexander out at least two more games.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Hey II, I know that Rodgers loves Cobb and he has surprised me by his impact so far, but at times it has seemed AR12 is forcing the ball to his friend. Then, on third-and-goal call looked designed to roll left, but pre-snap Davante Adams had a one-on-one with lots of space on the right. Three steps and a cut and he was wide open, but the play was already going the other way. That seems like a check Rodgers usually makes. Am I just imagining this, or is there any truth here?

That's hard to say without knowing the play design. Still, I haven't felt like Rodgers has been forcing the ball to Cobb. Rodgers targeted him just three times Sunday, with Cobb catching two passes for 30 yards.

Daniel from Allen, TX

Am I the only one who can't figure out how Darnell Savage did not knock that ball down? In real time I was like, "Great closing speed!" Then I see Chase trotting into the end zone. I think that play almost epitomizes the house of horrors that Cincy is for the Pack.

Part of what makes football so great is the thin line between agony and ecstasy. Savage was inches away from, at the very least, batting that ball away. Instead, it gets through for a 70-yard touchdown. He has the right mindset, though. Savage already was tweeting after the game that those plays will be INTs soon enough – and I believe him.

Joe from Wausau, WI

On the long TD at the end of the first half to Chase, can you explain what Matt LaFleur was talking about in his news conference regarding there being no pass rush? He makes reference to "a check."

There was some miscommunication up front where the Packers' rushers heard a check Green Bay uses in its own offense and adjusted to that. Unfortunately, it didn't mean the same thing and Burrow had way too much time to find Chase downfield.

David from Sheridan, WY

The Packers have a significant number of injuries and haven't played their best ball yet. Do you think it's better for a team to get healthy and hot later in the year?

Absolutely, but I was saying that even before the injuries. With the way the schedule lays out, the Packers have a chance to get on a run during the fourth quarter of the season with a Week 13 bye and four of their last six at home.

Layne from Denver, CO

The Packers' schedule looks brutal! Where does their schedule rank compared to the rest of the league? Hopefully, Russ won't be ready to cook in a few weeks!

I saw a tweet last week from one national writer that had it as the sixth-toughest strength of schedule.

Spencer from Crystal Lake, IL

That's a solid Bengals squad. Looks like they've got some good coaches and really talented players to work with. Their arrow's going up.

I believe it was Aaron Nagler who pointed out on Twitter the similarities between the 1994 Packers and this year's Bengals. It's true. That's a young and hungry team on the come up. The future is bright in Cincy.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

I had a plan when I realized I'd be airborne during Sunday's game. I hoped to watch it using the plane's WiFi on Sunday Ticket, but the game was blacked out. I then went to stream it on SiriusXM but could not connect. Spoff's game blog came through big-time! Huge thanks for keeping me in the game while technology otherwise conspired against me!

From what Spoff told me, we had some huge numbers on the live blog on Sunday. Thanks for taking packers.com with you on your journey.

Howard from Appleton, WI

I enjoyed the excitement of the wild and crazy Packer win yesterday, but I'm also thinking of another question: Is it time for us Packer fans to recognize and appreciate the job Mike McCarthy is doing in Dallas?

I give Mike a ton of credit for the job he's done in Dallas. The guy knows how to build a program and empower people. I get everyone wants to besmirch the Cowboys because they're the Cowboys but that's a good football team.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Things that make you go hmmm! About once a week, we are reminded that the yellow first down line is "unofficial." Sure enough, about once a week, the officials duly drag the chain from the sidelines to measure for a first down. About three times a week, the officials go under the canopy to review ball placement for first down. What else could they possibly be using except the "unofficial" yellow line?

FOX had all sorts of problems with its yellow line on Sunday.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

Of the 11 NFL games that have ended 25-22, this was the first time that two happened on the same day, but the 2001 season had two games finish with that score, six weeks apart. The 49ers beat the Panthers in Week 10 and the Seahawks beat the Chargers in Week 16. If you or your readers want to travel down a rabbit hole of statistical silliness, you can find it at https://nflscorigami.com.

That's a great website. It's also interesting how both Green Bay and New England had to rally somewhat to win their games by those margins.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. It was fun to learn about the superstitions of coaches and players while they endure game-deciding field goal attempts. What superstitions do you have in the press box?

I'm a fairly 'stitious person but I don't believe I have any press-box superstitions. Before COVID, I used to shake Spoff's hand before the opener/big games but that was more ceremonial than a scripted ritual.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Kudos to 1) Gutey and his staff on the pickups they've found this year, even newly acquired La'Darius Hamilton had some nice plays. 2) The "youngsters" that have stepped up and are playing like veterans. 3) Mike and Wes, who incredibly can put out the quality journalism we appreciate after every game. I'm glad it was a noon kickoff because it took me the rest of the day just to process that game. Don't know how y'all do it, but thanks!

Boy, I didn't even think about that until now. Thank God that wasn't a night game.


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