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Inbox: You have to cherish these moments

A full menu lessens the predictability of what you’re serving

CB Tramon Williams
CB Tramon Williams

Paul from West Allis, WI

Will the Pack be taken more seriously with each win or not unless they reach the end game?

Aaron Rodgers recently said he wouldn't mind winning ugly all the way to the Super Bowl. I also don't think this team will mind if people kept doubting it all the way to the Super Bowl. It doesn't matter what the outside world believes as long as you believe. Good morning!

Paul from Bay View, WI

Tanner from Chicago asked what was our go-to play this year and I was surprised you didn't really notice that the WR going in motion as the QB flips a short pass on a jet sweep has been pretty successful for us this year. Either the TE is in motion or WR, and even the RB can get involved in this play. With the way our TEs and WRs block, I could see us using a different variation of that but not something that is on game film. Thoughts?

You're not wrong, but that concept is just one cookie in a big jar. As Spoff said, there aren't many of those "This is the play and formation we're running" as a go-to (e.g. the sweep). The game is too sophisticated for that now. If you show a look – let alone an entire package – the defense is going to be ready for it. A full menu lessens the predictability of what you're serving.

Jeff from Hickory, NC

I can't help but think Tramon Williams is thinking of the last playoff game against the Seahawks as a Packer. I believe he was not re-signed after that overtime loss. Your take on his improved skills and his experience this time around.

I think you thought wrong. First, it's the nature of the position. Second, Williams has played more than 200 NFL games. He's won a Super Bowl, been named a Pro Bowler and seen pretty much everything there is to see in this game. Tramon appreciates this opportunity not because of what happened in the 2014 NFC Championship – but because it's his first playoff appearance since that game. You have to cherish these moments.

Cameron from Wayland, MI

Can anyone block Za'Darius Smith?

One-on-one, I think he's the hardest edge rusher to block in the NFL right now.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

Ohhh man. Spoff's response to "The Reckoning" had me laughing harder than I have in a while. If you had to play with just one of them this Sunday, would you take Z or Kenny? I can see Clark finally getting some Aaron Donald praise this game. If anyone can tackle Lynch in the backfield, it's him.

Well, hopefully it's not one or the other. We'll see exactly what the week holds for Clark and the back injury that held him out of practice Wednesday. As terrific as Smith has been all year long, the run defense goes as Clark goes. They need him on Sunday.

Gabriel from Glen Ellyn, IL

I don't believe Marshawn Lynch will be the weapon many believe him to be. To be sure, Seattle will have multiple ways to hurt the Packers' defense, but Lynch is a slow power back. Packers have lots of speed on defense and power backs have not been the issue. If the Packers can solve how to cover tight ends and limit Wilson outside the pocket, I'm inclined to believe there will be a good outcome. What do you believe the X-factor will be in this game?

That's fine to think that, but you cannot sleep on either Lynch or Travis Homer, who has home-run potential. Lynch's yards per carry might not impress on the surface, but he's had a couple Beast Mode runs. The X-factor remains limiting the explosive gains. This defense is extremely difficult to beat when the offense doesn't pick up chunk yards.

Steve from Palm Springs, FL

Hi Mike and Wes, do you believe Aaron Rodgers must play his absolute best game of the year to jump start a Super Bowl run for the team? I believe so. Thanks guys.

You guys know how I feel about absolutes. Must he? I don't know if he must. There are 45 other guys wearing Packers uniforms out there with him, but it obviously would help this team's chances if Rodgers is playing at top form. As I've said before, it isn't all going to go according to plan. There will be moments of adversity Sunday night. This team has pushed through every obstacle put in its way this season. If something "must" happen to win on Sunday, it must keep that same mindset now.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

I think I understand the "spy" concept, but could you explain more what that actually looks like in a game? Thanks.

The defender watches the quarterback and makes sure he doesn't get past them. You'll typically see that "spy" dancing a few yards behind the line of scrimmage before committing to a rush.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Wes, Russell Wilson has a career passer rating of 67.6 against the Packers, with eight TDs to 10 interceptions. What do you think has caused him to struggle so much against the Packers, and does he need to finish much higher than a 67.6 rating on Sunday for the Seahawks to beat our team?

Pressure and discipline. Dom Capers did a phenomenal job of getting pressure on Wilson over the years and the front often played with tremendous gap integrity. I see many of the same parallels with how Mike Pettine called the game last year. Za'Darius and Preston Smith should be terrific chess pieces for Pettine to play with Sunday night.

Mike from Niles, IL

Nothing new, but was glad to read a few weeks ago the nice words one of you had for Mark Murphy. I saw lots of criticism of him. I had written him several times, sometimes positive and sometimes negative, and he had always taken the time to respond, personally and directly to my comments. I was pleasantly surprised, and my Bears fan buddies were shocked that he had done so. Also have a short note from Ron Wolf that I treasure, thanking me for appreciating the good he did for the Pack.

I just want to mention – because I saw this unnecessarily led to the spewing of vitriol towards reporters on social media – the reason I posted and wrote what I did is because of how much Murphy had at stake this year. It wasn't intended to call anyone to the carpet but rather give Murphy the credit I feel he deserves. Whether you agree or disagree with the structure, Murphy acted in what he felt was the best interests of the franchise and the Packers have seen immediate returns from the hiring of Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur. Murphy is too humble to take credit for any of that, so I felt I would say something. Because if this year didn't go well, he'd probably be the first to be criticized.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

Did Raven Greene get bigger?

He put on more size in the offseason to play that hybrid linebacker role. He came in around 212.

Jim from Fountain Hills, AZ

An avid Packer fan, I was lucky enough to attend the Packers-Bears game. Cold weather against a tough divisional opponent, I found one thing very apparent: the penalties, or lack thereof. The Packers averaged only 48 penalty yards a game (top five), and impressively the least penalty yards for defensive pass interference in the NFL. Disciplined, smart. Need I say more?

If I've learned anything watching the New England Patriots over the past 20 years, it's that the more disciplined team wins. Play with discipline, win with discipline.

Michael from Portland, OR

Nice to see the expose on Billy Turner and his clothing designs. What other Packer players have skills outside of the game that stand out to you? Musicians, painters, (pilots), wood workers...?

From what I've seen on Instagram, Danny Vitale can play a mean guitar.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

After the Packers lost to the 49ers, I started growing a beard because my 7-year-old daughter wanted it for a belated birthday present. Now, the Packers haven't lost a game since and I am obviously the reason. Unfortunately, my wife is growing dissatisfied with this hairy situation. This is a true dilemma. To ask, probably the most important axiom-question you've ever been asked – happy wife, happy life, or "Go Pack Go"?

You know what I'm going to say – a man on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don't happen very often. If you believe they're playing well because you have a beard, then they are. And you should know that!

Nick from Plainwell, MI

With this being the first home playoff game under ML and first in a long time, are you expecting the crowd to bring it? Not just being loud, but also being smart and doing the wave and saving the GO PACK GO's for defense.

I really hope so. It's been three years since the Packers have hosted a playoff game at Lambeau Field. You want to make it count.

Jeff from Sioux Falls, SD

Are Reggie Begelton and Elijah Wellman able to work out using the Packers' facilities on their own time away from the current team or even observe the team in practices getting ready for the Seahawks?

That's a good question about using team facilities. Knowing how the CBA works, I'm guessing they would have that option. They are not allowed to practice right now, though. They're on the 2020 roster, not the 2019.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Mike McCarthy's press conference couldn't have gone any better. What a pro. Loved the shout-out to Randall Cobb. And he couldn't have answered the question about Dez's catch any better. There's no doubting the talent he has to work with. What do you think are his top coaching priorities for his new team?

I expected nothing less. He has a long list of priorities but I have to imagine high on that list is getting that team to play to its talent level.

Bill from Menominee, MI

Mike McCarthy in Dallas has some intriguing aspects to it. Dallas seems happy with its offensive coordinator (who is also the play-caller). McCarthy has shown that he will relinquish play-calling to the offensive coordinator in order to focus on other emphases within the team. We've seen in Matt LaFleur's rise that offensive coordinator and play-caller are not always synonymous (e.g. LA and Tenn.)

McCarthy said he'll take everything into consideration before making any decisions on play-calling. It all depends on what direction McCarthy wants to go with the offense and what he chooses to emphasize. If McCarthy concedes play-calling, I'm sure he'll learn from the experience he gained in the first half of 2015.

Ryan from Staten Island, NY

It seems like Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy have had very similar resumes with the Saints and Packers. A ton of playoff appearances with one Super Bowl each with Hall of Fame quarterbacks. However, it feels like Sean Payton gets praise and gets called one of the best coaches in the NFL and Mike McCarthy gets nothing but criticism. Why do you think that is?

I think the expectations are different in New Orleans. The history of the two organizations is so much different and Payton coached the Saints through a very difficult time in Louisiana. He also won the Saints their first and only Lombardi Trophy. I'll just never forget him telling reporters at the NFL owners meetings in 2016 about how he had a new contract in his bag at the coaches' breakfast. He wasn't lying.

The Green Bay Packers held practice Wednesday afternoon to prepare for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Randy from Highland, IL

II, what is the NFL's reasoning behind having mixed crews of officials for playoff game? As much trouble as the officials have calling a game during the regular season, it would seem to make more sense to utilize officiating crews who are at least used to each other for the all-important playoffs.

I think the idea is having the best and most experienced officials on the field at the same time outweighs whatever benefits there are of keeping crews together. The best will make each other better.

Scott from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I read a Q&A on Seattle's website that fans submit and the writers are responding to the fans' questions of the Seahawks facing the winner of the Minnesota-San Francisco game as if Seahawks have already won the game. Do a lot of people around the league not take the Packers seriously? I feel it's important to stay grounded until after hosting the Lombardi Trophy.

I don't know but I can tell you the same questions are being asked from Packers fans. I'm just not posting them out of the respect to the upcoming opponent. I'll gladly take those questions next week.

Alex from Madison, WI

Of course we're all focused on Sunday, but need your thoughts, Wes. What do you think of the new XFL rules? Focused too much on the viewer? Favorite rule? Least favorite rule? Certainly has some interesting changes that will really impact play.

I love 'em. If you're gonna be different, then be different. The original XFL led to many advancements, particularly with how the game is broadcast. I'm excited to see what comes from the new incarnation. I have many good friends who'll be working in the XFL this spring. I can't wait to watch.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

Ah Spoff! The grammar smack-down never fails to amuse. Years ago, Vic opened my eyes to the irrelevance of the word "that" 90% of the time. Spoff carries the torch. So Wes, from time to time you mention him editing you but never vice versa. Do you ever get a chance to be the grammar police?

Not often with grammar. Spoff is probably the most accomplished person I've worked with when it comes to the English language, which I think is a callback to his pops. I occasionally get to do a fact check here and there, though.

Caleb from Chicago, IL

Wes should see his family more.

You're telling me.

Bob from Springfield, IL

I have been wondering for a while now...which one of you is the rocker and picked out the intro music for "Unscripted"?

Neither of us. I don't make decisions. I make content.

Bob from Colby, KS

It's a fact of life: We all walk in someone's shadow. It's how we hold ourselves in that shadow that really matters. As some of your emails show, you walk in the shadow of Vic, but you walk humbly and confidently. When Vic's name comes up, you could easily delete that email but you don't. This humble but confident walking came through loud and clear in Tuesday's Inbox. Keep walking humbly and confident and your character and wisdom will keep shining.

Spoff and I carry a torch here that someday will be passed onto the next writers. I've valued my time on the beat with Vic and am grateful for him sticking around in 2016 to ease this transition. To appreciate the house, you must also acknowledge the foundation it's been built upon.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

Wes, Frank was over this weekend, and he never stopped gushing about how you came down to see him by his "brick." It meant a great deal to him. I'm guessing when we're on our way to Lambeau on Sunday, it'll be discussed again. Thanks, it was a very meaningful gesture to him.

Vic liked to say the memories make us rich. Well, every interaction I have with Frank makes me richer. It was great seeing him and Andrea. He's always in my thoughts and prayers.

Steve from Frankfort, IL

(From "Unscripted") Wes: "the funny thing about Clowney is..." Hilarious!

I'm glad someone caught that.

Sean from Aubrey, TX

I'd rather be the worst 13-3 team with a first-round bye in the playoffs than the best 8-8 team sitting at home watching them.

I won my first poker tournament on my 18th birthday in Upper Michigan. If you think I look young now, you should've seen me 14 years ago. Anyway, I remember an older gentleman remarking to his buddy when I sat down at the table that I was "a fish." It was a cockamamie attempt at intimidating me, but their barbs only served as motivation. A couple hours later, I knocked them both out with a smile on my face. Was I the best player at the event? Heck no. But I played well and I kept knocking people out. It didn't matter what anyone else thought of me and it doesn't matter what people think of the Packers' 13-3 record. They've earned those wins. They paid for them in blood and sweat. They earned that first-round bye and they earned this opportunity before them. Who cares about which road you took to the playoffs? Finding your path to greatness is the only thing you need to worry about now.