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Inbox: You need both

Packers have to be road warriors during second half of 2019


Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Is it Sunday night yet?

We're getting there. Slowly but surely, we're getting there. Good morning!

George from North Mankato, NM

In regard to Mahomes or no Mahomes, a proud organization once said, "Knowing is half the battle." Now we know!

And the smart move by Kansas City. Live to fight another day with one of the best players in the entire league. Hopefully, we get see Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes square off in February, with all the marbles pooled in the middle. What a story that would be.

Mike from Ames, IA

What's the benefit of announcing Mahomes as out if you're the Chiefs? I'm surprised they didn't at least make it seem like a game-time decision, even if they know already.

The NFL monitors injury reports and pays attention to designations teams place on players, but at the end of the day, I don't think anyone thought Mahomes was actually going to play. By listing him as out, Kansas City can focus on Matt Moore leading its very potent offense.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

The coaching staff works behind the scenes and does their job effectively – we see significant improvement in many position groups. With the clamor from fans to go get this or that guy from another team, aren't we better off getting good talent and good coaches, and letting the coaches do their job with the family that is already here?

I think this season has proven the opposite to be true. Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff have done an exceptional job early on developing talent, but you also have to credit the infusion of Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, Adrian Amos and Billy Turner to Green Bay's turnaround. The Packers are always going to base their principles on draft-and-develop, but sometimes you have to go outside to get better. Long story short – you need both.

Ralph from Naples, FL

Mike commented that Aaron is more willing to throw to backs toward the sidelines. Do you think that another reason is that Matt convinced Aaron that not throwing to the backs tightens the coverage downfield? My guess is that the book on Aaron was to not worry about the backs and play more coverage downfield.

I think it has more to do with the scheme change. The Packers aren't running nearly as much shotgun this year, requiring the running backs to stay back to make sure there isn't a blitzing linebacker. This offense has more designed routes for running backs and fullback Danny Vitale – and Rodgers is trusting them to make the play.

Jason from Portsmouth, UK

Hi guys, you've mentioned this week what the Packers are going to face this week from KC's offense (McCoy, Kelce, Watkins and Tyreek Hill), but who are the players on defense we should look out for come SNF?

That's a great question because Kansas City is going to be without three of its best defenders in Frank Clark, Chris Jones and Kendall Fuller. Kansas City's entire defense came alive against Denver, but it's going to take a group effort to overcome the loss of those three Sunday night. Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill are a nice one-two punch at safety. Former Packers corner Bashaud Breeland is also a starter in KC's top-10 pass defense.

Stephen from Palos Park, IL

Where did Allen Lazard come from? He has made his presence known in the last two games.

THE Iowa State University. If you didn't know, now you know. Lazard is here to stay.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

What kind of coverage or who in particular is capable of limiting KC's star tight end Travis Kelce? I really don't think you can keep a player like him from being productive, but it would go a long ways to keep him quiet Sunday. I would think the Packers are going up against their toughest challenge of the year defensively and on special teams. Not only does KC have a star-studded offense, but it also has Tyreek Hill on returns.

Kelce is going to get his catches but the key is making sure he doesn't burn you for the big gain. Getting Darnell Savage back would be huge for this defense in defending the middle of the field. If it's me, I'm having Jaire Alexander trail Hill and keeping an extra safety shaded Kelce's way.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

The matchup I most am looking forward to is Kevin King on Sammy Watkins, especially if Jaire matches with Hill the entire game. You cannot help both CBs with a safety if Kelce is on the field, and Hill is the more dangerous of the two WRs. King's performance against Watkins, especially if the Pack jumps out to a lead, may prove to be the critical one-on-one matchup of GB defense against KC offense.

I'm with you. Hill and Kelce get the most attention, but if you need a reminder of how dangerous Watkins can be, just rewind the film of Kansas City's opener against Jacksonville when he had nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Watkins is coming off that hamstring injury but he's an end-zone threat every play he's on the field.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I confess. I liked it better when Kirk Cousins was struggling and Stefon Diggs wanted to be traded. It was just against the Redskins on Thursday night, but Cousins only threw three incompletions all game. Two of them were throwaways, and the other bounced off the hands of Dalvin Cook (who was a stud the rest of the game). Green Bay needs to keep up the mantra, "All gas, no breaks!"

Exactly. The Packers have earned this one-game lead in the NFC North but they have to keep the Ws coming to stay atop the division. Minnesota is no pushover. The Vikings are a veteran team that's going to keep bringing it every week.

Tom from Kenosha, WI

I know a lot has been made about the schedule of our opponents' time off before they play us, and our time off in some of those same scenarios. But have to say, being home only three times in the last 10 weeks of the season, starting with this week, the league sure didn't do us any favors.

I'd rather have five of the first seven at home than three of the first 10, though. The Packers will have to be road warriors here during the second half of the year, especially playing in San Francisco and New York in a span of seven days, but no schedule is going to be perfect. Having a Week 11 bye is helpful, as well.

Greg from Neenah, WI

What is up with Jace Sternberger being designated for return off IR but not immediately going onto the active roster? I'm anxious to see what we have in him.

The NFL gives teams a 21-day window to allow players on injured reserve to return to practice before teams must add them to their 53-man roster. Sternberger has another week he can practice before he must be elevated or remain on IR. The team is being smart about his rehab.

Matt from Plover, WI

Going along with what was said describing the difference between the college and professional ranks, I have noticed myself enjoying watching the college game more and more solely based on the fact I don't immediately look to see if a flag was thrown after every play, or watching offenses move the ball downfield solely on accepted penalties. Surely, I can't be the first fan to feel this way. Do you think the NFL may start losing fans due to continued officiating controversy?


Chuck from Green Bay, WI

Do you feel San Francisco and New England are undefeated due to rather easy schedules?

I won't argue that they've both had favorable early-season schedules but you still have to go out and win the games. I think the 49ers will be tested with Carolina this Sunday, two meetings with an improving Arizona squad and the matchup with Seattle. Meanwhile, the Patriots have a tough one coming up against Baltimore.

Baris from Delft, Netherlands

The Patriots have the benefit of an easy regular-season schedule. Some games are over in three quarters and they will probably be at full strength in January. The downside is they don't face much of a test. Packers, Seahawks, Vikings have a very difficult schedule. It is natural to have fatigue after a challenging regular season. However you are truly tested. For example, imagine how much the Packers learned after the Eagles game. Which path in your opinion is better for a successful playoff run?

I think it's difficult to argue with the path the Patriots are taking, especially given how their dominance in the AFC East has helped contribute to high playoff seeds and Super Bowls.

Bob from Riverside, CA

No math, right? I checked into the perfect passer rating of Aaron Rodgers, my first foray into the math. It's based on four equally weighted stats: completion percentage, yards per attempt, touchdown percentage and interception percentage (percentages calculated by dividing by passing attempts). Given the 31 attempts of Rodgers' last game, he needed all 25 completions and no interceptions but would have still been perfect with 388 yards vs. 429 and four TDs instead of five. It shows both his great game and how close any stat was to missing a perfect game.

And there you have it.

Andrew from Columbus, OH

Technically, Andy Reid did win a Super Bowl, just not as a head coach. He was the assistant offensive line/tight ends coach in 1996. In addition to that, Brett Favre credits Reid for a lot of his development. With such an accomplished record that Spoff catalogued and his role in developing the ol' gunslinger, does Andy Reid make a case as a Hall of Fame coach?

It's tough to say without the Super Bowl win. There are just so many good Super Bowl-winning coaches who also deserve the recognition. I think you need a Marv Levy-type resume to be considered without capturing the Lombardi. But there's still time.

Phillip from Illinois

Did the point spread go up for the Packers since Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes is now out for Sunday night's game?

Gambling is illegal in Inbox, sir, and I never slice.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

In response to Lucas from La Crosse, the Vikings' three remaining divisional games are all in Minnesota. It would be best to put as much ground as possible between the Packers and them before then.

That's sage advice.

Eric from Freiburg, Germany

The Josh Gordon situation got me thinking. If a player is put on IR but later released by his team and then picked up by a new team, is he still on IR or could he play right away?

A player can only be released from injured reserve once he's deemed healthy. Once released, he's eligible to play immediately elsewhere.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Forget all the talk about three weeks in a row facing a team with long rest. I can't believe we are forced to play a team that we faced off against in the preseason two weeks in a row. I hope someone in the front office has raised this issue with the league.

Teams choose their own preseason opponents – the league just selects the dates.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

B.J. Coleman sure took an interesting turn with his career. He might be the first Packer I actively dislike.

Am I missing something? What do you got against B.J. Coleman?

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike fielded two questions about the sad state of officiating and penalty calls and replay on PI. You guys are Packer employees and indirectly the NFL, and as such if you criticize the league or officiating can you be subject to discipline or fines (ala Clay Mathews)? It might be tough to get THAT letter in the mail and the subsequent payroll deduction.

I hope not, but assuming it's prorated to what the NFL employee makes, mine would be like $34.58.

William from Bowdoin, MA

Weston Wonka for the win!

Insider Inbox: We are the dreamers of dreams.

Jeff from Gladstone, MI

Was Davante Adams eating Skittles at his locker yesterday a veiled attempt to tell the media he is tired of talking about his injury? Seems like he may have channeled Marshawn a little there.

I think he just really likes Skittles.