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Inbox: You've seen how far a fast start can go

The Packers must keep the same hungry mentality they had at 3-6

WR Jayden Reed
WR Jayden Reed

Jim from Tempe, AZ

There are no gimmies in the NFL. The Steelers were rolling along winning low-scoring close games have now lost two games in a row, at home, to 2-10 teams. Give every opponent the utmost respect and play your best, because most likely it will take your best to win.

You basically repeated verbatim what Spoff said on Packers Preview and neither of you is wrong. Green Bay has worked its way back into the playoff picture and now is not the time to get complacent. The Packers must press on and keep the same hungry mentality they had at 3-6.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, since the Packers have shown a propensity to start the game fast on offense, do you expect the Giants to keep the ball if they win the toss?

After watching what happened against Kansas City, I would be (pleasantly) surprised if New York won the opening coin toss and deferred its choice until the second half. The Giants have issues getting out of the gate, scoring just 16 first-quarter points through their first 12 games. As it relates to the Packers, you've seen just how far a fast start can go.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

Don't forget we are (unfortunately) Bears fans this weekend as well. The Lions haven't won anything yet. With the way Minny plays with Justin Jefferson healthy, Detroit's remaining schedule is anything but a cakewalk. Save for a total collapse, the improved Bears would've beaten them in Detroit and this week they play in Chicago. As unlikely as it seems, we could be looking at two 10-win teams with GB having the tiebreaker. A lot of games left.

Yes, on the last sentence. The Packers need to get above .500 in order for the preceding 72 words to matter. Your enthusiasm is duly noted and appreciated, though.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Seems to me that the Packers need to concentrate on limiting Barkley and they can get another win. Are there other keys to winning on MNF?

Keep him out of the end zone. As I wrote Friday, the Giants are 4-5 when Barkley is in the lineup and 3-0 when he scores a touchdown. He's accounted for five of New York's 17 TDs. The Giants are on pace to allow 97 sacks this season, but Green Bay knows it can't get to Tommy DeVito without doing what's necessary against Barkley on early downs.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Yes, the Giants are coming off a bye, so they will be well rested. The Packers will have one extra day of rest versus the norm. How significant is that one extra day in terms of rest for the players and preparation for the coaches?

It's not nothing. Teams have to take advantage of any break afforded to them this time of year. Because win or lose, the Packers are suddenly on a short week prior to their noon matchup next Sunday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Matt LaFleur did the right thing in giving Green Bay a few days off from practice before returning to Hinkle on Thursday. Hopefully, a few bruises healed in time for this showdown at MetLife.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, the tight end talent the Packers have unearthed is impressive. Seems to be a room full of men of character, as well. I hope they all stay with the Packers for the long run.

For as much as we've talked about the receivers, Green Bay made an even larger bet on its rookie tight ends and it's paying off. The future looks bright at one of the NFL's most essential spots with the immediate contribution of Luke Musgrave and the emergence of Tucker Kraft and Ben Sims in Luke Musgrave's absence.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Good morning, Wes! Through 12-13 games, have penalties decreased league-wide during the last six games versus the first six or seven? They definitely seem to for the Packers. If so, is it because teams now have had more reps, officials are no longer making early-season points of emphasis or something else?

It kind of feels like that every season. The NFL comes up with various points of emphasis and seems to slowly back off as the season wears on. In Green Bay's case, significant yardage penalties are mostly down (e.g. holding penalties, personal fouls) but the numbers are mostly the same. The Packers have more penalties (45) over their last six games than the first six (41), but their 11 penalties for 99 yards against Minnesota in Week 8 skew those numbers a bit.

Tom from Newton, WI

What is the status of Jaire Alexander? We haven't heard much.

He's continued to practice on a limited basis but hasn't been cleared to return. We'll see what game status Green Bay gives him later today.

Joel from Mosinee, WI

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, I would like to know if a player on injured reserve is required to be on the sideline during a game, or can rehab on their own at a facility of their choice at their location, or they must check in with the Packers' medical staff to follow up on their therapy and the progress they made.

Players develop a plan with the Packers' medical staff, but they have the right to undergo surgery and rehab wherever they so choose. However, most players who don't have season-ending injuries typically will stay with the team. For example, Darnell Savage, Eric Stokes, and Luke Tenuta remained in Green Bay during their IR stints.

John from Palmdale, CA

Everyone is so fixated on THE BIG PLAY. I think one of the reasons we beat Detroit and KC was because the long drives ate up the clock, wore out their defenses and limited how long our opponents' explosive offenses had the ball. Our D was playing very hard, getting lots of hats to the ball because they weren't gassed by the three-and-out a lot.

Josh Myers touched on this while talking to the media Thursday. The Packers center agreed the offense winning the time of possession battle is helping the defense to stay fresh, particularly in the second half. And that's what you want to see; one hand washing the other.

Bob from Rome, NY

Wes: Regarding Spoff's comment from yesterday "the potential 10-second runoff after the replay review was indeed negated by the personal foul on Pacheco." Maybe I'm wrong but what would stop a losing team that needs a FG to win with no timeouts and the last play of the game ends up on the opponents 10-yard line and just a few seconds left to have an offensive player take a swing at the defense to stop the clock and get the FG unit on the field? TY

Unless I'm missing something, I believe the defense would have the option to decline the penalty and the game's over. But there were a ton of questions regarding personal fouls and end-of-game scenarios. It is something the NFL needs to address during its annual meeting this March.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

Sometimes you hear the narrative of rookies hitting the so-called wall. With all of the rookies and younger guys contributing do you think that could be a problem down the home stretch, or is that more of a false narrative?

I wouldn't say it's a false narrative, but I'm also not too worried about it with this particular group. I think this recent three-game win streak has amped up the locker room, both veterans and rookies alike. I feel like that energy will carry Green Bay into January.

The Green Bay Packers held a practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Did Mike leave Christian McCaffrey out of the discussion for MVP?

I'll never say never as it relates to a skill-position player capturing NFL MVP, but as we've discussed, it seems Associated Press voters have moved towards giving the MVP to the NFL's top quarterback while the offensive player of the year is reserved for the league's top skill-position player. Both McCaffrey and Tyreek Hill have good claims right now.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

I am going to propose a new rule that I thought should've already been in place before the start of the season. Now that we've experienced some success with this young roster, I think we need to forever retire any references that the "'70s and '80s are going to return." Not only has the NFL changed so much since then, but it's clear that level of futility is impossible with the talent on this roster. Jordan Love is competent and should provide stability for years to come. No math. No '70s-'80s.

I swear the doomsayers of the '70-'80s talk will drive me into early retirement. Listen, the Packers may not contend every year of my lifetime. They may even have a stretch of losing seasons, but the advent of NFL free agency and a 14-team playoff field make it highly unlikely the Packers fall into a 25-year doldrum again. Of course, there are exceptions, but the Packers no longer are fighting Siberia status. This is Titletown again and the task of competing as a small-market team isn't as daunting as it once was as long as you have the right GM, head coach and checkbook in place.

Kent from Lewiston, ID

I enjoyed "Spoff's Thoughts" on what other games Packer Backers should cheer on this weekend. Along with that, should we want the NYJ franchise to lose out? If the season ends today, where would we pick in the second round of the 2024 draft? Appreciate II every day!

The answer is yes. If the season ended today, I believe the Packers would have the 40th overall pick, but that's because the Jets have the worst strength of schedule among the four 4-8 teams.

Dan from Richmond, VA

I've done a good job this season of managing expectations, and just observing and appreciating this young team's journey. What a pleasure it's been! However, this Monday's game has me worried for a different reason: the notorious Met Life turf. Is there anything the team does differently to prepare for this evil, injury-causing abomination in terms of player equipment? Or do they just hold their breath and say a prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel like the rest of us?

Well, the situation isn't that dire or helpless. I sympathize with players having to perform on field turf, but the Packers' equipment staff is as experienced as they come in the NFL. Red Batty and his staff will have players in the best possible position to perform at the highest, and safest, level.

Mark from Madison, WI

If I couldn't pick Adam Vinatieri, I'd pick Robbie Gould to make a kick.

Congratulations to Robbie Gould on an incredible career. He was an NFC adversary to the Packers throughout his 18-year run but also a tremendous sportsman. I've never interviewed Gould, but Mason Crosby spoke highly of both his character and skill. Gould also proved a lot of doubters wrong during a successful six-year run in San Francisco.

James from Appleton, WI

Maybe the Dope Sheet could include the time of the game?

It's literally on the cover page, James. But the game's at 7:15 p.m. CT.


Charles from Fitchburg, WI

How soon can the Pack extend Jordan Love to a long-term contract? And at this point, why wait?

You have to wait a full year after extending a player to execute another contract extension. So, the earliest the Packers could extend Love would be May 2024.

Ruth from Rhinelander, WI

Who is the oldest player on the 2023 Packer team?

On the entire roster? David Bakhtiari (32). Preston Smith is the oldest on the active 53. He turned 31 last month.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Tanzania? I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the reach of the Packer fandom or that Chris must have had to send the question over a week ago to get here.

The global reach of the Packers never ceases to amaze me, but I'm still waiting for my first submission from Antarctica.

Charles from New Berlin, WI

Chris from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's question got me wondering. Is there a world map in the Insider Inbox room with pins locating worldwide submissions?

We probably could use one.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Regardless of outcome, our December friend has arrived, and we are all but guaranteed five meaningful games for the Pack! Enjoy every minute!

The Packers' 16-0 record under Matt LaFleur is the longest unbeaten streak in NFL history in the month of December. Let's see if Green Bay can make it 17. I will talk you guys on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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