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Inbox: Your team's counting on you Saturday night

Davante Adams has always stayed true to himself

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

Dustin from Madison, WI

Now is it Saturday yet?

Give it another day or two.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, thank you for the article on Davante Adams and his third Stand-Up Guy Award. What has your experience been like when you interview him? Who is your favorite person to interview?

I said this during "Three Things" but the biggest compliment I can pay Adams is he's always been the same guy with the media from his rookie season in 2014 to now. Failure didn't change him and neither did success. Davante Adams has always stayed true to himself. He joked about 2015 being a difficult year for him and occasionally ducking out of the locker room, but the thing is he always was respectful with how he handled his media obligations. That following spring, Adams was still his same, confident self. This award was made for guys like him. Also, Jason Wilde deserves a lot of credit for the work he does to make the Stand-Up Guy Award happen. He's taken it upon himself to lead the charge on this since the first year we gave out the award in 2014. When Adams talks about how cool the award is, that's all Jason. He does his mentor, and the award's namesake, Tom Mulhern, proud.

Andrew from Minneapolis, MN

We know about the noise levels of some stadiums and the nastiness of some fan bases. What is it about playing in Lambeau or traveling to Green Bay that opposing coaches and players have the hardest time with?

Packers fans can be the loudest in the NFL when they want to be and I promise you those players feed off that. Most of you have been waiting two full years to scream your lungs out at a Packers' playoff game, right? Well, your team is counting on you Saturday night. If you're at the game, the Packers need you loud as you can be on defense. If you can't make it and need to sell your tickets, Matt LaFleur kindly asks you sell to friendly *cough* Green Bay Packers *cough* fans. Hopefully, the cold night air brings out everyone's best.

Tyler from Arvada, CO

Looking back through injury reports, this looks like the first week (in a long time!) that Aaron Rodgers and the vast majority of the team is practicing together in a full (with some exceptions) capacity. How do you think this will improve their game?

Rodgers is the kingpin. I think having him out there in back-to-back weeks is huge for this offense. It might not be a coincidence the Packers' offense got off to the fast start it did in Detroit on the opening possession after Rodgers practiced in consecutive days. Even if Rodgers doesn't need the reps, it certainly elevates those around him in practice.

Will from London, UK

In five years as head coach, Kyle Shanahan has 39 regular-season wins. Matt LaFleur achieved the same in three seasons, and yet it seems that ML is always referenced as the proverbial younger brother of Shanahan and Sean McVay (admittedly he hasn't gone to a Super Bowl). With all three still in the playoffs, how do you think the coaches of the Shanahan tree match up against each other?

I don't think LaFleur is anybody's younger brother. I think he's the winningest coach in NFL history over his first three seasons. And he's already beaten McVay in the playoffs, too. A win over San Fran should tell you everything you need to know.

Dave from Lake Mills, WI

I've seen it asked how to defend against a WR like Deebo Samuel that can also line up in the backfield. How would defending against him differ from defending against players like Alvin Kamara, or Aaron Jones, etc. RBs that also line up running routes?

Samuel is going to get his touches like Kamara or Jones. The key is not letting him get into open space. The Packers must neutralize the 49ers' biggest threat. When Samuel is split out wide, the Packers need to defend him like the All-Pro he is. When Samuel is in the backfield, they need everyone rushing to the ball and tackling as a collective unit.

Matt from Burlington, WI

II, through cold and injuries there's always a way to overcome. What do the Packers need to do to contain the Niners' weapons on offense?

Just rise to the challenge. Green Bay deserves to be in the driver's seat. The Packers have played that well this season. It's just doing what you've done and applying it against a strong opponent. Jaire Alexander was back in pads Thursday. Rasul Douglas and Eric Stokes have had great seasons and this secondary has played together for a while now. Tackle, cover and pressure. That's it.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

If I remember correctly, before this year Billy Turner mostly played RG. With the play of Dennis Kelly, do you see him coming back to that position or staying out at RT?

We won't know for sure what the starting five looks like until Saturday night but LaFleur seems committed to Lucas Patrick at right guard. He played most of last season next to Turner, too. So, I would think that's the direction they'd go. Kelly did a fine job over the past month, though.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

How do the Packers compare to the 49ers as far as penalties go? Is either team better controlled as far as having penalties called on them this year? Do you think that the game could hinge on a couple late penalties?

The Packers were the least penalized team in the league this year (69 infractions for 678 yards), according to The Football Database. San Francisco ranked 13th in total penalties (102) but 30th in accepted yardage (1,066). What does that tell ya?

Tom from Rochester, NY

I get some people worrying about the Niners but I'm not buying this "dominating" performance against the Cowboys. Outplayed in the first half but the Cowboys self-destructed with penalties and still had a chance late in the game. The Niners' two-minute defense almost blew the game like it did vs. Pack earlier in the season. Definitely there are reasons to respect the Niners but nothing suggests we should fear the Niners. I think Aaron Jones running on the edges will be successful to set up the play-action game.

Respect the opponent but fear no one. San Francisco is a hot team right now. That's awesome. So, too, are the Packers. You're the top seed – show them who the captain is in this conference.

The Green Bay Packers held practice on Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

Margeaux from Tallahassee , FL

I see or hear nary a mention of Trey Lance as we get closer to game time. His athleticism could be a problem if SF throws us a changeup. What say you?

Maybe not, Margeaux, but I sure have. If Packers fans are doing the self-scout, I promise you this defense will be ready for Lance. You have to expect anything and everything with the Niners, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo hurting and a prodigy like Lance waiting in the wings.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

With regards to "redeeming losses" I like to equate it to a wound turning into a scar. If that wound can be treated fairly quickly, in this case through a win or an event that was directly prompted by it, the scar won't be as prominent as it could've been. The '09 WC scar is barely visible. The '14 NFCC is still healing, who knows if it ever will. The '07 NFCC is a big scar, but a reminder of how we got here. To me, the wounds of the past two years can still be healed, but time is running out.

I agree you must learn from the past but eventually you do have to look forward or you're going to trip over your feet. The Packers can't do anything about 2007, 2014, 2020, 1918, or 1216. They play for today because today has the only championship left to be won. This journey isn't about healing wounds to avoid the scar. It's about building monuments. Fourteen teams enter but only one will prevail. The Packers gotta do what they gotta do this year to make sure they're victorious this year.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

For the playoffs, do the call-up rules change for the practice squad? I see we protected four on the squad for this week, which is more than usual.

Same rules as the regular season except there's no limitations on how many times practice-squad players can be elevated. And no, that wasn't more than usual. The Packers protected four all season.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

Is Josiah Deguara the Pack's "semi-secret" weapon? Seems like he shows up when needed.

That's my pick and I'm sticking to it.

Dar from Mansfield , TX

If as Spoff expects, the Niners are persistently persistent with running the ball, what might we expect to see the Pack persistent at?

Persistently stopping them?

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, do you have a feeling the TE group could be a big part of this game?

I do. As much as we talked about Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell this week, the Packers need to run well on their side of the ball and the tight ends can help get that done. If you can set the tone early with Jones and AJ Dillon, that sets up the play-action and intermediate passing game. That's where Marcedes Lewis, Deguara and Tyler Davis have been effective this year. They don't need seven catches for 120 yards for the Packers to win. A few catches at key points in the game could go a long way for this offense.

Robert from Verona, WI

If a game is being played in single-digit temperatures, I think most fans would argue that the Packers gain an advantage over their warm-weather opponents. At minus-5 degrees or colder, I think most fans would acknowledge it's a crapshoot and we really don't know how players from either team will deal with the cold. From your discussions with Packers players over the years, is there a temperature sweet spot/range that they like for winter games at Lambeau?

I'd say probably in the teens with some biting wind chill. I actually think the Packers hold an advantage no matter how cold it gets. They know what it's like to live in this weather. There was that old Kevin Greene quote about what was going through his mind as Brett Favre knelt down to seal the win in the 1996-97 NFC title game and how the Panthers were just ready to go home. There's a lot of truth to that.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

With how important special teams can be in the playoffs do you expect to see more veterans or starters playing there? Maybe Randall Cobb back to returning kicks and punts?

It's the playoffs, man. I think everything is on the table. I do think David Moore played well enough against Minnesota, though, to deserve consideration.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

A good number of II junkies would love to see Robbie Gould miss one on Saturday. Me too. While I would like him to miss one or more as well, I would prefer to have Gould on the field kicking threes versus extra points. I like the idea of the Pack getting TDs and the 49ers getting FGs. Hope the D bends with no breaking on Saturday. Go Pack Go!

I've always enjoy seeing Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby share a football field. Two of the most underrated kickers of their era. Both mastered the fine art of kicking in the cold.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Speaking of Aaron Donald's hot-tempered demeanor, is that something that is considered in coaching and game-planning? In other words, might the linemen be encouraged to engage in a little extra chatter or even "grabbiness" to throw him off his game?

I don't know about that, but if I've learned anything this year about Donald, it's that it doesn't take much to bring that water to a boil.

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Is this the best weekend of NFL? Four great games with eight good teams. Every year this weekend is exciting.

I thought the same thing. It honestly feels like the NFL playoffs are finally starting this week.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

Do you think will Aaron Rodgers retire after this season?

I look forward to being asked this question, and many more about Rodgers' future, every day once the season is over and planning to save my response until then.

Martin from Plymouth, MA

You convinced me. Bought my tickets to the game to make sure they are selling to the right people. I am bringing my four kids, what do you recommend for food at Lambeau Field?

You're a good fan, Martin. I honestly don't know about the food, unfortunately. I haven't attended a Packers game as a spectator in 11 or 12 years. That Melottes meat counter on the fourth floor of the Atrium always has me drooling when I'm running back to my desk after the game, though.

Jon from Temecula , CA

Tombstone reference…LOVE IT!!! Now just beat the Niners. That is all.

Pa Hod enjoyed it, too. Just a small-town kid trying to make his daddy proud.

Michael from Weston, Canada

Fantastic reference Wes! Made my Tuesday. I have a feeling Aaron will be Jimmy G's huckleberry in their showdown at Lambeau on Saturday night. GPG!

Now that's the spirit.