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It's gut-check time at the turn

There’s nothing wrong with a winning habit


Jocelyn from Dallas, TX

I really hope there aren't a bunch of emails correcting Spoff's World War II history.

We're pushing our allotted mailbox storage space.

Paul from LaPorte, IN

When did Blutarski start writing for the Insiders? I like it.

There were waaaaaaaaay too many people out there who didn't get the reference. I was born nine years after "Animal House" opened in theaters and still understood what Spoff was saying.

Jay from Woodstock, GA

Spoff, to fix this season, "We have to go all out. This situation requires a really futile, stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. And we're just the guys to do it."

Mike is out on assignment today, but I'm sure he'll appreciate your comment once he returns to the Inbox.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

I give you guys (Mike, Vic, & Wes) all the credit in the world for what must be coming in your Inbox right now. As one of your moderators for, I'm amazed at the knee-jerk reactions to our record. How is "fire everybody" a solution to the multitude of injuries we have? Again, I salute you for the patience you've displayed.

Here's the thing: readers and commenters have the luxury of nobody knowing who they are. They can be as judgmental as they want and have quick reactions to anything and everything. You can freely rip on any aspect of the team, and Spoff and I probably won't remember what you said a week from now…well, except Steve. Everybody knows Steve. Anyway, Mike, Vic and I don't have that benefit. Our name and credibility is tied to every word that we write and speak. If I were to use this space to rip a player one week and then praise him the next, what service are we providing? My currency is consistency. Once the season is over, we'll have another six to eight months to analyze everything, so I don't get too high or too low right now because the league shifts on a weekly basis. A writer's integrity is based on being fair and reasoned in his or her analysis. My job is to provide you the information and a few stories you've maybe never heard before. It's up to you to draw whatever conclusions you wish. Regardless, I'm going to be the same person next week that I am today – win or lose.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Insider guys, what was your HONEST take on the Sherman hit? Did you see his effort on the next kick? Have you ever seen the Packers' staff teach to block a kick with your shoulder, or do they block with their hands? I think it was cheap. I lost a lot of respect for the NFL and ESPN on this play.

I was watching the game when it happened and immediately thought the hit was late and unacceptable. Sherman is a smart player and obviously was selling out to get the block. I get that it's not necessarily roughing the kicker because the play was shut down, but I don't know how the referees didn't call it a late hit. Football is football. Contact happens, but I would've liked to have seen a little remorse from Sherman for hitting Carpenter the way he did. I'm guessing he wouldn't have been thrilled if an opposing player went low on him when he was in a compromising position.

Daniel from Sugar Land, TX

Wes, for a team that preaches taking advantage of matchups, why aren't we running more? I assume teams are flooding the defensive backfield to tighten windows for the receivers and Don Jackson is young and fresh. I'd be interested to see how he did if he was given a chance to get into a rhythm. With Ty mixed in I think our running game could get defenses to stay honest with the attempts and a bit of success.

The Packers want to run the ball more. It's been an emphasis all season, but it comes down to what the game dictates. The offense also has utilized more short passes to help make up for the lack of an established bell-cow running back. As Aaron Rodgers said, it probably won't be until James Starks returns that the Packers will be able to return to a more traditional run game. In the interim, it's going to take a multi-faceted approach on first and second downs.

Dillon from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, can we talk about some of the positives from the last game? I thought Clinton-Dix's first interception was a perfect example of each player winning their one-on-ones. Thanks to the linemen doing their job, and the secondary holding coverage, Luck was forced into a throw that Ha Ha was ready for. What an example of team play.

The Packers forcing two turnovers in the first quarter was a good sign for the defense, especially with Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde applying pressure on the two Clinton-Dix interceptions. That's a team effort. There really were a lot of positives for the defense, but it just came down to a lack of execution before halftime and the final series of the game. I've seen a lot of commentary about the defense in reader comments, but Green Bay still ranks seventh in the league in total yards and No. 1 against the run.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

When Starks returns do you think the offense will attempt to return to balance or continue their pass-heavy ways of the past few weeks?

That's what makes Starks' eventual return so intriguing. He doesn't run routes like Montgomery, but he's developed into a reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield in recent years. Along with bringing a hard-charging running style, Starks could help the offense get the screen game going again like the latter half of 2015. Those plays provided instant offense.

Jared from Philadelphia, PA

Why activate 2 fullbacks? Do you think the team will experiment with "Rip" as the HB and Kerridge as the lead blocking FB, or vice versa?

We won't know the exact reasons that played into the Packers activating Kerridge until McCarthy speaks on Wednesday, but I'd assume Kerridge's promotion has more to do with special teams than offense for the time being. A team captain as a senior, Kerridge was known as a special-teams ace during his time at Michigan.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Gentlemen, in regards to energy, it seemed the fans in the stands lacked energy as well on Sunday. It was frustrating to watch Luck use a fake snap count, get the defense to show their hand, and then calmly and easily change to play to a more favorable matchup. This isn't something that should be that easy on the road. Lambeau needed to get loud.

Get Loud Lambeau. It's a catchy phrase, but there's meaning behind it. I was talking to my dad about this on Monday night. He said he was hollering at the top of his lungs during the first three quarters and everyone was just kind of staring at him. It's easy to cheer when the offense is running wild in the fourth quarter, but it's important to sustain that energy, as well. Hence the phrase, "Taking the crowd out of it."

Guilherme from Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul Brazil

Is there a chance Aaron Rodgers uses a Jon Snow costume in a press conference if we win the division? All the haters would be glad to scream KING IN THE NORTH!

I don't know how likely that is to occur, but I'm pretty sure Rodgers is a Thrones fan. It's good to remember Jon Snow had a few setbacks before getting to where he's at. You don't get to become a king without overcoming a little adversity and silencing a few doubters.

Tim from Chicago, IL

Love the column and the variety of responses. Vic, you've done well to hand this off and keep your touch on it. That being said, I loved Vic's response using only lyrics from Yes' "Round About." Will one of you pick a day and only answer in song lyrics?

I'm not sure I know 20 song lyrics.

Jay from Land O Lakes, FL

If you had told me before the season that the Packers would lose their starting running backs, top three cornerbacks, starting tight end, best outside linebacker and all for extended periods, I would not have expected more than a 4-4 record. So on second thought, we are doing great!

Injuries aren't an excuse, but that sure is a lot of bodies.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

What happened to the squirrel?

I'd assume he or she returned to Skyline Park to continue gathering nuts for the winter. Running the 40 can be taxing on a little guy.

Cole from Madison, WI

Far too many people come here seeking validation to throw in the towel mid-season. I've given up on GB twice during seasons before; once after the 7-3 loss to Detroit in 2010, and at halftime against the Cowboys in 2013 when we were down 26-3. Fortunes can change quickly in the NFL.

They sure can. Three weeks ago, the Vikings were impenetrable and the Lions had no chance. That's just the way it goes in the NFL. It's a week-to-week league and what happens one week doesn't necessarily foreshadow the next.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, before the 2014 season I was visiting friends and family in Wisconsin. While sitting around the dinner table with six other people I made the statement that I thought in terms of talent and depth the Packers had their best team since the '60s. We had all been around to have witnessed the '60s and after much discussion we all agreed with the statement. Well, you know how that season ended and the devastation and disappointment it brought. Obviously my expectations were too high. A year ago last August, I was again visiting and the same discussion ensued, and we all agreed there was just as much talent but with more depth. Well, the expectations and disappointment got me again. So this year I vowed not to let my expectation get too high. Guess what? It didn't work! Will I never learn? With reality staring us in the face we could all use a surprise happy ending.

It's not a bad thing to have high expectations. If you care about a team, it's only natural to want to see it thrive. It's just dangerous to let those expectations control your emotional response in the wake of defeat and adversity.

Jimmy from New Richmond, WI

Hey, Wes. All this negativity, and people wanting all these changes, is very irritating and upsetting. It bothers me more to hear the constant complaining from the "fans" than it does losing. Every loss we take, I stand that much taller for this team to show my unwavering support. Do people not realize loyalty? So if a loved one is losing to a disease, we should just give up on them and concede defeat? I will not, I stand as tall as my short stature will allow, to show support to the team that's brought me 20-plus years of joy!

I was talking with Morgan Burnett a couple weeks ago for**a story I wrote about his relationship with his father**, who passed away last September. One of the things his father taught him was how important it is to stay true to yourself. It's easy to handle success, but a person's true character is revealed when things aren't going his or her way. In those moments, how will you respond? It's gut-check time at the turn.

Jim from Fort Laramie, WY

Two things confuse me. Vic started the idea that it's "players not plays." I call that baloney and would use a rougher term if possible. It has to be both. Otherwise, we'd run the Packers' sweep every play, or a QB sneak. I really can't understand why it isn't a good idea to be playing good all season. I played on four undefeated football teams and didn't see anything wrong with that. Playing well is a habit and there's not a thing wrong with having a winning habit. You guys sometimes act as if the whole season revolves around December and that's delusional and delusive.

Let me guess – back in '82, you used to be able to throw a pigskin a quarter mile or could throw a football over those mountains? I'm very happy for you and your four undefeated football teams, but I'm not sure it's applicable to the NFL. It is a good idea to play good football all season, but there are 13 other teams you're facing each regular season that are trying to accomplish the same objective. There's one thing I'll agree with you on – "playing well is a habit and there's not a thing wrong with having a winning habit." The Packers have been the winningest team in the NFC for the past decade. I guess that's a pretty good habit.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Mike or Wes, I know you guys say the comments sections are civil. Sure, they are to a point. Though I'm getting tired of the cliché, "Blame Capers." When I was growing up, we'd say, "Way to go, Bonehead," when a PLAYER missed a tackle. Today, it seems like players are held completely innocent. What gives?

I don't think I've ever said the comments section was civil.

Jerry from Wichita, KS

I will get sick if anyone else says "just relax" after the last two subpar performances.

OK, settle down.

Robert from Portland, ME

Hi Insiders, 4-4 halfway through the season, quite disappointing. I don't think this Packer team will even be a wild-card team this year. I think the best thing that can happen to the Packers is to go winless in the second half and get a top 10 draft choice. Going 10-6 and losing a first-round playoff game does nothing positive for the Packers' long-range future.

Steve, is that you?

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