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It's not all coincidence

Harrison Smith was the difference in the first Packers-Vikings meeting


Scott from Grafton, WI

I don't think it is a good idea to root for a high pick in the draft when the season is still going. But maybe, maybe we wouldn't have won the Super Bowl had they not gone 6-10 in 2008. Raji and Clay were the nucleus of a top-tier defense.

The highest pick the Packers have had during their current playoff streak is No. 21, used on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2014, and that year they came the closest to getting back to the Super Bowl. It's not all coincidence.

Richard from Madison, WI

So this is how the other 20/32 of the league lives. Can't say I like it much. You?

I can reduce your fraction to 5/8. Does that help?

Nathan from Tiffin, OH

Hey Insiders, I see where Coach McCarthy used the term "patterns of negativity" in a press conference. Do you think this is an acknowledgement on his part of the fact that the defense has been a big disappointment for quite a few years now, and if they don't get it figured out/fixed, they'll never see another championship? And that the overall play of his team has fallen considerably short of where it should be?


Those were some interesting and poignant words, were they not? We may look back on Thursday's press conference as the most memorable of the season. To hear him say he's beginning the evaluation process over these last two weeks and not just delivering the expected line about focusing only on the game in front of him spoke volumes, in my view.**

Kris from Tomah, WI

Quick question about the Inbox Hall of Fame: Is it possible to have your web developer go through and make one? I think it'd be entertaining to go back and look at some of those...interesting questions, as well as your responses.

Why ruin the mystique? And I've now answered three straight questions with a question, so I'll stop that.

Andrew from Radisson, WI

The old adage goes, if you pay it you cap it! So with the recent fine of 100K to the Seahawks – and not recalling if after the fine against the Patriots a couple offseasons ago anyone asking this – does that fine go against the salary cap?

No. If you pay it to a player, you cap it.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Gronk didn't appeal because when they asked him if he wanted to appeal, he wasn't in the mood for bananas that day. C'mon, man. If Davis wants to take a noble stance and not appeal, more power to him, but let's not get on our high horses. His appeal helps his teammates, regardless of whether it's "moral." This isn't a sentimental league.

He owed it to his team and his wallet to appeal. I'd have done the same thing, no matter how remorseful. I admire Wes's idealism, but Gronk appealed, too. His one-game suspension was upheld.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

On Monday's "Unscripted," Mike and Larry kept referring to "the English" when talking about Crosby's onside kick. I'm English and have never heard of this term before. Any clarification?


What do billiards players across the pond call it? Irish?**

Robert from Glasgow, DE

As an old fogey from before the Lombardi era, it's fun to see how the game changes. You have to love Wes, the local from Suamico, doing hard time in the second-grade computer room, drinking pumpkin spice lattes and root beer rather than boilermakers. Gotta give that man some brats, cheese and beer to pump up that derriere before next season. Congrats on Cillian. Love you guys.

You packed so much into that post I decided not to wait another day for Wes to see it.

Dave from Lake Bluff, IL

As one of those fans who got published and criticized in this space for thinking the season was over the moment Rodgers got hurt, when are the retractions going to be printed in this same space? I take no joy from being "right" but I do think a more objective and less "blinders-on optimism at all costs" approach to the give and take in this forum would be useful. We all wish the Packers success; being candid about shortcomings makes no one less of a fan.

Um, it sounds like you are taking joy in being right, even though you weren't right because the QB came back and the Packers were 28 yards from staying alive, nine weeks after "the moment Rodgers got hurt." Look, I get where you're coming from. I won't speak for Wes, but I don't think any of the optimism I occasionally project is blind, nor do I pretend shortcomings don't exist. I'm just trying to keep the issues grounded more in reality than rants, and to provide a perspective for both enjoying and analyzing the game. I'm not offended if it's not for you.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

Mike, since Wes couldn't answer Sean's question from Baltimore, and then had the gall to call him out with the next comment (again not an answer to the question), maybe you can answer it?

Regarding young players whose growth can improve the defense? Wes mentioned Clark and Martinez. I'll add Randall, King, Jones, Lowry, Adams, Biegel.

Mark from Cranston, RI

With the coming free-agency season, how can the Packers afford to re-sign Morgan Burnett, Corey Linsley, Davante Adams and make Aaron Rodgers the highest paid quarterback in the NFL?

If that's what they want to do, they will find a way.

Luke from Lake Delton, WI

I noticed a lot of Lukes on Thursday so I'm throwing my hat into the ring. The media and some fans may say these last two games are pointless, but nay! They're rivalry games! The players sure don't think they're pointless, right?

Read my "One Last Look" column that's posting later this morning and then you let me know.

Tim from Woodbury, MN

Speaking of Pro Bowl snubs, how was Harrison Smith left out?


I was wondering the same thing. I recognize I'm biased toward what I witness in person, but I thought he was hands down the best player on the field, on either side of the ball, at U.S. Bank Stadium back in Week 6, and it wasn't close. He was the difference in the game.**

Jeremy from Mayville, IL

Instead of gifts, the family has decided to go with an experience for Christmas this year. We're all traveling up to Green Bay for the weekend. We'll be attending the game Saturday night. We bought tickets before all the injuries this season. Even though we're not in the hunt for a playoff spot we're still excited. My mother has never been to a football game and my father has only been to one the last time the Packers played the Rams in St. Louis. Lots of blankets, coats, gloves, toe and hand warmers packed up in the car. Merry Christmas!

Sounds like a memorable family holiday. Enjoy it and stay warm.

Bob from Lexington, SC

In my opinion, comparing the Browns' and Packers' rosters is comparing apples and oranges. They have equivalent rosters after the Browns always pick at the top of the draft, and the Packers always pick in the high 20s. Doesn't that say something bad about the Browns, not the Packers?

There's a reason they hired John Dorsey.

Gary from Murrieta, CA

I think the Insider Inbox is doomed for a ton of negativity from now until next season starts. Too bad the fans can't have a positive attitude towards the team for the next two weeks and then wait to see what changes are made. You guys have your work cut out for you. Thanks for keeping us informed.


All in a day's work.**

Ron from Clifton, VA

People need to stop referring to football as a violent sport. Webster defines "violent" as: using or involving physical force intending to hurt, damage or kill someone or something. Football is an extremely physical sport, where players are to ride the razor's edge between physical and violent. The key is to never cross that line. He who crosses that line should be treated as someone who is intending to hurt, damage or kill. All football players are physical, but not all football players are violent. Only those that choose to cross the line are.

Point taken, but given what we now know about brain injuries, and the damage this sport does, doesn't that change the definition of violent as it relates to football?

Bobby from Aberdeen, SD

I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts to words. I had an accident in June and suffered a concussion. I'm still dealing with the symptoms (in December) and have ongoing physical and cognitive therapy. Not all people react to concussions the same, but for those that have it bad the struggle is real. I just started working full-time around Thanksgiving and am nowhere near what I used to be. I just wanted to share the perspective of someone suffering from "just a concussion." Thanks for being there every day to read. The Inbox has been one of my go-to's for daily therapy and a little getaway from my reality. Keep up the great work.

Hang in there, Bobby. Several years ago I got a concussion playing racquetball. Not my first. But a few months later in the Dells I took one trip down a waterslide with my kids, and I had to take a break immediately. I'm certainly not fighting the fight you are, but I've had to be very careful about amusement rides and the like ever since. I obviously got dinged one too many times and it changes things.

Christian from Ontario, Canada

Insiders, when was the last time the Vikings and Lions swept us?


In the same season? My quick research says 1975.**

Logan from Lino Lakes, MN

Did anyone else see or reference the Jimmy Graham catch that was ruled incomplete right after the Packers-Panthers game? Certainly looked more like a football move than Allison's. I think the biggest frustration for the fan is lack of consistency. If the hits on Davante are legal then fine, we'll live with it. If not, then there needs to be consequences. If a catch is a catch in this game but not in that, it jeopardizes the integrity and the legitimacy of the final results of games.

Are you saying the outcomes are trending toward capricious? There I go with the questions again.

Luke from Galesville, WI

What are the chances the league just admits the Calvin Johnson rule is a stupid rule to have that does more to confuse the issue of a catch than anything? Beyond changing the game for offensive linemen to use their hands, and QB protection rules, has any other rule in football been so vehemently disliked? The tuck rule (another dumb one)?

They actually got rid of the tuck rule, so there's hope.

John from Los Angeles, CA

As a young fan of the NFL, the game will and MUST reduce the violence and illegal hits. The game has evolved to favor skill over brawn. Like you mentioned with fantasy football, watching wide receivers making acrobatic catches is what gets us fired up, not watching players getting drilled and then twitching on the field. The Trevathan hit turned my stomach, and the rest of the game had a somber air for my friends and me. We're all smart people, and we can't unlearn the effects of CTE. It is impossible to continue to maintain the zeal and passion for the game, because as soon as a big hit happens, we know what the future repercussions are for that player. In the growing age of social consciousness, I think we're going to demand that the players learn to become less violent. The concussions, illegal hits, off-the-field reckless behavior (DUIs, domestic abuse, etc.) are unacceptable to us now. The league must make the game more palatable, and the players must adjust their mindsets and playstyles to accommodate that. This could also contribute to the recent lower ratings, because I can assure you, most of us "new guard" of fans no longer want a savage, brutal game. A lot of disgust comes from what younger fans see as too lax penalties for serious offenses, along with other attempts to hide the ugliness of the league (for example, it is no coincidence that "concussions" do not make an appearance in any recent Madden games). We are not narcissistic enough to want players taking on any more risk than necessary to entertain us. There is such beautiful skill and strategy in the game of football, and I truly believe that the league can reduce the violence while still maintaining the dramatic element of confrontation. The league must showcase the sophistication of the game, as the modern audience has evolved past gladiator matches.

I don't make a habit of posting long lectures, but yours was so well thought-out, and clean from an editing standpoint, that I gave you the floor.

Jarle from Bo, Norway

In response to JD from New York: Super Bowl champs. MVP. Bouncing back from the Fail Mary. Fourth-and-8 from the 48. R-E-L-A-X. Hail Mary I and II. Run the table. Two straight overtime wins to keep the season alive. I don't know about y'all, but I think I'll tag along for another season.

Me, too, and not just because it's my job to.

Jay from State College, PA

JD's comment/question and Mike's insightful reply got me thinking, it would be interesting to see a compilation of such season-ending events and disappointments for each team in recent years. Maybe that would help Packers fans put things in perspective and stop complaining as if we are enduring some unique hardship. That's life. Why have many come to expect those things shouldn't happen?

It would take me too long to thoroughly study one team, but maybe this helps – over the last five years, there have been 22 postseason games decided by seven points or less, not including Green Bay's three end-of-game defeats in that time. That's an average of four to five other essentially down-to-the-wire playoff exits per season, aside from the Packers' heartbreakers, and Green Bay delivered two itself (both to Dallas, in '14 and '16).

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

During Wednesday's press conference with Dom Capers, Bill Huber went right to the point asking Dom what was wrong with the defense, especially after drafting heavy on that side of the ball the last few years. Dom's response lacked the kind of accountability I expected; rather he seemed to sum it up as "life in the NFL." Has Dom's leadership run its course and do you think fresh new leadership could make this a top-10 defense with the talent they currently have?


The unit needs more talent, more depth, and better health. Whether it needs new leadership I leave up to McCarthy.**

Julia from Gresham, OR

Do you guys make up a "softball" question for yourselves to answer and attribute it to Lori from Brookfield? Many on the message board think she is fake.

Oh, she's real all right.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, will there be a Sunday Insider Inbox since the Packers play Saturday night?

No, I'm going to hold off and do one for Christmas morning, so we can talk about the Sunday games as well.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, a good friend of mine used to say, "Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while. While the season outcome is disappointing, 'tis merely a rain delay. I'll enjoy the memories of 2017 and look forward to '18. Merry Christmas to the amazing folks who create

Back atcha, and thanks.

Rick from Shawano, WI

When, hopefully soon, TT and MM get the axe, will you two, too?

Merry Christmas to you as well.

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