Andrew from Fullerton, CA
I'm filled with joy to hear about Baby Hod. Right after the depressing finish on Sunday, I took my first child, a son born in September, for a change. He looked me in the eye, burped, and smiled ear to ear. Moments after the loss, I never thought I could be so happy. It'll change your life forever, Wes.
My wife and I couldn't be happier to welcome our son, Cillian, into the world. I'm thankful Kregg Shilbauer, Duke Bobber and Spoff convinced me to not go to Carolina. Before I left work Friday, Packers public relations coordinator Nate LoCascio playfully made a joke about maybe Cillian wanting to come out and watch the game. He missed the first quarter, but was on-hand for the rest.
Dave from Comer, GA
The officiating this year has been the worst I can remember, and I've been watching since the mid-1960s. Heck, I don't think the replacements in the "Fail Mary" game were any less consistent than what we have this year. What's your take on it?
And we're officially back. Truthfully, I don't know what a catch is anymore. The more the NFL tries to make the rules clearer, the more confused I get. I'm not saying it would've changed anything, but I still don't understand how the Damiere Byrd touchdown catch counted. An index card was used to help determine a first down on Sunday. An index card! What is going on?**
Shawn from Kissimmee, FL
We still don't know what a catch is. We give credit as a catch in one regard (Geronimo Allison), and then discredit the exact same effort on another call (Jesse James). They need to formulate a very simple and objective rule that defines a catch. Too much subjectivity involved and it is ruining an otherwise great game.
We have centralized replay now, right? Why is this so hard?
Brandon from Oshkosh, WI
Do you think the NFL needs to institute a time limit to reviews? I don't know how long the Panthers incompletion/overruled to TD took, but it felt like it was five minutes or so. I think if it can't be determined in two minutes, the call should stand.
Didn't there used to be one? Like 90 seconds or something? At least, that was the case in Madden.
Mitch from Bettendorf, IA
What is the NFL's definition of conclusive? Is it conclusively conclusive?
I don't know, but I strenuously object.
Nathan from Tiffin, OH
Can we trade Sunday's onside-kick recovery for the failed one in the 2014 NFC Championship Game? I know I'd like/take that trade in a heartbeat!
Crosby sure knows how to kick those knuckleballs. I saw a stat somewhere saying he now leads the NFL in onside kicks since like 2010. That might be up there with the Hail Mary if the Packers tie the game and go on to win a third straight overtime game. **
Don from Superior, WI
I am proud of the effort that every Packer player put out this season. After watching that game against the Panthers, I think that collarbone injury has taken the best arm I have ever seen in 50 years of watching football and made it just another arm. Rodgers has never underthrown so many passes in a game and screen plays thrown at the feet of the intended receiver. Do you think he is just not going to be the same ever again? If not, what a way to end his career!
It was expected there was going to be some rust. There's only so much you can do in the classroom and in practice. Getting back on the field is an entirely different animal. Remember Rodgers threw two picks in his first game back against Chicago in 2013. So I wouldn't read anything more into it than that. Rodgers is going to be fine.
Bob from Chapel Hill, NC
Packer fan living in North Carolina. You may or may not remember this, but Thomas Davis ended the career of the second-round draft pick (2005) wide receiver Terrance Murphy with an egregious hit. People always talk about Davis with respect for his longevity. I find it particularly tough to respect the game of a repeat offender.
It's time to do something about these hits. Plain and simple. I'm tired of watching it. I'm tired of writing about it. There's simply no call for it. Players need to care about each other. Win or lose, everyone is just trying to go home to their family and loved ones. Do I believe Davis was sincere in his apology to Adams? Absolutely. Was it a completely unnecessary and avoidable hit? Absolutely.
Kenneth from Aiea, HI
I like a good, hard-hitting, clean game. But how can we ever expect that to happen when there are players like Zach Brown who tweet out in response to Devante with, "Tell [Adams] don't play…. cause I'm always headhunting." In another tweet Brown said Adams should "stop crying about getting hit" because he knows what he signed up for by playing football. Jordy makes a good point, the players have to want to change.
Say what you want about the hit, but at least Davis showed remorse. It's inexcusable bravado given what we know about head injuries. This is another example of a hit that could've been completely avoided. The league has work to do this offseason. The idea of "headhunting" in 2017 is unconscionable.
Brad from Pickerel, WI
The NFL should adopt the same rules as the NCAA for targeting a player...with an additional feature. Fifteen-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, automatic ejection, and a healthy fine and possibly a one-game suspension. Thoughts?
As Spoff and I have said before, it's going to be difficult to administer mass automatic ejections due to the subjective nature of the hits and roster limitations. I believe in suspensions. Nobody wants to lose a game check or two. Plus, it gives teams a roster exemption, so they're not caught shorthanded.
Steve from Janesville, WI
It appeared to me when Julius Peppers sacked Aaron late in the game he tried to be as gentle as he could to avoid injuring him. Quite a contrast to the hit on Davante. Peppers is a class guy, wish we still had him.
I saw Peppers told Rob Demovsky from ESPN.com afterward that he had two objectives on the play – to get the football and not hurt Rodgers. What a breath of fresh air. You can tell how much respect those two have for one another. Peppers was a consummate pro during his three years in Green Bay. He left a lasting impression on that locker room.
Dan from Saint Louis, MO
Congrats on the baby, Wes! My question is, what do you think it's going to take to sign Adams and should he be the top priority going into the offseason?
I'm not an accountant, so I couldn't possibly estimate what Adams is going to command on the open market this offseason. I know he'll be worth it, though. Adams deserves everything that comes his way. He's worked tirelessly to reach this point of his career and it's been impressive watching him develop into a top-flight receiver in this league. His footwork is textbook. James Jones was right.The kid is special.* *
Kerry from Lexington, KY
With 12 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third quarter, on first-and-10, Cam Newton advanced the ball 14 yards. The wide receiver was flagged for illegal hands (10 yards, spot of the foul). The next play was first-and-7. Did the officials properly apply the rules? A first-and-7 after an offensive penalty seems rather odd.
Newton was tackled at the 19, so it was initially listed as a 14-yard gain. But the spot foul was at the 20, putting the ball back on the 30, and it adjusts Newton's yardage to 13 because he doesn't get the extra yard that was beyond the spot of the foul. Got it? Good. Moving on.
Conner from Germantown, WI
At the risk of sounding old-school, is it really a bad idea to always check into a pass on the "RPO" calls? Isn't there something to be said for keeping the defense honest and grinding out 2-4 yards even into a defensive front?
Aaron Rodgers showed his support for the Salvation Army on Monday by signing autographs for fans in exchange for monetary donations. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.
Like anything in football, there is some inherent risk involved with checking in run-pass options. However, you have to trust your quarterback and your system. It's like pot odds in poker. If you have enough outs and it makes sense, then you go for it. Rodgers is one of the game's truly brilliant minds. The RPOs make sense for this system. **
Joe from Milwaukee, WI
I thought Ahmad Brooks really showed up. Was his increase in playing time due to others on the depth chart being injured, or himself being healthier? Either way, I was impressed.
*Brooks had a lot stops and starts this year, which I'd imagine would be tough for a player who's been as durable as he has for the past decade. He sustained the concussion during the first week of the regular season and then was hampered by the back issue for the past two months. He made an impact Sunday. We'll see what the next two weeks hold. *
Carl from Sussex, WI
On sideline patterns, I see a trend among defensive backs holding the receiver's inside arm, which is hardly, if ever, flagged for interference. Seems like Packer receivers deal with this on a weekly basis. I would like to know when, if ever, the Packers' defensive backs will be trained to employ the same tactic.
There's a 5-yard buffer off the line of scrimmage for defensive backs to make contact with the receiver. It's a staple of press-man coverage, which the Packers employ. It's the style that made Sam Shields and Tramon Williams Pro Bowlers during their time in Green Bay.
Rich from De Pere, WI
When teams are out of the playoffs with a couple games left, is that an opportunity to bring guys up off the practice squad and see what they can do? Kind of like baseball teams with their September call-ups?
It's a fairly common practice among teams eliminated from playoff contention. If you have a player or two with multiple-week injuries, teams will place them on injured reserve and try to sign a practice-squad player off another team. I know there are teams that have attempted that with the Packers' practice squad, though it's usually proven unsuccessful.
Carl from London, UK
Looking on the bright side, if the Packers finish third in the NFC North this season, the two NFC games against opponents who finished third in their respective divisions should be easier than the ones the Vikings and Lions will get. Here's to an "easier" schedule next year! (Although as it stands those teams would be the Redskins and the Falcons, who both are no slouches).
In theory, yes. But I will remind you the LA Rams, Minnesota and New Orleans were all third-place teams last year, too.
Dan from Rothschild, WI
Could you guys clarify something for me? I thought if a defensive player jumped into the neutral zone, but got back before the snap, it was fine. Seems to me, we got flagged every time even though we got back. Change in rule, or am I missing something?
A defensive player is flagged for a neutral-zone infraction if it causes an offensive player to jump.
Mike from Rock Hill, SC
What's wrong with our defense? Is it the coaching, scheme, do the Packers just lack talented players, or is it something else? I refuse to believe the D lacks talent.
It's not just one thing. Everything plays a part. The long and short of it is the defense just isn't getting it done, particularly on the opening drive of games and in critical third-down situations. The onus is on everybody. This defense has shown it can get stops and make plays. It just hasn't done it consistently enough this season.
Achilleas from Volos, Greece
The last Inbox was titled they gave everything they had. That's really all they got? Back-to-back offsides? Clay, our supposed-to-be best player on defense, stumbled and fell down 3-4 times. Our defense is the only one that every red-zone trip for opponents is a score 100 percent of times. Not even one takeaway in the red zone. Let's not talk about free-agent signings this year.
I still laugh when fans get overwhelmingly upset, barking about change and making blanket statements about the state of the organization. Did things go how the Packers intended this season? No. But I also don't understand how fans call into question the heart and desire of a team that was without its starting quarterback for seven games. The Packers have seven losses on their record – all to teams with at least eight victories – including a three-point defeat in Pittsburgh and Sunday's seven-point decision in Carolina.
Curt from Oronoco, MN
Is it time for the airing of the grievances?
We have an entire offseason to talk about next season. This is about the present. You're only guaranteed 16 meaningful games each season. Don't take them for granted. Enjoy the ride, watch the young players and let's see what the future holds.
Sue from Three Lakes, WI
I hear McCarthy talk about player grades after each game. Can you elaborate on this? Are there consequences/rewards for good and bad grades? What are they used for? Do other teams do this as well or is it unique to MM system?
It happens everywhere in the NFL. It's part of the corrections after each game. It's meant to help players clean up mental errors and build from them. That's about as descriptive as I can get about it because McCarthy always has said he doesn't correct players in the media. **
Adilson from Rotterdam, Netherlands
A 30th birthday and a son? Now that's a week! Congrats Wes! I was looking through IR and noticed Jacob Schum was still on it. Wasn't he released with an injury settlement?
Schum was waived and placed on injured reserve. That's common practice for season-ending injuries sustained before the regular season. He's been there ever since.
Nick from Ceres, CA
My heart hurts so much from this loss. How can we, as Packer fans, recover from this loss?
Keep the faith. This has been a rollercoaster and yet it was still captivating. The Packers always have a chance with Rodgers at quarterback. It might not have worked out this year, but this offseason will give Green Bay a chance to step back and reassess things. The team will learn from this season and be better for it in the long run.
Jesus from El Paso, TX
Is this another preseason? On a side note, please tell me baby Hod is named after a GOT character!
Cait shot down my suggestion of Aegon.
Jim from Lima, OH
Spoff, just a thanks and a comment. Thanks for the outstanding work you do day in and out. Second, your comment on your son being home from college reminded me of my son being under the roof for his first Christmas break, and it seemed to make the holiday brighter and put some extra "pow" in my Christmas spirit. Enjoy!
A huge thank you to Spoff, Larry McCarren, Mike Atkinson and everyone who helped cover for me this weekend. Also, Spoff's final post in Monday's Inbox made me tear up a little. I think I'm going to print it out and stick it next to my computer. It's good to remember what's important in life. It's something I don't do nearly enough. Sunday sure helped put things in perspective for me.