Skip to main content
Powered by

Let the picture come into focus this season

The Packers respond when Mike McCarthy emphasizes something


Rob from Edmonton, Alberta

Insiders, based on your inbox, I'm sure that R-E-L-A-X needs to be applied already.

More like B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Morgan from Fort Collins, CO

Guys, we talked a lot about the Jaguars being a team you'd rather face in the beginning of the year. I can't help but think the Packers are also one of those teams. It sounds like something an underdog team should say but, with an identity being forged every week until the end of the season, isn't it possible MM/DC/TC and the boys know what they're doing and we are just fans for a very specific reason?

I'm not trying to downplay everyone's concerns, but I've seen enough 1-2 starts transform into 11- or 12-win seasons in Green Bay and elsewhere in the NFL. So I'm just sort of used to fans freaking out at the beginning of a season. Mike McCarthy said this week his vision for the Packers is to be a balanced team that wins field position and time of possession. Every time McCarthy has singled out an area of improvement, he's made good on it (the run game in 2013, defense in 2014 and special teams in 2015). Let the picture come into focus.

Chris from Ashland, WI

Hey, can you guys start keeping some of these Aaron-Rodgers-is-washed-up comments for six weeks from now so you can have a day or two for a wall of shame? I think it would be a lot of fun for everyone to read once the offense gets rolling.

*I'm not trying to lambast anyone. I just don't want fans to become trapped in the moment making overzealous comments without considering the big picture. As Walter Sobchak once said, 'Dude, c'mon. You're being very un-dude.' I remember when I got all bent out of shape about the Brewers in 2008. I was constantly negative and insufferable to be around. When Milwaukee ended up making the playoffs, I felt like I couldn't even enjoy it because of how much I trashed the team all year long. My advice – Don't be Biff. *

Mike from Vancouver, Canada

Insiders, I know its only Week 3, but this game against Detroit sure feels like a must win (and win BIG) for the Packers already. Maybe not for playoff contention, but for the mental health of diehard fans like me standing on a short ledge overlooking a steep cliff.

I have a hard time proclaiming any Week 3 game a must-win, but I get your point. There's a lot on the line in playing two of your six division contests in the first three weeks of the season. Outside of a wacky 2013 season, it's usually taken five wins to triumph in the NFC North. If you look at it from that perspective, I could see why this could be construed as a must-win. A loss would put the Packers one game behind Detroit and potentially two behind Minnesota.

Adam from Milwaukee, WI

In the loss to the Vikings, the Pack featured a lot of three wide receiver sets, with a lone back. It was not too long ago that the Packers regularly used four or five wide, with much success. Considering we have so many receivers on the roster, do you think we will see more of that any time soon?

These questions have been piling up in the Inbox, but the Packers still split five receivers out quite often when you consider the packages they utilize with Cobb starting in the backfield. It might not be the same five pure receivers, but the concept remains the same with Jared Cook or Richard Rodgers splitting out wide.

Jocelyn from Dallas, TX

People are criticizing McCarthy for the fourth-down call in Minnesota, but it sure is a good thing he went for it in Jacksonville. It created a four-point swing for the Packers, which was obviously needed at the end of the game.

That's the point I was trying to make in Monday's Inbox. It just goes with the territory. As they say – no guts, no glory. When it doesn't work out, people automatically are going to question it. I would've kicked the field goal, but again I've never won an NFL game, let alone a Super Bowl. Decisions are made instantaneously. You make the call and move on.

Nick from Centereach, NY

Do you think that Aaron Rodgers has set the bar artificially high for himself? It seems that what is mediocre for Rodgers is a good day for a lot of other QBs.

That was the argument a lot of pundits made about his 2015 season when Rodgers had 3,821 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Were those typical Rodgers numbers? No, but that's still a lot better than most in the league. I think people just got used to Rodgers being able to bail the Packers out of anything. Fans in Green Bay haven't seen the Packers funnel through a new starting quarterback every few years. They have their MVP and they expect him to play at astronomically high levels. When he doesn't, everyone wonders what the problem is.

Ken from San Antonio, TX

We scored 14 points against the Vikings. Where would you rank their defense as you look across the league?

I'm a big fan of Mike Zimmer's defense and the personnel the Vikings have brought in to fit his scheme. He's a pioneer of the Double-A gap blitz packages and threatening the offense with lining up eight players on the line of scrimmage. You need athletic linebackers and defensive backs to pull the defense off effectively, but it works for Minnesota.

Andrew from Des Moines, IA

Insiders, fair or unfair to ask if it's possible the league has "figured out" Rodgers and/or McCarthy?

As I recall, everyone thought the NFL had "figured out" McCarthy and Rodgers in 2012 with the two-shell look. The Packers drafted Eddie Lacy and the offense ranked among the league's best in 2013 and 2014.

Green Bay held its first practice of the week in the Don Hutson Center in preparation for their home opener against the Detroit Lions. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Erik from Green Bay, WI

Tell me if I'm nuts, but I actually gained optimism from the game Sunday night. Even though our offense played so poorly, Minnesota is one of the better teams in the league and their quarterback played the game of his life yet we still had a very good chance of winning the game.

It's so hard to say this time of the year who will be the best teams in the league and who will be the worst by the end of the year. I remember picking the New York Jets to dethrone the Patriots at the top of the AFC East in 2014. We all know how that turned out. You make an excellent point, though. You have to consider the quality of the opponent. Minnesota isn't going anywhere.

Brian from Green Bay, WI

Guys, you no doubt expected many "end of an era" emails. The league is QB-driven, or at least that's what the media believes. That being said, No. 12's play is symbiotic with everyone else on the field. This is a team sport. The light is on him, so he will be the one looking great OR poor. It goes with the territory. I encourage everyone to watch the WHOLE field, and not just one position. We will get better, and we will contend.

Well said. Quarterbacks are a reflection of the offense, but they're not the only players on the field. Everyone wants to find a specific reason for success or failure, and that's fine. My only advice is don't let it blind you. The game isn't as simple as hitting a home run or striking out.

Kevin from Lenexa, KS

Randall had a really rough night but he was almost always in a good coverage position, he just wasn't able to make the play. A lot of credit goes to Bradford's accuracy, but if Randall can continue to cover as well as he did against the Vikings but do a better job of making a play on the ball, he is going to defend a lot of passes and get his share of picks.

Randall was arguably the best player on the field in Jacksonville and then struggled against the Vikings. That's just life in the NFL, especially as a defensive back. He needs to dust himself off and get back up. The Packers are going to need him this year.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Wes, you are two weeks into a season as a member of Have there been any surprises so far?

Hey Mike, thanks for saying hi at the Jacksonville pep rally (I think that was you). I don't know if there have been any huge surprises other than the overabundance of positivity from readers. I know it probably sounds facetious given the tone of many questions coming out of the Minnesota game, but I've been blown away by the number of people who read the column. Love me or hate me, I'm just happy to generate a reaction.

Ben from De Pere, WI

I'm sick of dwelling on the loss to Minnesota. Let's move on, shall we? Detroit is next at home. Who on offense, besides Stafford, is the most important player to shut down?

I really like what I've seen from Marvin Jones Jr. It's only been two weeks, but he seems to complement what Jim Bob Cooter and the Lions are trying to do with their passing offense. They don't seem to have a lot of depth at their skill positions (only five receivers after Dobson's signing and three running backs after Abdullah's injury), but it works for Stafford, who's really spreading the ball around. A lot is going to fall on Theo Riddick to overcome the loss of Abdullah.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

While much has been made of rookie Blake Martinez having the headset in his helmet I am wondering if it is limited to one defensive player per team? Say he subs out or gets hurt, does another player's headset get activated in order to get the call from the coaches? BTW, I miss Vic but you guys are doing a great job.

It depends on how the defense wants to operate, but Dom Capers confirmed recently that there are primary and secondary helmets with the communication device. I don't know all the ins and outs of how it works, but it's not like players have to swap helmets or anything in-between plays.

Dale from Kettering, OH

It's funny to see so many "fans" who got Rodgers in their fantasy draft and lost their first two matches frothing at the Inbox, isn't it?

Your words. Not mine.

A.J. from Brisbane, Australia

Joe Thomas has really jumped out to me – fast to the ball, hard-hitting, rarely misses tackles. Your thoughts?

I've been really impressed with what I've seen from Thomas this year. I think the extra weight he's added to his body has helped him. He's tackled everyone who's come into his line of vision so far and the coaches finding more ways to get him involved in the defense. He's always been a fearless hitter, but it seems like he's put it all together this season.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Guys, after drafting Aaron Rodgers, Ted Thompson has only drafted offensive players twice in the first round and both were offensive lineman. No wide receivers, no tight ends, no running backs, no one that scores touchdowns. I'd say we're finally seeing the impact of that neglect. Would you agree?

Not really. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy were second-rounders, but all three would go in the first in a redraft. Drafting players near the end of the first round is always a crapshoot, so I'm not sure what's been lost in waiting to draft skill position players later.

Isaac from Abiquiu, NM

Any information about Aaron Ripkowski? It always seems strange seeing Cook in there as a blocking fullback.

Ripkowski is fine, but it's not new for the Packers to use their tight ends in an H-back role. That's been part of their no-huddle offense for as long as I can remember. It's just another formation they use to avoid substitutions and keep things up-tempo.

Rich from De Pere, WI

How often during a season can a player be called up and sent back down to the practice squad?

Unlimited as long as they clear waivers and agree to re-sign.

Marty from Cuenca, Ecuador

Coaches have used opponents' comments to motivate in the past. But how motivating would some of the comments from the Packers' own fans be?

One Inbox reader was trying to trade Rodgers for an '84 Oldsmobile a few days ago, so I'm pretty sure you could put together a pretty entertaining "Mean Tweets" segment with many comments Spoff and I sift through.

Denny from Hudson, WI

Thanks David from Lake Bluff. I agree with David. Vic and Wes are cowards for their lack of production on the offense and again a poor overall defense against the Jags and a poor pass defense against the Vikings. How about it? Please be truthful and start looking at these situations.

I'm sorry you are disappointed in my lack of offensive production.

Scott from Sparta, WI

Interesting comments after two road games. Will be interesting to see how they change after this next stretch of home games. Nothing will help a team get out of a funk better than four at home with a bye week scattered in. What do you think the conversation will be like after the home stretch?

Hopefully more civil.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.