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Now is the time to get loud

It's impossible to put this book down


Timothy from New York, NY

I contemplated traveling to Green Bay for Sunday's playoff game vs. the Giants, but living in New York City, I opted to stay in town for the game instead. I'm confident that Packer fans will fill the stands at Lambeau, and we need some Green-and-Gold representation here in New York, too.

This is a big-time game with big-time implications. I know a lot of Packers staff and representatives have been going around the area promoting "Get Loud Lambeau" throughout the week and for good reason. The Packers and their fans earned the right to host this game and it's important for everyone who's backed this squad for the last five months to make his or her presence felt on Sunday. I was reading something today about Buffalo's playoff-less streak reaching 17 years. This opportunity doesn't come around as often as it seems like it has in Green Bay. Enjoy this. Revel in it. Make your voice heard. Now is the time to get loud, people. Meanwhile, be sure to hold things down in NYC, Tim.

Julie from Washington, DC

Hi Insiders, not really a question, just more of a plea. I'm flying in with two friends from CT for my first-ever Packers game on Sunday, and we need that stadium as green and gold as it can be possibly be. I'm hoping fans near and far will turn out in droves to drown out the blue, and I'm grateful we can do our part. So excited to #GetLoudLambeau!

Julie raises some good points here.

Kyle from Millbury, MA

I've noticed the Pack has been doing very well offensively on first down, while they struggled greatly a few weeks back. What do you think is the reason for such a difference? Is it the receivers running crisper routes? Is it Rodgers just playing to perfection/in the zone like the comparison to Kobe's 81 points? Curious on what is making this offense finally click after such a painful few weeks.

It's not a flashy answer, but I think it just comes down to execution and players making plays. The Packers' offense has been awfully efficient during this six-game winning streak. It just seems like Rodgers is making the proper read and guys are making the most of the touches, particularly on third down.

Jake from Great River, NY

Are you guys choosing not to answer questions about our secondary because you're just as scared as Packer fans? I've submitted multiple questions about this secondary, and I'm sure other people have, too. We have one healthy true corner who will play Sunday. LaDarius Gunter. Do you actually expect a realistic postseason run when we only have one cornerback?

There have been 771 submissions since I finished my Tuesday Inbox. Twenty-to-25 questions usually make the column. I hope you can appreciate that. We're trying to get to as many as possible. My apologies if you feel left out. Can the Packers make a run with their banged-up secondary? They've already won six straight despite all the shuffling. I wouldn't count them out now. We'll see how the week plays out with Damarious Randall (knee) and Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion). It was a good sign Randall was able to practice on Wednesday.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

No. 12 was under some pressure from the world's watching eyes after he declared the Packers could "run the table." Mission accomplished. Is the pressure off now? Are most Packers fans content with this stunning accomplishment, or is there added pressure to win out in the playoffs and get the Lombardi Trophy?

The expectation is always to win the Lombardi Trophy and I know how disappointed people get whenever that doesn't happen. At the same time, I hope Packers fans can appreciate how this team has performed for the past 1½ months. It's pretty special to see how this team has come together and blossomed into one of the league's hottest teams. We'll see how the story ends, but you couldn't write a better climax. It's impossible to put this book down.

David from Chestertown, MD

Given our decimated secondary, what contingency plans are in place? Do the coaches now cross-train receivers to step in for emergency duty?

They've crossed-trained players since the start of training camp and you saw the benefits of that in the fourth quarter. The defense came up with a key takeaway with Micah Hyde playing boundary cornerback, Morgan Burnett playing "star" nickel cornerback, and undrafted safety Kentrell Brice playing the other "whip" slot cornerback in the dime sub-package. This has been an emphasis the entire season, not just in the wake of the injuries at cornerback.

Richard from Madison, WI

If I submit a question one day and that day's writer chooses not to answer it, is it worth another shot the following day, when a different writer might take a more kindly view of it?

Definitely. Spoff and I aren't robots. We're different people with different personalities. A question that doesn't get answered by one might draw the other's interest. We'll also occasionally email things to each other if one of us seems better suited to handle a particular inquiry.

Chase from Sunnyvale, CA

Hey Insiders, everyone's focused on the pass-rush, but I think it's going to first start with stopping the run. Our run-stopping success seems to hinge on Jake Ryan's presence. How's he health-wise?

Ryan's workload has steadily increased over the last month. He's no longer on the injury report, so I would think the ankle injury is behind him. He's been a big part of the first- and second-down defense. The Packers will need him for the stretch run.

Eric from Cincinnati, OH

What happened to Jason Spriggs at the end of the Lions game? Looked like he got involved at the last moment in a play which accomplished little except getting injured somehow.

A lot of love being thrown Jason Spriggs' direction. I think this was the most popular question in the Inbox the past two days. He injured his shoulder at the end of the game but it doesn't appear to be anything significant. He practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday.

Milton from Midland, MI

Easy question: Is Herb Waters ready to play on Sunday? Thanks for the great job and entertainment.

The Packers wouldn't promote him to the active roster if they didn't think he was ready. If he plays, I'm guessing he gets his first action on special teams. Depending on the availability of Randall and Rollins, the Packers also have undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins on the roster, as well. So I wouldn't foresee Waters covering OBJ or anything like that.

Derek from Maple Grove, MN

Happy New Year Insiders! I was looking through the photos of the locker room after the win and it sparked a question for me. All the lockers have nameplates above them even though it was an away game. Does that always happen for away games? Do the Packers handle that internally somehow or do they work with someone on staff at the opponent to set up the visitors' locker room ahead of time? Seems like something small but I imagine the logistics of having everything that organized are crazy and take some major management to get right week in and week out. Thanks for your insight! GO PACK!

I'm pretty sure the Packers' equipment staff handles all of that. For the most part, offense and defense are lined up separately in order of their numbers. If you know anything about Red Batty, no detail is going to go unnoticed by the equipment staff on game days.

Scott from Negaunee, MI

I like the way Geronimo Allison carries the ball after a catch. When did it become en vogue to call professional sports teams dangerous?

Allison has impressed me with how at ease he looks on the field. He's poised and doesn't look like a rookie. As long as he keeps pulling down the catches, you'd have to think Rodgers keeps looking his way. He's athletic and gives a quarterback such a large catch radius. The Packers are going to need Randall Cobb to make a playoff run, but Allison showed the big stage isn't too bright for him. Also, I think people just like to say the word dangerous. It's a fun word.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

How have the Giants improved their running game?

They've dedicated themselves to it over the past month and fed Paul Perkins a lot more. A fifth-round pick out of UCLA, the rookie running back has responded well to the heavier workload during the final stretch of the season. New York still has its limitations, though. It still ranks 29th in NFL rushing with a season-long carry of 25 yards. The Packers need to keep that trend going if they're going to get after Manning.

Andrew from Port Washington, WI

About time an offensive lineman was elected playoff captain!

I couldn't think of a more deserving one, either. T.J. Lang has been the ultimate teammate and professional in that locker room for years. I thought that was a nice gesture by the team to highlight its three Pro Bowlers (Rodgers, Lang and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) in addition to arguably its most versatile player in Micah Hyde.

Al from Sydney, Australia

Hey guys, I can't remember which game it was but, Aaron ran that zone read for a two-point conversion one game. After seeing it again in Detroit, I wonder if it will be as effective next time the Packers are in a short-yardage situation.

The Packers have used some really nice concepts on those two-point tries this season. The zone-read play earlier this year worked to perfection in Atlanta and then the play on Sunday against Detroit also was pretty nifty, motioning Adams out of the backfield and then throwing the quick slant. Those two-point conversions and short-yardage plays are different game situations, though.

John from Madison, WI

Hi, guys. Do you know if the Packers Radio Network will cover the playoffs? I would much rather mute the TV and listen to Wayne and Larry.

Yes, Wayne and Larry will go as far as the Packers' season takes them.

Marty from Grafton, WI

I loved watching Badger football this year. They finished off the season strong. What's your take on their season and future?

Future is in good hands with Paul Chryst. I've never heard a bad word said about him – from a few players I've talked to who were coached by him or the media that's covered him. He sounds like the kind of guy you'd want to play for. What's my take on their season? Do you like apples?

Braden from Brookfield, WI

How is this Packer team different than the one that faced the Giants earlier this year?

There's a night-and-day difference between the Packers' offense in Week 5 and the one that'll take the field on Sunday afternoon. For starters, Ty Montgomery and Aaron Ripkowski have emerged in the backfield after injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Jordy Nelson now has a full season under his belt and overall it just seems like there's a lot more rhythm in the offense. Ultimately, Rodgers is playing some of the best football of his career. This offense has matured over the three months since these two teams last played.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, I'm looking forward to the next permutation of the Janis reverse. Give me a prediction of a new wrinkle on Sunday.

Janis throwing a touchdown pass to Jordy after the 'backers and cornerbacks bite on the end-around.

James from Toronto, Canada

Good work, gentlemen. Merci! Vic never responded to me. I live in hope. Here's my first salvo in the new era: my wife Li Robbins has it figured out – No. 22 should be known as RipKo – it can even be chanted! Remain salubrious.

I've seen a lot of different nicknames thrown around in the Inbox and the comment section, but RipKo might be my favorite so far. I also haven't heard that one before. Two thumps-up, James.

Joe from San Francisco, CA

So the Seahawks just signed Hester for the playoffs. In more detail, why can't the Pack shake the free agent CB tree? Collusion I tell ya!

There's a big difference between signing a veteran to return a few punts and bringing in someone off the street to play a position as demanding as cornerback.

Jay from Land O Lakes, FL

I have come full circle this year from thinking the Packers would get to the Super Bowl to not believing they would even make the playoffs and now back again to the beginning. What a long, strange trip it's been! Thoughts?

It's been entertaining to watch you ride the rollercoaster in the Inbox for the past five months, Jay.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Who puts together The Dope Sheet? I love to take a look at it a few times every season. All the naysayers need to take a good chunk of time and dive into it at some point. The stats don't lie; the Packers have been one of the best, most consistent teams in nearly every facet of the game since McCarthy took over.

That's done by PR maven Nate LoCascio and the rest of the public relations staff. The statement you make is similar to the conclusion I drew during the project I recently did on McCarthy and his offense over the past 10 years. That type of consistency in the NFL is almost unheard of. It doesn't happen by accident. The trio of Thompson, McCarthy and Rodgers has ushered in one of the most steadily successful runs in modern NFL history.

Jacob from Madison, WI

Boy, Wes was all over the place with his references Tuesday. I counted Beastie Boys, Ronnie Coleman, "The Dark Knight," and WWE-era Dudley Boyz. Any that I missed?

No, I think that covers it other than the awesome UFC hype videos drop. That wasn't subtle, though.

Jim from Baileys Harbor, WI

Hey Wes, is that "Forest Glen Elementary" or "THE Forest Glen Elementary"?

Correct, Jim. It's "THE Forest Glen Elementary."

Rick from Franklin, IN

I know this is extremely unlikely, but what happens if the Detroit/Seattle game ends in a tie?

They go to the judges' scorecard.

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