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Packers have some players whose stocks are rising

Defenses are rushing Aaron Rodgers differently


Jared from Springfield, MO

I've never seen Aaron Rodgers as visibly edgy as he appeared in his locker room interview Wednesday. I absolutely loved it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

He knew what was coming and knew exactly how he was going to respond. He wanted everyone to know that he's moved past the "chip on the shoulder" stage of his career, and**he’s not interested**in what anybody says, thinks, or feels about him and the Packers' offense except the teammates and coaches who walk out of the tunnel with him. He took accountability for his poor play, just like he did after the game Sunday night, but he's not out to prove anything. That's old news. It was a veteran leader reminding his teammates to block out the noise. As a reporter, it was refreshing to not hear the "disrespect" or "nobody believes in us" cards that are so overplayed. We didn't hear them from Nelson or Cobb either.

Jesse from Waukesha, WI

Besides Calvin Johnson being gone, what is different with this Lions team?

I think Stafford is really coming into his own as a quarterback. It started to show in 2014 after the Lions blew the division in December of 2013, and I thought Stafford played his best in the second half of last season when the Lions changed offensive coordinators. He's going to miss Megatron, but he's in a better place to deal with that absence than he might have been a few years ago.

Chris from Victor, ID

Mike Daniels at the beginning of last season wasn't a player a lot of us fans were talking about. He changed that. Who could be that player this season?

Nick Perry.

Matt from Milwaukee, WI

I appreciate everything you guys do in satisfying my Packers fix during the week, but how can you not have a single criticism about the pitiful performance on Sunday? It's starting to feel like you guys are just a bunch of "Yes men" for your employer and I've never really got that feeling before in the years I have been following this column daily.

I would encourage everyone not to judge our coverage of the team based on this column alone. Vic wrote this 11 times per week in the past and it was his identity, by choice. Wes and I are doing it 2-3 times per week each, constituting less than a third of our individual contributions to the website. I don't think my**Game Recap story**that was posted within two hours of the end of Sunday night's loss was written by a "Yes man." It gave the facts and provided McCarthy's and Rodgers' reaction to what went down.

Jake from Fargo, ND

Insiders, I know why the Packers lost. I didn't drink any Spotted Cow during the game. I will make sure I have some every game now. You're welcome!

I'm more of a Moon Man myself, but you can't go wrong with Spotted Cow.

Eric from Ames, IA

Mike, in Tuesday’s chat you said that you are "not a fan of relying on tricks." So what do you think about the Packers' dependence on gimmicky tactics like the constant audibling, the hard count "free plays," and surprise hurry-up offense to get 12-men penalties on the defense?

Audibles and hard counts are part of the game. Always have been. I admit I go back and forth on the 12-men stuff. I think it can be a distraction, at times, to running the offense smoothly and efficiently. But those instances occur because the defense is trying to substitute when the offense has not, so isn't the defense also guilty, though maybe to a lesser extent, of being "gimmicky"? They could just line up and play, too.

Connor from St. Louis Park, MN

There has been some discussion on how the new touchback rule impacts post-touchdown penalties. If there is a 15-yard penalty on the defense after a touchdown, wouldn't it be a good time to give an onside kick a try? If you don t recover, the other team gets the ball around the 35- or 40-yard line, as opposed to the 25. Ten to 15 yards of field position seems like a worthwhile gamble.

I see your point, but an onside kick in that situation wouldn't really be a surprise for the reasons you mention, and the stats I've seen show that non-surprise onside kicks have a roughly 10 percent success rate. Plus, on a high, short kickoff from midfield, there's a decent chance to tackle the returner around the 15, so more realistically it's 20-25 yards of field position.

Jeff from New York, NY

Do you think Rodgers is holding onto the ball too long? It seems like QBs such as Eli Manning and Tom Brady get the ball out right away most of the time.

If I've said this once, I've said it a hundred times. Some of his best plays come when he holds the ball and makes something happen. Sometimes it leads to a sack. You have to take the good with the bad in that regard.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

I won't ever question Rodgers' ability and amazing instincts, but I do question his method of scrambling of late. It seems that whenever a play or protection breaks down, he is spinning out of harm's way and then has to re-orient himself with the field and regain his vision of the field. I think he is at his best while sliding in the pocket in all directions. This loss of vision temporarily is not helping him find an open man while on the run.

I agree regarding his vision sometimes, but from my view in the press box, defenses have taken away how he used to extend plays. They've gotten much better at maintaining their rush lanes, so there isn't room to just slide in the pocket in all directions, as you say. Rush to contain is the regular game plan against him now, so in order to scramble out, he often has to take his eyes off downfield to find an escape hatch.

Sean from West Chicago, IL

Does the bye week count as a game as it relates to suspended players?


Steve from Clintonville, WI

Seeing that the 2016 season is already over due to the terrible 1-1 start, is it too early to throw in the towel for the Bucks' 2016-17 campaign and the Brewers' 2017 season? I need an expert opinion as I've already planned on binge watching "Breaking Bad" on Netflix in place of Packers football. Need to plan on other replacement entertainment if the Bucks and Brewers are toast as well.

I'd recommend "House of Cards" but you can skip Season 3.

John from Las Vegas, NV

Much has been said about the offense getting back on track with home games ahead. The difficulty in winning on the road is always said or implied. Can you expand on that? Just how hard IS it to win on the road and what are the major issues? Just noise? Travel? Time-zone differences?

The necessity of the silent count can limit an offense's options at the line of scrimmage. Defensive ends can get an edge with their jump off the ball when offensive tackles have their head turned to watch the ball being snapped. Those are physical/mechanical things in play. The psychological part, adrenaline from the home crowd, etc., is out of my realm.

Tim from Madison, WI

Mike, who is your all-time favorite player to interview?

There have been a lot of favorites, but I'd probably pick Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Guys, Aaron called the media "predictable." What word would you use to describe your Inbox?

I can't think of a better one.

Ben from Northbrook, IL

Could you explain why there was no penalty for roughing the kicker when Ty Montgomery blocked the punt against Minnesota? Montgomery clobbered the guy. Call me a "dipstick" if you must, but I thought you couldn't do that.

There's no penalty for roughing a punter or kicker if the onrushing player makes contact with the ball.

Landon from Decorah, IA

Any word on when Jeff Janis can get rid of the club?

I believe McCarthy suggested it might come off after the bye week.

Michael from Mequon, WI

As a fan, the single game I have learned the most from is the 2014 season opener vs. Seattle. We got crushed and I remember saying, "Well, we aren't contenders this year." By the end of the season, many of us thought we had the best team. A lot of growth can happen over the course of a season. My question: What single game have you learned the most about football through?

Among many, I'll pick Week 3 of 2008 since it's Week 3 now. The Cowboys came to Lambeau Field on a Sunday night. Both Dallas and Green Bay were 2-0, and a couple of deep balls by Tony Romo were the difference. I remember thinking the Cowboys were headed to the Super Bowl, and maybe the Packers would get another shot at them in the playoffs. Dallas finished 9-7 and the Packers went 6-10, and neither saw the postseason. Nothing is ever decided in September.

Brett from Des Moines, IA

With all of the discussion around Aaron's supposed lack of production, I am reminded of the 2009 season. We were 4-4 at one point and coming off a terrible loss to the Buccaneers. It was one of the worst games I've seen Aaron play and the Bucs got their first win of the season in November. I was in college in Florida at the time and I told my friend, who was a Bucs fan, that I wouldn't watch another Packer game that year. I didn't know it at the time, but the Packers were about to go on a 7-1 run the rest of the year. That season was one of my favorites of all-time because of the lesson I learned: win or lose, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

That was the other one I would have mentioned.

Bill from Menominee, MI

I know there's a good reason for it, but could you re-enlighten us on why a no-huddle, up-tempo offense is always flirting with the play clock?

Sometimes Rodgers is trying to get the defense to tip its hand, so he can see a potential adjustment before the snap.

Anthony from Gilbert, AZ

I can agree that when McCarthy emphasizes something it gets done. Like you said, "the run game in 2013, defense in 2014 and special teams in 2015." However, it would be nice that once he emphasizes and fixes something, the something stays FIXED for upcoming seasons. The ultra-successful teams continue their base identity year in and year out with small tweaks along the way. Why are the Packers continually having to rebuild an identity each season? We have long tenured coaches/players on this team.

Will the FULL CONSISTENCY rants never end?

Julie from Ontonagon, MI

Really liked this week's format for WYMM. It is easier to see what Mike is talking about with the individual video clips than with the pictures or the video presentation that required rewinding.

Thanks. I hope fans can continue to adjust along with me.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Mike, do you think Mike McCarthy makes some fact-finding, early season play-call/personnel decisions, understanding they may result in a loss, but will pay off with a better team down the stretch? Has a head coach ever admitted to being that strategic?

He's always doing what he thinks is best to win that particular game, but in the days following Sunday, I've wondered if the fourth-and-2 call was also about a mentality he wants to instill to be able to run the ball when it's absolutely necessary.

Alex from Montgomery Village, MD

Hey guys. I'm looking for some more positives. All I've heard since Sunday night was negatives about the Packers. How about Jake Ryan? Seemed to me like he was all over the field that night. Am I the only one recognizing that he might be a future star or am I just nuts?

His game is definitely on the rise. I remember writing**way back in the spring**about how he remade his body a bit heading into Year 2, and McCarthy talked yesterday about how much**his pass coverage has improved**. You have to like what you see so far.

The Packers spent Thursday afternoon in the Don Hutson Center getting ready for the Detroit Lions. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Omar from Morelia, WI

Hi Mike/Wes! I think that fans today are having so much less fun watching games. There are so many talking about Rodgers' decline because of a single interception at the end of the game. I wonder what would have happened had they watched a complete Favre season. We were used to that kind of play. They were frustrating at times, but exciting. No one is having fun today.

If victory only elicits a sigh of relief, I don't see how it's enjoyable to be a fan.

Jay from Arlington Heights, IL

Is Randall Cobb the metronome that keeps this offense in rhythm? Will he break out this week against Detroit?

He might, but I think the metronome is Eddie Lacy.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

The Vikings are 2-0 with Adrian Peterson not being much of a factor. Does his injury change anything for the Vikings?

It changes how defenses game plan against them.

Joshua from Findlay, OH

Hey Insiders, you stated that you are now learning that the Inbox after a loss will make you lose your marbles. Do you have a greater respect for Vic and the level of positivity he was able to retain and express in light of what seems such a negative Inbox after a loss? Does it change your opinion of Packers fans after experiencing the effects of your first loss as this column's writer?

Regarding Vic, you didn't work with him every day. You only read his carefully selected words. I saw what y'all did to him, so I knew full well what I was getting into.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Rodgers says this team is close. I believe it.

So do I.

Rob from Bartlett, IL

I assume you each pick your own questions each day. It could be entertaining if you pick each other's questions. What do you think?

Hmmm … Wes?

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