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Path to victory starts with containing DeMarco Murray

What constitutes a good week of practice?


John from Bowling Green, KY

I've been to three Packers games in my life and have witnessed a loss each time. What do you see as a key to getting a win in Nashville? Big fans of the column and very excited to meet the two of you all at the rally Saturday.

For starters, you need to contain DeMarco Murray. The Packers only played Murray once in the regular season, but he had 18 carries for 134 yards in that matchup. Also, you need to take care of the football and not let Marcus Mariota beat you with his feet. If you accomplish those three things, I think you have a good shot at walking out of Nissan Stadium with a victory. See you Saturday.

Nathan from Phoenix, AZ

Well, looks like we've found our Micah Hyde on offense. In recent years, with Montgomery, Randall, Ripkowski, Daniels, Hyde and more, it's evident that we don't draft players just for their measurables or position. We draft good. Football. Players.

What's the common thread among all those players? Other than Randall, all of the players you mentioned were drafted in the third round and beyond. That's what you have to do when you're picking on the second and third day of the draft. The players with impeccable resumes and attributes are off the board, but that doesn't mean you can't find talent. The Packers have filled out a lot of championship teams in those middle rounds.

Robert from Safford, AZ

Rodgers made the statement he's "not a rah-rah." I get that. Not everyone is. Somebody needs to be. Watching the game last weekend I was disheartened just watching players sit off to themselves and sulk. They were beat in the second quarter mentally. I love watching the Packers. If they need a rah-rah guy on the sidelines, send me a plane ticket. One day a week I can pretend.

I think the Packers have plenty of "rah-rah" guys. I think of Daniels and Letroy Guion. Offensively, Jordy Nelson has tried to come out of his shell more this season. The key to having a "rah-rah" approach is that it needs to be authentic and genuine. What I appreciate about Rodgers' comment is his self-awareness. He's not a rah-rah guy, but he's also not going to be a fake. He's going to lead the way he knows how. I respect that.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

I chuckle as a write this, ever see a QB on special teams?

It's the only example I can think of, but the Panthers use third-string quarterback Joe Webb (remember him?) on their core special-team units. He covers punts and returns kickoffs for Carolina. It's one way to keep your emergency QB active.

Stephen from Green Bay, WI

With the NFL's concern for safety do you think adding a 12th player to the field like the CFL does could be a possible solution?

Only if they're going to make the field larger, too.

Maggie from Brownsdale, MN

How can we cheer up the coaches and players? I would like to get some letters sent to them by letting all this negativity diminish for a while since we have weeks to go yet. Second of all, I wonder if there is a way we can send a care package to the team to bring a good mentality to them.

All you need to do is cheer and keep the boo birds at home. That'll be enough to cheer them up.

Jack from Merrillan, WI

Hello, I just read the article about Montgomery and his number change. I understood jersey number rules to be that certain blocks of numbers belonged to certain player groups, and if a player played out of position, OK, but there is a snap count or percentage limit. Can you explain please?

I'm going to be real with you. I don't know the answer to your question, but I've seen a lot of folks ask today after reading Spoff's story on Montgomery. I looked everywhere and I couldn't find a straight answer. To the best of my knowledge, there isn't any rule about what percentage a player plays at a certain position dictating what number he wears. Since he didn't switch to defense, it seems rather arbitrary what number he wears in my opinion. I can assure you the only thing Mike Mularkey is concerned about is the man wearing No. 88. Montgomery said he's open to the change if it's ever presented.

Chris from Santa Fe, NM

I know it's been a few days, but why didn't we see more of Ripkowski against the Colts? He ran for 5-plus yards a carry against Atlanta. I'm not sure if it was you, but afterwards didn't a columnist write about having a fever and the cure was more Ripkowski? I don't understand the messing around with things that work.

McCarthy made it clear that Ripkowski isn't a featured back, but his production in short-yardage situations was a pleasant surprise. I think you'll see him get opportunities. He's just not going to be getting 10-12 carries a game unless it's an emergency.

Alex from Bartlett, IL

How many more years can Ezekiel Elliot keep this up? The Cowboys wear down their running backs and also others will have more tape in him.

It's so hard to make long-term predictions like that. He already has 177 carries in eight games, so I'll be curious if he can avoid hitting the rookie wall. He's a really talented and explosive back, so I can't blame the Cowboys for wanting to get him the ball as much as possible, especially with that offensive line. It's all about adapting your play style to how defenses are going to attack you. He's had a brilliant start, though.

Andrew from Huxley, IA

Hi Biff, Mike mentioned yesterday that in order to more fairly officiate superior athletes, more replay would be needed. Wouldn't a better solution be to find better athletes to officiate games? I am not saying the officials need to be world class, but it would be nice to see them get into position to make the call more easily.

I had an asthma attack 2½ minutes into my rec league basketball game on Wednesday night, so I don't think I can really talk about physical fitness. At the same time, there probably is something to be said for the benefits of Ed Hochuli-esqe conditioning. At least, it would've helped in my case.

Brian from Vancouver, WA

Hey guys great coverage of the team! Am I seeing this correctly? We still control our destiny. We still play every major player in the NFC playoff picture. Washington, Philly, Seattle, Vikings and Lions. Also this Packer team has been depleted of its key players. Two running backs (a WR now playing RB) and three DBs down, no Matthews, plus WRs have been a revolving door. We lost three games by one possession (Vikings, Falcons and Colts). Mike McCarthy has held this team together and Rodgers' talent elevates the whole team. I say get healthy, and win the games needed. This will be a team in the mix. The future is bright for this team and Ted Thompson has shown he can get talent, such as fixing the ILB position and secondary. I see a team with leaders at all levels. Now it's time to just get healthy and make a run. Is it that simple guys?

Football is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. You got it? But yes, the Packers totally control their own destiny. That's normally the case in Week 10, but it's even more so this year with how much parity there's been in the NFC. The Packers have done a tremendous job of adapting over time whether it's personnel or scheme. It's been a trying month, but the potential is still there.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Update please: How are Ted Thompson's former underlings doing as GMs in the NFL? How is his "executive" tree?

It's a pretty impressive tree that's sprouted from the Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson regimes with John Schneider (Seattle), Reggie McKenzie (Oakland), John Dorsey (Kansas City) and Scot McCloughan (Washington). All four of those general managers took over downtrodden organizations and turned them into playoff contenders.

Kelly from Placerville, CA

What constitutes a good week of practice?

It's funny you should ask. I actually asked quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt the same question last week after Mike McCarthy talked about Rodgers having his best practice on the Thursday before the Atlanta game. He said it comes down to how sharp he was in practice and the overall efficiency of the offense. In its simplest terms, I think it just means there weren't many wasted snaps. They got everything they wanted out of practice.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

Can you provide us with your thoughts on Kenny Clark's season so far? I think he is doing quite well.

I've liked what I've seen from Clark. He's young and has a lot to learn, but his strength and athleticism really jump off the page. He has a lot of quick twitch to his game and can get interior linemen on their heels. I see a lot of Mike Daniels in his game.

Dustin from Warrensburg, MO

Here's a scenario for you. Would you rather be a coach dealing with the media, or the media dealing with the fans? To me the game seems quite similar.

I'd rather be a coach dealing with the media because I'd be making a lot more money. No, I love dealing with fans. It's one of the best parts of this job. It's what informs me what everyone truly cares about. I can't tell you how many story ideas have been generated from this column. I may get a little testy at times when a fan questions my integrity or wishes me ill, but I generally love dealing with people. On the same token, I've dealt with a lot of coaches over the past five years and always have appreciated how McCarthy has dealt with the media. Yes, there's certain topics he won't address, but I think he always gives a fair answer to a fair question.

Megan from De Pere, WI

Hey Insiders, as far as I can remember it seems the packers have struggled against scrambling QBs. I remember it all started with the Falcons and Vick running all over us in that playoff loss. Do you think that's the reason we got faster linebackers recently?

I'm sure that played into it. You need young, athletic linebackers to keep up with all the hybrid tight ends, slot receivers, scat backs and scrambling quarterbacks that have boomed in NFL offenses. I don't know if Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan or Joe Thomas is in Green Bay solely for that reason, but I think this defense is better equipped to handle scrambling quarterbacks like Mariota than it was four years ago. There are a lot of fast and athletic defenders in this defense.

Tyler from Calhoun, GA

Do players get statistical credit for sacks, rushing yards, etc., for two-point conversion plays?

No. It's logged as a score for the offensive player if it's successful, and he is credited with two points, but it doesn't count toward other team or individual statistics.

Chad from Port Edwards, WI

What is the incentive for players to make the playoffs? Do they get paid extra and does that money count towards the salary cap?

They get paid extra, but the compensation doesn't count towards a team's salary cap. Plus, they have the added incentive of potentially winning a Super Bowl, which also is pretty cool.

The Packers practiced Thursday afternoon at Clarke Hinkle Field in preparation of Sunday's matchup against the Titans. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Linda from Elwood, IL

Can a player refuse to go to a team who claims him on waivers?

Not if he wants to continue playing in the NFL. The team that claimed the player maintains his rights. If he refuses, he'll likely be placed on the reserve/did not report list. You don't see it happen often because only players with fewer than four accrued seasons are susceptible to waivers. If a player is waived, he typically wants to get to the next stop as soon as possible to get his career back on track.

Justin from Titonka, IA

Would you start Prescott or Romo?

I'd platoon them ala Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart in 2006. I'm just kidding…I'd start Sanchez.

Big Daddy from Lewiston, ID

Okay gentleman, got to be honest with you fellas. Please say ONE cuss word. You are responding like a bunch of sissies to us old-time Packer backers! What the Hell Is Going On In There! For Jake's sake give us something to chew on that lights our tails on fire boys! I say post this and kick some butt Green Bay! We aren't spoiled brats are we? Give us the meat, not the pacifier, men! Boys? Wow! That helped! Hell yeah Packerland! Get tough!

Take it easy, Big Daddy. Why don't you stop talking for a while? Maybe sit the next couple plays out. You know what I mean?

Richard from Madison, WI

Tell us the truth. We can take it! Will the squirrel be a featured exhibit in the Packers Hall of Fame anytime soon?

We're in negotiations, but he's a tough nut to crack.

Rob from Edmonton, Alberta

Friday, Nov. 11, is Remembrance Day here is Canada. It's our version of your Veterans Day and Memorial Day combined. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we pause for a minute of silence to thank our veterans and reflect on our freedoms provided by their sacrifice. With all that has gone on in your country and in Packers Nation this year, perhaps a moment of reflection to thank your vets on Veterans Day will help everyone achieve some perspective on what being a Canadian or American and Packers fan is all about.

Happy Remembrance Day, Rob, and a big thank you to all of the U.S. veterans who read the Inbox. A thousand thank yous never would be enough to show our appreciation for your commitment and sacrifice. Have a great weekend everyone.

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