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Randall Cobb makes good things happen

Sometimes statistics are strange


Ben from El Paso, TX

I realize this might be a better question for Vic, but I wouldn't mind your take. What are your thoughts on the six teams playing on Thanksgiving being pre-merger NFL teams?

Didn't notice it, but I think far more important to the NFL was that for the first time, I believe, since adding the Thanksgiving night game, not one of the three contests included a team with a losing record. I loved the fact that the two afternoon games were both division rivalries.

Tony from Appleton, WI

Jared Cook showed what he can bring to this offense. Do you think that will help open up the run game?

Any pass-catcher who's making plays deep down the field can help open up the run game.

Luke from Ellendale, ND

Hey Mike, Scott Tolzien really looked good against the Steelers. I actually had the chance to meet Tolzien at camp a couple years ago when he was in Green Bay and was sad to see him go. Do you think he could potentially get a starting job somewhere or do you think he'll remain a backup (and a pretty solid one at that)?

The performance on Thursday night might put him more firmly on the radar of a QB-needy team as time goes on, but I think plenty of teams would be thrilled to have him as a backup. I'm sure he wants to start, but outside of an injury-induced situation, most teams are going to want to groom a young QB from the start. It's just how things usually go. He could hang around this league for a long time, though, doing exactly what he's doing now.

Dan from Winthrop Harbor, IL

I'm not a Capers hater, but just wonder – the league is constantly evolving. Is it possible that there is so much film on Capers' scheme and his tendencies that everybody knows just where to attack? Does a scheme have a shelf life?

It's not about attacking the scheme, it's about attacking to get certain matchups downfield, and the Packers were on the wrong end speed-wise of multiple matchups against the Redskins, which were then exposed by the lack of disruption from a four-man rush.

Erik from Anchorage, AK

Insiders, when I watch the playoffs and Super Bowl, I typically get caught up in longtime seasoned veterans closing their careers. I'd love to see Peppers with another run at the title. Are there any current players you would like to see have a shot at a world championship or any thoughts on this?

While watching Thanksgiving football, the thought crossed my mind about Jason Witten. This could be his best shot.

Brad from Tinley Park, IL

Guys, am I the only one who thinks we need to get the ball to Randall Cobb? It seems like he is always making plays and fighting for crucial yardage.

A couple of weeks ago, Rodgers was still talking as though Cobb was battling that hamstring injury. We didn't hear any of that last week when he had three significant plays – a 15-yard catch-and-run on third down, making a guy whiff in the open field to get to the sticks; a 22-yard catch over the top in traffic; and the 47-yard gain stepping out of a tackle in the middle of the field and taking off. When Cobb gets open and gets the ball, good things happen.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The most exciting moment of my football watching life was on Dec. 28, 2003, when Josh McCown threw the last-second touchdown against the Vikings to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs and put the Packers in. That Packer team was 4-5 at one point, finished the season 6-1 and squeaked in. It might not happen again, but it is currently set up to be just as exhilarating if it happens.

I remember that very well, too. It was one of the most surreal scenes I've ever witnessed at Lambeau. I was actually working free-lance for the Denver Post that day, with the Packers playing the Broncos. Green Bay had the game well in hand, and everyone in the upper half of the bowl was turning around to get a glance at the TVs in the indoor suites to see what the Vikings were up to. When Nathan Poole caught that pass, there was a small eruption that loudly spread throughout the stadium as everyone became aware of what had happened. It didn't take the players long to realize that 70,000 people were telling them they were in the playoffs.

Mike from McFarland, WI

How are fans who can't handle a four-game losing streak going to handle the four-season losing streak that would follow their "spend big now, mortgage the future" plan?

Good question. No one can fire the salary cap. Not everyone is advocating mortgage the future, though, and I can understand in a season like this the desire for a roster-building approach not as heavily tilted in one direction.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Is it kind of scary that the Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter but are still pulling out these wins? Does that make them more dangerous?

They're proving to be a crunch-time team. Those are the hardest teams to beat because they always believe they're going to prevail.

Timothy from Superior, WI

I understand the need to blitz to put pressure on the passer even though it leaves one-on-one coverage, but what always annoys is blitzers coming from so far back in the secondary at the snap. I know blitzers need to disguise, but this makes it nearly impossible to reach the QB in time. Is this how the blitz is taught? I think I would rather have the QB know what's coming rather than the blitz taking a second or two longer to reach the QB.

Not all blitzes are the same. Some are more delayed, with the hope the pass protectors are all engaged and won't be able to adjust to the last man coming. But it's all semantics, really. However it's drawn up and called, it has to work.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Aaron is taking some heat in social media for saying he thinks they have a run in them. Whether he believes it or not, what else would he say?

What made it newsworthy for me is he offered the thought rather unprompted. Was it calculated? Of course it was, but maybe it means something for all these young guys to know their QB believes in them.

Braeden from Endicott, NY

Hello, not a question, but a fun fact. I just noticed Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams have the same exact number of receptions and yards. Pretty interesting.

You weren't the only one to notice. Just for kicks, I looked back at the last couple decades, and I had never noticed how similar the receiving stats were between Antonio Freeman and Bill Schroeder over the three-year stretch from 1999-2001. In '99, they both had 74 catches, with Freeman posting 1,074 yards and six TDs to Schroeder's 1,051 and five. The next year, it was Schroeder with 65-999-4 and Freeman with 62-912-9, and in '01 it was Schroeder 53-918-9 and Freeman 52-818-6. Strange how that happened.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Our team has a hard time shaking off big plays. What are their chances of shaking off four big losses?

The Packers haven't bounced back from the rough moments in the past month. It was the whole team on the 99-yard kickoff return by the Colts, and the defense never really recovered from the 75-yard run to open the game by the Titans nor the 44-yard TD late in the third quarter by the Redskins on third-and-11 that opened the floodgates. Everyone needs to shake off those setbacks and play a full 60 minutes. The season depends on it.

Dave from Sparta, WI

The secondary has its opportunity to shine this week. I like watching Carson Wentz throw the ball, but he hasn't shown a deep threat. With our thin secondary, I'm sure he will try to expose them more than usual. Which player in our secondary is poised to make the difference this week?

In times like these, the veterans have to be the difference-makers. In the defensive backfield, that means safeties Burnett and Clinton-Dix. Getting Randall back at corner might provide a window of opportunity for a big play from a safety.

Jack from Chicago, IL

Hey Insiders, remember when a 34-27 win over the Lions wasn't enough?

No matter how it's going, it's always a long season in the NFL.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

If Rodgers had a Lt. Kaffee moment, where is the bat and who ordered the code red?

Nicely played.

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