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That's where it starts

How is David Bakhtiari not in the Pro Bowl?


Dale from Kettering, OH

What? There's no rule that says the Packers have to be in the playoffs!? But seriously, what do you want to see in the next two games?


I want to see young guys make some plays. This is a golden opportunity for the Packers' first-, second- and third-year players to show they're ready for a bigger role going into 2018. Guys are playing for jobs. They're playing to show they belong. The next two weeks won't affect the 2017 season for the Packers, but they could have an impact on what happens in 2018.**

Luke from Ellendale, ND

If having Rodgers return against the Panthers was such a huge risk – but deemed necessary to give the Packers a better chance of making the playoffs – does this show a lack of faith in Hundley that both Rodgers and McCarthy professed?

He's Aaron Rodgers. I mean – he's Aaron Rodgers. It didn't matter who the backup quarterback was. If Rodgers is medically cleared and available, you play him with the season on the line. It wasn't a referendum on Hundley.

Dan from Austin, TX

Troy Aikman called Aaron Ripkowski a "hybrid" runner and not a "true fullback." What did he mean by that?

I have no earthly idea. Ripkowski is a fullback. Open a dictionary, he and John Kuhn are pictured next to "fullback (gridiron football)." I immediately was doing my John Travolta GIF imitation at the hospital after hearing Aikman say that.

Sean from Baltimore, MD

What "young" players need to grow for our defense to improve? Mike Daniels (6), Matthews (9), Ryan (3), Perry (6), House (7), Burnett (8), Clinton-Dix (4), Joe Thomas (3), Ahmad Brooks (11). These guys aren't spring chickens. You'll never admit it because you're both homers, or maybe seriously don't know it, but there is no player "growth" with this defensive coaching staff.

Kenny Clark (2016) – 21 tackles

Kenny Clark (2017) – 49 tackles, 2½ sacks and two forced fumbles

Blake Martinez (2016) – 69 tackles, one sack and one interception

Blake Martinez (2017) – 127 tackles, one sack, one interception and a forced fumble

Keith from Oconto Falls, WI

Is Blake Martinez the most exciting young player on the Packers? This guy is the most impressive defensive player, for the Packers, I have watched in a while. I am excited to see what his future brings to this team.

Don't tell that to Sean. It's fine to harp on what you didn't like about the defense this year, but at least acknowledge the bright spots. The defense needs to improve, but it's ridiculous to say there aren't prospects in the pipeline. Martinez and Clark took a quantum leap this year. Keep it coming.

Luke from Galesville, WI

Davante Adams' Pro Bowl snub is too much for me. I can't decide which the bigger joke is regarding the Pro Bowl: the "game" itself or the nomination process. How would you change this annual mummer's farce?

Last year, Jordy Nelson was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year…and not a Pro Bowler. That's how it goes for receivers. In my opinion, it's the most difficult of all the positions to get a Pro Bowl nod. Adams has had a phenomenal season. It's too bad he wasn't rewarded with a first-ballot selection. I guess we'll see what happens over the next month. And double-word score for the "mummer's farce" drop-in.

Greg from Marquette, MI

Before the Pro Bowl players were announced I couldn't think of one Packer player that I felt deserved the recognition. What does that say about the talent on our team?

I disagree. First, David Bakhtiari is a Pro Bowler. How is he not in the Pro Bowl? He was injured? Tyron Smith sat out two games. Trent Williams has missed four. Seriously, Bakhtiari was voted AP All-Pro last year, meaning the guy was viewed as one of the top four tackles in the entire league and yet he wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl on initial balloting. Man, that's something. Mike Daniels falls into that T.J. Lang category for me – an uncrowned Pro Bowler. It's time. Daniels deserves it and has a decent chance as a first alternate. There's still time. The Packers didn't have any Pro Bowlers upon initial balloting in 2013, and Eddie Lacy wound up going.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

What does having NO ALL-PRO players or PRO BOWL players, except alternates, say about the makeup of the team?

First, All-Pro teams haven't been selected yet, but good job, great effort. Stay hot. Second, basing the talent of a football team off Pro Bowl selections is like judging a car on its paint job rather than what's under the hood. OK, that's enough now. Back to the Inbox Hall of Fame for you, sir.

Kurt from Frisco, TX

The Steelers have eight Pro Bowlers and we almost beat them with our backup quarterback? The Pro Bowl is a joke.

No. It's a direct indicator of who wins the Super Bowl. Right Oakland?

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, is there anyone in particular on the practice squad that you would like to see move up and get an opportunity in real games these next two weeks?

I don't know if he'll see the field, but I'm very intrigued by the signing of Dillon Day. He's a natural center, which is something the Packers haven't had behind Corey Linsley since JC Tretter left for Cleveland. I'd also be interested to see Michael Clark get some work in the final two games. What a story that would be given his basketball background.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

We haven't seen much of how McCarthy coaches a regular-season game when it has no playoff implications. In what ways will it be different or the same?


It's a great question I don't have the answer to because the Packers haven't been in this situation in nine years. I'm like the rest of you wondering what Saturday night will look like. We'll find out then how much the Packers balance their veterans and giving young players more opportunities. **

Matthew from Rubicon, WI

Was this a lost year for Trevor Davis? Would have liked to see him more on offense, especially in the downfield passing game.

You have no idea how happy it made me to discover there is actually a town in Wisconsin named Rubicon. I look forward to my next visit to Dodge County. I don't think it was a lost year for Trevor Davis. He's a guy I'd like to see get more opportunities on offense these last two weeks, but he's established himself as a difference-maker on special teams. That's where it starts. If you make an impact there, you can make it anywhere.

Kraig from Oregon, WI

Love what we have in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Do you think there is any chance we get to see if Devante Mays can make an impact in the next two games?


It'll depend on game situation. Jones and Williams still need all the reps they can get, too. **

Jason from Lake Geneva, WI

McCarthy said that the team is playing for something different now, pertaining to not making a postseason visit this year. I wonder, can this team finish strong on pride alone? Kicking the Vikings where it hurts would make for a good start.

The 2006 Packers didn't have much to play for after falling to 4-8, but won their last four games to catapult themselves into the next season. There's still plenty left to play for.

Jim from McLean, VA

Do people really think Carolina is the team in the NFC to beat? They didn't particularly impress me at home when the Packers had a chance to tie the game after a negative-four turnover differential.

The Saints are my favorite. That one-two punch of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram is one of the best in the league. If you look at the Saints' best teams under Sean Payton, they've had a running back like Kamara. Carolina's defense is solid, but the Panthers' offense is still too inconsistent for my liking. Carolina is a legitimate playoff team. Just not sure if it can put together the four or five straight wins it'll take to win a Super Bowl.

Jeff from Sun Prairie, WI

If I were Thomas Davis and was truly sorry for the hit I wouldn't have appealed the suspension, especially not as quickly as he did. Gronk didn't appeal his suspension because he knew what he did was wrong. What's your thoughts?


I can't argue with that. I wouldn't have appealed. Just like I didn't appeal after my second-grade teacher at Forest Glen Elementary School "pulled my key" for talking too much in class. I knew what I did. I spent the next day in the computer lab, while the rest of my classmates were at recess. The hardest time I ever served.**

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I don't know the answer to how to get the blatant illegal hits to be less, but I do know that the wink-wink you're suspended for two games knowing that upon appeal it will be reduced, and fines that for most people is a lot of money, but pocket change for pro football players, isn't the answer either.

That's why I didn't really think the Davis punishment fit the crime. Suspensions and fines are routinely reduced upon appeal. Coincidentally, there isn't an appeals process for injuries suffered due to punishable actions.

David from Athens, AL

Isn't it timid to put Rodgers on IR, to tank for draft picks, and disguise it as a good management decision? Should fans really cheer that hard at Lambeau these next two games?

Rodgers went on injured reserve because he's dealing with an injury. If all things were equal, he'd be playing Saturday night against the Minnesota Vikings. But they aren't. They haven't been since Oct. 15.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Congratulations, Wes. I have been thinking about Spoff's answer that the Packers could draft anywhere from ninth to 20th in the first round depending upon how the last two weeks play out. As a diehard fan, I will watch these last two games. Part of me will be torn, however, thinking a loss might improve our draft status. Do you think the NFL should consider implementing a lottery, similar to the NBA, for teams not in the playoffs?


The Packers were back at practice Wednesday afternoon inside the Don Hutson Center ahead of Saturday's matchup with the Vikings. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

I'm not a fan of the lottery system, but it makes sense for the NBA. Of all the major sports, the biggest game-changers for teams are most often found in the top 10 picks of the NBA Draft. The lottery works because it's an incentive not to game the system. In my opinion, the talent is spread more evenly if you look at a 10-year retrospective of the NFL.**

Wade from Roseville, MN

What scene from the "Star Wars" films best represents the current state of Packers Nation?

The casino scene…and I'm BB-8.

Dean from Orlando, FL

Don't you think it would be more fun to discuss Ty Montgomery's number?

You win, Dean. You win all the prizes. Pat yourself on the back, take a sip of coffee and know you won Inbox today.

Bill from Bismarck, ND

I know you said no more cheeks in the Inbox, but I was wondering if it had been the receiver's toes that touched down first and then his heels came down out of bounds, would that have been ruled a catch or not? If so, then what is the difference that decides?

Head, shoulders, knees and toes – I'm tired of talking about catches. Don't get me wrong. I'm fine with everyone asking. I'm just tired of talking about them.

Charles from Winston Salem, NC

I think the best way to simplify what a catch is, is to say that if the ball touches the ground at any time it is incomplete. Enjoy the column.

*Simple. I can do simple. *

David from Hesperia, CA

I felt in 2010 when the Packers were making their Super Bowl run the presence of Kevin Greene on the sideline as a position coach was huge. His energy and leadership that he brought every day could not be overstated and the players responded. Any word on what Greene is up to these days and if he plans on returning to coaching?

He's an outside linebackers coach for the J-E-T-S.

Brandon from New York, NY

So, Wes, can we call your baby "Egg" now? Congratulations to you and your family. It must be surreal to have all of the Insider Inbox/AV community celebrating with you. How excited are you to tell your child that you got to see Aaron Rodgers in his prime?

This question brought me back to memories of my grandfather, God rest his soul, who used to tell me about what it was like watching Don Hutson and Cecil Isbell play. That's the power of football.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

I know missing the playoffs this year hurts these players. What about you guys? Are you going to miss covering those types of games this year?

As my good friend and co-worker, Michael Atkinson, likes to say – when you've worked this long and this hard, why not win the whole thing? I liken it to running a 10K race. Once you've already run six miles, what's another two or three? I love playoff football. It's what you've been building toward since April. I'll miss that energy this year, but getting a chance to spend time with my family isn't a bad consolation prize.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, would you please provide the site-required height and weight numbers for your newest team member? Does Cillian begin with a "K" sound, as one Google option suggested?

Seven pounds, 11 ounces and 19 inches. He's bigger than his father was. And yes, it's Cillian with a "K."

Brett from Green Bay, WI

It's time for Packers fans to show they're the best fans in the world. Get loud Lambeau!

One more game at Lambeau this year. We only get so many of them. Enjoy it.

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