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This is the time for team football


Jay from Park Falls, WI

I'm here with Wes Hodrangle. When that person called out your Dr. Steve Brule "bringo" the other day, and you called him "shrangus," I almost spit out my coffee. I understand if this doesn't make the Inbox, but I just wanted you to know how many points you scored with me for the Brule references.

You didn't just make the Inbox, Jay. You made the lede.

Russ from Bowie, MD

I'm not ready to nominate anyone for the Pro Bowl, but I do think it's interesting how Damarious Randall, Jason Spriggs, and Kyler Fackrell seem to be playing well of late after receiving criticism. I'm not suggesting that all the criticism had a positive effect so much as that it's important not to make snap judgments about young players.


You took the ink right out of my pen, Russ. You can't rush to conclusions. Not in this game because it's such a week-to-week league. Each of the three players you mentioned has had to overcome adversity this season. It happens to every young player. The question is how will you respond to it? Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Davon House have talked repeatedly about how Randall is as talented as anyone on the roster. Randall has stepped his game up since then. Spriggs and Fackrell are two other guys who have taken a step. Now, they have to keep making progress.**

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Clinton-Dix recently stated the stats aren't there for him because the quarterbacks haven't been throwing the ball his way. The writer of the article followed up by saying all but two of the passes in the Steelers game went away from him. Does this theory hold up for the rest of the games this season? Are quarterbacks in general avoiding HHCD?


That's a great question and a good offseason study. I appreciated how open Clinton-Dix was **discussing this with Spoff** and a few other reporters at his locker Thursday. Good dialogue helps everyone understand the game better. Playing safety is a different animal. There are so many factors involved with that position. The thing about Ha Ha is he's very upfront and honest about his play. He'll be the first to say he missed a tackle or dropped an interception. His words carry weight.**

Tim from Windsor, CO

I recognize this season has had its issues, mainly injuries to point out the obvious. However, football is entertainment and a lifelong experience, not just one season. I see lots of upside coming from this season, i.e., RB, LB, secondary, and more growth in the backup QB. I live in Denver. The Broncos sold the farm to get Manning, and others, to win a Super Bowl and now look where they are, deep in trouble with fading talent in all aspects of the game, including multiple coaching changes. I like the approach of the Packers organization and what it brings to the table each year. In your opinion, what are the significant steps in gaining this advantage year in and year out?

Drafting well and managing the salary cap are the two biggest challenges for general managers to keep teams on top. You're not going to be able to re-sign everyone when you have a strong system, but the best teams identify which players are cornerstones. Teams rise and fall, but the Packers and Patriots are two constantly in the conversation. That's not easy to do. This is crunch time. The Packers have won 11 of 12 in December dating back to 2014. This is the time for team football.

Chris from Philadelphia, PA

People were recently asking about the development of the young receivers on the practice squad; with the signing of Clark to the active roster, it looks like we may get to see some of that before spring, after all. Do you anticipate the Packers sticking with the tradition of using their young guys primarily on special teams and eventually working him into the offense? Or, do you think with the experience Hundley and Clark likely had together in the preseason the Packers are more likely to try to get a feel for how he fits into the offense a little sooner?


Clark is immensely talented, but it's important to remember he's only been playing football for a little more than two years. Before he transferred to Marshall, Clark hadn't played since his freshman year of high school. So I expect the Packers to bring him along slowly, especially with seven receivers on the roster. It's a terrific story, but I'd be modest with expectations for the 6-6 wideout here at the beginning.**

Ron from Cherry Valley, IL

The Packers promoted Michael Clark to the 53-man roster today. With great hands, 6-6 and 217 pounds, would the Packers consider asking Michael to add 40 pounds and move him to tight end next year?

Geez, we're seriously changing the guy's position already? Come on. I'm not a dietitian, but adding 20 percent more weight to your frame doesn't sound like a healthy proposal in the least.

Steven from Montclair, NJ

What are the key one-on-one matchups on each side of the ball against the Bucs?

I'm not sure how the Packers plan to defend Mike Evans, but I'm guessing it's a good bet we'll see Damarious Randall lining up against DeSean Jackson. If that happens, that should be a good battle to keep tabs on Sunday. Also, Corey Linsley and/or Lane Taylor taking on Gerald McCoy. It's not often you see a nose tackle leading a defense in sacks.

Juan from Coral Gables, FL

I always wondered why when Tampa came into the league in 1976, they were placed in the Central Division? I was 16 and had been to Green Bay when I was 9 and when I was 13. My dad and I made it a family tradition to always go to Tampa for the game. I was able to see a live Packer game every year. I still wonder why the league chose the Central Division. Thank you for all your hard work.


You want to know what's really messed up? The Buccaneers actually started in the AFC West before switching conferences with the NFL's other expansion team, Seattle, the following year. I honestly don't know why the league settled on the NFC Central. With the NFC East already at five teams, my best guesstimate would be it made more sense to put the Buccaneers in the Central than the NFC West. Cliff may be able to provide more context. Great question. **

Geri from Chino Valley, AZ

What's up with Clay Matthews?


Matthews told reporters this week he's feeling optimistic about his chances to play against the Buccaneers. He's listed as questionable for Sunday, but keep in mind there's no longer a probable designation. If there's any chance a player won't play, you have to keep him as questionable.**

Bill from Kronenwetter, WI

Wes, Aaron Rodgers has that look on his face that he wants to play regardless of how the next two games go. He would like nothing better than to beat the Vikings and take away home-field advantage as partial repayment for the cheap shot.


Packers QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates his birthday on Dec. 2. See photos and facts from his career. Photos by, Harmann Studios and AP.

Rodgers is a competitor, but also rational. Before we can start talking about a potential return, both Rodgers and the Packers must see how the collarbone responds to the workouts and recovery. This is a promising step, but there's more to come. Whenever Rodgers is cleared, he and the team have to sit down and determine what's in the best interest of everyone.**

Pete from Minneapolis, MN

Has it been considered, given the really slow start Hundley had when he stepped in as starter, to perhaps give the backup one full day per week with the starters? With a QB like Rodgers, future HOF and all, would the team not be better served by having the backup get those reps, with the game plan installed, to avoid this?

I get what you're saying, but there are only so many reps to go around during the season. They're too valuable for the overall game plan to hand away in case of the worst-case scenario. The same logic applies for Hundley working with the starters should Rodgers start practicing again. The Sunday starters need reps.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

What!? Watt wasn't fined for the hit on Brett Hundley? Why?


Alex Van Pelt nailed it on the head Thursday night when talking with reporters: "I guess by the rule he is not (protected). Had he pulled up to throw the ball and took the hit to the helmet, he'd become a passer and gets the rule back in his favor." The idea that Hundley would've been eligible for the penalty had he endangered himself bothers me. After all, we're here to protect quarterbacks, right? Seems like a technicality to me. **

Tom from Flanders, Belgium

I just read the article about signing Pringle to the practice squad. Then I looked at his stats and position in college. What makes the Packers sign him as a CB? He played RB and WR in college. Friendly greetings from Belgium.

The Packers frequently will look at undrafted players and street free agents, and test them at other positions in search of a hidden gem. Sam Shields converted from receiver during his last season at Miami (Fla.), but he's a good example of a player who thrived elsewhere. Green Bay also signed former Oklahoma safety Ahmad Thomas this week as a linebacker. It happens more than you'd think. The search never ends.

Don from Camp Douglas, WI

When the 12th man is scrambling to exit the field, does he have to have both feet out of bounds or simply touch the sideline as a ball carrier would?

He cannot have any contact with the field of play.

Eric from Greenville, WI

If I wanted to watch curling, I'd go watch curling. I didn't hate the celebrations before, but I quickly am. Especially now that each broadcast takes time to mash them all together to highlight them. I remember when football offered all the drama and excitement I needed by watching men try and dominate the man across from them. Now I get to watch fluff on every play. I watched about 5 minutes of the game last night when all kids were in bed. My time, I was ready for some football. Every play was some sort of display or jawing about something. I turned it off. I'm only in my 40s and I feel like the "game" is passing me by.

I'm sorry, Eric. I'll get off your lawn now.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Tiebreakers are the key, we don't have it against Atlanta but do against Seattle and will need to get them on Detroit and Minnesota. Seattle and Carolina losing while we win is the key.


Just win, baby. **

Jamey from Nashville, TN

If they let Terrell Davis in the HOF, they have to let Eli in. Don't you think?

I think Manning gets in the Hall of Fame. Two MVP awards in football's greatest game is a distinction few others possess. He may just have to wait a little longer than Peyton to get in.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Chocolate chip, sugar or fill in the blank for your favorite holiday or any time of the year cookie? Chocolate chip for me.

Oatmeal chocolate chip. Not raisin. Never raisin.

Jack from Elk Grove, CA

Sad for Ty Montgomery but very happy to see the 6-6 Clark. I'm feeling the Packers and have decided to put off my winter vacation until I know I'm not going to Minnesota in February. I'm not really a Badger fan but I had a dream the other night that they beat the Buckeyes and the winning score was 41. Does that mean something or am I being too optimistic?

It is unfortunate for Montgomery, who put a lot of time and effort into learning all the details of the running back position this past offseason. I know there probably are a lot of Badgers fans out there who like that score. It's going to be a great game. The stakes don't get any higher for Bucky.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

The first full NFL game I ever sat down and watched was Super Bowl XXXVII with my dad. We watched football and barbecued outside during halftime on a cold January day. Tampa Bay demolished Oakland. That began my love of football. It took a few years before I could keep my attention on the games for a whole season, but I remember being enthralled to watch the Aaron Rodgers Packers take on the Buccaneers. It was a game to forget, but I remember it greatly. Here's to a game worth remembering for the Green and Gold.

Memories make us rich, right? Here's to more on Sunday.

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