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These games are the reason Julius Peppers is here

Aaron Rodgers made a strong statement that was overlooked


Nick from Chicago, IL

When you say, "Just beat the Cowboys," I get zoned in and focused for the game on Sunday. Thank you for instilling confidence into us readers!

The pleasure is all mine.

Craig from Clayton, WI

What is the status of Jordy Nelson?

He is out, and he hopes everyone still cares next week.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

Hi Insiders, appreciate the good moments and the bad moments, because you never know when there won't be any more moments to enjoy. Take it from a guy who grew up in Green Bay, but now lives in San Diego, Packer fans have something very special. Green Bay is truly a football mecca.

I truly feel for San Diego fans and can't really imagine what they're going through. It's disappointing. As a kid I was a huge fan of Air Coryell and those dark blue helmets with the yellow lightning bolt. Why they ever changed that I don't know. I realize the stadium needed to be replaced, but I'll always have fond memories. In my newspaper days, the first Packers game away from Lambeau Field I ever covered was Super Bowl XXXII at Qualcomm, and my first game in this job was the 2006 preseason opener there.

Thiago from Curitaba, Brazil

I've noticed that the players are using the expression "obviously" a lot in their latest interviews. McCarthy uses this expression often. Is that the players having a little fun with MM or is it just something that rubbed off on them?

Neither, most likely.

Jordan from Medford, NJ

Three Hail Marys, moving around to create 8-second windows for his receivers to get open, winning in the wild-card round with so many injuries last year, and winning in the wild-card without his top receiver this year. I know it's a team effort and other players and the coaching staff deserve plenty of credit as well, but Rodgers is a special guy. There are other great quarterbacks that have done amazing feats, but have you ever seen anyone play like this guy?

Obviously not.

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

Please comment on the petition to ban the Aikman-Buck team from calling Packers games, in particular this one. I might be in the minority, but I think they both do an extraordinary job. I have never felt an anti-Packer bias from either.

Perspective is not for everyone.

Andy from Appleton, WI

Insiders, we all know that Rodgers is hot compared to the first Dallas game. Who in your opinion is hot on defense and will potentially contain Elliott compared to the first game?

I don't know about specifically containing Elliott, but if there's a "hot" defender for the Packers right now, it's Julius Peppers. Last week he took a strong stretch run another step with the big second-quarter sack deep in New York territory plus two batted passes. He had the big forced fumble on Murray in the playoffs two years ago. He had a strip-sack of Prescott in the first meeting. These games are the reason Peppers is here.

Kelly from Indianapolis, IN

Vic use to make note of MM "turning the team over to the players" at some point late in the season. If you agree in a sense with that sentiment, at what point do you think he did so this year?

I don't think that ever consciously, nor fully, happens. But "in a sense" I think it occurred on third-and-11 in Chicago.

Seth from Sheboygan, WI

So all of the divisional games are rematches of regular-season games. That can't be something that happens all that often.

I would imagine not. Maybe one of the TV networks will find that out for us this weekend. Interestingly, though, this is the Packers' seventh appearance in the divisional round under McCarthy, and the fifth time the game has been a regular-season rematch.

Ron from Danville, CA

Not a question just a comment. The hit on Nelson was illegal, the comment by Pereira was good and whenever a player leads with the crown of their helmet there is clear intent to injure. No other reason to lead with the helmet and you can see the defender aim right at the ribs. Definitely was intent.

Not to burst your bubble, but the league disagrees with everything you just said. Hall was not fined. Go figure.

AJ from West Des Moines, IA

I was looking at the pictures of Thursday's practice and noticed that there was a person in a referee uniform. Is this a common occurrence and what is the reasoning for it?

The Packers have a small crew of former local prep and college officials at all their practices to note penalties, mostly in the 11-on-11 work, and report them to the coaching staff for when the practice film is reviewed.

Zach from Crystal Lake, IL

Insiders, does the locker-room vibe seem any different this week than past? These Packers have been grinding for so many straight weeks, I wonder if it takes a toll mentally.

I've sensed very little change in the locker room throughout the year, frankly, and I think that's been a good thing. They didn't think they had it all figured out when they were 4-2, they believed they were closer than many others thought when they lost four straight, and they've taken nothing for granted during this run. It's how they're wired around here.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

I propose that we refer to Aaron's three Hail Mary passes as the "Holy Trinity."

Why close the loop?

Adam from Madison, WI

Everyone is talking about "run the table" but how about when Aaron Rodgers called out the team for not being able to overcome adversity? I think it was after the game against the Titans.

It was the week before, after the loss to the Colts, but I'm with you. I've written about it a couple of times now in my "One Last Look" columns. He called out the team for needing to be mentally tougher, and I think it's one of the most overlooked yet poignant comments he's ever made. These Packers have found the mental toughness they lacked.

Josh from Peoria, IL

This reminds me of the task in 1994, Green Bay vs. Lions, 184 rushing yards to minus-1 rushing yard for Barry Sanders. What do you think?

It was actually 188 in the previous meeting – I looked it up to be sure – but close enough. Still, bless the heart of the Wisconsin native and D.C. Everest grad Dave Krieg, but he was no Dak Prescott. That's an undeniable difference.

Will from Arlington, VA

Tie game, 2 seconds left, our ball on our own 49. Do you send Mason out from 68, or try another Hail Mary? I'd go with Mason because it's indoors, but it's a close one.

It would actually be 69 from there, so you must be old enough (like me) to remember when field-goal snaps were 7 yards rather than 8. I'm going to try to watch Crosby closely in warm-ups. Three years ago down there, he hit from 57, and if I recall, it had plenty of distance.

Patrick from St. Paul, MN

Vic saved his best adjectives for the postseason and Wes seems to have been saving his best pop-culture references for the playoffs. What's Spoff's higher gear for January football?

My Insider Inbox HOF induction the other day wasn't good enough?

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Why do you think Packer fans are so hard on Mike McCarthy? Everyone is happy for now but I'm afraid we are one heartbreaking playoff defeat away from everyone grabbing their pitchforks again.

That would be an absolute shame. Win or lose on Sunday, this has been a remarkable coaching job by McCarthy. If not his best, in the top two.

Jason from Johnston, IA

Insiders, not sure if it's a superstition, but more of a ritual. Each game the Packers win I wear the same Packers jersey to bed. I've been doing it since junior high so needless to say it's a little snug. It also never gets washed until the season is over. The wife hates it and each morning after she washes the sheets. This tradition will never end in my house. Go Pack Go!

I can't for the life of me figure out why Wes opened the door to superstition submissions (Newman!), but this was positively the strangest one I read, and consequently the only one I'm going to post.

Monty from Seattle, WA

Whenever Wes mentions Madden do you hear a low growl coming from somewhere along the coast of South Carolina?


Casey from Fremont, WI

Daniels' leverage comes because he is a wrestler. They learn how to use their strength in different ways to benefit them.

No question. That's the same reason Scott Wells developed into a successful center despite having the "undersized" label all along, too.

Margo from Bloomington, IL

Hi guys, I'm equally tired of tired phrases like "thoughts" and "what say you." How about when announcers only refer to blitzes as something that the DC has "dialed up" or the Captain Obvious "we're in four-down territory here"? Which announcer phrases are you ready to retire?

I don't know, Margo. Sorry, couldn't resist. The one I can't stand is when a leaping receiver supposedly "catches the ball at its highest point," which makes no sense. What they mean to say is the receiver is catching the ball at the highest point of his jump, because no one is catching a lob fade to the corner of the end zone "at its highest point" unless he's Superman. Lately, they've replaced the grossly inaccurate phrase by saying the receiver "high-pointed the ball," which covers up their years of ineptitude with this description, but they don't actually explain to anyone what it means.

Ryan from Bartlett, IL

"What say you, Inbox?" Does this mean Wes is banned? Are we banning Biff now?

This is getting out of control.

Travis from Bainbridge, PA

Since the win streak started I've eaten an entire Red Baron pepperoni pizza by myself while drinking Pepsi and eating Doritos all while wearing my cheesehead! It's only stupid if it doesn't work!

OK, I lied. Twice. That's a TV commercial waiting to happen.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

Hey Mike, sure hurts that Jordy won't be playing, however, I'm very excited with Geronimo Allison. He already appears to be creating that mind-meld with Rodgers that Jordy has. I think this is a game he steps up and really shines on the biggest stage of his career (thus far).

The Packers will take any contributions they can get, but with all due respect to Allison, the production in the passing game will come down to how Adams, Cobb and Cook perform in Nelson's absence more than anybody else.

Mez from Milton, WI

Just an observation here. For those of us old enough to remember, our teams of the '90s met with several heartbreaking, season-ending games in Dallas. Compared to the Dez "catch," I think we scarred fans would feel more avenged than theirs. Their fans talk like that catch would've ended the game. How soon we forget. Finally, not to look past this game, but we have a score to settle in Seattle, too. Maybe the NFC title will come down to Packers in Seattle again. Maybe we – fans and players both – can get some of these scores settled.

One at a time. Just beat the Cowboys.

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