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This defensive front is willing to do the dirty work

Could the early bye benefit the Packers?


Samuel from Oskaloosa, IA

It feels weird having a better run defense than pass. Over the last couple of seasons it's been usually a better passing defense. Would it be because of our new linebackers? I really like how Ryan, Martinez, and Thomas are playing right now. What are your thoughts?

I really like how all three inside linebackers are playing. They're young, hungry and each one seems to bring something different to the table. The run defense's success is a testament to the disruption the Packers are getting from both their defensive line and outside linebackers. This defensive front is willing to do the dirty work and it's reaping the benefits in the first three games of the season.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Hi guys, the Giants remind me of the 2011 Packers. Solid defense, abandon the run, throw all the time to star players. How does this Packers defense, being so stout against the run and hurting against the pass, adapt to that style of play? I'm thankful the Packers have a bye week to make some scheme/personnel adjustments. I'm also thankful that Eli Manning throws the ball to both teams with accuracy. My key to victory is winning on turnovers.

The Packers have a lot of young talent in their secondary that's only going to learn through experience. Commenters want to talk so much about Randall and Rollins, but has anyone noticed LaDarius Gunter? Amidst all the vitriol thrown in Randall's and Rollins' direction, Gunter quietly has stepped in as an outside boundary cornerback and played admirably. I agree the Packers need to cut down on the big plays, but the second-year cornerbacks are only going to get better. Whatever lumps they take now will only help them by the end of the season, especially if Shields returns at some point.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Insiders, as much as the NFL has and continues to tilt the rules towards offenses, it seems to me that the elite teams are still being fueled by great defenses. I believe when the Packers defense gets healthy they have a great defense. For the bye week, Let It Be Written; Heal The Wounded. Rest For The Weary. Rhythm For The Offense. And total peace and relaxation for the fan base. Let It Be Done!

I wrote a couple months ago how shutdown defenses are back in style. You might have the league's best offense, but it won't matter if you can't stop the other. I really like the foundation the Packers have built on defense. If you give it time, I think you'll be pleased with the results.

Brandon from Tulsa, OK

The Lions are ranked 32nd in the league in pass defense. I'm glad the Pack won, yet I'm not too enthused that we carved up the worst pass defense in the league. How do the Packers take that success against Detroit and extend it past the bye week against much better defenses?

You can't win. I mean imagine how the tone of this question would have changed if the offense didn't play well against the 32nd-ranked pass defense. You can only play the team in front of you. The Packers had a good showing against the Lions, so you use that momentum and build off it.

Justin from Titonka, IA

What do players do during the BYE week?

It's time to relax for a week, so go on vacation, work out, visit family and friends. The world is their oyster.

Pate from Temecula, CA

Who do you think is the biggest surprise so far this season? I am (pleasantly) surprised at Adams, obviously Aaron has faith in him. Still not sold on Perry, SORRY. Love the Blake and Jake! Go Ty, I hope you have a great season.

Joe Thomas. He looks like a different player with the added weight. His hit on Eric Ebron was incredible, legal and almost resulted in a Micah Hyde interception. Then, Thomas nearly caught his second pick of the year. He's my most improved Packer so far.

Nate from Torrington, CT

I have to admit after the draft in April I was not happy at all with the picks TT and Co. made. I know it's still early in the season, but I think it's safe to say I was completely wrong. These young guys have been killing it out there. BTW you guys aren't doing a bad job, either.

*You have to give it time. It's fun to discuss, but you cannot grade a draft class before the games are played. The Packers' 2013 draft may end up being one of Thompson's finest in my opinion, but who could have guessed how valuable Datone Jones, Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari, JC Tretter and Micah Hyde would be to this team immediately afterward. That's just how the game is. *

Trevor from West Allis, WI

How big of an advantage do the Packers have in their next game with 14 days of preparation, whereas the Giants play Monday night and only have six days?

There's two ways to look at it, but I could see it being a plus for the Packers. Also, I recall Mike McCarthy has a pretty good track record of success coming out of the bye.

David from Louisville, KY

Why don't Packer fans get as excited about how excellent the defense is like they do the offense? Watching the game on TV it almost sounds like the fans go to sleep when the defense is on the field and only watch the offense. I love the attitude this defense has and have more fun watching them than the offense.

It's not just Packers fans. Outside of maybe Denver, it seems like every NFL team's fan base is focused on whatever the offense is doing. The defense often goes unnoticed when things are going well, but it's usually there to absorb the criticism when it isn't. I find defense to be fascinating, especially in today's NFL. There's a lot of strategy involved on both sides of the ball, but I love the chess match of trying to stop an opponent throwing its offensive playbook at you.

At halftime of the Packers' 34-27 victory over the Lions on Sunday, former players and coaches were introduced to the crowd at Lambeau Field. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

Tyler from Madison, WI

It's reassuring seeing Fackrell beginning to get some playing time and making some plays out there. The Packers have some tough decisions next year with Perry, Datone Jones, and Peppers' contracts all up at the end of this year. The game of replacement never seems to amaze me. Your thoughts?

I'm not going to get into all the post-2016 stuff. There's practically an entire season to play, but I will say I've been impressed with Kyler Fackrell's improvement over the past month. He really came on in the last week of training camp and looks a lot more comfortable in the defense. I thought he really stepped up when pressed into action last week.

Corey from Richland, WA

Insiders, what do you make of the early-season success rookie quarterbacks have been having elsewhere in the league thus far?

It's not entirely surprising, especially with how much the passing game has evolved in college football over the last 10-15 years. Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott came from different levels of Division I football, but each enjoyed a fair share of success in college. There's a lot of season left, though.

Dave from Janesville, WI

One of the things that seems to have been downplayed this year is the fact that two of the five players on the offensive line are first-time starters. What is your assessment on how that new unit is progressing so far?

I've been really impressed with how quickly the offensive line has gelled after Sitton's departure. Bakhtiari is on his way to becoming one of the league's most complete left tackles and I like Taylor's grit. The Packers can't go wrong with either Tretter or Corey Linsley at center, though they're completely different players. Tretter's athleticism was evident Sunday with how quickly he got to the second level on several run plays. T.J. Lang and Bryan Bulaga are steady as it goes. The group played well against the Lions.

Anthony from Huber Heights, OH

Good morning, Insiders! The ol' adage in the NFL states the path to success is to win at home and split on the road. So far, we're following that path with a 1-0 home record and a 1-1 road record. The four road games I picked out as potential losses were at Jacksonville, Minnesota, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. Of the remaining six road games, what three games do you see as our biggest challenges?

*The three November road games with back-to-back prime-time games against Washington and Philadelphia. *

Tristan from Washington D.C.

Hi Insiders. For all those complaining about going "conservative" in the second half, I'd like them to remember that we attempted a couple of deep passes with less than a minute in the first half following the Detroit touchdown. Can you imagine what the Inbox would say if someone got injured on those plays?

Spoff covered this in Tuesday's Inbox better than I ever could. I'll only add that I had no problem with how the Packers managed their offense in the second half. They only had a handful of series, but Lacy's success on the ground went a long way in running out the clock.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Looking good in the suit for the halftime report. Besides rest and healing, what is the main focus of the bye week that is upon us?

Thanks, Nick. I don't claim to be a TV personality, but I tried my best. I don't know if the coaches will do the typical self-scout they usually do with a midseason bye week, but it gives them a chance to review the first three games and take a broader approach to assessing the early-season performance. I could see this being more beneficial than the Week 4 bye they had in 2013, considering the Packers started camp a week earlier than usual with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

Thomas from San Juan Capistrano, CA

I have seen two days of explanations on why Mike McCarthy shouldn't be blamed for being conservative due to only three possessions in the second half. I think it is being overlooked that Mike McCarthy is the coach of the entire team and not just the offense. The soft nature of the defense is just as frustrating. Packer fans including myself can certainly be called out for scrutinizing a win. I went back and calculated back to the Charger game last year and including playoffs the Packers have been outgained 5,737 yards to 5,151. In that time frame we are one game over .500. I think some of the angst in the fan base is when can we expect the team to start playing a complete game on both sided of the ball. After all, this is being touted as a Super Bowl-caliber team.

Statistics are what you make them…and you have too much time on your hands, my friend.

Brian from South Lake Tahoe, CA

On the kickoff return right before the half, the Packers chose not to return the kick. When there is minimal time left on the clock, why wouldn't you tell your players to take a chance and return the kick? What did the Packers have to lose?

Nothing other than the possibility of a fumble deep inside your own 20.

Bill from Elkton, MD

Do bye weeks count towards suspensions? Also, do players receive game checks for bye weeks?

No and yes.

Garrett from New Berlin, WI

Mike and Wes, since I asked Vic when I was embarking on a hunting expedition, I will ask you the same thing. Do you hunt, my friend(s)?

I spent an afternoon with my dad in a deer stand when I was a boy. It was going fine until the battery died in my Gameboy.

Neil from South Range, WI

Good day, Insiders. I haven't missed an Ask Vic or Insider Inbox in years. It has been interesting to see Mr. Spofford grow. He used to be so nice. Since taking things over, Mr. Spofford seems to have run a little short on patience. I like it. Wes, how long till you too lose it? Packer fans are awesome, but we definitely are a little...

I'm guessing it'll be sooner than later for me considering Spoff is a much better human being than I am.

Look inside the Packers locker room as the team was getting ready for their home opener against the Lions. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

Tyler from Woodbury, MN

No matter how much you guys continue to defend MM and DC I will never buy it. Too many examples over the years, especially since the Super Bowl win, that prove they no longer have what it takes to win it all. What would it take for you to come to the conclusion we need to move on?

Whatever the opposite is of seven consecutive playoffs appearances and a Super Bowl ring.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, Biff and Spoff. You guys seem to be getting into a groove with your Insider Inbox responses and I appreciate it. Do you think you'll achieve FULL CONSISTENCY this season?

There's always room for improvement. Every day, I wake up and strive to be a better Biff.

Taylor from Hull, IA

Wes, could you please send Vic a gaming console and a copy of Madden '17 so he has something to do during the bye week.

It's already in the mail.

Rob from Aiken, S.C.

Wes, does your work schedule differ much during the 'off' week?

There's not much difference other than no availability or practice. Spoff and I are still plugging away on Inbox, Packers Unscripted and our daily stories. We'll sleep at the end of February.

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