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This game could be decided in the red zone

Receivers have to help the QB in the scramble drill


Tony from Appleton, WI

The Packers seem to slow down true No. 1 receivers like OBJ, Julio, and Hopkins. They have done that with healthier corners and some help, though. With Burnett helping at corner and Hyde playing everywhere, who do you think needs to step up the most to contain OBJ?

I have a feeling Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is going to play a big role in this game.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

Doesn't Rick's question about a playoff game ending in a tie qualify him for the Inbox Hall of Fame? He should know it results in the two head coaches roshamboing for a chance to pick 53 players from the two squads to play in the next round.

Thank you for making me look up the word roshambo. I love learning something new every day.

Aaron from Atlanta, GA

I see and hear a lot of "experts" choosing the Giants over the Packers, a sexy trend entering these playoffs. It seems that those kinds of trends end up falling flat, so now I'm thanking those prognosticators for my current feeling that Green Bay will totally control Sunday's game. I thank them for assuaging my pre-playoff anxiety. The Giants, they're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

Maybe the quarterback should get A-A-R-O-N tattooed across his knuckles.

Trevor from Hartland, WI

I came across an article, written a few years ago, detailing Rodgers' first two seasons as Favre's backup. He was awful (preseason stats confirm) and needed a lot of coaching to undo bad habits. I know fans get on McCarthy's case for "only winning one" with Rodgers at the helm, but I don't think he gets enough credit for creating Rodgers in the first place.

Rodgers had plenty of talent, now. He was talked about as the possible No. 1 overall pick in the draft. I don't think McCarthy "created" him, but he's certainly had a lot to do with his success, just like Holmgren had a lot to do with Favre's, for different reasons. I've always viewed it as the perfect marriage. Ted Thompson drafted his QB of the future and then hired the right coach to develop him the following year.

Rich from De Pere, WI

I am convinced that Sunday's game is about our offense, not the defense. The secondary is decimated, so Aaron and the offense has to put the team on its back this week and turn long, time-consuming drives into touchdowns. Agree?

The game could be decided in the red zone, yeah. The Giants have the No. 1 red-zone defense in the league, and it's not close. They've allowed TDs on only 39.5 percent of red-zone possessions (17 of 43). Only one other team in the league allowed TDs on fewer than 45 percent of red-zone trips.

Don from Ogema, WI

With AR in the team captains photo session this week, there is no one to photo bomb. Is there any way we can get his look-alike to fill in? It has been a fun year being a fan.

Backup QBs Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan have**served as admirable fill-ins**when needed this year.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

AR had an 8.9-second scramble prior to throwing a touchdown in the Lions game and Cris Collinsworth talked about the play being a product of scramble drill practice, not street ball. Would you please describe scramble drills and how they are practiced? What are receivers taught to do?

The receivers basically are taught to find open space, where the QB can see them, but try not to get too close to a teammate, which allows defenders to congregate. I think the QB's line of vision is the most important and overlooked component. It doesn't do any good to be standing all alone on the right side of the field if the QB is scrambling to his left. He likely won't see you and would be ill-advised to even try the throw if he does.

David from Irvine, CA

I had a dream last night. The Packers stopped a late game-winning try with time running out, on a very controversial interception. The Giants were so disgusted with the call and lack of review overturning the call. Only two Giant players came out for the final kneel-down. Is that even legal? What would be the consequence, if any?

I have no idea, but I remember Buffalo head coach Wade Phillips taking his entire team to the locker room after some controversial calls led to a final-play TD pass by Drew Bledsoe for a Patriots win in Foxboro. No Bills players were on the field for the extra point, so New England snapped the ball directly to kicker Adam Vinatieri and he walked in for two. I don't recall if there were any consequences for the Bills, but Vegas was in an uproar. The Pats were favored by 3½ and won by four with the extra-extra point.

Casey from Boulder, CO

I don't think many people realize how difficult it is to come back from a major knee surgery and play at a high level. Jordy Nelson has completely surpassed my expectations this season, and I feel that he deserved a Pro Bowl slot. What are some other notable instances of players having great seasons after a major injury?

Adrian Peterson rushing for 2,097 yards and winning league MVP in 2012 after a December 2011 ACL injury has to be the all-timer. But that's not to say Nelson's 97 catches, 1,257 yards and 14 TDs should be shrugged at.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Herb is a good name for a Packers cornerback.

No. 26 is a good jersey, too.

Michael from Kohler, WI

Hey Mike, what's the story behind Jordy Nelson's and Aaron Rodgers' pregame ritual, when they spin the footballs and Aaron kicks one over?

It's a contest between the two to see who can get the ball to spin the longest. I believe Rodgers did it with Driver in the past, too. I think he kicks the other guy's ball over when he loses.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Spoff, the piece "Resiliency Reigns" is pure genius. In the last picture, the smile on Rodgers' face reminds me of Andy Dufresne with his feet up on Warden Norton's desk, playing "Canzonetta Sull'aria" over the speakers. "I tell you, that smile soars higher and farther than anybody in a gray 4-6 place dares to dream ... "

Resiliency is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Green Bay held practice Thursday in preparation for Sunday's Wild Card Playoff game against the New York Giants. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

Dylan from Amery, WI

Rock yelling "Yes!" over the top of Larrivee during a big play is one of the best things in sports.

The Rock is pure Packers.

Adam from Arcata, CA

Hey boys, I grew up across the street from Lambeau. I haven't been to a playoff game since the Pack held Barry Sanders to minus-1 rushing yards. Boy, do I miss that atmosphere. A friend of mine surprised me with tickets to Sunday's game. When looking at flights to Green Bay from Nowheresville, CA, I decided it was too expensive. My wife looked me in the eye and said, "It's the playoffs, you're going!" God bless a tolerant woman. Can't wait to get loud with you all on Sunday. Go Pack Go!

Hang onto her. Your obscure location is not far from wine country, right? You should build your wife a wine cellar, and let her fill it.

Doug from Eugene, OR

Hi gang, love the column. My folks were born and raised in Green Bay, and I in Oshkosh before moving to the West Coast. I care a great deal about these communities. Can you tell us about the economic impact for the city of Green Bay of hosting a playoff game?

It's around $14-15 million.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Hey Insiders, don't you think this "run the table" thing is a bit overhyped? In context, basically AR was just answering a question. He didn't point a bat to the outfield stands. He didn't bust a rhyme about what round he would knock his opponent out. He didn't even really predict they WOULD run the table. He simply said he believed they COULD do it. Would any other player say anything different?

To express that kind of confidence in your team on the heels of the longest losing streak here in eight years, knowing it would get thrown back in your face every week that you didn't win, took some guts. Rodgers has never been full of bluster and hot air. That's not his style. He has credibility for a reason, and he put it on the line. I just keep forgetting to ask him if he's actually a pool player.

Nick from State College, PA

If the Packers "run the table" all the way to a Super Bowl championship, do you think Rodgers calling his shot will go down in football lore or just be a footnote? I'm personally rooting for the story.

Apparently Eric isn't impressed, but it would have to rival Broadway Joe, wouldn't it?

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

I have to say that Vic really has to miss the everyday "Ask Vic" after the way this season has unfolded. With that said, I'm really excited with how Insider Inbox has evolved with three different perspectives. You guys bring it every day, and I have not lost interest with the change. I hope that Wes is at least an honorable mention for Packers rookie of the year. He has really come into his own and impressed me week after week. Mike, you are a solid veteran and have not disappointed during the ups and downs either. Go Pack!

Wes is the rookie of the year, no doubt. Of course, he's the lone rookie and therefore the only one in the running for the award, but that won't matter to him. Wes likes to win things.

Bill from Allouez, WI

As a former high school football official, what seems to be inconsistent officiating each week can be frustrating. At one time, I believe I saw an article stating the Packers coaching staff put time into "scouting" each week's officiating crew. At the time, I thought it was quite smart. Do they still do this?

To borrow from Wes, indubitably, but it's not much help in the playoffs with mixed crews.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

We have our captains for the playoffs, but what does that actually mean? Since the Packers name a different captain for every game (though they keep the same ones in the playoffs), is it merely symbolic or do some added responsibilities go along with it?

One of the captains, or perhaps multiple ones, will be responsible for giving the final talk to the team before heading out of the locker room onto the field before kickoff. He (or they) will also have the final word in the locker room after a victory. As for the four stars on the patches that some are asking about, each star colored gold represents a year that player has been elected playoff captain. If the "C" is gold, that's five years (or more).

Tom from Fairfield, CT

I have a sense Aaron Rodgers will miss the MVP by a hair (I think to Matt Ryan) and that would be absolutely perfect for the Packers' playoff run. By losing Rodgers will have an inflamed chip on his shoulder and, equally important, so will every other member of the Packers. No one is better with a chip on his shoulder than Rodgers. The timing couldn't be better, you think?

Nice theory, but while the MVP votes were turned in this week, the winner won't be announced until the night before the Super Bowl.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

What's your favorite playoff moment at Lambeau?

Favre throwing snowballs at his teammates. I wouldn't mind having something top that this year.

Kurt from Jackson, WI

What is your take on the similarities to the Super Bowl run (Rodgers' championship belt move), the NFC championship (Relax) and this year's possible playoff possibilities (Run the table)?

For the record, Rodgers broke out the belt for the first time in 2009.

Joe from Manitowoc, WI

When the season is on the line, No. 12 finds a way to get it done time and time again. With that being said, who would you say the top three clutch QBs have been in the last 30 years? In order, please.

If you're defining clutch as big regular-season games and playoffs, Montana, Brady and Aikman are the first three that come to mind for me. If the definition is more about two-minute drills at the end of games, Elway, Marino and maybe Roethlisberger have to enter the conversation.

Kurt from Johns Creek, GA

Everyone seems to be sleeping on the Falcons. As a Packers fan in Georgia I am often forced to watch the Falcons and miss the Packers. My assessment, Ryan is playing MVP football, the offensive balance is lethal and the defense is decent enough. They can beat anyone in either league.

If you read the column last week, you know I'm not sleeping on the Falcons.

Erik from San Diego, CA

We all know that things take time to fix and I'm happy and grateful that we are playing good football. But I don't understand it yet. What went wrong? Where was the breakdown? Help us understand how such a great team went through such a rough patch as long as we did?

The two-word answer: It's football. My elaboration, in 125 words: Early on, the defense was in good shape, the offense a little out of sync. Rodgers discusses playing QB in terms of anticipation and timing, and when things get thrown off, they can also snap back in rhythm when it's been done before. Injuries hit, both sides. McCarthy went about schematically reinventing the offense week after week. The defense didn't have the personnel to do the same. Some healthier bodies helped, though injuries on that side remain an issue. Rodgers found his groove and has stayed in it, in part because his surrounding cast hasn't changed as much of late, and Nelson is now all the way back. Last but not least, the entire team has built confidence doing whatever it takes to win, repeatedly.

Cody from Rock Hill, SC

I think the easiest path through the playoffs would be going to Atlanta next week and then meeting up with Detroit back in Green Bay. That being said, I would love to beat Dallas in Dallas, beat Seattle in Seattle, then move on to have Rodgers outduel Brady in the Super Bowl. Thoughts?

Just beat the Giants.

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