Sun, 27 Nov 2022

Inbox: Every Sunday is sacred in this league

Packers
03 Oct 2022, 17:12 GMT+10

Doing the dirty work is where Allen Lazard excels mostWes Hodkiewicz

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. Indeed, it is a good morning! Due to Ian, my power has been out since Wednesday. It came back yesterday evening, but I missed my connection with packers.com. What did I miss? (So glad to be back, as packers.com is my only source for Packers news.)

I am glad to hear that. I hope all of our Floridian friends, and their loved ones, pulled through Ian OK. This week's topic of conversation has mostly centered on Green Bay's special teams. While that unit is much improved, I feel like that's a reflection of all being quiet on the Northeastern Wisconsin front...which is a good thing for the Packers.

Jarle from Bodø, Norway

So, with the Patriots coming on a road trip with their backup QB, you are still saying that they're... nobody's underdog?

I appreciate the reference, but regardless of whether it's Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer or Tom Brady starting at quarterback for the Patriots, the Packers must stop Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. If those two get going, Bill Belichick and his play-callers will take the rest from there.

Ivan from Little Chicago, WI

If Belichick is going to key on our two A.J.s, then I would counter with plays to our tight ends. Big day for those guys, I think. Game on!

That's how these games are played. If the Pats stack the box with a safety, the Packers have to make 'em pay through the air. If New England plays two high, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon gotta get going underneath. The Pats are going to give the Packers a lot of window dressing. Green Bay needs to be itself, stay true to the scheme and win the one-on-ones.

James from Charlottesville, VA

I haven't seen anyone in the Inbox point this out as of yet but Matt LaFleur *still* has yet to lose back-to-back games. I know it's still early but as he is in his fourth season as HC. Is that some sort of record or streak or is he getting close to another HC who did the same thing?

I have to imagine it is, but that's a better question for the Elias Sports Bureau than Hod Stats & Information. My database is running a 404 error.

Nate from Manitowoc, WI

Is the best offseason addition so far Pat O'Donnell?

The Packers have had some talented punters, but they all were pretty young. With O'Donnell, there's been no learning curve. The 31-year-old veteran has stepped in and soared out of the gate. The most surprising thing is how well all these additions on special teams have gelled with Green Bay's returning players and rookies. Keisean Nixon, Dallin Leavitt and Rudy Ford have been godsends.

Tom from New Braunfels, TX

In yesterday's Inbox, Mike fielded a question regarding only one INT thus far this year and was there a concern. His answer here, "Well, the coverages were a mess in Minneapolis, Chicago attempted only 11 passes, and then the Packers faced Brady. That's about all I've got for you," had to be the most succinct and perfect answer to a question I have read in the Inbox for a long time. If I had some sort of award to give for best most concise/accurate answer, I would award it for this one!

I would've answered it the same way, but Mike beat me to it.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

In regards to the lack of interceptions, it always seems to me they come in bunches. Don't you agree?

I do. With all due respect to the quarterbacks Green Bay is set to face over the next month, the defense should have some opportunities in October. Gotta capitalize.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

So, who is going to be the biggest surprise in this Sunday's matchup?

Eric Stokes. He played well against the Bucs, but I say he gets a pick on Sunday.

Dan from Green Bay, WI

Should we expect to see one of the rookie wide receivers take on the WR1 position over Allen Lazard this season?

Lazard is the most well-rounded receiver on the roster. That's why he's categorized as the No. 1 receiver. That said, nobody is wearing a "WR1" on their chest. Any of these receivers can be viewed as a top guy depending on the week and matchup. But it is important to remember that WR1 role is more than just the receiver with the most catches/yards/TDs, etc. Sometimes, it's doing the dirty work or blocking - and that's where Allen Lazard excels most.

Steve from Ankeny, IA

It appears to me that Robert Tonyan is getting his stride back. When we add that piece to the emergence of Romeo Doubs, look out!

If history is any indication in Green Bay, potential often turns into production as the season progresses. But Romeo Doubs is still ahead of the rookie curve.

Tom from Burlington, WI

Good morning, Inbox. Do you think Doubs will break Max McGee's rookie single-game receptions record? With as many great wide receivers (and two HOF QBs), it's amazing that record has stood so long; a testament to the receiver depth into which our rookies usually walk.

He'll have a shot at it. After all, that was Doubs' third NFL game. As impressive as it is that McGee's record has stood so long, that must have been wild to watch back in 1954. That game against the Rams accounted for 25% of McGee's catches for the entire season.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Eric from Omaha, NE, states that Romeo Doubs reminds him of Jaire in his locker room interviews. Maybe it's that he plays the same position and wishful thinking, but my mind immediately went to Davante Adams who was always thoughtful and never given to overly emotional responses. What say you?

Adams is a good comparison. Doubs is an interesting guy. While quiet, he's always engaged in his interviews. Doubs doesn't seem to mind the process - or at least doesn't hate it. I just hope we, the media corps, don't burn him out. Because Doubs is pretty much at his locker every day and I've yet to see him turn down an interview request.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Hey Wes, I just have a couple quick observation for your thoughts. Which do you think deserves more credit for the great year Pat O'Donnell is having? The playing surface at Lambeau compared to Soldier Field or just a new situation and winning culture in Green Bay? He's off to his best start in nine years if he remains consistent. My other comment regards our WRs and availability. Knowing and seeing Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb's injury history shouldn't it be a priority to get Watson involved ASAP?

Isn't that what they've done? The first pass of the 2022 season was thrown to Watson. Receivers coach Jason Vrable caught my attention with something he said on Thursday night about Watson. "You watch him out there at practice - there's a speed that I've maybe never even felt before on a field." The Packers want to showcase those gifts.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Statistics are too often used as a measuring stick of performance. Aaron Rodgers appears to be off to a slow start. I don't buy that argument. For this particular season, he has been more valuable to the Packers team than ever before. He is currently holding down the fort while their very talented but very young players gradually are getting better and better. Rodgers is worth every penny because the team knows they are capable of winning every game they play.

I would not categorize this as a slow start for Rodgers. To me, a slow start is a quarterback throwing incompletions, turning the ball over and costing his team games. All Rodgers has done the past two weeks is give Green Bay a chance to win the football game. That's not a slow start - that's leadership.

Paul from Franklin, WI

Hello II - thanks for answering my question. On another note, how much of the game is being played on the sidelines? Often, I see coaches and players hiding their mouths while talking. Are there assistant coaches looking for any sign of a play call or body language to give the team some type of advantage? And how much of that actually happens?

I don't think the opposition is actively looking for tells, but you still can't give anything away in this business. There are cameras everywhere. Just ask Aaron Rodgers.

Kevin from New Milford, CT

Have you heard whether the Packers are planning to sign Clay Matthews to a one-day deal? It would be great for him to retire a Packer.

I have not. That doesn't sound like a very Clay Matthews thing to do, but I would hope he returns to Green Bay to get his flowers at some point. He deserves them.

Jeff from Vandenberg SFB, CA

Looking at Week 4 there are only four games where both teams have winning records. Two are predictable (BUF-BAL and KC-TB) but who'd have thought the others would be Jags-Eagles and Bears-Giants?

We'll see where Jacksonville's season goes, but Doug Pederson was a home-run hire for the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence looks like a QB prodigy again, James Robinson is (still) a beast and Christian Kirk looks like an excellent signing so far. Jacksonville is a fun team to watch.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Have you ever seen an onside kick post-safety? How would that work?

I have, and I never want to see it again. I can't remember which Packers game it was, but the play entailed the punter skying the punt - almost like no-limit, slow-pitch softball - and all the players crashing to get it. To me, it was an extremely dangerous play, but I believe it's still allowed.

Dale from Green Bay, WI

Happy Friday gents and Insiders! Aaron Jones gets nice with a 50-yard rushing/50 receiving day. Mason Crosby gets to have some fun, with four field goals. Rasul Douglas gets his first pick-six of season. Rashan Gary keeps it going with 1½ sacks. Quay Walker gets his first INT and sack. Watson gets his first TD. Crowd is so loud the cameras shake. Packers 33, Patriots 13...Do you ever have weird daydreams, like me, where you subconsciously visualize how an upcoming game will go? Hi dad! GPG!

Loving the optimism. Let's see if you hit on any of the predictions.

Donny from Green Bay, WI

We don't know the details but the injury to Tua on Thursday night looked bad. Combine that with what happened to him on Sunday wobbling around the field and it seems like something fishy was going on with the concussion protocol. Hopefully he makes a full recovery. Doesn't the NFL have concussion spotters to remove players from the game to check on them?

I don't know everything that went into the situation to speak on it, but watching from afar, I was concerned when I saw that Tua was going to play on Thursday Night Football. I just hope Tua Tagovailoa, the human being, is OK. That was scary to watch.

Richard from Menasha, WI

Wes, I mean Mike. Yes, that was me shouting "Wes." I may have had a few but I think my mistake was more a heat-of-the-moment thing seeing a Packers celebrity. Or maybe it was the beers. Am I the only one to mix you guys up?

It happened to me during the Packers shareholders meeting in July. Personally, I don't think I look like a Spofford.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

No "Unscripted" preview of hosting New England? My Thursday evening was disappointed, and my day ruined. But it's now Friday going into Saturday, so I'll get over it.

I sincerely apologize. We ran into a few snags and had to postpone the second episode of "Unscripted" this week. We will have three episodes in a week to make up for it at some point. I promise we'll be back next week to recap the Patriots game and preview London.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

Confirmed that ML reads II. Where else did he get the idea of alternating Bakh and Yosh if not from the alternating Spoff and Wes?

The greatest platoon in sports(writing).

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Another chance to learn, change and grow. The challenge of a Bill Belichick defense, the roar of the Lambeau home crowd and the glorious smell of brats in the air. Just beat the Patriots!

There are 365 days in a year and only nine guaranteed Packers home games. Every Sunday is sacred. Plus, people made so much out of last Sunday possibly being the last game between Rodgers and Brady. You don't know how many more times Bill Belichick is gonna coach at Lambeau Field, either.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

From rookie to veteran, young and old. Focus on better every week and consistency for 60 minutes. No detours, stay the course, Green and Gold.

Enjoy the game, everybody.

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