Mon, 06 Dec 2021

Inbox: Who's it gonna be this time

Packers
28 Oct 2021, 17:12 GMT+10

If you don’t beat yourself, they still have to beat you Mike Spofford

Chris from Rochester, IL

Is Corey Bojorquez wearing the first-ever game shorts in the feature pic of the Oct. 26 Inbox?

Those certainly were, um, ... interesting, no?

Brad from Stevens Point, WI

Why can't they just move the game to Sunday?

Ha. Because the NFL is a business and Thursday Night Football is big business.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Is there some weird mojo about playing in Arizona that causes Rodgers to have to make do without his top receivers? How do they adjust their game plan on what's already a short week?

Rodgers said last week's game plan was intentionally heavy, volume-wise, knowing portions not used could be carried over. The problem is the lack of opportunity to rep those plays this week with different receiver personnel. They might have to throw some routes and concepts into the plan that fit the available guys better and try them in the game regardless.

Jerry from Luck, WI

On one hand, time, COVID, and injuries have the Packers limited Thursday as much as my expectations are limited. On the other hand, they are playing a game that will quite possibly have a direct impact on the pecking order in January. How much of an impact does this game have on the storyline of the season?

It could make a huge impact. Or when it's all said and done, it might not matter much. There are nine more games to play after this one, and everyone else at the top of the NFC is playing just as many, too. Big game, yes, but lotta football left regardless.

Beau from Lancaster, PA

Just an observation. More than one-third of the way through the season and there are five teams in the NFC with either zero or one loss. No team in the AFC has less than two.

What's really fascinating to me, even though it's still relatively early, is of the four losses among the top five NFC teams, three of them are due to those teams facing one another. Thursday's game will make it four of five losses (barring a tie, of course).

Sean from San Diego, CA

Why do the Cardinals feel like the 2020 Bucs or the 2019 49ers or the 2016 Falcons or the 2014 Seahawks?

Because it makes sense, I guess, and you're not the only one connecting such dots. Look, I get it. Then again, based on the above posts, there's a myriad of possibilities. But hey, if you're telling me right now this is a prelude to Jan. 30, sign me up. I wouldn't hesitate for a second.

Jeff from Ripon, WI

Much of the production from Green Bay's offense seems to be directly related to the quality of the opposing defense. Where does Arizona's stand defensively?

Fourth in the league in yards, first in points, first on third down.

Michael from Lakewood, CO

What's Arizona's front four like? Can we get the ground game going against them?

It's imperative the Packers run the ball successfully in this game, in my opinion, to keep the pass rush honest and help limit the possessions the defense will have to chase Kyler Murray around. Statistically, run defense is the one area the Cardinals don't stand out. They're 18th in rushing yards allowed (115.7) and 31st in yards per carry (5.0). But teams have only 163 rushing attempts against them in seven games (21 per game) because they're frequently playing from behind.

Jack from Indianapolis, IN

The potential return of Marquez Valdes-Scantling coupled with Aaron Rodgers dialing in his deep ball could spell trouble for the Cardinals. I know they have a strong pass rush and a mobile quarterback, but what's the tale of the tape on their secondary?

Corner Byron Murphy leads them with three interceptions. Robert Alford at corner and Budda Baker at safety are proven pros. Baker is the guy who will line up all over the place. It reminds me of how the Steelers used Polamalu.

Tyler from Sylvania, OH

I remember a similar feeling going into AZ in the 2015 playoffs without Jordy Nelson and losing Randall Cobb early in the game. Guys like Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis stepped up and made that a winnable game at the end. Not quite expecting the dramatics of that one, but when the Packers are against the wall they always come out punching.

Last year in a big early game at New Orleans, without Davante Adams and Kenny Clark, it was tough to like the Packers' chances. Same thing this year at San Francisco without Elgton Jenkins and Kevin King. You line up and play. If you don't beat yourself, they still have to beat you.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

Regardless of who is or isn't playing, I'm going to be cheering for my team. Isn't that all that we can do? Except for you, no cheering for you.

Probably no soup, either.

Jack from Edina, MN

I know people are worried about losing Adams to the COVID list, but I just saw a stat that we are 6-0 where Davante had to miss games. So we have that going for us...

In the LaFleur era, that stat is correct. In most instances, a victory has required someone else to have a monster game. In 2019, that was Aaron Jones in the road games at Dallas and KC, and Jamaal Williams came up big against Detroit at home. Last year, it was Allen Lazard at New Orleans and Robert Tonyan vs. Atlanta. Who's it gonna be this time?

Anne-Marie from Richmond, VA

What is GBP record for Thursday night games with Aaron Rodgers?

7-3.

Alex from Dallas, TX

How does Kyler Murray's toughness stack up against other quarterbacks, especially given his size? His quickness helps him avoid major hits, but does a sack off the blindside impact his game more than bigger QBs?

He's been sacked 16 times, so it's not as though he hasn't been hit. But his efficiency is outstanding - 73.5% completions, 116.8 passer rating. He's off to an MVP start, and it's on the Packers to not let him have an MVP-type game.

Ryan from Staten Island, NY

It seems like all season long the defender from the right side has been getting close to blocking our field goals. It finally cost us on one this week. Is there something there that is seen as an issue that needs fixing, or is this just how they will continue to block on field-goal attempts?

The protection is designed from the inside out, because interior pressure has a much higher chance of blocking the kick. Last Sunday, the edge rusher wasn't even close. It was blocked by an interior player. Any team can have multiple free rushers coming off the edge. The protection unit has four players on each side of the snapper, who is protected from contact. If the opponent lines up all 11 players on the line, two on one edge and one on the other can/will be free. It's a matter of making them take wide enough angles, and not allowing them to get a jump on the snap, so they can't get there in time.

Rob from Wilmington, NC

Question regarding the throwbacks...I know we are locked into that for a few years (and I love it) but do they have the option of wearing the "away" version of it? I would love to see a yellow jersey with green numbers on it.

I don't believe that's in the works, nor would it be allowed.

Gary from San Jose, CA

I really like AJ Dillon but the fumbles are a growing concern. He had an issue with this on college as well apparently. How difficult is this to correct and how concerned should we be about this making Dillon less useable?

I don't think Dillon has a fumbling problem. He had eight in college, but if I recall correctly the majority of those were in his first season, 2017. He had one last year in 58 touches. I think he lapsed on a day he wasn't seeing the ball much. It still can't happen, though. He has to protect the football whether he's getting it 20 times or two.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

With Joe Barry in the COVID protocol any word on who will call the plays?

LaFleur announced late Tuesday it would be Jerry Gray. It's a natural choice given his experience as a coordinator in the NFL - five years in Buffalo and three in Tennessee.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Not a question, but just wanted to point out after last weekend's games the victory over the Bengals might be more impressive than we originally thought.

The Bengals lost to the Bears. The Bears just got clobbered by the Bucs. The Jets have one win, in OT over the Titans, who at 5-2 are tied for the best record in the AFC, with (among others) the Bengals. You know what's coming. It's a week-to-week league.

K.J. from Louisville, KY

Wes mentioned De'Vondre Campbell in the II on Tuesday and I've really, really liked what that guy has done for us to date. I'm interested in thoughts on what percent chance do you guys think Green Bay has in being able to sign him after this year? Thanks guys!

No idea. There's going to be so much to sort out in the offseason, no projections can be made in a vacuum.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

This is a Packers mailbag and no love for our NFC North brethren, but I have to say even with an 0-7 start for the Lions, I've gained a bit of respect for their coach. In the preseason he sounded cheesy, but through this season he seems to actually value his team and take the losses to heart. Last week with the special teams craziness, they had a plan to try and pull off an upset, even though it didn't work out.

Dan Campbell has the Lions playing hard for him, and he's certainly not afraid to take risks. A balance is needed there, because certainly some of his aggression has backfired. But Detroit is just a couple of kicking-game moments from being 2-5, whereas Green Bay is a couple from being 4-3. Don't lose sight of that. The margins in this league are forever slim.

Jim from St. Petersburg, FL

COVID: The only defense the NFL has against 17.

Appreciate the levity.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

As I was going through WYMM, I couldn't help but notice Rashan Gary committing a crime over and over again. Play after play, it's clear that Gary is being shot out of a cannon. I thought firearms were not allowed in NFL games. Seriously though, has Gary always had that much hustle? Or is he doing something new this year? That motor does not stop.

I've never seen him do anything but go absolutely all-out. If you're noticing something different, it's probably just how much more sure of himself and his assignments he is on the field. There's no hesitation, nothing being held back.

John from Fairbanks, AK

Hi Mike, I'm sure you're getting lots of questions about the state of the offense with all the COVID issues. I'll leave those to the others. Almost as important is the schedule for the II. Will there be one on Thursday, when it's a game day? Maybe one on Sunday since it's a non-game day for GB? Thanks for all the good work at packers.com. I think I'm pretty unbiased when I say it's the best team website in the NFL.

Much appreciated. II is a Monday through Saturday venture, regardless of the game schedule. So Wes will have a column Thursday morning, I'll have one Friday following the game, Wes will handle Saturday, and then I will dive back in Sunday night to hopefully talk about the non-Packers slate of games for Monday morning.

Mark from St. Paul, MN

Man! Short week, without Joe Barry who knows the Cards well, versus red-hot 7-0 opponent with no major injuries, we have injuries to key starters across the board, no Davante Adams, 1,821 miles to Phoenix, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark...and we're wearing sunglasses...

I'm not sure if we can call it a mission from God, but it's a mission all right.

Bruce from Lakewood, CO

Weston & Mike: 17's shoes can't be filled by one man alone. The Packers have dealt with injuries/absences before and they will again. The coach and team have the right attitude - don't whine and play hard with who ya got.

There's the mission.

Tom from Fort Myers, FL

The NFL is a copycat league. No team has beaten Arizona yet this season. Time for the Packers to be the team everyone else copies.

That, too.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

Is it too much to ask for just to get out of Arizona with no more injuries? At the start of the season, looking at the schedule, I thought the Packers could beat Arizona and struggle at KC. Now is the reverse true?

Just beat the Cardinals. Happy Wednesday.

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