Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Inbox: Redemption is within reach

Packers
18 Sep 2022, 18:12 GMT+10

It’s tough to be perfect in an imperfect game…but you can be consistentWes Hodkiewicz

Eric from Mequon, WI

I just want Matt LaFleur to get another 13-win season. That puts you in the playoffs and would just be really cool that he got 13 wins every year as a head coach. I don't care about home-field advantage or bye weeks or No. 1 seeds or No. 6 seeds. Just get 13 wins. That means we can lay an egg four times and all is still good in the world. Relax, Packer Nation. It is a LONG season.

If the last 50 years taught us anything, it's that it's tough to be perfect in an imperfect game. But you can be consistent. That's what these teams are chasing.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Wes, the whole world knows our reliable and outstanding RB tandem will get plenty of touches this Sunday. Assuming Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon have early success, the Bears will have to adjust. I think Robert Tonyan could have a big day finding the holes in coverage, with a couple bombs going to our WRs in single coverage, especially on play-action. Does it favor the TEs more or the WRs more, if the Bears shade their focus on containing Jones and Dillon?

It benefits everyone, whether it's Tonyan, Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard in the middle of the field or Sammy Watkins, Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson on the perimeter. It's not just, "Oh, the Packers have two good running backs. They should touch the ball a lot." It's how Jones and Dillon, in tandem, can stretch a defense sideline-to-sideline.

Don from Swaledale, IA

You often speak about the "eye test." Don't you think the Vikings passed the "eye test" to give them a leg up? The Bears are always tough no matter where or when we play them so be prepared for any outcome. Beat the Bears! GPG!

I thought Justin Jefferson had a great game and the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium was loud as heck. But other than that, it wasn't the type a loss where I said to myself afterward, "Shoot, I don't know if the Packers can beat those guys." As Spoff said, Round 2 takes place in 3½ months. Now, it's all about Chicago. That's the only test that matters.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, hopefully GB has a much better team game. Would you rather see a big improvement from the offense or defense? GPG!

Defense. We know what the defense can do. We've seen it. Now is the time to do it on Sundays. I think the offense is going to get better as the season wears on, but it's been my contention the defense could be special right out of the gate. Hopefully that potential shows itself Sunday. There are no re-dos, but redemption is within reach.

Izzi from Raleigh, NC

Can this really be a "must-win" game in Week 2? Or is it too early to traipse out that cliche? History and math tell us a team that starts 0-2 has an 11% chance of making the playoffs. That number might be even lower if both losses are in the division. Inconceivable!

As I always say, there are no must-win games in September. But this qualifies as a "Boy-this-would-be-a-good-one-to-win-since-Green-Bay-does-not-have-another-division-game-until-November-and-plus-it-is-the-Bears" game.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Wes, I just listened to "Unscripted," and you brought up the Chicago WRs I was forgetting about. Duh. EQ is there! I even saw his TD highlight last week. I still think Cole Kmet is going to be one to watch, though.

A reliable tight end can be a young QB's best friend, and Kmet has the makings of a good one. Darnell Mooney also is a playmaker I expect to be much more active in this game. The Packers have to keep Justin Fields' feet to the fire. If he's free to extend plays, Fields can make a defense pay with those type of weapons.

Becky from Sausalito, CA

I think David from El Segundo meant to write he can't wait for the Vikings fans to get their "SKOLs" crushed. Didn't it seem that, even after the half, the Packers just didn't possess a sense of urgency and were a bit lethargic? Where was the intensity?

Not sure. They certainly looked better in the second half. I think it's worth mentioning opening the season on the road in back-to-back-to-back years has its drawbacks, too. The Packers need to be better; no doubt about it. But maybe one of these years, the schedule-makers will put a Week 1 game in Green Bay.

Andrew from Placentia, CA

Hi, I think all inter-conference scheduling for Week 1 would create some fascinating matchups. There could be a Super Bowl rematch, potential Super Bowl previews (like Rams vs. Bills), and some rare matchups. Sure, you might get Lions at Jags, too, but college fans still show up on Labor Day weekend for top SEC teams against Southwestern North Carolina Tech because they're hungry for football!

Sure...why not? Listen, I've always said the NFL should be more open-minded with how it builds the schedule. But the league doesn't want to box itself into a corner. It's much easier to have all available options to create the most compelling content from Week 1-18.

Howie from Saint Ignace, MI

It seems after every lopsided defeat head coaches say, "I need to coach better" during their post-game press conference. They already work ridiculous hours, and assuming they have given their best effort preparing players the previous week, how do they improve their coaching?

One word: accountability. We all perseverate (yes, I'm using perseverate again) too much on LaFleur pointing the finger at himself after a loss. You're reading the fortune cookie but not absorbing the message. LaFleur is showing the locker room everyone can look inward for improvement. Pointing fingers gets a team nowhere. Pointing at yourself is a call for every coach, player and staff member to do the same.

Kristian from Aarhus N, Denmark

Dear Mike and Wes - thanks for making us insiders! Disheartening as last Sunday was, it is time to beat the Bears. A popular game is to consider where we are besting them in terms of matchups. Are we, position-for-position, the better team? What is the cornerstone in Coaches Mike and Weston's gameplan? Thank you for your time.

The Packers are the superior football team. That's not an opinion. That's a fact. The Bears claimed six players off waivers after final cuts for a reason. That being said, this is a sport where good coaches, game plans and heart can overcome perceived talent gaps. The Bears are feeling good about themselves after that upset win over San Francisco. It's up to the Packers to come out, set the tone and remind everyone who was favored to run the NFC North this year.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

Who looked better in Week 1: the Bears or the Lions? And should we be worried?

I'm going to act like you didn't just say the "W" word, Tom, because I like you. I still don't know what to make of Chicago's opener, but Detroit impressed me with how well it did against Philly. But we'll learn more about both teams in the weeks to come. This is a huge test for both the Vikings and Eagles Monday night.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. Much has been made of the field conditions during the Bears game last week. We know that won't be the case at Lambeau. That being said, how can we draw any conclusions about how the Bears will perform on a good (excellent) turf?

San Francisco's speed was neutralized last week in those conditions. A sturdier track should benefit the Packers on Sunday night, because I see them having the edge there.

Richard from Livermore, CA

Do you think there is a chance that when David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are ready to play in a game (hopefully this Sunday) they will initially only play a few selected series, increasing their workload each week assuming no setbacks? Skill-position players are often put on such a "pitch count" but it seems rare for offensive linemen. Not quite sure why that is the case?

I've never heard of such a strategy with offensive linemen. Until I see differently, my thought would be Bakhtiari and Jenkins will play when they're ready to go for four quarters.

Samuel from Skokie, IL

I apologize for asking a question like a venting fan earlier this week. Many have asked why no matchup between Jaire Alexander and Justin Jefferson. I think the correct question is, since coaches need to put the players in the best position to succeed, why have three great cover corners and play zone? ML and Joe Barry were asked matchup questions, but not that question. The scheme should make use of your players strengths. What am I missing?

I'm not sure what you guys want. The coaches said Sunday wasn't good enough and explained their thought process behind the gameplan. The team made the corrections and turned its attention to the Bears. That's it. It's over. Go home.

Francine from Jackson, MS

Is there a limit to how long a player stays on a team's roster without taking a snap? Self-imposed or not. Any idea what Green Bay player holds that dubious record?

There's no limit. I'm not sure who would hold that distinction here, but I remember Scott Tolzien was on San Francisco's 53-man roster for two years without appearing in a game. I'm pretty sure he wasn't even active, either.

Sarah from Neenah, WI

What qualities do you look for when drafting a player?

Character, measureables, college production and scheme fit.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Mike and Wes, what is your prediction for our starting offensive line on Sunday? I am getting nervous about Bak and Elgton Jenkins. Please help calm me down.

I am not sure how it'll shake out, either. But as Adam Stenavich said Thursday night, "It'll be a fun surprise for everyone."

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I'm a little late with this question, but I saw that in last week's Bears-49ers game the Bears were penalized for taking a towel and trying to dry the field before a field goal. First of all, I've never seen anyone try to do that before so kudos for the idea. Second of all, how is that a penalty? Don't teams clear the field of snow before a field goal all the time? I don't see what the difference is.

Well, I don't think anybody has had to try to do that before. The only thing more surprising than the flag being thrown was the referees knowing it was a penalty. That's a deep pull from the official rulebook. I think it could be seen as the offense trying to get an advantage with a foreign object (as opposed to clearing snow with your own hands and feet).

Craig from Sheboygan, WI

Watching the Chiefs vs. Chargers game Thursday night, it seemed to me Marquez Valdez-Scantling wasn't targeted very much at all.

He tied Travis Kelce with a team-high seven targets. MVS just had two catches for 13 yards.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

A new beginning. While you only get one chance to make a first impression, the last impression matters most when the final chapter is written. Now a fresh start and on to the Bears.

The Packers are (mostly) healthy, hungry, and ready to open Lambeau Field in style. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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