May 17, 2021

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Inbox: The signs are there

5 min read
Inbox: The signs are there

Two very welcome and needed victories against two very good football rivals of ours. But I believe Matt LaFleur has twice mentioned his “get back on track” plays. At the risk of ridicule, if these plays are some of our most effective and efficient for getting first downs, why aren’t these used more often? Is it just because they are more “vanilla”?

I think his reference there is to plays in long-yardage situations that are designed to give you a chance and/or manage the situation, not necessarily get the first down. Such as, on second-and-20, something to put you in third-and-10. Or, when the Packers faced third-and-28 from their own 4, something positive to give your punter some room.

Wes’s response to Zach from IN got me wondering, can any player on the field, or coach on the sideline, call a timeout? Or is it just designated people?

Any player on the field can call timeout, but only the head coach can on the sideline, unless it’s communicated to the officials pregame that someone else has the authority.

Rumor has it Miami is going to tank and it kind of looks that way with all the talent departing. Doesn’t matter either way. I am curious if you think there a sure-fire HOF quarterback coming out next year?

I’d never call anyone a sure-fire HOFer who’s never taken an NFL snap. Never. The QBs from ’Bama, Oregon and Georgia are considered the top prospects for next year’s draft, but I don’t think any of them will generate the buzz that Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence is going to in 2021.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

I hated to see Raven Greene being taken off on the cart. I was really pulling for him to have an impactful year. Under the current IR rules is he eligible to return later in the season or is he out until next year?

That’s a tough break for Greene, who appeared to have found his niche. He’s eligible to return to practice in six weeks and to games in eight weeks if he’s healthy and the Packers choose to use one of their two IR designations on him.

Good morning Mike, not a question but a comment on the WYMM piece from yesterday. The last “tape” you showed with Aaron Jones picking up Harrison Smith and sticking with him was fantastic! The call on the radio featured a classic Larry McCarren “WHOAA!”

I had a feeling Larry loved that block.

Been on the season-ticket waiting list for Lambeau Field for 30-plus years. I was sickened by the number of Minnesota fans in the stands on Sunday. While I want to honor the populace who supported the Packers in the lean years (1950s, 1970s, 1980s), it appears there are a number who are no longer attending the games and giving the visiting fans a chance to cheer their team in our house. How do the Packers change this trend and let those on the list get a chance in their lifetime?

Great question. In a free-market society, there’s no satisfactory answer. I get all the comments about season-ticket holders needing to sell some games to pay for the rest, because it’s an expensive commitment, and a high-demand game provides the highest return. But it’s still disappointing a new coach’s home opener didn’t have greater value for season-ticket holders, especially coming off the big Week 1 win. As others pointed out, the secondary market also has allowed an entire legion of Packers fans to get to Lambeau Field when they otherwise couldn’t. At the crux of it is technology making it infinitely easier for fans to buy tickets to any game, anywhere, for a price. On the whole, this benefits the Packers on the road but hurts them at home. The tradeoff must be accepted, I suppose.

I think the biggest argument against playing division rivals right away has to be how the officials are concerned about new rules or new points of emphasis. Last year we had to deal with the roughing-the-passer nonsense and this year we are seeing some ticky-tack OPIs and the new challenge rules that go with it. If the division still means something to the NFL then they should want the best product available for those games. The refs should get it figured out before the division games start.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I was surprised by the level of the celebration on the sideline and in the locker room the last two weeks, especially in Chicago. It’s the type of celebration you see late season in a tight division or playoff races. The enthusiasm and joy are great and genuine but still surprising for Weeks 1 and 2. I hope they stay there all season through the highs and lows. Are you seeing it and to what do you attribute the heightened level of joy this early in the season?

On the current roster, 39 of the 53 players are in their fourth (or fewer) NFL seasons. If they’ve been in Green Bay, that means their only real taste of success was the run to the NFC title game as rookies, or no playoff appearances at all. Of the other 14 veterans, four are the new free agents who came on board this year, plus two tight ends who arrived a year ago. Combine that roster makeup with a first-time head coach, and the enthusiasm seems natural to me. It’s also a sign they believe they might have something here.

Nick from White Bear Township, MN

In reaction to the Bradley Chubb play: I think if players can be fined after the fact for penalties NOT called, then players should get a bonus check from the NFL if they get called for some nonsense.

Roger from Little Chicago, IL

It was great to see us running the ball, but what happened to our tight ends in the passing game? Zero catches for what was to be another staple in this offense.

The Vikings were thin at corner, with really nobody behind the two starters. They were playing a safety at nickel, so the better matchups were with the receivers and running backs. I think the approach made sense.

Ralph from Monchengladbach, Germany

Dalvin Cook’s stats for Sunday look good. Is that one long run distorting that statistic or did he really cause problems for the defense, despite everyone “knowing” that the Vikings would use him as much as possible?

Take away his 75-yard run and he still had 116 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches. He’s steadily productive as well as scary. He’s really, really good.

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