George from North Mankato, MN

Coach McCarthy called out the team to have others step up in A-Rod’s absence. Who do you see responding to the challenge on offense, defense and special teams?

I’m not going to bore you with obvious answers or try to look smart with sleeper picks, because it doesn’t matter who. It just needs to happen, and ideally, different players each week will be the biggest responders. That would be the most valuable development for the remainder of the season.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

Wes and/or Mike, I don't claim to speak for him, but thank you to those at packers.com for the excellent video “Packers Life: Packer Frank.” As anyone in our family would tell you, he "is" that guy in the video that everyone talks about. I cannot think of any person that is more deserving to be in the Packers FHOF. What a great job!

Hats off to our broadcast department. The “Packers Life” series takes a ton of work by some incredibly talented and dedicated folks. Please continue to watch and appreciate their efforts.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

Mike, when we defeated Dallas in Week 5, despite the close score, I felt as though we were the faster team, the smarter team, and the more physical/passionate team. Since that game I haven't felt we have "won" in all three of those areas, culminating with clearly losing all three last Monday night. I understand we have been without the best player on the planet, but don't understand why we can't "win" at least one of those areas without him. What am I missing?

I don’t recall feeling the Packers were the faster, smarter or more physical or passionate team after the losses to Atlanta, Indianapolis, Tennessee and Washington with Rodgers last fall, either. Funny how losing works.

John from Belleview, FL

I was startled by the suggestion that the team could turn it around if Aaron Rodgers addressed the team, and told them to step it up. The readers should apply that to their own work environment. Does "rah-rah" work? I don't think so. Motivation comes from within. You can't motivate someone else. You can use reward and punishment to change behavior, but you can’t instill motivation. We've all seen professional athletes over the years that lost that inner drive – the ones that should have retired one year sooner. Doesn't matter if you're a player, coach, writer, salesperson or garbage collector – you can’t give that inner drive to someone else. You have to own it.

That new Southwest commercial with the basketball coach giving the locker room speech is my latest favorite. At some point, the players have to take ownership of the team from when the clock starts to when it stops. Everything else will just become the next airline ad.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

So the broadcast for the Thursday night game decided to try something I have never seen before. They televised a portion of the game from behind the offense (Madden view). I don't play games, but I have always been curious to see the game from that angle. Two thoughts: 1. That view sure makes playing QB look a lot harder. 2. I never want to watch a game that way again. Any thoughts from the Insiders?

Totally agree with 1. Regarding 2, you get used to it with some of the press boxes we sit in.

Matt from Chicago, IL

Did Martellus walk out on our old-fashioned, fun family Christmas?

Obviously, a ton of questions and comments have been submitted regarding the Bennett situation. Due to its contentious nature, packers.com cannot take a position or express any opinions on it at the moment. I hope to be able to share my views at some point. Thanks for understanding.

Marcio from Santa Monica, CA

Do you think this situation sends a message to the fans who wished Ted was more aggressive in free agency? Splashy hires don't always pay. I just remember how happy Cook was to make it to the postseason last year.

This year, Kendricks is the playoff hopeful, and he has the tools to help Hundley and the offense. I’m curious to see what he’ll do with more snaps. Regarding free agency in general, there’s certainly something to be said for acquisitions being the right fit for your team’s culture.

Willie from Hayward, WI

The fans are angry and looking for heads to roll. But the men in the locker room are accountable to each other and their futures to improve and get better. In your opinion is the locker room still united or has the drama outside 1265 distracted the team?

I haven’t sensed any distraction at all. When you haven’t won a game in a while, focusing is the easy part.

Garrett from Toledo, OH

Has there ever been a team to sweep their division but not make the playoffs?

I quickly researched back to 2002, when the current division format was implemented, and I found only one team – the 2010 Oakland Raiders, who went 6-0 in the AFC West and finished 8-8. Pre-2002, it had to be even rarer, because most teams played eight division games.

Jeff from Cambridge, WI

And now Richard Sherman is out for Seattle. Forget the national anthem controversy; people are turning off NFL games because the teams are being depleted of the players that make the games exciting. Do you know whether the NFL has any idea of what to do about this? Do you have any solutions?

Unless the TNF ratings drop to untenable levels, I don’t see the league doing away with it. The displeasure of the players keeps getting voiced louder and louder, though. Given that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a point of contention in the next CBA negotiations.

Bill from Dassel, MN

Hey guys, I watched Thursday night’s color-rush game. When I see my ophthalmologist this morning, what kind of damage should I expect them to find?

Just make sure you barge through the door and holler, “Jerry, my rods and cones are all screwed up!”

Jesse from Papillon, NE

Insiders, with our pass rush struggling the way it is, do you think it's time to put Clay back on one side and let him rush? I understand the need to move him around to find a weakness, but some players are great consistently rushing from one side. Maybe just put him on the blind side all game and let him work from that one spot.

That’s a possibility. Whatever the decision, find the matchup that gives him the best opportunity and let him go to work. Same with Perry. More important, get the rush and coverage in sync. If a blitz or stunt is designed to get a free runner at the QB, the ball will have to come out quickly, so the coverage has to reflect that. If the quick passes are run against a straight four-man rush, there should be plenty of defenders to make tackles.

Nick from Chicago, IL

I get that turnovers/sacks come in bunches but I'd rather have a consistent steadiness in every game. Thoughts?

Don’t tell me we’re headed back down the full consistency road again.

Dan from Plymouth, WI

Not looking to get this published, just wanted to comment. I appreciate the honesty I've seen from the Insiders through this rough patch. Some readers like to question your integrity due to your employer. I always gave you the benefit of the doubt, but you never had a reason to "prove" your candid opinions until now. I hope those skeptics see that you both have acknowledged the shortcomings of the team as it is today. Keep up the good work, and hang in there, I know this isn't easy or fun now!

Thanks. I just try to provide a realistic, measured viewpoint. If I had all the answers, I wouldn’t be sitting here, would I?

George from Watersmeet, MI

Without Rodgers scoring 35-40 points, what are the chances of winning any more games this year? Be a man and tell the truth!

I love how I’m asked to “tell the truth” by answering a question that requires nothing but hyperbolic speculation. I must have gone to the Cubs game that day in journalism school.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

If we are to believe in Coach McCarthy's conviction about Brett Hundley not being the problem, and I do believe him, is it possible Aaron Rodgers' greatness is underrated? The game Monday night was similar to many Packer wins I remember watching throughout Rodgers' career. Whether it's been a sluggish rushing game, crippling penalties, or a poor showing by the defense, Rodgers has consistently put this team in position to win games they may otherwise have no business winning. The margin for error he affords this team is immeasurable.

The best create that margin. It’s why you have to find another way to win.

Rees from Eagle Mountain, UT

We as Packer fans want more points. However, we get upset at INTs/turnovers. Are we asking Brett to let us have our cake and eat it, too? I'm sure he doesn't want to throw INTs, but we are not getting the points we need with screen passes. How do we as fans contain ourselves and how does he as a QB move the ball downfield without turnovers?

It’s about execution and having run-pass as well as horizontal-vertical balance. It’s on everyone to find it. McCarthy is clearly taking a different approach this time compared to four years ago. I realize Scott Tolzien was new to the offense back then, but remember his first start, on the road against the Giants? He threw the ball all over the place, racked up 339 yards, with Nelson and Boykin combining for more than 200. But Tolzien threw three picks, including a pick-six, the Packers scored only 13 points, lost by two touchdowns, and there was no progress the following week. I’m going to trust McCarthy’s chosen process here. I can see the rationale.

Fabian from Erlangen, Germany

Do you remember when the pack was 4-12 and 8-8 in '05 and '06? Or '08 with 6-10? '13 with 8-7-1? Setbacks happen. But they get you a long way forward in terms of experience and resilience. Grind now and grow from it. It's about what every successful person will tell you: the road to it is paved by failures. There's young talent, superstars and all-time greats on this team. They will bounce back by learning from it. The seasons after the aforementioned were 13-3, 11-5, 12-4. Even if this season (which I'm not saying it is) goes nowhere, it may lead to something. Watch 'em grow. Let them learn their lesson. Failure is the best teacher.

I’m not trying to re-live the agony, believe me, but the last time the Packers played half a season without Rodgers, the next year it (almost) all fell into place.

Mark from Missoula, MT

All the analysts are saying how Iowa's new ranking helps Wisconsin. I say they shouldn't be so eager to face a team that just shellacked Ohio State. Nor should we be so quick to think the Badgers will fall as easily as the Buckeyes (I was born and lived in Iowa). What are your expectations for this upcoming match? P.S.: I hate how those same analysts said Iowa's victory was bad for the Big Ten.

Today’s game looks incredibly intriguing, and I hope to get to the hotel in Chicago in time to catch the second half. Is Iowa following the M.O. of Ferentz’s good teams, steadily improving and playing its best football in November? Or was last week a one-game wonder? Does Wisconsin have another level it can get to? Or is this going to be 2004 all over again?

Jason from Klamath Falls, OR

So far, the only wide receiver to win MVP is Don Hutson, but do you think we'll see another one in the new pass-happy league?

2,000 yards is a receiving milestone yet to be reached, and it’s produced some MVPs at running back. Calvin Johnson came the closest in 2012 (with 1,964) but he had only five TDs and the Lions went 4-12. The first to 2,000 with double-digit TDs on a winning team might do the trick.

Brandon from Oshkosh, WI

Do you think the league will ever think about changing "automatic first down" penalties? I think they should get rid of them and have it strictly be if yardage results in the first down.

So you want to give pass rushers free reign to take an egregious shot at a QB on third-and-18? Or encourage DBs to see how much jersey grabbing they can get away with on third-and-9? You’re just asking for more flags. No thanks.

Nathan from Oconomowoc, WI

Once Hundley starts making throws between the numbers like that one to Cobb, we might have a chance. But it just seems like every play turns into a check-down or a rollout. He needs to be comfortable in the pocket and wasn't with our two starting tackles, now we only have one. How can the O-line make Hundley more comfortable in the pocket?

Keep doing what it’s doing. He has to start trusting the pocket. The Bears are going to test McCray, or whoever is at right tackle on Sunday, but that’s not Hundley’s concern.

Al from San Clemente, CA

Guys, I am trying to stay positive. The offense did not turn the ball over, and Brett gets better every time he is out there. However, the defense is awful. Stafford made multiple changes at the line (like he knew what GB was doing) and his uniform was clean at the end. While I agree each side of the ball feeds off of one another, our defense needs to get better immediately, or our chances are gone.

I won’t argue.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

It’s looking like the Bears game Sunday will go down in a real old-fashioned way. Running the ball and stopping the run are the keys for both sides. If there is a game that can give us a spark, it is this one.

It needs to be this one. Have a good weekend, everybody.


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