Jason from Klamath Falls, OR

While pretty much the whole team has struggled this year, the Packers’ offensive line is quietly having a solid year. I hardly ever hear an offensive lineman’s name called in games, which I’ve seen as a good thing because they’re all doing their jobs. OK, Barclay struggled last week, but he was hurt. Otherwise, they’ve rocked. Oh, and Aaron Rodgers has been playing well, if not winning.

Green Bay’s offensive line has dealt well with the injury shuffling and has remained the best overall unit on the team. The group held it together while the offense found itself through the earlier struggles. I think the defensive line – while it needs to put more pressure on the QB – has been pretty solid as well. That’s why I’ve believed all along a turnaround is possible. The Packers’ foundation up front is there, and football starts with the big guys.

Derrick from Randolph, NJ

Hello, Insiders. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I can’t help but feel Thompson messed up on Casey Hayward. I am by no means a TT hater. Hayward just got his sixth pick. The Packers knew what they had in him vs. two unproven second-year players. I probably wouldn’t be so upset if Casey didn’t come out and say the Packers didn’t even attempt to make an offer.

Injuries have made the Hayward decision loom large. No doubt about that. But decisions are never just about one player or position group. The Packers extended Mike Daniels last December, re-signed Nick Perry in the offseason, and extended David Bakhtiari this summer. No team can keep everybody.

Margo from Bloomington, IN

Hi guys. No question, just an observation. I was one of those 70,000 at Lambeau in 2003 when the Vikings got knocked out and the news rippled through Lambeau. It was the most amazing connection between 70,000 people and the Packer sideline. I don’t get to attend that many games, but the Packers are 12-1 in games I’ve been to. I will happily volunteer to be their sideline lucky charm if called upon.

 That year was when I really started to understand the whimsical nature of the NFL. Realistically, the Packers shouldn’t have been in the playoffs. They needed a miracle to get in and got it. Two weeks later, they had a trip to the NFC title game in the bag until fourth-and-26 happened. It will all drive you crazy if you let it.

Eric from St. Louis, MO

Did you see the camera on the umpire’s hat during the Badger game? That was an awesome perspective I would love to see in the NFL.

Yeah, that was cool.

Andy from Wausau, WI

Do you think Mike McCarthy would bench a player like Mike Daniels if the dumb penalties continue? Doesn’t a veteran player need to show more leadership and think more of the team?

Daniels’ unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at Tennessee was inexcusable. The roughing the passer last week in Washington was not in the same category in my book, and McCarthy said as much last week. Daniels should have known better on the former. On the latter, I actually feel bad for pass rushers getting flagged for something nowhere close to egregious or excessive. But we all know those rules aren’t changing.

Mike from Appleton, WI

It seems our D-line personnel is built for a 4-3 and could be effectively used that way. I would love to see Daniels at under tackle next to Guion, Clark or Pennel. Perry on one end and Peppers or Jones on the other. With all of the packages we deploy, why do we see so little true 4-3 with hands in the ground?

With nickel the de facto base, the Packers play a four-man front far more than any other look as it is, and they go with bigger bodies in short-yardage and goal-line when warranted. Whoever lines up in the four-man front, they have to get to the QB. That’s what matters most.

Jim from Prescott, WI

Why can’t NFL officials let football be played like the OSU vs. Michigan game? The number of flags on Thanksgiving Day was ridiculous.

I’m starting to get used to it. I don’t know if I want to, but I am. OSU-Michigan was a great game, but I’m still not a huge fan of the college overtime. I can’t quite explain it.

Peter from Benton City, WA

Insiders, I guess I don’t quite see this one-play-away optimism you are peddling. I am not sure what game you were watching but the last couple I watched looked like the old college all-stars against the reigning NFL champion games of the 1970s. I would love to be wrong and no one is giving up, but you know, just sayin’.

No one has been trying to sell one play from the Tennessee game. But the other three games in the four-game losing streak were one-score games in the fourth quarter. That’s a fact. Sure, the Packers played some bad football at times to put themselves in that position, but the reality is most NFL games come down to a key play here or there in the fourth quarter. The winless Browns were down eight to the playoff-contending Giants in the fourth yesterday, with the ball, when the QB’s arm got hit and the ball got snagged in midair and run back for the decisive TD. That’s the nature of this league.

Bill from Ringle, WI

Insiders, with a 53-man roster, what was our starting ILB Ryan, where we are light on depth, doing on punt coverage? Seems we should be able to find 11 non-starters for that job.

How’d that work on the opening kickoff against the Colts?

Bill from Menominee, MI

Packers fans have gotten used to the phrase this time of year of their opponents, “Look out, they’ve got nothing to lose and could be dangerous!” Well, buckle up, the shoe’s on the other foot.

It’s been a long time since that shoe switched feet.

Tyler from Riverside, CA

Insiders, even though the loss to Indianapolis was by a small margin, I feel as though that loss was the most inexcusable. It was at that point my expectations became gruesome. That being said, I still have hope for this offense. It has shown signs of explosiveness. Our defense may be a little more despairing, but if we can scratch our way through a couple of more wins, maybe we can get healthy enough to become formidable and make a run.

Except for the gruesome part, I’m pretty much right with you on all of that. I’ve been a believer that a turnaround is coming, but I’ve also wondered if the Indy game is the one that will carry the most regret.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Why are college football TV color commentators allowed to show their loyalty and excitement for their alma mater? It seems a bit unprofessional don’t you think?

As long as they’re not acting like that when calling a game being played by their alma mater, it doesn’t bother me.

Pete from Chanhassen, MN

Mike, I understand draft-and-develop and totally get that overspending on free agents is very risky. But, a roster that looked complete at the beginning of the year now has several holes due largely to injury. Do you agree that we will see at least a slight shift in philosophy this offseason?

I honestly don’t know. This might not be the answer you want to hear, but I think it depends on how many of their own free agents they re-sign. Four draft picks from 2013 are in the final year of their rookie deals, and a handful of other veteran contracts are also expiring. The more of their own the Packers don’t re-sign, the greater the odds the draft won’t be able to fill all the roster holes.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Be in the moment. Too much worry about the season ruins perspective. They have a game, watch them compete, root for the win, savor each play. That’s what fans do.

We want the games to matter. Vic wants his December friend. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if the Packers win tonight and you’re unable to enjoy it, even for a little while, because they’ll still be in third place in the NFC North, that’s when perspective has been ruined.

Justin from Titonka, IA

How does this team get over this slump?

Find a way to win one game. Any way. Doesn’t matter which way. Whatever way.

Jim from Houston, TX

Gents, I had a front-row seat at FedEx and Packers fans could be heard constantly throughout the game, even when the game was out of hand late in the fourth. I’m as frustrated as everyone but I’m thankful for those fans who balance out the hostile fanaticals with perspective and temperament and still make the arduous effort to attend these road games with verve. I’m proud of our fans who came out in light of an unexpected record. There’s something almost noble about fighting adversity and as a fan I don’t see any reason to be afraid. The season is long. Packers history is long. Let’s not be so short.

Arduous effort and verve take on a whole new meaning in Philly. Hang in there tonight, folks.


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