Michael from Wausau, WI

We're one quarter into the NFL season. Thus far, what has been the biggest surprise, and what is the most under-reported story?

How can the Rams not be the biggest surprise? They’re the highest scoring team in the league and they’re 3-1 after losing 11 of their last 12 games a year ago. I think the most under-reported story is the success of road teams so far in 2017. I don’t have the list in front of me, but I believe Sunday was already the second time in four weeks that seven road teams triumphed. Will road success continue into the second month?

Davy from Chetek, WI

A day with no Packers to watch and no Inbox to read. Such a sad state of events. What game was your favorite to watch on this otherwise dreary day?

I sat down for the fourth quarter of Lions-Vikings and was underwhelmed, wishing I had a way to see the finishes to Bills-Falcons and Panthers-Patriots instead. I was also wishing I had a reason to tune in to Brewers-Cardinals, but alas.

Dan from Ludlow, MA

Falcons lose, Cowboys lose, Dalvin Cook out, Packers getting healthy. I love the Packers’ chances. NFC is wide open baby!

Odds are it’ll remain so for quite some time.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

Anyone still complaining that the Packers seem to be injured more than any other team need only look at Sunday's injury list: Marcus Mariota, Julio Jones, Melvin Gordon, Paul Worrilow and on and on. Every team has guys hurt. Can we please lay to rest the idea that Green Bay has poor strength and conditioning personnel?

Injuries are part of the game. As soon as that’s accepted, the futile search for a scapegoat will end.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

I saw a grading of Packers individual players for the game against the Bears. Josh Hawkins graded as the top Packer. Haven't heard a negative thing about him since training camp. Has he earned the right to rotate in with the nickel and dime corners, or do you think he has more to prove before playing extensively?

He earned more snaps with his play on Thursday night. Now it’s a matter of what he does with them.

Ben from Orem, UT

There's a lot of talk that the Packers don't appear to be a Super Bowl-caliber team from ESPN. But the way I see it is that they can hang with anyone, and when Rodgers has time to throw and the defense gives them a chance, they can beat anyone. What's your take?

My take is there’s three-quarters of the regular season remaining, and no team looks now like it will in another couple of months, least of all the Packers given the injury list of late.

Dale from Kettering, OH

Does it seem like the new injured reserve return rules are getting players put on the list faster?

I think so. The freedom to bring back two players makes teams less inclined to carry a game-day inactive for 6-8 weeks.

Chris from Copenhagen, Denmark

A longer break before the next game so I thought I'd ask a character question instead of a next opponent question. I don't know why, but I've always respected humility with athletes. One reason I've been drawn to the Packers is they seem to have a team-first mentality. So, I'm curious, who do you think is the most humble Packer right now and why?

There are a lot of players I respect in that regard, but forced to pick one, I’d choose Morgan Burnett. He doesn’t have an ounce of “me” in his approach.

Mike from Stillwater, MN

Morning, Insiders! I'm hoping Montgomery and Williams are able to come back from their injuries soon and I'm sure everyone feels that way, too. But I'm also rooting for Devante Mays to be on the active roster and get a shot at some playing time. If it happens I think he will really turn some heads!

I’m curious myself.

Randall from Sun Prairie, WI

Could you please confirm that Vic is or isn't behind an "Ask Vic" website that sprang into being this past week? It has at least a few people upset over the idea someone is using Vic's wonderful legacy to hoodwink fans and readers. Clarification would be welcome.

Oh, that’s Vic all right. He’s real, and he’s spectacular.

Mark from Rothschild, WI

What do you think Lombardi would think, say, and do?

Read what he said to Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman back in the 1960s, and you tell me.

Mike from Algoma, WI

I agree with Gavin from Albuquerque. The only difference is I call it the "equivalent suspension" rule. You are out of the game as long as your victim. If his career should happen to be over, so is yours. How can that be called extreme?

Because it’s impractical and borderline absurd. I’ll let a fellow reader begin to explain why.

Kurt from Revere, MA

Isn't the idea of determining the length of punishment a player gets based on the result of the injury fundamentally flawed? This means you would put more emphasis on the reaction than the action. Adams is a good example, he is thankfully recovering well, so if he returns quicker than expected, then the suspension for the hit is lessened. Inversely, a player could have been going for a shoulder, receiver drops his head last second and boom, out for 4-6 weeks. While the hit was illegal, the action wasn't dirty, flagrant or unnecessary, but he is punished longer. Injuries are flukey, different people heal differently. Should punishment be given based on the action itself?

Yes, because any other system would be ripe for abuse and subversion, both of which would be impossible to police. This idea permeating the Inbox must be put to rest. It’s not worth debating.

Gary from Davenport, IA

It feels like the Packers got the short end of the stick with the Trevathan suspension. Instead of being ejected from the game, he is being suspended from a game the Packers would desperately want the Bears to win when they face the Vikings next week. I think he should miss two games of the Packers' choosing.

Also highly impractical. What if he has a sprained ankle or tweaked hamstring for the game he’s supposed to be suspended? It may not feel fair, but neither is life. Please stop with this nonsense.

Nate from Daufuskie Island, SC

I thought Jordy Nelson had the most intelligent comment on the Adams hit when he called out the refs for not blowing the whistle after forward progress was stopped. Do you think the NFL's integrity would improve if they owned up to the refs’ role in this illegal hit?

No matter the officials’ level of culpability, the league is not going to give the players whose behavior it’s trying to change anywhere else to point the finger. Especially not on a hit that was so obviously unnecessary, whistle or no whistle.

Ben from El Paso, TX

I did not see the game, I listened to it on the radio as I drove. Tony Boselli provided the color commentary. He watched the replay of the McCray holding call and said it was "ticky-tack." It took an Adams touchdown reception off the board, and moments later it nearly took Adams off this Earth. I know Boselli has a biased perspective, but I couldn't help think the penalty contributed to the injury. Am I being hyperbolic?

I’d go further than Boselli. It wasn’t a ticky-tack call, it was a phantom one. It’s really a shame, because this all shouldn’t have happened.

Chadro from Janesville, WI

I have got to say, as far as ex-Dallas QBs in the broadcast booth go, Tony Romo is killing it. In my opinion he is more entertaining than Aikman. Maybe I'm just tired of Troy, but it seems like the kid from Burlington is for real. Now I kind of wonder how Cutler would have done in the booth. Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Cutler could be in the booth soon.

Tom from Herndon, VA

One thing we continually see from Packers ball carriers is a fight for extra yards frequently with big offensive linemen pushing them. Slow whistles from the refs make this possible. Probably a lot of our defensive and offensive line injuries happened then. With the emphasis on player safety, has anyone looked at how many injuries happen during these efforts and the impact earlier whistles stopping play might have?

Every time I see one of those pileups with the excessive pushing, I cringe for fear of injury. Williams’ knee got caught in one of those pileups on Thursday night.

Joe from Appleton, WI

Watching my students play football during lunch, I witnessed an odd play. After scoring a touchdown, a player was kicking off and he kicked the ball backwards and into his own end zone. The kicking team then downed the ball. The boys weren't sure what to do, so they just gave the ball to the returning team at the 5-yard line. What should the call have been in that unusual circumstance?

I think that’s a safety, but any mutually agreed upon playground rule trumps real rules, always and forever.

Jason from Toronto, Canada

Insiders, I don't think McCarthy gets nearly enough credit for his play-calling. Thursday night was impressive; especially that first drive. Knowing there are four guards on the offensive line, McCarthy called safe, effective plays with an ideal balance between runs, bootlegs and quick passes. The Bears probably thought they would be feasting on the guards but you could feel their confidence waning after that critical first drive. What was your impression of the play-calling?

McCarthy admitted to the natural uncertainty going in. The players’ execution to start the game, beginning with Rodgers, boosted McCarthy’s confidence in the plan as much as it diminished the Bears’ confidence in their presumed advantage. The plan was sound. The execution produced success.

Jonathan from Mukwonago, WI

I believe that a leader does make a lot of a difference in the success of any group. Mike M. has had the record of success for a while now, but do you think that he is now showing to everyone how special of a leader that he is?

I think he showed it his first season, when he got a 4-8 team to finish with four straight wins at a time a lot of players could have questioned whether their rookie head coach had what it took. He also sold his emphasis on division games back then, as the last three wins were over each NFC North foe. He’s been a special leader from the beginning.

Bill from Marietta, GA

Now that Clay Matthews is the all-time Packers’ leader in sacks, does anyone know how many different quarterbacks he has escorted to the turf?

Mike Glennon was the 35th.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

The broadcast team will often say something like "When we sat down with Mike McCarthy this week he said..." Will you give us some insight into that process? Is such time mandated by the league? Does the broadcast crew also get access to players/assistant coaches? Is it only the broadcast team that is allowed in such sessions or does it include other journalists/reporters?

Those are called production meetings, and the broadcast team gets them with the head coaches and select players and assistant coaches from each team. No other media are involved, and they are part of the broadcast rights contracts, so teams can’t decline them. Any proprietary information is under wraps until the game, and sometimes it’s not for public consumption at all. The meetings help the networks with their broadcasts, and they’re an opportunity for coaches and players to develop relationships with media whose coverage reaches a large, live audience.

Chris from Davie, FL

What is a “pool” reporter?

One reporter in each market is assigned the duty of interviewing an official if comments are warranted after a game. All media then have access to the comments to use as they see fit.

Jeremy from Mountain House, CA

In reference to the referee’s reasoning of not ejecting Trevathan, I understand they can't go look at the replay on the tablet, but it's being shown over and over again on the scoreboard. Are they not allowed to look up at it while in discussion and re-evaluate if they obviously missed something?

Nope.

Jarle from Bo, Norway

To put it in perspective, to get truly even with the Bears, the Packers will now have to keep the lead in the overall series until 2101.

Sounds like a plan.

Bergeron from Scandinavia, WI

"This just in: James Campen can coach." JUST IN? Seriously Spoff? For what, the last 7-8 years Campen has coached a bunch of mid-rounders, with the exception of Bulaga, and UFAs into very good offensive lines. Lang, Sitton, Wells, Bakhtiari all Pro Bowlers under Campen! This just in: Packers have had a great, but maybe under-appreciated until now, offensive line coach for years!

Berg, it was a joke, dude. Easy. The previous thoughts I’ve expressed in this space on Campen should have made that obvious. You’re preaching to the choir.

Steve from Siren, WI

Have a statistical question for you. Trevor Davis fields a punt and returns it 30 yards, however there is a penalty on the play. Is it considered no punt return, or what? Just wondering how it affects his average. Thanks!

If the penalty occurs after the returner fields the punt, it’s marked off from the spot of the foul, and the returner gets credit for the return yardage up to that spot. If the penalty occurs while the ball is in the air, it’s marked off from the spot of the catch, and statistically it’s no return.

Mike from Little Chute, WI

Wes, nice call on Ha Ha's interception. Care to keep your streak going by making a pick for the first non-offensive TD of the year? I'm calling a Trevor Davis punt return Week 6 at Minnesota.

We heard it here first.

Patrick from Tampa, FL

I guess there is a good chance several guys might return next week, but if you could only get one guy to return from injury against the Cowboys in particular, who would it be and why?

Against Zeke Elliott, give me Mike Daniels.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Win at Dallas and Minnesota and the Packers will be a leader for a playoff bye, lose both and it’s another 3-5 seed. No surprise in 3-1, but these two games are pivotal after the Falcons loss.

One at a time.


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