Bryden from Centerburg, OH
How did we get Christine Michael? What's the story? How was he on waivers?
First off, I want to start by saying I could’ve filled up an entire Inbox with commenters pleading for the Packers to claim Michael, who was released on Tuesday by the Seahawks. Lo and behold, here we are. The former second-round pick has developed a nice following since Seattle drafted him one spot after the Packers took Eddie Lacy in 2013. He’s a tremendous athlete, but has bounced around quite a bit. In his second stint in Seattle, Michael led the Seahawks in rushing with 117 carries for 469 yards and six touchdowns in nine games with seven starts. However, his touches dipped significantly the past two weeks. With Thomas Rawls on the verge of a return, Seattle must have felt OK about its holdings to let Michael go. He brings a new dimension to the running game on paper. Now, we’ll have to wait and see how fits with what the Packers are doing.
Bobby from Joplin, MO
Insiders, when Green Bay signed Knile Davis we saw him have absolutely no impact. He got five carries and was cut. Is the signing of Michael going to be any different? Does he have a better chance to produce being from an offense led by Darrell Bevell, who is from McCarthy's coaching tree?
I don’t know everything that led to Michael’s travels, but he produced in the limited opportunities he was given in Seattle and Dallas. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 223 career attempts with only one fumble lost. One statistical oddity is all six of Michael’s career touchdowns came in the first eight games of this season. He’ll need to pick things up quickly, but the talent is certainly there. Plus, Michael turned 26 only last week.
Daniel from Stocholm, Sweden
So Knile Davis was a trade for a conditional pick which ended up costing nothing since he was released. I guess him being dropped that fast had in part to do with not wanting to pay the pick? Michael is picked up from the waiver wire, but how does that work when it comes to salary and other costs? Are there any incentives, so to speak, for the Packers to drop him if he does not contribute right away?
When an NFL team claims a player, it also takes on his contract. However, that doesn’t tend to be much of a risk since only players with fewer than four accrued seasons are exposed to waivers.
Jim from Des Peres, MO
Why didn't the Pack go for it on fourth-and-4 beyond midfield on the opening drive, after recovering the onside kick? That would have set a great tone. And, they only gained about 20 yards by punting.
Field position. The Packers wanted to pin the Titans back, force a three-and-out and get another shot in Tennessee territory. It nearly happened, too. Jake Schum’s punt was on point and would’ve been downed at the Tennessee 1-yard line if Demetri Goodson doesn’t roll into the end zone. It’s a game of inches.
Joe from St. Louis, MO
Ty Montgomery has been the best RB with good numbers. He was said to be a full-go last Sunday but saw eight touches while a returning injured back, Starks, saw most action. Doesn't make sense. No. 88 is our best back but never should have been in this situation. Coach/front office should have prepared six months ago, especially with Lacy’s issues from last year.
Edgar Bennett said Monday night that Montgomery was on a rep count, but everything was thrown in the air after the slow start in all three phases. I’d argue the Packers were prepared at running back going into the season. Lacy spent the offseason with Tony Horton, Starks was re-signed after his most productive season and John Crockett was back after finishing the year on the active roster.
Robert from Terre Haute, IN
Do you see similar parallels to the 2011 season when the Packers lost Nick Collins in the Carolina game? It seemed as though they were not the same after that incident. Fast forward. You lose your shutdown corner, your up-and-coming young corners, and your best pass-rusher. Not to mention your feature running back. It just seems as though the loss of Sam Shields was an almost irreplaceable loss from the larger house of cards.
I’m not trying to make this bigger than it is. Obviously injuries aren’t an excuse, but I feel Shields has played at a Pro Bowl level for the past three seasons. He might not have the notoriety of Richard Sherman or Patrick Peterson, but he possesses a unique skill set that’s difficult to replace.
Chris from Eau Claire, WI
Could the league MVP actually be an offensive lineman? Obviously, it will be a playmaker to win the award, but I don't follow the Cowboys close enough to know what is causing the rookie surge. Could it be because of the offensive line?
A kicker once won the NFL MVP award, so I guess never say never. Still, I don’t see it happening with all the attention on skill-position players, especially with the popularity of fantasy football. The Cowboys arguably have the best offensive line and backfield combination in the NFL, which is a perfect complement to a rookie quarterback like Dak Prescott. At the same time, you have to give Prescott his due. He consistently finds the open receiver and doesn’t make mistakes.
Sam from Barnett Crossroads, AL
I did some researching and found that Aaron Rodgers has been involved with every single touchdown the Packers have scored this season (3 rushing TDs, 22 passing TDs). While this is an incredible stat on Aaron’s behalf it makes me wonder, is the rest of the Packers’ offense that bad and beat up, or is Rodgers just trying to do too much? Also, I hope this will shut up all the critics who claim that Rodgers' performance is declining. Thoughts on this?
Rodgers has been pretty up front and honest that the Packers need someone to score a rushing touchdown other than himself. The offense took a step in that direction on Sunday with Starks’ 13-yard touchdown. It was off a screen, but the cut Starks made after the catch is what turned that play into points. The offense has been better over the past month. Unfortunately, the Packers’ defense hasn’t been able to get the stops it did when the offense was struggling during the first month of the season.
Buzz from Arlington Heights, IL
To those that think the Pack are cursed with injuries or think Ted Thompson has somehow stocked the team with soft players; the Packers are tied for eighth fewest players on IR with seven. By comparison, the Bears have 17, Vikings 11 and Lions 10. The Vikings have $28 million of their cap on IR. Perspective.
I can’t disagree with any of this. It’s also why I mentioned how this year has been unique. The Packers have been besieged by injury, but few have been deemed season-ending. It’s just another example of how different challenges are presented every season.
Joshua from Stone Lake, WI
With the game making a progressive movement to player safety, especially the head and neck area, why is it a ball carrier is not penalized when he grasps a defenders facemask or forcefully pushes upward on it? I noticed in Sunday's game Delanie Walker did this to two Packers defenders. Both seemed to really twist the defender’s head. Any other situation, it's an automatic 15-yard penalty. Thank you very much for all your writing.
The NFL has taken steps in recent years to avoid this. If you recall, Randall Cobb was flagged for grabbing a defender’s facemask earlier this season. There is some latitude for ball-carriers regarding hands to the face, but officials will throw the flag for excessive behavior. It’s kind of a bang-bang decision, though.
Peter from Eagan, MN
The Packers' roster has 13 first-year players, seven draft picks and six UDFAs. Perhaps the roster is lacking experience as much as talent. Hard to expect first-year players to be ready for playoffs. How does this affect the coaching staff's ability to produce a winner?
There are natural challenges with developing a young roster, but that’s been the blueprint here since Thompson and McCarthy got together in 2006. It’s not new. You’re going to have teachable moments early on, but the constant with the Packers’ program is the team is always better in December. You don’t see much regression over the course of a campaign because those young players with upside start to catch on.
Jim from Champlin, MN
Biff, do you liken this team to the 2010 Packers, or do you see them more like the 2011 Giants? We all remember (unfortunately) how that turned out. Like Mike said, it doesn't matter how you get to the dance.
I’d say it’s a little bit of both. The 2011 Giants were a pretty extreme situation considering a late four-game skid brought them to .500 after a 6-2 start. They didn’t have much time to get on a run, but they succeeded. Spoff’s line was perfect. The Packers have been on both sides of the coin whether it was as a No. 6 seed in 2010 or the No. 1 seed in 2011. The reality is there’s still a lot of football left to be played.
Mike from McKinney, TX
My wife, son and I will be at the game this weekend. The forecast is for cold and windy. Maybe that will snap the Pack into the team they need to be to win the division!
Sunday’s forecast calls for wind and a high of 46 degrees. Bring it on.
Christopher from Echo Park, CA
Wasn't there some noise about "easiest strength of schedule" at the beginning of the season? Ha ha. Just goes to show you. Sound and fury and all that.
Yes, but I was making the same point when the Packers were 4-2 last month. You could see tough sledding ahead once October hit. Another reminder you can’t tally wins and losses based on how teams played a year ago.
Garrett from Saint Paul, MN
The TENNESSEE TITANS did an onside kick to start the game against us. In previous years, nobody in their right mind would risk giving Rodgers half the field to start a game. I guess that goes to show you how the rest of the league views our offense.
Or they felt they needed to steal a possession to stay in front of that offense.
Barrie from Milwaukee, WI
What should happen when the Packers miss the playoffs?
Be careful when you wish for the future. Sometimes you much prefer the past.
Curt from Oronoco, MN
I don't know squat about coaching football, but I've worked for a lot of different bosses and this coach the Packers have is definitely the kind of boss for whom I would work my tail off for.
That’s how I was feeling after McCarthy spoke to the media on Monday. I don’t know about you, but I want a leader who inspires confidence and hope. A number of players have responded positively to McCarthy’s message whether it was in the locker room or on social media. Whatever white noise is surrounding you, it’s important not to give in to it because it really doesn’t matter. Once you start questioning yourself, you’re lost. All the Packers can do is pick themselves up, dust themselves off and focus on beating Washington.
Ethan from La Crosse, WI
Wes, you strike me as a guy who would enjoy some good college basketball. Yes or no, and a sentence or two as to why not or to your thoughts on this season. It just started and there have already been some great games. No. 3 Kansas took down No. 1 Duke on Tuesday night.
I’m a big college basketball fan. Before I was promoted to the Packers’ beat, my friend and I had an annual tradition of going down to Arizona to watch spring training and the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The best part is it’s on at all hours of the day or night during the regular season, which appeals to a sport writer’s schedule.
Eric from Minneapolis, MN
I saw that Pro Bowl balloting is underway. I suspect our usual stars will get voted in, but what players do the Packers have that are actually among the best at their position this year?
While the past three weeks have been difficult, I would say the Packers have plenty of worthy candidates. When it comes to possible first-timers, I think T.J. Lang and Mike Daniels are long overdue for the recognition. Both fly under the radar, but have been key contributors for the past few years. You also have to tip your cap to how Jordy Nelson has responded with a league-high eight touchdown catches despite the layoff. Also, a reminder that your opinion is just as valid as mine, so be sure to vote at: http://www.packers.com/fan-zone/2017-pro-bowl.html
Adam from Green Bay, WI
Would you have cut Walsh? He has proven to be a very good kicker in the past, but is that enough to keep him while struggling?
Every situation is different, but I appreciate the approach the Packers took with Mason Crosby in 2012. It’s hard to find a kicker and the ones that are available on the open market during the season are there for a reason. Green Bay practiced patience with Crosby and he paid the Packers back for that. We’ll see what happens in Minnesota.
Rob from Edmonton, Alberta
Insiders, as Vic says, “Just win baby!” We do that on Sunday night and hopefully we can stop the vultures from circling over the team. Do you think a win on Sunday will calm the waters?
It would be the ice cube this Inbox needs for its piping-hot soup.
Nick from Chicago, IL
I hope this one makes the Inbox. Bold prediction: Packers and Lions go into Week 17 tied; Packers take the W into the postseason. They get the division game and beat Washington. NFC Championship will be a redemption against Seattle and we dance our way to a SB LI win over New England. Staying optimistic and have faith in these Packers!
Wish granted, Nick. Look forward to checking back with you down the road.
Frank from Frankfurt, Germany
Well, obviously we have some issues on the team. But I am fully convinced we will remember the 2016-17 season as the season the Packers came back from the bottom right to the top. Your thoughts?
As Rocky Balboa once said, “Ain’t nothin’ over till it’s over.”
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