Sat, 24 Oct 2020

It can be any skill-position player on the Packers’ offense at any time Wes Hodkiewicz

Kevin from Starr Pass, AZ

Insiders, I'd like to thank Dar from Mansfield for the great input yesterday! I "beamed" with delight to see how Dar's submission "added" up to indisputable commentary that did not "spiral" out of control. The "gravity" of his suggestions are significant. Dar's "grammar" was without flaw while his logic was as indisputable as "physics." I'll see myself out...

This column is all-encompassing...and truly one of a kind.

Luke from Fargo, ND

To bring more fuel to this ever-growing fire of running jokes, you can't ask Alex for a $500 question. All questions in Jeopardy are multiples of $200.

Adjusted for inflation. Duh.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

What are the keys to beating the Buccaneers this week?

I believe it comes down to five things - protecting the football, protecting Aaron Rodgers, containing Ronald Jones, getting pressure on Tom Brady, and playing with discipline for four quarters. The path to 5-0 won't be easy. It never is, but there are challenges and triumph in every great season. The march continues this Sunday.

Triston from Suamico, WI

Heading into Week 6 against the Bucs, is it fair to say that pass-catcher No. 1 is Davante Adams, pass-catcher No. 2 is Aaron Jones, and pass-catcher No. 3 is Robert Tonyan?

The three players you rattle off will be critical to the Packers having a championship season, and quite likely a win on Sunday, but depth charts don't matter as much as fans think they do. Did that preclude Jamaal Williams from having a career day as a receiver against the Falcons? There comes a time in every season when we need to stop asking "Who?" and start asking "When?" Because the Packers have seven or so proven skill-position players who can win them a ballgame at any given time. It can be anybody at any time.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, does Tonyan have another big game this week, or give someone else the honors? GO PACK GO!

The great thing about Tonyan is he doesn't have to catch six passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns every week to play winning football. He wins in other areas of the game, too, with how well-rounded he's become. With the improvements Tonyan has made as a blocker, defenses can't easily diagnose what his presence on the field means for the next play. Tonyan was my guy at the beginning of the year because he felt like the most logical tight end to absorb those snaps Jimmy Graham played last year...and he hasn't disappointed.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Four down, 12 to go (hopefully). Adams, Jones, Allen Lazard, and Tonyan - and the best run defense in the NFL coming up - who gets the game ball this week, Wes?

The Marquez Valdes-Scantling game is coming. It's coming. Will it be this week? We'll find out Sunday. Don't sleep on Jamaal Williams, either. If the Bucs load the box, Williams could hurt them as a receiver out of the backfield.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Mike's Mid-Week Chat got me wondering - if you are both watching the same broadcast as us, are you doing it on no volume so as not to distract? Volume up, to key in to anything you might miss? TV muted, radio on?

I leave the volume on so I can hear the whistle and when the offense is lining up. That's about it, though. I tune out the rest. I'm too focused on the in-game updates, tweeting and tracking personnel.

Chun from El Monte, CA

If Kamal Martin returns this week, will he be inserted into the starting lineup?

That depends on where things are with his knee. Historically, the Packers like to be cautious with players returning from somewhat significant injuries. If Martin is cleared and healthy, however, I don't think the game is too big for him. It certainly wasn't for fellow rookie linebacker Krys Barnes.

Dylan from Forney, TX

If Tyler Ervin is out, who will return punts and kicks?

The Packers list Chandon Sullivan and Josh Jackson as the primary backups on kickoff and punt returns, respectively, though Darrius Shepherd could factor into that, as well.

Eric from Dodgeville, WI

Longtime reader, first-time poster. Looking back to the ATL game, I was very surprised at the amount of run plays called during the second half, considering we were facing two third-string safeties, and it wasn't like we had iced the game (the dagger didn't come out until late in the fourth if memory serves). I assumed many would be questioning this play-calling choice, but I haven't heard a peep about it, so obviously I'm the one who's missing something. Can you help me understand what I'm missing?

It's kind of what we discussed last week - the Falcons stressed defending Aaron Jones and the run game, so the Packers countered with the pass - and were successful in doing so. The great Kenny Powers used to refer to that as, "Making the necessary adjustments."

Nick from Lincoln, NE

With this being an Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady game, do you guys think that it will come down to skill of team or quarterbacks?

Team. The last I checked there are 21 other players on the field besides the quarterback.

George from Olympia, WA

Why did Josiah Deguara get put on IR?

He's injured.

Sasha from Cabo Mexico, Mexico

Greetings from Mexico, where the beaches are still warm and uncrowded. My question is about the time-of-possession statistic. Isn't total plays a far more accurate assessment of ball control? Announcers often say a defense is tired based on time-of-possession numbers. When in reality, six running plays could eat up more clock compared to 12 passing plays where most are incomplete. A defense on the passing plays would likely be more tired. What do you say? And please answer in Spanish!

Si. El tiempo de posesion y las jugadas van de la mano. Es como preparar un gran golpe en el boxeo. Trabaja el cuerpo y lanza la derecha grande cuando bajan sus defensas. Thank you Google Translate.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

So, the Packers have won as many games in four weeks as the entire NFC East division combined has in five weeks! And two of the four NFC East wins were won against another NFC East team, and a third from Dallas' infamous onside kick against Atlanta. Does the NFC East forfeit the right to have a team provided a playoff berth? I'm not in fan of a seventh playoff team in each conference but the 2020 NFC East certainly provides support to a seventh team given how the NFC East "winner" will get an automatic berth.

Nobody can ever complain about a division winner with a .500 or losing record making the playoffs ever again, because now that 10-6 or 9-7 bubble team is getting in. Call me old-fashioned but I still don't like the seventh playoff spot.

Paul from Nevada City, CA

I was concerned when the schedule showed a break this past week but am now placated due to the early injuries. Look forward to EQ again as well as Tae returning. Despite the Niners' decline, I hope to get to the game but it's problematic as a Thursday night when both my wife and I work with the distance involved. Can you give a shout-out to my aunt and uncle (Gert and Neil) for their 65th anniversary this Thursday? He's a retired Gazette printer supervisor and they still live in De Pere. He grew up on Gray Street.

The bye week definitely came at a good time for Green Bay, albeit early. And from one former Press-Gazetter to another, Happy Anniversary Neil and Gert Kiedinger.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Do you still think we get a full season in this year?

Define full season - Do I think they play the entire regular season? Yes. Will everything wrap things up on Jan. 3? I don't know. But again, the NFL started its season on time. It didn't shut down and then have to pick back up. That's an advantage the other sports leagues didn't have.

Malcolm from Fennimore, WI

Might be a little late, but what did you guys think of the first Tuesday night game? Could you see that becoming more normal at least this year? I doubt for future years.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, but I hope we don't have to go down that road again. This game is too taxing on the body for players to have to play multiple games in a season on a short week, like Tennessee will now have to do this Sunday. Fortunately, Buffalo gets an extra day with playing on Monday Night Football.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

The NFL has said an 18th week is not out of the question. I can see an ugly scenario looming: Team A has a chance for a playoff spot and plays Team B who has no shot. Team B players begin to opt out since it is a meaningless game and ends up fielding a team with a large number of practice-squad players. Life isn't fair, but imagine being Team C, whose playoff future hangs on the outcome. Let's all hope the NFL can avoid an 18th week.

Nobody is opting out under the circumstances you put forth. Players don't get paid unless they play, per the NFL and NFLPA agreement, so they'd be forfeiting 1/17 of their base salary to sit out the last game after playing a full season. The team out of playoff contention might be cautious about who plays, but that's no different than any other year.

Andy from Walpole, MA

The other day I think it was Spoff mentioned a great play by B.J. Raji in 2011 and it got me thinking. Raji was a fan favorite while he was here and he certainly earned my respect by walking away from the game while he was still at the peak of his ability. I know he values his privacy, but I still wonder if there's any way to honor that while at the same time putting together a profile of what he's up to now. Maybe an offseason project, but Wes would you be up for it?

If B.J. was up for it, I'd absolutely be interested. But not every story must be told. Sometimes a football career ends and an individual quietly moves onto the next chapter of his life. I find Raji as fascinating as anyone, but he also has a right to live his life in peace and privacy if he so chooses.

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

The Derrick Henry stiff-arm was incredible, and never would have happened in a Rodgers-led offense. As a Packers fan, it feels strange watching a handoff on a free play, like the whole thing is some kind of farce.

Yes, because the running back is usually blocking to buy Rodgers time. The best part of the Henry play was his slowing down to stiff-arm Josh Norman and then pressing the X button again to accelerate.

Mike from Hastings, MN

Hello guys. Sorry Mike, I'll forgive you because you're too young to have heard him, but you missed a layup in selecting the best football announcers. Ray Scott: "Starr. Dowler. Touchdown!" Classic!

That was an oversight on both of our behalves.

Scott from Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks Mike and Wes for your professional and prolific coverage of what is truly America's team. In our day of such political divisiveness it's great to share the passion for the Green and Gold. Just curious if there are any states in the Union that have never had a question posted on II. And, of the 195 countries in the world, how many of these have been represented in the Inbox?

I think we've covered all 50 in the United States but it'd be interesting to see how many countries have been represented. Going back to the Ask Vic days, I'd predict packers.com has covered the entire globe at this point.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

Wes/Spoff, I have been a longtime reader (even back during the Ask Vic days) and I am not sure I have ever seen this question posted. How big of Packer fans were you guys before working for them? With both of you being from the area, I have to imagine you guys were diehards before working for them. And how has your career changed your fandom?

Not very...which is why this whole thing works. Win or lose, I want to get my interviews, write my stories and go home. Now I'd be lying if I said it isn't a heckuva lot more fun covering the team the past two years than in 2017-18.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Loved the "explosivity" of your comments Wes in this week's "Unscripted." Do you guys have a list of potential words of the week?

Not really. Just whatever pops into the old noggin.

Bette from Chamberlain, SD

Is it hard to play without the fans in the stadium?

No.

Mike from Chamberlain, SD

Do you get tested daily?

Yes.

Deb from Green Bay, WI

Wes, I am in healthcare and I, too, cannot believe how bad it is and how careless people are acting in Wisconsin. Thank you for caring. Loved the Mason Crosby story, brought me to tears and I do this for a living. PLEASE stay safe.

Thank you for everything you do, Deb. Stay safe.

Erin from Milwaukee, WI

Re: Laser field goal posts being more forgiving. Back in Madden 2004 (the good old days) I discovered it was possible to score a FG by clipping the ball through the goalposts at the corners where the horizontal and vertical arms met. I once scored a game-winning 60-plus-yard FG this way. This isn't a question, but I thought Wes might find it interesting.

That's working all the angles. Brilliant. I assume you graduated top of your class on your way to a physics degree.

Edward from South Beloit, IL

Good morning Mr. Hodkiewicz, would a coconut-laden swallow be able to fly over the lasers emitting from the goalposts? I guess my question is, would the lasers be specific to footballs and would other "objects" be safe from destruction?

Correct. There would be a laser goalpost operator (LGO) to ensure the safety of nearby wildlife. The swallow - and its coconut - is safe.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

All of this science and laser goalpost talk got me thinking: Is there any velocity at which a football could pass through the laser goalpost without being decimated? (Kind of like when you pass your finger through the flame of a candle?) Inquiring minds want to know!

Rock beats scissors. Paper beats rock. Scissors beats paper. And lasers eviscerate all three...and footballs. It's science.

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