Sun, 23 Jan 2022

Inbox: AJ Dillon is just fun to watch

Packers
03 Dec 2021, 17:12 GMT+10

Football is not a one-size-fits-all game. Wes Hodkiewicz

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Trading cards are so passe. It's all about NFTs now! Let's get some video clips of Wes and Spoff in action - those will be trading for some serious bitcoin!

Spoff NFTs...the world needs them. Your move, Packers.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What team poses the biggest threat to the Packers in the final stretch of the season?

The blue medical tent. Seriously. This team is deep, talented and together. If it can withstand this seemingly nonstop wave of injuries and get relatively healthy, this season could really be special.

Martin from Evansville, IN

Do you think us having a bye this late is actually somewhat an advantage so we get some rest for the home stretch and hopefully are able to win out and get home field throughout the playoffs?

Advantage seems like the wrong adjective because this stretch of 12 games has taken its pound of flesh. To your point, the Packers are tied for the most wins in the NFL right now and have a full week to rest and recuperate. It's a huge opportunity, if they take, um, advantage of it.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Rasul Douglas, NFC Defensive Player of the Week. De'Vondre Campbell, Defensive Player of the Month. I think it's safe to say these additions have worked out quite well. Kudos to Brian Gutekunst and his personnel department. Just waiting for Corey Bojorquez to win Special Teams Player of the Week/Month...

It's crazy how things work out. I think Campbell and Douglas, to varying degrees, are examples of players getting not just an opportunity - but the right opportunity. Football is not a one-size-fits-all game. Some players perform better in one scheme over another. Fortunately, it's clicked for both of those defenders in Green Bay.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, thank you for your story on Rasul Douglas, NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 12! What have Gutey and his staff revealed about how they found him?

We haven't been able to ask that question yet but I'll be eager to hear what Gutekunst says. We've talked for years about how the Packers keep an updated rolodex of free agents and practice-squad players, in case of emergency. All those files are available to them at a moment's notice. The Packers saw something they liked and it's been a perfect arrangement.

Jack from Moweaqua, IL

So great to see Charles with his name in the ring. A question for you guys on leadership. It was interesting to see how Woodson was known as THE leader on that Super Bowl team and the effect it had on the unit as a whole. Since Aaron has been the starter, do you think he has had the same effect on his teammates, and if so, how important is it to have veterans like Favre, Woodson, Peppers, Lewis and so on?

Oh, for sure. You can't help but be inspired by the way Aaron Rodgers has played, and led, over the years. He's gutted through so much and had so many galvanizing moments with players. Rodgers is the heart and soul of this team; always has been and always will be. I do think the Packers have benefited from adding veterans such as Julius Peppers and Marcedes Lewis to the roster over the years. Because that kind of experience, leadership and perspective brings a lot to a draft-and-develop squad.

Mike from Madison, WI

Last year, we saw Aaron Rodgers outrace Jalen Ramsey to the corner to score a touchdown. Fast forward, this year, we see Aaron Rodgers outrace Jalen Ramsey to the corner to score a touchdown, with a fractured toe, no less. Does Aaron take it as a challenge, the best faces the best and see who wins?

I think he just wanted to score and Aaron Donald was about to wreck AJ Dillon in the backfield if he handed the ball off. Rodgers is under no disillusions of how he matches up with Ramsey, athletically. He said it himself on "The Pat McAfee Show" on Tuesday. Rodgers willed his way to a touchdown.

Drew from Monroe, WA

I can't stop seeing AJ Dillon catch the swing pass from Rodgers and immediately put on the brakes and forcing the Rams linebacker to slide past him. That big man has some feet. Does he remind you of Jerome Bettis a little bit?

Dillon reminds me of a snowplow; just a rough and tough runner who runs north and south through the smoke. When Dillon gets opportunities in space, you're starting to see he has some wiggle to his game, too. Simply put, AJ Dillon is just fun to watch.

Craig from Williamstown, Australia

Morning gents, I really enjoy WYMM as not knowing a great deal about the game, I see these small samples of what actually happens. After Wednesday's installment, does Dean Lowry get the credit he deserves from fans over in the U.S. for his work? I'm sure he will from the coaches. He looks like a beast to me.

Lowry has been such a steady, consistent player for the Packers over the past five years and he's as durable as defensive linemen get at this level. He should get a lot more credit but that also is the nature of the position. The Packers know what they have in Dean Lowry.

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Jon from Brooklyn Park, MN

What is the most important player the Packers get back from our well-needed bye?

I think it's seeing where Agent 69 is at. Hopefully, the Packers get Jaire Alexander and Za'Darius Smith back this year, but David Bakhtiari is the one who has been activated to date.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

Due to the strong performance by the O-line against a great Rams front, will the Packers continue to ease David Bakhtiari back even if he may be good to go after the bye week?

If Bakhtiari is good to go, he's playing. There's no question about that. This past month has been more about how his knee is responding and getting ready to play a full 60-minute football game. The strong performance from the O-line is encouraging but the Packers need their franchise left tackle back.

Logan from Lamar, CO

Was super bummed to see Randall Cobb go down last week. He was on a roll! Any updates on his injury? What has stuck out to you guys the most about No. 18's return to the offense?

No updates. So, quit asking (Saban voice). I've said this a few times but I love what I've seen from Cobb. In Year 11, he knows who he is and what his role is in this offense - and Cobb embraces that. He's been a great addition to this team.

Tony from Chanhassen , MN

Considering that during the bye week there is less to discuss, and what time of year we are in, I think it would be good for the II to say what we are thankful for. Don't worry, I'll start. I'm thankful for Marquez Valdes-Scantling's hands. He has been on point this year.

Valdes-Scantling is the best version of himself right now. It's unfortunate the hamstring injury robbed him of five games, so his stat line doesn't really matchup with the impact he's having on this football team, but five strong games to finish the regular season could change all that in a heartbeat. He's playing well in a featured role.

Andrew from Minneapolis, MN

I love your work and appreciate you guys. Who is the backup for when you both go down with sprained ligaments in your typing hands in the same week from the extra-long season of answering a million questions every day? Joking, but not really...

There are no backups. It's just Spoff and me when it comes to writers. We're Animal and Hawk, Shawn and Marty, Bobby and Stan (or Dennis), Dax and Cash.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

I couldn't watch the game in my market. Was there as much chip-blocking and help for Yosh Nijman this game or was he left with one-on-one blocks?

The Packers had a really smart plan for Leonard Floyd and those edge rushers. They obviously put an emphasis on getting the ball out quickly and used pre-snap motions to keep the defense off-balance. Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney did a fair amount of chip-blocking on their releases, but there were times when it was up to Nijman to win his one-on-one and he pretty much did every time.

John from Salt Lake City, UT

Wes, you keep changing how you say No. 73's name, and the TV crews are clueless. According to the website, "First name rhymes with Josh and last name is pronounced NY-man." Is that accurate or do you have some "Insider" information?

It says NY-man on his bio, which is how I've been pronouncing it in the past. However, Matt Schneidman pointed out how Nijman pronounces it "NY-sh-man" in his TV introductions. If that's what Yosh says, that's what I say.

Bruce from Norwalk, CT

I have a fairly strong aversion to questions that include either "Am I the only one..." or "Is it just me...," but it is bye week so what the heck. Is it just me or am I the only one who upon seeing AR12 plop his foot on the table to show his fractured pinky toe had flashbacks to when Michael Scott burned his foot on his George Foreman grill?

Now that you mention it...

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

How do you convert a Texans fan to a Packers fan?

Have them turn on a Texans game?

Mark from Tallahassee , FL

Mike and Scott, does the fact that Mike's dad and I use "give a hoot" legitimize it as a thing or both of us as old? My daughter needs to know.

Spoff's pops was an English professor, an educated man who has a way with words. "Give a hoot" may or may not be among those words, but if I were you, I'd lean into that part of the comparison.

Seth from Chicago, IL

Was reading an ESPN article that ranked NFL coaches' success on fourth down (LaFleur was No. 2). The article mentioned how Doug Pederson had a game-management specialist feeding him real-time math-based recommendations during the Super Bowl and helped him decide to run the Philly Special. The article also said they estimated 28 of 32 teams have a game-management specialist like this. My question is does Matt LaFleur have one, and how involved are they during the game and practices/tape reviews?

The Packers have an analytics/game-management department but that's about the extent of what I know about it. LaFleur prefers to keep all that close to the chest and for good reason. It's a copycat league. If you feel like you're ahead of the curve on something, no reason to advertise it.

Josh from Napoleon, OH

Hello II, my mom has been on a ventilator fighting for her life due to COVID-19 for a week now. Thank you for providing all the material you do as it helps keep my mind off things when I need to. Please say a prayer for Chery if you could and go Packers!

I'm sorry to hear that, Josh. You and your mom are in our thoughts and prayers.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

I was so happy to see Mike joking about this in Wednesday's II. Now maybe the rest of us in the penalty box can get out! My question is for either Lori (Brookfield or Costa Rica), Dar, Derek, Mike and the rest of the gang who should be receiving co-credits for the column. How did you get the gig? What is the record for consecutive days with your questions/comments being used? My prediction would be Lori from Brookfield! Just having fun guys so be nice if you respond. Go Pack Go!

Spoff and I need our own analytics department for this kind of stuff - identifying trends, grabbing coffee, searching for "the thing," etc.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Wow, Spoff throws down a Monkees reference! I never in my life thought that The Monkees would make the Inbox. But now I'm a believer! I guess we all could use a bye week...

I'm a believer? Wait, I thought Smash Mouth wrote that.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I'm using the bye week to self-scout. Sharpen the Haikus, deep dive the inconsistent phrasing issues I'm having, get back to basics with question topics. Wes and Spoff, let me know if you want to hold any "across the hall" meetings.

Stay golden, Derek, and rest up. We got a lot of poems still ahead of us this season.

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