David is from Riverwoods, Illinois
Mike and Wes, we need you. The second is a place of healing and catharsis. As we all pray for the well-being of Hamlin’s devastation and sympathize with the NFL’s concerns and fears, Readers II looks to you to provide logical and balanced insights for the path through this difficult time for the league and its players.
Like the rest of the NFL, we’ve paused to respect Damar Hamlin, his family, and the incredibly difficult circumstances surrounding Monday’s game between Buffalo and Cincinnati. Matt Lafleur delivered many poignant words during his Wednesday morning speech but there was one line in particular about the outpouring of support for Hamlin who spoke to me: “He speaks to the brothers in this league.” It really is. I found it moving to read all of the supportive responses from Packers players and players across the league over the past two days. My dear ones are in the power of people who meet in troubled times. There is a very real human element to this game and the sacrifices athletes make to play the sport we all love.
Wes, please give us hope. For Damn Hamlin, for the Bills, for the NFL, for any of it.
It’s been several long days. I am still amazed and saddened as I write this column. Like many of you, I was so excited for Monday Night Football. I had dinner at my parents’ house and actually watched the match start with them. By the time I got home—I live about five minutes away—I was already getting text messages from my dad and a few friends about the accident. My heart sank when I turned on the TV and saw what happened. There are no words. We stop. We think. We pray.
Johnny is from Garden City, Michigan
Gentlemen, thank you for keeping us grounded when expectations run high, giving us hope when things look bleak, teaching us when we don’t understand the finer points of the game, and continuing to steer our view when things are going sideways. Thoughts and prayers continue for young Demar Hamelin. Hold on to the Bills and Bengals football fans who witnessed the devastating event.
I cannot say enough about the fans present for their patience and understanding of the gravity of the situation. I thought the fans handled the delay, and the game’s final hold, with sympathy and subtlety. And fortunately, I must express my admiration for the work that the coaches, doctors, and first responders did in the seconds and minutes following Hamlin’s injury. I’m a Big Man by Fred Rogers; always. At that moment, I thought of Mr. Rogers’ quote about his mother and how, in moments of crisis, she used to say, “Look for helpers. You will always find people to help.” What these men and women are doing is nothing short of heroic.
Have recent events in Cincinnati changed the way emergency crews or first responders prepare for a game?
Obviously, you’re evaluating your contingency plans after an incident like Hamlin’s, but like the NFL Vice President of Communications Brian McCarthy tweeted this weekThe NFL and its clubs have a sound and well-established process for handling this type of situation. Once again, I thought Cincinnati’s coaches, medical staff, and first responders were all on the ball Monday night to provide Hamlin with the best possible care. The Packers, in particular, have one of the best medical teams in all of sports with world-class resources. which extends from Orthopedics side with things Dr.. Pat McKenzie, who has been with the organization for more than 30 years, told Dr. Chris Carr, the team’s director of performance psychology that Aaron Rodgers paid tribute to during an appearance Tuesday on “The Pat McAfee Show.” Lafleur said he gathered the team for a pre-practice meeting on Wednesday. It was a quiet gathering but also hopefully cathartic. Head coach Brian Engel also addressed the team, reminding all players of the doctors and support staff available to them in the event of an emergency. I thought it was a good idea for Dr. Carr to also be available to the players after training for anyone who wanted to meet him.
The whole country prays desperately for Hamelin’s devastation. Hopefully, by the time the II comes out, we’ll have good news. But I do want to commend the respect everyone immediately showed in this scary situation, from the players shielding their teammates from sight, to ABC not replaying the video of Hamlin’s collapse, to the ABC announcers saying, “Football is no longer important tonight. Just health.” Hamlin This Game Should Be Called. TV often gets knocked due to insensitivity. Kudos to everyone for handling this humanely.
I commend Joe Buck, Lisa Salters, and ESPN for the way they handled a terrible, impossible situation. This was not a filling time during the weather delay. This was a 24-year-old man fighting for his life and his mother and family were on that court. I have a lot of respect for broadcasters and their ability to articulate in real time, especially during moments like Monday night when every word counts. This was much more than a sport. While we wait for more updates, I’ll answer a few questions regarding the Packers and Sunday’s game vs. Detroit. We continue to keep Hamlin and his family in our prayers.
Wes, I feel like this team hasn’t found its full identity yet. flexible? Yeah. But other Packers traits seem to be shaping up as we watch. Rush in time, perhaps?
I never doubted the Packers’ ability to run, especially with their Week 14 bye. I was just wondering if there was enough season left. According to The New York Times, the Packers had the fourth-lowest odds (4%) of making the NFC playoffs after losing to Philly. Even when the NFL was counting packets, they kept cutting. Now, like “Run the table,” Green Bay faces Detroit in a win-win game and you’re in the game. One thing I’ve learned over the past month is that there is no quitting on this Packers team.
Well, the ball was definitely bouncing the Packers way in this game, that’s for sure. It was good to see the defense and special teams make their mark. Will this game put fear into the hearts of other teams, or will it require a dominant effort against Detroit?
The Packers’ kickoff return has turned from an area of weakness into must-watch television. Kenny Clarke spoke after the game about how he now comes out from the sideline to watch Keisean Nixon on every return. This guy is so good defensively, Green Bay is back to showing off too. Jaire Alexander plays at the All-Pro level and I thought the Packers put together their best two weeks of rushing gallops since losing Rashan Gary this year in Detroit.
I’m not sure if anyone noticed this about the Packers’ improved defense and their ability to intercept more passes. Prior to Jarry’s injury, it seemed like most of the defensive pressure they were able to bring in came from the outside. After the injury, that pressure started to come more from the inside, which would likely create unwise passes from the quarterbacks. However, these four big quarterbacks (Kenny Clarke, Jaran Reid, TJ Slaton and Devonte White) may be key going forward.
Move your pocket’s inner line of defense against the Vikings. Clark, in particular, has been a force against the turbulent Minnesota front, and Slaton has become a player in the running when he stays on task. In his first career start, Slaton had four tackles, including a TFL on third down and a goal in the first quarter, and two pass deflections on 24 snaps.
Julie is from Janesville, Wisconsin
To what does the defense attribute their newfound success?
Faith in themselves and each other.
Margo is from Tallahassee, Florida
2023 Good morning, Wes! This was the most swarming physical defense I’ve seen the Packers play all year. One play stood out where we had four guys surrounding a receiver in the apartment. your thoughts?
This was a great play, the first defender slowed the runner down and the defense got the ball. This was missing earlier this season. Overall, I think it just has to do with the urgency Green Bay plays with. The defense looked a lot more confident than it did during the mid-season drop. Alexander, despite all the outside chatter, is very locked into what he needs to do to be successful and I think the secondary and defense fuels that.
Is it true that the victory over the Vikings marks the first time since 1967 that the Packers have been able to return both a kickoff and an interception touchdown in the same game? I was watching my favorite morning sports show today and this is what one of the hosts had to share regarding the Packers’ fast and dominant hitting on Sunday. What a win! Go pack go!
it’s the truth. Green Bay is also the first team in NFL history to have a kickoff TD of 105 yards and an INT TD return of 75 yards or more in the same game.
Hi Mike/Wes! Tell me if I’m the only one stunned by this statistic. AR12 would finish with the lowest passer rating of his career. This number would be in the low 90s. There are currently 27 QBs in NFL history that have a career mark of 90 or better. The AR12 has never had a season this low. Again, people are talking about it being a “down” year for Rodgers. However, his numbers would make a career year for at least 95% of the QBs in NFL history. We are spoiled, gratefully.
Other than stats, there’s a lot about Aaron Rodgers’ game that relies on feel and momentum, and he’s peaked in both areas. During this winning streak, the opponent’s signal caller takes his team out of the game with turnovers. Meanwhile, Rodgers made the throws he needed to win the Packers. Shoot, he even threw a QB sneak and a TD run. Rodgers is giving the Packers what they need from the QB position.