What does the offseason have in store?

Posted Jan 20, 2016

Senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat

Hi everybody. Thanks for logging in. Sorry I couldn't join you on my usual Tuesday, but hopefully today works. Ask away.   

Comment From Adam

Mike, what do we as fans do now ?

Well, I'm certainly going to watch the games this Sunday and the Super Bowl. No reason not to. After that, I guess it's up to each fan when he/she wants to start looking at the draft and next season. We can do some of that today, but I confess I haven't studied draft prospects or anything along those lines yet.

Comment From yenssen

Mike what you think we should draft in the first round?

I see a lot of positions of need for the Packers. TE, RB, ILB, OLB, OL, DL. You find the best player at those spots when it's your turn to pick. Odds are the best player on the board will fill a need position.

Comment From Brett

What should we take away from this season as we prepare for next year?

The Packers had problems on offense exposed. No getting around that, but McCarthy is the guy to fix them. They also showed tremendous fight and grit with all those late-game comebacks, some successful and some not. There's a lot to look forward to in the near future, as I see it.

Comment From John

Out of all the pending free agents, who do you think is the most important to resign?

On defense, I see the Packers re-signing one of the OLBs, Neal or Perry, but perhaps not both. Same on the D-line with Raji and Guion. If you lose all four of those guys, you have a lot of holes and depth concerns, but it's highly unlikely to keep all four. On offense, I'd lean toward keeping James Starks, if the price doesn't go too high. Maybe the guy I'd put at the top of the entire list is Crosby. I don't want to see a veteran, contending team start over at that position.   

Comment From Billy 

Everyone saying there is a need to draft a TE, if Quarless leaves do you think Perillo can take that second TE spot?

He'll have to compete for it and show improvement and development. Maybe the Packers draft someone better. You want that spot to be competitive next year.

Comment From Spencer 

Do you believe we've seen the last of Scott Tolzien in a Packers uniform? It sure feels like he'll be competing for a starting job somewhere next year.

That would be my guess. I think the Packers will be looking to develop Hundley into Rodgers' regular backup now.               

Comment From Linda P 

Mike, 2 years in a row, our Packers fan hearts are broken again in the playoffs. This year after the pain was a deep pride in our team. I had friends of mine who aren't Packers fans text me that it was the greatest playoff game ever. What were your thoughts and feelings?

I've covered all the heartbreakers in the McCarthy era in the playoffs, and nothing will ever be as difficult as last year in Seattle. But this one was right up there. If the Packers had pulled it out in OT after the Hail Mary, it would have gone down as the second-greatest postseason game in the long, storied history of this team (Ice Bowl).

Comment From CJ 

Any chance James Jones is brought back? He seems to be a fan favorite and Rodgers likes him, but he just struggled to get open too much this year.

Lots of folks asking about JJ, and yes, Rodgers has expressed a desire to bring him back. I have no idea what they'll do there. Jones was taken out of games by top CBs when the matchup wasn't right, but he clearly can help this team as a third or fourth option. Then again, if he's that option next year, how much are you stunting the development of Adams, Abbrederis, Janis, etc., for the long term? Those are the things to weigh.        

Comment From GeorgeM 

Mike, first of all, thanks a ton for your kindness, chats and tremendous coverage of our favorite team. What is your schedule for the off season?

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm going to try to find some time to get away over the next couple of months and re-charge, but otherwise, I'll be here trying to provide daily content. I also expect to be covering the combine and owners' meetings potentially. There's always plenty to do.

Comment From Connor 

If Clay Matthews is moving to OLB, who will the two ILBs be?

I expect Barrington, Ryan and a new acquisition or two to compete for the two spots.

Comment From Spencer 

What are your thoughts on the future of the secondary? It appears about as bright as can be.

The Packers re-stocked at CB last year, and that will pay off for a while now. With Richardson's injury, you might want to find another safety for depth and competition, but the secondary is the lowest on the needs list for sure.               

Comment From Evan 

Mike, can you provide some reason to the negative fans who want McCarthy fired? I've tried everything - a Super Bowl win, 3 NFC Championship appearances (2 losses fell on players hands), and nearly making it back to the NFC Championship this year. Not to mention he seems to constantly be doing it with injuries to key players. Consistency is hard to find in this league, and we as a fanbase should be more appreciative for what we have.

The fire McCarthy mantra is absurd. I have a lot of reasons I could spell out, but here's one way to look at it -- in their last three playoff losses, the Packers had all three victories in their hands ... a potential Hyde INT vs. SF, Bostick in Seattle and Shields last Saturday night. Is it the coach's fault those plays weren't made? Absolutely not.               

Comment From Guest 

Would you have gone for 2?

Under the old overtime rules, I might have strongly considered it. With the new rules, I don't think it was a gamble worth taking, especially not with WRs in the game who probably hadn't practiced any of the 2-point plays in the game plan. The defense had 80 yards to defend, and the defense was the strength of the team all year. I know it didn't work out, but I think the right decision was made.

Comment From Luke 

I just do not see how not going for two was the right decision. McCarthy said that his offence was too limited to go for two, but what gave him confidence that they would be capable to put together a drive in overtime? If it did not work out. All he would have had to say is "last year our season ended with Aaron on the sidelines, without a chance to take a snap in overtime. I was not going to allow the chance of that happening again."

I see your point, and those of others. The defense was the strength of the team. If they can get a 3 & out with AZ at the 20, the offense might be taking over at the 50 needing 15 yards for a winning FG. That's the other way to look at it.

Comment From Phil 

Hi Mike Thanks for the great work this year. Please do a weekly WYMHM all off-season to tide us over :-)

Thanks for the interest in the segment, as always, but there's a large amount of production work that goes into those, and I have to give that crew a break, too.

Comment From Bruce 

Hey Mike, do you see need to increase the depth on the O-line? that seemed a bit of a fiasco and I though Rodgers would get killed for awhile there.

Offensive line depth is a priority every year in my opinion. You never stand pat at that position.           

Comment From Clay 

Do you have any comments on what appears to be a lack of qulaity depth on the offensive line with the possible exception of Tretter?

The Packers found Lang, Sitton, Bakhtiari, Linsley and Tretter all in the fourth round or later. They can improve the depth up front without having to spend the premium picks. That's what I expect them to do.

Comment From Polo 

Eddie Lacy is such a talent but apparently doesn't see the big picture. Do we dare risk another year with someone who doesn't seem to take his job seriously?

Lots of questions about Eddie. McCarthy obviously called him out the other day. Eddie will be going into the last year of his contract. He'll be playing for his football future, whether that's in GB or elsewhere. If that doesn't motivate him, what else will?

Comment From Eric 

What would you like to see in a TE that Richard Rodgers does not possess?

He didn't break enough tackles. That's what immediately comes to mind. No one is going to replace Jermichael Finley, because he was a special talent, but he was awfully tough to bring down after the catch.

Comment From Gary 

Mike , will you be doing anything throughout the offseason on to keep us entertained like Draft prospects videos or WYMM

We'll be formulating our plans for covering the combine soon. The Prospect Primer videos the last couple of years have been popular, so they'll definitely be in the discussion.

Comment From Kevin 

Can Sam Barrington fill that ILB position? Or would we need more depth than just him and Ryan?

I don't want to go into next year with just those two and Matthews as the fallback again, if the plan is to move Matthews back outside. That's not going to cut it.

Comment From Eli from Rechovot 

I hear what you said about Neal and/or Perry. But wouldn't it be more valuable to keep Julius Peppers another year?

Peppers is not a free agent. He has one more year left on his contract. I'm not considering him a free agent unless the Packers were to release him, and my guess is they won't.

Comment From Aaron 

Why are the Packers always banged up more than any other team come postseason ?

That wasn't the case last year. The entire 53-man roster was available in the postseason then. Every year is different.

Comment From Dan 

Why do you think we are 0-5 in OT in playoff games?

Because football, especially playoff football, is a crazy game. You'd expect that worm to turn at some point, but I don't go around looking for blame for something that, in my opinion, is a fluke stat.    

Comment From Peter 

Mike, Abbrederis must have practiced the 2 point conversion as he had one in Washington.

True. But no way that play works again after the Cardinals have studied it and are ready for it.

Comment From John P 

Who do you fancy out of Denver,New England,Carolina,Arizona

Lots of folks asking this. I felt midway through the season Arizona was the best team in the league, so I'll stick with them to win it all, though I won't be surprised if Carolina beats them because they just have a look about them now. I expect New England to beat Denver. If that goes the other way, that's the only thing I would consider an upset from here on out.

Comment From Jake 

Will we cut Peppers because of his large salary cap or is that media trying to stir the controversy?

I don't think it's anybody trying to stir anything, just laying out the facts. It's a big cap number, but I don't think it's prohibitively big for a player who's playing like he is.

Comment From Adam 

Is there not an option to pick up a 5th year on Lacy`s contract ?

Only first-round picks have the fifth-year option. All other draft picks get the standard four-year rookie deal, I believe.

Comment From Tom 

Hi Mike - thanks for your professionalism and writing skills! Do you think Lovato showed enough to unseat Goode for the long snapper position?

Honestly, I have no idea. With Goode's injury coming on Dec. 20, I think that situation might hinge on his health come the start of training camp, if he'll be ready or not.

Comment From Guest 

Abbrederis looks like he has the quickness to be something special. What do you think?

His fearlessness probably impresses me the most. He's not big out there, and he really took some hits from the Cardinals, but he never backed down.

Comment From Eli from Rechovot 

Tell me what I'm missing here. Head Coach handed off play-calling plus a bit more, so he could get more actively into the areas he didn't know as well - Special Teams and Defense. Those 2 areas improved tremendously this year. He took back play-calling, and despite the injuries and limitations, offense improved. Aren't we headed into being a fully-balanced team now, with his broader understanding? That alone seems to be the plus that NE and AZ have over the Packers. Am I missing something?

I think that's a worthwhile perspective.

Comment From Hyo 

Hey Mike, sometimes there's no single "right way" to do something. I would have gone for 2 in AZ, but can understand why MM didn't. I disagree with Burnett going down in Seattle after the pick, but completely understand why he did. Sometimes things just don't go your way, even if you've made sound decisions.      

I will forever disagree on the Burnett thing, and I understand many will disagree on the 2-point call. That's OK.

Comment From Benjamin 

Mike..........We really didn't get a chance to see what Montgomery can do. Do you see him being able to push Adams or even Cobb for a higher spot on the depth chart?

I see Nelson and Cobb as the 1-2 when both are healthy. But yes, I can definitely see Montgomery pushing Adams on the depth chart.

Comment From Andrew 

How many compensatory picks will the Packers have?

Those will be announced in late March, I believe. I'm thinking they might get two picks, but no way to know for sure.     

Comment From Kevin 

How would you grade Jake Ryan now that the season has come to an end?

I think he showed a lot of promise, and he may have moved into that spot sooner without the injury early in the year that forced him to miss time (it was a hamstring, I think). He's a player that will be interesting to watch develop.

Comment From Tim 

After all of the road teams won in the wild card round all of the home teams won in the divisional round. Are the conferences top heavy?

I think it's pretty clear that the four teams left are the four that were the best in their conferences throughout the year. But it's not like all four games last weekend were blowouts. A couple came down to onside kicks, the Steelers probably win if the RB doesn't fumble, and the Packers went to OT.

Comment From Willie 

Did I read somewhere that compensatory picks can be traded now. How will that change things in your estimation?

It just increases the odds for draft-day trades, and might allow teams to create an even larger package of picks for a bigger move up. We'll see.

Comment From Ray N 

In pre-season, the offense was ready, the defense was a big question mark and special teams needed attention. That narrative, with the exception of ST which did improve, got completely turned on its head. Offense was "broken" and defense was the foundation of the team. What's the narrative going into next year ?? What will next year's "surprise" be ??

If I knew that, how would it be a surprise?

Comment From Cole 

When is the NFL schedule announced? I want tickets to the Pack's home opener!

The schedule normally comes out in mid-April, a couple of weeks before the draft.      

Comment From Joel 

Mike, with all of the success the Packers have sustained over the past decade, why does it seem like the national media has focused on Green Bay's perceived failures when it comes to reaching and winning multiple Super Bowls? I feel as if the Packers are better than almost every other team (except the Patriots) when it comes to the crap shoot that is the postseason.

Winning Super Bowls defines legacies. That's just how it is, fair or unfair.

Comment From Justin - Athens 

Crazy how some OT periods go for a couple possessions and some are over as soon as they began. What do you think about the OT rules? Would you favor something like a 10 minute period?

I like the rules the way they are, after they changed them so an opening FG can't win the game. If you put 10 minutes on the clock, I think you lose some drama, and the players are more exhausted anyway. And I don't want to see the NFL go to the college rules. No.

Comment From Matt 

Hey, Mike. Just wanted to say thanks for the chat and for all you guys on have done this year for the fanbase. My question concerns an article published on by Kevin Seiffert entitled "Clock ticking on Rodgers and the Packers" or something to that effect. It argues basically that the Packers are wasting Rodgers' prime by not having the right pieces around him year after year to ensure the team have every shot to go all the way. Thoughts?

The Packers had all the pieces around him this year until Jordy went down, and that was just too big a hole to fill. It happens. The defense was the lagging unit in the years right after SB XLV, but now that group is doing its part. The criticism is perhaps valid from a few years ago, but I wouldn't say so now.

Comment From Kevin 

Do you see McCarthy hanging on to playcalling duties for next season or will he try to delegate once again?

He said on Monday he's calling plays from here on out.              

Comment From Dion 

Mike, what a game and a heartbreaking loss. What has been your's and Vic's analysis on the game?

The Packers were fighting uphill once Cobb went down, and they put up a hell of a fight. They got some breaks on that final offensive drive, and the drama was incredible. The defense played well but had opportunities for the turnovers that would have changed the game, and then the unit just had a breakdown at the wrong time.        

Comment From Dave-Vermont 

Do we know which AFC division we will play next year?

AFC South

Comment From Joel 

Mike, do you personally favor sustained success without any Super Bowl championships (as the Eagles did in the 2000s), or do you think it's better for a team to win a Super Bowl and then stink (as the Rams and Buccs did)?

I don't thin like that. I don't control the wins and losses, so I just say get in the playoffs as often as you can and take your chances.

OK, my hour is about up. A couple more.

Comment From Brett from Hayward 

In a press conference McCarthy made a comment that when the head coach goes to the game planning meeting it takes an extra hour. When the QB goes to the game planning meeting it takes an extra two hours. Is it that simple? Is that what it took to get the offense to turn the corner toward the end of the season?

That was a little tongue-in-cheek, but it was a way of getting across how many issues they were trying to sort out, I think.

Comment From Linda P 

Mike, Is this the last week for this chat?

For now, yes. I'll see if there are appropriate times in the offseason to fire up another chat here or there.

Comment From Adam 

Thank you so much for your work and dedication on this website for the past season. The offseason will be a struggle but last seasons memories and next seasons hopes will make the time fly. Thank you again Mike , rest up for the next couple of months and I`ll look forward to seeing you again come draft time.

I appreciate that, but the thanks go to you fans for your interest in the site. I really mean that. We'll try to keep you informed and entertained in the offseason as well, so stay tuned. I'm not going away until the draft. I'll be around, but if you don't mind, I'm going to take my weekends off for a while :) Thanks everyone for a fun season with the chats again. Take care. --Mike

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