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Does the turnaround start against the Bears?

Posted Nov 8, 2017

Packers.com senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in Mike's Mid-Week Chat


Hey everybody. Thanks for adjusting to a different time this week, due to a different schedule coming off the Monday night game. Let's get to it.

Comment From Lori

What did you think of Vince Biegel's Lambeau debut?

I liked what I saw against the run. I didn't see much impact as a pass rusher, but I'm not expecting miracles right away. I'll give him time.

Comment From Ray N.

I wanna believe Mike. Third down "get off the field" numbers are appalling. Hard to hang on ...

It's obvious you can't win playing that way on third down, on both sides of the ball. You especially can't take unsportsmanlike penalties after you stop them on third-and-14.

Comment From Nathan

Can the Packers offense succeed without hitting big plays?

It's not going to hit as many as it used to, but you have to be able to hit some here or there. Too many things can go wrong if it's going to take 10-plus plays to score every time.

Comment From Zach

Vikings have a tough schedule ahead, lions have an easier schedule. If we can turn this ship around I see hope. But it starts with the bears. Here is to hoping for the best!

It has to start against the Bears.

Comment From Joe

Sorry Mike,all your film showed today was how inept the defense was at blitzing the QB.

The Lions had every answer, with their timing, their protection, and some great throws by Stafford. I don't know what else to say.

Comment From Kevin

I wasn't tracking, but do you have an idea how many of Detroit's third-down conversions came as a result of an extra blitzer or two leaving a hole in the secondary? Boy, could we use some pass rush ...

That's why I've continued to say if you can't get pressure with a straight four-man rush, which the Packers haven't for several weeks now, you're putting your defense in a vulnerable position. The Lions found that vulnerability almost every time.

Comment From Joe

Been a Packer fan for 55 years and have asked many times, don't you think it is time for a change on our approach of how we defend?

That's a question for the offseason. You can't make a dramatic change of course midseason. It's pointless. The season is only half over, and there's time to turn things around.

Comment From JD from Palm Bay, FL

With Bulaga out for the season and McCray possibly missing this week and Spriggs not available for another week at least, who do you see as the next man up at right tackle?

If McCray can't go, I think Green Bay goes one or two ways. Either Ulrick John starts at RT, or Lane Taylor moves over there from LG (he played LT earlier this year) and Lucas Patrick takes Taylor's usual spot.

Comment From Zach

Do you see the Packers leaning on the run more this week? It was sad to see we didn't lean on Aaron Jones this last week.

With the Packers struggling to make plays downfield in the passing game, defenses aren't going to let Jones get any space. The Packers will have to get the passing game going to open up the run.

Comment From Ryan L.

Seems like a lot of horizontal passing on first down? Why not try to establish the ground game early with Jones, Ty, Williams? Down and distance for the offense is a contact hurdle lately.

They were getting 2 yards per rush early on, and that wasn't helping Hundley. They needed to get him in a rhythm, and the first drive went well, but then it didn't continue. The more experience he gets, the more consistent the offense will become.

Comment From Jeff P.

Players not plays, I totally agree ... but every week I see our CBs playing 10 yards off at the LOS, and our Safeties playing 15-20 yards off the LOS on 3rd and short to medium ... That's not a players issue, at least I hope our players are smarter than that.

The Packers have a timing issue on defense, I think, from what I see on film and what McCarthy said on Monday. The timing of the pass rush and coverage are not in sync. They need to work together.

Comment From Brian K. originally from Westby, WI

Do I dare tell my Bears friends to enjoy being favored, we will beat them anyway?

I think this is a game the Packers should win.

Comment From Barry

Who is your mid-season MVP? Almost has to be Blake Martinez, right? The defense rightfully gets skewered for not getting the job done, but that dude has turned into a machine.

Martinez deserves a ton of credit, as I've continued to say. But individual performances aren't getting it done on defense. The unit needs to work better together to make things happen.

Comment From DJ

With the loss of Aaron Rodgers and the losses as a team has your job become more difficult?

No. It's more depressing to constantly answer Inbox questions from angry fans, and I understand the frustration, but the lack of rationality gets tiring.

Comment From Nick

You've been doing this a long time so just your two cents as to why we are struggling to get pressure without scheming blitz?

Guys up front have to beat their man, plain and simple, and the cover guys have to play it tight enough for someone to make a play.

Comment From Dale

When is Mrs. Biff's baby due?

Right near Christmas, I believe.

Comment From Nik

Do you think Aaron Rodgers was disgusted with the game? When the camera panned to him he was shaking his head , and didn’t seem pleased at all.

I didn't see the TV broadcast, but I can't imagine anyone on the GB sideline was pleased at any point.

Comment From Dale

Not to make excuses for the defense, but if the Lions throw and catch the way they did Monday, they'll be hard for anyone to beat.

They should have beaten the Steelers and Falcons at home. Those were tough losses. They're much better than their 4-4 record, I think.

Comment From Jeff P.

Thanks Mike. Appreciate the thoughtful answer ... I know you have it rough ... not trying to make things tougher.

Just trying to keep it real. Changing schemes, firing coaches and the like is not my place. I appreciate the understanding of that.

Comment From Nik

The media has suggested that Rodgers threaten to leave Green Bay due to them not paying for better supporting talent. Do you think Aaron Rodgers will even consider that?

I would hope not. I think he's got a pretty good thing going with McCarthy and the offensive staff here, and I think he's a QB who cares greatly about his legacy. But the decision will be his and I won't speak for him.

Comment From Kenton

They talk about "momentum" all the time as being a big thing in a game. Do you think had the Packers scored on their first opportunity (no blocked kick) and then held Detroit to a 3-and-out on their first possession (no Daniels penalty) the game might have turned out much different. Or is that just noise?

It certainly would have helped. To be down 7-0 the way that game actually began took a fair amount of air out of the balloon. But the Packers need to capitalize on strong starts, regardless of the score. The late second quarter through third quarter of Hundley's two starts have been major lulls.

Comment From Linda P.

Mike, Can anybody beat the Eagles right now?

I think the Saints and the Rams are just as good as the Eagles. The Rams play both of those other teams by season's end, so we'll find out.

Comment From Ryan L.

Obviously expectations were lowered, quite a lot, when Aaron went down, but my worry is this - This team finishes 6-10, 7-9 and the organization chalks it up to Rodgers not being on the field and doesn't do enough to address the many needs they have.

I don't think that will be the case, if things unfold as you say. The Packers are always patient with their young, developing players, but many have had the chance to develop now and they'll be evaluated accordingly. McCarthy reviews everything exhaustively at season's end, and I know everyone is screaming for change now, but he's not going to make that evaluation now with half a season to go.

Comment From DJ

Some sports writers are suggesting Green Bay pack it in for the season and focus on getting the high draft picks. Any thoughts?

I don't like that mentality. You're a draft-and-develop team that needs to develop players. They aren't going to develop if you pack it in, and your veterans will question management's motivation. It's not a viable strategy.

Comment From Mike

Does it look like the Vikings win the division and move one step closer to having the Super Bowl in their own home town?

They have a really tough schedule in the second half, so nothing's been decided.

Comment From Barry

I've said for a few years now that Aaron Rodgers is this team, and his other-worldly talent and drive are what keeps it afloat. It's why Thompson can tout draft-and-develop, while missing on picks and flooding the roster with undrafted free agents. It's why Dom Capers' defense can consistently finish in the bottom half or third of the NFL without repercussions. This may be considered "irrational" in some corners. There are some who would say I'm not a real fan for holding this view. But I also think that this season is playing out exactly how I would have predicted, and is proving my hypothesis right. Thoughts?

Based on what we've seen over the last 2 3/4 games, you're right. But I want to see the season play out before making sweeping generalizations. Hundley has faced one of the top defenses in the league and two of the top 10 QBs. We can revisit this after the season is actually over.

Comment From Johan

What did you think of Daniel's "we need to retaliate" comments ?? I liked them, though it didn't happen during DET game. Call me a barbarian, but I think he has a point and it is time for payback ...

It's fine to say that, but what happens on the field matters more, and his mistake on the field didn't help the team. He's acknowledged it and he's ready to move on, I'm sure.

Comment From Linda P.

Mike, If you ask me, the Lions look like the better team than the Vikings at this point. If Brett continues to struggle, will we see Callahan?

A lot of stories/columns out of Detroit are saying it's the Lions' division to lose. I think that's a bit presumptuous with a two-game deficit, but they definitely have the talent and the schedule to overtake the Vikings.

Comment From Ryan L.

Thanks for the response, Spoff. Just for the record, I'm not screaming for change now. I'm a big supporter of Coach McCarthy, and I completely agree with the draft and development approach the Packers take; in my opinion it's how you stay relevant for longer than two years at a time. I just hope, if the season doesn't end with a playoff birth, that the organization has the intestinal fortitude to address the difficult issues.

I believe it will, but the main point I'm trying to make is you need a whole season's body of work to know what the issues really are.

Comment From Dale

Crosby must be a very patient person.

He has to be. What choice does he have? Three long snappers in one year has to be some kind of record.

Comment From Guest

4th and 2, they call a Jet sweep. Conventional wisdom would be hand it off to a big back and trust your offensive line to get enough push to gain that yardage. The lions defense is to fast for that Sweep to pay off.

Quin made a heck of a read on that. You could see him on the film taking off to attack before Cobb even got the ball. He guessed right.

Comment From Benjamin

My glass is always half full and it still is, but I have ask. Any idea if the upcoming draft is strong in the Packer's positions of need? Let's be fair, there are a few needs on both sides of the ball. Being optimistic doesn't mean we stop looking ahead!

It will be a good year to have all those compensatory draft picks from the lost free agents. The Packers will have several needs to address from a front-line and depth standpoint.

Comment From Leander From Cologne, Germany

What did you make of Hundly's post game press conference?

I liked the fact that he wasn't really interested in talking about his improvement, and he did improve. He was dejected over the loss and expected more of himself. His head is in the right place.

OK, I've gotta run soon. I'll take a couple more. Thanks for all the questions today.

Comment From Keith, Normal IL

Hey Mike, the NFL network guys think the Packers should pick up Kaepernick. Do you agree with me that would be a stupid choice?

It would be a colossal waste of time.

Comment From Tom

Rodgers absence has proven one thing for certain, that he is hands down the BEST player in the NFL. Also I think it puts Rodgers in a great position now to negotiate his contract extension, which should make him the highest paid player in the NFL thoughts?

Rodgers was going to get his money regardless.

Comment From Timmy D.

Do you think Deshaun Watson would have reached the 40 Touchdown target that he was on pace for?

Definitely. Tough break for the Texans, and for the league. The game isn't as good when superstars aren't playing, and that kid is already a superstar.

Comment From Don from Racine, WI

On to the bears!

We'll call that the last word for today. Take care everyone. Talk again next week. Best, Mike

 
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