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Something is always bound to surprise you

Posted Oct 26, 2017

A healthy Clay Matthews is a dangerous Clay Matthews


Lane from Kihei, HI

Do you wish you had a bye week?

Yes.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

We're talking human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

Enough, I get the point.

Nick from Chicago, IL

I think one of the biggest things that's been overlooked is Matthews’ health. He hasn't had any major injury setbacks compared to last year. There's always a silver-lining.

A healthy Clay Matthews is a dangerous Clay Matthews. I know what the sack numbers are, but I think Matthews is off to a great start. He’s been Dom Capers’ most consistent weapon all season. He’s penetrating the offensive line, making tackles and defending the run as well as he ever has. He’s also been solid in coverage. The Packers need more out of the pass rush in the second half of the season, but Matthews is making an impact in this defense.

Pat from Collierville, TN

I watched a short clip with Boomer Esiason talking about the injury to Aaron Rodgers and how it affects the viewing ratings and even attendance of games because fans don't want to watch average players. Do you think the league will look at this in the offseason and try to find a way to even add more rules to keep the quarterbacks on the field?

I don’t care what the reason is – I just hope the NFL takes a look at these plays in the offseason. Injuries happens, but some can be avoided. The league is better with Aaron Rodgers playing on Sundays. This benefits no one.

Kyle from San Francisco, CA

Use this bye week to get our offensive line healthy and intact, and Hundley and McCarthy on the same page with game-planning. I believe having a healthy O-line and skill positions will put us in the best position to compete down the stretch. I have faith in Hundley to get on track and put together some decent games.

I don’t have the exact Spoff Stats & Info in front of me, but I believe McCarthy has a pretty good track record when it comes to how his team has performed after byes. The Packers’ performance three years ago against Chicago was an all-timer, featuring Matthews’ move to inside linebacker.

Bryce from Menomonie, WI

Who are your favorite rookies so far this year?

I don’t know if I have a favorite, per se, but it’s always interesting getting to know the new guys each year. Aaron Jones might be the most polite individual I’ve ever covered. He starts every response with, “Yes sir/ma’am.” Kevin King and Vince Biegel are both very charismatic, as well.

Richard from Yankton, SD

We haven't had a good pass rush since 2010. I went out back and shook the pass-rush tree nothing fell out that’s better than we have. I guess help’s not on the way.

I disagree. The Packers matched their 2010 sack output (47) in 2012 and have had at least 40 in each of the last five seasons. The potential is still there for this pass rush. It just needs to get Nick Perry and Ahmad Brooks healthy.

Bryan from Thayer, MO

Speaking of a dangerous mindset, asking a team to stop being competitive and adopt a losing attitude for a season and then crank it back up to a Super Bowl-caliber level is absurd. I'm much more content with the team fighting tooth-and-nail for the playoffs even they fall short than throwing in the towel.

The Packers fought tooth-and-nail to make the playoffs in 2013, and still ended up with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the NFL Draft. As the great philosopher Stannis Baratheon once said, “We march to victory or we march to defeat. But we go forward – only forward.”

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

What are the Packers’ coaches and players focusing on this bye week?

The players were dismissed Monday to their bye weeks, while McCarthy and his coaching staff conducted an “across-the-hall” project during the first half of the week. There’s a lot of self-scouting that goes on at this time.

Andrew from Oklahoma City, OK

Any chance Pipkins will see more playing time?

I thought he played well when given the opportunity. It’ll be more difficult for him to get on the field on defense with Kevin King and Davon House both back, but I felt he made a good showing for himself.  

Barry from Hayward, WI

Seeing Max McCaffrey back on the practice squad filled my troubled heart with joy. Any chance he'll get to play this season?

It was great to see McCaffrey find his way back to Green Bay. He had a terrific camp here. He might not have the hype of his younger brother, but McCaffrey is smart, savvy and a terrific route-runner. I believe he can play in this league.

Al from Waupaca, WI

There are those that handle their emotions well and those that don't. In trying times like these, there are plenty of frustrations. Some people lash out, others hold it in, but there are few that can process it and accept it as just a game. We invest a lot of ourselves in the Packers, the pain manifests itself in many different ways. I know the season isn't over, but the stretch that was supposed to be easier (with Aaron, known quantity) just became the difficult part (with Brett, unknown quantity).

That’s a fair assessment. I just challenge everyone to stay level-headed. I know that’s not easy, but never assume to know how a season is going to unfold. Something is always bound to surprise you.

Muaaz from Chantilly, VA

I was disappointed with the team's performance on Sunday as all Packers fans were. However, I found several positives. For example, Aaron Jones' 131 yards and the takeaways. Despite Hundley's performance I still think that we have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, and if Rodgers comes back, making the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers in his first start threw for 181 and one TD, no picks. He developed a lot his first season and despite them finishing 6-10 they could have easily finished 10-6. I think that Hundley will get really good in the weeks to come. He can play as everyone knows by his performances at UCLA. He has been in the program for so long so I think that we can go far. Does this make sense? Do you agree? Why?

I’ve seen Brett Hundley in practice. I’ve seen Brett Hundley in preseason games. I believe in Brett Hundley’s talent. It’s there. All of the positive things he’s done over the past three years weren’t an accident. He’s going to be fine.

Wayne from Lakeside, CA

Is Hundley being “held back” from performing as himself and being pushed into an "Aaron Rodgers" clone?

No.

Mark from Vincennes, IN

Could you please explain the difference between PUP and IR?

PUP is a reserve list for players who sustained injuries prior to the current season. IR is for individuals who sustain an injury after training camp begins.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

While the release of Don Barclay is not entirely a surprise, why was the timing right for the move? There was no urgency to remove him from IR. Did the Packers feel his skills were diminished because of his injury history? Did they realize he would not be one of the two they would return from IR and wanted to give him a chance to play elsewhere this year in hope of securing a contract for next year? Was it simply a salary-cap move to take some money off the books? At what point could they re-sign him if wanted/needed?

There is no availability this week and I don’t want to speculate on anything, but these things happen. Teams can release a player on IR once he can pass a physical. If Barclay wasn’t going to be designated to return, this gives him a chance to catch on with another team. Barclay had a great run in Green Bay. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the job he did over the years. 

Tyler from Davenport, IA

We need Aaron Rodgers to come back so we can be in the playoffs.

OK.

Peder from Rockford, MI

Insiders, there has been plenty of discussion regarding Packer injuries and now it seems the entire league is being ravaged. Has there been any study of turf versus grass, injury types and rates?

I don’t know about studies, but players seem to want to play on grass…unless it’s Soldier Field, of course.

Will from Kenosha, WI

Rodgers is known for catching defenses with 12 men on the field. How many times has Rodgers caught the defense with 10 men on the field?

That’s difficult to say because it’s not recorded on a stat sheet like too many men on the field or in the huddle. I’m sure it’s happened on quite a few occasions, though.

Jordan from Oxford, OH

Everyone is talking about the defense right now as we need them now more than ever to step up. I actually feel like I've seen some improvement, especially compared to last year. The most concerning part to me is the third-down defense. The Packers rank in the bottom eight or so in third-down defense and that doesn't include their fourth-down D, which is worst in the league. What adjustments do you think the Packers need to make to start to swing those numbers more in their favor and get the ball back to the offense?

Third down is the money down. Pressure and tackling are critical, especially in Dom Capers’ defense. A nice blend is needed to get the defense where it needs to be, which is why Mike McCarthy is constantly stressing fundamentals.

Lance from Saskatoon, Canada

With the schedule rotation and the Packers scheduled to play at the L.A. Rams in 2018, and at the L.A. Chargers in 2019, both games in a temporary stadium, it would seem there would be an opportunity for one of these games to take place in London. Would you agree? Which game would it likely be? The 2019 game would tie in nicely with the 100-year anniversary celebration, but both matches offer the NFL the opportunity to showcase a storied franchise, the best player in the league, and a franchise representing a large U.S. market (and an ascending team in the case of the Rams).

Spoff has mentioned this as a possibility before. I don’t have any inside info here, but I definitely think it’s going to happen in the next season or two.

Carlos from Pasco, WI

If Ty is back healthy, I feel like he should get some KR/PR snaps. Your opinion?

That’s up to McCarthy and Ron Zook. Montgomery is a great special-teams player. Don’t forget he also had a nice blocked punt early last year. He’s also an explosive kickoff returner. The guy makes plays, especially when he’s in open space.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

Considering how quickly the offense was giving the ball back to New Orleans, I actually thought the defense put up a good performance in the first half. By the second half, they were gassed and they hardly received any relief. I guess what I'm saying is we didn’t lose this game because of our defense. It was lost due to lack of productivity on offense. Something was off on offense and it impacted everything else. It will improve. It has to, but it takes time to get better. It may not improve quick enough to make the playoffs, but gee golly it's still only October. Please say that's right, because if the season is over now I don’t think my wife will let me have my football time on Sundays.

It’s not over, Nathan.

Brian from Springfield, IL

In my observations, the Packers need to change one statistic to start having more success. It's time of possession. Defenses are always better the less they are on the field. Look at the Broncos losses this year. They have one of the best defenses, but they are constantly on the field. The Saints last week just had too many opportunities on offense. The defense is not as bad as the doomsayers think.

Time of possession isn’t the only thing, but it is a thing. The Packers were dominating in that area early this year with Rodgers. It’s one of several points of emphasis McCarthy has going into every game because it often dictates who is controlling the tempo.

Richard from Yankton, SD

Wes, it's a bye week and winter is climbing on us. Vic almost died putting gas in his car. What's your top cold Green Bay story?

I stupidly ran my car on an empty gas tank in zero-degree weather the day Packers social media manager Ryan Hartwig got married. I tried to go fill up quick after the grand march. I made it to the gas station down the street, but then the car wouldn’t start after I filled up. The gas line froze. I spent the rest of the evening freezing my tail off and waiting for AAA to arrive. I deserved that one.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

"You never stop chasing greatness. Ever." Unless... you're playing Madden and something happens that you don't like. Then you rage-quit and restart your quest for greatness. Sound about right?

Pretty much.

Regina from Vail, CO

I saw a question from Margo in Indiana and was so hopeful you'd answer it with "I don't know, Margo!" Do Mike and Wes have any proclivity towards comedy movies? What are your faves? We need a little more levity in the column. There's a lotta doomsday out there right now.

My favorite comedy moves are – in no particular order – “The Big Lebowski,” “Caddyshack,” “Lost in Translation,” “Royal Tenenbaums,” and of course, “Dodgeball.”

Mary from New Richmond, WI

Since we are in the bye week, can you publish some of the pure nonsense and your response? We all need a smile (maybe even change the names to protect the innocent)!

Let’s put a pin in this one and circle back this offseason.

Jason from Hartford, WI

I believe Callahan would bring a spark to the Packers’ offense. Hundley is NOT a leader. Hundley out...Callahan in?

Or not.

Haillie from Washington, WI

Do you think a defense has to be dirty to be good? When I think of good defenses they always seem to be playing on the edge but knowing how to get away with it. Maybe we are too nice?

A defense does not have to be dirty to be good. Just look at Minnesota.


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