Are you ready? Here we go. senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. Here we go again, eh? Thanks for logging on. Let's get started.

Comment From Tony C

Hey Spoff. Happy New Year. I've concluded that trying to predict where any team will be at season end is a fools errand, what with injuries and whatnot. So, it's one game at a time. Preparations are underway here in Connecticut for a big, game day feast. Steak orders are being taken, grocery list put together, the Big Green Egg prepped for battle. Jersey selection is a game time / 4:20 EDT decision. Giddy with anticipation. Beat Seattle ... beat them silly ...

Any kind of win will do. They call count the same.

Comment From Tom

When will we konow if Ringo cleared waivers?

Later this afternoon, I believe.

Comment From Jeff P.

Mike, happy to be able to participate in the chat this week. What was your biggest takeaway from this years camp?

I really think the Packers' defense will look different in '17. And with the additions of young guys like King and Jones, it could look different in December compared to what we see this week. I'm really curious to see how this defense evolves.

Comment From Lori

What phase of the game will present the Packers with the greatest challenge in the Seattle game?

Making big plays against Seattle's defense is tough. The Packers hit a long TD pass early in last year's game, and it was a huge play. Those don't happen often against the Seahawks. Will be tough to repeat, as will the five INTs of Wilson.

Comment From Jerry

Who's the #2 RB for this 1st game?

I think it'll be Williams. He's the most polished in pass protection amongst the rookie draft picks at RB.

Comment From Nathan

Welcome to a new season, Mike! The Seahawks team we saw late last year had some real strengths as well as some serious weaknesses. What have they done over the offseason to address those?

They wanted to fix their offensive line but then lost their LT to an injury early. That unit will still be a work in progress for Seattle, and they'll rely on their defense, like they always have.

Comment From Daniel

Which is the better addition, Quinton Dial or Ahmad Brooks?

Brooks will help the pass rush, and that's where the Packers needed the most help. Dial is a big guy and a good run-stopper, but this defense needs to get after quarterbacks, and it can't rely on just Matthews, Perry and Daniels to do the job.

Comment From Jimmy

Why did it take the Packers so long to "officially" sign Brooks?

They were waiting until the initial 53 was set so they could place Barclay on IR with the Brooks signing the next day, making Barclay eligible to return later this year.

Comment From Katie

Can the Packers defense stop Eddie Lacy this week?

We'll find out. Lacy could get a lot of work if Rawls isn't back from that ankle injury.

Comment From KD

The resurrection of this chat truly symbolizes the start of the season. The conversation is beginning to change and the feeling of excitement is real. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing all the new additions play and to see some of the usuals back and playing fully healthy.

There's always a ton of anticipation for Week 1, but it should be tempered with the realization that it's just one game, either way. The Packers lost to Seattle by 20 points in the opener 3 years ago and then came within a whisker of the Super Bowl. It's a long season.

Comment From Cameron

Do you think King starts on Sunday? I have no doubt that he will play some.

I expect him to play a lot, whether he's on the field for the first play or not.

Comment From Felipe

Besides from Rodgers, who do you predict being the star player this week for us to beat Seatlte?

Maybe Clinton-Dix. He was one of the only guys who didn't get a pick in last year's game.

Comment From Nicolás

How much of an impact did the absence of Earl Thomas have on the final outcome of last years game against the Seahawks? Are we going to see a more balanced offense this game/season?

Thomas' absence was big for the Seahawks down the stretch last season. It's not the same defense without him. He's the biggest factor, in my opinion, in the Seahawks not giving up many big plays deep downfield.

Comment From KD

What do you think of the whole Ezekiel Elliot situation? It seems strange that the suspension is reportedly being upheld, but he will be allowed to play week one.

That's the legal system for you. I'm just going to see what the end result is, not try to follow all the twists and turns along the way.

Comment From Don H

Does this game determine who hosts the NFC Conference Championship game ???

It might. I did in '14. But Atlanta, Dallas, and several others will have something to say about it, too.

Comment From Katie

Will Ahmad Brooks be playing this week?

I think he will, in a specific pass-rushing role.

Comment From Tom

Is Bulaga going to play this Sunday?

We don't know yet. Practice today is later, and tomorrow's practice is in pads. We'll see how he's listed on the injury report as far as his participation.

Comment From Nick

TT has really gone out and gotten waived players this year. Did you see this coming and do you think it will be like this in years to come?

I'm not going to predict the future, but he definitely decided, both during the offseason and after camp, that it was important to replace vets with vets. Evans for Lang, Bennett for Cook, Brooks for Peppers, Dial and Jean Francois for Guion, etc.

Comment From PaleoPacker

How do you think we'll attack the Seahawks defense this week? Lots of RB wheel routes and TEs up the seam?

Bennett is the new X factor in the Packers' offense, along with Kendricks and the usage of two-TE sets. We'll have to see how that evolves.

Comment From Chad

Which Packers receiver will end up with the most yards this season?

Taking nothing away from Adams or Cobb, but I still think it will be Nelson. His chemistry with Rodgers is unreal.

Comment From Zach

I'm the most excited about Mays at running back. He's the fastest and the heaviest that's a fantastic combination, what made him last until the 7th round?

His well-traveled college career (two JUCOs, then Utah State) and injuries as a senior.

Comment From Reese

I look forward to seeing the effect of Michael Bennett (and Kendricks)on the offense. Should help out the receivers out a lot. His blocking will be significant for Montgomery also.

Rodgers will get to make decisions on the fly with the two TEs. If the defensive personnel is to defend the pass, you bring them in tight and run the ball against a lighter unit. If they play run, you can split the TEs out and look for a matchup on the outside. It's going to be a chess match all season.

Comment From Troy

Is there a time table for Vince Biegel to return?

Now that he's on PUP to start the regular season, he's out at least the first six weeks before he can return to practice.

Comment From Nathan

If Packers-Seahawks is such a big rivalry, why has the NFL scheduled it in September 4 of the last 5 years?

The league always schedules big games in the first two weeks to get everybody's attention. They scheduled the NFC title game rematch for Week 2, just like in '15.

Comment From Cheesestradamus

Who has been the biggest surprise for you this year on defense? Who has been the biggest disappointment?

There hasn't been a game played yet, dude.

Comment From Reese

Do you see the use of the third safety in nitro package as being significant in keeping Wilson from long scrambles?

It could be an effective way to spy the QB. It could also be an effective way to cover Graham.

Comment From Max

I've heard some soap opera talking heads say that Ted Thompson didn't do enough to address defense in the offseason. I don't know what more they would want from him. This defense is radically different from last year's.

I wouldn't say radically different, but the personnel changes are obvious. Brooks was the biggest move since camp started, because of the situation with Biegel.

Comment From Smacks

Spoff, Everyone has been clamoring for Ted Thompson to make moves over the years. He has been conservative and stubborn about keeping his guys and only dipping a toe in free agency. I can't believe this is the same guy, he has jumped in full force this year. It's almost like Ron Wolf is back in office based on the types of moves being made. In your mind, what is the greatest factor causing Ted to spread his wings so to speak?

Just the sheer number of quality veterans the Packers lost in one offseason, and the fact that due to some injuries and performance issues, the youth on the team was not going to be able to pick up all the slack. That said, King and Jones, and eventually Adams and Biegel, I think will be factors this year.

Comment From Dean

Packers upgraded a lot of areas this offseason. All around pretty solid team. The only area I'm still concerned about is depth beyond the starter on the OL. Did you see enough from the backups in the preseason to think we're OK if injury's happen on OL on Sunday?

As I've said in Insider Inbox, the Packers have always done well with single substitutions when needed on the O-line, through a combination of coaching, player development, and scheme. If your top guys start going down en masse, then it's a different story, but that would be the case for any team.

Comment From Mike

I know it's just the first game and doesn't make a season, but at the same time how big is this to get a W?

It would be big considering the Packers have to open a new stadium on the road in Week 2, just like last year. Those are tough games to win. Really tough.

Comment From Ray N

If you would please, finish the following sentence: "The most surprising thing about the Green Bay Packers this year will be ...."

If it's going to be a surprise, how could I predict it now?

Comment From Lee

I went and watched Chris Odom's video from youtube and I have hard time believing that he is an undrafted rookie. He is big, fast and strong. Is it because he is from a small college?

Mostly, I think, yes. The Packers wanted to sign him right after the draft, but he chose Atlanta. Now Green Bay gets its chance with him.

Comment From Hans

I respect the Bears, I don't like the Vikings .... I loathe the Seahawks with every fiber of my being ...

You're not alone amongst the fan base, that's for sure.

Comment From Chris from Cincy

I'm excited to see Josh Jones on the field, can we expect to see him on the kick/punt coverage teams as well as on defense?

I think so.

Comment From Jimmy

What's your favorite part of the beginning of the season? I'm very interested what your take is compared to all of us ravenous fans foaming at the mouth for football.

It's just fun to sit in the press box, finally, for a game that counts. The atmosphere for the start of the season in the stadium is unmatched.

Comment From Scott

Do they trust Davis on punt returns to start him or will they go with Cobb/someone else?

I think Davis is going to get the first crack. We'll see based on field position, game situation, etc., if they turn to Cobb at some point.

Comment From Dan

The Packers win if...

C'mon, I can't give away Final Thoughts now. But I think stopping the run, whether it's Lacy or Rawls or a combination, will be big.

Comment From KD

Randall, Rollins, and King were all very high draft picks at the same position. Can you explain the differences in the way each of them plays? They each seem like they have totally different body types and styles of play.

King is a classic boundary corner with his height and length. Randall and Rollins are similar in that they can both play outside or in the slot, but I think inside is the better fit. Randall is the faster of the two, and both appeared to be much more sound tacklers this summer. I'm sure health had plenty to do with it.

Comment From Scott

Dont know much about dial, but certainly saw a lot of Ringo. Based on what you see, is he a significant step up?

More of a run-stopper, whereas Ringo was more of a pass-rusher. I think the Packers felt they needed more beef up front against the run.

Comment From Josh

It is annoying how good Earl Thomas is. He is just... wow.

He's a star, no doubt. Dynamic player.

Comment From Jason

With Hurricane Irma bearing down, any idea what went into the NFL's decision to move the Fins-Bucs game to their bye week instead of a neutral site this week? I've heard a lot of talk about how the Bucs, our old NFC Central buddies, could contend for the NFC South title this year. Now, instead of coming off a week of rest on Week 11, they will have played 10 consecutive games and head into a pretty tough stretch, including 2 games with division rival and NFC champ Atlanta, and a trip to Lambeau.

That's a tough break for two teams to end up with a Week 1 bye, and now they have to play 16 straight. Assuming they each have a Thursday night game somewhere along the line, that weekend of rest will be all they really get.

Comment From Dan

What do you think Vic is doing right now? Will he be able to handle his first season opener away from the press box?

It will be his second, and I'm sure he'll be fine, and he'll finish his bologna sandwich right before kickoff.

Comment From Jeff P.

Will there be a pregame chat this year? Or just the Mid-week?

I'm going to move the halftime chat from here to my Twitter account and give that a try this year. We'll see how it goes. Hope you can join me.

Comment From Matt

The 4th preseason game had an interesting series where Josh Jones rushed from roughly the Matthews/Perry spot on a whole bunch of plays. I think this defense has a lot of surprises in store.

Like I said, there will be an evolution with the young guys who will be contributing.

Comment From Steve

In your opinion, what is the most significant rule change this year ??

I think the emphasis on the low hits to QBs will play a big role, because I still don't really understand how the officials are supposed to call those.

Comment From Lori

Will Jeff Janis be returning kickoffs?

I think so, yes.

Comment From Tyler

Big contract year for Adams... I have a feeling he will get 1,000 yards and we will have to pay top dollar to keep him.

That would be a good problem to have.

Comment From Chris

Is it possible to steal audibles with an iWatch ???

Good one.

Comment From Cletus

What did you think of ESPN's recent profile of Rodgers?

It was great to see him open up. His personality has always intrigued me. But as I said last week on our site, I don't blame him for not opening up all the time. He picks his spots, and that's understandable.

Comment From Scott

Brat or Dog in the press box?

Neither, frankly (pun intended). If it's not cooked on an outdoor grill, I'm really not interested.

Comment From Jack

I saw that Adams was practicing. What is his timetable?

Dunno. He missed a lot of time and I expect they'll bring him back slowly. He hasn't practiced once in pads.

Comment From KevinND

Who do you see being the Packers' shutdown corner?

No disrespect to House, King and Randall, but the pass rush as a unit will be more important than one guy stepping forward as a "shutdown" guy, IMO. There are only so many Deion Sanders who come along.

Comment From Josh P.

I am ready for kick off.

Four days, 3 1/2 hours or so to go ...

Comment From Frederick

More importantly, what is your press box beverage of choice?

Water, because what I'd like to have is not allowed, for good reason.

Comment From Sean_C

With keeping all 3 rookie RBs, do u see RIP getting less touches, even at the goal line?

Not necessarily. I think they'll have packages that utilize him in the run game.

Comment From Katie

Do you think Rodgers will be the highest paid qb once he gets a new contract?

Yes, but the ranking won't last long. That's how it works in this league.

Comment From Reggie W

Did the "one cut" process of getting to 53 from 90 improve decision making ?? Can argue it gave more time for evaluation but seemed awfully compressed to me ...

McCarthy's words on Monday suggested it made them more sure of a lot of their choices. It was a lot of activity over the weekend, though. The league will probably turn cut-down day into some big huge TV event soon.

Comment From Matt

If Daniels and Clark can push the pocket like we all think they can, the sacks will come, no matter who the OLBs are.

It's a team game, indeed, but if you give me a choice between inside pressure and edge pressure, I'll take it off the edge first.

Comment From Christopher

Shorter version: this nonsense regarding Zeke Elliott has the appearance of a puppet show to juke up ratings, and it feels like the strings are on me.

I don't know about that, but the disciplinary process will be one of the biggest issues in the next CBA.

Comment From Lerxst

Who are the TV commentators this week?

I'm assuming Buck and Aikman as the late game on FOX.

Comment From Snake Plissken

What time does the injury report come out?

The first one will be out after practice today. The key one is Friday when the game status of each player is given.

Comment From MattW

Will you watch Chiefs v. Patriots tonight?

No. It's tomorrow night, isn't it?

Comment From John

I don't like watching a player like Eddie Lacy playing for another team after years of cheering him on.

That's a tough one for fans, I realize. I hope the fans at Lambeau treat Lacy respectfully. It's a business, after all. He did a lot of good things for this team.

Comment From Jay

Do you think the Packers OL, especially in the middle, looked a bit vulnerable in preseason?

Not the starters. The trio of Evans, Linsley and Taylor should be just fine.

Comment From Reese

How is Russell Wilson's mobility ?? He was banged up last year. Essential to keep him inside the numbers, yes ??

His game is completely different when he's healthy vs. not. Playing him early like this he'll be healthy and plenty mobile.

Comment From Nathan

At least we don't have to deal with Jay Cutler as a commentator this year...

I don't listen to the commentators during Packers games anyway, but I was actually looking forward to hearing him on a game this fall. More power to him, though. He's got another shot.

Comment From Ben

Are there going to be rallies for the away games this year?

I believe we're having three, at Dallas, Pittsburgh and Carolina. There should be an official announcement soon.

Comment From Sam

How do you think the O-Line will perform against the Seahawks pass rush especially with the new addition of Sheldon Richardson?

That Seattle front was already pretty darn good, and adding Richardson makes it even better. That whole defense still looks really good to me. I don't see any dropoff.

Comment From Justin

Who do you expect to cover Jimmy Graham? TE's have been killing us in recent years and he looks healthy finally.

I think Burnett will be a key guy there, but I don't know if the Packers will have one guy cover him the whole game. They used Matthews on him a bunch last season.

Comment From Scott

I think we worry about Lacy, because we worry he will be a factor....and then the 2nd guessers can come out

Nature of the beast. OK, folks, the hour is almost up. I'll take a few more.

Comment From Christopher

If the first line of action is the criminal courts and the last line is the individual team owner, take Goodell out of it, then the buck stops with owner and the franchise and therefore the court of public opinion ie the fanbase. Simpler, more transparent and more accountable. Boom, problem solved.

I don't think it's that simple. The legal system can drag things out for a long, long time, and it was pretty ridiculous that Brady served his suspension so long after the actual incident. Not apples to apples, but that would become the norm if you wait for the criminal court resolution every time.

Comment From Brian

Do you foresee seeing Matthews at ILB occasionally with Brooks and Perry on the edge?

On third downs with all rushing the QB, sure, or maybe Matthews drops to cover Graham, like in the '15 game. Sorry if I said last year before, meant '15 Graham vs. Clay. Comment From Bret

Is Aaron Rodgers' plumbing skills legit?

I have no idea, but I liked the photo.

Comment From Nic

Why isn't there a comments section for the chat?

There will be for the transcript, which will be posted shortly. Gotta go folks. Thanks for all the questions and participation. Enjoy the game, and see you next week. Take care, Mike

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