Can the offense do it again this week?

Senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat

Hi everybody. I apologize in advance because I'll only be able to chat about half as long as normal. Coach McCarthy just re-scheduled today's press conference for 12:15, so I'll have to knock off just after noon. But I'll get to as many of your questions as I can until then. Let's go.

Comment From KK 

Mike, Which game do you think was a more devastating loss for its fans: GB vs. Seattle last year, or Minnesota, or Cincinnati last weekend?

Losing the way the Packers did with the NFC title on the line is the roughest one, in my view. I know the Bengals have the long playoff history without a win and that Vikings kick seemed like a cinch, but in the wild-card round, that makes them very different.

Comment From Bongo 

The Packers D got to Cousins with predominately a 4 man rush. Is it fair to say that the front 4 will have to "get home" and not rely on the blitz as much the rest of the way to be successful?

There's nothing better defensively than a four-man rush that can generate consistent pressure. It improves pass coverage considerably and puts the defense at less risk.

Comment From Jon from South Saint Paul 

Hi Mike - this is fun! It looks like they made those couple plays in the passing game to keep momentum going. Can they do it again this week against AZ? Thanks for doing the chat.

The passing game got rolling, and the momentum is important. Arizona's defense is top 5 in the league, though. Washington was 28. This will be a whole different challenge, but going in with confidence is better than the alternative.

Comment From Tom 

Nice job on wymm, liked what I saw with Tretter.

Thanks. I liked what I saw, too, though I also saw a Redskins pass rusher (Preston Smith) who didn't do much except try to bull rush and stiff-arm him. If Tretter is back at LT this week, he'll be facing a much different rusher in Freeney, with that spin move and others.

Comment From susie 

Rumor has it Adams can't play, if not what will they do? Williams off the PS, they are really slim for WRs.

There has been no update on Adams from McCarthy, but I saw what was reported elsewhere. If he can't go, I would expect to see more of Abby and JJ. Not sure if you work a brand new receiver into the mix at this point.

Comment From Alen 

Mike, what's the most important part to win the game at Arizona?

Win the turnover battle. I think by at least plus-2.

Comment From Jesse 

Mike, Do you think our O-live will produce better results with Bakhtiari in the game?

I don't think the O-line play can be any worse than it was in Week 16. The Packers have to protect Rodgers, and with Bakhtiari or Tretter, and assuming Bulaga can play the whole game as he has the past two weeks, they will do a better job.

Comment From Colton 

What do you think of putting Cobb in the backfield?

I'll be honest, I get nervous seeing some of the hits he takes. But he sure is shifty and seems to find yards that aren't there. It's impressive what he's done back there.

Comment From Erik 

Will Sam Shields play against arizona?

Don't know yet, but it would help if he's back, for sure.

Comment From Jake 

What did you think of Abby's performance against the redskins?

Hopefully it warmed him up for this week. He bounced back from the early drop and helped out, and he needed to do that.

Comment From Pip 

How does the bitterly cold weather in Green Bay this week affect practice? Any special precautions taken? How does it affect you and Vic?

The Packers can practice indoors whenever they want. As for me and Vic, I think it affects him more than me. I've lived in this my whole life. That said, I'm looking forward to high 60s in Arizona on Friday and Saturday.

Comment From Melissa  

Mike , did you see a different energy level from the team this week than when they played Minnesota?

I saw more energy from the offense because they were being successful. The defense played with the same verve it has for a while now.

Comment From Josh  

Do you think we will see more of Joe Thomas this week instead of Ryan. Arizona really exposed Ryan in coverage last time.

That's an interesting question. The RB matchup on Ryan was a tough one for GB last time, but Thomas is so much smaller and makes the D more vulnerable to the run. Could be a chess match type of thing worth watching.

Comment From Robert  

Mike if the Packers end up beating the Cardinals Saturday night would you start thinking its 2010 all over again?

Of course. I've said I think the Cardinals have been the best team in the league this season. That doesn't matter now, because it's one game, but if the Packers win on Sat. night, there's no reason they can't win it all.

Comment From Fkytwn  

Mike, Having played Arizona recently i feel prepared us for Saturday. If we can pull out the do you feel about Seattle beating Carolina for an NFC showdown in Lambeau?

I would take that. But there's no reason to talk anything but Arizona right now. I do think the Packers having played out there recently is a good thing.

Comment From Linda P  

Mike, what an amazing turn of events on Sunday. The beginning safety and subsequent poor play by the offense made me think "more of the same." But then..what was it that flipped the switch?

Sometimes it takes one play, and the deep ball down the middle to JJ seemed to be that play. From there, the O-line settled in, Rodgers seemed to get a good read on how the Redskins were playing their coverages, and then the running game took over in the second half. As I said before, this will be a different defense they're facing now, though.

Comment From Lawrence  

Spoff, Clay Matthews is really letting loose. Arizona must be taking precautions against him.

Matthews commented a couple of weeks ago that he was finally over the ankle/foot injury from the Denver game. I think that's showing. He's really flying around out there.

Comment From Jeremy  

Mike, tell us what you think the Packers have going for them in the rematch in the desert. Why the Packers will win....

The offense found some rhythm and confidence, and the defense is playing very well, and was very close to a massive turnover game on Sunday. Get the hands on the ball more and GB can win.

Comment From Ben
How significant will AZ's unscouted looks be?

They'll have some wrinkles, but nothing as extreme as the read option the 49ers broke out 3 years ago in this round. They're the No. 1 offense in the league. You don't make huge changes when you're the best.

Comment From Matt  

Much has been said about the deep ball down the middle to JJ being "the play" that flipped the offense's switch. But what about Adams' nice snag on the boundary to sustain the drive he would later end with a TD grab?

I thought that was a huge play for Adams, because he beat the one-on-one coverage on the outside when the single safety was cheated way over the other way. Aaron saw it, gave him a chance, and he made the play to set up the TD. That's what makes his current injury rather disheartening.

Comment From Danimal
The results of the free-play are obvious, but what are the hidden benefits of this? IE Is the defense more hesitant at the snap? Are opposing coaches less inclined to substitute?

Yes and yes.

Comment From Matt  

Do you like how McCarthy said we are no ones underdog? I loved it!

I've covered Mike McCarthy his entire head coaching stint here, and he has never gone into a game not believing his team would win.

Comment From Chris  

Mike, How about Mike Daniels? It seems like every play he is being disruptive and bringing an edge to the defense. Not bad for a guy who just got paid. I think those 4 up front are a key piece for this team right now.

No doubt. Coach McCarthy said the O-line and the D-line were the game ball winners from Washington. Daniels has played really, really well, and he's been on the injury report (groin). Hopefully he's getting healthier and not going the other way.

Comment From Augusto  

Mike, who It´s going to be the player to watch against AZ?

I haven't decided yet. I had a hunch in last week's chat Quinten Rollins was going to do something big, and then he got hurt, so I'll stay away from that for now. Sorry, Q.

Comment From Harvey  

Do you think the Seahawks have a chance, seeing how they barely escaped Minnesota?

You're going to write the Seahawks off? Yes, they got lucky, but everybody at this stage is right in the hunt.

Comment From Robert  

Mike, In the ten years of watching Coach McCarthy no body seems to do a better job of adjusting after halftime or after a loss. I can't help but think this team has a boat load of confidence regardless of what happened in Arizona a few weeks ago. No doubt having Aaron, Eddie, Cobbie, Clay, Julius, etc. certainly doesn't hurt. Your thoughts?

This team will be confident, as well as very aware of the challenge they face.

Comment From Emmanuel  

How many Packers fans do you expect in the stadium in this game?

Not nearly as many as last time. That was the largest GB contingent at a road game I've ever seen. Hopefully the fewer who will be there this time will have more to cheer about.

Comment From Ben in Illinois  

Mike, the key to the Redskins game seemed to be the up-tempo offense. But this morning Vic thought it made sense against Arizona to slow things down. Your view?

I think it's an interesting question. The Packers like to play with that tempo, but it had better work, or you're asking a really tall task of your defense against the best offense in the league. I'm not sure which way the Packers will go. I expect them to go up tempo, because it will show they're not afraid of anything, but it had better work.

Comment From Chris  

Rollins had a big stop on 3rd down. You weren't' far off. He has good instincts. I hope he can play on Saturday.

Yeah, that was a heck of a play. I hope it wasn't his last of this season.

Comment From Harvey  

Why not as many as last time? It's a playoff game!

Don't you think AZ fans realize that, too?

Comment From trucker kenny  

What is the best way to slow down cards speed burners on offense?

Don't miss tackles, and get to the QB. OK, folks, I'm about out of time. As I said, sorry to cut it short. A couple more.

Comment From Felipe from Brazil  

If we start as slow as we did against the 'Skins, do you think we can turn the game over against the Cardinals too?

Three punts and a safety in the first four possessions would not be a good idea again. Some key plays by the defense, and a little luck, kept that game only 11-0.

Comment From Ahbi  

Mike, Is third down conversion an issue even though offense has rebounded?

Yeah, it is. It's still a sore spot for the Packers. That percentage needs to go up this weekend.

Comment From Joel in Montreal  

Love the chat. Thanks for doing it

You're welcome, and sorry I have to run. Coach will be live-streamed on the site at 12:15. Thanks everybody, and enjoy the game on Saturday. Best, Mike

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