How big is Sunday's game? Read Mike's chat transcript senior writer Mike Spofford reviewed the Bears game and looked ahead to the Seahawks matchup in his weekly chat.


Hi everybody. Thanks for logging in today. I'm sure you've got plenty of questions, so I'll do my best. Fire when ready.

Comment From D. Hutson

Hey Spoff. Happy New Year. I get that it's Week One, but in your opinion did we learn anything about our division rivals? It hasn't gotten a lot of coverage but the story of the week was Detroit giving up 31 straight points to lose after leading 21 – 3. And Peterson was contained last night. Any comments ??

It's Week 1, the most unpredictable week of the NFL season. I don't draw any conclusions on anybody

Comment From Quentin

Did you do anything fun while you were in Chicago?

Visited a couple of old friends. Chicago is one of my favorite towns. Not one of my favorite stadiums, however.

Comment From Pam

Why is tackling such a problem perennially for packers

I think it's not just the Packers, Pam. There are tackling issues all over the league. It's a tough thing to practice given all the restrictions and desire to protect players' bodies for the long haul. Some teams tackle better, no doubt, but I think it just comes down to being more fundamentally sound coming out of college.

Comment From Brandon

You've been missed, Mike! How does it feel to be back?

Did I go somewhere I wasn't aware of, Brandon?

Comment From Guest

Mike, when should we expect to hear news on the roster move to make room for the return of Jones?

I'm guessing later today or tomorrow morning before practice, but I'm not sure if they have any roster exemption time for someone coming back from a suspension. I'll have to check on that.

Mike, any word on Sam Barrington's injury following the Bears game? Thanks

He was seen by reporters in the locker room yesterday on crutches with his foot in a boot, David, so that doesn't look good. I would expect Nate Palmer and Jake Ryan to get a lot of practice reps this week.

Comment From Mike D

Please tell me we have been working on stopping the read option. If I am Pete C I am going to make GB prove they finally figured it out....which I dont know if we have.

The Packers always work on specific things from their early-season opponents throughout training camp, so you can bet the read option was on the list, Mike. They've worked on it. The bigger issue is the tackling.

Comment From Mark

What is your thoughts on the special teams improvements? Will the trend continue or is Chicago that lacking on depth that they made the team look better?

The running lanes for Montgomery on those two kickoff returns were huge, Mark. I remember seeing reports that the Bears special teams were going to be an adventure all year, so we'll see what that means for GB.

Comment From Josh S.

Hi Mike, if Chancellor is out, how much of a difference does it make to the Packers gameplan on Sunday?

I would think they'd attack there if they feel the replacement player is a weakness, just like they would if a starter were injured, Josh. The Seahawks will make adjustments, too, though, after their loss to the Rams.

Comment From Sezer

Hi Mike should we worry about Tyler Lockett? because he looks like a good kick returner

He does look good. Masthay will need to be on his game, hitting them high and toward the sidelines. That's the best defense against explosive returners like Lockett.

Comment From Heather

Best takeaway from Game 1 that wasn't named James Jones or Clay Matthews?

A 16-play, 9 1/2 minute drive with a one-point lead in the second half. I thought it was masterful, Heather.

Comment From Buster

Was something wrong with Shields he didn't seem 100%

I don't think anything was wrong, Buster, but Shields did not have his best game, no doubt. If I know Shields, he'll bounce back. He's quiet and won't say much, but he knows he should play better.

Comment From Martin

Aright, i'll take that bait. Which stadium is your favorite in the NFL?

Outside of Lambeau, there are a lot that give great views of the game, Martin. Nashville and Pittsburgh immediately come to mind. Atlanta, too, as far as the view, but I don't like the noisy dome.

Comment From BrettGB

Mike, how do you think Nate Palmer did in place of Barrington on Sunday?

I thought he did all right for a guy playing with a splint on his hand, Brett, but he did get stuck on a few blocks too long. For a guy getting his first real NFL action on defense, and with an equipment hindrance, it was a commendable job.

Comment From Keith

Does WYMM start tomorrow?

Today, Keith. Look for the first one later this afternoon.

Comment From Guest

Any insight into Seattle and Kam Chancellor? From colleagues or journalists there who cover the team? Things would be easier for us if he didn't play.

So far there's no word anything's changing. Schneider is in a tough spot, but I don't blame him for not budging. If as a GM you start re-doing deals with three years left on him, the line at your door would stretch to the ocean.

Comment From SC Robert

Did we lose both ILB's not named Matthews in this game? I swear I heard Jake Ryan's name on the telecast but did not see him on the field. If he was indeed out there, how did he perform?

Ryan only played on special teams, to my knowledge, Robert. Made a couple of good blocks on Ty's returns, too. He came into the defensive huddle once when Palmer was slow to get up, but because it was the last 2 minutes of the half, the Packers were forced to use a timeout for the injury. Because of the timeout, Palmer didn't have to come out of the game and stayed in, so Ryan went back to the sideline.

Comment From Patrick

Is the food in the Chicago press box as bad as Vic told us earlier today?


Comment From Guest

Which team in the NFC North do you expect to have the biggest bounce back after week 1?

I think the obvious answer is Minnesota. I know their defense is their strength, but that offense should score more than 3 points.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, Glad that the chat is back. I hope Chancellor holds out another week. Seattle seems to miss him. We need Datone Jones and Letroy Guion back too. Who was the most surprising team from week one. Both good and bad??

I'm not shocked the Bills beat the Colts, Linda, but being up 24-0 on them was a surprise to me. I thought Dallas would have handled the Giants at home, too, but the Giants should have won it. Gave it away.

Comment From Samvard in Oxnard

I know it was only the first game, but Sam Shields looked bad more often than he looked good, particularly on the offsides penalty on the field goal that gave the Bears new life...and a touchdown. Is Shields ready to be the top cornerback? With the exception of one or two plays, he didn't play like one.

It's one game, folks. Let's calm down on Shields, please.

Comment From Nick D

Watching Aaron play on Sunday, really made you appreciate (even more so) his complete game. Also, you admire thee way he toughed it out in the playoffs last year. Just a completely different threat when he can scramble and move the chains. Such an impressive performance.

I agree Nick. The scrambling was great to see. You sometimes don't realize how much you miss it until you see it again. That 16-play drive was incredible work, and a lot of it was Rodgers at the line, working the clock so the defense could rest, making checks at the line and moving the chains. Impressive, and the two longest gains on the drive were his own scrambles.

Comment From Ryan

We have the opportunity to go two games up on Seattle in the race for home field advantage this week. What do the Packers have to do to win?

Other than tackle better, I don't know about the second part of your question, Ryan. But the chance to put Seattle in an 0-2 hole is significant, in my view.

Comment From Fred in Mt. Morris

Saying "Masthay will need to be on his game" is like saying "we could punt better if we had a better punter" ...but we don't. So I expect the punting will still suck. Is there any reason to expect improvement when his "problems" date well back into last season?

Masthay has done it before and the Packers are letting him work out of it, just like they did with Crosby a while back. Where would the kicking game be right now if they'd cut Crosby like everyone wanted to a couple years ago? He's been one of the best kickers in the game the last couple years. Did anyone see the Eagles lose last night when their kicker missed a 44-yarder in a dome?

Comment From Jesse

Which Seahawk should the Packers be most concerned about this week?

There are plenty, Jesse. Lynch, Graham and Lockett are the first three on my list.

Comment From Brian (NorCal)

Mike, how much better do think the secondary is when Morgan Burnett is out there. Looked like his leadership was sorely missed in Chicago.

The last time Burnett missed a game before Sunday was last year in New Orleans, and we all saw how that went. The defense misses him when he's not out there, Brian. But he has nothing to do with guys being in position and whiffing on tackles.

Comment From Matt

Any information on when Burnett will be back in the lineup?

As usual, I just wait to see if he's back on the practice field Wed. or Thurs. That will be the biggest indicator.

Comment From Bill

What did you think about the Packers only having two TEs active against the Bears? Seems awfully dangerous; if one goes down, you're basically forced to go three or four wide on every snap. By going with only two, many plays they've used in the past have been eliminated from the play book (goal line and short yardage three TE plays).

They had two FBs active, Bill, and McCarthy uses TEs and FBs interchangeably in a lot of offensive sets.

Comment From Sezer

Seattle offensive line is not looking good.They lost Max Unger.We should use that.

The Rams' D-line is also the best in the league, Sezer.

Comment From Kevin

If we remember back to last year's NFC Championship game, the deciding factor in the game was GB's inability to score touchdowns early in the game. If they had, the Bostick fumbled on-side kick would have never been a factor. What are your thoughts on GB coming out with a two FB backfield (Kuhn, Ripkowski), along with Lacy when they get inside the 5 yard line?

There were a number of deciding factors, Kevin, but yes, the Packers need to punch it in against the Seahawks when they get close. The scheme at the goal line will be chosen based on what the coaches feel will work. It's up to the players to execute.

Comment From Ryan

There's only one noon game in the next 6 games (3 prime time, 2 3:15 games). Has MM changed the practice schedule?

The practice schedule doesn't change based on the game time. Only the day. With the Monday night game against the Chiefs, there will be some adjustments.

Comment From Ben

Mike, a lot of us have one burning question -- who was carted off the field before opening kickoff, and are they doing OK? The TV broadcast mentioned someone being carted off... and never showed who or gave us any name or even from which team.

It was at the opposite end of the field from the press box, Ben, but best I could tell it was a stadium worker of some kind, maybe security.

Comment From Tony

I'm sure the D can continue the improvement with run defense, but can the team as a whole improve their woeful penalties?

Good call, Tony. That's the other issue that was pretty ugly on Sunday, the penalties. Three defensive offsides on one drive, and back-to-back holding on an offensive drive. Not good. Penalties are going to happen, but you hate it when they come in bunches like that.

Comment From David

What were your impressions on BJ Raji's first game back since missing the entire season. Will he be back-up to Guion once he returns?

I didn't watch him specifically, David, but Raji seemed to play fine. The big runs weren't right up the gut or anything. Guion will play next to Raji when he returns. They'll be on the field together a lot, I'm sure.

Comment From Jane in Blue Falls

Mike Spofford wrote: "It's one game, folks. Let's calm down on Shields, please." you choose to avoid the question instead of answering it? That's kind of disappointing. Let me toss you a softball instead: Are the Packers in first place in their division? See, we can play nice. We just didn't know you didn't want any hard questions.

What do you want me to do? Rip Shields for one bad game? I don't avoid hard questions. I just try to provide some perspective. If you don't want perspective, you can ask for a refund.

Comment From Jeff

Do you think the Seahawks should've called a quick slant on that 4th and 1?

Funny how that turned out, eh, Jeff?

Comment From Hunter

Who would you rather see 0 - 2 to start the year, Minnesota or Detroit ?? They play each other Week 2 so that fate awaits one of them. My preference is MN; more volatile that Detroit with more upside potential.

Didn't know they were playing this week, Hunter, that's interesting. I don't know if there's a preference, but it's good for the Packers that one of them will be 0-2. That's a big early division game.

Comment From Nathan

Did you notice that instead of sitting on their lead and running the ball three straight times into a stacked box at the end of the game like they did against Seattle, that Rodgers went deep to Jones and got a PI call? Do you read anything into that (i.e. more aggressive play calling)?

It was a one-score game. That makes a difference in the approach, Nathan.

Comment From Jason (JustSomeGuy)

Would you be ok with Lynch getting lots of yards but the defense not surrendering points from them? There seem to be a lot of fans freaking out about the rushing yards given up to the Bears but forget that even with those yards, not many points resulted from them.

I see your point, but the other team running the ball like that really limits your possessions on offense. The Packers were efficient enough in just seven possessions on Sunday to score 31. Seattle's defense is better than that.

Comment From Bill

McCarthy uses TEs in the backfield, but I've never seen him use a FB on the line in a TE position. So, no, not interchangeably.

Agreed, Bill, but McCarthy has always said he never wants to be one injury away from being out of a primary position group for that game plan. If 2 TEs is a primary position group in the game plan, he'll have 3 TEs active. If he doesn't, there you go.

Comment From Greg

Who do you think the Packers will release to make room for Datone Jones? Tough call I imagine.

A lot of folks asking this question, and yeah, that's always a tough call, Greg. They didn't want to cut Myles White either but they had to. There are nine offensive linemen on the roster currently, but you don't like to get rid of big guys unless you have to. They also have a lot of bodies at corner. I don't like to make predictions on these kinds of things because there are more factors than meet the eye.

Comment From Jerm Van

During the broadcast Bears had the ball 3rd and 3, and Joe Buck is heard saying, "I feel a big play coming here" . . . none came of course, but please tell me I'm not alone thinking that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for some reason hate the Packers, and probably hate it more when they have no choice but to praise the Pack. I'm not alone as the only one who wishes those two never cover a Pack game again am I?

You're not alone, JV, but this kind of paranoia is humorous to me. Trust me, Buck and Aikman and anyone calling those games on TV don't care who wins. They just don't. They root for a good story, a good game to call.

Comment From Lawrence

Spoff, will you watch as many games as you can Sunday? What time will you go to Lambeau? With the evening kickoff, will our players and coaches spend extra time in meetings?

I'll probably take Hunter's suggestion and try to watch Lions-Vikings early if I can, and if it's on in this market, Lawrence. I usually get to the stadium a few hours before kickoff.

Comment From Mark

Who was your breakout player of the game? Although we knew what JJ could do, I was surprised at how productive he truly was. No dropped passes, a third TD catch (called back by penalty), some great blocking. He was the biggest surprise for me.

I kind of figured Rodgers wouldn't hesitate going to him, Mark, but going back-shoulder right away on that first TD drive said something. Rodgers definitely trusts him.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, I think the Bears looked like they are heading in the right direction. That first half had them doing what I would have thought the Packers would do. Was their play what you expected???

They went with their strength and minimized risks for the QB, as others have pointed out in comments I didn't post. They played well and gave the Packers everything they had. But an INT in the final 5 minutes will get you beat a lot in this league.

Comment From Camerold

Of the two remaining division road games, which do you feel is most likely to trip up the Packers later this season?

*They'll both be tough battles, C. The Packers have lost two straight years in Detroit, and last year's trip to Minnesota was a four-quarter game. I expect the same.             *

Comment From Adrian

Does Vic have any nicknames that you could share with us? Inquiring minds want to know!

I don't know of any nicknames for Vic. As for ones he uses, he calls me Mikey on occasion. I'm not a big fan of that. That Life cereal commercial growing up was brutal for me. I'm forever scarred.

Comment From Tom

Mike, this website reported Jermauria Rasco as waived injured, however he is on the roster listed as injured reserve. What is his status?

A player waived/injured goes on injured reserve until an injury settlement is reached, normally.

Comment From Dave

I read about the Seahawks and that play on 4th and 1. They had been running that play all game and got 2-3 yards no problem every time. Rams just did a good job on it that time...... Players not plays.

Yeah, the highlight I saw showed the Rams D-line won at a few spots up front, not just one.

Comment From BrettGB

Mike, did you catch the Giants/Cowboys game on Sunday night?

Pretty much watched the whole thing to unwind after our flight got back from Chicago. Couldn't believe the ending.

Comment From John

My son and I are coming for the Seattle game. We have never been to Lambeau for a night game. Anything we should know or do to prepare?

*Lots of folks asking about pre-game ideas on a first visit. If you can come on Saturday, a stadium tour or HOF visit is worth your time. On gameday, just come early and soak up the atmosphere outside. If the weather is good, it's just a fun place to hang out and meet people. The tailgating scene just has to be witnessed to really understand it.               *

Comment From Scott

It's getting more and more difficult to watch the games on TV simply because of all the annoying commercials at every little break in the action. What do you do for entertainment during all the TV time-outs?

If I'm not working on something on my computer screen, I'm usually chatting with Vic.

OK, folks, just realized I've gone an hour. I'll take a couple more.

Comment From Eric

I've seen a lot of ranting about the D Line and Raji in particular. I thought he was the one bright spot, showed a lot of his old snap, and just had no help on the edges. What did you see, Mike?

I agree, Eric. I thought the Packers were beaten on the edges more than up the middle. A couple of those long runs could have been held in check with better tackling, but there's no better week to be focusing on tackling than this one with Lynch coming to town. Maybe that'll be the silver lining from Sunday's performance.

Comment From Duluth in the Know

Have you noticed any difference in Coach McCarthy's demeanor on the sideline now that he's not calling plays?

You'd probably know better than me, DK, from the TV broadcast. Unless I happen to be looking at the TV when they show McCarthy, I have no idea what his sideline demeanor is.

Comment From Greg

In reality, how big is this next game against Seattle?

The answer is different if you're talking the fans or the players. McCarthy will have this team focused on this being a game against a top NFC opponent. Many fans' minds will be elsewhere, and that's fine. In all reality, for the 2015 regular season, this game is probably bigger for Seattle because they lost in Week 1 to a division opponent, while the Packers won against a division opponent. Will it play a role in playoff seeding in January? Probably, and if you're the Packers, you don't want to have to go back to Seattle. That's what makes it a big one for GB.

Comment From Carl

Whose idea was it to add the full talents of Larry McCarren to the site? Great call!

Those decisions are way above my pay grade, but it's great to have Larry on board. Hope everyone checks out his video work and the new show. With that, I'm going to sign off. We'll talk again next week with plenty to rehash from the game, I'm sure. Thanks everybody. Take care. --Mike

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