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How does the grit of this team show through? Read Mike's chat senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. And we're off ...

Comment From Chris

Hey Mike, did the Chargers show the league how to beat the Packers?

It's the same thing as the rush 4, cover 7 deal on defense. You have to have the players to execute at a high level for 60 minutes. Not every QB is Rivers. He was impressive. So were Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates. That was a tough matchup, and other teams will try, but the question will be can they do it as successfully?

Comment From John

Starks was averaging 11.2 yards per carry, and Lacy only had 4 carries. I don't understand why the Packers didn't run more.

I don't like the focus on the 11.2 average because any 65-yard run will skew anyone's average. But I agree, I thought they should have run it more. Starks looked to be running hard right from the start.

Comment From KK

Mike, While watching MM's press conferences, he refers to "self-scouting." What exactly is that?

It's where the coaches review all of their own game film, go over play calls, formations, tendencies, to see how other teams would be scouting them. Are they too heavy or predictable in a certain personnel group? Are there ways to change things up?

Comment From Mark

Janis had a great block on the Starks TD run. Our receivers continue to be the best at downfield blocking. Is this a credit to the coaching or the players themselves not being selfish? Special Teams continue to amaze in the progress they made this year as well.

*Packers receivers have always impressed me with their blocking. When Edgar Bennett was the position coach for that group, that's when I saw it become so prominent. I think guys got called out in the film room when they were seen not giving it their all to block on the perimeter. That approach has now become the MO of the group.      *

Comment From Matt

What are the chances Burnett is back in vs Denver?

I would think pretty good. He was starting to do some things in practice last week, so that's a good sign.

Comment From Derk

How much will B.J. Raji help when he gets back? Although they have been great in crunch time, he seems to make a significant difference.

Raji has been fantastic against the run and they will need him against teams who want to run the ball. His pass rushing wouldn't have made much difference against Rivers, because the QB's timing with his release and checkdowns, etc., was spot on all day.

Comment From Mark

Coach had some pretty harsh words about the refs during his halftime on-air interview. Will he see a note from the NFL asking for a monetary donation?     

*I didn't see/hear exactly what he said, but as long as he didn't insult anyone, I don't think he'll be fined. Players and coaches are allowed to say they believe something was a bad call. Calling someone a bad ref is where it crosses the line.              *

Comment From Tony

How much time off do get during a bye week?

I'm still here, aren't I Tony?

Comment From David

If you were game planning for Denver, would you try to take away the short passes and challenge Manning to beat you deep? Or is he still too dangerous?

I think you have to. The Broncos haven't made many plays deep all season. That's on the film. They're great at the crossing/rub off/pick game, though, so knowing it's coming and stopping it is another matter.

Comment From Jon

Hi Mike. The whole Lacy situation is puzzling to me. Is he truly banged up? He's not a frequent add to the injury report. Is it all about keeping him fresh for November/December? Love the chat!

*I think it's a combination of all of that. The repeated references in press conferences to him being banged up tells me he needs rest first and foremost.    *

Comment From John

I'm really tired of the replays in every sport. Human error is part of life, whether it's the coaches, players or officials. Was the old system prior to the replay really so bad?

It wasn't when the camera angles and technology could show so much more than the human eye can process in an instant. Calls were controversial when there was one replay to show. Now, all the multiple angles and super slo-mo pretty much tells you what happened, and if there isn't a system to correct that (as best as we can), no one will have faith that the right team is winning the games. It's either keep replay and refine and improve it, or tell the TV stations to scale back on technology. I think it's obvious the latter isn't going to happen.

Comment From Odie

With the Packers and Denver both having a bye week. Do you think there will be any major changes in the way the offence or defenses are called with both teams having more time to prepare?

Both coaching staffs have ample time to prepare for the opponent, which usually means introducing some new things that can't be scouted. It goes back to some of the self-scout stuff I talked about earlier.

Comment From Garth

Hey Mike, what's your costume for Halloween?

*Sports writer.   *

Comment From Tim, mpls

mike your thoughts on the packers final redzone drive that resulted in 3 pts when 7 could have put the game out of reach. If I remember right they passed all three downs.

*I didn't have a problem with the calls. Starks ran on first down and got nothing. Rodgers said, I think, that he threw a bad ball to JJ on second down. On third down, his pass to RR in the end zone was just barely out of reach.     *

Comment From Matt

How exactly did San Diego provide a blue print for beating the Packers when the Packers won the game? Does the grit of this team show through in your interviews with the team and during practice? They seem to relish the big moments and perform when their back are against the wall better than any of our recent teams.

The early tests this team has survived have really stood out. It should only harden them for the rest of the way. This bunch is confident and they don't let things bother them. To go out there and stop them at the 3-yard line on your 86th, 87th, 88th and 89th snap as a defense was remarkable.

Comment From Tony

What is the schedule for the players? When do they get back to work?

They're off from now until Monday, when they will come back and have a practice.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, Are injuries the problem here or are we just not winning our one on ones as Vic says? Or is nothing significant wrong and we should just RELAX???

*The offense needs to get healthy, for sure. I want to see this group closer to full strength, especially at the skill positions on offense.   *

Comment From Duke

Hey Mike! Do you think it's finally time to let Janis loose down the sideline? It was nice to see him get some action, I think he could be another matchup problem for defenses trying to contain, Jones, Cobb, Adams or Ty, and Janis on the outside. Someone will have to win. Your thoughts?

It was great to see Janis make a couple of plays. That's good for his confidence and the QB's confidence in him. We will see where that goes, but I don't expect Janis to be taking snaps from Adams when Adams comes back. There's obviously patience required with Janis, and I think we're only starting to see it pay off.

Comment From Mark

I am led to believe that there is a better than average chance to get Devante back after the bye. Have you heard anything about Ty?

*It sounds like Montgomery's ankle injury isn't that bad, but how long he'll be out is anyone's guess. Adams tried to come back after one week and now has missed three more games. No way to tell.        *

Comment From Jesse

Which rookie has impressed you the most so far?

Damarious Randall, and that was before fourth down on Sunday. For converting from safety to corner as a rookie and to have been tested like he has, he has held up well. No one at that position allows no catches, but he has broken up a number of throws with great coverage and timing.

Comment From Derek 

I visited Lambeau for the first time(from NJ) and saw you getting on an elevator. I didn't want to disturb you but just wanted to say I appreciate all your work. I look forward to What You Might Have Missed every week.

Thanks for watching the video. I appreciate your respect for a working man on gameday, but don't hesitate to say hi. I won't bite.

Comment From Johnny 

Is Vic still around every day or did he head off to the warmer climes yet?

He lit out for South Carolina this morning. It's already too cold for him.

Comment From Marc 

Is'nt hard to get a real balance between run and pass if your only making 49 plays ?

Definitely. It was feast or famine on Sunday on offense. Nine possessions, five scores (three TDs, two FGs), four 3-and-outs. It doesn't get much more hit or miss than that. I think the third-and-1 deep ball really bothered people (including me) because it came during the rough stretch of 3-and-outs and just one first down was really, really needed there.

Comment From Jason 

Local media, including Vic, really seem to be keying on Aaron not being overly excited about the last couple of wins in the post-game press conferences. Do you think Aaron is worried about this offense moving forward? Or do you think he's just frustrated?

*I think he's always disappointed when he feels the offense didn't perform to expectations. Nothing more than that. He's always been one to get bothered by a red zone possession that ends in a FG and not a TD, even when they're scoring 30-plus. It's just who he is, and it works pretty well I think.         *

Comment From Greg 

Where do you think this team would be without James Jones? He seems to mean more to this team than just the tangible points he's put on the scoreboard.

It's hard to imagine, frankly. Losing Adams in Week 2 (after obviously losing Jordy in the preseason) was a big blow to the offense. JJ's production has been down the last couple of games, because I think his hamstring is nagging at him, but that back-shoulder TD on Sunday was a classic, and the kind of play only he and Cobb have the rapport with Rodgers to make, as far as the guys who were on the field Sunday.

Comment From Tom 

How worried are you about the number of snaps Clay is playing each week?

If he can be out there, he needs to be. He makes everything work. When he left the field on Jan. 18, a lot changed.

Comment From Spencer 

Would you ever consider benching Manning with his sub par play this year, even tho the team is undefeated?

*Not unless his backup is also going to the Hall of Fame.               *

Comment From Doc Brown 

Hello Mike,We are descending towards Hill Valley, California, at 4.29pm, on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.

*And the Cubs still have a chance to win the World Series.          *

Comment From Joe 

Hi Mike, Datone Jones doen't make a ton of plays but he seems to make plenty of "big" ones. Your thought?

I have a story on Jones going up later this week. He started to make more of an impact late last season, and he has really shown up these last two games. It's good to see.

Comment From Tony 

Did you see any adjustments from the Packers defense in the second half? Not many points... but they did give up ALOT of yards! I don't want to see the Packers get dinked to death for the rest of the year.

Capers threw everything he could at Rivers. He blitzed, he backed off, he changed personnel. The guy just got rolling, but the defense held up in the red zone. The offense not going 3-and-out four times would have helped the defense, too.

Comment From Greg 

Should we all chip in and get Vic a pair of Carhartt overalls, boot and glove warmers, and some ice fishing gear? Is it possible to fully acclimate him to Wisconsin winters?

Mission impossible.

Comment From Gretchen 

I think we're so used to seeing Aaron Rodgers make incredible plays that it's worrisome to see two bad throws in a row. He just hasn't played lights out the last few days. If he can get rested and re centered and get back some of his favorite weapons, look out.

I'm with you, Gretchen.

Comment From Mike 

How great is it for the scouting staff to see Nick Perry and Datone Jones break out this season? Those two were getting a lot of heat from fans. 

They were first-round picks. It comes with the territory. It's just too bad Perry got hurt again.

Comment From Dylan 

What am I supposed to do this weekend then, Mike?

Watch the baseball playoffs. I'm really hoping the Cubs can win 2 of the next 3 and set up for a huge Game 6 on Saturday night.

Comment From Michael 

I heard from the commentators on Sunday that Jordy Nelson is healing at an unprecedented pace. Can you elaborate on why is healing so quickly and what he is doing that is causing such awe?

Some guys heal more quickly from injuries. Word is he's really pushing the envelope in his rehab, as far as the timeline. Doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Comment From Erin 

How good are the Vikings? Should we be worried about our upcoming games against them?

*I think Minnesota's defense is really tough. The trajectory of their season will all hinge on Bridgewater's progress. He threw a couple of terrible INTs on Sunday that gave the Chiefs a chance in a game the Vikings were dominating.               *

Comment From Tony C 

I'm thinking Carolina and Atlanta finish 12 - 4. The head to head against Carolina may determine NFC Championship game venue, unless we get to 13 - 3 or better. Either way, beating Carolina is essential (you can accuse me of looking ahead but that's the game to watch, IMO).

The trip to Carolina sure took on even more intrigue when Newton found Olsen with 30 seconds left in Seattle, didn't it?

Comment From Chad L. 

Hey Mike who do you have as your biggest key to getting back to 100% healthy off the bye week on offense and defense? For me it's Eddie Lacy and Morgan Burnett.

No disrespect to Lacy, but with the way Starks ran on Sunday, if I were to pick one player on offense, I'd pick Adams.

Comment From Ronnie 

What's your favorite part of working for the Pack?

*I've said it many times. Simply being in attendance at the big games. Getting to analyze them, both on the fly and afterward, is a thrill too.             *

Comment From Mike 

For all the problems we had defended Rivers, we dropped a couple sure INTs that could have rendered the last-play stop moot. Any reaction from the coaches about the number of dropped INTs so far this season?

Capers mentioned it a couple of times yesterday, and I know Joe Whitt has talked about it, too. You have to make those count, especially against a QB like Rivers who doesn't gift-wrap many. But that's football.

Comment From Jason 

Nate Palmer has been one of the pleasant surprises of the year for me. Clay has been dominant, but having that other piece on the inside has been a relief, given the struggles in recent years. What do you think of Palmer's play?

I think the fact that we're not talking about him much is a good thing. He's not being asked to be a star, not with Matthews, Peppers, Daniels, etc. around him, and he's settling into his role.

Comment From M!ke

I liked Coach MM's beard. He looked meaner. We need more meaner.

I'll let him know.

Comment From Jon

Mike, I agree with Vic that you should never be dissatisfied with a win, but I think the fans keep having flashbacks of postseason losses to the Giants, 49ers, and Seahawks and think if we don't look better than we do that's going to happen again, and we'll have to wait another year for a chance to bring it home. What about this team makes you think we shouldn't worry?

Finding different ways to win like they have bodes well. They aren't reliant on one unit to carry the day each day. Now you just let it play out and try to get both units healthy and rolling late in the season. That's what it'll come down to.

Comment From Mark

Mike, at what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a sports writer?

When I realized the odds of becoming a baseball play-by-play radio announcer were much tougher.

Comment From Ken

Hi Mike, what is your thought on the last ten game stretch with 6 of them on the road?

I've written and spoken in videos a couple of times about the road schedule coming up. These trips to Denver, Carolina, Minnesota, Arizona, wow. Oakland is no slouch this year. It's a really tough road slate, and how the Packers do in those games will determine whether they can avoid the road in the postseason.

Comment From Sezer

Rivers played best game his career last sunday against the packers but chargers didn't win the game.Is that normal?

I thought I heard somewhere that he became the first QB in league history to throw for 500 yards without an INT and lose. So no, that wasn't normal.

Comment From Tom

The teams we've beaten are a combined 11 - 24, no team has more than 2 wins so all have losing records. We won them, but some weren't pretty. Coming up we face two 6 - 0 teams on the road. Why shouldn't we be very concerned?

Because every game is its own animal, and the Packers always have the advantage at the game's most important position. Like Vic says, don't worry, just watch.

*OK, folks, I've gone an hour. I'll take a few more. Thanks for the participation, as always.           *

Comment From Jason

I like the way we played againts very good TEs this year (Kelce, Gates, Graham,etc...). Can this be attributed to a faster defense at ILB or more of a general effort by the defense?

Speed on defense is never a bad thing.

Comment From Paul

Any special plans with your family over the bye?

Heading down to visit my folks over the weekend. Nothing crazy, but a chance to get away.

Comment From Jason

I get frustrated with the negativity from Packer fans, since the team is now 6-0. No, we haven't played as well as we'd like (especially on offense) in recent weeks, yet we remain undefeated. What this tells me is: 1) we get a week of rest to get healthy and 2) we get to learn from our mistakes, while still having a 0 in the L column. Our defense has been a gift to a team that is trying to overcome a lot of injury. Enjoy this, Packer fans. It doesn't come often.

That sums it up pretty well. I'm not sensing as much negativity, just fans being fans, worried that the playoffs start tomorrow and everything has to be clicking at all times. Ten more games. Win enough of them and then it really gets interesting. Take care folks. Enjoy your bye weekend. Best, Mike

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