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It won't be easy because it never is senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat.

Hey everybody. Hope you're having a good day. Let's go.

Comment From tom 

Mike, Any preliminary information on this week's injuries?

McCarthy had no updates for us yesterday, except to say that TE Jared Cook is "definitely closer." Bakhtiari said in the locker room he's taking it day by day. That's about it.

Comment From Guest

Do you think Capers defense is too complicated.

No. We saw earlier this season how well the defense can play. The players have to shore up the details.

Comment From Aaron

If you had to put your finger on the one thing wrong with the team right now, what would it be? Communication?

It's not making the plays you have a chance to make. This team's margin for error is small, but when a receiver is wide open on third down over the middle, you have to hit him. When you have a chance to pin the punt inside the 5, get it done. When you have the other team in third-and-14, get on the same page and get the stop. I could go on and on. The opportunities are there to make those plays.

Comment From Dave-Vermont 

Will you start looking forward to next year if we lose to the skins?

I never do that until the possibility of making the playoffs is mathematically out the window. That's just how I'm wired.

Comment From Nathan 

With Shields, Randall, and especially Matthews sitting on the bench, it seems like our defense is just lacking speed. Is there anything that can be done about it?

I don't think it's a lack of speed. It's missed assignments and not beating your man. Speed isn't the only way to beat your man.

Comment From Justin 

On the radio today, they played parts of Coach's talk and criticized him. I listened to the whole thing today, and after hearing the entire 13 minutes, I gotta say, I'm fired up. I hope the team feels the same way.

I think that was part of McCarthy's intent. He also made it clear he's not going to blow everything up and start over, no matter what the fans think. He believes in his team, and I think they'll start playing better, too. It's just easier to make that rally from a 1-2 or 2-3 start, not 4-5. Time is short now.

Comment From Steve 

I've heard many times that a team tends to stop hearing their coach after about 6-7 years. I'm not saying fire MM because he is not doing his job, but maybe they don't hear him any longer?

I don't think that's it. After McCarthy's presser yesterday, multiple players were on Twitter backing what he said, backing their coach.

Comment From Andrew 

How do you think the packers fare this week against the redskins? Do you think our secondary will be able to handle Kirk cousins and that high powered offense?

The communication miscues can't occur, and the tackling must improve. Those were the two biggest deficiencies in the pass defense that I saw. More pass rush is needed, too, but we've been saying that for a few weeks now.

Comment From Tony C 

What happened to "urgency" after the disgraceful performance against the Colts ??

They got too caught up in that with all the personal fouls and extracurricular stuff and weren't as focused on execution and clean play. I said last week that's why McCarthy walked back the "energy" theme, because it wasn't a cure-all issue.

Comment From AL 

I'm starting to sense fans expect Ty to be an every down back. Is it really possible that Running Back is the one position we can just plug in someone athletic?

Hearing yesterday that Montgomery was on a rep count again in the game tells me he may not be an every-down back this year.

Comment From Lance 

If we ever do get fully healthy , I believe this team has a legitimate shot to win it all . It's a week to week league and we will get hot at the right time . That time starts this week . Baby steps

One win could turn things around. But that one win has to come this week.

Comment From Chris from Cincy 

Mike, on field aside, are you enjoying the additional challenge of 'the angry mob' fan base vs. writing realistically on the situation?

It's a challenge for sure. I'm not going to indulge the angry mob because I don't think that does any good. What I tried to do in my stories Sunday and Monday is let the fans hear the words from McCarthy and Rodgers in their context. That's not going to satisfy many, but they're the ones who have the power to fix this, not me.

Comment From Kelly 

Was in Nashville this weekend, as was just about everybody else from Wisconsin. Wished the outcome of the game had been better, but never more proud to be a Packer fan. Nashville is richer because of it for sure!

The fan turnout was astounding. It's really too bad the team didn't reward that show of support on Sunday.

Comment From JD 

I think the talk of players tuning out a coach after "x" amount of years is baloney. Most of the current players haven't even been on the team the "x" amount of years. Just do your job.

Point taken.

Comment From Guest 

Mike, I still think Jared Cook will make a big difference for the offense when he gets back. But the defense has me stumped. Clay's absence aside, I thought we were strong on front end and outside linebackers but it doesn't appear that way. Was wondering how 4-3 defenses fare across the league compared to 3-4 defenses with stopping the run. We bascially play a 4-2 defense and it does not appear we have the body types for it. Your thoughts?

This is the defense the Packers are built to play. Yes, they miss Matthews terribly, but they're better than this. They've shown it before, with and without Matthews.

Comment From Nathan

It's interesting how, with the new rules, teams are only risking 15 yards of field position by kicking onsides after a personal foul (like the late hit on Aaron). I'm glad McCarthy is still aware of details like that.

It made for an obvious onside attempt because the risk was lower, but the odds were also less with any element of surprise gone. That said, you can't be offside and miss a blocking assignment. It's the details this team is missing.

Comment From Guest 

Mike, I read an article today that said McCarthy and Aaron are throwing jabs at each other through their press conferences. Your thoughts?

I saw that as well, but I'm not reading that much into their words. I heard Rodgers talk about the "healthy fear" of players losing their jobs as a reality of the NFL, and others took it as he's saying there's not enough of it around here, meaning a shot at management. I was in the press conference and just didn't take it that way.

Comment From tom 

It seemed like there were an excessive amount of penalties and discussions regarding the penalties Sunday. Any data to back that?

I thought the officials were tripping all over themselves and it was a very poorly officiated game. The muffed punt was a botched call. There was an obvious hold on Mariota's last TD pass. I don't think either side had confidence in the officiating, and that's what led to a lot of the extra stuff.

Comment From Justin-Athens 

During the game, the announcers said that our OL looked like garbage, which was interesting because Coach said it may be the best of his tenure. They seemed to have not noticed the plug n play happening with two starters going out due to injury, and that the line had changed since his statement. When the people that millions are listening to state these things with such inconsistency, it doesnt help to calm the fire of the casual fan. It certainly must not make your job any easier.

No, it doesn't, but that's how it goes. I thought Barclay played fine in Lang's place. Spriggs definitely had some rookie moments at LT, but those were his first real NFL snaps and the offense was in all-pass mode. The offensive line is among the least of this team's problems, in my opinion, but they may be tested even more now with the new injuries.

Comment From Brian 

I understand the draft and develop idea, but we seem to always be a couple of players short to put us over the top, whether Ted Thompson likes it or not, we need to dip into free agency. Is Ted still the right guy or is it time to let Eliott Wolf step in?

This was the year they signed Jared Cook, but health-wise it hasn't worked out with a player who had no major health issues in his career thus far. Defensively, I don't think anyone could have foreseen the top three corners missing as much time as they have.

Comment From Cory 

Do you think they will have to sign an inside linebacker with Ryan being hurt?

Either that or bring Carl Bradford up from the practice squad. I don't know how serious Ryan's injury is.

Comment From Mike

Very different year than we are accustomed to. Curious, do see any change in fan engagement on in this new atmosphere ?? I can think of reasons why it would be higher or lower. What do you see, if anything. Thanks

Overall, the traffic numbers aren't as high when the team isn't winning, but the Insider Inbox blows up exponentially after a loss.

Comment From How long do you have McCarthy? I saw he is below 500 the last 21 games. His schemes are too basic and conservative. If we miss the playoffs, will we see a change? 

How was the muffed punt a bad call?

Davis called for a fair catch and by rule is protected from any contact until the ball hits the ground. He bobbled it and was hit before the ball hit the ground. He still has a chance to catch it because of the signal. It should have been fair-catch interference, and the refs missed it.

Comment From Chris from Cincy 

Predicting a big game for Starks, he's always responded well when given the majority of carries and Washington is 23rd in rushing yds per game. He looked strong but rusty on Sunday.

Starks' return is definitely a positive. I thought his upfield cut on the screen pass to get into the end zone was impressive. He was really good in the screen game last year and I think the Packers can turn to that more again.

Comment From Jeff 

It seems as though the Steelers are struggling just as the Packers. Both have 4-5 records, however the Steelers just lost by allowing the Cowboys to go 75 yards in less than 42 seconds to win the game. I don't believe they have our injury problems either. We are not alone.

No doubt. The Panthers, defending NFC champs, just blew a 17-0 lead at home and now are 3-6. The Steelers lost Big Ben for a few games and I think that team is pretty darn good, but their defense has to be wondering what's up, too.

Comment From Ray L 

Interesting explanation on the muffed punt. Can that be challenged?

Wes and I were wondering the same thing. It's a turnover play, so it's automatically reviewed, but I don't know if a fair-catch interference penalty is within the purview of review. I think the officials on the field had to call it.

Comment From Brandon 

Despite the overall lack of execution, Nick Perry made some really nice plays against the Titan's run game. How does he take the next step to bring the defense to a higher level?

He can't do it all himself, but he needs to be this defense's most reliable pass rusher without Matthews on the field. The Titans didn't run at Perry much, but we need to see the pass rush from him we saw earlier this year.

Comment From tyler 

Looks like the 1-2 punch of Jordy and Adams is coming along nicely... Would love to see Cobb get going again though.

I thought Adams took his game to another level on Sunday. The return of the back-shoulder throw with Nelson was also good to see. Rodgers commented that Cobb is still playing through that hamstring injury.

Comment From Mike

Compare football to baseball, basketball, soccer and even hockey. The rules have simply gotten out of control. Even good refs struggle. Do you think we'll ever get a full rulebook rewrite? The league desperately needs one because penalties have me watching more basketball and turning off more games.

Those of you with me on these chats regularly know that I've been saying for years what the NFL is asking these officials to do with all the complications in the rules is just not realistic.

Comment From Taylor 

I know we signed Cook but maybe we could have made a bigger effort to keep our own free agents. Casey Hayward is leading the league in interceptions this season.

Cornerback was the team's deepest position, and paying another high-priced one along with Shields would probably have impacted the ability to re-sign Bakhtiari (and others coming up this offseason). The right business decision was made, but the injuries happened to slam that one unit.

Comment From Gabe 

As I watch other games I see teams that hit hard run fast and just go for it all 60 minutes like they are determined to get that win! We do not see that style of play from the packers anymore! Do you agree? Is it cause of veterans being injured? lazy rookies ? They just don't bring a challenge anymore?

The Packers got hit by an avalanche on Sunday and fought their tails off the rest of the way. I thought it was interesting after the Colts game, Rodgers talked about the team needing to be "mentally tougher" after the 99-yard KO-TD to start the game. This week it was a 75-yard TD run to start off, and Capers said he thought it affected the D for the next few series. That can't happen. I know the players are human, but they have to overcome that stuff.

Comment From Mike 

The Vikings play the Cardinals, the Lions play the Dolphins and then both teams play each other on a short week. A win to put Green Bay at 5-5 plus losses by the Vikings and Lions would knot the division at 5-5 with six games left. Like 2013, the division is giving Green Bay a chance to get healthy and I think this club is better than that one.

The Lions are the only team in the North playing well right now, but no game is a given for anybody in this division. Detroit lost at Chicago and could just as easily start to slide again, too. This is long from over.

Comment From Dave B 

Damarious Randall seemed to be progressing faster than the coaching staff had anticipated. Is this the week he returns to help the secondary?

We'll be watching that closely. The fact that he was back on the practice field in a limited capacity last week was a good sign. I don't know if that means this week or next week for game action, though.

Comment From Shaun

How do you feel about the officiating this year compared to years before? A lot of articles are saying they are worse and more inconsistent this year. Do you agree? Is the causing viewers to not watch games?

It's a Catch-22. Everyone is up in arms when the officials blow calls, but then everybody says the replay delays are too long and slowing down the game so they don't want to watch. We can't have it both ways, I don't think.

Comment From Jeff 

The 75 yard TD on the first play was miscommunication? How is that acceptable?

I don't think I said that, and I didn't hear that from anyone else, either. That was multiple assignment errors, I believe.

Comment From Nick

Mike, give it to us straight, what do the Packers need to do on both sides of the ball to find a W this weekend?

Get Rodgers into a rhythm early and play with a lead. I think we'll see a better defense then. They blew their chance to get a two-score lead in Atlanta when they had the chance, or I think they have a great chance to win there. These last two weeks has been playing uphill, and that can't continue.

Comment From Jeff 

What happened to the Vikings?

Their weakness on the offensive line, which was evident when the Packers played them in Week 2, caught up to them. They've had a ton of other injuries, plus now they're finding a new kicker, from what I heard.

Comment From tyler 

We play on SNF this week. Regardless of the outcome, i'm sure all of America will blow it out of proportion win or lose.

That's probably fair to say. If the Packers lose, it'll be the season's over, when with six games left it really won't be. If they win, it'll be here they come, when they have to do it at least two weeks in a row to feel confident saying that. It'll be over-reaction Monday for sure.

Comment From Mike 

Here's my idea: Replay review for everything handled by an 8th official, but no slo-mo in the replay booth. The call must be unquestionably wrong in real time, not to some superhuman standard.

But the only way you avoid fan outcries and controversy is if they don't get to see the slo-mo at home on TV, and I don't think anyone is unringing the technology bell for the home viewers, certainly not the networks that are paying billions to broadcast the games.

Comment From Lee 

What did you see on the missed FG? Did Mason just took a wrong angle?

Coach Zook said something about the laces not being spun around right. It was an Ace Ventura moment, I guess.

Comment From Tim 

Not to harp on the strength of schedule stuff, but every team Green Bay plays from now till the end of the season is a legit playoff hopeful. The only exception, the Bears, will be treating Week 15 as their Super Bowl in trying to keep GB from tying the all time series. It won't be easy huh?

Did you expect it to be?

Comment From Mason 

Do you think we can really stop the hot Redskin's offense with our not-so-hot defense that really seemed to break down this weekend, and let the Titians score 47 points on us?

You're not going to stop the Redskins offense, but it's a whole team thing. The Titans got rolling and the GB offense had one first down in the first three series. That's not helping the other side. All phases have to play better and limit mistakes. As I keep saying, this team's margin for error is small.

Comment From Mike 

How is the locker room atmosphere?

The players believe, and I think it's genuine.

Comment From Nathan 

Most of the teams above us in the NFC are still on our schedule: Seattle, Detroit, Minnesota, Washington, Philly. The Packers will have the chance to climb out of this hole if they can start playing better now.

It's all right there. The Packers can beat anyone on their schedule, and lose to anyone on their schedule. Seattle is clearly playing the best of GB's remaining opponents.

Comment From Amir 

Do you think Cook's return, possibly this week, will give the Packers the consistent offensive attack they have been lacking this year? Or will it take some time to see any benefits from the free agent?

Cook will give the offense and Rodgers another option. I don't think he's going to be able to play 60 snaps right away when he comes back, but he can help and give the defense someone else to think about.

Comment From Dave 

If you are Mike McCarthy and you want to inspire your team to get up off the mat, what sports movie do you show them?

Hmmm. Maybe "Breaking Away." I bet none of them have even heard of it.

Comment From Haillie 

Hi Mike, How long is halftime? My understanding is it is 15 minutes. I have been timing halftime starting when the clock hits 0:00 and ending when the ball is kicked and it varies from 12 -16 minutes. I do this because we go outside and toss the ball around during half-time and I want to make sure we don't miss the kick.

Usually 12 minutes go up on the stadium clock. When they actually start that clock, I'm not sure, because I'm usually busy, like starting another chat.

Comment From Reggie 

I didn't expect it to be easy, but I didn't expect it to be this hard either ....

But now here we are. I expect the players to keep fighting.

Comment From Jonathan 

I hate the Seahawks. Do you hate the Seahawks?

I have a tendency to root for them to lose most of the time.

OK, my hour is almost up. I'll take a few more. Thanks for all the participation today.

Comment From Guest 

This team needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and strap up.... they're too talented to have put themselves in the position they're in. If they get the pieces back and manage to win some games I believe they will sneak up on the NFC and make some serious noise... It's gut check time, win or go home starts in November this year instead of December

Sounds about right.

Comment From Ben 

Hi Mike do you think The Packers can recover this year?

I think they will recover. The question is whether it will be soon enough to keep the playoff streak running.

Comment From Paul C.

Chances Wis. makes it to the CFP?

I don't see OSU losing, so I think UW's best chance is for OSU to beat Michigan, which likely sends Penn St. into the Big Ten title game, and then Wisconsin wins that and the committee takes two teams from the Big Ten. If OSU finishes with one loss, even if they aren't in the league title game, no way the committee leaves them out.

Comment From Dalpher 

Anybody who watched Coach's Monday presser and didnt come away inspired and grateful for this tough, honest, seasoned and intelligent coach is deaf and blind

I'm very interested to see where this team goes from here.

Comment From Ray L 

Thanks for you time, Mike. Lets just win one football game.

Sounds good to me, and we'll leave those as the last words for today. Thanks everybody. Take care, Mike

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