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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: How close is the Packers' offense?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions from fans in his weekly live chat.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Hey everybody. Thanks for logging on. I see questions have been sent in already so let's get started.

Mike, thanks for doing this live chat as always. Any relevant tidbits to share from Coach LaFleur's press conference?

The players are having a walk-through rather than a regular practice today. LaFleur said they're a bit banged up, and with the short turnaround next week for the Thursday game, he doesn't want to overwork them physically. He called it a "mental day."

How important are players like Blake Martinez to the coordination of the front line. Is he making adjustments and calling out potential pitfalls or is he merely relaying the play call from Pettine?

It's both. He relays the call, but then depending on the offensive formation or motions, he has to adjust guys in the front. Amos does the same thing with the secondary.

A year ago it seemed everyone was clamoring for Gute to trade for Khalil Mack. They eventually lost out to the Bears and it saved them 2 first rd. picks and a boatload of money. The 2 picks netted Savage and Gary and the money allowed them to sign the two Smiths. So with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight who really won?

Probably still to be determined because all those moves, by both teams, were long-term investments. I think at the end of the day, the route Gutekunst and the Packers went indicated they had way more holes to fill on defense than the Bears did.

Who is the Packers #2 receiver? MVS or Allison?

I don't think it really matters. They're both on the field a lot. Both had opportunities for plays they let get away on Sunday, in different ways.

How will the Packers be replacing Raven this week? BJ or another DB?

Probably a combination depending on offensive personnel and tendencies. I don't see Goodson playing 60 snaps a game, but I don't know if there's a DB who would play that many in the hybrid role right now, either. It's most likely a week-to-week, game-planning decision.

As good as our defense has looked, and despite their 0-2 record, on paper both defenses have pretty similar numbers....I hope the offense is up for the task.

The only things missing from Denver's defense through two weeks are sacks and turnovers. Now, that's a lot, but they have the talent to get those things and change games. It's unusual for a Fangio defense to be shut out in both categories two weeks in a row. The Packers will have their hands full with this defense.

Regarding OPI-I like the new rule but need a clarification-only those scoring plays in last 2m are subject to booth review? Or all scoring plays?

All scoring plays and all turnovers are automatically reviewed in NY.

I am curious as to your opinion of the play that Alexander attempted to make on the Diggs touchdown. 3rd and 13 from mid-field. An incomplete pass ensures a Vikings punt. The risk-reward trade-off screamed knock the ball down rather than go for the int.

I think that's easy to say sitting here. Players like Alexander are always in tune with the ball, and if they think they can get it, they're going to go after it. I wouldn't want to take that away from a playmaker like that. Sure, it cost him on Sunday. Doesn't mean it's not going to pay off down the road.

How thin is the ice that Taylor is on as a starter? It seems he was getting lit up a bit over the last 2 weeks.

I wouldn't say that at all. I watched the offensive film from the Vikings game and thought Taylor played pretty well. Jenkins played well, too. LaFleur said today he was "fired up" about how Jenkins played. We'll see what happens from here.

The odds are Packers -8. Would you take that bet?

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, and for NFL employees.

If Savage can't go on Sunday, what is your gut telling you how Pettine will compensate for the loss in terms of personnel adjustments? Redmond? Tramon move to safety?

We're a long way from that. We'll see about Savage as the week goes on. But Pettine has options, one of them being Tramon, should he need a substitute. Redmond played a fair amount at safety on Sunday after Greene departed and Amos moved closer to the line of scrimmage.

Is this the most Pettine has smiled in his life?

The players say he smiles more with them than we see. When he first arrived he was rather self-deprecating about his facial expressions. He's got a great sense of humor.

Rodgers said the throwback pants are noticeably more comfortable and flexible...why not just make the regular pants from the same material? Asking the important questions here.

You're asking something I know absolutely nothing about.

From the untrained eye, where do you see the most opportunity for our offense against Denver? Which position group should have the best game, WR, TE, RB?

Harris is their top corner, so I suspect he'll be on Adams. But Callahan is their No. 2, and he was a nickel in Chicago. I think the Packers can stress their CB depth with their WRs, but in the passing game, protecting Rodgers from that front will be job 1.

What did Wes make you for lunch today?

I never check in advance. That would be no fun.

There was a lot of talk about this offense using the full back. We haven't seen it. Any idea why?

Specialty players like that, for lack of a better term, more often than not come down to opponent-specific plans. I'm not drawing any grand conclusions after two games against two division opponents on fullback usage. I suspect there are games coming up where Vitale will play a larger role.

Regarding today's inbox, what changes could the Packers potentially make about the season tickets? As someone waiting in the 90,000s, it's frustrating seeing so many opposing fans at Lambeau.

Great question, I really don't know. With so much electronic now, I'm sure there's a way to monitor how many times someone is selling their tickets, but if those tickets have been in someone's family for decades and they supported the team through the really lean years, would it be right to yank away privileges, especially with the prices as high as they are now? By the same token, I know there are a ton of folks like you who have been waiting (im)patiently for your opportunity, and rightfully so. I don't think there's a good answer, frankly. If Packers fans want to find a way through online forums and what-not to sell only to Packers fans, that's probably up to the fans to establish, and even then I'm sure opposing fans would fake their way into getting some tickets.

With Turner going against his former team do you see an advantage one way or the other?

No, especially with a new head coach, new QB, etc., in Denver.

If our offense has another performance where we score one quarter but no don't score for the remaining three, will there be legitimate cause for concern with three games in a row with not playing a full game of offense?

Sure. LaFleur certainly would like more consistency, but you have to remember too that very little offensive personnel changed, even if the scheme did. The Bears and Vikings knew a ton about GB's personnel. That's what you get with division matchups. The next three opponents don't have that type of knowledge base of personnel. Let's see how it goes.

We're already thin at safety and last year I heard quite a bit of talk about trying Josh Jackson there. Have you seen anything in practice (last year or this) that might indicate he has the skills or the Packers are considering it?

I've saw nothing during the spring or summer to indicate the Packers are looking at Jackson playing safety.

Will Trevor Davis have more of a role against Denver?

I'm very curious about that question myself. He's a different type of weapon for this offense and the Packers haven't used him much yet. Stay tuned.

I saw 52 getting held pretty badly during a MN pass play as he was turning the edge. I feel he will be a big help this week with pressure packages on Flacco. When he consistently finds his game, the firm of Smith, Smith and Gary is going to be scary good

That's the idea. Gary's snaps have been limited thus far, but if he continues to show up on film, more duty will come.

I am happy about 2-0 start but still see the same non-Tight end getting involved in the passing game. I expected at least 6-7 targets yet well below that mark. What is your take on this lack on TE production?

Again, after two games I'm not drawing any definitive conclusions. LaFleur said today his film review of the Minnesota game told him he needs more calls that get the ball out of the QB's hands sooner. That would suggest to me some throws to tight ends.

Seems like Davis, Scantling and Adams speed would give defenses headaches

Davis and MVS are really fast and I wonder how defenses would react to both being on the field at the same time. There's a lot of time to try different things with this offense. That's just one example.

Mike... Packer fans have to get over this whole offensive production against MN. The NFL average score has been 18-22 points since 1943 according to ProFootball Reference. We scored 21! Who cares if it was in 3 consecutive drives or once every 3 drives!

I think it was the missed opportunities, particularly in the second quarter, that were most bothersome. The Packers stopped themselves and took points off the board in a couple of instances. Those cost you eventually.

I've watched the pass to Marquez Valdez-Scantling several times now. Had the ball been thrown a bit deeper he was gone for 6. Of course, Aaron Rodgers was under some pretty good pressure and did a phenomenal job just getting it off and on target. Only a great play by the Vikings D nullified what would have been a big gain. It will be nice to see Aaron hit guys in stride again soon.

I was gonna say, that was a tough throw. Same with the one to Davante deep along the Minnesota sideline in the first half that Smith knocked out at the last second. The fact that Rodgers can still get those types of throws, while under pressure and adjusting his arm angle, etc., to where his guy still has a great chance to catch it is remarkable. The alternative is a lob like Cousins' into the end zone with Lowry in his face.

Hi Mike! While JK Scott is taking all the spotlight (and I'm truly amazed at his work so far), I want to give a huge shoutout to Hunter Bradley. It starts with him and he's been solid on snaps.

The fact that no one has mentioned Hunter Bradley at all in his second season so far says plenty.

On same point about passing game, AR still had a slew of plays with no one open for the first 2 games, I can assume its only 2 games and hopefully someone steps up as the #2 and 3 receiver.

It's a process. Rodgers also saw on film, I'm sure, that Adams was running wide open down the middle of the field for a long TD on the play Graham got the OPI. Next time they run that play and get the same coverage, he'll be sure to give Adams a glance. Stuff like that happens in football all the time.

to piggyback on Ed-i agree that many of 12's throws seem to have more air and lower velocity than years previous and it's lead to pass break ups and missed opportunities-am i dreaming? If not, is this more of a trust issue or something physical?

Rodgers has a lightning-quick release and when he sees an opening, he's more inclined to get the ball out and let the receiver make the play than take the time to step up and fire. It all depends on the pressure and his feel for the game. But he can still let it rip, believe me. He has not lost his fastball, if that's what you're worried about.

Exactly. Minnesota made some good defensive plays. The Packers also blew some chances. Nobody was letting up or taking it easy.

Just win, baby

That, too.

The player moves this season, and the results, have fans very excited. Has this been largely BG, or are there others involved in the process?

The entire personnel staff was involved in remaking the defense. They had their targets in free agency, studied all the guys, and set their priorities. The final decisions are Gutekunst's, but between free agency and the draft, it was a hugely collaborative effort to find the players they felt Pettine needed. And Pettine was involved in many of those evaluations, too.

I still can't believe the booth call from New York. I know on your podcast you said it was OPI however on the Fox broadcast Dean Blandeno said no. Why does Fox have a commentator contradicting NFL HQ.

That happens all the time. It goes to show how nuanced the rules are and often there are valid opinions on both sides. I thought it was pretty clear on the film Cook wasn't running much of a route and engaged with Savage without any attempt to break away from the contact. I totally get why the penalty was called.

What does it even mean to be the # receiver, RB, etc? It's all about packages and matchups.

Thank you.

This team's defense has a personality unlike any defense the Packers have had in recent years. Is this the result of Pettine's coaching, the chemistry evolving with the new FAs, or both?

I think it's all of that, plus early success. If you remember early last year, segments of games in the first three weeks looked pretty ugly on defense. Minnesota hit a few big plays, but when your only regrets through two weeks are basically three snaps, that's a huge change from where this defense started in 2018.

In reply to Matt, I wish it were such an easy concept for everyone to understand, but try convincing fantasy football players or Madden fans of that.

I don't play fantasy football and I don't play Madden. I don't see the game through those lenses at all.

Triscuits or Wheat Thins?

Depends on the type of cheese.

with some uncommon opponents for next 3 games, if the offense finds its rhythm against teams unfamiliar with Packer personnel, can the flow carry over when we are playing against division opponents later in the season? or does the familiarity equalize any momentum built in the next 3?

Anything you have success with will be on film for other opponents to study and prepare for. That's how this game works. That's why coaches always talk about having being as diversified personnel-wise as they can, putting guys in different positions to succeed. It's a long season, and there's a ton of work that goes into every single game plan.

If the goal is to peak in December, the offense is right on track.

I expect this offense to hit its stride before then. All right, folks, I'm going to call it a chat. Thanks for all the participation today. With the Thursday game next week, I'm not sure of the day/time on the next chat, but keep an eye on the website and the Packers' Twitter account for the update. Talk again soon. Take care, Mike

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