Mike's Mid-Week Chat: How do Packers deal with Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby?

Editor Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

DE Maxx Crosby

Hey everybody, sorry I'm a little late. I see questions already coming in so I'll get started. Thanks for logging on today.

Hey Mike, looking forward to my first Packer away game and first Packers Everywhere tailgate this weekend in Las Vegas. What kind of activities go on at these pep rallies?

Well, you get to hear from Mark Murphy, a couple of team alumni, and if you stay long enough, Wes and I will do a little game preview. Otherwise, it's a chance to hang out with Packers fans and get geared up for the game.

Morning Mike,

Not that I need you to try to dig dip. But if the team knew of 69's knee, why did they wait almost 3 game weeks to put him on IR? Thanks as always.

The situation has been constantly evolving. Decisions are made when information is known. It's been immensely complicated all the way along, and it stinks for Dave, for the team, for everyone. I don't know any more than what is said by the head coach or Dave himself, and it sounds like we'll be hearing from him sometime soon.

Hi Mike, thanks for the chat. Does it look like all the starters may play Monday, less David Bakhtiari and De'Vondre Campbell?

Hard to say. Bakhtiari is obviously out indefinitely. Campbell, Jon Runyan and Ford all missed Tuesday's practice, so we'll see how the rest of the week goes with them.

Mike, if Eric Stokes recovers properly, when does he have to be activated?

With Stokes returning to practice on Tuesday, the 21-day activation window has started. He can practice for up to three weeks without having to be put on the 53, but somewhere by the end of that window, he either has to be put on the roster or declared out for the season.

This feels like a very winnable game, however, what do you foresee the Packers doing to slow Max Crosby down?

Crosby is a tough customer. The Packers need to figure out where things stand health-wise on their offensive line and how they're going to line up, and then develop the appropriate plan for Crosby. As I said in Inbox this morning, you can't double-team or provide help on every play. That's not realistic. But in certain situations, it can be an emphasis that he's not going to be able to wreck what you're trying to execute.

I was kind of expecting more resources to devote to stopping the run (albeit as you mentioned situationally) - I was thinking we have the talent/skills to go lighter on the backend. What do you think?

If Jaire Alexander returns at corner from injury, that certainly changes the look of the secondary and provides more options because you can leave him one-on-one in certain situations. Having your best players back out there always helps.

Curious about Sean Rhyan. I must admit I wasn't a fan of him last year and thought he was a bust. By all accounts he made a huge jump at camp and looked good. Not a big fan of Neuman either in pass-pro or run blocking and too many penalties. Any idea why Rhyan isn't seeing any snaps? Why not see what's there.

The coaches have said everything's on the table in terms of the offensive line moving forward. I don't know specifically how they feel about giving Rhyan his first NFL game action. But if you're on the roster, you're under consideration when decisions have to be made.

How much difference does it make which QB we face?

I assume you mean specifically with the Raiders, Garoppolo vs. O'Connell? There's a huge experience difference between the two, and Garoppolo is certainly more familiar with Green Bay's defense than the rookie. The Raiders have struggled to run the ball so far this year, and the Packers have to keep it that way so they can get after whichever QB plays.

I figured we'd have some offensive issues this year with a new qb. I didn't expect issues by the defense with all the young returning talent. That is my biggest disappointment so far.

I think that goes for most. Gutekunst made it clear at the podium several times this offseason that expectations for this defense were very high, given all the personnel resources devoted to it. So far the results haven't been there. That has to change soon before the season gets too far along.

Mike, glad you pointed out splash plays on II today. Some fans are upset when the defense concedes a first down, but it may be the better choice than risking giving up a big play. The same goes for long passes in short yardage situations that drive fans crazy (unless they're completed).

That's what concerned me most about the Lions game, to be honest, getting gashed for all those big plays early. If the defense is predicated on preventing the explosive play and gives up five of them in one quarter, there's no real coming back from that. The opponent has all the control. The Lions had 194 yards in the first quarter, which is an absurd number, and 148 of them came on five snaps.

Any updates on Luke Musgrave's recovery so far?

He was on the practice field Tuesday, which is an indication he's progressing through the concussion protocol. He may not be fully cleared yet, but being able to practice is a strong positive sign.

Not sure if this has been asked, but how can you run out of bounds without being tackled in-bounds, the clock stops, then re-starts?

The clock only stops all the way until the next snap when a player goes out of bounds if it's the last two minutes of the first half or last five minutes of the fourth quarter. Otherwise, the stoppage is temporary and the clock re-starts. It's been that way in the NFL for a long time now.

Hey Mike,
Will you be looking for Adams on the Packers sideline before the game saying hi to old teammates?

I would love to get a chance to say hello to Davante before the game, but I don't normally go down on the field pregame because of the work I'm doing before kickoff.

I'm seeing a lot of clickbait sites posting "potential trades" for teams. Have in-season trades historically been successful? (Christian McCaffrey notwithstanding)

I don't have any lists in front of me, but I'd say they're hit and miss.

Caleb Jones, I was curious about him. Got to see some of his play in pre-season and family night. Thought he showed good feet, balance and great power in the limited snaps I saw. I think he would be a big asset in the run game and short yardage. Any idea why he hasn't seen any snaps?

Again, I don't know where everything stands with the depth chart. Preseason is one thing, the real McCoy is another. But the Packers like Jones' potential or he wouldn't be here.

Obviously, offensive line is the key, because you cannot have your QB running for his life on every down and you cannot establish a decent run game if you are constantly loosing in the trenches. So, in good faith, did the team actually believed that 69 would last more? Because with him gone, the depth is less .....deep. Thanks for the chat btw, a cold one and Spoff is the best way to end a mid week.... Wednesday

Everything with Bakhtiari's knee was in good shape in the second half of last season, he was playing regularly, then he had the emergency appendectomy, which was unrelated, and came back from that as well. They thought they had figured out the proper workout/practice/recovery regimen so he could play on a regular basis, but the knee didn't cooperate after the Chicago game. I don't really know anything else at this point.

I really hope we get to see Jaire and Davante go head-to-head. However, I think familiarity between specific players like that tends to favor the receiver, especially so with a master like Adams.

Not sure if anyone has the advantage, but you may be right. Adams is in a different offense now while he knows the defense the Packers are running.

Have you noticed any differences with Joe Barry being in the booth vs being on the field? Any chance he goes back to the field if the defense continues to struggle?

I don't know. As I've said before, there are plusses and minuses. There's more calm and less chaos to make decisions when you're upstairs, but you can't have the finger on the pulse of the players, so to speak, compared to being on the sideline. I don't know if it's that crucial either way, more of just a comfort thing.

As a proud and very appreciative season ticket holder, I'm happy you stated in today's II that there is no easy way for us to ensure our tickets make it into Packers fans hands. Due to how expensive gameday can be, let alone the price of tickets, I'm forced to unload a game or two, I just wish Ticketmaster didnt control everything. I am wondering about the pictures of Lambeau floating around the internet showing all the Lions fans, I'm sure there were lots of them, but to me it appears the pictures are edited to enhance the blue and tone down the green. Was it really THAT bad on Thursday?

A lot of the pictures I've seen circulated were before kickoff, when all the Lions fans had made their way in but not all the Packers fans had filled in yet. With the bleacher arrangement in the bowl, that can distort things for sure. That said, that was the most opposing fans I'd seen in Lambeau probably ever. The Lions had a ton of fans for the regular-season finale last year, and last Thursday was considerably more.

Will the team stay at one of the big casino hotels on the strip, or somewhere away from all of that stuff? First time in a new city must be a logistical challenge

I haven't seen our itinerary yet, so I don't know where we're staying.

Looking back at previous year practices, did Davante Adams usually beat Jaire Alexander?

I'd say they had some darn good battles. Rodgers certainly liked testing Jaire and that connection with Adams because it got them ready for the regular season. Keep in mind, though, they only went head-to-head in OTAs and training camp. Once the regular season arrives, the first units don't go against each other because the game prep is against the scout teams.

Mike, enjoyed your latest WYMM. Our young guys on the D-Line are getting pressure, but they look off-balance, kinda pin-balled around in there at times. I think that's one of those things fixed with experience.

I agree. Promise is there, but a lot of inconsistency. They're getting a ton of playing time as rookies, which is going to help them.

Do the Packers give out game balls every game, win or lose?

I don't think so, but I honestly don't pay much attention to that.

Am I crazy to think the better strategy would be to have Jaire take on the #2 receiver 1 on 1 and to double team Adams every play?

I don't think you can double Adams on every play and stay sound enough to stop the run. That's my initial reaction to your proposal.

Hey Mike, joining late, so apologies if you've already answered this. What happened to our quick passing game? I haven't seen much like short, designed passes to the backs (maybe out of play-action, and not the wide pitches), quick slants to the TE, or short crossing patterns? Seems like this might be a way to keep the opponents from stacking too hard against the run on early downs, and keeping our OL from having to block too long when they're struggling, especially early in the game when we get off to such slow starts

I'm sure that's something the coaches are going to look at, given the Lions game starting with two early sacks. When they did try more quick-game stuff against Detroit, the Lions were still getting pressure, like, immediately, so really nothing was working with any reliability.

Is there a limit to the number of headsets on the sideline during games? And who is everyone talking to?

I don't think there are limits, but if I recall correctly from a description McCarthy gave once, there are three channels on the headsets for offense, defense and special teams. Coaches in those areas pretty much stay in those areas, and the head coach can flip around within different channels to be part of those conversations. At least that's how McCarthy did it.

I was at the game and estimated the Lions fans at almost 20-25%.

I was thinking 30% initially, before kickoff, but you're probably pretty accurate.

This may also have been asked: can the packers request a non-night game for #2 and #5 to avoid travel issues for the gold ticket folks? Or would the league just not give a bologna?

I don't know. When I first got here, I remember hearing Bob Harlan used to request that from the schedule makers -- second and fifth home games not at night. Whether the league stopped taking or honoring such requests, I have no idea.

Wouldn't be surprised to see more roll-outs and misdirections rather than straight drop backs by Love, to take a little juice out of the pass rush.

Again, I'm sure that's something the coaches will look at. I'm not trying to make excuses, but here's the thing -- even without Bakhtiari and Jenkins, the pass protection had held up remarkably well through three games, even against the Saints' stout front. So the coaches felt going into the Lions game they should be OK there. Turned out not to be the case, because Detroit was winning in the trenches from the jump. It was a bad game up front from which the Packers have to bounce back, and they also have to have more adjustments and answers if they find themselves in that spot again.

I haven't seen much of the Raiders this year. How is their secondary performing?

I haven't seen them much either, but their biggest issue is the turnover margin. They've turned the ball over something like 10 times and taken it away only once. Nobody can win football games consistently that way. The Packers need to keep them struggling in that department.

Lots of worry and concern floating around lately. It's all a bit ridiculous, in my opinion, considering we KNEW what to expect this year...which is exactly what we've seen so far. Sure, the D should be playing with more consistency. But just about everything else has been pretty much what we expected.

As I've said in Inbox, not much has surprised me except the defense's continuing rollercoaster play. I felt all the ups and downs on that side of the ball really impacted the team when the offense was trying to adjust in the passing game without Adams. Now the offense is making a bigger transition overall, but the defense's play remains very up and down, and the results so far -- a 2-2 record -- are what the team deserves at this point.

Containing Jacobs is the key Monday night. I believe he set a personal record for receptions last week, so our LBs/safeties will have their hands full

The Raiders are struggling to run the ball, so I expect with the Packers' struggles to stop the run, they'll see this game as an opportunity get Jacobs going. That said, I agree with your point, they're going to try to get the ball to Jacobs any way they can, because he's one of their most dynamic weapons.

Perhaps we're all Homers for thinking the Packers defense should be better than they have been? I really believe we've got the talent to succeed, but it's also possible that we're overrating them because we like them.

I don't see it that way. The frustrations stem from seeing what they're capable of, but not seeing it enough. The Saints aren't the Lions, but that was a pretty strong defensive effort that day. The first three quarters against the Falcons was pretty solid until it all fell apart. That's the ups and downs I'm referencing. Last year they had stretches of really good play and then major struggles, sometimes within the same game. I don't know the whys or the hows, but the play has to smooth out to some extent.

A defense question relating to players vs. plays. With the mini bye review, is it really about full-scale changing of the scheme - or a more aggressive tendency on individual plays given certain circumstances to count on player's skills?

As I've said elsewhere, I don't see how you can make wholesale changes four games into the season. I believe it'll be more about your latter point, situational with a focus on individuals in certain spots.

I think i hate late night games more than you Mike, especially Mondays. Having to stay up until 6 am is a a real killer for the next day.

It's going to be a long flight back from out west Monday night, win or lose. Fortunately it doesn't lead into a short week because the Packers are hitting their bye. Won't be so lucky work-wise in December, though.

Is the fact Quay Walker is making so many tackles an indication the defensive line is underperforming or that he is a sideline to sideline beast?

Some of both. Walker is fast, can cover a lot of ground, and packs a pretty good punch when he hits someone. When he's playing downhill and attacking the line of scrimmage with the right fits, it looks pretty darn good. But if he's the one chasing a play down that didn't come his direction in the first place, that's a sign of breakdowns elsewhere.

What is the key for the offense to get off to a fast start?

Execute. The early plays in a game are the ones that have been repped the most in practice, so execution should be more reliable there. If the defense is coming out in unexpected looks, then they've got to have answers they can rely on.

I take it the Packers are not going to use 0 or 00 anytime soon?

Doubt it.

If I recall correctly, the Packers signed Aaron Rodgers to a longer-term contract during his first season as starter. Based on what we've seen through four games, do you think they could extend Love (again) during the current season? Or do foresee them letting it play out?

I really don't know. There's not a huge rush because of the extension he was given in the spring, keeping him under contract next year. Either way, if the Packers believe Love is their guy, they aren't going to let him get away.

On the expectation front.....I think that's what made the Brewers loss last night so brutal, while the Packers loss to Detroit just part of the journey. Brewers gotta win tonight!

Yes, yes they do. That was not a game they could afford to lose last night.

It's a beautiful day in Northern Illinois, one of the last warm days before fall hits us. I'm sitting outside enjoying the mid-week chat. Are you able to take a laptop outside for any of your work duties?

No, not that I wouldn't want to, but keeping the internet connection solid helps in these situations.

If the over / under on green and gold in Allegiant Stadium Monday night was 45%, what would you take?

Tough call. Your number is about what I'm thinking.

If we the fans are overrating the Packers' defense, wouldn't it be fair to say Gutekunst is too for using first-round picks on most of those guys, and signing a few more to significant contracts? Clearly the Packers' front office also believes these are plenty good players.

Gutekunst made that clear at the podium over the offseason.

It was a perfect storm. Gold package tickets, night game, Thursday game, low expectations home team, high expectations away team with fans FINALLY having something to get excited about. No wonder they made the news with all the blue in Lambeau.

That was certainly part of it, too. Lions fans are fired up, and for good reason.

Maybe this is just who the Packers defense really are.

I'm not ready to concede that.

Quay Walker, IMHO, has not necessarily been the best thing for this defense. Campbell was at his best before Walker came in and his mistakes have been pretty costly and glaring. Campbell, with the headset and with the same role, gave us both the playmaking and consistent play.

I think Campbell has been a playmaker and a consistent force when he's been healthy. The problem is, his health is betraying him. He admitted he was never fully back from the knee injury last year, and now he's had two ankle injuries this year since the start of training camp. This defense would be better with him out there, healthy, every week, but that hasn't been the case for quite a while now.

Funny, you mentioned early plays that are practiced. Seems like the trick plays had to have been practiced but, in the heat of the moment...

It's always different when it's for real. That said, the throwback screen in Chicago and flea-flicker in Atlanta were pulled off quite well. The trick play against the Saints was botched. It happens.

Regarding the defensive struggles, I've seen some occasional head-scratchers from Barry (only 2 DL at the 2 yard line?), but mostly it looks to me like we have guys in position to make plays, but just not making them. Dropping INTs, just missing on pass breakups, and not getting off blocks, especially against the run. Not sure how that can be addressed, though.

Getting off blocks is part of playing defense. You're going to get blocked. The key is not to stay blocked. I do think the feelings about this defense are quite different if Alexander and Walker catch the INTs thrown right at them in Atlanta. Those are plays you can't miss, and they have a huge impact on games. But they are where they are and they'll have to deal with what they've put on film, especially against the run. As I said on yesterday's Unscripted, they've invited every team they're going to face to pound them with the run to see if they can control the game that way.

One player flying under the radar (in a good way) has been our PK. No game-winners yet, although the go-ahead PAT vs. NO was still a 33-yarder. Kick-offs seem high and deep….so far, so good!

Have to like what's been seen from Anders Carlson, for sure. He's off to a great start, and it's good he had one really high-pressure kick already, even if it was just a PAT.

I think the slow starts on offense can be attributed to the youth and inexperience on that side of the ball. It just takes them awhile to find their rhythm?

That's some of it, and not having your best players out there a good chunk of the time this season factors in, too. But the guys getting the practice reps during the week have to perform, no matter how old or young they are. There's no getting around that.

Which do you like to do better? Inbox or Mid-week Chat.

I like the variety, honestly.

Is there a chance Stokes will play on Monday?

I seriously doubt after all the time he's missed that he'll be activated for a game right away on one week of practice. That would shock me. I assume he's going to need some time.

I guess you're seeing the parts are better than the whole, or is it just consistency?

A lot of both right now.

Regarding Campbell and Bahktiari, just bad luck in paying guys and then they can't stay healthy?

I don't see either player's injury struggles as anything they had any control over.

Good luck to the Brewers tonight

With that I'm going to call it a chat. Thanks for all the participation folks and I'll be back on the live blog Monday night from Vegas. Take care, Mike


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