Mike's Mid-Week Chat: How do the Packers regroup?

Editor Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

Offensive huddle

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on. I'm still feeling a little sleep-deprived but I'll do my best here. Go ahead and start sending in your questions.

As poorly as we played at times, we were still only a few plays away from pulling the game out.

That's certainly the frustrating thing. The game was there for the taking, and the Packers had first downs in LV territory twice in the fourth quarter. Those are chances you can't let get away.

Great illustration on the importance of fundamentals in What You Might've Missed today. Thanks for that.

Glad you checked it out. I thought on the whole the defense played a solid game while losing two more starters. Those two long TD drives were disappointing, because they had multiple chances to get off the field, but that's the way this game goes.

Mike, Thankful for your work. With the 91 on Adams (and similar @ATL), can you please dumb down the explanation? What was the personnel for both teams in terms of skill players? I'm guessing the bad matchup was not due to the D not responding to LAV substituting an additional WR or something similar.

The Raiders were in 21 personnel, which is two backs, one TE, and two WR. That's run game personnel, so the Packers countered with base defense -- three DL, four LB, four DB. Then the Raiders emptied the backfield and spread it all out. On their right side, from the outside in, was the FB, the TE, and the WR in the inside slot. On their left was the RB outside, and Adams in the slot. GB's call did not have the only two corners on the field lined up in the two slot positions vs. the WRs, which would be an unusual call regardless. I'm not an X's and O's expert, but the Packers either have to be able to check out of that call to match up better with how the personnel is spread out -- which can be difficult time-wise when they could snap the ball at any moment -- or they have to take a timeout.

yepper I find 2 days after a period of being off schedule and irregular sleep to be when it really hits.

Yeah, this is a tough day. Appreciate everyone's patience.

Why do we seem so unprepared at the start of every game?

That's not what I see. The Lions game opened with an interception by the defense. This time the defense got a third-down sack to stop an opening drive. The offense put together an 8-play drive and then had a mental error on third-and-3 with someone running the wrong route.

You have mentioned on more than one occasion that a QB primarily is judged by how he performs in the 4th quarter of close games. Are you aware of any stat service that tracks that? One sees from time to time the stat that "Joe QB has led x number of 4th quarter and OT comebacks", but I think that stat is pretty much useless.

There's not a perfect stat for it, at least not one that I've seen. It really comes down to the eye test, and how the offense is performing with the game on the line. Against ATL, it totally stalled. Against NO, it was humming. Against LV, it got drives started but couldn't finish them. It's been a mixed bag.

Wonder if Jordan Love is relying too much on Christian Watson.

You have to give your best playmaker on the field, which Watson is when Aaron Jones is out, the chance to make some plays. Watson said himself he has to produce more when his number is called that often.

I think not getting into the endzone after Watson's mugging was a key to our loss. If we score there, the whole game changes.

Everything would've looked different with a TD there to go up 17-10 instead of 13-10. Ifs and buts. The Raiders blew a first-and-goal chance too. That was the first time the Packers failed to score in a goal-to-go situation this season. It was a problem last year, and it hadn't been this year until that series.

Mike, without utilizing JL legs, we had no outside threat which allowed LV to simply stack the middle for runs. We also had few, if any, rollouts, thus allowing LV and Crosby to play games up front. Why is ML not utilizing the assets JL brings to the table?

He admitted Tuesday he should've gotten Love on the move more, but he was hesitant because Crosby was lining up on either side, and if you roll his direction you're taking a huge risk of a wide open shot on the QB. Hindsight is 20/20. The Packers didn't block Crosby well enough, so I understand the hesitation. You can't call a rollout and just flip it the other direction based on where Crosby lines up. At least I don't think so. That would be incredibly complicated for the offense to execute.

Rasul just may be the defensive MVP. He really seems to be on point with what play is coming, and is quick to correct teammates after a missed assignment. Though older, is he due an extension soon?

I haven't checked his contract lately, but he signed a long-term deal before last season. I do think he's playing quite well. He wishes he'd been able to snag that pick in the third quarter Monday night. Not an easy play, but he had a shot at it.

Are we underestimating the impact of David Bakhtiari's absence and the and the injuries to the offensive line?

I don't think anybody's underestimating it. The line just got Jenkins back for the first time since the first half vs. Atlanta. Hopefully he can be in there for the long haul now. But the reality with Bakhtiari is now known. No more uncertainty for '23. Experience needs to breed improvement moving forward.

NFL.com article ripped into Jordan love for efficiency and missing all the deep throws. Sorry but I don't see every missed connect deep on the QB. I've watched every play, we are close to blowing open big plays with the skill positions. Am I not watching the same games?

I think the offense is darn close on those, too. Not having Watson for the first three games, almost the first four, didn't help that part of things. They have to keep playing together and keep taking those shots.

While the loss was disappointing, I'm not especially discouraged. As long as the team learns from it and progresses, I'm ok with that. Guess I'm playing the long game here. Looking for what this team can be over the next few years.

Disappointment and discouragement are two different things. It's disappointing the Packers are 2-3 because they've had opportunities to post a better record. But I don't see any reason to be discouraged after five games when the offense in particular hasn't been close to full strength with its perimeter weapons.

I didn't like the last INT but I liked the play call and felt it was a near miss. Raiders let us hang around and we didn't make them pay.

Totally agree. If the protection doesn't break down and Love can make that throw from the pocket right away, rather than later and on the run, who knows. Watson was one-on-one outside and had a step on his guy. The pass protection has to be better to allow for that to be executed as called.

My best friend is really down on Love this year. I also remember him being down on Rodgers in his first year as a starter. Are there any parallels you see between the two that I could point out to cheer him up?

Rodgers had two crunch-time opportunities with the Packers trailing in his first five games. He threw picks on both of them. It doesn't happen overnight. Love being put in these situations now, very early on, should pay dividends down the road.

please comment as to why offensive line is so ineffective

The group needs to play better. I don't know what else you want me to say. The Lions dominated up front, across the board. The Raiders had one guy wrecking things and the Packers didn't handle him well. They have to play better. They held up just fine down the stretch against a pretty stout Saints front. They've shown they can get the job done. They just have to be more consistent with it.

If I recall, Rasul signed a three year contract last year

That's what I thought too.

Tired of hearing about Bak being out. Guys totally missing blocks is the issue, not them getting beat. Crosby blowing by the TEs was astounding.

Two guys getting a crack at him is a good idea, but after the first guy does his job, the second guy can't miss. If that second block is thrown, Love steps up and runs at least 15 yards into the wide open middle. The Raiders were in man coverage and everybody had their back turned. Nobody was open, but the middle of the field was. That 7-yard sack was followed by the INT on second-and-17, with the ball in LV territory. Those are the sequences that get you beat.

Two ineligible receiver downfield penalties on Josh Myers how often does that happen? Way too many penalties.

Those are the types of things that LaFleur is talking about when he mentions "details." A tight end throwing a cut block but sticking his arm out and getting flagged for holding is not the technique that's taught, either. Another detail.

Seems Reed was not used much this game, thinking the OL struggles contributed to that. Got to think that they try harder to get him some quick hitters and gadget plays .

I think so too. He's an explosive player who shouldn't vanish for an entire game like that.

It's not being negative to observe JLove's accuracy is inconsistent, at best. Compare him with Brock Purdy. Almost every throw Sunday hit the receiver in stride.

How much more often has Purdy had a perfectly clean pocket to step into with clear throwing lanes? I'm not saying Love hasn't missed some throws, but it's not all on him. It's just not. The two plays before the final INT were drops on catchable balls. Are Purdy's guys dropping those throws? You have to see the whole picture.

I didn't even see the protection on the last play. We had packed up the projector and I tuned into the last drive from my laptop. I think when Watson leaped he lost all his leverage on the DB. I'll have to go back and watch that play again on the replay.

The protection was definitely an issue. Watson couldn't stop his momentum and therefore his leap was still falling backwards. If he reads sooner that the ball is underthrown, he perhaps can make a better play on it.

Seems like one reporter was going after ML about the youth and no vets during his press conference in regards to the WR group.

He wasn't going after him. He was asking how he has to coach differently with so much youth, and LaFleur does not want to use youth as an excuse. Growing pains are real, but if the expectations are not put on the players, they aren't being held accountable. I thought LaFleur's comment about scaling back the game plans so they can, presumably, execute more efficiently with less volume to process was interesting.

If Eric Stokes comes back and no injuries happen to CB, does Barry finally experiment with Rasul Douglas at safety ? Or is that an offseason type maneuver at this point, if ever ?

Douglas is not moving to safety. I'm not sure how things will work when Stokes returns, but I don't see a major change like that coming. Douglas is playing the best of anybody in the secondary. No reason to move him.

If you want to stay mentally sane, stay away from the doom and gloom all the media sites are feeding. How do the players not let that get into their heads?

Good question. It's easy to say ignore it, but much harder to do, especially in this age of social media and 24/7 cable/internet.

Speaking of the TEs chipping on 98, do you feel they should be more aggressive a la comments you/Wes made about the young wideouts? On a number of replays, the chipping was more of a fist bump than a disrupting chuck. Thoughts?

It's a tough assignment. You're giving up size, and Crosby is one of the best in the business. If you go full throat, whole hog so to speak, he's going to sidestep you and toss you aside. It's about staying square with good fundamentals. One fundamental lapse against a guy like that and it's over.

Hey Mike, quick observation on the defense. I'm not a big Barry fan, but they've held their own this year so far. Even against Detroit, they played "well enough" that a good offensive game would have given us a chance. However, they're not a dominant, physical defense, so the only way for them to take the next step is to hold onto those potential INTs. We (probably) would have won at least 2 more games. And guys like Douglass and Savage have done that in the past. Not sure what can be done about that, though

I'm not giving the defense a pass on the Detroit game. That first half was awful. The unit did rebound in the third quarter and the offense closed the gap, but that was a huge hole due to being dominated both ways. Dropping INTs will always haunt you. You're only going to get so many shots. The two in Atlanta were the most costly, because they weren't difficult catches and would've changed the game. The one in Vegas was a much tougher play.

Got to feel for Patrick Taylor. What a roller coaster his first 5 weeks of the season were with PS activations, signed to the roster, and released.

Lots of folks asking about Taylor and the roster moves. Let's see if he clears waivers and is brought back to the PS. I can't be certain that's the plan, but it would make sense.

I see here and on II everyone complaining about our offensive line but when you step back and take a look at it we have a new starting right tackle and now a new starting left tackle . Also our left guard is just coming back from an injury and our center and right guard are still pretty young. Three of our 4 TE are rookies too,so I think we should cut them some slack and give them time to learn to work together.

I think that's valid. Units need to play together and gel together. That hasn't happened yet. Individual play needs to improve, across the board, and that will improve the collective as well, along with time on task as a group.

Random fact: Daniel Carlson has 2 career games with multiple missed FGs, both against the Packers. Bet you remember the other one...

Huh. Go figure. I have to say, when I saw the replay of Nijman's block, I was impressed with his hops. He really got up there.

Thanks for the explanation on the Adam's LB coverage. If it's that "simple" to get the D in that look, why is our D either 1) not fooled again or 2) better prepared to check out. Either way, if it can be done to us, why can't our O do that to others with our group? It feels like it's just a free 10 yards.

The Packers have done that in the past on offense with Jones and AJ Dillon as the two RBs. There aren't a lot of two RB looks they've put together outside of those two.

Has GB ever had the youngest team in the league before?

Yes, multiple times in McCarthy's early years, and that was with a veteran QB in Favre.

Do you get shown how the grass system works in Vegas ? Any press room perks that were unique ? How did the Packer everywhere party go for you ?

The press box was really nice. We had to walk across the field from the bus bay to our locker room so I got to walk on the grass a little bit. Really nice surface. That pep rally was nuts. The fans really brought it, and they were there Monday night too. It's too bad the Packers didn't take advantage of such a favorable crowd for a road game.

Hi Spoff! Just a quick question about the whole Bak situation. In these scenarios, do the Packers have protection for their cap? If a player is injured often and doesn't play, is there a way to take a smaller hit against our cap for his contract?

Not with a vested veteran. Any vested veteran on the roster in Week 1 is guaranteed his full salary for the year. I think there are some week-to-week roster bonuses built into Bakhtiari's deal based on him being active on gameday, so they don't have to pay those, but that's the only financial relief.

Offense really lacks cohesion. When plays go south, the blocking, QB and receivers all seem to be on different paths to make a play work

Sometimes it's just one missed assignment or mental error that torpedoes everything. Football is the ultimate team sport.

With scaling back on some offensive stuff, I look at it more as an opportunity to build confidence. Once confidence and momentum is built, expanding the playback should be easier.

I think those are LaFleur's thoughts as well.

I have a question on PTaylor. I thought there was a minimum time on the 53 after third escalation from the PS. I guess not

I'm trying to find out more info on all that, but resources are scarce.

Regarding Purdy vs Love; I live in the Bay Area, so I see a lot of 9er games. Purdy doesn't always have clean pockets, but he always seems to have open receivers (how do you not cover Kittle?), and Shanahan doesn't give up on the run. I have to think our receivers will get better with experience, and will find those holes in the defense, and/or run sharper routes.

Valid points.

If Taylor is signed back to the PS, will he be eligible for 3 elevations to the active roster again?

Again, that's what I'm trying to find out.

Nijman appeared to use the Raider OL shoulder to help himself elevate . Guessing that is illegal but rarely called type of thing ?

If they see it, they'll call it. That's a leverage penalty. I've seen it called, but they won't call what they won't see. At least not most of the time.

I might also start Watson with quick slants or hooks (I know that can be risky for INTs) but his breakaway speed is phenomenal. If I remember correctly, the initial long TD he got from Love in the PHI game last year was an original 8 yard or so slant that he ran the distance afterward.

It was more of a deeper in route actually. That wasn't a quick throw. Needed a tick or two to develop. But yeah, he had space when he caught the ball and was off like a shot.

Dear Mike, After seeing Las Vegas's stadium should all indoor stadiums be required to put in that turf field?

That would be ideal, but the stadium has to be built with the infrastructure to move surfaces in and out. They're not all built that way.

If Nijman is that athletic, I vote for him getting another chance to play left tackle. Also, ML is right saying youth is not an excuse. These are grown men getting paid a lot of money for their chosen occupation. (I guess I won't be getting many votes for sympathetic II follower of the year.)

The coaches are expecting and demanding that the players perform. That's the only way you can do it.

A final quick observation about the Pack this year; for whatever reason, the young talent on this team reminds me of the early JJ Cowboys, when they drafted Aikman. Looked awful for a couple years, but kept moving in the right direction. If that happens with us, I'll be happy, but the game is more 'instant gratification' now than it was then

I'm not sure how any comparison to 30 years ago even applies, but I agree with the instant gratification comment. That's the world in which we live, not just the sporting world.

I challenge the JL detractors to actually watch him play….everything from mobility to arm angles on various throws to his presence in the huddle. Compare that to other young QBs in the league and then honestly tell me that he doesn't have the "it" factor. Patience is a difficult virtue, but we're gonna be fine

I think so too. I've seen plenty to like. He's growing into the job and will continue to do so, as a lot of young players around him grow along with him. That's the idea, that's what's being built here. Will it work? As an old friend always used to say, all we can do is watch.

I feel like the organization knew they'd need to be patient. It's just the fans (very spoiled) that can't seem to understand that particular need with a young team

That too. With that, I'm going to call it a chat. Thanks for all the participation today, and enjoy your bye weekend. Take care everybody. Best, Mike

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