Mike's Mid-Week Chat: More of the aftermath

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions following up on Monday night's victory in his weekly live chat

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

Hey everybody. Thanks for logging on. Sorry I'm a tad late. Let's get to it.

Just wondering if you get emotionally involved in a tight one like on Monday night??

I've been doing this too long to let any emotions get in the way. I have a job to do and I owe it to all the readers/listeners to focus on that job. That's how I look at it.

What has kept Allen Lazard down on the depth chart when he seems to be getting all the praise from coach and qb?

I can't answer that, but I think he changed perceptions on Monday.

Hi Mike Thanks for the chat. Any previews on injury news or is it just "wait until the report comes out"?

You said it. The Packers aren't having a formal practice today, just walk-throughs, so we won't be watching anything and the injury report will just be an estimation anyway. Tomorrow's will give a better read.

All anyone is talking about on social media are the hands to the face penalties.... and now Bakhtiari's comments about them. What is your take on the situation?

Bakhtiari has been a victim of the "point of emphasis" on holding this year, and he's trying to work those out himself. To his credit, he hasn't taken his case to the media. If he pointed something out to the officials, good for him. I'm sure defenders have done the same against him, and why we've seen more calls against him this year. Ultimately, my take is if Flowers was upset with the first call, he should have taken it as a warning and changed his technique. Getting called a second time, legit or not, is on him.

Hey Mike - even though Shepherd fumbled the punt after the helmet hit, that was still an impressive, albeit awkward initial catch. Do they focus on those small victories, or does the fumble negate any good?

As LaFleur said, you can't be trying to catch punts with your hands over your head. It was poor technique. That's what he has to learn from.

I know the fans of both the Lions and Packers are still obsessing over the impact of the calls in the last game. Does the thought that perhaps we stole one that might have been somewhat undeserved have any effect on the players psyche?

It shouldn't. This happens all over the league now. Everyone has been a victim, or perceived victim, at some point, Packers included. Patricia's public message is the one his players have to buy into, that they had plenty of opportunities to put the game away so it didn't come down to those calls. Just like the Packers couldn't get too worked up about the DPI at the goal line on the Philly INT, because if they had punched it in from the 1 on the previous possession, everything is different. The phrase control what you can control has never been more apropos.

Props to Jamaal Williams and his performance Monday night against the Lions.

Williams was outstanding, and to do that after missing essentially two whole games was impressive, too. It looked like the Packers were moving the line of scrimmage up front on most running plays and getting 4-5 yards pretty easily with Williams' power running. It was an important part to the comeback, both of them.

Mike--If you and Wes competed in a decathlon who would win?

Wes is much younger than I am so the safe bet is him.

A lot of people said Packers offense had trouble against the Detroit D but I saw it differently. I thought they moved the ball well against Detroit defense. Only if Packers' receivers caught those balls, we would've beaten the Lions by more than 1 pts.

The Packers hurt themselves on offense plenty, and then Shepherd's slip on the goal line cost them points as well. The Packers moved the ball pretty well from the second quarter on. In the first quarter, a dropped third-down pass and the Jones fumble ended the first two drives.

Sure looks like the run defense is improving the last two games and another challenging running back coming to town on Sunday. Does Pettine make specific changes to the game plan for each back or does the defense follow a single general script?

It appeared in the Lions game Pettine got the defensive front back to playing more gap sound football, not worrying so much about penetrating, which was leaving creases for running backs in previous weeks. It cuts into your pass rush on play-action, but that's a sacrifice worth making. The Packers' pass rush has been really good on third downs.

Post game locker room, the team always breaks with "Family", I'm truly beginning to believe that word is becoming part of this team's identity, do you get the same feeling?


I think something that is getting lost in the Flowers penalties is that the penalty includes contact to the neck area and based on where Flowers hand is on the second call it is completely conceivable that the official saw it as a penalty and called it as such. The timing of the calls is really what is fueling all the controversy - don't you think?

They were both on third down, giving automatic first downs and changing the course of both possessions dramatically. The first one wiped out a sack and the Packers were going to punt. Three plays later they're in the end zone. The second one took away their opportunity to get the ball back, and they would have only needed a FG to win. They were huge calls, but that gets back to the point Patricia made to the public and to his team right after the game. The Lions had chances to score way more than 22 points, and failing to take advantage of the opportunities made those late calls matter a ton.

The Raiders are 3-2 i believe coming off a bye. What will be the key to stopping them on Offense? Is it Josh Jacobs or Derrick Carr and the passing game? Gruden seems to be getting the most out of this team.

I give the Raiders credit. Driving 97 yards against Chicago's defense to win that game in London said a lot about what they have going. Jacobs is really coming into his own, and Carr is a dangerous QB. It's the second straight week the Packers are playing a team coming off a bye, and GB is on a short week to boot. This is a challenging week of preparation for an uncommon opponent.

Why wasn't Detroit first TD reviewed?

It was. All scoring plays are reviewed. They didn't see anything to reverse the call on the field, which was touchdown. Even though there was clear disagreement on the field from the officials as to what that call should have been.

Thanks for your hard work mike, does it seem like our third place schedule is kinda hard with the panthers and niners being the special games that the rest of the division doesn't have to play? Vikings get falcons and Seahawks, bears get rams and saints, lions get cardinals and buccaneers.

That's how it shakes out sometimes. The Vikings getting the Falcons didn't look like a break in Week 1, but now it looks different. No one when the schedule came out thought Packers-Niners in Week 12 would be that big a deal, but that could now be a huge game. All part of the fun.

If Geronimo Allison can not go Sunday, do you think Lazard can step up and be a consistent threat like he was when he got his chances on Monday night? He has a confidence about himself that reminds me of a few great leaders we had over the past decade or so. Going back to Tae, James Jones, Driver, Jordy and even Greg Jennings. He really showed that in the preseason and Monday Night. Excited for guy like that to get the opportunities he has worked for since day one.

How can anyone not be excited for Lazard? Hopefully Allison can be back sooner than later, because even though this season hasn't gone as well as he would have hoped personally, he's proven he can do it in the past and can get back to it. What Lazard did was huge, and now he has to follow it up. The Packers are going to need him.

Being that I know quite a few lions fans up here, any suggestions on how to shut them up about "the packers bribing and cheating them out of a win?"

I get the Detroit fans' frustrations. They've been victims plenty, going all the way back to the play that started the Calvin Johnson rule in 2010. But you find out what your team is made of when you have to move on. Seven years ago the Packers bounced back from the Fail Mary and won a one-point game on a short week. The Fail Mary made the '12 Packers a better team.

Is our susceptibility to big plays becoming a concern? It's great we lock down in the end zone but we've given up a lot of bombs to good QBs, not great ones. Curious to see what we do against the cream of the crop...

Well, the Packers clamped down after the two early explosives vs. Detroit. Against Dallas, the big plays were consistent throughout the second half and that was a bigger problem. Teams are going to make some plays, but it's easier to recover if you give them up early vs. late.

Hi Mike, I was surprised to see the Lions come out with their blue "home" uniforms Monday night. Can the Packers (or any home team) wear any uniform they choose and the away team must respond with a contrasting uniform? Apparently, color-wash uniforms aren't only for Thursday nights anymore?

That surprised me, too. Had no idea until I got to the stadium Monday the Packers were going all-white. But yes, the home team gets to pick what it wants to wear and the visiting team has to choose an appropriate contrast from there.

King got burned a few times on Monday night. He did make a couple nice plays but he just didn't seem himself for long throws. Did you get a feeling he is dealing with some issues physically or more of a byproduct of fast WR?

He's been on the injury report with hamstring and groin issues. How much those are affecting him I can't say.

The vibe feels different this year. Obviously from a 35,000 foot view. Does that rub off on reporters like yourself covering the team?

I don't know what you mean by rub off, but it's certainly noticeable. The real test will come when adversity hits. The team has responded well to Adams' injury and the one, tough loss. But it's a long season and they'll have to respond again. So far, they've shown a togetherness that has been beneficial.

Mike, did it look to you like Detroits RB made it into the end zone? Did any of the players have anything to say?

I think the Packers thought they stopped him. I thought they stopped him. At least half the officials with a view of the play thought they stopped him.

Before we lost him, did you feel like Savage was developing good lateral speed and instincts? Would be nice to have an Earl Thomas-lite mop up guy to take the pressure off of CBs on deep balls.

I don't think it was an accident the Lions tested the Packers deep early with Savage out. That's nothing against Will Redmond, just a reality of how this league is.

Will it be key for the defense to limit Josh Jacobs and if so, how will they try to do it?

With the same principles they used against the Lions. The Packers were much more sound against the run, and it showed.

Take another look at the Green Bay Packers' Week 6 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

Are you surprised the Raiders have not missed a beat with all the drama in Training camp (hard knocks plus Antonio Clown)?

They had a lot of distractions to shake off and they've done it. They're right in the thick of it in the AFC West with the Chiefs losing two straight.

Do you see ML riding the hot had between Jones and Williams during games or is it more situational?

I think the hot hand has a lot to do with it.

I was shocked we didn't see more of Mercedes with those great catches. It seems like that would be a situation you would go to him again. Thoughts?

If Lewis catches two passes for 50 yards every game, you take it, along with his blocking prowess. I don't see the Packers overworking him in the passing game, per se. He's a good option to have, but Rodgers needs to get other options going, too.

Is Jamaal Williams maybe the most underrated running back in the league? He may not be as flashy as Aaron Jones, but when needed, he delivers.

I do think he's a bit underrated, but the best part is he doesn't care.

I was impressed in the Smith Bro's post game media scrum that they used AR's complement for them as a great answer - "We've got a quarterback" and We've got an offense." Great ten move.

Those two don't miss much. They get it.

As I recall, the motor city miracle hail mary play came right after a somewhat controversial penalty on a Detroit lineman. Do I have that right?

Yes, yes you do.

There have been big games my different pieces of the offense this year. We now have our running tandem back, once Adam's and Allison return, how close will we be to putting it all together and deliver a good whoop down on someone?

I think people need to get off this idea of whipping teams. Just win games. The Packers were up 31-3 on the Cowboys and it probably should have been easier than it turned out, but the bottom line is they did what they had to. Just keep answering the bell.

Do you think Patricia not challenging the Redmond pass interference on Jones in Q4 was due to the low percentage of reversed calls so far this year?

No question about it. We're seeing the same shift in PI reviews that we saw with the RTP emphasis early last year. It's changing from the way it was being called/officiated/adjudicated in the early weeks.

Mike, I saw Oren Burks didn't play much on Monday night and that Goodson was mainly out there in base....how did he do? I don't remember hearing his name really at all.

I thought Goodson was really active against the run, and Pettine liked that package against Detroit's run personnel. Doesn't mean it'll be that way every week.

It seems like the NFC wild card entries could very well need 11 victories to make it to the post-season.

That's looking way too far ahead, but I was having a conversation with another reporter last week, and I get the feeling a really good team or two might get left out of the NFC playoffs this year. I don't think we'll be saying the same thing about the AFC. But there's a long way to go, yet.

You've mentioned many times that you have to be objective to do your job efficiently. On the other hand, Larry is quite obviously a cheerleader/Packers fan. Is that based on the difference between print and radio responsibilities or it a personality thing?

It's just our backgrounds. Larry played here and has been doing team radio now for a long time. Home radio announcers are expected to be homers, for lack of a better phrase. That doesn't mean Larry looks at questionable or controversial calls and doesn't say what he really thinks. I was trained as a journalist and worked in newspaper. There's no emotion to doing your job. It's just how I've always been.

The Dean of Mean Lowry stepped up huge Monday night. Was kind of nice his big game came against the Lions with Mike Daniels on the other team.

There's a reason the Packers gave Lowry a contract extension. They saw this coming and didn't want him to get away. Lowry has been on a steady climb since the day he got here. He's the definition of draft-and-develop.

Does the preseason win that Oakland has over the Packers carry over into this weekend or is that already forgotten?Also, remember that shortened field. Fun times!

It means nothing. Nobody's starters played. Fun times? Good one.

Jaire's speed was on full display on Golloday's would be TD catch. That was really impressive seeing Jaire run that play down from the backside. Another classic example of why it was necessary for our defense to get faster by drafting for speed.


Hey Mike, not sure if you've addressed this yet. On Lazard's touchdown it looked like his knee was down with contact from the defender before the ball crossed the goal line. It didn't look like he quite had full possession at the time. Does he have to have full possession to be down by contact? Thanks

Yes. If he hasn't caught the ball yet, he can't be down.

Gotta love the ebb and flow of the NFL from week to week. One week you want the Packers to beat the Lions - the next you want the Lions to beat the Vikings. This is a fun season so far.

No shortage of entertainment.

Can't wait to see what the base defense looks like with Burks next to Blake and Savage in the back with Amos.

The good thing is the Packers are finding other guys who can help and take on certain roles. That'll prove valuable down the line.

The Raiders could be playing for 1st in the AFC West if KC loses tomorrow night. This feels like another close game, perhaps the weather at Lambeau will give us the advantage?

I don't know about the weather. It's always interesting to me to have West Coast teams come here and play a game that's at 10 a.m. on their body clocks, but a lot of teams will fly out on Fridays to get adjusted.

Looking at the rest of the schedule, what game seem to be the biggest challenge for the Packer's to overcome?

It's not about that. It's about playing four of your next five on the road after this early slate of home games is done. Continue to take advantage of what's in front of you and get to 6-1 before all the travel starts.

What was the deal with all the slipping? I heard John Kuhn comment during the radio broadcast if he saw one other player for the Packers slip he was going to personally change their spikes.

Yeah, that was odd. LaFleur said yesterday he was going to look into it.

Quick technical question... If a QB opens the game with a pass, it hits the receiver in the chest and falls to the ground but there is a PI call on the defense... Is the QB 0-1, 1-1, or 0-0?

If DPI is called and accepted, no pass was ever thrown statistically speaking.

On the subject of the interference reviews, do you think the rule allowing for the challenge will be taken away next year? It seems to be causing more problems than it solves.

The competition committee is certainly going to look at it. But there are 11 weeks plus the playoffs to gather more evidence to study.

Did the Rams give up too much for Ramsey?

They gave up a lot. I don't know. They obviously feel they need the help on defense to break out of their current slide. They're playing to win now based on how their roster and cap are currently constructed.

Is there any concern that Adams injury could take substantial time to heal? Any timeline on his return to action?

Adams told reporters last week he simply doesn't know. What he does know is he doesn't want to come back too early and be in danger of re-aggravating it. He wants it to get healthy, and I don't blame him.

What're your thoughts-on the younger receivers stepping up the rest of the season

They're going to keep getting chances, and the ones that cash in are going to get more chances. These things sort themselves out.

I think it's easy to forget that a lot goes on with every play and the refs are looking at different things than fans do. I get upset with them , too, but I have a ton of respect for what they do.

I've said for a long time I think they should be allowed to focus on controlling the game and leave the safety rules to others (or video). All the rules that have been added in the name of player safety, which I get are necessary, has put way too much on the officials' plates. Their jobs are way too hard, and in my opinion they don't have to be. There are ways to help.

The TV commentators noted the slipping on the field but their sideline reporter said that no players were complaining or changed their cleats because of field conditions. Sideline reporter also said that she felt the field and it wasn't wet . So it seems strange that everyone was slipping a lot. It will be interesting to see what the field looks like on Sunday

I'm no expert, but temps have been changing a lot around here lately, and very quickly and dramatically. I don't know if that does anything to the grass.

On Monday, I had the fan behind me keep tapping me on the shoulder to sit down at critical defensive points in the game. I didn't want to, but sat anyway. What's the appropriate protocol?

In my opinion, the whole place should be standing and hollering on a defensive third down. On first and second down, I can understand folks' frustrations with people blocking their view.

Did you think the Pack should've attempted the winning FG on third down? What if there would've been a bad snap or something on fourth down?

You have to trust your players to do their jobs right the first time. I'd rather play it that way than leave myself open to some crazy, multi-lateral kickoff return or a Hail Mary.

With all the problems going on with the overworked Refs and the scream of fans, I think the league will have to do more to help their officials again this off season. It seem like there is no end in sight to these issues. It is like the new normal in the NFL.

I totally agree, unfortunately. And with that I have to run.

Thanks everyone. Take care and thanks for all the participation.

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