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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What's in store for the offseason?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered fan questions in a live chat.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on. Sorry it's been a while since I did a chat, but I'll try to hop on here and there during the offseason. So let's get started.

You're married with children. How did you find time on vacation to read that much?

Ha. I have a son who's off at grad school, a teenage daughter who would always rather do her own thing, and a wife who likes to fall asleep in the sun. So reading on vacation is easy.

Mike, With the possibility of losing Corey Linsley, and not having David Bakhtiari to start next season, some are suggesting moving Elgton Jenkins to center. Does that make sense to you?

It's certainly a possibility. The Packers have a gem in Jenkins and they'll use him where he helps best.

Hey Mike, greetings from Germany! What do you think about the Watt situation. Is there a chance?

I'm going to say here what I've been saying every day in Inbox this week. I don't know.

Hello Mike. Do you see the Packers are generally an overall conservative team in terms of the administration? Unwilling to gamble the future for the present in search of a Super Bowl?

The Packers' approach is to be a competitive playoff team as often as for as long as possible. The more shots you get, the better chance one of those shots pans out. I think it's the right approach. Is it frustrating to have been a good team and not gone to the Super Bowl for a decade? Of course. They've had some dynamite opportunities and let them get away. But they've let them get away on the field in my opinion, not in the front office.

Where do the Packers now stand in regard to the salary cap?

They still have work to do to bring their number down, but it hasn't been officially announced yet what the cap will be for 2021, so we'll have to see what happens.

What do you see as the biggest team needs for the draft this year?

The positions that jump out at me first are offensive tackle, defensive line and cornerback, in whatever order.

In 2019 statistically the offense struggled, in 2020 it was the best in the NFL. Do you expect the Joe Barry defense to have an equally long learning curve?

Two years is not a long learning curve in the NFL. But I don't see Barry's defense being as big a change schematically as LaFleur's offense was.

How many more roster moves (cuts and pushing out money) should we expect to get ourselves in a good spot cap wise?

I don't have all the Packers' contract info in front of me, but I'm guessing a handful of moves will need to be made, unless the announced cap doesn't turn out to be as low as some were projecting.

Speaking of Linsley, did he have even one bad snap this season? I don't remember one?

I remember a fumbled exchange with Aaron Rodgers on a snap, I think it was at Indy on the opening drive of the game. Don't know who was more at fault, but that's all I can recall.

Take a look at the best snow photos at Lambeau Field from the 2020 season.

Mike, how similar do you think the hiring of Joe Barry is similar to that of Matt LaFleur in 2019? His numbers were not exactly the best but he was ideal because of his appealing scheme. Matt being the Shannahan/McVay, and Barry being Fangio.

I see how you're drawing those parallels. Coaching isn't just about scheme. It's also about leadership, the talent supplied, and adjusting to make the most of that talent.

An Inbox question. Sounds like you finish the Inbox around 4-5 PM for the next day. What happens to the questions submitted after 5 PM? Are they automatically carried over to the succeeding day?

Yes, I'll read through them the next day.

When will the 2021 cap be announced!

The new league year officially starts in mid-March, so I'm guessing in the next couple of weeks.

Hi Mike, I respect the hiring of Joe Berry, I just don't understand why coaches in the NFL seem to get more chances from what appears to this outsider a good ol boy network.

It's a high-pressure business and familiarity can breed comfort and confidence. It's not the answer to everything, but in an unforgiving world I totally understand it.

Any idea what the fans in the stands looks like for 2021? I planned on a New Orleans trip last season and the football gods smiled upon us this year. I'd love to be there this year!

I have no idea, but the fact that the Packers got fans in the stands toward the end of the season, and the first regular-season game is still almost seven months away, when our country should be in a different place with the pandemic, hopefully bodes well.

Good morning! Are your days longer with Wes on vacation or are your days about the same length?

We put in such long hours during the season, I try to keep my offseason days as close to 9-5 as possible unless I absolutely have to work outside those hours.

Not to ask too morbid of a question, but do you think II could survive all that many years with the franchise lights off as they were in the 70s-80s? What happens when fans used to winning have to adjust?

I don't know, but I hope I'm long gone before I have to find out.

Hello Mike, The D-Bak's contract restructuration is more for making cap room or for being in a better position in FA?

They're sort of one in the same, aren't they?

Any chance Packers are coming to London in 2021?

No idea. I know the league would like to resume the international games in 2021, but it's wait and see. I also don't know if any of the Packers' road opponents for next season have any interest in taking a game overseas.

Any guess as to whether or not Tim Boyle will be back with GB next season as opposed to trying to get a starting gig with another team?

I don't know what Boyle or the Packers are thinking there. I could certainly see him wanting to be somewhere there isn't an MVP and a first-round draft pick at the same position, but I can't speak to how much interest other teams might have in him.

If you had to sum up the whole 2020 season in one headline, what would it look like?

For the Packers? Great year falls short. For the NFL? The league pulled it off.

Curious how the restructuring process works? Does the team contact the player? Their agent?

Usually all the contact is through the agent.

If you were the GM for a day would you take the Jaguars two firsts and two seconds this year for our starting QB?

No. I want the current league MVP to continue showing his mastery of this offense and growing within it for a few more years.

Hi Mike! Do you think Tom Brady is a first ballot hall of famer? But seriously, what do you think is the problem with the Milwaukee Bucks? 4 losses in a row?

I'll be honest, I don't watch much NBA basketball until the playoffs. I watch more college basketball during the regular season, and I'd really like to see the Badgers find some sort of hot streak soon.

Do you think when the team is in the red zone next year they might try running AJ Dillon instead of pass, pass, pass?

The Packers were outstanding in the red zone all season long, best in the league. They got away from what they did well on two goal-to-go possessions against Tampa Bay.

Looks like more than Davante Adams needs some contract work to get us under the cap. I don't know anything about anything, but my brief look at the cap tells me 12's contract needs to be reworked or extended.

That's certainly a possibility too. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

I really like the 2020 taxi squad rules. When might we see which ones become permanent?

There are a couple of owners' meetings in the spring when I'm sure some of those will be discussed. They don't really have to have them all worked out until training camps start.

Dear Mike, Any predictions on the Brewers season?

I think it's going to be difficult to stay ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central now that St. Louis made the deal for Nolan Arenado, but I'm cautiously optimistic the Brewers will be better than the .500 club they were last year.

Hey Mike, thanks again for the chat. Do you think there would be any sort of benefit to switching from a primary 3-4 to a 4-3 with the personnel we have on the roster? (I know base is used far less than what the name suggests)

I don't think so, but this league is really about how you line up in nickel anyway. Who are the six players and how are they aligned in front of the five DBs? That'll be more important to watch.

Would another way to characterize the Packers' season be, "Once again they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?"

I don't think you can say that when you're down 28-10 in the NFC title game. This wasn't 2014. Same result, similar disappointment, but different path.

Is the cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander for the first game of 2021 currently on the roster?

I don't know. Signing your own is about priorities, and I think it's clear the Packers' priorities would be Aaron Jones and Linsley over Kevin King, but you never know how all this is going to shake out.

Other than Jordan Love and the incoming rookies, who do you think a full training camp/preseason will benefit the most this year?

A lot of players from last year's draft class would benefit greatly.

With multiple years remaining on ARs contract are the Packers allowed to add a year with a sizable signing bonus that could effectively cut down on his 2021 cap number?

Sure, as long as Rodgers agrees to it.

I live sports. Watch and follow, college sports, all pro sports, Nascar. That being said, when I relax and unwind I get away from that and read Steven King, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, James Patterson, etc. I'm surprised with your career sports related you don't "get away" in a good fiction novel.

I did that last year, reading the first three Bourne books by Ludlum. I enjoyed those, too, and it turned out to be a great choice when the pandemic hit in March. But I will always love baseball more than fiction.

I just want to give kudos for the Game day Live Blog. Having two young daughters, it can be a challenge to give full attention to a Packers game in real time. Am I the only one that goes back and reads the entire Live Game blog to get your perspective after the game is over?

I don't know. I'm not even sure if I could follow all my random thoughts and musings after the fact.

Have all the compensatory draft picks been handed out yet? Do we know what the Packers will receive?

Nothing official yet, but projections have the Packers getting three extra picks -- one each in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds I believe.

I think LaFleur is still a bit too conservative when it comes to crunch time. He had only been an OC for 3 years. He seems to learn from his mistakes, but I get tired of his "I should have done this or that."

Trust me, it's not just younger coaches who feel that way after a game. I admire his ability to be honest publicly with such thoughts. Not all coaches are like that, even if they often feel the same way inside.

I know one person seldom makes the difference on a team, but I can't help think we might be holding the trophy if Bakhtiari doesn't get hurt.

That's just another random element to this game and especially the postseason. Five sacks from the edge rushers after a season in which Rodgers was only sacked 20 times in 16 games ... the Packers weren't at their best, however you want to look at it.

Do the Packers ever pick up a free agent to create momentum or excitement, like in the case of JJ Watt?

This team doesn't make personnel acquisitions for PR reasons or to sell tickets. It's not how they operate.

Do you think with Rodgers wanting to take every second to read the defense, that they still have the ability to run a good hurry-up offense? Haven't seen that in a few years.

I have no doubt they could. The Packers were still plenty good in two-minute situations this year. They just didn't have many end-of-game scenarios where it was needed. Rodgers usually calls his own plays in two-minute anyway.

I can't decide which MLB I like more, Krys Barnes or Kamal Martin. Which MLB are you more excited about for next season?

I'm excited for both, but I'd say Barnes impressed me more as a rookie. I think the question with both is where the ceiling is. We don't know yet.

Steve's criticism of LaFleur is misguided. I find it refreshing that that MLF is willing to be honest and look in the mirror for blame and improvement.

I think all coaches do that to some degree. What's different about LaFleur is he'll do it publicly, which I think the players in the locker room respect.

It does get frustrating. "We shouldn't have gotten away from the run." Then next time, "We shouldn't have gotten away from the run." Well, who's in charge? Next time just run the dang ball.

That falls on both the play caller and the QB.

Next year the team that can't win an NFC championship game will win the SB against a team that can't win the SB. (Green Bay vs. Buffalo) heard it here first!!

All righty then. And we'll let that be the last word for today. Thanks for all the participation folks, and we can do this again in a couple of weeks or so. Take care, all the best. --Mike

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