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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What's the key matchup vs. Buffalo?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions from fans


Hey everybody, thanks for logging on today. Let's get started.

I keep hearing people say that the league was emphasizing the roughing-the-passer call, but I honestly don't remember that many such calls in preseason. Helmet contact, yes, but not this. I think the league needs to get its stories straight

The "body weight" rule is a change to RTP for this year, and there was talk of more emphasis on the RTP calls in general, but there weren't many calls in the preseason. The focus was on the helmet rule, you're right, because that was almost an every-play thing, but that has clearly taken a back seat.

Hi Mike. Our secondary needs a boost this week. What's the latest on King?

No update yet. We'll see if he's on the practice field tomorrow.

Can the contain the Bills pass rush? Cousins was pressured 32 times last week.

I hadn't seen that stat, but regardless, I think that's the matchup that could decide this game. The Vikings couldn't handle Hughes off the edge. It's another test for Bakhtiari, but he's up to it every week. We'll see if the Packers have to make changes up front due to injuries and how that might affect the game plan.

Can't find it now, but I swear I read that a defensive player injured himself on Sunday trying to avoid landing on the QB and drawing a flag. 99% sure I read it. If so, that's just nuts.... Injure yourself to AVOID contact in a contact sport.

Yes, it was the DE from Miami, William Hayes. He tore his ACL and is out for the season, and Miami head coach Adam Gase said he twisted the knee trying not to land with all his body weight on the QB. Wonderful.

Any word on what will happen with personnel with Wilkerson apparently headed to IR

Nothing yet. For now, it's on Lowry and Adams to take on larger roles. If any additional players are brought in, it will take a while before they're ready to make any sort of impact.

What is the status of our offensive line for Sunday? Hard to believe I'm concerned about the Bills...

If you don't protect the football in the NFL, you will lose. It's just that simple. McCarthy had no updates on Bulaga or McCray on Monday. The first injury report of the week will be tomorrow after practice.

I watched JJ Watts sacks this past weekend and no roughing calls on them. One of the hits looked a lot like the hit Clay made on Cousins. Clays hit was slightly higher but he clearly made more effort to keep his weight off the QB. Does the rule state a specific area of the body you can hit to avoid or reduce the chance of getting a penalty

I think it's obvious there's no consistency in how the rules are being applied. Comparing this sack to that sack is a waste of time because no one is calling it the same. That's what the league has to figure out and get all the officials on the same page.

Where does the Redskins train whistle rank on your list of most annoying stadium hype sounds?

I don't know, but the FedExField press box did not disappoint. Water was leaking through the ceiling and there were buckets placed in various places to catch the drips. I'm not kidding.

how does a player going on IR affect the salary cap? can it affect a teams ability to bring in another player?

It certainly can. That's why you always want to have room. A vested veteran's full-year salary is guaranteed, and capped, as soon as he's on the roster for Week 1.

Since your chat is sponsored by Ticketmaster, do you get free tickets to anything?

I wish. I wouldn't mind some Brewers postseason tickets, if they can keep it up and get in there.

Oren Burks played 8 snaps, I'm guessing mostly to get him acclimated back to the game (similar to Aaron Jones). If not, was there any setback w/ him and his shoulder?

Not that I'm aware of. I wasn't surprised at his small workload. He hadn't played since the second preseason game, which was over a month ago. That's a long layoff for a rookie coming into his first regular-season action.

Sounds like the NFL competition committee agrees with everyone but the NFL Reffing department that these Roughing calls are a joke and I hear they are now going to enforce like last year, is that what your hearing

I've only heard that some things are going to be discussed. I don't know where it goes from here.

I assume no word on Aaron's injuries yet?

Rodgers denied after the game there was anything wrong with his hamstring, despite what many were speculating.

What's your opinion of everyone calling this the Aaron Rodgers rule?

I think it's a bit misguided, but the word everyone is forgetting about in the rule, which is not being applied properly, and which stemmed from the Barr hit, is "unnecessary." If that were properly brought into judgment, I don't think we'd have so much controversy.

When there's no consistency in the calls, who pays the price? I don't think it's the refs. I don't think it's the owners, or the league itself. So that leaves the fans and the teams on the receiving end of shoddy calls. When something is this broken, how can the NFL justify letting it keep happening until the season is over? It's just mind boggling that they're okay putting out a rule that is clearly broken.

They made a rule that sounds great on paper but clearly didn't communicate effectively how it should be enforced. For years, the league has tried to make things as black-and-white for the officials as possible. Some officials are taking the same black-and-white approach to these RTP rules, and that's just ludicrous.

I really liked Jones' production out of the backfield and thought he should have gotten more carries. Washington was not ready for him; they prepared for Williams and Monty. What are your thoughts on him for this week?

I think Jones' role will increase as we go along, but with all the options the Packers have, I don't see them beating one guy into the ground from here on out.

I am really concerned abut Aaron Rodgers. I mean he is already hurt and got sacked several times on Sunday. Is it the line or is he holding the football too long?

There's definitely some of both. Rodgers is an otherworldly talent, but let's not discount the value of practicing every day, too. That has an impact on his sharpness. Even if he's not practicing regularly, he still gives the Packers by far their best chance to win, but other areas/facets of the team have to pick up the slack. The defense allowing four touchdowns in the first half made it really hard for the offense to overcome the slow start.

Is it hard to make your per diem last in a big city like Washington DC?

Not when the Badgers are playing in prime time. I kept it simple and settled nicely into my hotel room couch for a classic Big Ten slobberknocker.

I heard Jordy had a monster game. I didn't see it did you?

He had a monster first quarter, but Oakland still lost to Miami. With the game on the line, Carr threw an INT in the end zone trying to hit Martavis Bryant.

Is it time for Clay to cut his hair and start wearing longer sleeves? I can't help but think players with notable intimidating physical features are more likely to be on the wrong end of these subjective Roughing the Passer calls.

That's a theory I hadn't considered. I don't think I will.

to Ethan's point if the rule stays the way it is with the subjective opinion enforcement, the league will lose viewership because of frustrated fans

I don't doubt that. The fans have every right to be frustrated with how these first few weeks have gone. When fans feel results are not just, for whatever reason, they're going to tune out.

I'm posting this comment for my brother,Matt, who is at work. He wonders why we don't run more and go to the short passing game to help 12 out.

We'll see what develops. All game plans look pretty good when there aren't a bunch of penalties being committed. The flags on the Packers in Washington typified the sloppy game.

Looking at the current NFL standings, which team's record surprises you the most?

Definitely Miami. Only three teams in the league are 3-0, and I would not have predicted the Dolphins being one of them.

I see this weeks game is the 3rd Jersey game, and I'll be attending which is even better. Has there been any details on the new version of the jerseys?

It's the same one from the last couple of years. Teams can only change their third jerseys once every five years, by league rule.

We are still going up against a rookie QB this week. If we can establish the run and get ahead early. Easy peasy.

OK, sure.

Is an 80% Rodgers with no practice time for the rest of the year better than sitting him for 3 games, and getting 100% Rodgers the rest of the year after those 3 games?

I don't anticipate Rodgers not practicing for the rest of the season, but there's no predicting how this is going to go. It's week to week. If he's able to play each week, he gives the Packers the best chance to win. That's all. There's no guarantee sitting him for a few games would get the desired results you seek either.

Did you win any bets with Bryan Bulaga on the Badger game?

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood ...

What is the Packers' press box like? I figure it resembles that of a large family get together. Especially with the family type jousting that takes place across social media. Fun stuff.

It's a working environment, very professional, and comfortable with a good view. That's all I ask. It's a gathering of sorts before the game when folks are eating and chatting, but once the game starts, everyone's working.

I was worried on the drops from last game. Do you think it was due on the weather, or do you saw something else to them?

Bad days happen. The weather didn't help, but pros have to overcome that, especially veteran players. They'll make up for it. I truly believe that.

Do you see Gerenamo's production through week 3 as being the byproduct of number 3 or 4 option and getting better looks, or is he establishing himself as a huge threat in hte league?

He's taking advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. Sometimes he's just making the play on his own, other times it's the attention Adams or Graham is drawing that helps him out. It doesn't matter how if he's making the plays that come to him.

I read in the week 2 postgame pool report that refs were calling repeat offenders with more of a 'targeting' style of flag throwing. If that's true... you finish for me, I'm flabbergasted.

I heard nothing like that from a pool report. The fines the league is handing out get larger for repeat offenders, that's for sure. The fine on Sendejo for his hit at Lambeau was around $50K, because he's been in the disciplinary crosshairs before.

If Clay decides to follow Brandon's advice and cut his hair, can we have a live stream of that on

I'll work on that.

As badly as the offense played Sunday. The Defense giving up 31 points was super disappointing. Ole Adrian Peterson looked like his old self too. What is the problem with the D?

McCarthy called it on Peterson. He said if you get out of your gap, he'll still make you pay, and he did that a few times. For all but about three carries, the Packers did fine against him. The explosives in the passing game were the real killers. Tackling and properly handling route combinations would help minimize those big plays.

I'm going to the game in LA end of October. Is it still pretty dang hot that time of year?

You're asking a Wisconsin native that question?

Regarding the "bear-hug-the-QB idea", I say bear-hug him until his ribs crack, no flag, but as effective a deterent as a good tackle.

Someone's going to try the bear hug and hold him up tactic. I just don't know who or when.

Hello Mike, why is everybody so upset about the performance so far? Weren't we all agree september is a new kind of pre-season Mode?

Septembers are even harder to predict than the rest of this unpredictable league. For every year like 2015 where things seem to run smoothly out of the gate, you get at least 2-3 Septembers like this one, where you're constantly adjusting to injuries and getting things in sync.

McCarthy said he wants to keep the three headed monster at RB the whole season. Obviously we want all three to be healthy all year, but wouldn't you prefer a guy to take over? I feel like Jones getting 15 carrier a game is the best for the Pack.

I could see that developing over time. 15 is not a huge number, but I'm not surprised he didn't get that many in his first game back, after returning late in the preseason from a hamstring problem.

Is Wes being ironic with his pen point and wink at the start of Packers Unscripted?

Call it the Hod Hello.

Who had bets the Bears would be in first place after three weeks?

We just taped today's Unscripted before I came on to do the chat, and I mentioned what Bears fans are thinking right now -- that if they hadn't blown a 20-point lead at Lambeau, they'd be 3-0 and sitting pretty. Every team has a perspective.

Mason Crosby didn't get to try his field goal near the end of the first half because of a botched snap. How does that show up in the stats?

It went down as an incomplete pass by JK Scott. So he's officially 0-for-1 in his NFL career, which equates to a passer rating of 39.6. Don't ask me why or how.

Mike does it seem like to you the packers always somehow seem to play down to the competition but also hold their own against the more successful teams. I was expecting to smash washington but once again seemed to play down to washington again...

I think that happens at the college level sometimes, but not here. These are pro teams. Any given Sunday is a cliche because it's true. Washington has been wildly inconsistent throughout the Jay Gruden era. I mentioned that last week. It did not surprise me they came out on fire after a clunker of a home opener vs. Indy.

Arizona, Atlanta and Detroit all at home in December. Weather the storm through the first 3/4 of the season and I like our chances against those teams in the cold.

Long way to go before then. Just beat the Bills.

Any players on the OL or DL who might not show up much on the TV broadcast, but have really stood out to you so far?

I put together a WYMM this week on Kenny Clark, mostly on his run defense. All the plays are from the first half in Washington, which went unnoticed because of all the other problems. He's playing lights out. Unbelievably strong and quick.

How come the packers played well against a top team in the vikings but struggle against the redskins

How does Buffalo go into Minneapolis and take a 27-0 lead? How does 0-2 Detroit outplay New England? It's the NFL. There is no figuring it out.

Is Mike Daniels as mean in person as he comes off on the tee-veeeeee?

Daniels is a very personable, fun guy. But I've never tried to talk to him right before or during a game. He has a switch he flips for sure.

You ever been to Beirut?

Do you like movies about gladiators?

On the play the refs missed when Rogers had his head driven into the ground. Any chance that might be a finable offense even though a penalty was not called?

Certainly possible. Fines leak out in the media on Fridays. We'll find out.

Can Matthews do a penalty sack dance, or is that a penalty?

Oh my. On that note, I think we'll call it a chat. Thanks for all the participation today, everybody. Take care and we'll talk again next week. - Mike

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