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Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What's the vibe around the Packers?

Editor Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

Offensive huddle
Offensive huddle

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on today. I see questions coming in already so I'll just get started.

Jordan Love doesn't get enough credit for how clutch he seems to be. He's really good on 3rd and 4th down, fantastic at throwing the ball in the endzone, played great in primetime games all season, and ja has led several really important 4th quarter drives. I don't know if we will win, but I expect Jordan to perform really well on Sunday with the playoff pressure.

The pressure hasn't gotten to Love this season. Even when those road games in Vegas, Denver and Pittsburgh ended badly, it wasn't because he folded under pressure. He was just trying to make plays that didn't work out, and he shrugged off the mistakes, learned from them and kept plugging away. So much respect for how he went about his job under tough circumstances.

With Campbell back, who is wearing the green dot on defense?

Quay Walker was wearing it to my knowledge.

Speak to the affect the O-line has had on the late season success that Jordon Love and the offense in general has seen

It's a unit that has come together. Early in the season, Walker was adjusting to being the starting LT, Elgton Jenkins got hurt and was battling his way back, Zach Tom wasn't healthy at certain points. The group is in a different spot and even found a sixth guy in Sean Rhyan, who is splitting snaps equally at RG with Jon Runyan now, and it's working.

Is there something to be said for a young team going into face a more veteran team with the pressure on them? It seems to me a certain level of naiveté might serve the Packers well vs. a Cowboys team who is dealing with the weight of past failures.

It's impossible to tell how much that stuff matters. I know the Packers aren't focused on that, but on preparing to give it their best shot. If the Packers can take some sort of lead on Sunday late in the game, it'll be interesting to see how the Dallas crowd reacts.

Did you see the season-ending play by the Colts? What a terrible way for ex-Packer Tyler Goodson to spend the offseason.

Yeah, couldn't help but feel terrible for Goodson. I enjoyed the couple of times I chatted with him here while he was trying to make the team. That was tough to see.

The AFC wildcard game on Peacock sets a bad pre. Do you see it continuing and getting worse over the seasons to come?

I think you know the answer to that question.

After all the ups and downs our team earned an invite to the dance and they get to face the former HC. Any sense where the adversary's Death Star may have a exhaust vent we could exploit with a couple well-placed torpedos?

I think the Packers can move the ball against the Dallas defense the way the offense is playing right now. Will they be able to finish drives with TDs and not settle for FGs? That might decide the game.

How similar are the voters and results for the NFLPA All-Pro compared to the AP? Can we expect similar winners?

Usually, yes. It's pretty much the same group of voters.

Van Ness looks to be more productive with his hand in the ground. What do you think facilitated this change from him standing up earlier in the season and do you think it adds a new wrinkle to the defense as a whole?

It was probably something that got noticed in practice when he did it, but I can't say for sure. I don't know if him putting his hand on the ground per se is a wrinkle, but a productive LVN certainly gives offenses something else to think about when he's out there.

Jordan Love was just named NFC Offensive player of the week for the second week in a row. Does this bode well for him being named player of the month as well?

Could be. We'll see.

I posted a question to the Inbox this week that wasn't answered regarding our two tight ends. Do you think Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft can be as prolific as Jackson and Chmura were in 1996? Or is that offense obsolete these days?

It's a totally different offense but I think the Packers have the makings of quite the tandem, that's for sure. I expect the coaches will be scheming up some things with both of those guys in the offseason.

Since the start of the season love really hasn't had a go to guy it's pretty amazing to imagine an offense where there is a healthy Christian Watson along with Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Romeo Doubs, and Bo Melton.

I've said it several times already, one of the most impressive things about Love is how he's made it work, and made the offense successful and explosive, no matter who's out there with him. That's not easy to do.

As good of stats that JLove has had this season, I can't help but think of some of the big plays that just missed this season to Musgrave (and Reed) early on. What kind of season do you think Musgrave could have had compared to LaPorta if not injured?

No way to know. There were a lot of near-misses early in the season. Those were part of the growth process for this offense as a whole, and for the individuals involved.

How much pressure is on the team and Matt now that we have qualified for the playoffs against the wishes / prediction of several pandits?

They're not worried about pressure. They're just focused on going down to Dallas to play their best game. That's what it's going to take. There's nothing else to spend headspace on.

Do you think we'll see the double fake screen again with Musgrave back?

Wouldn't shock me.

Dear Mike, Many fans and pundits were attacking Jordan Love. I remember Vic saying let the young players play and you will know when they made it or not. Taking time to enjoy a player growing and being part of the future of the organization. It has been fun watching the rookies and Jordan Love growing each and every game. How would you grade the growth of the very young team. Thank you and Happy New Year! Bret.

I don't know how to grade it, but I hope a lot of people in the hot-take world understand how foolish their remarks were earlier in the year on such a small sample size. Improvement is possible, even though everyone wants instant gratification.

Mike...Thanks for ALL the chats this season. But in particular...THANKS for the WYMM segments each week. I've checked out several other NFL team sites, and none of them compares with the volume of fresh content that you, Wes, and your staffs produce. Keep up the GREAT work and GO PACK GO!!!

Appreciate the kind words. We're proud of the work we do, and a lot of folks whose names and faces aren't visible have a lot to do with how our website and content look.

Packers assistant equipment manager Bryan Nehring and quarterback Jordan Love

Photo Essay: Traveling with the Green Bay Packers

Team photographers Evan Siegle and Emma Pravecek follow Green Bay's equipment staff on three road trips

Lots of debate on who should win the MVP. Looking at the big picture of the supporting casts, I am having a hard time supporting Lamar. What's your take and if you had a vote who would it be?

I haven't studied it thoroughly, but I think it's Lamar. He'd get my vote.

Any concern about Anders Carlson? The Broncos and Steelers games would've been wins but for some missed kicks, but then again I count four wins that would havre been losses if it weren't for the kicks he converted.

He's been up and down, no two ways about that. The Packers are hoping he just keeps working at it and smoothing things out. At this point that's all there is to do. The talent is there, but the mark of a true pro is consistency. He needs to find that.

MLF was omitted from Coach of the Year consideration his first few years due to the voters thinking the success was mostly from Rodgers. How on earth is he not talked about now?

Because the Packers were 3-6 at one point this year. It is what it is. I guarantee you LaFleur doesn't care.

Morning Mike! How's the press box at AT&T Stadium?

It's always been kind to us, put it that way. Ha. It's quite nice, to be honest. On the corner of the end zone, which is typical for us at away games. But it's not too high up, which helps.

No pro-bowlers. No all-rookie team. Must be acquiring the wrong players...Ha! Seems like teamwork and cohesiveness will actually carry a team pretty far too.

Did the PFWA announce its all-rookie team already? I hadn't seen that.

Who would be your most improved players from week 1 to week 18? I picked R. Walker OT, Kraft, and Valentine. Thanks Bret.

Those 3 would be at the top of my list, too. Might add Karl Brooks as well.

GB has the personnel to expose the Cowboys like Niners did. I know it's not easy but they can do it, just play to their ability and a clean football game.

Clean football is key. Limit penalties and no turnovers. The Cowboys can get into penalty ruts still and that could help the Packers if they play clean themselves.

Going to Dallas there us for sure a lot of tension but how do you think the packers will be able to combat that and have a chance to defeat a really good Dallas team.

You show up and play. The Packers won two big road games in the back half of the season at Detroit and Minnesota. This one is even bigger obviously, but they've shown they can handle the environment.

How's Watson, does he have a chance to play this Sunday?

No idea.

Refresh reminder to folks who had the chat stop a few Q+A pairs back as I did.

Yeah, I've heard this new platform can lock up. Anywhere you can refresh or reload the page should take care of this.

Why does Wes call you Michael but we all call you Mike? What do you prefer?

Very few people in this world have called me Michael. My late grandmother, my mother, and Weston. The rest of the world calls me Mike or Spoff.

Odd question, what do you make of sports talk media these days? Even 10-15 years ago it seemed pretty good. Guys like Cris Carter and Mike Ditka breaking down teams and putting things in perspective. Now when you try to tune in it just seems like everyone is yelling and making bold statements, even the former players and coaches.

The industry has become about saying whatever bold or outrageous thing is going to get you and your show attention. It's all nonsense. They don't really believe what they say, they're just trying to get a rise out of people, create a stir on social media that gets people talking about them, and then using the attention to boost clicks for advertisers. I can't tell you how glad I am that my bosses don't judge me based on the number of clicks we get. We pay attention to the numbers, don't get me wrong, but the status of my job doesn't depend on it. We just try to do our best work.

Were there any games this year where Christian Watson and Aaron Jones were on the field together? Just how big is the impact to defensive planning with (hopefully) having them together?

I'd have to look back and figure it out for sure. I honestly don't know off the top of my head. It would be great if that could come to pass, for sure.

A lot of folks talking about Cee Dee Lamb, and rightfully so, but how much will the Packers have to focus on Ferguson and Pollard? Is it a pick your poison, thing?

Pollard and Ferguson are highly productive players, no doubt. But Lamb is the one who gashes you and can change the game in a heartbeat. They're all going to make their plays, but how many will be explosive, field-tilting ones? That's the question.

Hopefully LaFleur is ok after the shake from R. Gary.

He said he was all right. Said he loved it actually.

Phil from MD. This team has already exceeded expectations by a wide margin . Hope they go to Dallas and play hard and just have fun.

I suspect they will. They're young and pretty much having a ball right now.

If the Packers win the opening coin toss. Do they want the ball? Seems to be the trendy decision in setting a tone but does this matchup call for that?

The Cowboys have scored well over half their 500 points this season in the first half. Taking away one of their first-half possessions might not be a bad idea.

Hey Mike. Do you think AJ Dillon is a better runner from the deep I position?

I don't know. If you're talking Jones, his vision is a tremendous attribute. When he can see what's in front of him, he can hit it really quick. If you're referring to Dillon, he's been at his best this season when he's just running hard, not trying to make the perfect read or perfect cut. That's been evident to me.

Was the Bears game actually that clean or were refs too tired to pull out the flags?

Dunno. I'll have to look up where that crew ranked this season in terms of penalties.

Do you anticipate a large GB presence in the stands on Sunday?

There are always some Packers fans that find tickets, but I wouldn't think too many Dallas fans would be letting them get their hands on them.

A reason for our rookies beings snubbed ls time lost to injury and the fact that the ball was going to so many different players.

Could be. If that's the case, so be it.

I seem to remember a couple times Coach LaFleur visibly lost his cool after bad execution, like the out of bounds play just before half this past week. I presume mistake-free football is the goal, while unattainable, I'm concerned a costly mistake or two is lurking this weekend.

The game won't go perfectly. Mistakes will be made. How the team responds from them will matter most. If the offense flubs something, can the defense pick them up? And vice versa? That's how you win these games.

Photo essay on the equipment staff on the website today is great! There's a lot of great people and amazing work that goes on behind the scenes. Glad they were given the spotlight for a bit. Great reporting as always. Thanks Mike and Wes!

Wes did all the writing for that, and the photos were fantastic. I take no credit but really enjoyed going through it. Pretty cool stuff.

Speaking of young guys learning a lot early on, what did Mike Spofford learn from Vic during his coaching reign?

The two most important things Vic taught me as a writer were to stay as concise as possible ("keep it tight"). In the online world, the longer you write, the less gets read. The other is to not get lost in the small details. Don't lose sight of the big picture when covering a team.

I am fully entertained with this season. It was refreshing to just watch and this playoff reward is even more enjoyable. The draft and develop system paid great dividends collectively.

There have been some really rough and frustrating moments, but those made these last two weeks in particular rather enjoyable.

I just don't feel like these young guys are ready for it to be over.

They definitely aren't, and they're gonna give it all they've got.

Because yelling and making bold statements sells advertising which in turn pays their inflated salaries and egos.


What players on the active roster played for Coach McCarthy? Can't be too many.

I think it's just Jones, Clark and Alexander. Plus Bakhtiari, who's on IR.

Last week's game had a Chicago fourth down play that appeared obviously short on TV but was ruled a first down. I was shocked ML didn't challenge that call. Is a call like that reviewable?

It's reviewable, but unless there's a crystal clear view on replay to change the spot, they aren't likely to adjust anything.

The pressure is all on Dallas. That means we're playing with house money. What is your take on the vibe this week? Confident & amp; calm or confident & amp; nervous? :)

I'll have a better feel for that after the open locker room sessions with the media the next couple of days. We haven't been in the locker room since after the game Sunday.

The D-Line controlled the LOS with gap control and had 5 sacks, why is that not the game plan for all quarterbacks, mobile or not?

Who's to say it hasn't been the game plan? It still has to be executed, and some offensive lines are tougher than others. The Bears were missing two starters up front.

I don't think awards mean much to this team. They appear to be all about winning.

Couldn't agree more. I don't think anybody cares about awards. They're nice, but they aren't anybody's focus.

For the playoffs are the media obligations different for the players and coaches than they are for the regular season?

Not really. There are usually more media around during the playoffs, but for the most part the media schedule is the same.

Did LaFleur lose his cool more over the last play of the first half, which looked to me like a good play by the defender more than a brain cramp, or was Kraft's rookie decision earlier in the drive the one driving LaFleur's temperature?

I think he was upset at the blown opportunity, which included several mistakes. On Monday, he mentioned not specifying a bigger split on that side with the receivers so the outside guy would catch the ball another step closer to the boundary and get out.

The first few seasons after Dallas built AT&T stadium it was said that it didn't create a great home field advantage, and their home record showed it. Now 16 straights wins, what's the story on that? Do they truly have a Seattle like home field advantage? Or are they just on a good run?

They're a good team, and good teams win at home more often than not. 16 straight is quite the run, but honestly it doesn't mean anything once the ball is kicked off.

Will we ever get a Matt LaFleur Jim Mora "Playoffs?" impression?

Don't count on it. Though if he had done it, it would've been a treat.

Green Bay won division road games in domes this season. That says a lot. A clean game by the Packers is all we can hope for.

The Packers played only one dud of a road game since Denver and that was against the Giants. Otherwise, they've competed just fine on the road.

Only 4 players left from the McCarthy era, its just amazing how quickly the turnover is in this league.

Life moves pretty fast, yeah.

Sad, but we saw it with Favre, and again with Rodgers. It gets harder for the older players to relate, and they want to keep their old friends around. I doubt the young receivers grow as quickly without growing with the quarterback.

Agreed. Nothing's easy about this business, and as mentioned earlier, the constant change is a big part of that.

The last two weeks the game blog hasn't worked and we subsequently had two big wins. Any way to sabotage the blog this week?

Ha, I guess we'll just see what happens.

Does Alexander follow Lamb all over the field? Or is this secondary up to the task to cover him wherever he lines up?

Again, we'll find out. I would think Alexander would get a strong dose of Lamb, but nobody is going to tell us in advance.

Was that Marcedes Lewis' last NFL game as a player?

Maybe. If it was, what a career. If it wasn't, it'll be fun to see him keep going.

Will you and Wes have a good view from your spot at AT&T?

It's pretty good. We'll be in the same end zone where Crosby made those two long kicks in the '16 playoffs.

All right, with that I think I'll call it a chat. Thanks for all the participation today folks. Take care and enjoy the game Sunday. I'll be back on the blog, whether it's fully operational or only partially, as it has been the last two weeks. Talk again soon. Best, Mike.

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