Skip to main content

Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What will it take on a short week?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions in his weekly live chat

C Corey Linsley
C Corey Linsley

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on. Short week, game is almost here already. Might as well get started, go ahead and start sending in your questions.

Was Lambeau that loud that no one heard the whistle blew on Savage's INT?

That's what LaFleur said. That officiating crew didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence in how it was managing the game and replay reviews in general, so it's hard to say for sure what exactly was going on.

How do you think our defensive line matches up against philly's Oline and their run offense?

I think the Packers match up fine. The run defense has allowed a few too many yards the last two weeks, but clean up a few missed tackles and it's a different story. In reviewing the defensive film from the Denver game, I also saw it was seemingly just one guy on every play getting pushed out of a gap or losing his footing or getting turned around, and the Broncos hit that spot every time. Run defense is such a team effort. It takes everybody.

Thanks for fitting us in on short week Mike! This feels like a game where 12 may need to make some plays in the 4th quarter. I don't care if the offense has been sputtering. Just give him the ball with a chance to win, and I'll be entertained.

I'm writing about that for tomorrow actually, that for all the ups and downs the Packers' offense has dealt with, the unit has put together a gotta-have-it fourth-quarter drive in every game. Backed up vs. Bears, got out and got a FG. Closed the last three minutes vs. the Vikings with two first downs. Killed half the quarter and got a FG against the Broncos. They're going to be called upon again for another late drive like that.

12 has a bog game tomorrow. Book it!

Or a big game, take your pick.

Will Allen Lazard see more playing time with the poor offensive output by MVS and Allison?

MVS had 99 yards last week, with the 40-yard TD. Yes, he left a couple of plays out there, but he's going to keep getting his opportunities. Allison has been quiet so far. Sometimes all it takes is one game for a guy to get it going. Maybe this is the one for him.

Good Morning, The breakdown in the second half by the defense on the long sideline pass look to be more scheme then King's fault. Have you reviewed that play

King stopped running, so I'm not sure what happened there. When he showed up on Monday's injury report with an illness it made me wonder what might have been affecting him in Sunday's game, because he didn't look like himself, at least not to me.

The reports out of camp were saying how in sync Rodgers & Graham were compared to their first year together. Is he just not creating separation? We need to get TE's involved to take some safety pressure off Adams.

I agree. Graham is playing through some injuries, so I don't know how much they're affecting him. Rodgers continues to say he wants to get the ball to Graham more. I guess we'll see. Last week, Tonyan almost had that big catch down the sideline. He's another guy to watch here.

The offense has been erractic but holding the ball for almost 8 minutes in the 4th quarter with a lead is a winner most of the time isn't it?

Late-game execution is invaluable. To somehow find it even after a series of struggles, that says something. It's worth hanging your hat on until you can get the rest figured out.

Spoff, I wrote this for II but it did not make the cut. You are the baseball expert and I am not, but I saw something unusual that you might want to comment on. The Brewers will likely make the playoffs even though their cumulative run differential for the season is zero. I can't imagine it happens very often that an MLB team with a non-positive differential makes the playoffs.

Baseball expert? Good one. Yeah, I don't know. So you lost a bunch of games by 10-plus runs when you were saving your better bullpen guys for closer games, and a few got away. I don't put much stock on it. Run differential means little to me. The Brewers have a strong record in one-run games, and that's what it takes in the big games in Sept. and Oct. anyway.

Can the defense really keep up this pace on turnovers all year? Are these all defensive based turnovers or just good luck so far?

It's not luck. The Bears did it all last season and went 12-4. Some teams are good at taking the ball away, some are not. You go through lulls and then they come in bunches, that's part of it. At some point the Packers are going to have to win a game when the defense doesn't get any turnovers, because it's going to happen. That's when the offense has to do its part, as Rodgers said.

How does Philly's pass rush compare to the teams we've faced so far? We've been tested by some of the premiere DE/OLB's already and Aaron has been kept clean. Is that part of the reason why teams have been throwing all over the Eagles?

I was talking about this on today's Unscripted episode before I logged on here. The Eagles have just two sacks so far this season. Jim Schwartz is a gambler of a D-coordinator, and if his front is not getting home, he might start dialing up some blitzes and taking chances. This could be a wild-wild-west type of game from a pressure standpoint because the Eagles really need this game to avoid 1-3.

I feel we have played GREAT defenses the first 3 weeks so far. Our defense has carried us through that stretch. Now it is time for the offense to pick it up with some talented (albeit injured) philly offense and Dallas.

Wentz has moved the ball and scored points despite injuries on offense for the Eagles. They're probably 3-0 if not for two dropped passes late in games. This offense will be GB's toughest test so far through the first month in my opinion. Wentz is way better than any QB the Packers have faced. Way better.

Hoping that wheel route means LaFleur will begin working Vitale into the offense more. That was beautiful to behold.

I've been saying in each chat those decisions are week-to-week, game-plan specific things.

Hey Mike! Which Packers receivers do you see matching up well against the Philadelphia defense? In other words, which receivers do you think may have big games?

It's time for Adams to score a TD isn't it? He hadn't gone two straight games without a TD since the first two games Rodgers missed with the broken collarbone in 2017, and he hadn't gone three straight since 2015 when he was playing hurt. I don't see Adams staying "down" like this, by his standards, for much longer.

Packers win if..

The offense wins the battle of explosive plays.

Mike, in the Inbox today you mentioned the Eagles are 29th against the pass. Granted, it's early so that number might be a little off, but it seems like a prime opportunity to get Rodgers going. If we can get the pass game going, that would open up some play action. I think this is just the remedy the offense needs to find its groove

Normally I would agree with you wholeheartedly. The only reason I hesitate is because it's a Thursday game on a short week, and these types of games are as unpredictable as they get. They're brutal on the players, and you just never know what kind of shape they're in to play four quarters.

Do you think Davante was not really game-planned for last week because of his baby's birth? I'm wondering if Coach thought he might not be available game-day...

I don't think that was it. The game plans are put together on Tuesdays in a normal week, and it sounded like a bit of a surprise that he had to get to the hospital on Friday.

Philly's defense is either first or second against the run. Is this a game where we see Rodgers air it out?

If you can get anything going with the run against this front, the play-action should be awfully effective.

I think Schwartz's aggressive style of play calling is going to back fire on him hard. Our Offensive line is one of the best in the league and Aaron makes the defense pay more often than not when they blitz.

We'll find out if that's the case. Communication up front is key against blitzes, and if there are free runners, Rodgers has to know that and account for him by either throwing hot or getting out of the pocket. He's usually pretty good at that.

"The Eagles could be dangerous because they are really going to want to avoid a 1-3 start." This doesn't make sense to me. It suggests there are weeks where they only sort of want to win.

There are weeks NFL teams feel more desperate than at other times. They're human, and talented teams with their backs sort of against the wall can be especially dangerous.

I know we have played against some good defenses, however, our 3rd down conversion rate is horrible. Isn't this the true test where it comes down to players not plays? Win the one on ones!

The Packers have to improve on third down, no doubt about it. There have been some long-yardage situations that are tough, but they've also failed on seven third downs that required 8 yards or less to convert. The percentage there needs to be better. A missed block on third-and-short or a dropped pass here and there have really hurt in that regard.

Is the feeling around the locker room among the offense that they have a chip on their shoulder with all the national rave about the defense currently carrying the team? That has to be a scary thought for the rest of the league that an Aaron Rodgers' led team is currently being provided time by their defense to work out the kinks of the new offense while still winning games!

I think the offense is staying quiet because they know they haven't found a groove and they have a lot to work on. It's not going to magically just happen. I remember Jordy Nelson talking about the "run the table" in '16. Every week when he was asked how they found their rhythm, he always referred to the work put in during practice. It's always about the work. That's why it's hard to know what to expect this week, because it's not a normal practice week.

Our tackling and run defense have seemed to regress over the last couple games. What impact do you think Raven Greenes injury had on that if any. Is he being missed. Could this lead to more playing time for Summers?

I think the Packers miss Greene a bit because he was so good in that role next to Martinez and that allowed Amos to play deep more. But injuries happen and guys' roles change. Redmond and Jackson got more snaps in the secondary last week. We'll see how soon Burks can return. It's all to be determined.

any update on Philly Wide Receivers?

Pederson said he expected Jeffery to be back on Thursday, but not Jackson.

Is there a term for offense like the jumbo package -- bringing in an extra lineman might help against the Eagles' stout run defense. Or is that just showing them your cards?

The Packers brought Lucas Patrick in for a snap last week as an extra tight end. They have wrinkles like that. We'll see.

Rodgers said he was not expecting to feel banged up on a short week, which is good. Do you know if the O-linemen are feeling good, too? I'm sure they get torn apart in the trenches each week keeping 12 clean, so if they're feeling the same as Rodgers, I imagine that would be a major boon for the game.

I think these quick turnarounds are toughest on the guys in the trenches on both sides of the ball. I don't think any offensive or defensive linemen feel particularly "good" heading into a Thursday night game. It's about survival and then get to a couple of days off.

The Smith's are playing great and Matthews has 4 sacks for L.A. Rams. Sometimes these decisions work out best for everyone.

I saw Matthews run out on that makeshift stage in Cleveland to hug his dad on his big night going into Cleveland's ring of honor last Sunday night. That was pretty cool.

WI vs NW your final score prediction?

Badgers just have to avoid the dreaded letdown, which is all too common in college football. I'm planning on going to that game, so I'm looking forward to seeing this UW team in person.

I think this will be Shepards breakout game. Punt return for a TD and 4 receptions in the slot>

In the return game I've got my eye more on Tremon Smith to be honest. The Lions ran a kickoff back 100 yards in Philly last week.

When will you start doing Path to the Playoffs?

That's a ban-worthy post right there. C'mon now.

Did you see the blatant missed facemask by the Lions. I was flabbergasted on how the refs missed that one.

Did not see that. I did see the Eagles get flagged for a block in the back on that blocked FG return, which totally changed the field position for the final drive. Might have altered everything about that ending.

Thursday night usually are an advantage for the home team on a short week and good for both teams with 10 days to next game. so, a couple of Thursday night home games is not bad on the schedule.

The first one isn't really that relevant, because you can work on things in training camp to get ready for a Thursday opener. I do think it's easier to have a short week earlier in the season than later for the players, though, and yes, not having to travel helps. Going to Seattle last year on a short week was tough duty.

Is Wes worried about the Menace coming after him for Wes calling him small? Maybe you should just show the Menace where Wes keeps his lunch


One of my favorite things NFL Films does is Mic'd Up. If you could pick two Packers (one on Offense and one on Defense) to be Mic'd Up for a game, who would you choose?

Aside from Rodgers on offense, I'd probably go with Corey Linsley just to hear all the communication he's responsible for at center. On defense, Alexander is always talking so he'd be pretty entertaining. Otherwise, Martinez, again for the communication insight.

Do you think the Twins will finally be able to shake the Yankees this year?

I sure hope so. The Twins have had a great year, but there are multiple powerhouse teams in the AL. I'm not sure anyone can beat the Astros, but that's why they play the games.

Hey Mike! Do you think the Packers running backs will "split" carries again Thursday night?

It depends if one guy gets the hot hand and is feeling good. Williams was definitely the more productive player on Sunday and consequently he was fed the ball more. Games just go that way sometimes.

The turn over numbers would be even more impressive if some easy interceptions were caught. Do the DB's work with the Jug machine?

Yes, in training camp quite a bit.

The Packers played two of the top NFL defenses in their first two games, played in very wet conditions against another stout defense in their third game and now are facing a short week all while working through the fine details of a new offense. If the offense shows issues in their week 5 match-up against the Cowboys maybe I'll start feeling some concern. However, until then, I'm not concerned one bit.

Find a way to win this one and then catch your breath. That's all I'm thinking about right now.

Were you able to make that catch while looking at the camera?


Eagles will be playing their playoff game tomorrow, getting nervous here. Remind me two years ago when Packers went to play the Eagles and they played their first playoff regular season game.

Not quite the same, November vs. September, but I do believe Philly is much better than its 1-2 record suggests.

Is it ironic for you to think that you're working right now, while a large number of us who are watching the chat live probably are supposed to be working right now?

We are the ultimate distraction. I can live with that.

All right folks, I've gotta run. Sorry to cut it a little short today, but it's that kind of week. Thanks for all the questions, and enjoy the game Thursday night. Take care, Mike

Related Content