Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What will the atmosphere be like at Tottenham Hotspur?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on. Have to start a little earlier than normal because I have to sign off a tad earlier than usual today, so go ahead and start sending in your questions and I'll get started.

Good morning, Mike. Would this be your longest plane ride ever?

When I was in college I traveled to Spain for a semester, and I flew over from JFK to Madrid and then from Madrid back to Chicago on the return. I don't remember the total time on those flights but I imagine this will be similar.

Now for actual football stuff, and I guess I already know the answer to this, but do we have any update on Amos' health status? Rudy Ford did admirably, so not to discount him, but Adrian really does make a difference when he's back there and I wonder if some of the play-action stuff may have been snuffed out.

I agree that Amos is the backbone of the defense in more ways than one, and Wes and I talked about that on our Unscripted episode Tuesday. I haven't heard anything, and the team takes the practice field around 1 p.m. today so we'll see if he's out there.

Hi Mike,

What kind of media availability are the usual suspects looking at across the pond? Will Rodgers be on Graham Norton? Is Mark Murphy meeting the King?

All I know is LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers are having press conferences at the team hotel on Friday, the coach before practice, the QB after. I'll be curious to see the amount of international media in attendance with this being the Packers' first trip, and with the presence of one of the all-time greats in Rodgers. There honestly isn't going to be a whole lot of time for extra-curricular stuff because the team still has a game to prepare for.

Love the coverage potential of Walker, but is he a little light in the pants vs. Saquon Barkley?

It's not a matter of size. Walker just needs to continue learning how to fill gaps and beat blocks against the run at this level, and it'll come. He plays fast, attacks quickly. He's got the physical tools. He'll come along. I have full confidence in that and the Packers' coaches do, too.

Not sure if you saw McAfee Show with Rodgers yesterday, but it seems like Christian Watson may get more targets rather than hand-offs or push-passes. Maybe start with intermediate passes to get him into a rhythm before trying the deep shots?

Yeah, I heard about the comment regarding seeing Watson open when Rodgers reviewed the film. That's not nothing, and Rodgers wouldn't have said it if it weren't true. All part of the process, and there's a lot of football still to be played.

With the signing of Eric Wilson, do you think that's more of a STs boost to really go after making that unit great, or is there more of serious concern with Krys Barnes' health? Or is it just a "he's available and adds to both D and STs, so why not?"

I'm guessing it's mostly the latter, but Barnes' injury was significant and timetable thoughts can change as the recovery process goes along. It's also in line with Gutekunst's approach of bringing in proven, veteran players when the opportunity is there to see what they might bring, rather than always focusing on young guys.

How many, approximately, will be on the charter? It seems inevitable that at least one person will forget their passport. Whose job is it to make sure than doesn't happen?

I don't know the full number in the travel party, but all of us traveling had to turn in our passports to the travel coordinator weeks ago and they will be handing them to us when we get off the plane in London to go through customs. Nobody is individually responsible for bringing his/her passport. That's been taken care of. It was the same when we traveled to Winnipeg in the preseason a few years back.

Mike, props to our scouting department for finding Romeo Doubs. Realize it's a small sample size but he looks special so far.

I agree. To get a receiver with his skills in the fourth round, and to see how quickly he's adapted to the NFL game, that's a steal. He still has plenty to work on, but he's been impressive to me, occasional mistake and all.

I'm hogging Mike today. Not really missing the in-your-face coverage days of Mike McKenzie and Al Harris, but we seem to have the Wideopenitis again this season. All our catches are contested but opposing WRs look like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Am I exaggerating?

I know the last game is always what's foremost on everyone's mind, but after the Jefferson struggles in Minnesota, the Packers weren't allowing a bunch of wide-open receivers against the Bears and Bucs. Then against the Pats, they got burned by well-timed play-action passes when NE's running game was controlling things, and the Packers didn't react well to those calls. When you can defend the run better, play-action doesn't matter as much.

I want a favorite European beer report on my desk by Tuesday.

I'll do my best but I've only got a couple of meals to try things, and Wes won't be helping with the sampling, so ...

Mike do you have any special jet lag prevention methods? I imagine early next week may be harder once the adrenaline wears off.

I have no idea how this will go. I don't sleep well on planes, so I'm expecting to be pretty beat on Friday over there. But I've had plenty of work stretches here after night games when I'm getting home at 4 a.m., sleeping for a few hours, and coming back to the office. It's not fun, but I imagine this trip will feel a lot like that.

I read somewhere that the 49ers defense played 74 snaps in Monday nights game. Yet their intensity was still as high as ever. Is that just a credit to their conditioning. If the Packers are to win with defense this year they have to have the same level of intensity.

No doubt. I don't think there's any lack of effort on the part of the Packers' defense, but when you're not stopping the run, it's much harder to get after the QB, which is where "intensity" shows up visually. As I said in Inbox this morning, that 49ers front seven is the best in the league in my opinion. I like GB's secondary better, though, so we'll see how the season unfolds.

Mike, since you and other reporters don't get to see the full practice, and Coach LaFleur making remarks about working Nijman at right tackle, guessing Sunday's game be the first opportunity to see if that was just talk, or a change to the O-line going forward?

Exactly. We aren't going to know anything until seeing how the Packers are lining up in pregame warmups Sunday.

What are the Giants going to attack us with other than SB?

They're going to follow the same pattern as the Patriots, I suspect, which is to get the running game going and then work play-action off of that to help protect the QB and give him throwing lanes. The Giants' passing offense has been pretty rough this year, but it still comes down to containing Barkley first.

Mike, do you think the Packers may try some others at punt return soon? I see they signed a CB with return experience recently.

I'm going to assume that job is Rodgers' until I see otherwise. He had a really good return in Tampa wiped out by the running into the kicker penalty, and he's looked far more confident back there than he did as a rookie. I think he's coming along.

Now that the real pre-season is over. Besides injury stuff positive/negative, what has been an under the radar surprise?

For the Packers, I think it's getting a special-teams performance like the one in Tampa this early in the season. Everything on special teams is still a work in progress, but there's already been a lot of positive impact from that phase through four games. Two punts downed at the 2 in the last two weeks, a game-winning FG without a hitch. There's been a lot to like already.

This will be my 3rd Packers game (and 5th NFL game). We won the first two games, so I expect that streak to continue.

What is really uncharacteristic for the Packers is, that we don't win the turnover battle. I think that is one of the reasons for the not so pretty wins.

Greetings from Germany

The turnovers this year have been highly uncharacteristic of the Packers under LaFleur. They've turned the ball over in every game this season, four straight. The previous three years, they haven't had a streak longer than two games. With seven turnovers already this year, they're more than halfway to their worst turnover season under LaFleur (13). I don't think it will continue, but it also can't if the Packers expect to keep winning.

What's the over/under Rashan Gary wins DPOY?

We're a long way from assessing anything like that, but a sack in every game, and five total through four games, is a heck of a start. LaFleur uses the term "game wrecker" a lot when talking about other team's top defenders. Gary is definitely in that category, too.

Did Joe Barry have a logical explanation for not getting more beef on the field when the patriots went with the old u71 package, aka 6OL?

Barry is speaking to the media later today.

Is it fair for me to assume Adrian Amos' and Jaire Alexander's absence in the Patriot game was significant?

I thought so. That's 2 of your top 4/5 DBs, with one an All-Pro level player. The Packers certainly have capable depth there, but not having players like that is going to have an impact, no doubt.

Good question from Thomas. I know you don't have the numbers in front of you, but I wonder what the chances are of a team making the playoffs with a -5 or -10 in the turnover ratio.

It's not good. What I know this year is there are 11 teams with a minus turnover margin, and the Packers are the only one of those 11 with three wins.

Is there an over/under on how much fish and chips you and Wes will consume? Or will you be sticking to the basics like McDonald's?

I definitely want to have some fish and chips. We'll be trying to sample the local fare as much as possible.

Speaking of the turnover problem, I do like how for the most part, our defense has responded to that adversity and the opponent either gets nothing or has to settle for a FG.

Absolutely. Opponents have 16 points off of GB's 7 turnovers, but 7 of those came on the INT-TD. The defense has allowed only three field goals off of the other six turnovers. That's been significant.

Any major injury news on the Giants this week?

Still some question marks with Daniel Jones' health at QB, but it's early in the week.

Is it just my bad recall, or has the run defense been like this through the first quarter of each season since the LaFleur era?

I don't think so. What's been unusual is the wild inconsistency of it. It was two drives in the Bears game, then two drives in the Pats game. Opponents haven't piled up many rushing yards at all this season outside of those four drives. They've shown they can be pretty good against the run, and then they lose it for a couple of series before getting it back. It's been strange to me.

Hi Mike, who are you most excited to watch play this week? Who do you think could really step up across the pond?

Honestly, I'm most excited to see and feel the atmosphere in the stadium, because I think GBP fans are going to take over the place. The crowd could end up being a significant storyline for this game.

Live Blog is still on this week?

Oh yeah. As long as I don't have any internet issues at the stadium Sunday, I'll be live blogging.

Any thoughts on the Tua situation? I feel like that whole staff should be in question, risking this young mans well being for a win is horrible

I don't know all the details, but there's a reason it's an independent neurologist that's in charge of clearing players from the concussion protocol. That independent neurologist was fired I heard.

Is Aaron Rodgers still playing at a mvp level?

In the second half on Sunday, he sure did. The first half was one of the worst first halves of his career, maybe his worst statistically, and he recovered to get back to form. I thought he made some fantastic throws in the second half.

Do you think Packers players will do the Lambeau leap if they score? We are the 'home' team after all...

Lots of folks asking about that. I'm not familiar with the stadium boundary configurations to know what opportunities may arise.

Mike, in addition to fish n chips you need to get Beef Wellington for dinner, and sticky toffee pudding for dessert!

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely keep those in mind.

Do you get your per diem in dollars or pounds? Really curious.

I think we're getting it in American dollars. They've told us just to use our credit cards to purchase stuff over there.

Hi Mike, are you going to go see Big Ben while you are there? Yes the clock...Seriously enjoy London, looking forward to the live blog while you are there...

I'd like to see it, but I've been told our hotel is quite a trek from downtown London, so I just don't know how much time I'll have.

I usually have a beer for Packers and Badgers games, specifically. But 830 in the morning seems a little early for that. I guess a specialty coffee may do the trick?

Why not? I would imagine you won't be alone in that regard.

Not sure if you know the answer or if your tech guys will, but when you give the numbers for the game blog, is that people who are signed in? Because often I follow along without signing in. If those people aren't counted, then your numbers are probably much better than you think.

That's a good question. I think it's the number of people who are on the page at any given time. The number changes up and down so regularly I don't think it's just those signed in.

Seems GB punt coverage was a bit shakey as the gunners weren't getting there. What did you observe?

Agreed. The Patriots did a really good job holding up GB's flyers and executed their punt returns. The Packers had been winning those battled a lot this season, but NE got the best of them.

I was curious about your assessment of Elgton Jenkins in this last contest. After looking solid the first two games back from injury, he seemed to struggle a bit this last game on the edge. Was it just the opponent or something else you may have seen that I might have missed?

Well, Matthew Judon is no slouch of a pass rusher. But I'm sure Jenkins wasn't happy with how his game went. He holds himself to a really high standard, and that type of game was very unlike his usual performance.

It seems AJ Dillon runs in between the tackles majority of the time, do you think its more beneficial for him to get to the outside with quads like that to truly unlock his potential?

They've run Dillon outside plenty, but he's very good at finding the cutback lane in the outside zone scheme, and once he gets north/south, he's really moving. I like the way the Packers have mixed up their ground attack with both backs and scheme-wise so far this season.

What day are the Packers flying across the pond?

The team charter leaves Thursday after practice, and I've got a ton of packing to do tonight. With that, I've gotta run folks. Sorry to sign off early today but I appreciate all the participation and we'll talk again soon. Best, Mike.

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