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Mike's Mid-Week: What will the offseason look like for the Packers?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions from fans Thursday


Hey everybody. Sorry I'm late today. We got delayed shooting "Unscripted," but we got that done and I'm here now. Thanks for logging on. Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Here we go.

Mike, Could you possibly play Left tackle Sunday? Asking for a (well-paid) friend.

Ha, funny. It sounds like Bakhtiari will be out there Sunday. I give him a ton of credit for gutting through the end of the Jets game, because he clearly hurt something chasing down the Jets player on the called-back pick-two play. Rodgers is right when he calls him a warrior.

Greetings Mike. well, coaching topic right away.. i am wondering if the Packers feel a direct competition with the Browns for the top coaching talent? or, is the fit from organization to organization so different that there really isn't much competition for the GB head coach job?

It's always going to be about fit not only with the organization but with the current structure of the team. That's not to say the Packers won't be competing with a team like the Browns, or that they will. It's very hard to read how these things are going to play out. Remember when the Packers wanted to interview Brad Childress in 2006 but the Vikings signed him to a contract so he wouldn't leave Minneapolis? You never know.

Been keeping an open mind regarding Coach Phil and the possibility of him becoming our permanent head coach. The players seem to like him.......does he have what it takes to turn the team around? Thanks.

I had no doubts the locker room would respond positively to Philbin when he took over. That's been evident. Anyone who's ever come in contact with Joe around here, you can't help but respect and like the man. He's tremendous. But I can't speak to whether he's what Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst are looking for. I expect he'll get an interview, but I think the Packers are going to interview a number of people.

Randall Cobb has been cited by AR and the coaching staff as the best operator out of the slot and over the middle. This is really puzzling given that he is the smallest skill position player we have. Shouldn't the TE group be the best in the slot and over the middle?

Not necessarily. It's about matchups and how players can find open areas after the snap. There's a lot that goes into it.

Are the weekly captains an organization thing or mike mccarthy thing? most teams have yearly captains

That was McCarthy's way of doing things. He preferred to have weekly captains in the regular season and then more formal captains for the postseason. We'll see what the next head coach decides in that regard.

The Lions sound like they are having a challenging season, too. Who is their biggest threat to keep an eye on?

Kenny Golladay. He's developed into a legitimate big-play receiver in his second season. The Lions appear to have hit on one in the late rounds from the 2017 draft.

Hey Mike!! Hope your Christmas was great !! Wow what a weekend for great games in the NFL. Do you still think the Saints are the best team in the NFC?

I thought they were the best team last year and would have won it all if not for the Miracle in Minneapolis. Nothing I've seen this year has changed my mind, and now they're going to be at home for the postseason. The road to the Super Bowl going through New Orleans will make it very difficult for someone to beat them. Not saying it can't be done, because the Vikings certainly could have nine years ago, but that place is a really tough, challenging environment for a visiting team.

Apologies for asking an "elephant in the room" kind of question.. and i do appreciate the position of all of those employed at 1265 Lombardi Ave; however, is there any space for any person there to suggest that losing a game might benefit the team in the long run?

I get this sentiment from a portion of the fan base. Trust me, I do. But it's just not how the Packers are going to operate. Philbin's comments the other day about distinguishing between what's important and what's not, and the culture that can create, I thought were very poignant.

I went to the Cheez It Bowl last night (won tickets). Can you believe that such a poorly executed bowl game (nine interceptions by both teams) is the most exciting bowl of the season so far?

Didn't watch it, and not even sure how much I'll get to watch the Badgers in their bowl game later today. I was really into the college bowl season when I was younger, but that was when there were about half the bowl games that exist now, and it really meant something to get to one of them. Oversaturation has dulled the whole experience for me.

Vikings or the Bears on Sunday?

Great question. I think the Vikings are going to find a way to get that No. 6 seed, but whether they can go to Chicago a week later and beat the Bears again, I'm not sure. The atmosphere at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday should be pretty crazy.

Was Santa good to you this year Mr. Mike?

Absolutely, no complaints. Still have some family time coming up this weekend before Sunday's game, too, so looking forward to that.

Seeing how NO rebounded from the Miracle and contrasting that to Seattle in 2014. What was the difference? Whas it just the defense continuing to produce?

2015 was a strange year for the Packers, with McCarthy giving up play-calling, the team starting 6-0, then hitting a rut and him having to take play-calling back. Nelson missed the whole year, and then the team was banged up heading into the playoffs. The Saints got a wake-up call in Week 1 and have been pretty darn impressive since that loss. Maybe getting beat by the Bucs at home in the first game of the year was the right thing for them after the way last season ended.

Any viewable reason in practice to believe J'Mon Moore and Allen Lazard can be contributors next season?

I'm very interested to see what training camp brings for those guys in 2019. 11-on-11 work in practice during the regular season is closed to reporters, so once training camp ends, all we get to see in practice are drills, not the more scrimmage-like stuff.

Does someone who works for the Pack get team garb on Christmas like the rest of us?

I've got plenty, but I certainly buy stuff for others. It's nice when the store is right downstairs.

Mike, we may have had a down season, with the veteran presence, knowing that they lost a year of contention, I cant help but feel like it will serve as mini chip on the shoulder for our guys next year!

Rodgers said yesterday you learn a lot from seasons like this, as bad and frustrating as they are. There's a lot of pride in this business. The players are going to pack up their lockers on Monday and know they expected more of themselves. Different guys are fueled different ways. We'll see how the Packers respond.

Of our starters besides Clay who has a contract up ?

Matthews and Cobb are the biggest names with expiring deals.

In our 4 team division, 3 teams have a QB who is over 30 and makes 30 mil/yr. The 4th team has a spread formation OC and a running QB. The team with the most mobile QB is making a legitimate playoff run. Any trend line?

The Bears have a strong defense and a QB who's developing and improving. They put it together in a year the Packers and Vikings underachieved. I don't think it means a hill of beans for next year, either way. Every team is going to go through changes, some more than others. With no first-round draft pick until 2021, Chicago's improvement will hinge a lot on Trubisky.

Mike, You've been around a lot of Head Coaches and have been around a Superbowl-winning Head Coach for a long time. What attributes would you look for in a new Head Coach - and what attributes should be avoided?

I couldn't tell you what to avoid. What I do know is what contributed most to McCarthy's success as a head coach, in my mind, was his leadership. He is a true leader. He can command a room, he has a message to get across, and he gives people confidence in his plan. That's what you need. An NFL roster is not small. You need a leader who can command everyone's attention and belief.

Do you have any role, even a small one, in hiring the new head coach? Like meeting him to make sure he understands the importance of

I think our website would be far, far down the list of things considered important to a head coach. I'm not offended.

When it comes to talent evaluation, how does the dynamic between the coaches and scouting work? So heading into the off-season does the scouting dept rely on positional coaches for player reviews? I am curious to see how the silo's are being broken in practice with the new structure in place.

Scouts and coaches evaluate the players, and it's all part of the collective that factors into decisions. It's the same in the draft. The scouts will often ask a position coach to watch tape on a prospect and give his evaluation, so there's another informed opinion in the mix. It's all about providing as much relevant information as possible for the individual making the final decisions.

When Murphy and Gute interview HC candidates I assume they ask who they plan to have as offensive coordinator and defensive. Do they also ask who the special teems coach will be?

I would imagine so. A head coach candidate can't necessarily guarantee he'll get the guys he wants, but in the interview process he'll lay out a plan for certain positions, a network of potential contacts, etc.

Rumor has it that the interviewing process has begun. Do you guys ever see the candidates?

No, and I don't expect to.

I think A-rod made it clears he wants (Jimmy Graham) a tight end to throw to next year. Those were big letters from his interview.

It certainly sounded like he wanted another year with Graham, but regardless of what happens there, the Packers need to find their next long-term TE in the draft. Maybe two.

Take a look back in time at memorable photos from prior Packers-Lions matchups in Wisconsin.

So how do you hear about newsworthy information about the team? Who tells whom? What is the chain of communication?

Anything being announced comes to us in the form of a press release from the communications department. Otherwise, like any office place, I hear rumors about what might or might not be going on, but often don't know what's really true and what isn't.

The Packers can't contact any currently employed coaches while their teams are still playing. Can those coaches or their agents contact the Packers to let them know their interested?

There are windows in the playoffs for teams to contact candidates on teams still in the postseason. I would expect the Packers to utilize those.

Mike, Sure looks like the folks who thought Luck was done were way wrong. Were you surprised at the Colts this year?

Not at all. Andrew Luck is a major talent, and he just needed to get healthy. As Wes and I discussed the other day on Unscripted, his return and Watson's return at QB for Houston completely changed the AFC South. The Jaguars might have missed their chance last year. They might not get another opportunity that good for a while now, unless they can find a franchise quarterback like Luck or Watson.

Pettine has said he does not want to be a HC again. I believe that is not just talk when you look at his profile. Has anyone ever asked him what DC's he compares to or thinks he is similar to? I look at Wade Phillips who has been a winning DC everywhere and maybe Pettine just says that is enough/

Pettine struck me as genuine when he said he wasn't really interested in being a head coach again. It sounded like he really needed to detach for a while after what went down in Cleveland, and that's why he laid low for a bit. I think Pettine loves to game plan and coach players, and that's what coordinators get to do. He seems happy doing that and not having all the administrative stuff that goes with the head job.

Mike, A very Happy New Year to you, Wes and all the others who make II and a place I visit each day of the year. It is truly a gift we have as Packers fans and a place for civilized dialogue. All the best to the Pack in 2019!

Thanks for the kind words, and with that I have to sign off. Again, sorry for the constantly shifting schedules, and I'm not sure what next week will bring, but I'll try to have another chat next week at some point. Take care and Happy New Year everybody. Best, Mike.

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