Mike's Mid-Week Chat: What's the focus for improvement after the bye?

Editor Mike Spofford answered fan questions in his live chat

Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on today. Go ahead and start sending in your questions and I'll get started shortly.

Hi Mike, whats happened to Wilson?

Russell or Emanuel? If you're talking about the Packers' Emanuel Wilson, he's a young player the team is bringing along slowly but they believe has a lot of promise for the future. With Russell in Denver, he's learning a new system for the second time in two years and he's not as young and spry as he once was, though he's looking more mobile this year than the last couple of years based on his rushing statistics.

James Robinson is an interesting addition to the PS. Is it possible he is elevated already for Sunday?

We shall see. That would be awfully quick to be counting on a new player in a game, but who knows. I, too, am intrigued by the addition of Robinson. He looked pretty dynamic as a rookie but hasn't been the same since his unfortunate injury.

What's the underlying reason to cut P. Taylor and bring in a new running back to the practice squad instead of putting 27 on the roster at this point of the season?

I couldn't tell you. Obviously the personnel department has done the evaluating and has its reasons. I also don't know how Taylor's camp has felt about all the moving around the roster he's done.

Good morning. What do you think of Jordan Love so far? I wasn't buying into the hype of the first 3 games, and (except for the first pick against LV) having been too surprised at the last 2 games. In short, I see a lot of possibilities, good and bad. I do think that LaFleur could help him out more with the play calling (sticking to the run, more quick patterns, etc.) What would you like to see from Love the next couple games? What do you think Matt can do to help this along?

Love needs to find a rhythm that works for him, and that goes in concert with the plays being dialed up and all the rest of the players on offense doing their jobs. Pass protection was this offensive line's biggest strength through three games, but the last two games it's been a huge issue. Dropped passes were a problem late in the game in Vegas. The running game has been spotty all season. Efficiency has to come from everywhere. Love has to do his part, but lots of other factors can help him along.

Say Jonesy is healthy. Might they still elevate Robinson eventually to create a 3 headed monster and start playing bully ball, working in the pass occasionally?

I don't see the Packers suddenly developing a whole new focus on offense if that's what you're asking. They're figuring out what Love does well within this system and trying to get the system to work for him. That process will continue no matter who's in the backfield.

With the ever evolving rules, and the growing popularity of Flag Football, what does the NFL look like in 50 years?

I could definitely see two-point stances only at some point in the NFL's future. No more hand in the dirt stuff that keeps players' heads down and produces more helmet contact. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Hi Mike, watching some other teams play it looks like they play with their hair on fire and are so quick all over the field making plays! Is it just me or does it seem GB never plays with that intensity? You would think having such a young team you would see more intensity even if mistakes happen! Thoughts? GPG!!

I see plenty of intensity to Green Bay's defense when it's having success and not so much when it's not. That's pretty typical. The intensity which which guys like Rashan Gary, Kenny Clark, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Quay Walker and others play is pretty visible to me.

IF — and that's a big if — the Packers make a move at the trade deadline, do you think they're more likely to buy or sell?

Perhaps neither. I think the Packers have so many young players they're focused on figuring out what they have for now and moving forward and they won't be looking at adding any players right now, unless there's an available player who could help beyond this year and the price is reasonable. I have no idea if such an opportunity will exist.

Can you feel any effects of altitude adjustment for yourself at Mile High ? Though higher, Colorado Springs definitely sapped my breath when merely walking.

The last time I was out there, which was quite a while ago, I remember going for a long walk on a nice day. At one point I bent over to re-tie my shoes, and when I stood up I almost fell over. It can hit you in weird ways.

Hi Mike. You chided me last week for my bromance (my daughter's characterization) with Brock Purdy, concerning his greater accuracy than JLove. Well, he was Purdy bad Sunday, missing open receivers, and not making good decisions. Watching Red Zone all day, I was reminded how lucky we have been the last 30 years with our QB play. I'll show myself out.

Hey, Purdy has done some pretty remarkable things. I take nothing away from him. But facing a really strong defense and losing two of his top weapons, along with his top O-lineman for a portion of the game, he looked like a lot of other young QBs struggling to make it all work. I said all last year and continue to say, the trio of Deebo, CMC and Kittle is as dynamic a trio of offensive weapons as any team has in the entire league. They make SF's offense go.

A while back II talked about out-of-the-ordinary jerseys they've seen. I saw a #12 TJ Rubley walking around in Vegas. Might be the winner?

Holy cow, that's amazing.

What do you think of the comish signing a new deal and how could this effect the league?

I don't think it'll affect things much. The owners extended his contract because they like the direction the league is going, so Goodell is going to continue doing what he does and expanding things internationally when and where it makes sense.

I haven't heard much on Carrington Valentine since the pre-season ended. Has he been very active or are the Packers just not playing as many DBs to have him on the field?

He played a fair amount when Jaire Alexander was dealing with his back injury, but otherwise, the Packers haven't gone to a dime defense a whole lot with a fourth corner. Alexander, Douglas and Nixon form their standard nickel when all are available.

I'm heading to Denver this week. Any local beer recommendations?

I should be asking you the same thing. I haven't been there since 2015. I just realized the other day this will be my first day game at Mile High. My other trips, in '07 and '15, and preseason in '17, were all night games.

With the team being so young, could #69 be a pseudo coach this season? Will he hang around the team much after his surgery or rehab elsewhere?

I don't know what David Bakhtiari's plans are with his rehab. He didn't specify where he'd be when he spoke with reporters recently.

Don't be shy folks ... I've got more time for questions if you want to send them.

Does #69 get into Canton if he doesn't play another snap? Not wanting that, but curious what you think his chances are.

I think with five All-Pro selections in a row, he's in the conversation, but he would certainly enhance his case if he can come back from all this knee trouble and be named All-Pro again.

What do you make of the league so far this year? Even before Philly and SF lost, I wasn't seeing either as dominant. I really don't see a dominant team this season (I see some really poor ones, though) It's early, but this seems like the most wide-open the league has been in a while. Oddly, I'd say the Lions are playing the best football so far. Thoughts?

After last week, it's hard to say who's playing the best actually. The league feels to me like it always does, where anything can happen any given week. Sustaining success is the hardest thing to do in this league, and every team will be dealt its share of adversity at some point.

Does the thin CO air also affect deep passes? Love hasn't been great on the deep ball yet, is it possible they limit those throws this week?

I really don't know how much impact that has. Maybe on the deep passes that are launched really high, but otherwise I'm not sure there's a big difference.

Does playing in Denver add or subtract the number of injuries? Is less air better or worse for injuries?

Players have to be hydrated or the thin air can lead to muscle cramps and such.

Where is the Denver D struggling the most? Can GB take advantage of that struggle?

Statistically they're struggling all over. They're allowing 5.6 yards per carry on the ground and 76% completions through the air. They held KC to 19 points in their last game so that was a step forward for their defense, but prior to that it had been a pretty rough go against just about everybody.

Good morning. What was the feel around practice this week? Determined, searching, another day at the office…?

This team keeps a pretty even keel all the time, and that's a reflection of its head coach. They've only practiced once so far this week (Monday) but I suspect the rest of the week everything will feel pretty much business as usual. They have their own issues to worry about and don't need to be wasting emotions on ancillary stuff.

Will the league keep the "push" play?

I sure hope not. I was begging all offseason for it to be outlawed. It's not football.

Who is the most dangerous player on the Broncos? Nobody jumps out to me as one guy that you can't let beat you.

Sutton is their best receiver, and in somewhat limited action, McLaughlin has added some juice to their running game. Mims is a dangerous return guy, too. He's one to watch out for, for sure.

Who's more important for the Packers Sunday; A Jones, or Q Walker? The offense has really missed Jones, but I shudder to think of our defense without Quay. And, tangentially, has Watson reported even a twinge in his hamstring since his return?

The offense has missed Jones more than the defense has missed anybody who's been out. I thought the defense held up pretty well in Vegas without Campbell and Walker in the middle. Of course you'd like both back, but getting Jones back is the bigger game-changer potentially.

What have you thought about Rodgers' progress with his ankle? I know you don't report for a "Jets" perspective, but there are still some of us that would love to see Aaron get back in there and see what this Jets team could become (Although I still will root for Allen and the Bills in his division).

I'm no medical expert, but seeing him off crutches and tossing a football around this early struck me as pretty remarkable, as it did many others. I wish him the best in his recovery.

A week off for a reset and rehab. Who benefits more, the players or the coaches?

The players physically, the coaches mentally. Getting the bodies back always helps on the field, and allowing the coaches to clear their mind and start a little fresher, so to speak, can be a good thing.

Hey Mike - I'm in for the long haul this season. It reads like a novel with this young team trying to figure it out and put everything together in the face of adversity. Anyway, coming off the bye, what do you think is the most important fix for this offense? I would say O-line/pass protection. But what are your thoughts from the INSIDE?

The pass protection getting back to what it was in the first three games is really important. Generally speaking, the offensive unit has to find a way to be productive and efficient early in games. The last three first halves have been nothing but a struggle. That can't continue. Not getting going on offense until the second half leaves you no margin for error in trying to win the game.

Colorado is a beer drinkers paradise of choices. I've had a Tangerine Cream on nitro (Denver local Station 26 brewery I think) that tasted like drinking an orange cream pop...and a heather and yarrow beer that my friend described as "tastes like grandma's closet smells". He was not wrong.

I have never heard a beer described as such before but I'll see if I can find it.

Based on your experience, should the Packers switch to Velcro shoes so no re-tie needed?

Ha, no. Just squat down or sit on a bench to tie your shoes. Don't solely bend over at the waist to do it. That was my mistake.

Did you get any indication from the coaches what the week of self scout produced in terms of what they're focusing on in the coming weeks?

Those questions were asked Monday but they aren't going to reveal specifics for competitive reasons. The main thing they look at is whether they're putting guys in the right spots and giving them plays to execute that they can succeed with, based on their best abilities.

I'm excited to see Carlson's range in pregame warmups. Think he will try one over 60?

I'm sure he will.

How thrilled are you with 5 of the next 6 games at noon (or 11:30)? Do players prefer early games, too?

They're much better from a work perspective, and I think the players prefer it too. Get out of bed and get going for the day.

On the Bakh HoF topic, I found a website where they try to make qualification more objective. Points awarded for All-Decade, All-Pro, Pro Bowls, etc. Bakh and Adams had about 23 and 22 points, respectively. Most HoF players have 30 or more points. Bakh was really hurt with this group from not making the 2010s All-Decade team.

Interesting. His All-Pro selections have been split between the two decades so that doesn't help in that regard.

Does it appear at times that Love is trying to 'aim' passes vs just throwing the ball. Could be a timing issue or lack of experience but it looks like he doesn't have that confident zip on some, not all, off his passes.

I think the zip is there when he can step into his throws, which requires the protection to hold up. When he can't step into it or is fading backward due to the pressure, it makes life a lot harder.

Which offensive player do you see taking the biggest post-bye step up? Doubs, Watson? Love? Dillon? Musgrave? Looks like all are THIS CLOSE to being really impactful, but no consistency yet

We've seen what Watson can do when he gets going. That was obvious last year. The guy I'm most curious about is Musgrave. He has all the tools to be a really impactful downfield threat. I think it's coming.

Feels like getting more out of Luke Musgrave in the passing game would be a huge boost for the offense. What does ML need to do to make that happen?

Just keep going to him. He made a mental error on a route early in the Vegas game and then dropped one over the middle late. He also has to take advantage of all the opportunities he's being given.

If the beer tastes like cream soda be sure to let Wes know?

Will do.

One thing I'd like the see cleaned up during the bye week is all the pre snap penalties

Penalties in general, honestly. Too many flags on special teams along with the ones on the offense through five games. The Packers need to play cleaner football.

I miss the McCarthy quotes of getting back to fundamental football. ML saying they're searching for answers seems like a grasp of not focusing on basics. Your comment of they don't need a hero, they need a team, speaks volumes to this team's development and the fan base expectations. Do you see players and coaching pressing too much and not relying on what got them to this point and why we have seen the regression over the past few games?

They're figuring it out. I think the bye week was a great time to reset on the fundamentals, because those can slip. Just because the coaches aren't talking about that publicly doesn't mean they aren't stressing it internally. This team has gone through a lot of ups and downs through five games, within games and week to week. Hopefully those have hardened them to some extent moving forward.

Does Fields being out for a while put the bears in the drivers seat for the #1 draft spot? Do they take a QB?

I don't know. That's a question for them. With their own pick and Carolina's first-round pick, the Bears will be in position to draft pretty much any player they want to.

The "all decade team" criteria is an example of a stat that doesn't capture the essence of what it is intended to cover. I would think the selection committee would be aware in that regard.

It's not the be-all, end-all, but it's a nice feather in the cap.

IMO Adams has had a more HOF-worthy career than Bakh to this point. I think Bakh would have to play several more seasons at the same level he was at before the injury to have a realistic HOF candidacy.

I would agree Adams' case looks stronger at the moment, but he's also at a position that's easier to quantify, and when you're leading the league in certain categories, that speaks for itself. I don't know if I'd say Bakhtiari needs "several more seasons" at his previous level, but if he can get back to that even briefly, he'll have made a good case.

What do you make of officiating around the league this year? It feels to far into the season to be having so many big mistakes from the officials. I know it's all part of the game but just curious if you had any thoughts about it

Nothing has surprised me. I've been saying for years if they just make the safety-related calls reviewable (RTP, defenseless hits, etc.) then the officials could focus on a lot of other non-reviewable stuff and perhaps make fewer errors. Just my opinion.

Will LVN play more? He seems to hold the edge

We shall see. Gary's snaps continue to increase, and I agree, LVN sets a pretty good edge vs. the run. As Gary gets back to a full workload, I'll be curious what kind of third-down fronts the Packers might employ.

On Monday night I heard "I don't know why anyone ever returns a kickoff with all the penalties backing you up. Just start at the 25 and get it over with". For kicks in the end zone, it's hard to argue, and it's what the league wants anyway. Do you agree? Of course it will get cold, and the kick won't make it...

Right, but with the fair catch rule you can take the ball at the 25 anytime you want. Just catch the ball. I think if a return unit is struggling with penalties, returning the ball all the time has major field-position risks. Get your game cleaned up and then it might be worth taking a shot.

Maybe this was previously answered but on the Musgrave wrong route play , what exactly was he supposed to do? Run further down the field? Take the defender away from Watson's area?

He was supposed to run a stop over the middle rather than the quick out into the same area where Watson was. There's a defender there who either has to curl inside with the TE or stay outside with the WR and it's a pretty easy read for the QB. Instead, the one defender was able to cover both guys and the play failed.

Mike used to say "you get what you emphasize". Have the coaches made any statements about what the emphasis is?

Not publicly but that doesn't mean they don't have items they've picked out.

Tony Boselli suffered an unfortunate injury in his prime, never made it all the way back, but got into the HOF anyway. If Bakhtiari can make it all the way back, you could argue his claim is stronger than Boselli's.

Perhaps, yeah.

Hi Mike, thank you as always for your time in this chat. My question is regarding Mark Murphy and pending retirement as he reaches the age threshold the Packers commit to. Do you think the Packers will fill with an internal candidate or look outside the organization? GPG!!

You're talking about something that is, obviously, way above my pay grade. I have no inside knowledge as to how the executive committee will go about the succession plan.

Time for you to get some lunch. Hopefully, Wes packed something tasty today.

Bingo. Thanks everybody. Enjoy the rest of your week and we'll talk again soon. Best, Mike


Action Needed: Update your Packers Mobile App!

Fans attending any games during the 2023 season should update their Packers mobile app due to important upgrades and enhancements.