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New energy and new direction were heard from all angles

Vision and play style mean more than X's and O's


Robert from Harris, MN

Just because...I have to say my picks for the Super Bowl are Buffalo and Minnesota. Somebody has to win.

Interesting thought.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers ranked 22nd in total yards allowed with 348.9 yards/game. They finished 26th in the league in points/game with 24. The Pittsburgh Steelers finished fifth and seventh in those respective categories with 306.9 yards/game and 19.2 points/game. So what separates the Packers from being an "elite" defense is 42 yards and 4.8 points per game. It doesn't seem like much in the big picture.

Those numbers reflect how highly competitive this league is, and how little separation there is between, for example, 6-10 and 10-6. You're never really that far away.

Kevin from Wheeling, IL

What will the wolves howl about now?

The new hires haven't been made yet.

Ben from Petal, MS

I find the termination of Trgovac odd, especially with Whitt being considered for DC. We have seen better development with less draft capital on the D-line compared to CBs. Any insight on this?

I don't pretend to know how position coaches are evaluated. There's way more to it than I'll ever understand. For example, Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez made the biggest strides of any members of the 2016 draft class, yet we all see which position coaches were let go. I'm not being critical of the process or the decisions, just acknowledging these are the types of moves I could never predict.

Taylor from Amarillo, TX

Best wishes to Dom moving forward. My dad and I got to be at the Bears-Packers NFC Championship Game and see Raji's pick-six happen in person. Definitely a Capers-style play and one I will always remember. But, I'm also OK with the decision and looking forward to what's next.

A classic zone blitz call.

James from Durango, CO

Hey Spoff, did the rabble win or was it time to move on from Capers?

I sensed a strong likelihood during the Monday night Detroit game right after the bye week. The defense had a week off to rest and adjust to the Rodgers-less reality. It was also as healthy as it had been since Week 1. Yet a division opponent without a running game came into Lambeau Field in prime time and threw it all over the yard for four quarters. I'd seen the defense struggle before, obviously, but not in this set of circumstances. It felt different than other rough spots, and barring a 2014-style turnaround, I was thinking McCarthy would change course. I couldn't say that at the time because it's not my place to undermine what's trying to be accomplished, but that's how I saw it, even as I hoped to see something else that might change my mind.

Rich from De Pere, WI

I read some salty comments by Randall and Ha Ha seemingly throwing blame at young players not getting benched for repeated mistakes and undrafted free agents not ready to step in when needed. Very unusual for the Packers' locker room. Do you think there was some discord starting to fester on the defense?

If so, it was never public. To me, I read it as more an issue of lacking confidence in the guy next to you, and it's hard for any player or unit to play its best football that way. McCarthy's comments Thursday about the gap between the veteran and younger players not closing soon enough over the last two seasons speak to that as well. I'm very curious to see how these thoughts might impact the makeup of the roster next season.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Looking at the playoff teams, it sure is obvious that the NFC field is a lot more impressive. Any of the six have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. The AFC comes down to the Pats or Steelers. The Bills or Titans, give me a break. They wouldn't even be in the discussion in the NFC.

I tend to agree on all counts, as much as Buffalo is a heck of a story right now.

Garrett from Sioux Center, IA

Does it say anything that Mike is "the last man standing"? Are the Packers building a front office around him? He said very early (after the last game) that change was coming and I find it interesting the change also included a level up.


I thought McCarthy was very up front and honest in saying if he and the new GM aren't a good fit together, he doesn't expect to be here. At the same time, his involvement in the GM selection process indicates his opinion is highly valued. I don't see McCarthy ever coaching as a lame duck, so I guess we'll see where everything stands a year from now when he's going into the final year of his contract.**

Roger from McGrath, AK

If a coin flip is used to break a tie and establish the draft order, does that order then alternate in subsequent rounds?


Andrew from Fullerton, CA

Here's what I don't get: the fans who want McCarthy fired say the only reason he's successful is Rodgers. Couldn't you just as easily argue McCarthy is the coach who developed Rodgers, designed the offense Rodgers dominates in, and calls the plays for him? Why is logic hard for some people?

I love the emails that suggest Rodgers saved McCarthy by "running the table" last year, as though the head coach had nothing to do with it.

John from Madison, WI

I very much enjoyed the "NFL Timeline: The Ice Bowl" video. It had a personal connection for me. In the segment about conditions in the press box, it was mentioned that a "young man from Green Bay" went out to a gas station at halftime and bought a can of de-icer for the windows. That young man was my father, Rick Whitt from WJPG radio in Green Bay. He went across the street to the Citgo station and bought the last can of de-icer in the city. Dad covered the Packers for WJPG/WNFL through 1977. I still have the helmet lamp the team gave him.

I also love emails like this.

Chris from Buffalo, NY

Ted Thompson does deserve credit for the team's success, but he missed on opportunities in free agency in the last five years that could have put the Packers in at least one more Super Bowl. Do you think the new GM will be more active in FA? For A-Rod's sake I hope the new GM will be very active. Elite QBs do not come around too often.

I will reiterate the missed opportunity in 2014 was not on Thompson, but to your point, we'll see what the new GM thinks, because we're in a different salary-cap era. Not long ago, one significant free-agent signing gone bad could cripple a team's cap for an extended period. But now the cap is going up steadily by $10 million per season, so mistakes in free agency aren't as damaging. Regardless of the outcome of Green Bay's grievance, the Bennett failure really won't hamper what the Packers want to do in 2018.

Patrick from Tampa, FL

So do we hire 30-something up-and-comers to take a chance with some innovative but untested strategies, or do we stick with old-school guys with familiar and proven ones?

Reading between the lines of McCarthy's comments about a new defensive coordinator, I don't think X's and O's matter to him as much as vision and play style, and a plan for implementing them. If I know McCarthy, he'll explore all the options – internal or external, little-known riser or household name. Only he knows which ways he's leaning.

Pat from Collierville, TN

With all the changes in the Packer organization this week, hopefully both of you are still writing answers to everyone's questions next week. I am sure it is difficult for you since you have worked with everyone involved.

Thanks for acknowledging. While I never take my job for granted, it's times like these I'm thankful my employment is not dependent on the team's won-loss record. To your other point, last year coming back from spring break in Florida with my family, we were on the same flight as Scott McCurley and his family. It gives you pause.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

Rosen and Darnold declaring for the draft is pretty good for the Pack. The trade value of the 14th pick increases and good talents will slide down a bit.


Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Hey Mike, since there's not much going on with the Packers these days (heh heh), I'll ask you about the draft. What do you think about the "value" system that so many people use to make a draft board? Some people actually assign "points" to every pick in every round. Personally, I see it as a weak attempt to quantify an abstract thing – a player's potential to become a good NFL player. Is there any validity to such a system?


The value chart is a guideline for trading picks. It's a framework to help make on-the-spot decisions, but value is always in the eye of the beholder.**

William from Traverse City, MI

Might Adams' and Linsley's signing early, and not testing free agency, suggest they have more confidence in the state of the Packers than many fans? It seems, if the Packers are as bad as some folks think, they might have chased the money.

There's only one Aaron Rodgers, and both of those guys work pretty closely with him.

Tim from La Crosse, WI

While I don't like to see anyone fired, this business is one where you can get passed up very quickly and I feel the Packers as an organization have fallen a bit stagnant. I feel as though over the past few years we've watched Rodgers cover up a lot of our inefficiencies. I hope with all these changes we see a new energy and a new direction for this team.

I felt the ideas of new energy and new direction permeated McCarthy's 35-minute news conference. They were**heard from all angles**, and he commented on a lot more than just the coaching staff.

Jerry from Savannah, GA

Why do you think Jim Harbaugh hasn't had greater success at Michigan yet?

Look at the Wolverines' quarterbacks in his tenure compared to those at Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State. It's pretty obvious what he needs to find.

Jon from Baroda, MI

What is the date for the 2018 shareholders meeting?

It hasn't been announced yet. Last year, we found out in early May.

Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada

I'm confused about the impact of those two contracts on the cap. I thought unused space carried over anyway. How does signing them now change the equation?

A popular question. The timing reduces the cap charges to account for in future years. An $18 million signing bonus prorated over four years is $4.5 million per year. Over five years, it's $3.6 million per. Space carries over, yes, but this way you don't have to make sure you're carrying over the extra $900K every year for the length of the deal.

Anthony from Minneapolis, MN

I see the Green Bay Packers playing the Rams next year in the UK, since they play in LA. What's your thoughts? Would be fun.

I'll continue to maintain it'll be the Chargers game in 2019. The LA Coliseum holds 90,000 people for Rams games. The Chargers' temporary stadium holds 30,000. It makes sense to let Packers fans buy as many tickets in LA as possible, right?

Kevin from Punta Gorda, FL

Are the Packers now at risk of being forced on the TV show "Hard Knocks"? Would this be good for the organization or too much of a distraction?

Teams aren't eligible to be forced on the show until they've missed the playoffs two consecutive years.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

In McCarthy's press conference yesterday he said something interesting when talking about his philosophy for the team. He said, "The defense needs to be better than the offense," to which I muttered "fudge yea." As an offensive-minded coach and a play-caller with Rodgers did that surprise you?

I could be totally off-base here, but I felt it was a reference to unit depth. In this QB-driven, offensive-minded league, I think he's saying the defense has to be deeper (better) than the offense because it's much harder to plug-n-play on that side of the ball when injuries inevitably strike.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Hey Spoff, when you said a few weeks ago that you thought changes were coming you weren't kidding! Did you think they would be this extensive? And most importantly, when your son came home did he tilt his glass when pouring milk?

I've learned to never be too surprised in this business. No glass tilt, yet, but I'll check again when I get him back to Utah. Leaving later today to start the long drive. Have a good weekend, everybody.

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