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Rodgers still Packers' best hope

Packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman conducted his weekly Friday chat


Hi, everybody. Welcome to today's chat.

Comment From Mark

What I see is a team that doesn't play with any sense of urgency for the full 60 minutes. I see a team that only plays with it when they realize time is running out on them, as evidenced by all the late game heroics (that have fallen short too often). Perhaps this is their identity and that they will treat each full game on the remainder of their schedule like they've treated the second half of games. Maybe it's a good thing.

What you see is a team that's not winning. Mostly, you see and feel your own frustration and you're looking for dramatic answers to the team's problems. They don't exist. Time is the answer.

Comment From Mike

Why can't we see more of Janis?

*I don't know the reasons for his lack of playing time on offense, but he's making the most of his opportunity to return kickoffs. I think he deserves to remain in that capacity. On offense, my guess is his route running is the issue. His quarterback has to know where he is and be able to depend on it.    *

Comment From Sam

Maybe there is no answer. This is just this years team.

*That's possible. Maybe this won't get fixed until next season. Or maybe it'll get fixed in December. If it does, the bandwagon will begin filling up again. You can't fix it and it's not your fault that it's broken. Do yourself a favor: Don't own it and don't let it be your angst. Let the team own it. It's their problem to fix.            *

Comment From ABQ

Any word on Ty Montgomery's time frame for being back?

There is no time frame. It's obviously a significant ankle injury.

Comment From IC

How did things get so off track so quickly?

There was attrition at the wide receiver position and the development of young replacements wasn't complete. It's going to take more time. I think we all know that to be the truth, but we don't want to tell ourselves to be patient.

Comment From Kevin

Are you more tired of play calling or Janis questions?

I'm not tired of anything, but I'm not going to lie to you to make you feel better. You can blame me all you want for not blaming the play calling, but the fact of the matter is you come back here every day because you know I'm being truthful with you. The fix is about time but we don't know where they are in the fix. Maybe they're on the verge. That's the hope.

Comment From Omilson

Route running is a issue for Janis? But Rodgers can't find the WRs in the fild. When he find, the WR can't catch the ball.

You have to throw to where they're going to be, not to where they are. Coach McCarthy was extremely candid with the fans last night when he said the interception was the result of a bad slant route. Coach McCarthy said it again today. Listen to him. Don't analyze, listen. He was talking to you.

Comment From ABQ

I don't think Kevin was blaming you at all?

I speak to all fans when I answer one fan's question. My inbox is full of people taking their frustration out on me. It's OK. I feel their pain.

Comment From Colton

Were you impressed by Cutler last night? He outplayed Rodgers for sure.

*John Fox is turning Jay Cutler into a game manager. It's about time somebody did that for him. If it had happened earlier in his career, I think he would've benefited greatly. He has all the tools. He steps up in the pocket as well as any quarterback I've ever seen.               *

Comment From Canadian Mark

Hard to watch Vic, It was like the two QB's switched uniforms right before the game.

That's not true at all. Please, let's not exaggerate our woe.

Comment From Ben

This is the defense we have needed since 2011...

Imagine this team with 2011's passing attack.

Comment From Raff

Would the defense ever show it's frustration with the offense, and visa versa?

If that happens, you don't have a team.

Comment From ABQ

"I feel their pain" are you going to run for office soon.....

I'm just trying to be a friend to the people who drive this site and make my life comfortable.

Comment From Guest

On the interception the WR stopped mid route, that wasn't Rodgers fault. It amazes me how fast we are willing to blame him.

We'll blame anybody. We just want to blame somebody. It's human nature. We all want to win. Dignity comes with disciplining our desires.

Comment From Al

My wife has occasionally asked me "And why is it important that the Packers win?" I have yet to provide a satisfactory answer to that question. Can you help?

Because you love them. The true sign of love is wanting success for someone else. You want your wife to win. Tell her that. It might get you a kiss.

Comment From Guest

That must be hard with the fan/team relationship for the last 2 months.

The fans will not abandon this team. If you're going to work in this business, you have to have thick skin. You have to be able to let the fan vent without venting on the fan. When good times return, all will be well in the garden.

Comment From Canadian Mark

Vic, passer rating stats last night were Rodgers = 62.4, Cutler = 90.8. Cutlers career rating is 85 and Rodgers is 105. I was honestly not trying to exaggerate at all, just stating that I've been spoiled by the fact that it's usually the other way around.

That's right. You usually win. Think about that.

Comment From Omilson

How can you fix the route issue? The drop issue? What happened with the WRs? Is There a real way to fix it before that is too late?

The route issue is causing the drops. When you have to think about your route, your attention isn't fully on the ball. When the mental part is fixed, the physical part will follow.

Comment From Theo

Vic, If the receivers' poor performance isn't enough, Aaron has been as inaccurate with his throws as I've ever seen him. Do you think the two are tied together or are we looking at separate major issues?

He's trying to catch it for them. He's trying to throw the ball to where they should be. I saw a big-time example of it in Minnesota on a quick out deep in Packers territory. The route runner bowed his route back toward the line of scrimmage. If Rodgers had thrown the ball to where the receiver should've been, it would've been a pick six, so he didn't throw the ball. He's having to do too much.

Comment From Joe

At the beginning of the season most of my non Packer friends told me that the Jordy injury was huge. After we were 6 and 0 they said maybe not. Now they are all over me. I believe that wide receivers in this league are all good and most can and will rise to another level when challenged. Where are my assumptions wrong?

*The Packers run a sophisticated pass offense. It's a rhythm passing attack and its motion must be coordinated. Right now, it's out of rhythm.   *

Comment From Taylor

Lacy and Starks were an amazing combination last night; was clock management the biggest reason they didn't try those two when they had four tries to nail it into the end zone with two minutes left?

*Yes. If they run from the 8 and don't score, they would've had to use the next play to spike the ball and stop the clock. It would've been a 25 percent waste of the four downs. *

Comment From Theo

Why did the refs blow the whistle on the off sides? Nine out of ten that's a free play. That whistle may have cost the Packers a TD.

The Packers moved up front. That's why the play was blown dead. I'm not a fan of the free play thing. I worry about relying on tricks.

Comment From Zack

I am of the mindset that things aren't going to get "fixed" and that at this point of the season, this team is what is. That is not to say this team is not capable of winning, but it has to do so in close games and without being able to consistently blow the doors off. What are your thoughts?           

*If that works for you, go ahead and do it. It's called surrender. I don't need to surrender to level my mood.      *

Comment From Dougtheslug

Is Detroit a "must win" to make the playoffs?

I spent some time thinking about that this morning. I'm going to say no because we can't predict what the Vikings will do. They have a tough finishing schedule. All you have to do is win the division. What I will say is it's likely the Packers will have to beat the Vikings to win the division. The division tiebreaker is likely gone.

Comment From Bill

Maybe we need to simplify the offense a bit?

I've thought about that, too. I'd favor that. The problem is you don't grow, and I don't think you can win in the postseason without growing.

Comment From JD

Other teams fire coaches and bench players when things are not going their way. A lot of times it seems to be an overreaction. I'm not saying anyone should be fired but would you say the Packers are under reacting to the poor results this season?

Sit down and make a list of the teams that benefited from firing their coaches and benching their players. You just want to feel good. You want somebody punished for making you feel bad.

Comment From Gregg

Vic, is the wide receiver problem really about being "out of rhythm", or more about a lack of talent? I'm not trying to be unfair, but if you can't run a basic slant route after months of practice, are you ever going to be able to?

It's a fair question but there's only one way to know the answer.

Comment From DaufuskieNate

McCarthy had the look and sound of a coach who is taking no hostages this week. I think you're in for a fun week in Green Bay.

He gave me the impression of becoming more demanding with his players. He actually said it.

Comment From Brett

When does ted thompson earn some of this blame? No added players to make the team better from last year, continually doing this as well. Cant expect to get better when the team constantly stays the same. He deserves blame but never gets any.

He has a philosophy. He's committed to it. It's served this franchise well.

Comment From JD

I don't want anyone punished, I just want to see things turning around. If the Packer's have made any changes I'm not seeing the results.

*Then be patient. Desperation is a sign of weakness. The strong are unwavering.             *

Comment From LAURA

Thanks! Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Can someone explain to me what this means? There's a bunch of these.

Comment From Nancy

What do you think about the tight end situation? I know Richard Rodgers is a young player, but It's seems hard for him to gain any yards after contact or make defenders miss.

Maybe he's bulked up to become a better blocker and lost some movement. He is absolutely a better blocker. I saw him get on a guy last night and ride him.

Comment From Guest

it means we are being moderated yet who is moderated you, cliche machine?

You're making me laugh. Thanks.

Comment From Kevin

Why did Mike have to step down from play calling???

He was thinking about doing it five years ago. He wants to be involved in all of the aspects of his team. Shouldn't he get some credit for the improvement on defense and special teams? There's nothing wrong with the play-calling. It's the same plays McCarthy called. You're using the change as an excuse.

Comment From Brian

2010 season. Packers are 8-6. Have to win last 2 games to make playoffs. Win a defensive game against Chicago 10-3 to get in. The rest is history. Packer fans-there is still plenty of time. Admittedly the passing game needs to get in gear but don`t get so depressed

*What was everyone saying when they lost in Atlanta 7-6? I wasn't here. I'll be there were some serious questions being asked about the offense.               *

Comment From Guest

Do you think playing in a dome next week against Detroit might help the Packers offense get back in rhythm?

It might. Last night's weather didn't help. I don't know how fans can sit outside in that weather. I'm really impressed.

Comment From Bill

Collinsworth made a remark during the broadcast about players spending too much time playing video games (on their time off, I think) - any idea where this came from?

*I'm not going to guess, but I suspect somebody wanted to send a message.      *

Comment From Omilson

Do you think Janis deserves a shot like we think he deserves?

You earn a chance. He'll earn it. Remember when the Packers benched Jeff Saturday for Evan Dietrich-Smith? He earned his chance and he got it. The Packers won't hold back.

Comment From Guest

Do you think our offensive line needs to improve?

I thought they played a great game.

Comment From Raff

How long ago was that picture taken Vic?

When I got here in 2011. My hair has gotten darker since then.

Comment From Laura

It was reported during the game that there was a players only meeting, is that a signal that there is a deeper issue with the team as a team?

I remember a players-only meeting in Jacksonville in 1995. Some players called it to complain about Coughlin being too tough on them. The players assembled and then one of the veterans stood up and said the meeting was over. Coughlin asked me if I knew who it was. I told him who it was and he smiled. It's an edge game.

Comment From packerbacker823

Do you think the team leaders (players) need to be more vocal with the younger players preparation techniques?

Rodgers said it back in August. Give me a minute. I'll get the exact quote.

Here it is: "It's can you run the right route at the right time and understand what we're trying to do in the progressions? When you know what you're doing, then you can play faster. We need them to play faster, and that will give them confidence and give the quarterback confidence to throw them the ball."

Comment From Jake

Do you think the expectations for Adams have been justified? I remember similar expectations for Boykin going into his second year, and we saw where that went.

*I'm not a fan of expectation. I think everybody knows that. He'll grow into his role or he won't have one. He knows that. Every player knows that.  *

Comment From TomS

Rodgers quote says it all.

He's still the best thing this team has going for it.

Comment From Duane

Do the Falcons help us out this weekend?

They're No. 1 against the run. I say yes.

Comment From Jeremy

You speak a lot of working with Coughlin in the past. Would he flat out bench a starter like Belichek would?

He'd invent issues if he sensed a player was satisfied with his play, even if he the player was playing well. He believed it was important for everyone, including assistant coaches and himself, to be unfulfilled. He believed it was a great motivator.

That's it for today. Thanks.

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