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The reasons for hope? Read Mike's chat

Senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. Another strange week, but let's get to it.

Comment From Balaji

Hi Mike, Hope you had a great Thanksgiving dinner.

Thank you, I did. My wife and mother-in-law made a fantastic meal. I just wish it would have sat better in my stomach around 10:30 p.m.

Comment From grt

is it possible to lose to the lions and still make the playoffs?

Of course. 7-5 is not a death sentence. It would be much better to be 8-4, obviously, but the NFC is still wide open. Lots to be decided in December.

Comment From Derek

Any chance we see a roster move to get Quarless back on the 53 this week?      

I'd never say never, but I have to doubt it. One padded practice after being out for 10 weeks makes it tough for a player to be ready, but we'll see.

Comment From Tom

Lots of criticism of the officiating this year...your take?

They can keep adjusting replay to right some of the wrongs, but for the game's sake, I just wish -- as I've said before -- that the officials would stop looking for reasons to throw flags all the time. They should look for reasons not to throw flags. It would make the game better.

Comment From Guest

First and goal 4 straight pass plays lacy was avg 6.2 yards a carry why not run him?

Running it in from the 8 isn't likely. There were 51 seconds left, you had no timeouts. If he's not going to run it in from the 8, you probably have to spike the ball before third down. It's like wasting two plays.

Comment From Kyle Duffield

Hey Mike! After another close lost to a team we shouldn't lose to. Can are Packers really have much success in the playoffs if we make it? Seems like when ever we get back on track we take a step backwards. Go Pack Go

Get there first, then assess how the team is playing and the matchups the opponent presents. Just get in.

Comment From Jim

Do you think Chicago could win out and take a wild card berth?

Sure they could. The Bears could also lose every game on their schedule, and I don't mean that as a slap. Every game the Bears play these days is close and can go either way. That's the style they're playing.

Comment From Tony in Burbank

Hi Mike, thanks for the chat. Do you think the inability to stretch the field with a WR has been a major issue this season? Do the Packers have a (healthy) guy that can do it?       

*I'm not buying the stretch the field thing as the main issue. It's an issue, but it's down the list for me. Catch the ball on the throws that are there and things look a heck of a lot better.        *

Comment From kayin

the packers should do a sreen to starks because thats the lions defensive weakness

*If the Lions aren't prepared for screen passes, I'll be stunned beyond belief.   *

Comment From Ed

What's best strategy to get Adams back on track? Keep playing him or sit him?

*You have to keep playing him. You drafted him in the second round for a reason. You've seen what he's capable of. He just has to put it together, and sitting him won't constitute progress. For this team to be the best it can be, Adams has to be a big part of it.               *

Comment From Yon Yonson

Abbrederis gonna be up this week? If so, how many targets for him?

He's been practicing, so there's a chance he plays, sooner than thought following that big hit on the sideline. How many targets? The Packers don't go into a game with a number in mind for anybody, but if he's open, Rodgers will go to him.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, I'm not sure that our record is the concern. It is the way the team is playing, especially the offense. If the offense doesn't right the ship immediately what are the chances we win enough to even wild card in. Davonte Adams is just not the player we saw last year. What do you see that makes us hopeful???

*The running game is coming around, the defense has played solidly, and the special teams might have a new gamebreaker in Janis (though in a dome this week there might be a lot of touchbacks). Other pieces are in place if the passing offense comes around. There's still time to get it right.       *

Comment From Jeff

Does Cam have a chance at MVP?

Sure, but I still say Brady is at the top of the list, and Adrian Peterson is closing the gap on Cam.

Comment From Lee

Why did the Packers played so well againts MN but played so poor against Detroit and Chicago at home?

Because it's not a video game. McCarthy was exactly right when he said the Bears game was about making the plays on the ball. Adams had a TD in his hands. You could argue Jones did too. Lacy fumbled the ball and gave the Bears a spark. Rollins had an INT in his gut and dropped it. Everything was there for the Packers to win the game. They have to make those plays.

Comment From Julie

Mike, do you think the ceremony last Thursday was more about Bart Starr stepping on the field one last time than it was about Brett's number being retired? That's the emotion that got to me. Thanks for the chat.

*It was the combination that made it special. The two best QBs in franchise history taking the field the same night the third in their trio was playing a game. One number going up alongside the other, and everyone knows the next one to go up there someday. Doesn't get much better than that.            *

Comment From Michael

Well Mike, so far this season is one of the most frustrating seasons I've ever watched. Knowing the amount of talent this team has, and the potential this team has-- you just can't struggle this bad on offense with a pro bowl quarterback. Hopefully we can get hot just in time.

Frustrating? Yes. Over? No. There's no reason to give up, right?

Comment From Jim

Are the Packers and Lions doing the technicolor unis on Thursday? Is this nod to the AFL going to be a long term thing?

I don't believe there's anything special with the uniforms planned.

Comment From Justin in Athens

Do you think this team needs to collectively clear its head? How do you do that?

The upcoming weekend off will help. Getting those couple of days off with a win on Thursday will make the head-clearing a more enjoyable process.

Comment From Roger

Mike, my sense is that the team is very close to putting some wins together. They were only eight yards from doing it last game and that was even losing the turnover battle 2-0. Your sense?

A kick against Detroit. Four shots from the 8-yard line. Make those plays and the Packers are 9-2, for all their warts.

Comment From Tom

Vikings vs. Seahawks...who you got?

Good one. I really don't know. I'm just glad I'll get to watch it because I won't have a game to cover on Sunday.

Comment From Danny

I not loving the 1-2 punch with the running backs. I don't think it allows them to get enough rhythm. I wish Lacy was the feature back.

Lacy had 17 carries to Starks' 7 last Thursday night. If Lacy stays productive, he's the feature back, but they're not going to run him into the ground.

Comment From Bill

I don't quite get sitting Lacy for a fumble while leaving in receivers who can't catch the ball. Seems like a mixed message.

Execution and ball security are different issues to the coaching staff.

Comment From Kevin

Do you think the expectations for this team are too high ?? and the Packers are not as talented as we think ?    

I think we all knew the Packers weren't as good as their record looked at 6-0. I've also said they aren't as bad as they've looked in losing 4 of their last 5. It doesn't really matter now. Just win enough to get in the playoffs and take your chances.

Comment From Scott LC

Mike, would you say re-signing Mike Daniels is a priority and do you foresee it happening?

*Yes and yes. It would be tough to let that guy go at a position that is not overly stocked with youth.     *

Comment From Corey

We haven't seen offensive issues like this when Mike ran the offense. Do you think he would take over at all this far into the season?

No. The plays are there to be made. The film shows it against Detroit and Chicago. Make the plays. No way McCarthy can get the most out of his players if he takes the play sheet back and lets them off the hook for their struggles with execution, and that's what it'll take to make a run here, getting the most out of this team.

Comment From JSC

I completely buy into players, not plays. However, from some of the comments I've heard players and MM make, it sounds like some players may be lacking confidence in the play caller. Do you get this sense as well?

*I have not heard players questioning play calling, except for a couple of instances about maybe running the ball more. So, no. I don't get that sense. Rodgers said it on Sunday -- Players play, coaches coach. If you don't get that, you won't last long in this league.          *

Comment From Scott LC

Did a picture get taken of all three quarterbacks?

I don't know. I hope so.

Comment From Guest

Mike, the whole Janis/Abberderis thing is getting about as old as the Play calling and scheme deal.

It doesn't bother me as much, to be honest. If another player can provide a spark, I'm all for it.

Comment From Ken

We keep hearing "not on the same page". How is that even possible with so much time together?

Adams missed a month with an ankle injury. TE Rodgers is a second-year guy. How long has Montgomery been out? These things are factors.

Comment From Guest

Has a team ever played back-to-back Thursday games before? Seems weird.

Packers did it in 2007, both on the road at Detroit and Dallas, same time of year. Felt different schedule-wise, though, because that Detroit game was the early one on Thanksgiving. Back-to-back Thursdays at night does feel strange.

Comment From Jason

For the Chicago game I see more impact from the Holding call Sack that took them out of field goal range. You knock that one in and you don't even need to score a TD at the end. People focus on that play but I believe that was the biggest impact

I think you're referring to the holding call and bad shotgun snap, but yeah, I hear you. The holding call was a joke, but so was the DPI on that pass to Perillo, and other calls in that game, both ways. That's what I meant about the flags before.

Comment From Cameron

would you favor a 500 or worse division winner having to go to the wild card team for the playoff game?

No. I know I'm probably in the minority on this, but I think a division winner should get to host a playoff game. You play six of your 16 games against your division, and the schedule formula has you playing 14 of your 16 games against the same teams as everyone else in your division. Coming out on top in that structure, whatever the record, works for me.

Comment From Patricia in Dubuque more thing...the social media has ample evidence that Packer fans greatly detest Yuck and Ickman...what can we do to loose those two on Fox?

Don't listen to them, I guess.

Comment From Scott

Mike, my question is about James Jones effectiveness. We chose not to resign him 2 years ago, the Raiders moved on from him and the Giants cut him. He has had some moments, but more often than not, he can't get open. Why not give more snaps to younger guys like Janis and Abbredaris & Montgomery (if they are all healthy). I don't see Jones back next year when Jordy returns.

Jones' play has been up and down. He'd be the first to admit that. He had a great game in MN, but had zero catches in the losses to the Lions and Bears. I think Abbrederis was going to get more snaps after the first Detroit game but he got hurt. That said, the Packers need Jones to make a clutch play at least here or there. The pain on his face in the locker room talking about the third-and-goal play Thursday night was clear.

Comment From Tom

The Cardinals have had a lot of injuries lately. Do you think the Packers still have a shot at the number two seed?

*The Cardinals have played a lot of close games, too. They don't have the 2 seed wrapped up by any means, but they are in the driver's seat for it. They host both the Vikings and Packers in December. Those games will go a long way in deciding that.    *

Comment From Roxanne

Do we now have to have a better record than MN to win the division?

The Packers need to enter Week 17 no worse than one game back of the Vikings. Then, GB can win the division with a win, because they'll have a head-to-head sweep. That's the simplest way to explain the division scenario at this point.

Comment From Stephen

This team was a championship caliber team coming into the season. At the start of December, the defense is playing better than expected. The special teams unit is playing better than expected. The running game is heating up. Since we know what 12 is truly capable of, would you agree that a struggling passing game is a better problem to have than the ones that faced this team in the last 3 years?

I hear what you're saying. The Packers' calling card just needs to find its old form. What's troublesome is the passing game hasn't been what the Packers are accustomed to for two months now. But as I said, there's still time. Tom Clements and Aaron Rodgers like to say on a final, two-minute drive, as long as you have time and downs you have a chance. The Packers still have time and downs to fix this.

Comment From Nathan

I expect Vikings-Seahawks to be a close one too, but who would you rather see win? Seahawks because the division is the first priority?

Tough one. I see the Seahawks as a very dangerous wild-card team. Might be best to not let them get in? I don't know.

Comment From Brooke

Any predictions for Thursday? I can't tell if this is going to be like the MN game or the CHI game.

I'm not big on predictions, but I expect this game to come down to the wire. It all depends on whether or not the Packers make the play or plays at the end to win.

Comment From Stephen

How many questions do you receive for these things on average?

*Hundreds. I just try to take a sample of different topics as best I can.    *

Comment From Jeff

Do you expect the production from Cobb to increase? It has been down significantly in all areas from last year. When Jordy went down, I figured his production would go up if anything.

*Defenses are keeping a safety in back across from Cobb. When the other receivers start winning one-on-ones and directing the safeties' attentions elsewhere, Cobb will look like a different player. I didn't have a chance to show it in my WYMM video, but remember the TD at the end of the half in MN? On film, the safety in the back of the end zone went right at Richard Rodgers to double him and Cobb was wide open. It's been rare this year.    *

Comment From Donna

Earlier today, I read on a different site that since Detroit and Chicago beat us at Lambeau, the Vikings can't wait to play us there. Do you believe that to be true? Do you believe that that game will, in fact, determine the division leader?

It will decide the division as long as the Packers are no more than one game back of the Vikes.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, Do you get why Packer fans don't like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman? I certainly don't. They're the best team on Fox. Having them call our games tells us how well regarded we are. I think they're great!             

I don't have an opinion one way or the other because I'm always in the press box. Interesting to see the different views. Even at home, I rarely have the sound up during games. I'm just not a big fan of all the talking.

Comment From Tim

Hey Mike, glad you had a good holiday. With regards to what you said about the team not being that reflective of the record both now and at 6-0, what do you think has changed since 6-0? It seems like then we found ways to win, and now we can't grab those clutch wins.

That's a big part of it. The play in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks was outstanding, on both sides of the ball, in Week 2. Even Week 1, that Bears game was in the balance and Matthews gets the huge INT and the offense adds points. The goal-line stand against the Chargers was impressive given how the defense had struggled all day vs. Rivers. You have to finish games to win in this league. Jan. 18 was Exhibit A for that.

Comment From Brandon 

Hey Mike! Crazy finish to the Browns and Ravens game last night. What is the craziest end to a game you have witnessed?

Um, off the top of my head, the Fail Mary takes the cake.

Comment From B 

Any explanation as to why they blew the ball dead after that off sides call in the fourth quarter? Looked as though Cobb may have had a chance for a touchdown.

They blew it dead because the Packers jumped before the snap with the defense in the neutral zone, which is what they're supposed to do. Loyal readers of this chat will recall me saying sometime back in Sept. or Oct. that a few of those free plays shouldn't have happened if the refs had called them properly, and that other teams were going to alert the officials to those. I'm not surprised in the slightest.

Comment From Nathan 

By the way, Seahawks fans started a petition to get Buck and Aikman off their games too.

There you go. If everybody hates them, they must be doing something right.

Comment From Julie 

Do you think you and Vic would make a good sportscasting combo?

I don't know if I'd ever get a word in. That's why I do this chat :)_

OK, my hour is up. I'll take a few more. Thanks for all the participation, as always.

Comment From Cody 

Hey Mike, what's a catch?

*Anyone? Bueller?          *

Comment From Justin 

The Packers need to stop relying on refs and trick plays to win games. Just play the game.

I'm with you there.

Comment From Scott LC 

So if you really want a free play the offensive line has to remain still and give the defender a free pass to the QB. But then the play is likely to be blown dead as "unabated to the QB" so how do you ever get a free play?    

Not sure where it went, but somebody posted about "unabated to the QB" being blown dead, so based on what I said before, how do you ever get a free play? The answer is if the guy who jumps offsides is trying to get back but fails to do so before the ball is snapped, but the O-line hasn't jumped at all during that process. Then it's a free play.

Comment From Dan 

Just win, baby.

And that's the last word for today. Thanks everyone. Enjoy the game Thursday night. Let's chat again next Tuesday. Take care. --Mike

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