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The season is not over

Packers have to stop allowing late first-half scores


Brent from Portage, WI

The head coach in Vic's "loyalty" story sounds like a real jerk. I understand being upset at the young coach for lack of commitment to his new organization, but to deliberately sabotage his career because of an opportunity sounds excessive. If the coach had already decided to fire the assistant based on his response, he should not have been deceptive about it, especially considering that the assistant had already been forthcoming about his interest in the position. Should teams re-sign then fire their players for exploring free agency? I think Vic's answer to this would be, "No. Football is a business."

Of all the stories I heard five times over from Vic, and there were a ton of them, I had never heard that one, not once.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Can you talk about Jason Spriggs' performance? It seemed like he held his own.

I thought he did, too. He had the one false start in the red zone, which hurt, but to be thrown in at guard having essentially never played there, he didn't look like a fish out of water. There's a reason he was drafted in the second round.

Ryan from Portland, OR

Is it too early to start talking about Jabrill Peppers and the Packers?

Yes, but it's reasonable to think about, barring a dramatic turnaround, the Packers could be looking at their highest draft position since 2009. That's as far as I'm going with that, though. There are six games left, the division race is not over, and there will be plenty of time to talk about the draft when the season is done. All of you asking about certain prospects already, you're wasting the keystrokes, as far as I'm concerned.

Pat from Spooner, WI

I've seen this team overcome injuries year after year, but this year feels different. It's just never-ending. Any chance the football gods are punishing us for Favre's durability?

Maybe they're punishing the Packers for not taking full advantage of a rather healthy 2014. Those types of seasons, injury-wise, are rare.

Chris from Mankato, MN

I can't help but feel devastated for Demetri Goodson. Surely a talent who finally got his shot this year, this injury might cost him his football career. Perspective must be key to fans who are upset about the injuries because their favorite team who entertains them is losing. What about the actual players who have to deal with the real-life consequences of these injuries?

One of the first tweets I saw related to Goodson's injury came from former teammate Chris Banjo, now with New Orleans. The players all know, and live in the reality of, the potential consequences.

Scott from Sparta, WI

I know coaches have to say injuries are not the reason for losing games. At the point the Packers are at right now, the bench is empty at several key positions. Talent and experience-wise our third- and fourth-string guys are clearly not able to play with the top players on the opposing squad. Have you ever seen a season with as many injuries and those injuries piling up at the same positions the way they have this year?

No, this injury epidemic has been an animal all its own compared to my previous 10 seasons in this job. I've been saying all year that "next man up" doesn't work for every player that goes down.

Chris from Milwaukee, WI

I'm a 1,000,000 percent Packer fan. Yet, for some reason, I feel a little bit proud of Matthew Stafford this season. Might you psychoanalyze this for me?

He's a rival player who has never done anything to make you despise him, and he's gone about his business the right way. When success comes to players like that, there's belief that the world works the way it's supposed to, and it's not all chalked up to luck and bounces of the ball.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

Wow. With the Vikings and Lions both winning their games Sunday, it sure seems like the Thanksgiving matchup is going to have some extra weight. It should be a great game.

It's going to put somebody in the driver's seat. If Detroit wins and has a sweep of Minnesota to its credit, you might call it the catbird seat, though with road trips to face the Saints, Giants and Cowboys awaiting, nothing will be decided.

Josh from Omaha, NE

Who should we be cheering for on Thursday?

As noted above, I think the Lions have a tougher remaining schedule than the Vikings, so I'd root for Detroit.

Tyler from Lincoln, NE

Insiders, I was watching the Washington State vs. Colorado game and saw a player ejected for targeting. The refs went to review the play and decided the call would stand and the tackler was ejected. A review "standing" has always meant there was insufficient evidence to change the call. Mike Pereira was asked for his opinion and I agree with him. He said it's unfair to eject a player when the refs can't even definitively call whether there was a penalty or not. I understand the player safety movement, but ejecting a player for the rest of a game after an unsubstantiated penalty seems a step too far. What are your thoughts?

I don't get to watch as much college football as I'd like, but it would seem to me that the "indisputable evidence" language used to overturn calls could be applied to a targeting review to confirm an ejection. Otherwise, backtrack and call it a personal foul for unnecessary roughness, but let the player stay in the game.

Mark from St. Pete Beach, FL

Gentlemen, I find the complaints about referees' missed calls most interesting. If the complainers could spend one series of downs on the sideline they would become aware of the fact that the game is played at an incredible speed that is almost impossible to comprehend. Do you notice the difference in speed comprehension from when you're on the field to when you're in the press box?

No question. Up close at field level, the speed of the game is startling, if not mind-boggling. At various times in my career, I've stood on the sidelines at Camp Randall and at Lambeau, and the difference in the speed of the two games is striking. TV doesn't do that justice.

David from Brighton, CO

McCarthy mentions touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal. Do you think he is calling out Capers?

He was calling out everyone associated with the defense, including himself. It was a 13-10 game at halftime the Packers never gave themselves a legitimate chance to win.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

Insiders, has the volume of your Inbox gone down as the Packers' losses pile up?

Quite the contrary.

Curt from York, PA

Insiders, realistically the Packers need to win at least five of their last six games to extend the season. If they suddenly became completely healthy, that would still be a tall order. I'm hearing the fat lady starting to sing. Give us some encouragement, or isn't there any?

These next two games are eminently winnable. That's the best I can do right now. Get to 6-6 and let's see where things stand.

Dave from Brookfield, WI

So Insiders, were we tricked by what we saw in training camp, or is this just an extension of the confrontation between men that really no longer exists in training camp and the preseason?

Even a draft-and-develop team can only develop so much in the offseason and training camp in the current climate. The real development takes place in the real games, and when there's not enough of it, it will catch up to you.

Bill from Chino Hills, CA

There appeared to be matchup advantages for the Packers over the last three games going against backup O-linemen, including backup left tackles. Why didn't the defense have more success? Isn't it generally a big drop-off from a top left tackle to the backup?

It can be big, but it's only big if the opponent makes it so. The Packers haven't done that.

Andre from Macomb, IL

Aside from the first three games, what have you witnessed from the defense that suggests they could possibly go on a run and become decent again? I personally haven't watched anything that gives me security this defense can be anything other than what they've been. That is to say they have been porous, like water through a sieve. We make every offense look like it's a conglomeration of all-stars.

Playing nickel as their de facto base, which they have all season, the Packers early on were stopping the run with a six-man box and getting pressure with a four-man rush. The Vikings and Giants games were the best examples of that in my view. When one or both of those elements needs extra help, it changes the whole equation, because X's and O's are a numbers game. Injuries, inexperience, inconsistent play and other factors haven't allowed those two pieces of the defense's foundation to be maintained, and now there's a ton of film out there showing how offenses have succeeded against Green Bay. All they can do is keep working to restore that foundation.

Luke from Fredericksburg, VA

Everyone is blaming something (injuries, Rodgers, reflections off the moons of Venus) for this strange year. But I know the real problem. It is Vic's fault for leaving us. We were in the playoffs every year since he got here, he leaves and WHOOP! Everything goes wrong. Wes and Mike, you two need to step up the sarcasm to try and save the season.

But I don't wanna be a pirate.

Greg from Colorado Springs, CO

What are the chances Christine Michael will be up to speed for next weekend?

McCarthy all but declared on Monday he'd be playing in Philly.

Kenny from LaMoure, ND

I don't understand the people that write in and expect/want you to say, "The Packers are terrible." If they believe that, why do they need your confirmation? Why do they want people in the organization to raise the white flag and admit defeat?

Because they want somebody to tell them they don't have to care anymore, rather than realize that caring deeply about something that doesn't go your way is not necessarily a waste of time and energy.

Max from Neenah, WI

Insiders, Vic used to say "Tom Brady will never happen again," referring to a high-quality QB being passed over so much in the draft. I acknowledge that it's far too early in his young career to think like this, but just for fun, explain how Dak Prescott happened. I believe he was a fifth-round pick. You can't tell me there are no GMs who would not go back if they could and scoop him up in the first round knowing what they know now. Hindsight is always 20/20, but how did he get missed?

He was a fourth-rounder, and the DUI arrest two days after his pro day might have dropped him a round or so, but he probably would have been a third-rounder, like Russell Wilson, at best. Sometimes it's just the right fit and it comes together at the right time. That offensive line, with the addition of Ezekiel Elliott, turned out to be the perfect combination for Prescott.

Dave from Sparta, WI

With Jake Ryan out and Clay Matthews back, does Capers consider scheming Clay back into the middle more?

I don't think it can be ruled out. It all depends on Ryan's health this week. McCarthy suggested he was in wait-and-see mode on him.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Another letdown right before half by the defense. Is that on the players or the coaches?

The old adage in hockey says nothing is worse than giving up a goal in the final minute of a period. It's a psychological blow. All 10 opponents have scored points against the Packers with two minutes or less left on the clock in the first half. The Packers have answered some of those scores before halftime, but still, all 10 (seven TDs, three FGs). It's got to stop.

Matt from Fort Collins, CO

How can you even pose a question like "What are the Packers' chances" on the homepage of this site? We are all aware that it is a ridiculous question.

But you clicked on it, didn't you? Some things with Vic never change.

Cody from Carlisle, PA

Hey Mike, I don't know if you noticed but NBC showed the press box and you got some air time! It was near the end of the game and you were still working hard. Keep up the good work!

Thanks for noticing. I was told by a co-worker about that, and coincidentally I was actually sending him a note back here at home base while he was looking at me on TV. I didn't get a single message from a friend or family member, though, so they all must have shut off the game by then. Either that, or I don't rate as highly as I think I do.

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