Week 1 is here: Read Mike's chat transcript

Packers.com senior writer Mike Spofford conducted the first of his weekly chats on Tuesday, previewing the Week 1 Packers-Bears showdown.


Hi everybody. Welcome back! We all know what's on the horizon, so let's get this thing rolling. On to the 2015 season ... ask away.

Comment From Chad

With Jordy gone, what will the workload for Davonte, Ty and Jeff look like?

Chad, the workload for Adams was going up regardless, but now exponentially so. He'll be in all 2- and 3-WR sets. For Montgomery and Janis, it depends on how quickly Jones is on the field and contributing. Hard to make a prediction there.

Comment From Kyle K

Mike, with the signing of Jones do you see this as way to keep Cobb in the slot position instead of putting him out wide? Also stoked the mid-week chat is back!

I don't see Cobb as exclusively in the slot, Kyle, but Jones' presence probably allows him to be in there more often. Jones gives them a veteran receiver who knows the system and can get up to speed quickly to help. That's the main thing, which is no small thing, especially with Cobb and Montgomery dealing with preseason injuries.

Comment From Guest

Do you believe James Jones can pick up his chemistry where he left off with A-Rodg? He seemed to be fading a bit in Oakland, but I figure that can be blamed on the team/QB/etc....

I don't think it would take too long. He was with three different QBs in Oakland in one season. Other than 2013, he played with one QB here for seven years.

Comment From Deniis, Ireland

Mr. Spofford, which player do you think will stand out this year on special teams?

Remains to be seen. Sean Richardson is the natural choice, given what he did last year, but Ripkowski sure looked like a potential standout on special teams in the preseason. Banjo and Mulumba are two other guys that come to mind.

Comment From Lynn

Mike, good to see your smiling cyber face once again! As the suspended players return (and presuming no blow-out injuries), who are the likely candidates to get released? Would they likely get moved to the practice squad? Do we have room there, or would we need to let go of a practice squad member to make room?

I don't like to speculate on that kind of thing, Lynn, because like it or not, injuries often have a way of dictating how these things go. Any players released would only be put on the practice squad if they're eligible. If a veteran gets cut, no practice squad.

Comment From DonS

How is Cobb's shoulder doing?

Reporters haven't heard from Cobb since last Tuesday, so we'll see what he says this week, and/or if he's on the practice field tomorrow, Don.

Comment From Wally

What is your sense in secondary personnel? Does Hayward man the outside for the majority of the game or will Randall see significant reps on the outside with Hayward manning the slot?

It sounds like Hayward will start in base, Wally, from what position coach Joe Whitt has said. But the Packers play nickel more than base, and the alignment there could depend on Hyde. He might come in to play the slot, or maybe it's Randall on the outside with Hayward moving inside.

Comment From Guest

Mike - this is awesome. Mid-week chat. Another key sign that we're back to Packers football. Are you as amped as I am, and I am sure a lot of us are, to get this season rolling? What are the biggest red flags or areas of concern on the team as you see it? LB, return game? What do you think? Thanks!

It's really the defensive line, naturally, with the suspensions to start the year. You like to have all hands on deck to rotate and keep guys fresh for different situations, but they'll have to work through it.

Comment From Bryan

Do you think Coach McCarthy will limit Eddy Lacy's touches in the first few games like last year or with the injury to Jordy, give him more carries this season?

I think Coach McCarthy wants to be able to run the ball regardless, Bryan, but he'll be mindful of the 16-game season (and then some). He's got Starks and Lacy to share the load, and I don't see either guy getting overworked in the earlygoing.

Comment From Brandon

Without Guion and D. Jones, who will provide the biggest impact on the DL alongside Raji and Daniels? Boyd, Gaston, or Pennel?

Brandon, against the run, I'd say Pennel. Based on what I saw in the preseason, for the pass rush, Gaston was the best of those three.

Comment From Brent

What's the status on Hyde? I've only seen reports on Cobb, but Hyde is an important part of the defense.

Hyde told reporters yesterday that he'll be fine for Sunday, Brent. What that means for his role (nickel, punt return?) I don't know.

Comment From Andy

Mike does Rodgers have his Interview Session today ? can't wait to hear what he has to say about JJ

Rodgers talks to reporters on Wednesdays, Andy. We'll hear from him tomorrow.

Comment From Nathan

I have a bad feeling about the defense. What is your gut feeling about that group going into the first game?

The first unit hasn't played together much, and when they did, it didn't look good against the Eagles. You don't dismiss that, but you don't put too much stock in it either, because the amount of game planning and film study for a regular-season game and a preseason game are dramatically different, Nathan.

Comment From Roger L

The shocker in the cuts were Myles White and Rajion Neal. What is your take on this?

The White move didn't shock me when JJ became available, Roger. It's simply an indication that White wasn't likely to make the team if Jordy had never gotten hurt. As for Neal, he did everything he could, and I can't speak to why Harris was chosen over him. Maybe it was the body type, special teams potential, pass protection abilities, or all of that.

Comment From Hagis Nilesworth

Mike, when you're not watching football, what other sports do you like?

I'm a baseball guy at heart, HN, but this job takes my attention away from a lot of the baseball I'd like to watch. I try to see as much of the postseason as I can, though.

Comment From Ryan

Who is the leading kickoff return candidate now that Neal is on the practice squad?

Neal is on Miami's practice squad actually, Ryan, but to answer your question, I'd have to say Montgomery.

Comment From Matt

Jayrone Elliott should be lining up opposite of Peppers with Matthews in the middle. This puts our best personnel on the field. Thoughts?

I expect Mike Neal and probably Nick Perry to play more snaps at OLB than Elliott, Matt.

Comment From Steve

Is Barrington a 3-down LB? He is a major liability when he has to match up against a RB in pass coverage, imo? Do you think he'll be in there in dime situations or do they pull him and go with seven DBs?

Barrington is a three-down guy, Steve, and his game is still developing. Yes, he's been hit or miss covering RBs in the passing game. In Seattle last January, he played one to Lynch perfectly and broke it up, but he gave up the play on another. It's tough duty. Seven DBs? We've seen Capers do that on occasion, but it had better be third-and-forever, because a run against seven DBs is sure to gain a chunk of yards.

Comment From Lonnie

What has you jacked about this game Mike? You seem like a mild mannered dude normally.

That it's finally for real, Lonnie. Preseason games are more fun than watching practice, but anyone who's in this business is in it for the ones that count.

Comment From Dick

Mike, I don't understand the James Jones situation. He had a pretty good year with Oakland last year; looked better than some of the Giants receivers, and yet is let go by both those teams. Was is a salary issue?

It may have been a salary issue with Oakland, Dick, I don't know for sure. The Giants must have liked the younger guys for down the road. Every team's situation is different. As I wrote yesterday in my JJ story, when two non-playoff teams release you in a span of four months, and a SB contender is thrilled to have you back, that's all you need to know about how crazy this business is.

Comment From Daniel

Who is your pick to win the North? I obviously like the Packers, but I have to be honest that the Vikings are a scary team with Peterson back. Your thoughts?

I think the Packers are the team to beat, Daniel, and the Vikings are the strongest challenger. It's tough to know about the Bears with a new coaching staff and the Lions without Suh, but the Vikings gave the Packers their toughest fight in the division games in the second half of last season, I thought.

Comment From Mike

I didn't hear Peppers name much this preseason. Had his age finally caught up with him?

Peppers didn't do much if anything in the preseason last year either, Mike. That means nothing. He's a veteran who has his own way to prepare.

Comment From Jon

I keep thinking and hoping that Nick Perry will be this year's Morgan Burnett. Taking just a bit longer to fully develop than we would like, but then suddenly becomes the player we were all hoping. Do you expect Perry to up his game this year, or is that just wishful thinking?

He's in a contract year, Jon, so he has plenty of motivation. Keeping him healthy is always the first step, because he has missed a lot of games in his career with injuries.

Comment From Lester

I think Clay will be situational at inside linebacker. Jake Ryan needs to see the field. Thoughts?

In Week 1, no, Lester. Matthews is an inside starter. Your thought may come to fruition later in the season, but we'll have to see.

Comment From Bill

Hi Mike -- What's your general opinion on how our defense plays this year ? I still have my concerns with the middle 4.

As mentioned, Bill, there's not enough to judge the defense on yet. We will certainly find out these first 3 weeks if they can stop the run, with Forte, Lynch and Charles coming at them. Bad 3 weeks for a guy like Guion to miss.

Comment From Roger L

It seems to me that Brett Hundley has outperformed Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job. What am I missing?

I disagree. Hundley's improvement was considerable, but Tolzien is the No. 2 guy.

Comment From Mark

Mike, when it comes to interceptions, the Packers seem to have Jay Cutler's number. Why do you think that is, and do you think the trend will continue this Sunday?

Cutler has a tendency to get careless, Mark, and the Packers always seem to be there to take advantage. There also seems to be one play per game when Cutler and his WR are on different pages, and the Packers capitalize. It's been the formula for beating the Bears anytime the game is close -- take the ball away. I know that doesn't say much, but I think if there were a clear-cut explanation for Cutler's INTs vs. GB he'd have stopped throwing them by now.

Comment From JB

Give us your prediction for a breakout season Mike.

For the Packers' sake, a breakout season from someone like Datone Jones or Nick Perry would do wonders for the defense. I look for HHCD to become a major player on defense, and for R. Rodgers on offense. I don't think either of those developments would surprise anybody, JB.

Comment From Shilo

I remember growing up in the 80's with the Packers behind the Bears by 20 games in the all-time series. I hoped against hope that we would ever catch them in my lifetime. It's now 93-91-6 Bears. It's simply amazing to me that if we win the opener, we could tie them all time on Thanksgiving, with Favre and (God willing) Starr there to see it. If we take the lead in the series, how should I celebrate with my family? I know I'm jumping ahead, but I gotta plan for these things. God bless, Mike!

I don't worry about the all-time series, Shilo, but I posted your comment for your reference to Starr and Thanksgiving. A great night would become tremendous if No. 15 were able to come out of that tunnel.

Comment From Guest

How concerned are you about the lack of a bigger tight end along the lines of Gronk or Jimmy Graham?

I'm not concerned the Packers don't have one, because those players are pretty rare, and R. Rodgers is still plenty young. The bigger concern is trying to cover Graham in Week 2, but we won't get ahead of ourselves.

Comment From Snake Plissken

The Bears seem to have no one to throw to this week,… if we stop the run we win.

I wouldn't count on Jeffery not playing unless/until he's on the inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff, Snake.

Comment From Bill

Why didn't the Packers offer a practice squad slot to Neal?

How do you know they didn't? I don't know that they didn't.

Comment From Robert

Rodgers threw for 4 TDs and had a 151.2 QB rating at Chicago last year and the Packers easily won by 3 TDs, 38-17. Do you think this game will be more competitive?

The Packers pulled away in the second half, Robert. In the first half, the Bears were trading scores with the Packers, and a questionable replay review kept the Packers ahead at the half. Then Cutler threw two INTs in the second half. I never expect a blowout on the road.

Comment From Roger L

I would be interested in hearing your thought on Tolzien being the #2 guy. Is it his experience?

Absolutely. He's played in real games, and he's been in the offense much longer. There's far more of the playbook accessible with Tolzien under center than a rookie. Hundley himself has said he still has plenty to learn.

Comment From Steve

Whats the odds the Packers revert to a ground and pound style of approach since losing Nelson? Sorry forgot to put my name on the last one.

You don't suddenly become a ground-and-pound team with the league MVP at QB, Steve. As I said before, McCarthy will want to run the ball, but you don't take the ball out of Rodgers' hands.

Comment From Brandon

What are your thoughts on "bulletin-board" material? Do you think it has any effect on the field for players at the professional level?

I can't imagine it does, Brandon, Like McCarthy said yesterday, it wouldn't fire him up. This isn't high school.

Comment From Marc

Referring to those Hundley-Tolzien questions I believe some people miss on the fact that Tolzien did not get this many snaps in the preseason because the need of evaluation has not been as big as it has for Hundley and Blanchard (and because of that concussion). Your Thoughts?

He also missed a week of practice due to a concussion and sat out a game.

Comment From Joe

Any new segments coming from you this year? Will we still be getting What You Might've Missed?

I plan to do Season 4 of WYMM. The first one will be next week, Joe.

Comment From Mark

Mike, what is it like for visiting reporters at Soldier Field? Is it a nice place to visit?

The press box is one of my least favorite in the league, Mark. It's on the opposite side from the main TV view, and in the corner of the end zone, so every time you look at a TV replay, everything is reversed. My brain just doesn't do well with that.

Comment From Jerry

Mike: If Cobb does not play in the bears Game, are the group of receivers we have enough?

They'll have to be, Jerry. Hard to imagine bringing someone in at this late stage to be able to contribute on Sunday, and yes, Abbrederis is on the practice squad, but he has one preseason game on his ledger for his career.

Comment From Jon

I was surprised to see Neal go, thought he looked the best and got the most play time in preseason. Can you sign practice squad members from another practice squad (i.e. Dolphins) to ours, or only to active roster?

Signing someone from another practice squad requires you to put him on your active roster, and if I'm not mistaken on my CBA knowledge, that player is guaranteed at least three game checks.

Comment From Doug

I earlier had a question on what the Coaches thought of Jake Ryan. I may have forgotten to list my name

I haven't talked to any assistant coaches about Ryan lately, Doug, but I thought he played his best game so far last Thursday. It was a good development to see. He looks like a keeper to me. I don't know what that means for his playing time as a rookie, but it's a long season.

Comment From Eric

Can you think of any notable high level players that were drafted only to make the practice squad their first year and then go on to have great success?

I don't know what you mean by high level players, Eric, but I remember Scott Wells being on the practice squad his rookie year and then becoming a long-time starter at center. Same with KGB and Matt Hasselbeck.

Comment From Guest

Do you think the Packers run defense will improve this year, now that Clay Matthews has more experience at ILB from last season?

I'll need to see the defensive line at full strength before I can answer that question. OK, I've gone almost an hour, so I'll take a couple more. Thanks for all the questions today, everybody.

Comment From Jonah

When a guy like Jordy gets injured for the season, what are his contractual obligations? Does he have to rehab at the Packers facilities, go to all meetings, help coach up other WR, etc... or would he just do that because there is nowhere else he would want to be?

It's really his choice, Jonah. He indicated he would spend most of the season in the meeting rooms with the WRs and being around, but he's not obligated to do that.

Comment From JD

The last preseason game was a high for the team and we have a long break between that game and the opener in CHI. Will that high carry through to the season opener and will the break be enough time for the team to rest and get healthy?

We'll find more out about the team's health tomorrow, when they get back on the practice field, JD, but generally, yes, the break between the fourth preseason game and the opener often helps. As for any momentum from the last game, there is none. The starters who will take the field in Chicago were watching that game, not playing in it.

Comment From Quentin

Do you love your job, or like most people is it just a job to you?

I love my job, Quentin, without a doubt. It isn't as glamorous as many on the outside believe it is, but I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. With that, I'm going to sign off. Thanks everyone, enjoy Sunday's game, and tune back in next week. Take care. –Mike

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