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What kind of game will it be in Atlanta? senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat.


Howdy folks. Sorry I wasn't able to do a chat last week with the compressed time frame, but I'm back. Let's get to it.

Comment From Tony C

Bears recover AR #12 fumble for TD to take the lead. GB counters with sustained TD drive. I got the feeling that was the point the offense said, "enough of this nonsense.!!" Will we look back on that drive as the turning point of the season??

Maybe. Rodgers' comments about that moment after the game were rather direct and to the point. I wrote about it in my game recap story. If you haven't watched his press conference from Thursday night, it's worth it for that one or two lines.

Comment From KD

Do you think Montgomery will retain the same role even when Starks returns?

No idea. It will depend on how well everything is working and how much they want to integrate Starks when he's healthy. Trust me, no one is concerning themselves with that right now.

Comment From Daniel L

Think Joe Callahan becomes the QB of the future in Cleveland?

That would be something, wouldn't it? He's shown plenty of promise, but he's got a long way to go. Real NFL defenses are different from preseason ones filled with backups.

Comment From Evan

Do you see Geronimo making an impact this season at some point, or do you think he will just be a pair of insurance legs? Special teams?

With as much as the Packers are spreading out and going with four- and five-wide sets right now, I could see him being worked into the rotation a little bit. He brings a different body type and therefore perhaps some different routes to the table.

Comment From Nathan

Even though Nelson didn't have a lot of production, how much did he influence the game by creating favorable matchups elsewhere for Adams and others?

The Bears put their top corner on him, Porter, and the rest of Chicago's CBs were backups that the Packers attacked. Nelson will probably always get that top guy, but he'll still need to produce, and the other guys won't be going against backups every week either.

Comment From Ryan G

Mike, do you think Rodgers still prefers playing indoors or has that time come and gone?

I think he just likes being able to play in good weather. Indoors is good weather.

Comment From Abhi

What should the packers defense do to stop the Falcons offense?

You have to find a way to prevent Julio Jones from taking over the game. He's going to make some plays. You don't just shut down a guy like that. But he can't dominate. Play a safety over the top and limit the big gains, and the other guys have to hold up better one-on-one.

Comment From Guhne

Mike, what is underrated about this Falcons defense?

They aren't giving up much on the ground statistically, but they've also scored a lot of points and forced teams to play from behind. For all the trouble in their secondary, they do have six INTs with two returned for TDs.

Comment From David

Do you think the Vikings were a little exposed this past week?

Their offensive line didn't hold up and their head coach let everyone know how he felt about that unit's play. The question now is how the Vikings respond to that weakness being exposed.

Comment From Evan

Do you see Capers being aggressive with the pass rush to avoid giving JJ another 150 yard game? Get to Matty Ice, problem solved?

It depends how many rushers it takes to get to Ryan. If you have to blitz all the time, that leaves Julio in one-on-one situations.

Comment From Steve

Dallas, Atlanta, Philly, Seattle, Minnesota x 2, so much for that easiest strength of schedule! Guess it is just something to talk about before the season begins. It really has no meaning.

No doubt about that. Those strength of schedule numbers were in part based on the NFC East teams having mediocre records last year. This year, all four teams in that division are above .500 right now.

Comment From Jim

What injury did Eddie Lacy actually have? Was it a high ankle sprain or something worse?

Mike McCarthy hasn't discussed the specifics of Lacy's injury and likely won't.

Comment From Guhne

Mike, I see Coleman potentially being out as a big deal.

They'd been using Coleman and Freeman as a 1-2 punch with running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield. He's definitely a weapon they'll miss if he can't go.

Comment From Patrick

Hey Mike. How much will we see from Knile Davis this sunday ?

I just think there's been a lack of big, dramatic games in the prime-time slots. This past Sunday night, yeah, it went to OT, but it was in OT at 3-3. A lot of folks turned that one off I'm sure. Has there even been a Monday night game worth watching down to the wire so far?

Comment From Palmer

Mike, it seems to me that the way the Vikes lost this week matches up well with what our defense has been able to do

Hey, the Packers got to Bradford and knocked him around numerous times in Week 2. The guy just stood in there and delivered some incredible throws. I didn't see any of those "wow" throws against the Eagles

Comment From Jingaloot

Mike, Jeff Pearlman's book on Favre, 'Gunslinger,' was released today. Did you read an advanced copy, and further, what are your thoughts on its disputed contents?

I did not get an advanced copy. I read the excerpt that was in SI this past week. I definitely want to get the book, maybe put it on my Christmas list.

Comment From David

Any word on Don Jackson's injury? Lookinga at college film he looks to be a hard runner.. I know it's college but do you think he can make the NFL transition?

We haven't gotten any update on his injury. I really don't know much about him in general, because after the offseason program, he wasn't here in training camp. The Packers obviously thought enough of him to bring him back and make him active, so there must be potential there.

Comment From Nick D

Mike, do you think the Packers should offer Nick Perry a nice extension right now before the value really cranks up? I feel like his value is only going to increase, and he may actually sign an offer if given for fear of getting injured later in the season.

That's a tough one. His price tag is only going to go up if he stays healthy and keeps playing like this, and the closer he gets to the end of the season, the more he might want to test the market and see what offers come in. There have been no reports of any negotiations, but you never know. Sometimes both sides keep everything quiet, sometimes they don't.

Comment From Guest

Mike - What is the deal with the return game? It seems MM is still looking for the right guy. I wish he would stick with someone so they can find a rhythm and the blockers know what to expect as far as style. It seems every year it's a tryout by many.

I think they wanted Montgomery and Hyde to be those guys this year, but their roles increased significant on offense and defense due to all the injuries, so then you have to shift gears. It would be difficult for Hyde to play every snap on defense and then be able to go full speed on a punt return once it's fourth down.

Comment From Don H

TV ratings are down, apparently for a variety of reasons. You may not want to answer this, but in terms of clicks, stories read, videos watched, etc. do you see declines in fan engagement on Packers web site ??

Our engagement remains very strong, and we thank y'all for that. The social media world is constantly changing, so that can have an impact on our site here and there, but our traffic numbers are pretty good.

Comment From Beesin

Mike, With Randall undergoing surgery and Shields out indefinitely, who is our best option to cover Julio? Does Gunter's length give him a competitive advantage by pressing him? Or do we take a risk on a newly-returning Rollins or unproven Goodson?

Gunter can be a physical guy at the line of scrimmage, so he might be the best matchup for Julio with safety help over the top. Julio's speed is a tough matchup for anybody. To throw Rollins on him all game after missing a couple of contests, if Rollins plays, would be a tough deal.

Comment From Palmer

I'm going to disagree with what you said in your insider inbox. I think a punishing runner like Lacy is more important down the stretch than Shields would be, given how the young cornerbacks have responded.

I think it's a tough call in the postseason, especially if you're talking a cold-weather game at Lambeau versus a warm-weather or indoor game. I see your point, but if I can have him, I want my top corner to match up against a top receiver with the season on the line.

Comment From Dee

Kentrell Brice has been laying the wood lately! Boy is he fun to watch.

I agree. He stood out on the practice field in training camp, and he's easy to notice in games, too. His speed and athletic ability are impressive.

Comment From Evan

Do you see Ryan having another field day and Aaron lighting it up for the first time in what seems like forever? I guess what I'm trying to ask is do you predict a shootout or a defensive battle?

I think the Falcons would be fine with a shootout. I don't know if the Packers want to play that kind of game with them in their place.

Comment From Vic Beasley

Is David Bakhtiari more susceptible to speed or power?

You'll have to find out for yourself, Mr. Beasley. Bakhtiari has put together a really solid start to the season. He's not resting on that new contract at all.

Comment From Timmy D.

Do you feel better or worse about this weeks game in Atlanta after watching them lose in OT to the Chargers? I personally feel better knowing that if the Pack go down late, they can potentially come back late! (hopefully they don't need to)

Atlanta has lost two heartbreakers in a row in the final moments. Does that do something to their psyche? Depends on the team, and maybe we find out on Sunday. The Chargers showed they can bounce back from those gut-punching defeats.

Comment From Evan

The Daniels extension was VERY hush-hush. I wouldn't be surprised if TT is throwing some numbers at his agent right now.

Good point. We didn't hear anything about Daniels late last season until the deal was done.

Comment From Jay

Is Jake Ryan ok?

It looked like he got rolled up on during one play vs. Chicago and was in some pain. We haven't been given any update since, but McCarthy speaks to the media in about an hour, so we'll see what we find out. Comment From Joey

Cleveland or Chicago?

I'm rooting for the Cubs. Some of my best friends are huge Cubs fans.

Comment From Justin

Should Green Bay have kept Casey Hayward?

If you knew your top three corners were all going to get injured, then of course, but who knew that? Also, the extensions for Daniels and Bakhtiari weren't cheap. It's all part of the larger picture.

Comment From Charlie

The NFL needs to look at the IR policy. It seems a shame that some player's years are ended because the team needs another roster spot even though they expect to be back before the end of the year. Do you think it needs fixing or are you ok with the way it is now?

You get seven roster spots for guys who aren't active on gameday. I'm not sure how you fix anything else.

Comment From Nick D

Mike can you talk about the NFC as a whole? I don't know if there is a truly great team (Maybe Dallas, Maybe Minnesota but both seem to have some flaws), should make for a really fun Nov, Dec and Jan.

I think everything is a long way from being decided. Seven of eight in the NFC North and East are above .500 right now. You can't count out the Cardinals at 3-3-1. How long will the Vikings and Cowboys avoid loss No. 2? A lot to sort out.

Comment From Neal

Who can grow a better beard between you and Wes?

I'm betting Wes, but I don't think it would be pretty on either side.

Comment From Lori

If you could change the rules for overtime, how would you like to see it played?

I like the NFL's system better than the college one, frankly. For the trading possession thing in college, I'd rather see the kickers eliminated from the game. No FGs, no PATs. But I like the "full" possessions in the NFL with the 15-minute limit, and a TD on the first drive decides it. If you let them go all the way to open the OT, you don't deserve the ball. I know Packers fans don't like that because of how the last two playoff seasons have ended, but I don't have a problem with the current rules.

Comment From Jeri

How many wins are needed to take the division? Get into the playoffs for wild card?

Hard to say right now with all the above .500 teams as I mentioned. Maybe 10 wins doesn't guarantee a playoff spot this year. It might take 11, and I expect it to take 12 for the division title in the North.

Comment From Evan

One more before Microbial Genetics lecture. I know we shouldn't look too far ahead, but can the Pack beat the the Vikes at Lambeau given what they put on film this Sunday?

The Packers could have beaten them in Minnesota, so yeah, they can definitely beat them in Lambeau.

Comment From Steve

Strangely enough, the last game of the year in DET might be for all the marbles. DET has a way of staying relevant, until they're not, and MIN will implode. What about that .... ???

The North title has come down to the Packers vs. whoever in Week 17 the past three years, so maybe it's four. But that would be a pretty big slide by the Vikings if they're not in the hunt down the stretch.

Comment From Danny

What does the tie form the other night do in the NFC race?

When it comes to sorting out playoff spots, it could be a game the Cardinals and Seahawks really regret they didn't win, or it could be one they're grateful they didn't lose. There could be fewer tiebreakers needed to figure out playoff seeding, because there will be fewer identical records, unless more ties occur, of course.

Comment From Phil

I'm not sure I'm fond of 4 home games in a row. I could make for a tough stretch down the way!

It's the tradeoff. The Packers play four of their next five on the road now, including three straight and back-to-back prime-timers in Nov. at DC and Philly. But that's why they say one at a time.

Comment From Evan

Not to mention the compensatory pick we're going to get for Hayward. I predict a third rounder, at least a fourth.

Agree there.

Comment From Dawn

Do you think we are missing Sitten, or do you think we have "moved on" without missing a beat?

The offensive line is the strongest overall unit on offense so far. The transition was as smooth as anyone could have hoped.

Comment From tghn

Is it loud in Atlanta?

Yes, it is. Haven't been there since 2011, but I remember it well. Press box is open air, so we get all the noise, too.

Comment From Matt

Thoughts on the 3 QB photo? I think we're pretty lucky to be in this situation.

I think it's a great photo. Glad it worked out for all involved, and a great way to raise money for charity.

Comment From tyler

Any games coming up that you could see the Pack getting flexed to SNF?

The Seattle game in December would be a candidate, but FOX might protect it from getting flexed. The other networks get to protect a few games from NBC. Maybe that's one of them.

Comment From BC

If you could pick one player from the '85 Bears to play for the Packers right now, who would it be?

Right now? Walter, of course.

Comment From Adam B

To your eyes, how's Clay looking this year going back to his natural position? Looks like he's getting doubled a lot or something.

I think Clay has been pretty impactful, and I know he's been playing through some injuries. Not that he intended to hurt him, but that hit on Hoyer was something. This front seven is better with Clay on the edge.

OK, I have to get down to the locker room for interviews by noon. A couple more.

Comment From tghn

Can you imagine paying $3,000 to see a World Series game?

Isn't that nuts? Standing room is like $2K at Wrigley for Friday night. I did standing room once at Wrigley, long, long time ago. I can't imagine paying that.

Comment From Andy

Aside from weather, do you prefer the open air press box or the enclosed press box?

With all the work I have to do during games, the quieter environment is better. If I weren't constantly working on the site and didn't have to work until the game were over, I'd prefer the open-air.

Comment From Ken

Impactful is not a word, dude ....


Comment From Jordan

I'm predicting a BIG Packer win this week!!!

All right, that'll have to be the last word for today. Gotta run. Thanks everyone. Talk again next week. Take care, Mike

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