What's most impressive about the Packers after two games? Read Mike's chat transcript

Packers.com senior writer Mike Spofford took questions from readers in his weekly chat on Tuesday


Hi everybody. Thanks for logging in. A fair warning ... some possible technical issues going on today, so bear with me. But go ahead and ask away.

Comment From Tony C

Finishing !! IMO, most impressive aspect of first two games is performance in 4th quarter on both sides of the football. Brilliant time consuming drives resulting in points and huge plays defensively. Do you think McCarthy handing off play calling to Clements has had an impact on McCarthy's ability to game plan for crunch time, or is that a stretch ??? It's been truly impressive and it doesn't happen by accident.

Tony, I don't think it's the change in play callers, but you're right about the 4th quarter performances the first two weeks. The defense let up the one TD at the end against Chicago so the game came down to an onside kick, but the 4th quarter D really came to play against Seattle. Most impressive to be has been those two drives, long, length of the field, time consuming, with the game in the balance. Those mean the most.

Comment From Josh S.

The Packers have faced two of the NFL's premiere rushers in weeks 1 and 2. Now they get a 3rd in Jamaal Charles. How do you stop a back like him?

Josh, I see Charles' style a lot more like Forte than Lynch (is anybody really like Lynch?). The Packers have to do a better job on the edges than they did against Chicago to corral Charles. The interior line play was superb against the Seahawks.

Comment From Rob

Mike, Is there anything we can read from the Joe Thomas signing other than getting a young player Ted and Mike like back into the fold?

It says he's a young guy they probably didn't want to cut in the first place, Rob. But they're also thin at inside LB so they needed another option. They went into the Seattle game with just Palmer, Matthews and Ryan.

Comment From #36 Leaper

Hi, Mike. Did Vic share his pretzels?

He offered, but I wasn't hungry. You should have seen his face light up, though.

Comment From Marin

Could Monday night be the Packers debut for Alonzo Harris?

Certainly could be, Marin, and I would think even if Lacy is able to play, Harris might be active anyway as a reserve if the ankle acts up again.

Comment From Heather

How worried should we be (haha yes, I know; all we do is worry) about the loss of Boyd?

It's a tough blow for a guy who has helped stabilize things up front, Heather, but at least Guion comes back after Week 3. I think Boyd going on IR means more snaps for Mike Pennel, who played the run pretty well Sunday night.

Comment From Evan

The run defense struggled against Matt Forte and Russell Wilson in open space, but looked very strong against Marshawn Lynch in the middle. What adjustments need to be made to control Jamaal Charles?

I don't think they have to worry about the read option as much with Alex Smith, Evan, but as I said before, Charles will test them on the edges like Forte. The outside LBs and CBs have to hold their ground and tackle.

Comment From Ryan

Was Sunday a freak showing from our defense or do they actually have the capability of playing like that every week? I thought the D played exceptional compared to how we normally play.

Taking away Lynch changed the game, Ryan. The Seahawks got going when they got Wilson on the move with the read option and play-action boots, and the defense was on its heels a bit, but then Elliott's INT flipped it back. It was a strong showing, no doubt.

Comment From Derek

I was impressed with Perry's contributions on Sunday. Did he have a career game, but get over shadowed by several other more outstanding players?

It was by no means a career game, Derek, but he made a couple of nice plays against the run. He stayed home on the back side and was there when Lynch tried to cut it back. If he keeps playing the run like that and shows more in the pass rush, he'll play more.

Comment From Harry B

Does having two night games back to back, and having to work late presumably, affect your personal sleep patterns?

In a word, yes. But it's part of the deal. The upcoming Monday night game followed by a West Coast road trip is the more troublesome week, to be honest.

Comment From BrettGB

Mike, the refs called back a TD to Jones at the end of the half, it was so close, but i thought it was the right call. Did you?

I did, too, Brett. My first reaction on the replay was one of Jones' feet (the left one, I think) was off the ground by the time he caught the ball. The ref saw the rear end, and I couldn't disagree with that either.

Comment From Kyle K

Do you think the return Raji to anchor the middle of that dline is something we have been missing? Since he was not playing nose the past few seasons.

It was definitely a factor last season, Kyle, but Sunday night was one of the best games Raji has played, period. McCarthy even said so yesterday.

Comment From Nick D

Mike, Ty Montgomery seemed to make the most of his opportunity on Sunday Night, I think he has earned more snaps. If he breaks out like a lot of people predicted. Look out.

No doubt, Nick. I'm still amazed at how he bounced off those guys on the first catch and stayed on his feet.

Comment From Mark

Mike, I was really impressed with the Packers' execution during that long fourth-quarter drive in the four-receiver set. I noticed that the receivers were running short crossing routes and that Aaron Rodgers was getting rid of the ball very quickly. Did the Packers make the change to that formation at least partly because the Seahawks' defensive line was putting a lot of heat on Rodgers' during the previous drive?

I think that was part of it, Mark. It was in the game plan as an option. Factor in that Starks was handling all of the load at running back and it was a chance to give him a break, too, and see how the Seattle defense would react to something new. Seattle was getting heat on Rodgers, but that unit didn't dominate the game. I thought GB's O-line held up very well against that team.

Comment From Troy

19 pressures allowed by Bahkitiari and Barclay combined?! That has to change quickly with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali coming to town.

I like to say the other guys get paid, too, Troy. KC's pass rush will be tough to handle as well, but it helps the game is at Lambeau.

Comment From Daniel

Will we see more of Jayrone Elliott Monday night? He was a big difference maker in that game for the select few snaps he played

Dom Capers certainly suggested yesterday that Elliott was in line for more playing time, Daniel. I'll be curious to see if the Chiefs challenge him by running Charles his way, or if Capers uses Elliott only on obvious passing downs.

Comment From Nathan

What NFC North team has surprised you the most so far?

The Vikings inconsistency (I know it's only 2 games) is the biggest question mark in the division right now. Are they more like the team that looked awful in SF, or more like the one that controlled the Detroit game at home, pretty much start to finish?

Comment From Mike Sherman

How well would you rate Linsley's performance so far this year? I think he is playing Center as well as I've seen anyone in a Packer uniform so far this year!

I said it last year that Linsley is a keeper, and nothing I've seen this year has changed my mind. That guy is strong and smart. He could be the center here for a very, very long time.

Comment From John

Old school question. So many punts are being fair caught inside the ten yard line now days. Are the punters really that good at "back spinning them"? Seems like taking your chances and starting at the 20 still is a better percentage choice.

I wondered the same thing at one point on Sunday night, John, but I guess the thinking is it's better to fair catch one on the 7 or 8 than risk getting pinned at the 1 or 2. It's almost as though the 5-yard line is the new cutoff, because of those Aussie style kicks.

Comment From Lonny

What do you like the most from what you've seen from GB so far?

The two long, clutch drives in the fourth quarter have been the most impressive aspect of the first two games in my view, Lonny.

Comment From Kyle

How do you see the development of Richard Rogers from last season to current? Looks like #12 is getting the ball to him quite a bit.

He's definitely looking his way in big situations, Kyle. I wrote that on Sunday night, because I thought it was interesting Rodgers went to Rodgers on the third-and-goal from the 1 at the end of the first half. It didn't work, but then they got the 2-point play against Wagner on a similar play after his TD.

Comment From Lawrence

Spoff, it looks like Rodgers has taken over at TE. We can expect great things from him, can't we?

Kyle beat you to it, Lawrence, but yeah, I think Rodgers' development at TE will be an ongoing story this season.

Comment From Pauleen

Working alongside the local media, do you make friends among them? Who do you count among your media friends?

I've known most of the writers on the Packers beat for years, Pauleen, much longer than I've been here. I worked at the Press-Gazette covering high schools and college basketball for almost 6 years and was over here occasionally as extra help. I enjoy the friendly banter on this beat amongst everybody. It's a fun group to be around daily.

Comment From Guest

How would you rate our Rookie D-backs so far?

Randall has had a couple of nice pass breakups so far, as another reader pointed out, but we haven't seen much of Rollins on defense yet. He was inactive Sunday night.

Comment From Kelly

Did the secondary do an outstanding job covering Graham or is he just not comfortable in the Seahawks offense yet?

From what's been said, Kelly, it sounds like his role is very different in Seattle's offense compared to New Orleans, so he's adjusting. That said, Richardson had him blanketed on a wheel route and Ha Ha almost picked off that one pass near the goal line, so the Packers were on him.

Comment From David Brown

Hi Mike, The Packers called 3 timeouts in the 1st quarter in this weeks game, they could have used those timeouts just before halftime when they were trying to score. It seems to me that Mike McCarthy doesn't use his timeouts properly throughout the years? What's your thoughts?

Using all three in the first quarter wasn't good, DB. It came back to bite them at the end of the half, because they had no option to run the ball from the 1 based on the clock. They also took away McCarthy's ability to challenge any plays in the second quarter before the 2-minute warning, which fortunately didn't cost them. But I wouldn't say it's a chronic issue. I thought it was out of character, frankly.

Comment From Guest

For me, beating Seattle wasn't about revenge, it was about the Pack finally overcoming an NFC West team with a good Defense, strong run game and mobile QB (Seahawks and 49ers). What do you think?

That's a very good way to look at it.

Comment From Ryan

There is no better team in the NFL when it comes to free plays. Pete Carroll said these plays shouldn't have happened. What's the rule for this?

I said to Vic in the press box the Packers caught a break on the deep ball where Sherman interfered with Montgomery. The Packers clearly jumped after the Seahawks did and before the snap, so that should have been blown dead. I didn't see any issue with the other ones, though.

Comment From Laura

Mike, there is so much action on the field, for someone new to watching football, where should I focus my eye?

On TV, you're not given much choice, Laura. If you're at a game, it's fun to train your eyes on the defensive backfield as soon as the QB drops back. You can see the routes and how the coverage players are moving and reacting.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, Injuries are certainly always a story, but wow there have been some real star players lost for all or a significant portion of the year already. Which team has been the most adversely affected by injuries so far?

It would have to be Dallas, wouldn't it, Linda? Losing Romo and Bryant for long stretches will really hurt. Neither is season-ending, though, and the Cowboys are 2-0, so they have a chance to weather it and stay in it, especially in that division.

Comment From Rob

Mike, who was your MVP on Sunday night?

It was definitely Rodgers, but if you're talking defense, I'd say Raji.

Comment From Allie

When penalties offset, do any additional penalties also get offset? I'm thinking of the play that got Wright ejected. The way the Ref explained sounded like 3 penalties, all offset by each other.

I was a little confused by that, too, Allie, but because all three penalties were dead ball fouls, as long as there's one on each team, they offset. If one of the penalties had been during the play and the others dead ball, the ruling would have been different, I believe.

Comment From James

When Rodgers said God was a Packer fan, was that because they gave us the Elliott fumble break? If I had been a Seahawks fan, I'd have felt cheated by that game-changing call.

I think Rodgers' comment was with a wink and a nod at the other QB, James, but what do I know. As for the Elliott fumble, presumably the play was reviewed because it was an interception, therefore automatic, so I don't know if the Seahawks could have challenged the end of the play and how that went. Cheated? I don't think the Seahawks will get any sympathy about officials' calls for a long, long time, at least not from GB fans.

Comment From Ken

Mike, it seems to my amateur eye that the Packers quality of execution on offense, defense and special teams is a couple of weeks ahead of where it was last year. What do you pros think?

The proof is in the results, Ken. The Packers haven't gotten their second win until the fourth game each of the last three years. This year they're 2-0. They're not playing flawlessly by any means, but they aren't making the mistakes that cost them early in previous years, like the Cincinnati game a couple years ago.

Comment From Chad L.

Mike, the last time Aaron Rodgers threw an INT at home my son was 1, he will be 4 in Nov...how impressive is this streak he has going on?

Remarkable, and when you consider that last INT at home came on a trick play when he just heaved it downfield, it's even more impressive. But aren't we not supposed to talk about these kinds of things, Chad?

Comment From Seattle Dave

Hi Mike, I don't really pay attention to the Chiefs. How does their offense and defense stack against us?

They have an explosive running back and a dangerous pass rush, SD. Plus, they'll be steaming mad having 11 days to think about how they blew that game to Denver last Thursday.

Comment From Nick D

Mike, did you hear this story about the Vikings mascot Ragnor wanting $20,000 per game? If so, what are your thoughts? Also have you ever met that guy?

Never met him, but I wish he'd have gotten his $20K. Then I could ask for the same.

Comment From Josh S.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable Packers game?

As far as ones I've covered, the most memorable are probably the Fail Mary and the NFC title game, for obvious reasons. Before I got into this business, my most memorable will always be my first. Went to Packers-Bears at Soldier Field in Dec. 1984 with my dad. Saw Walter Payton play QB and saw Rich Campbell throw a long TD pass to Phil Epps with 30 seconds left for a GB win. You never forget stuff like that.

Comment From Zach

The defense was impressive as a lot of other comments have noted, but I want to see them do it again before I get excited. I think a big reason the DL played so well is because Seattle's offensive line is very bad?

I don't know about very bad, Zach, but Seattle doesn't appear to have the horses to play the power game up front that they've had in recent years. As I said before, when Wilson was on the move, that offense was tough to stop. We may see Seattle adjust as the season goes on with more misdirection than straight-ahead power. Then when teams are over-keyed on Wilson, the lanes will open up for Lynch. That's still a heck of a team, 0-2 or not.

Comment From Sips

Mike, I know I may be getting ahead of myself, but 3 out of the next 4 games are at home and then it's the bye week. Do you think the Packers have a good shot of being 6-0 at that time?

Of course they do, Sips, but none of these next four games is a gimme by any stretch. As I said before, traveling to the West Coast after a Monday night game could be tough on the team, too, not just on a writer like me.

Comment From Trevor

Where is the big play? With Jordy out it seems the offense is hesitant to throw deep unless it is a free play. Do you think Janis could fill this role this season or will he need another year to develop?

They're going to go with what their players do best, Trevor. 58 points in two games isn't too bad, especially when one is against Seattle. As for Janis, we'll see how this year goes. Just because he's not playing on offense now doesn't mean he won't show enough in practice to be given a chance in a game as the season goes along.

Comment From Chris

Packers win against KC if?

Rodgers is sacked two times or less and Charles is held under 100 yards on the ground.

Comment From Jacob

Mike, How did Palmer play in your opinion? Will we start to see Ryan mixed in at ILB, or did Palmer step up against one of the best backs in the league and claim his spot for this season (pending injury of course)?

McCarthy said he played better in Week 2 than Week 1, Jacob. I have to say I didn't notice him too much either way, but it looks like that's his job to grow into for now.

Comment From Dave

What is your biggest concern after the first two games Mike?

Lots of folks asking this. I guess I'd say the injuries. It was getting a little scary seeing Lacy, then Adams, then Boyd all being carted to the locker room on Sunday night. Bulaga is already out for a while. They just need to stay healthy.

OK, I've gone about an hour. I'll take a few more. Thanks for all the questions. Sorry if I didn't get to yours. Lots of participation today, which is great.

Comment From Josh S.

What's the best restaurant in Green Bay?

Plae Bistro. Love that place.

Comment From Baby

Is this Chiefs game a tougher test than the Seahawks? Strong defense, elite running back.

I think it's close, Baby, but I still respect the heck out of the Seahawks. The Chiefs should have given themselves a chance to win in OT last Thursday to come in here 2-0.

Comment From Jon

The Packers have come close to a intercepting a number of passes, mainly in the secondary. Maybe I'm nit-picking here, but I'd love to see them come down with a few of those. Those will be game changers late in the year.

I'm guessing DB coaches Joe Whitt and Darren Perry would say exactly the same thing, Jon. You have to hang onto those when you have the chance.

Comment From Pete Puma

Hi Mike, what's your opinion of the noise level for the Seattle game? As good as you've seen it?

Hard for me to tell inside the press box, PP, but I've heard from multiple people that it was the loudest they've heard it at Lambeau, so I'll take their word for it.

Are you reading off cue cards during your FANTASTICALLY " What You Might Have Missed" segment? It seems so natural! Can't wait for this week's edition, Mike!

Cue cards! Ha! I wish. Thanks for the compliment, though. This week's will be up on the site later this afternoon.

Comment From Chas

Mike, Do you know what games the Packers will be wearing their throw-back uniforms?

The Chargers game, Chas.

Comment From Steve S

Which team seems to be the scariest 0-2 team in thew NFC?

Seattle, assuming Chancellor returns for at least the final six games so he gets an accrued season. With that I'm going to sign off. Take care everybody. Not sure when exactly next week's chat will be due to the Monday night game, but keep an eye on the site for an announcement. Thanks, Mike

Comment From Scott

No offense, but you're no Ragnor. You probably don't even bring a battle axe to the game.

I bring Vic, don't I?

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