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What's the key Week 2 matchup?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered questions from fans


Hi everybody. Sorry I'm late. Ran overtime taping Unscripted today. Let's get started. Thanks for your patience.

How promising is it that the defense made not one, but two game winning stops on fourth down during the bears last drive? Refreshing to see the defense seal the win.

It was an impressive finish to the game by the defense. Of course you don't want the Matthews penalty, but as you said, to do it not once but twice gives that unit a lot to build on. It's all about what you do in the clutch.

Have you see Rodgers in person at all? Is he walking fine?

I can't imagine how sore he must have been waking up Monday morning. But I don't know anything as far as how he's doing. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't practice this week, or at least not until Saturday. He's going to need recovery time.

What changed in our defense from half one to half two? The coverage seemed so much tighter in the second half. Change of scheme? Or just better execution?

New head coach, new scheme, new personnel on the other side. It was a big storyline heading into the Bears game that was overshadowed by the Mack acquisition. I thought once the Packers got adjusted and the Bears had gone through their early script, the defense did the job.

Hi Mike, excited the chat is back! What do you take from the fact that when Aaron got the ball out on time (couldn't scramble, had to hit his first few reads) he was successful, as compared to early in the game when he scrambled a lot, was sacked often, and didn't move the ball? Is this a lesson in playing within the design of the offense? Thanks!

A common question all over this week. The simple answer is you do what it takes to win the game, and you don't always know what that is in the first quarter or first half, let alone a Week 1 game. Adjustments are constant, healthy or not. The injury forced Rodgers' hand in the second half, but I also don't think he would have kept trying something that wasn't working all night long.

It looks like Reggie Gilbert is the real deal. He was out there making plays against the ones.

He's turning into a heckuva pass rusher. His job is to make an impact when he gets in there, and he's doing that. If he keeps it up, he'll keep getting more snaps.

What did you think of the secondary in this first game? I thought overall we had some good flashes of what this group can look like moving forward. I also thought at the end of the game, the secondary helped secure that victory

No question. After the first drive of the game, I thought Trubisky's passes were contested for the most part. Cousins and Minnesota's WRs will present another challenge, but the DBs got off to a good start.

Do we have a name for Rodger's injury? Torn meniscus maybe?

We haven't been told anything. Rodgers is scheduled to talk at his locker on Wednesday, like usual. We'll see what he tells us. How much detail will be revealed is up to him.

The Vikings appear solid all the way around. What weakness can the Packers exploit on Sunday?

I still think Minnesota's offensive line has some question marks, but that's nitpicking on a team that is really put together. Cousins isn't overly mobile, so the Packers have to get pressure on him and hurry him up. Cook looks like he'll be a huge weapon in that offense, run and pass, all season. He appears to have come back from last week's injury no worse for wear.

Taking nothing away from Aaron, the receivers made some great plays. That catch by Allison ... and I don't know how Adams got around the corner and made it to the endzone.

Adams' footwork can beat DBs at the line of scrimmage, and in the open field. He got Amukamara totally leaning the wrong way. Allison's catch was just how you teach it. He got some separation with his arm early in the route rather than late, which I think helps to avoid a potential flag.

Always great to beat the Chicago Asterisks, but the Vikes secondary is a different deal. Can we expect to see more tight-end plays?

I would be stunned if Graham isn't more involved in the passing game this week, but Rodgers is going to throw to who's open. He says that all the time. As I said last week regarding Graham, if the Vikings are going to keep one safety, like Sendejo, over the top and keep Smith roaming around the line of scrimmage, the WRs outside will be one-on-one with Rhodes, Waynes, etc. The Packers have to win those matchups enough of the time.

How is our D line going to match up with MN's? I think D Cook is going to be the real deal this year.

I do, too. Minnesota's offensive line is better than it was two years ago, but they've shored it up considerably. The line of scrimmage won't be easy to move.

Mike, apologies if I missed it - why the diagonal lines in the end zones (as per regular reason play) rather than 'Green Bay' and 'Packers'?

A nod to history with the 100th season. The Packers did the same thing in 2007 for the 50th season of Lambeau Field.

Impressive how coach McCarthy could rattle off stats and plays from years past when asked in his press conference? Not sure what I did last week?

It's how these guys' minds are wired. A few years back in a press conference he rattled off the play call back in '99 when he was QB coach and Favre threw a pick in a Monday night game vs. Seattle.

Dealing with Mack and Hicks Week 1 should be really beneficial for us Week 2.

The challenges don't stop in this league.

Graham's effect on the game was intangible, don't you think? Pick your poison, so to speak?

There will be an element of that all season long. The big plays Green Bay's receivers made in the game were not against double coverage.

Mike, I feel kind of bad for Kizer. I've been reading so much the last couple of days about how awful he looked Sunday night. Yes, he did struggle after Mack stripped him in the red zone but prior to that I thought he looked decent..

If you don't protect the football as a quarterback, not much else you do is going to matter. It's really that simple.

Hi Mike, Thanks for the chat. Is there any reason why the Pack needs to announce whether Rodgers is playing next weekend or not? I'd think it would be advantageous to hold this information close to the cheat until 90 minutes before game time. Keep the Vikings guessing, ya know? Thanks again!

There are times that can be an advantage, there are times it helps your own team to know. And there are times it's legitimately a game-time decision. We'll see how it plays out.

How long were you at the stadium on Sunday night? I imagine after the players/coaches, you have one of the hardest and longest jobs on gameday. We appreciate everything you do, it can't be easy!

I appreciate that. After I wrote the game recap and editorial, I decided to write Insider Inbox for the morning before I went home. I think I left here around 4 a.m., but no more night games until mid-October, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Hi Mike, great job on Twitter during the game Sunday night. Not sure if you were able to watch the Vikings game earlier, but I saw a lot of opportunities for the SF defense to make a play on some Cousins throws. Obviously they didn't take advantage, but MN looks very beatable even at home.

The Vikings are tough and don't make many mistakes. The 49ers had their chances to win that game and just made mistakes. Garoppolo's accuracy hurt him in the red zone, and they kept kicking FGs when he had TD passes to make. His INTs were not pretty. Cousins made two dynamite throws on his two TD passes and didn't make any mistakes.

Hi Mike, what do you think is the best way to beat the Vikings if No. 12 misses the game?

Looking back to last December at Lambeau, you can't turn the ball over and you have to make every play that's there to be made. The Packers got shut out that game, but there were a lot of dropped passes and other missed opportunities. The Vikings don't give you second chances.

Do you think Mack got tired in the second half, even though he did run all the way to the end zone on Cobb's 75 yard touchdown. Or did the Packers do a better job of blocking him?

Some of both I'm sure, but let's not forget Bulaga was playing his first game coming off ACL surgery. It took him some time to settle in, and then he did his thing. Mack played 42 snaps. That's more than I thought he would.

Mike, what's your take on the three roughing the passer penalties? I think the one on Matthews was legit but the other two were nonsense.

I tend to agree. The calls on Wilkerson and Perry were ticky-tack, but they're a signal to all pass rushers to really be careful this year. Wes and I were just talking about that on today's Unscripted if you want to check it out when it gets posted later today.

Wish the view on TV was always from behind the QB. It's easier to see the play develop and be able to watch individual players, particularly in the secondary. I would imagine the view from the press box is pretty amazing?

Press boxes like Lambeau's, which are along the sideline, are great. A lot of press boxes in newer stadiums these days are on the corners or in the end zone, which doesn't allow you to see as much, particularly when the action is at the far end of the field.

It's a shame the Packers have taken so long to build a strong defense. I look at the Vikings, Jaguars to name a few and wonder if we can get to that level before ARod is gone.

It took a lot of years missing the playoffs for both teams to build the defenses they have.

I was having a conversation with my dad (a Bears fan), I saw a defensive lineman land on Rodgers after he was down (the injury play). Why didn't the officials call a roughing the passer penalty?

A lot of folks are asking this. I think the landing with the full weight on the QB thing is going to be judged by the officials as to whether or not it was avoidable. It's going to be a judgment call.

Mike, they always show players walking toward the field just before they intro to start a game. Rodgers always stops to eat something small, but I don't think its gum. Do you know what it is?

I do not. Maybe an energy bar or protein bar of some kind?

It usually takes a game or two to work out the kinks. I feel great about where we are..much improved D backfield, better RB's (especially when Jones returns), G-MO is the real deal and A-Rod is back. This tough win will motivate the entire team.

You don't want to fall behind by 20 every week, but they've been sent an early message to never stop fighting.

Chuck likes the view from behind the QB. He must play Madden. Actually harder to see the yardage gained...I don't like it. Give me the sideline view

It may not be long before the networks combined with streaming services make multiple options available for all.

The Packers need a better pass rush against Cousin's. If you can pressure him he'll throw a pick or two.

I agree. That's been his track record. The question for me, as always, is can you get pressure with four or do you have to bring extra guys? That's the numbers game.

Do you think the Vikings saved some unscouted looks for the packers?

Absolutely, and vice versa.

Hey Mike I like the green box. Anything that'll add to my awareness of what's going on

I'm sure I'll get used to it, just like I've gotten used to the strike zone box on the screen during baseball games all the time. But I'm still not crazy about broadcasts being more about graphics and gimmicks than just showing the action. I guess that makes me old.

Does Jamal Williams always smile?

Pretty much, and if he has enough space, he's always dancing, too.

Do you think the Packer fans will be booing Barr this week?

Does the sun rise in the east?

All right, I'll have to sign off now. Thanks for logging on, everyone, and we'll do it again next week. Take care, Mike

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