What's the No. 1 concern of the team right now? Read Mike's chat

Senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. Lots to talk about today I'm sure. Thanks for logging in. Let's go.

Comment From Tom

On to Carolina...

That's the best approach to take, though I'm sure some folks still want to vent and will use this forum to do so. That's OK, too.

Comment From Benjamin

What would you say is the number one concern of the team right now after the performance in Denver?

*I think it's finding some rhythm on offense. They're stuck in a rut and it has to stop. A close second would be stopping the run. San Diego abandoned it, but St. Louis and Denver rushed for plenty against a run D that had been pretty good.      *

Comment From KK

Mike, Last night is seemed that the Panthers' rush and defensive secondary was not quite as strong as the Broncos'. Do you think that may be good news for the Packers?

From what I saw on Sunday night, I don't think there's any defense in the league as good as Denver's. Carolina is top-notch. Norman and Kuechly are major stars, and Short is big-time, too. But the Packers faced the best, in my view, two nights ago.

Comment From Kyle Duffield

Every season it seems the Packers have a game like we had in Denver. Last year it was New Orleans. Do you think good teams need to be humbled to be better?

I don't know if it's needed in that sense, but it's just the reality of a competitive league and a long season. The best thing to do is use what happened to make you better.

Comment From Jason

Mike, do the Packers have a receiver that can win a one on one? Is scheme the answer?

Scheme can help, but the player still has to win. Scheme might get you open one play, but the defense will adjust, and then you still have to get the job done. These receivers can get open, and I suspect with everything they're hearing in the media, and what they'll see on film, they will respond to the challenge.

Comment From stych626

It seems in all of football, clock management can either win games or lose games. Did you think MM let a possession get away from them, albeit a short one?

I'm not sure what you're referring to. I thought the best chance to get back in the game was at the end of the first half. Denver had a third-and-8 or so deep in their own territory. I was thinking stop there, score, and score again coming out of the half with the ball first. But Denver converted, and then GB only got a FG early third quarter. It wasn't enough to shift the game.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, When the run and the long pass is not working, why not dink and dunk ala Tom Brady or use the pistol? I am concerned in that there seemed to be no answer Sunday night on either side of the ball.

They tried plenty of dink and dunk, but the Broncos were right up there at the line of scrimmage. More important, they didn't miss any tackles. I said to Vic in the press box the Broncos' tackling reminded me of Dungy's superb Tampa defenses. When they got to the ball, the guy was on the ground, immediately.

Comment From Heather

Rough week, Mike. Thanks for the chat. Any updates on Clay's ankle? I remember last chat or so you said that the two players we couldn't afford to get hurt were 12 and 52 and well...

Yeah, Clay leaving and then a 28-yard TD untouched right up the middle said a lot. He said after the game he didn't think it was anything serious, but as for this week, it probably depends how much it swelled up on Monday. We'll see how much he practices this week. If Clay can get out there, he will.

Comment From Molly

Do you have kids and are they Packer fans?

I have two. My son is definitely into the team. My daughter isn't that into football. She dislikes the violence.

Comment From Guest

Mike, what'd you like seeing on Sunday night's game?

*What did I like? For the Packers sake, I liked seeing Datone Jones make a couple of night plays against the run. I think he's working toward more playing time. I also liked seeing Lacy start with that nice 11-yard run early, but the offense needs to find a way to sustain that.      *

Comment From jeff

Packers haven't lost 2 in a row with Rodgers since 2010. Every team loses. The true test is how you bounce back from defeat. Forget doom and gloom, I like our chances against Carolina as sometimes you learn more about yourselves in a loss

Works for me.

Comment From Rob

Mike, why are the Packers favored against Carolina? This doesn't have the feel of a "get back on track" game to me, but I might be missing something on paper.

*If that's true, the oddsmakers probably aren't totally sold on Carolina yet. It's funny, though, because weren't they 3-8-1 with a month to go last year? They haven't lost a regular-season game since.        *

Comment From Derek

What do you make of the TE situation? Rich Rod is carrying a heavy load, Q is out the at least the next couple weeks, Perillo has looked good in limited snaps, and Backman seems to have fallen back down the Depth Chart. Where do the packers go from here or is something that will have to wait to be fixed in the offseason?

Coach McCarthy all but admitted yesterday that R. Rodgers has a lot on his plate for a young player. I don't know how much you can count on Quarless right away when he comes back. It's wait and see there. I think you keep Rodgers' development going and see if Perillo can do more for you. Bringing in someone new to try to learn this offense overnight probably won't do much.

Comment From Paul

Aaron earlier on was squeezing passes in and now seems to very hesitant to throw. Take some of those throws to james Jones earlier. I see guys that have a couple steps on their man.

Tom Clements suggested that yesterday when he used the phrase "throw them open" to the media. I'm not sure about a "couple steps," but I see your point.

Comment From Stan

Lacy seems like he's tentative this year-- dancing around a lot before he picks a hole to run. Has he regressed?

*I saw more dancing earlier in the season. I didn't see that on Sunday. I didn't see many holes Sunday, except on his two 10-plus runs. Denver played base defense with seven in the box against 3 WRs, and not many teams can do that.     *

Comment From Andrew

Mike, Thanks for the chat. I sense that as soon as the Packers can begin running the ball with some consistency, their passing game will loosen up and their will be more opportunities for play action. What do you reckon?

*I agree. You can't play-action unless you can run it. But you have to win one-on-one on the outside when there aren't two deep safeties, too. It goes hand in hand in my view.               *

Comment From Chas

Mike, we had the same type of game when we were 13-0 at Kansas City. Does good cornerbacks make even a great quarterback look bad in every game?

Good corners can wreck an offense if there's a pass rush to go with it. Denver's got the combo. They're going to be tough to beat.

Comment From Jake

When did you know the Packers had lost? Call me optimistic, but I was still holding my breath mid-4th.

When they got it to 17-10 I thought the game might come down to the end. When Clay left and the guy ran right up the middle for a TD, I didn't like their chances.

Comment From Curt

I am very worried the Vikings are going to do to us what the Broncos just did. The Vikings defense is looking very stout!!

The Vikings defense is very good and the Vikings are for real. They have their issues, too, however. They didn't score an offensive touchdown until the final 2 minutes on Sunday, and that was against the Bears.

Comment From Bryce

Like many packers fans out there, we're frustrated the packers aren't using Janis on offense at all, your thoughts?

I can only repeat what I've said before. If the coaches thought he could help, he'd be in there.

Comment From Kyle

Mike, Pretty amazing that an Aaron Rodgers led offence is now one of the 5 worst in football statistically, isn't it?

*Strange indeed. But nothing is decided after 7 games. *

Comment From Rara27

How do you think we can beat the Panthers with their great defense?

*Find some rhythm with the run and get open on the perimeter. There's too much talent at receiver for them not to break out of this rut.     *

Comment From Brian

How can we come off a bye week where we are healthier than ever and not play fast? It's very disappointing!

I was surprised by that, too. Give Denver credit for taking it to them. Sometimes it happens. When it happens on the road, it's that much harder to find that extra jump in the step.

Comment From Jim

Mike, did Aaron Rodgers throw his receivers under the bus saying it was their inability to get open that has caused the problem? It doesn't seem wise to publicly say it is others' fault. He should say he needs to make plays.

What I heard was Rodgers crediting an impressive Denver secondary for its coverage.

Comment From Andrew

Mike, this forum and others are full of doom and gloom about the Packers' future. I think if most of us had been offered a 6-1 start back in August we'd have jumped at the chance. On Sunday I saw a very good team beaten by one which played lights out on the night. I don't see any other AFC or NFC standing up to the Broncos in Denver when they play like that. The Packers will be back, starting with Carolina. What do you think?

Pretty good way to look at it. Denver was outstanding on Sunday night, and the Packers weren't. Win this week. That's all that matters now.

Comment From Brooke

First it was Rivers on fire and it was just a fluke that he played THAT good, and then the entire Broncos team was on fire and even Vic said they were the best he has seen and no one could have beat them. So my question is, was it just bad luck that we got 2 fluke games in a row, or is someone going to admit that there is something wrong with the Packers?

I think there's plenty of admission of what's wrong. But there's also acknowledgement that this is the NFL and sometimes the other guy(s) are just better on a given night.

Comment From Riley

What does this loss say about the team's trajectory? I think once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. Could things actually get worse than this?

Worse than 500-140 in total yards? I would think not.

Comment From John

It's not that we lost, but how badly we lost on both sides of the ball that made many of us shudder...Never seen such an epic fail/flatness from the offense; even @Buffalo last year it showed some verve. Hopefully, GB will be more competitive against Carolina. I'd love to see a strong running game; where do you look for improvement?

You look for improvement across the board. Not one position group can say it was happy with how things went on Sunday night. But every position group has shown it can play much better. You regroup and get after it.

Comment From Eduardo

Mike, I'm sensing a game similar to the "Shhhh" game against Houston in 2012. Not a blowout this time, but an excelent outing by this team and a win.

I don't think anyone in Packernation would complain if you're right.

Comment From Cory

the game the other night, I saw fundamental issues more than anything, like over shooting gaps and the lack of tackling. What do the Packers coaches do to work on those issues when you only have a week?

You show the mistakes on film and keep harping on the fundamentals in practice. This team practices fundamentals every day, but that's why, because it's easy for them to slip on you.

Comment From Mike

I just want to see this offense bounce back. They aren't running the ball well, and we're 7 games in. I thought I saw some flashes of the good old Lacy; he just couldn't sustain it. In retrospect, I think this was the wrong game to expect a resurgence, don't you?

Perhaps, but I think the hope was to see something look better on offense after the bye, regardless of the opponent. But one game, whether it had been in Denver or this week in Carolina, won't be a sign everything is fixed, either. It's a week to week league.

Comment From George

Our pass defense looks atrocious. What happened since weeks 1-3 when it was doing well?

They stopped the run vs. very good backs for Seattle, KC and SF. I think the SD game was a scheme they didn't react well too. Last Sunday it was a failure against the run and that put a HOF QB right where he wanted to be, able to run play-action and dictate at the LOS.

Comment From Chas

Mike, The field in Carolina was pretty beat up after the game last night. Can they get it back to 100% by this Sunday?

*I was wondering about that earlier today. I guess we'll see.      *

Comment From Paul

Wouldn't it be worth jumping a route one in a while rather than following two steps behind a receiver and then make the tackle? It is so hard to watch. Over the middle is a given. You don't like these questions do you??

So you'd rather see a corner get beat on a double move for a 70-yard TD than give up a 20-yard completion? They play to their help, and that depends on the call. Thomas was a tough matchup physically for anybody, and it didn't get any easier when Shields went out. Capers suggested yesterday Shields was going to start taking Thomas but then he left the game, so we'll never know.

Comment From Chris

How do you feel about the decision to defer? I think it took them away from what they do best, that is, score early and often.

On the road against the No. 1 defense in the league, I thought it was a good call. The D stopped Denver on the first drive, and GB got a FG coming out of halftime, so I don't see it as a strategic blunder.

Comment From Jeff P

What do you think the Packers focus on this week to stop Carolina? I would say stopping the run.

Defensively, yes, and cover Olsen. You have to make someone else beat you in the passing game for them.

Comment From Sezer

Do you think panthers are a super bowl candidate?

*Yes. That win on the road in Seattle signaled their arrival, in my book. *

Comment From Mark

Carolina plays press coverage just like San Diego and Denver played against us. The run will help, but the receivers need to find a way to get off and beat their man. Will moving Rodgers back in the pocket help that out?

It could, but as I said before, any scheme adjustment you make will be adjusted to in kind. That's why the game is four quarters long.

Comment From Jason

What has happened to our pass rush the past 3 games?

I thought the rush was decent against St. Louis. Against SD, Rivers just got the ball out. The issue against Denver was not being able to stop the run. It's hard to attack with the pass rush when the other team is having success running the ball.

Comment From Steve

Mike, what is the "feeling" you are getting from player since the loss if any? Maybe you don't interact with them day-to-day...not sure.

I don't see any players normally on Mondays and Tuesdays. There will be locker room interviews tomorrow and that's when you get a sense of mood or demeanor of the team.

Comment From Guest

We have been playing tough defenses all year, except maybe Chicago. It just seems our Offense is not adjusting. Do you Think McCarthy not calling plays is making a difference?

Everybody is asking about McCarthy not calling the plays. You have to let that go. Against SD, everyone was up in arms over the deep ball on third-and-1. Last Sunday, they ran Lacy twice in a row on second-and-2 and third-and-1 and didn't convert. The players have to execute. That always matters more than what's called.

Comment From Jeff

How is Ty Montgomery's injury healing?

Haven't gotten any updates. We'll see if he's back at practice this week.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, I think the chargers and the broncos have played their best games against the Packers. In my opinion there's no reason to think that we won't get Carolina's best too. If we win this game, a lot of the Packer fans angst will go away. However, I noticed Aaron did not tell us to RELAX. Do you think Aaron and MM are concerned too?

Sure, they're concerned, but concern does not mean panic. It's all about getting in position for the stretch run, and winning enough games along the way. So far they're doing that. This one is big because of the potential impact on NFC playoff seeding, but even after this week, there's still half a season to go.

Comment From Chuck

Mike, I believe your whole season might be defined by Sunday's game. Because of a NFC opponent, would setup possible home field advantage though the playoffs. Your feelings?

I don't think the season will be defined by a game in early November, but fall two games behind Carolina plus the tiebreaker with eight to play and it likely changes the road, for sure.

Comment From Nathan

Which Panthers defense is the real one, the one that completely shut down Andrew Luck for most of last night or the one that blew a three-score lead in the final minutes?

Funny how every team has its issues, huh?

Comment From brandon

It isn't that the Packers lost, it is the manner in which they lost. It was the culmination of the growing weaknesses we have seen against the 49ers, Rams and Chargers. The defense getting softer and giving up more yards in the air and on the ground. The offense not being able to run and the passing game slowing down. Denver highlighted everything that is wrong with the Packers, and that is the cause of the doom and gloom. I can accept a close lose to a good team. I can't accept a thorough beat down in which we never came close to looking good.

Well, I saw two pretty thorough beatdowns last year, at Detroit in Week 3 and at New Orleans in Week 8, and this team came 3:52 from the Super Bowl. You have to accept it's part of the path if you believe in your team, I think.

Comment From Julian

What did we learn about Carolina last night blowing a huge lead in the 4th quarter? Is this something we can implement into our game on Sunday?

I wouldn't advise falling behind by 17 with half a quarter to play, if that's what you're asking. But Indy's hurry-up definitely caused problems, and it's on film for both the Packers and Panthers to react to.

Comment From Sam

The game with Carolina could very well determine the NFC's 1-seed in the playoffs. Is that on the Packers' minds going into this game, or is a more short-sighted, just-win-baby approach?

I think the players will be focused on "win this game" and nothing more. They'll be aware of the rest, but it's not the pervading thought. The rest is more for folks like us.

Comment From Mike

Mike, I think the question is, "For how long can Rodgers and Co stink like this?" Honestly, I can't see this going on for much longer.

Neither can I. I think "stink" is a little strong, given they did score 27 against San Diego, but I hear what you're saying.

Comment From Chris

Mike, that game in 2012 was a bit of a coming out part for Jordy Nelson. Who on the offense needs to have that kind of performance?

I think the easy and most productive answer is Adams.

Comment From Chuck

Re: Dink & Dunk. You said they tried plenty. TJ Lang said in an interview after the game that they called only a few 3 step drops; nearly everything else was a 5 step drop.

I saw a lot of quick tosses out to the side. Some to Cobb. One to Adams and another to R. Rodgers that were low/dropped. I think they had plenty of short stuff in the mix.

Comment From Guest

I'm sure glad that we learned what we did last night, instead of during the playoffs!

That's exactly what I said to Vic yesterday. Better to have that happen on Nov. 1 than on Dec. 1 or Jan. 1. OK, I've gone an hour. I can take a few more. Thanks for all the questions, as always, sorry if I didn't get to yours.

Comment From Shawn

I haven't felt good about the Packer play since week 3 or so. The warning signs have been coming each week I saw the concern in Aaaron's face during his post-conferences.

*I think Rodgers would admit this might be the most challenging stretch of his career since 2008. That's what makes this so interesting.         *

Comment From Jeff P

Keep Cam in the pocket and stop the run.

Words to the wise.

Comment From Lonny

What impresses you most about Carolina?

Newton's command of the offense this year looks so much better than when the Panthers came to Lambeau a year ago, which was when that team was really struggling.

Comment From Larry

The undefeated Panthers next, followed by four division games, and then a potentially healthy Cowboys team. It's not getting easier, Mike. Is it time to RELAX, or PANIC?

Neither. It's time to buckle up for the ride. Thanks everyone. Gotta run. Talk to you next week. Take care, Mike

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