What's your favorite moment of the 2016 season?

Packers.com senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in his weekly chat.


Hey everybody. Thanks for logging in. The great run has come to an end, unfortunately, but let's get started.

Comment From Don H

We "ran the table" but forgot the silverware. A shame the way the season ended but, on Monday, we all woke up as fans of the greatest sports franchise in the history of civilization. Win or lose, that never changes ... and never will.

And there's our first word of the day. Forgot the silverware. Not bad.

Comment From Nathan

What was your favorite moment of the 2016 season?

I don't know if I could boil it down to one moment, but when the Packers blew out Seattle, I thought there was a chance this run the table stuff could really happen. Then after the dramatic finish in Chicago the next week, I started thinking something special really was happening.

Comment From Guest

Any free agent pickups youre eyeing?

We're a long way from that. So many players won't actually make it to the market by the time free agency actually gets here. It's only worth talking about when guys are actually available.

Comment From Adam

Mike, what do we as ans do now ?

Well, I think the Super Bowl will be a heck of a game to watch. Other than that, I'd turn my fan attention to Badger basketball for a while. I think they could be putting together something pretty good. March is the best non-football month of the year.

Comment From Adam

Will the Packers play in London soon ?

Not in 2017, but I believe it's coming. No idea when, but the league is going to make it happen at some point, I think.

Comment From Ethan

Mike, thanks to all the Packers for a great season. Looking forward to spending the offseason with you guys still. I'm wondering if you could address the question about the bye weeks from the inbox this morning? Someone had asked why the bye weeks are so spread out if the NFL wants to lessen injury. I imagine it's for TV; if you have the bye weeks only 7-12 for example, then more teams are on bye every week. Is that the reason it's not less weeks?

Yes, that has to be it. They don't want any week to have too diluted a schedule, so the bye weeks are spread out.

Comment From Mike

Hi Mike- Do you think AR statement" all in everyyear" was a vailed shot at Mgt. to get players now so we can have more depth. and keep this streak of the playoffs going?

I don't think it was a shot, but it was his way of making his opinion heard.

Comment From bill

OUr linebackers were invisible in the playoffs. Clay was a non-factor. Does this become the highest priority

We'll probably never know how much the shoulder injury affected Matthews' play. That said, as I noted in Inbox this morning, you never have enough pass-rushers or cover corners. The Packers need more of both on defense to raise the level of the whole unit.

Comment From Tony C

Amazing how home field advantage comes down to a handful of plays / series. Think the failure to make a stop in ATL to end the game and the Colts' 95 yard , 1.5 minute drive to end first half ... alas, what might have been.

Yeah, that's how it goes. Everything matters. Rodgers' comments after the game about playing the NFC title game at home next time really struck me, because he's right. It's tough to win on that stage on the road.

Comment From Scott H

Do we need better CB's ..honest answer please. I think we are not talented enough at this position.

I think it's obvious the Packers need to be better at CB, but Randall, Rollins, Gunter, etc., are all young and not finished products in my mind. That said, you add more to the group and let them all fight it out to see who deserves to play. That's how I'd go about it. You don't give up on developing your young players.

Comment From KK

Mike, Can't we all agree that even though we didn't achieve the ultimate goal, it was a successful season?

No question. To go from 4-6 to one of the last four standing is a heckuva year. To play that well for so long with your season on the line is a run I'll remember for a long, long time.

Comment From alec

Who is the on the top of the re-signing list for you?

My personal opinion is Cook and Lang on offense, and Perry on defense, if I had to pick a top 3. I know that's leaving out a lot of key names, but those would be my choices off the bat. I'd love to see a lot of other guys back, too ... Hyde, Lacy (if his health and recovery are all good), there's a bunch, but we all know reality is not everyone will be back.

Comment From Tabb & Declan (the dog)

Is there an end-of-season presser scheduled?

I'm guessing it'll be tomorrow or Thursday, but we haven't been told anything yet.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, I am sad at how things ended, but proud of our team. Why don't we hire trainers from teams that are much healthier like the Falcons? Seems to me injuries were the main reason we didn't prevail.

It was a reason, but if you're looking for me to blame someone for the injuries, I'm one who believes it's mostly luck. The Packers were an incredibly healthy team in 2014, and they've done everything the same since, but the injuries piled up more this year. It's how it goes.

Comment From Peter

Will the Packers likely have a later bye next season?

Probably. After they had the Week 4 bye in 2013, it was more midseason in 14 and 15.

Comment From Lori

What was the plane ride home from Atlanta like? Did anyone punch a hole in a wall? Was the plane trashed? (A little reference to the Giants' extracurricular activities.)

It was quiet but not like a funeral or anything. McCarthy said it best after the game. "We ran out of gas." The players were exhausted, they were banged-up, and they knew they had been beaten by the better team.

Comment From MG

How has the howl of the wolves from the "fire everybody" pack been the past few days?

It's been a mix of the fire people crowd and the appreciative crowd, recognizing what was accomplished. No one wanted it to end this way, but if things were as bad as some believe, this team doesn't get anywhere near as far as it did.

Comment From Scott H

To add to my question about the talent in our CBs...with your answer being heard then should the Packers go get 1or 2 Free agents with experience to help fill the gaps while they develop? Rodgers and this offense has a shelf life and its getting shorter. the problem is the defense and it needs fixing.

It all depends on who's out there. Peppers and Cook have been key free-agent signings in recent years, but we all know the Packers don't just bring in outside players willy-nilly. They're big on "fit" around here, and that three-letter word encompasses a lot of qualities and characteristics.

Comment From Biff

What's going on with Eliot Wolf and Gutekunst? Any updates on promotions?

Nothing has been officially announced, but we'll see if there's something soon. If they're indeed staying, I'm glad because they're great guys, really good at what they do, and have been fun to get to know over the years.

Comment From Schmiddy

Atlanta had a pretty ridiculous conversion rate on 3rd down.

Yeah, and the most frustrating part about it is, at least in the first half, many times it was 6 or more yards to go, even 10 or 11. The Packers just couldn't get off the field despite plenty of opportunity.

Comment From Steve from California

What is your assessment of the defense? It seems that we have made investments by drafting high round defensive players every year. Are they the wrong players, are we not developing them properly, or . . . ?

The jury is still out on a number of guys. Clinton-Dix developed into a Pro Bowler his third year. There's plenty to like about Kenny Clark's game, but he's not there yet. Not every first-round pick is going to become a star, especially when you're always picking in the 20s.

Comment From Skylar

What do you think about our schedule this season? I know its early, but seems a bit more difficult than this years.

I believe the other divisions the NFC North is matched up with are the AFC North and NFC South. Plus the Packers will play the Seahawks and Cowboys again as first-place teams.

Comment From Linda P

Mike, I know the game was likely lost by then, but seeing Lang get so emotional after his injury hurt me too. Troy and Joe thought his uncertain future with the Packers was part of it. How did you feel? and what is your take?

Lang admitted the uncertain future was a big part of his emotions. He loves playing for the Packers and loves wearing that helmet, but it's a business. I have no idea how the Packers are going to proceed with Lang. He won't come cheap, and players are under a lot of pressure from the union not to take below-market deals because that hurts all players in the salary structure. It's not a simple thing.

Comment From Hans

Not to pick on Rory McIlroy, but it was just reported that he will spend the next month recovering from rib injury. Nelson's grit is monumental.

I couldn't believe Nelson played. That was incredibly gutty. He laid it all out there, and played pretty well, too. It couldn't have been easy, and I can't imagine how much pain he was in when he woke up Monday morning. This game and team really matter to him, obviously.

Comment From John Coctostan

We've had "debates" on this site about "players or plays." Most would have to admit it's a bit of both. But there has to be another element to explain how a successful team like the Patriots make it to the playoffs, just like the Pack, but are more often in the big game. Pats pick low, just like the Pack. Pats never over pay free-agents, just like the Pack. They even cut starters in the middle of a season. What is the other element?

In recent years, I think the balance of star QBs in the league have resided in the NFC. Look at the AFC playoff QBs this year -- Brady, Roethlisberger, Smith, then Oakland (who would have been Carr), Houston and Miami. NFC? Guys like Brees and Cousins weren't even in. There's a huge difference in the road to get there, in my opinion. I think Oakland had a great shot to beat the Patriots if Carr hadn't gotten hurt.

Comment From Mike

So what will you off season schedule look like?

I'm going to take some time off here and there in Feb. and March, but I'll be going to the scouting combine and plugging away on some offseason projects around here. We'll try to keep the website entertaining in the slow months, I promise you.

Comment From Declan

Any thoughts about #23 losing his edge a little this year?

He had just about every body part listed on the injury report at some point this season. I think he's a better player than he was able to show, and if he's healthy next year, he'll be out to prove that.

Comment From Reggie

Occurred to me during the playoffs just how far many franchises are from competing at playoff level. We are frustrated yes, but consider the fate of half the league ....

I mentioned in Inbox this morning that six of the top eight seeds from last year's playoffs did not make it back this year. Denver, Cincinnati, Carolina, Arizona, Washington, Minnesota. All seeded fourth or higher in the 2015 playoffs. None made it back. There's a lot to be said for being in contention every year. I know it's frustrating the Packers have only been to one Super Bowl in this current run, but you just keep fighting.

Comment From Earl

missed FG, forced fumble, missed fumble recovery Oh what could have been!

Ripkowski's fumble really hurt. It was going to be first-and-goal in a 10-0 game. Then the three missed turnovers late in the first half -- Ryan's potential fumble recovery, and potential INTs by Evans and Gunter. All could have changed things and kept the Packers in it. The Falcons were going to be tough to beat regardless, but Green Bay had its chances to stay in it and keep the pressure on them.

Comment From Leakerlar

Mike I also liked AR's call to action to the powers that be. Is there an adjustment to the salary cap this next year?

The salary cap continues to go up, mostly due to the very lucrative TV contracts.

Comment From MG

As writers how does your schedule change during the off season? Shorter days/weeks?

Well, I try to get my weekends off for sure, and I try not to stay in the office past 5 p.m. on a daily basis if I can help it.

Comment From Jon

Hi Mike: Eddie Lacy is one of my favorites ever, but with some big injuries and then coming in out of shape a while back, I get the feeling his time is up here. What do you think?

I really have no idea. His health is the biggest factor. That ankle required surgery, and there's a long recovery process. All that will play into any decisions the Packers make and what his market would be as a free agent.

Comment From Tristan

It hurts that we're always losing in the playoffs, but I'd rather be in the hunt than not. What are some reasonable hopes for the next few years?

As long as Rodgers remains healthy and on his game, the Packers will be contenders. We all saw what getting hot at the end of the year can do for a team. Now the Packers need to do that when they're healthy and not playing for their lives at Thanksgiving, so to speak.

Comment From Lori

Is Matt Ryan a great QB, or does he just have a great supporting cast?

He's legit, I take nothing away from him. He was the MVP this year, if I had a vote. Jones is the top WR in the league, but he put up a lot of big numbers when Jones was out this year, too. The key now is what will happen to that offense if Kyle Shanahan indeed leaves. That will be a big adjustment for them.

Comment From Matt

Whenever I get saddened by the outcome of a big Packer game, I remind myself that it means more to the players in the locker room than it does to me as a fan. Based on the interactions you've had with NFL players, do you believe that's true?


Comment From Josh

Whats the future of Shields you think?

Again, I don't know. He's had a lot of concussions, and though he's said he wants to return, he'll have to get cleared by the medical staff to get that chance, wherever that may be. From a personnel and salary cap standpoint, Shields' situation is one that has to be sorted out by the Packers as they look at the big picture.

Comment From Alex

What would be your dream Super Bowl match up with any teams throughout NFL history?

The 1996 Packers vs. the 2010 Packers. Ha.

Comment From Ray L

If the Falcons win the SB, we can almost count on Packers at Falcons for the 2017 Kickoff game in the new Mercedes-Benz Dome, agree?

A distinct possibility, sure.

Comment From Matt

Who's your pick for the SB?

I don't think there's any stopping the Falcons. It won't be easy to beat the Patriots, but I think this is their year.

Comment From Jerry Erie, Pa.

Has Capers time run out? He has had more than 5 years to put together a top 7 or so defense. Over the years the Defense is what has fallen behind the offense .The key players on offense will not be able to stay together much longer. Cap and such. Keep up the great work . Have a great summer. The Pack will be back!

A ton of folks asking about Capers. Look, the guy didn't forget how to coach. When Shields went down early, the Packers lost one of their most irreplaceable players on defense. It was an uphill fight from there with the pass defense, with your young, developing guys also getting hurt off and on. If McCarthy decides he wants a fresh face/voice running the defense, that's his call, but there isn't a defensive coordinator in the league who was going to shut down the Falcons with the current, banged-up personnel and with how well Atlanta was playing. That's how I feel.

Comment From Chris

Any perspective on Hudley's development this year ?? I'm not looking past AR, but curious how Hudley is progressing. I'll never forget how concerned I felt when Favre when down in Dallas and this unknown #12 walked onto the field ....

I talked with Brett in the locker room yesterday and will be posting a story maybe next week from the interview. He talked about learning so much more about the position running the scout team and seeing how Rodgers was a leader through the tough times. He needs the preseason work this next summer, which he didn't get last year due to injuries. That was the one piece missing for him in Year 2, through no fault of his own.

Comment From Tom

What/who was the biggest surprise this year for the Packers?

I think the position change and production from Ty Montgomery has to rank right up there. What he did wasn't easy.

Comment From Ethan

As the salary cap goes up, do players continue to get paid more? Or does that just allow more room for teams to negotiate?

When the cap goes up, so does the floor, so everyone gets paid more eventually, but yeah, it's also negotiating room for those who are in good shape going in.

Sorry for the delay ... had to step away for a moment. I'll take a few more questions, then I have to go.

Comment From Ray N

How many prime time games for GB next year ?? Prediction ?? That's the first thing we out of market fans look at when the schedule comes out ...

I would imagine the networks will max out their chances to put the Packers in prime time. It makes things harder from a work standpoint for me, but it's still better than playing at noon every Sunday in the other sense, you know.

Comment From Kevin

Not sure if anyone has asked, but what round compensatory pick do you suspect Green Bay to receive for Casey Hayward?

Probably a third, no worse than a fourth.

Comment From Andy

As bad as this loss felt, imagine being a Raiders fan, no playoffs for the longest time, then the year they finally make it they lose the MAN just before the playoffs begin. I feel very fortunate to support an organization that is run well enough to give us a shot at the playoffs and Super Bowl year after year.

I was absolutely sick for the Raiders, especially knowing GM Reggie McKenzie from his time here in GB. That was a really tough break. I think they'll be back, though.

Comment From Sam Bradford

Spofford your answers to the Capers decision to be let go is such company BS....you know the Packers need a fresh look...why cant you just admit it....are you that scared of rocking the boat in the front office and losing your job? Its not about just Atlanta and having injured "developing CBs" its the entire picture of how weak we have been on defense for the last 4-5 years and not getting experience to help fill the gaps...its a philosophy that needs to be looked at and altered. Come on Mike.....don't keep tolling the company line with wishy washy opinions to please the administrators.

I"m not giving you some company line. I have a ton of respect for Dom Capers, and he's coordinated a lot of successful defenses when he's had the pieces. If you're going to move on, you'd better have someone ready to go to replace him. I don't understand why fans always believe it's the coaches' fault.

Comment From Raff

Mike, How's it feel to be the oldtimer

Ha. We'll call that the last word for today. Thanks everyone. Not sure when the next chat will be, but thanks for joining me all season. Take care, Mike

I believe the other divisions the NFC North is matched up with are the AFC North and NFC South. Plus the Packers will play the Seahawks and Giants again as first-place teams.

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