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What to expect from Detroit? Read Mike's chat

Senior writer Mike Spofford took questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. Thanks as always for logging in. Ask away, I'll do my best.

Comment From Tom

What's the mood like around the Packers offices?

*I sensed yesterday the team was pretty disgusted with its play on Sunday. That was a different feeling from the prior week when it was more simple disappointment. *

Comment From Guest

OL seems to be scuffling, this is leading to the poor running and sacks. What needs to be addressed with them?

They just need to get back in sync like they were most of last year. They've done it before and will do it again. Sunday was one of those games you could tell things were off-kilter, guys not on the same page, etc. There's too much experience on that line for it to carry over too long.

Comment From Gretchen

Thanks for the chat. I am trying to stay optimistic. The team is 6 and 2. This week should tell us alot.

It's the next two weeks for me. Right the ship this week and then get ready for a big showdown with the Vikings on the road.

Comment From Geoff

Have Julius and HaHa hugged it out?

McCarthy said yesterday by game's end it was not an issue. This is really not a big deal. It was probably a good thing.

Comment From Bob

Hi Mike it seems to me that Clinton ha ha dix is a total bust. his positioning and ball skills are atrocious. what does your fimwork show?

Total bust? I don't think so. He didn't have his best game on Sunday, but he wasn't the only one. HHCD had two picks in the NFC title game last January. The kid can play, and I'm sure he's not thrilled with what he saw on film yesterday.

Comment From yen

whats wrong with our D? we make any QB look great??

I don't have an explanation for all the big plays given up. Those chunks of yardage can't keep happening. It didn't help that the secondary was shorthanded, but that's no excuse. I thought the defense started the game strong, holding Carolina to a FG and then getting a three-and-out. The third-and-16 debacle was like a flip of the switch, and they couldn't flip it back until the second half.

Comment From Josh

Mike, MM always says the hardest part is handling success. It seems to me the packers are so used to winning they are having trouble handling failure. Is it one play that will snap them out of this or just a mind set?

I don't think they're having trouble handling failure. They expect more of themselves. It's not one play. It's not a mindset. It's get back to work and carry the preparation onto the field on Sunday.

Comment From Dan

The O line has now been together for 1.5 seasons. Why are they struggling to open up run lanes and pass protect?

I'm at a loss on the rushing offense, though the struggles are not all on the line. Lacy is not himself. That doesn't help. The pass protection, as I said, I think this last game was about communication and being in sync. I don't expect that to continue.

Comment From Sezer

Do you think Cam NEWTON is MVP candidate?

Yes, I do, but it's going to be hard to take that trophy from Tom Brady in the second half of the season, I believe.

Comment From Bongo

Looking at big picture here. Realistically, getting a 2 seed and the bye is most likely and going back to Carolina is possible for the title game. I would rather play there than some of the other alternatives out there, especially at Seattle.

Big picture, that's a realistic view to take. But Carolina is living on the edge and winning a lot of close games at the wire. No guarantee that'll continue, so they don't have the 1 seed sewn up yet. I think there's going to be a lot on the line across the NFC in December.

Comment From Guest

Still hoarse from Sunday in Charlotte They don't look crisp and sharp Have they gotten complacent ?

Complacency is not the issue. Maybe the bye week came at the wrong time, at 6-0. I don't know. I think we're all looking for a reason or reasons, but sometimes you just have to say, it's the NFL. I know that doesn't satisfy anyone.

Comment From Guest

Mike - time to drop all of the x's and o's and "Hero's Journey" stuff and just line up and hit somebody!

*Works for me.  *

Comment From Gretchen

There were at least 2 GREAT blocks for Sitton that lead to scores

Yes, a lot of folks commenting about the screens. Those were extremely well-blocked and well-run by Starks. Can't just say that's a fix, though. Three big screens in one game like that will have all future opponents on high alert.

Comment From Brett

Do you think there's something to be said for the Packers just not being a very good road team as of late? Vic was optimistic about a return trip to Carolina but I don't think it's that simple.

Last year the Packers went 4-4 on the road and all four losses were real stinkers -- Seattle, Detroit, NO and Buffalo. Those were their four worst performances of the year, by far, and everyone knows that team should have been playing in the Super Bowl. Life on the road is not easy, and it's even harder against good teams.

Comment From David

I thought Davante Adams looked good in Sunday's loss. Thoughts?

*He looked better than he did in Denver, but he's capable of more for this offense. I think he'd be the first to say that.     *

Comment From Nick

Where has the pass rush gone????

*The early scrambles by Newton forced the Packers to emphasize rushing to contain, not rushing to sack, the rest of the game on Sunday. When Newton couldn't run as much, Carolina's offense wasn't as good, but they still made a few plays against a young secondary. That's how I saw it.           *

Comment From Steve

Forget the record, does this team look like a contender to you?

*Yeah, absolutely. Are you crowning anyone in the NFC after eight games? I'm not. No one in the NFC is playing at the level of the Patriots, for example.  *

Comment From Lee 

Defense played very poor last three games, but they played so well first five games. What went wrong?

I still look at the Chargers game differently, because of how SD attacked. The run defense left them vs. Denver, and that became a nightmare against Manning. I saw the run defense bouncing back a little vs. Carolina, but it needs to keep going in that direction. The DBs need to get healthy, too.

Comment From Jake 

Hi Mike! Let's talk about Detroit. What are you expecting?

*I'm expecting to see Detroit's most focused game of the season. They're coming off a bye and all the upheaval. If the players believe in Caldwell, they'll play as hard as they have all year. There's a ton of talent there. Let's not forget they should have beaten Seattle, and they were up 17-6 early on Minnesota. This game is no cake walk. The Lions aren't going to play like they did in London vs. KC.             *

Comment From Taylor 

I never saw this coming with Lacy. How can a guy go from 1300 yards to nothing so quickly? We are too one dimensional again now without him.

Lacy's struggles are a mystery. Just have to believe he'll get it going again at some point.

Comment From #36 Leaper 

I loved when Rip ran over the defender. Were there comments in the press box after that one?

We all exchanged some glances, for sure.

Comment From Eric 

The Bronco's lost their next game because they made the Packers a highest priority. This is not the time of the year to make anybody, ANYBODY, the highest priority. Peppers and McCarthy understand that. What say you?

Winning the division is the best road to the playoffs. Raji said after the game Sunday this four-game stretch could define the season. He might be right.

Comment From Guest 

What is the current status of Ty Montgomery and Sam Shields?

We'll know more tomorrow when the players are back on the practice field. They don't practice on Mondays and Tuesdays in a normal week.

Comment From Angel 

Is there any reason why the team went from being on top to losing two games in a row? I know everybody has their downfalls but what is going on with the team?

They play in the NFL, not the local bar league. OK, that was a rude answer, but the Broncos looked unbeatable a week ago and then lost to a 3-5 team. It's the way of this league.

Comment From Bill S. 

I would rather see issues of this sort happen at this stage of the season, since there is plenty of time to right the ship. What is troubling is there are so many aspects of the team not playing up to speed. Why do you think there was such a drastic turn around?

*Teams adjust. They figure out what you do best, on both sides of the ball. Matchups can tilt one way or the other, too. The Packers have half a season to make their counter adjustments and get ready for the stretch run. Every season is like this in some form or fashion, except maybe the 15-1 run of 2011.               *

Comment From Geoff 

What do you think is the most dangerous thing about the 1-7 Lions?

That they have a wide receiver who is capable of a 200-yard game at any time, and he's done just that at Lambeau with his current QB.

Comment From Erin 

Are we going to see Aaron play with a little bit of fire coming off of those losses and heading into the divisional stretch?

I've never known Rodgers not to play with fire, and I've never known him to accept losing very well.

Comment From Ben 

One ray of sunshine is that Mike McCarthy always seems to be able to get his team focused for NFC north games. Hopefully that's still the case.

McCarthy's record against division opponents is outstanding. He has preached since his first season the importance of division games, and that has never changed.

Comment From Robin 

Do you think it is likely that the Packers would come overseas (UK) to play a game sometime soon?

I think it's going to happen, but I just don't know when. Some people have thought Jacksonville next year, because the Packers are scheduled to play down there, but the Jags might not want to give up a sellout at home to move that game. It might be a team/city that wants to host a Super Bowl, now that the league has suggested that might be required to get serious consideration for the big game.

Comment From Neal 

Mike, I feel like opposing D's are picking up on Eddie's less than stellar run game. Do you see this as a major issue for our offense getting into a rhythm? What's the solution?

McCarthy laid out the solution yesterday in the story I wrote. Run the ball and stop getting the QB hit. It sounds like a good plan to me.

Comment From Tom 

The Packer's Super Bowl XLV team did it on the road, but the team hasn't seemed to have that road mojo since. How important is it for the Packers to win the NFC North and guarantee a home playoff game?

You have to focus on winning the division. If you can do that and get a bye, all the better. But win the division. Those all-road wild-card playoff runs don't happen that often.

Comment From Nathanael 

MR. Spofford, I would like the NFL to try a one year try-it and evaluate it next year experiment: Two divisions in each conference, seven division games, five other conference games, and four inter-conference games. Not only would this add some lacking variety to the schedule, it would eliminate bad division winners making the playoffs. Your thoughts?

I wouldn't change a thing about the current set up. I think it's part of the NFL's flavor that the Packers play the Vikings, Lions and Bears twice a year, just like the Giants play the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins twice a year. I wouldn't want to see that change.

Comment From Eric in SC 

In my opinion, Davante Adams runs an amazing slant pattern. He's open on it all the time. It seems like a good place to start building some quick 3-step offense, and get away from this dysfunctional extended play business. What say... er.. Your thoughts?            

A slant is a great play as long as the throwing lane is clear. Guaranteeing that is another matter, but I hear what you're saying about all the extended plays.

Comment From george 

the vikings have a 2nd yr coach who has taken a bunch of no name players and has turned them into a stout df. we have a veteran dfc and veteran players yet we are a total embarresment

I'm sorry, but if you think the Vikings defense has a bunch of no-name players, you don't watch the NFL much.

Comment From Guest 

Why were the Packers using Micah Hyde as a KR Sunday?

Montgomery was out and Hyde's snaps were reduced on defense, so he was the best return man for the job.

Comment From Grant 

What was the sideline fight about?

I think Ha Ha told Julius he needs to tuck in his jersey, and Julius stood up and said no one tells him how to dress. Then Raji, king of the fashion police, just told everyone to calm down. Really, folks, just because the cameras caught it, it's not a big deal.

Comment From Evan 

Four straight division games followed by a game against a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, a Raiders team on the rise, at Arizona, and ending with Minnesota again. Mike, this schedule is one of the toughest I can remember for the Pack in recent years. It is imperative the team finds its groove.

I've been talking about the schedule in my stories all year. That's why the 6-0 start was huge for this team.

Comment From Eric in SC 

McCarthy downplayed Ryan's ILB performance, and I realize he doesn't want to over-compliment him at such an early juncture. But, he played fast and had some impact for a rookie. What did you see in his play?

I saw a guy who has a chance to help this defense against the run. He's part of my WYMM video this week, and my player on the rise feature, both posting after this chat.

Comment From Bill K 

are you saying whomever the NFC sends to the SB 50 will just be a supporting act to Brady's back to back win?

Not at all. I'm just saying no one in the NFL is playing at the Patriots' level right now. But the regular season is only halfway done.

Comment From Gretchen 

I was surprised that we didn't see more of LaDarius Gunther after Casey went down. Or was he in there anddidn't make much noise so that I missed it?

I thought we might see some of Gunter, too, but they went with Goodson instead. He was in as the nickel and then became the No. 2 when Hayward left the game.

Comment From Troy 

I think Detroit could be a very dangerous game for us. They will be rested and the shakeup may give them new life.

If there were ever a time to ignore another team's record, this is it.

Comment From Mike 

It's scary that we have to worry about beating the Lions at home, but that's what it has come down to. They're abysmal, by the way; I've watched a few of their games.

They were abysmal against Kansas City, and the second half against Minnesota the week before was awful. But disparage them at your peril.

Comment From Tim 

Aaron Rodgers said it's the mental mistakes that are what bothers him. What will he do to as a leader to correct these mistakes by the offense?

He will get his game back to the level he expects of himself first. This type of slump isn't about leadership. It's about everyone individually playing and executing the way they can.

Comment From Brooke 

I definitely think the D has a lot to work on, but when the offense can't score and continually get 3 and outs, it is hard for any defense not to fail. Just look at the 4th quarter, offense got on a roll and so did the defense.

I agree. As many have pointed out in their comments, it all goes hand in hand. It's a team game.

Comment From Jon 

Detroit is no gimme', but I think a home game against a division rival is just what the doctor ordered to pull the Packers out of their funk.

I'm with you there.

Comment From Bongo 

Enough deferring to the 2nd half on the coin toss. If you win the toss, take the ball and ram it down Detroit's throat and don't let up until the final gun.

Whatever works.

Comment From Jake from Atlanta 

Thanks for the chat Mike, on that last play, I believe Cobb was wide open and Rodgers didn't see him. Not trying to fault Rodgers this happens quite frequently with most all QBS. Seems that some kind of signaling device or scheme could be used in those situations Your thoughts? Thanks.

I have no idea what you mean by a signaling device or scheme. QBs can come off a read too early before a guy gets open. It happens all the time. When it happens on fourth-and-goal with two minutes left, it's terribly frustrating. I think Rodgers' reaction on the sideline, and accountability for it afterward, speak to that.

Comment From Evan 

Jayrone Elliott was making plays in the first half of the season. He saw 0 snaps on Sunday. What gives?

*I don't know for sure, but I think it was a matchup thing. Carolina was the No. 1 rush offense in the league, and Elliott is more of a pass rusher than run defender. He might have been a bad matchup on the edge vs. Carolina's run scheme.      *

Comment From Bongo 

Remember, this is professional football. It is not necessarily who you play, but when you play them. There will be peaks and valleys.

I am definitely a believer in that. Back in my days covering h.s. football, a local team was barely above .500 but made the playoffs and then got hot and was headed to a state title game appearance no one saw coming. I asked the coach to explain it. He said, "Sometimes it's not how good you are, it's when you're good." I've never forgotten that line.

Comment From Mike 

Maybe the Broncos looked unbeatable against the Packers and then lost this week because the Packers aren't nearly as good as you believe they are. Have you considered that?

It's obvious the Packers are not playing well right now. But if they had played like this earlier, I'm certain they would not have beaten the Seahawks, Rams and Chargers. There were signs of decline in the latter two games, and things got considerably worse. Now they must turn it around. Turning on the TV on Sunday doesn't make this a video game.

Comment From Ryan 

How will the coaching staff get Eddie Lacy's running game back to how it was last year?

*That is a great question for which I have no answer. I've never coached football. But the answer to that might be a key to this season's second half.             *

Comment From Ray 

Comments about Lacy's groin yesterday led me to believe there was a light practice. What were they referring to?

It was announced after Sunday's game that Lacy left the game with a groin injury. The players have a strength and conditioning workout on Mondays, and McCarthy said Lacy went through the entire workout. It was not a practice.

OK, I've gone about an hour. A few more. Thanks as always for all the questions.

Comment From Bill K 

Do you think the Packers would have lost both games had they been played in Lambeau instead?


Comment From David 

Mike, what was your vertical leap measured in your prime?

I had pretty good hops as a h.s. kid. At 5-9, could grab the rim with ease. Then a cracked a bone in my lower leg in college and haven't been able to jump since.

Comment From TAS 

Seemed to see a lot of low and or off target snaps from Linsley this week and last. Have you sen that too?

Yeah, I saw more low snaps than usual in the shotgun on Sunday. We were talking about it in the press box. I'm sure they've talked about it in the meeting room, too.

Comment From Steve 

Calvin Johnson has had one game with over 86 yards receiving this year. If the Packers give up 200 to him, they may as well not bother playing the rest of the season out.

I think that's a little harsh, but my point was I would expect the Lions to challenge the Packers deep with Megatron after the big plays they gave up to the Panthers last week.

Comment From Judy 

What, if anything, do you make of Aaron Roger's "scared" comment regarding the last throw when Randall Cobb was open in the end zone? I've never heard him use that word.

I think it's just an off-the-cuff reference to thinking he saw something that maybe wasn't really there. It was an interesting word choice, though, I grant you that.

Comment From Harrison 

My Dad and I are coming up to Lambeau from Pittsburgh for the game this week. Can you recommend your favorite local beer?

Both the Hinterland and Titletown local brew pubs produce good stuff.

Comment From #36 Leaper 

Mike, what are your thoughts on the banner incident at Carolina? My thoughts are if a visiting fan gets tickets, they can have their own banners in good taste. If you don't want that, sell out your stadium to home fans.

I thought it was pretty childish, frankly.

Comment From tyler 

What record do you think the pack need to get to to get a first round bye? I'm thinking 12 wins.

I think that's the proper target. Might be a tiebreaker involved.

Comment From Ben 

The last time A-Rod lost two regular season games in a row we won it all. I'm not worried quite yet.

We'll give Ben the last word for today. Thanks again everyone. Talk again next week. Take care, Mike

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