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What will change on offense this week?

Senior writer Mike Spofford answered your questions in his weekly chat


Hi everybody. Thanks for logging in today. I'm sure you've got plenty to ask, so fire when ready.

Comment From BrettGB

Hi, Mike! What'd you think of the new stadium?

It was pretty cool, no doubt. Lots of purple. The Vikings have really made it their own, and it's the first time they can call a stadium their own. As for the noise, it was loud, but I wouldn't rate it louder than the Metrodome, at least not from the press box location. Not sure about down on the field.

Comment From Mitch

What do you see as the number one reason why we are unable to generate explosive plays?

The rhythm to the offense isn't there, and starting with two road games makes it harder to generate that rhythm early in the season. Remember, the Packers hadn't started with two straight road games since the 1920s.

Comment From Ray L

I usually like MM's boldness but, down 3 late i the 3rd, you KICK THE FG! Tie the game and go from there. There is a fine line between bold and folish choices. Has MM explained his decision?

He did. He liked the way the team was moving the ball and liked his play call. I'm with you. I didn't like it, and I leaned over to Wes in the press box at the time they were breaking the huddle and said I didn't like it. But not for the reasons many are mentioning. It was a yard and a half, not fourth and a foot, or something really short. The Packers had also just recovered yet another of their own fumbles on the Rodgers scramble, and I felt it was a moment to count your blessings there and take the 3. There's no logic to that sentiment, but it illustrates how people's "gut feelings" can differ at the same moment in time.

Comment From DJZ

What is your takeaway from the performance of our run defense? Think these kind of performances can hold up all year?

No way to know until the games are played, but the Packers appear to have the foundation of a solid defense so far. Stopping the run is where it starts. They're getting good pressure on the QB. Now the rest has to come together -- limiting big plays, and creating turnovers.

Comment From Nathan

I'm confused as to how Mike McCarthy can preach ball security all week and then Aaron Rodgers, of all people, ends up being a bit too careless with the football. What happened?

It happens. It was the most careless I've ever seen Rodgers with the ball. When there are struggles, guys can press to try to make plays, and more bad can happen. You just have to stay after it.

Comment From Steve S

Perhaps it's me, but it seems like Aaron is throwing more off of his back foot which seems to be impacting his accuracy. Your thoughts?

Early in the game I thought his throws were a bit off, but in the second half it didn't feel like an accuracy issue to me, until the last pass.

Comment From Tyler

Shields had a workout on Monday apparently. Do you get a sense he could be cleared to practice this week?

I'm not going that far, but I took the news that he had a workout as a positive sign, because sometimes concussions can cause players to be shut down from all physical activity. That either didn't happen, or he's already past that stage.

Comment From Brandon

What needs to happen to get back the offensive firepower we're used to seeing?

Get the running game going. I think it always comes back to that.

Comment From Sam

Is the offence too predicable? Do they need to try some gadget plays?

I'm not a fan of relying on tricks.

Comment From Mike

Do you think this game was a good reality check for Randall?

Young players are going to have their moments and grow from them. He'll be a better player because of what happened Sunday night.

Comment From Michael

Aaron Rodgers seems to be in a bit of a funk since mid-season last year. Do you think he'll get back to form at some point this season?

I do.

Comment From Jessy W

I was impressed with Jake Ryan, do you think he can keep playing at that level?

That's what he's in there for. There was a lot of promise in Jake Ryan's play as a rookie, and he should keep getting better. I also think he leaned up and got a little faster in the offseason.

Comment From Joe

There was one play early where the Vikings threw a quick swing pass to Peterson in the flat and Martinez quickly closed the gap and made a good tackle. I haven't seen a Packer linebacker (other than Matthews) make that kind of play in a long time. TT might have found a gem.

I looked at that on film and he was clearly keying on Peterson on that play. It was the first one of the game. As soon as Peterson took a step toward the flat, Martinez was off like a shot.

Comment From KD

I see a lot of teams effectively using the screen pass. Why don't the Packers seem to use it as much?

The Packers relied on the screen pass a lot last year to get things going. They only tried one at MN that I can recall, but screens are best against teams that like to bring extra pressure on early downs. Zimmer rarely does that.

Comment From Scott

Any explanation as to why there was no penalty on Viking's Sendejo for launching into Rodgers after he was in the end zone? Not sure it made any difference in the outcome, but it's baffling how that's not a penalty and Tretter getting penalized for a late "shove".

I thought the officials blew that. It was clearly an unnecessary hit in my view. I'm just glad Rodgers didn't dive for the goal line, like I thought he might at the time, because Sendejo would have taken his head off the way he launched toward him.

Comment From Timmy D.

I think it is interesting that I was most concerned about the D-line heading into the season, and now they are the least of my concerns. It seems like Daniels really took control of that line and is taking them to another level. When do you expect Aaron, or another voice perhaps, to take control of that offense and bring it to the next level?

I'm willing to be patient on the offense. I know the fans are frustrated it looks like 2015 all over again, but I'm not going there. Nelson is just getting back. Cook is new. The Vikes defense is legit. GB hasn't played at home yet. If after four straight home games, the offense still has the same issues, then my level of concern will rise.

Comment From Jessy W

Schum had a rough game, do you think he will bounce back?

He has to. The bye week is not a good time to be a new acquisition not performing up to expectations.

Comment From California Steve

Stefan Diggs had a huge game for the Vikings. It appeared that the Packer defense did not make adjustments. Did you see the Packers changing defenses or employing double coverage to stop him?

On the deep ball to Diggs, there was safety help over the top, but it didn't help much. Dom Capers acknowledged there were times the help needed to do a better job, not just Randall.

Comment From Corey

If you have to give an MVP for the Packers, who would you give it to?

So far, Mike Daniels.

Comment From Mike

Green Bay needs to crunch Detroit, or it's going to be an angst-filled two weeks in Packerland.

I would agree. I don't know about crunch, but get a win and smooth some things out.

Comment From Tom

Including the preseason, Ty Montgomery has blocked two punts. Do teams take notice and scheme against specific players like that?

Absolutely. The hope is that someone else will then have a chance to block the next one.

Comment From James

Has no one noticed that the last impact wideout we drafted was Randall Cobb in 2011? Adams hasn't been a star and everyone else is a bit player. How have we neglected wideout this long?

Because the defense has needed fixing since 2011, and last year there was a depth problem on the O-line.

Comment From Greg from Danbury

The difference between Bradford and Rodgers? One guy's receivers got open, and the other's did not. Props to Bradford, but ya gotta beat the other guy.

Rodgers had some guys open that he missed, and he acknowledged as much. Bradford was truly impressive. I thought his two TD passes were pinpoint. Diggs made a great diving catch on the deep ball. Statistically, Bradford played the game of his life. I didn't see it coming.

Comment From Craig from Cortland, NY

Hey, Mike. How many times was Cook targeted against Minnesota? It seems that he has yet to emerge as that threat running down the middle of the defense pulling defenders off the outside routes and out of the box.

He was targeted six times, had four catches. More than at Jax. It's coming.

Comment From Brandon

Are the big chunk plays in the pass defense a concern? They clearly look bad, but the defense has stuffed the run and kept the score low two weeks in a row. Are those kind of plays just the cost of doing business?

The big plays are a bugaboo right now, but in fairness, they reduced the 20-plus passes from six at Jax to three at Min (all to Diggs). It seemed worse at the time, for whatever reason. At the end of the day, allowing 17 points on the road is a solid effort.

Comment From Nathan

The Lions have been a wildly inconsistent team the last few seasons. Do we have any idea who we're getting on Sunday?

Hard to say. The Lions have played two vastly different games in two weeks. They won a shootout, and then lost a defensive struggle by giving up two late TDs at home. I'm sure they feel they should be 2-0, just like the Packers feel.

Comment From tom c

mike - you wrote an article titled 'Capers wants more turnovers' - that is pretty obvious. Come one - you are better than that.

What did you want my defensive headline to be? Statistically the Packers rarely win when they don't get at least one turnover on defense. I've written that countless times since Capers brought his defense here in '09.

Comment From Guest

Speaking of the Vikes new digs, did they really have to carry AD through that sports pub?

Apparently he didn't want to be taken off on a cart, and the route through the club was the shortest to the locker room.

Comment From Roger

Five straight weeks without a road trip, enjoy while you can.

I will, thanks, and it's the portion of the schedule the Packers must take advantage of.

Comment From Mitch

Why is it so hard to be patient?

Because everybody waits with baited breath all week for the game to arrive, and when it doesn't go well, the loss has to linger for a whole week. Nobody wins any titles in September. That's what I've learned.

Comment From Chris

Mike, I really can't believe all of the negativity surrounding the loss to Min. The way I see it is the struggles by Lane Taylor and the OL in that environment will make the team stronger. The struggles in coverage by Rollins and Randall and ILB in giving up the middle of the field will only help them learn and grow. The struggles in the timing of the passing game will only get better. The lack of running plays is a lesson learned. I see a young and rising team where every negative I observed can be fixed, and it was only at the cost of a week 2 loss. Am I too optimistic?

No. You're understanding a season is a process.

Comment From AJ

why didn't MM challenge the spot of the ball on 4th and 2? were they out of timeouts? I think if they looked at again he had the 1st

I wondered a little about that. He had all his timeouts. The coaches looking at it in the booth must not have felt the spot was going to change. I tend to agree, but is that one of those where you have to take a shot just in case? I don't know.

Comment From Matt

Jordy never beat corners with straight speed, he beat them with route running and being on the same page with Rodgers. Just give those two time to kick the rust off.

I'm with you. We have to remember that Nelson didn't play a snap in the preseason, and even if he got a few with Rodgers in the August games, it would have provided minimal benefit.

Comment From Kary

Mike, now is officially the time to press the panic button. This team isn't good. I understand the hesitancy to give in to the panic, but allow it to consume you - it's wholly invigorating to realize the climb ahead.

I don't know what to make of that.

Comment From Dave

I heard a sports announcer I trust say this loss was squarely on Rodgers and McCarthy. It seemed AR had a pretty off day and the play calling seemed odd with that in mind. I really thought the run game was getting stronger as it went on. Why get away from it? This was no shootout.

McCarthy confessed yesterday he hasn't run the ball enough. I know we've heard that before. I think when the passing game isn't clicking, the urgency is to find some rhythm with it and it can backfire on the road against a good defense. In MM's defense, he came out in the second half and ran Lacy on the first play. Gained 9 yards. Ran him again for the first down, holding on the TE. The players have to help him commit to the run, too.

Comment From Nathan

Did you watch PHI @ CHI? The Eagles began with at least 5 5WR sets in a row, and it seemed to prevent the Bears from bringing pressure on Wentz. Rodgers likes having extra pass blockers, but could less sometimes be more?

I'll be honest. I don't like those kind of comparisons. They're phony, no offense to you personally. The Bears' defense can't hold a candle to the Vikings' defense. It's not even close. This game is all about matchups and the Vikings are a tough matchup for anybody.

Comment From Scott

When we're running pass routes all over the place to try and catch up, guys have to be low on gas and yet other available WR's are available and still standing on the sidelines? Mongtomery can make athletic plays and Davis has speed and hands but both are irrevelant as cheerleaders.

Lots of folks asking about using different receivers. We'll see if they decide to shake it up more. After the Detroit game, the bye week will give the coaches extra time to evaluate personnel.

Comment From Erik

Nick Perry is on fire. This is the best pass rush since the minister of Defense was in town. Is Datone contributing but we're just not seen the output in stats?

Jones is having an impact. So is Peppers. I agree with you on Perry, a high-impact start to the season. It's imperative someone get pressure other than Matthews, and it's happening. Bradford made some tremendous throws with guys bearing down on him, right in his face. I tip my hat to him.

Comment From Gouda

I have a multi part question. We are obviously losing the field position battle. What can we do better to remedy that? Going back to game 1, the bad field position basically came down to the returner not being able to see the ball due to high sky(sun in his eyes). Does the team scout that pre-game and wouldn't it be better to give the returner a tinted visor? What's the rules on that?

The sun was a tough break on those two punts in Jax, but the offense also needs to get out of that hole with at least one first down. Again, I go back to the first drive of the third quarter the other night. Cook has to get the first down on that pass. His lack of awareness cost them dearly there.

Comment From Jon

I was at the game, and I saw two great defenses winning the line of scrimmage, and a Packer offense trying to find its way. Given the atmosphere, and the stubborn will of the Vikes to win their first home game for posterity sake, I don't feel too bad losing by only 3.

The game was there for the taking. It's not easy to get an offense clicking in that environment against that opponent, but I will say I expected more, with the Vikes missing Floyd and Rhodes.

Comment From Lee

I have no doubt that Vikings were playing like they are in the playoff, because it was their first game in their new stadium. Losing isn't an option.

I give them credit. They rose to the occasion. But I was not impressed with their offensive line, and I'm very curious to see how that line holds up on the road at Carolina this week, perhaps without Peterson to draw so much defensive attention.

Comment From Tim

Would Shields have been covering Diggs had he played? Do you think Diggs would have had a much quieter night if so?

Yes and yes. Shields has more experience being that "match" guy on an opponent's top WR. Diggs is good, and Randall will keep getting better, but Shields is still this team's best cover corner. Joe Whitt has never said anything different to us.

Comment From Frank

Just wanted to know if you got your ice cream at half time? If so, what flavor?

Yes. Wes was kind enough to bring me some while I was chatting with the masses. Even put some caramel on top for me.

Comment From Balaji

Mike, Sorry if this question is answered already, what's your take on Clark?

He had some good plays against MN, more than in Week 1. It's too bad he missed that time in training camp, but he's coming along.

Comment From Guest

To me it's not that we lost but how we lost. Rodgers is better than what he showed on Sunday. I'm sure he's just as frustrated as we are. I hope that means he comes back with a vengeance this week. He's putting the belt back on Sunday.

That's why we watch, right?

Comment From John

Surprised to see some fan calls to trade Rodgers? :)

No. If we didn't hear some of that, it would mean the entire fan base is sane, and I know that's not the case.

Comment From Dave

That Vikings defense was really impressive. I am not happy with the loss but felt they were the better unit on Sun. That said, the Packers offense sure feels like the one ranked 30th or something last year. What do we need to see on Sunday to get closer to the offense we are told is still there?

Find some balance. Run the ball, get the first first down and let Aaron go up-tempo and do his thing. I'm looking for a lot of no-huddle on Sunday. McCarthy is going to want to push the tempo.

Comment From Braden

Who would you like to see get some play time Sunday that we haven't seen much of yet?

If I had to pick one guy, I'd like to see Montgomery get a shot at WR. OK, I've gone about an hour. A few more. Thanks for all the questions today.

Comment From KD

How do the Packers receivers appear to stack up against Detroit's defense?

I don't think Detroit's defense is anything special, but I don't think Levy has played yet this year. If he's on the field, that's a different unit.

Comment From Mike

Any thoughts on why Minnesota has an open air baseball park and a domed football stadium?

I think they skipped the baseball roof to save money. The taxpayer contribution was even more contentious for that one, if I recall.

Comment From Amir

Two key players are out with injury from our divisional opponents (Peterson and Cutler), not to mention many others across the league that I have heard about. How much does this change the game plan for playing these teams specifically in our case with Chicago in a few weeks?

Well, the Packers will have a few weeks to see how Chicago's offense operates without Cutler, and they'll adjust from there. But there are three games between now and then. One week at a time. Thanks everybody. Gotta run. Talk against next week. Best, Mike

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