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Who are the Packers' underrated players? senior writer Mike Spofford took reader questions in Mike's Mid-Week Chat


Hey everybody. Let's get to it.

Comment From KD

What was up with the field Sunday? It seemed like everyone was slipping out there.

McCarthy said after the game he thought the field was soft, probably due to the unseasonably warm temps. It sounded like a lot of guys were changing cleats as the game went on.

Comment From Tom

When will Rodgers shoulder be scanned?

Sounds like after the Browns game. They have to pick their spots, because apparently multiple scans can slow the healing process because of the exposure.

Comment From Jerry Erie, PA

Hello Mike, with the browns run defense so good do you feel that the Pass game needs to work to allow the run game to prosper?

That would definitely help, but the run game also needs to get the job done on its own. Balanced offense is what you need for success with Hundley.

Comment From Eddie

I think James Campen is the assistant coach of the year. He's used a lot of different O-line combinations (including guys at positions they're not used to playing) and has made it work. Is Campen an assistant coach on the rise with the potential to be a coordinator at some point?

I definitely agree with Campen's acumen with his unit and everything he's been through this year. He's navigated some tough times in other seasons with aplomb as well. I don't know if he has any desire to be a coordinator, honestly. I've never asked him, and even if I did, I'm not sure he'd say. He doesn't like to talk about himself a lot, which is OK, but he's a great interview when talking about the players he coaches.

Comment From Molly

Am I the only person who doesn't understand what the Scout Team is?

You have units that mimic the offensive and defensive schemes of the opponent you're playing that week, so your first-string offense and defense can get a good look at what they'll be facing and practice against it. The mimic units are the scout team.

Comment From Johan

Gordon or Njoku? Who poses the bigger threat?

I think Gordon, for sure, but as I said in Insider Inbox this morning, I think his presence could create new opportunities for a young, talented guy like Njoku.

Comment From Jon

Hi Mike, I'm sort of surprised we haven't seen Hundley going to Kendricks or Richard Rodgers as much. All situations are different, but young, inexperienced QBs frequently seem to gravitate to tight ends. Do you think McCarthy looks to get them involved more?

I'm surprised, too, but McCarthy said again today the focus needs to be on getting the ball to all the perimeter targets. GB has had two games now on offense where the perimeter threats, be they WR or TE, haven't touched the ball nearly enough.

Comment From Jay

I really enjoyed Davantes piece in the players tribune this morning. He seems like a great student of the game and I'm proud to have him on my team

I've seen a couple of comments on that piece, but I haven't read it yet. I'll have to check it out. I interviewed Adams one-on-one this past spring for a feature story in the Packers Yearbook and I really enjoyed the extended conversation. He's a very engaging guy.

Comment From Sean_C

Aside from the obvious of us beating CLE this Sunday, what should we be wanting to happen with the teams above us? There's a lot of good meaningful games left to play, namely in the South

Sorry, man, I can't bread my Mora-torium on playoff talk that I put on myself in the Inbox. I'll give you one line -- root for the Falcons, Panthers and Seahawks to lose.

Comment From Linda P.

Mike, It sure looks like the QB we let go is a star in New Orleans. Payton has anointed him as the Brees successor and he is playing on special teams. Did you see his potential?

Taysom Hill was fun to watch this past summer. I'm not privy to all the final personnel decisions, but I'm sure it wasn't an easy call, and there are a ton of factors that come into play that I can't even begin to consider. That said, it will be interesting to see if he indeed becomes Brees' successor in NO.

Comment From Eric

A mistake filled game vs. Baltimore. A great game that came up short vs. Pittsburgh. A dud of a game that we somehow won vs. Tampa Bay. What team will show up Sunday? I fear this game being "the one where the 0-12 Cleveland Browns ended the Packers playoff hopes." That will gnaw at us forever.

Hundley has been up and down, obviously, but he's shown a tendency to bounce back from rough outings. The Packers need another bounce-back effort in Cleveland.

Comment From Steve

I thought McCray had been performing just as well or better than Spriggs, does Jason get the starts now only due to upside/pedigree?

McCray is naturally an inside player. Spriggs is a natural tackle. The Packers wanted to take a look at what they have in Spriggs moving forward, and they like what they see.

Comment From Mark, Los Angeles

Winless teams are always dangerous. What concerns you most about the threat posed by the Browns?

If they can stop the run without safety help and keep those DBs back to take away some passing lanes, it could be a real struggle for GB's offense. That's why I keep emphasizing the running game has to get the job done, force the Browns to commit more personnel to stopping it.

Comment From Mo

We CANNOT underestimate this Browns team. Yes they haven't won a game but they have some talent including the return of Josh Gordon. The Packers have to come in this game with a purpose.

I fully expect them to. Every player in that locker room knows what's at stake, and what things look like next week with a win on Sunday. Comment From Steve

Vic is laughing at you for grabbing the wrong, lighter-weight coat.

Inexcusable veteran mistake.

Comment From Marli

Do you expect to see an Aaron Jones/Jamaal Williams tandem or is Aaron still healing?

I expect to see them used in tandem, and I'm very curious how this will unfold.

Comment From Ryan L.

The protection seems to be a lot better for Brett the past few weeks. It seems Spriggs has settled in at RT. Do you think he goes into the offseason as the frontrunner to start there?

Maybe. Kyle Murphy played pretty well before he got hurt, so we'll see what his recovery timeline is as well. I don't know anything for certain, but it would seem unlikely Bulaga would be ready for the start of next season, so the Packers will keep their options open.

Comment From Rick

How do the Packers determine the start times of week day coach's press conferences - ouija board?

It's coordinated with the practice schedule and his meeting schedule -- meetings with players as well as other coaches.

Comment From Zach

I know it's been mentioned in the inbox, and the WYMM but still understated how well the secondary played Sunday. Holding coverage a second longer made the difference with the pass rush, even without King.

It usually will. Tampa Bay's banged-up offensive line did not have a good day, and the Packers took advantage.

Comment From Steve

Major props to Kenny Clark for getting back quickly after a tough injury and then having a major hand in the victory.

I'm still stunned Clark missed only one game after seeing him get carted off against Baltimore. Amazing.

Comment From Ethan

Happy Wednesday, Mike. Given good health, it seems we will have Williams and Jones moving forward as our primary RBs. Can you compare their situation to that of James Starks when he came on hot at the end of the 2010 season? Clearly the biggest difference is one back compared to two

It's similar in that they're rookies, but the difference is both are entering the stretch run having experience as the feature back in multiple games. That wasn't quite the case with Starks, and we didn't see him break out until the Philly game in the playoffs.

Comment From Jerry Erie, PA

Mike do you and Wes get your clothing Directly from the Packer Pro shop?

Yes, we have some help from Lisa T, one of the Pro Shop managers, and she's great for us. She even left us lapel pins on our desks one Monday after she saw our gameday Periscope/Facebook Live and we had nothing Packers on our coats. Lisa's the best.

Comment From Nate

Spoff, I loved your final response in the inbox today. So eloquent and informative, well-developed, and came back to the "just beat the Browns." Well done, sir!

Thanks. Always like to send people away thinking.

Comment From Marli

Who are all the free agents we will need to re-negotiate to resign this off-season?

It's going to be a fairly lengthy list, but the two at the top I think are Adams and Linsley.

Comment From Kristi

What do you do while at practice?

During the regular season, mostly look for guys who might be coming back from injury, snap a photo for Twitter. During training camp, we get to see the whole practice and we watch the 11-on-11 work closely to try to see who's playing well.

Comment From Rick

I wish someone would ask the coach if we will get a chance to see Devante Mays again. We need to know what we have and he needs a chance to redeem himself.

McCarthy brought up Mays the other day, unprompted, so I think he wants the third rookie to be mentally ready.

Comment From Joe

Whats your Take on the Giants and Manning fiasco?

Really unfortunate how it all went down. To think a QB of Eli's pedigree was going to agree to start games to keep his streak alive and then give way to younger backups was incredibly misguided.

Comment From Charlie

Cobb with no targets? Does this change Sunday? Hard to fathom he's disappeared since AR went down.

I wouldn't say he's disappeared. He had big catches in Chicago and Pittsburgh. No targets this past Sunday, though, and that can't continue.

Comment From Stanley

In your opinion, do you think the Packer's veterans will be enough to keep the young players heads straight and focused, and to not underestimate the Browns?

The veterans, the coaching staff, everyone. The Packers are in no position to overlook anyone. The Browns are looking at plenty of less-than-impressive game tape that will have them believing they can beat the Packers.

Comment From Larry

Have you seen Michael Clark at practice? Is he as impressive as the coaches say he is? Why not play him then - you cannot teach height.

Haven't seen him in any real competitive practice periods since training camp. I'll be very interested to see what he looks like next spring and compare it to what we remember from the preseason.

Comment From David

Do you think number 12 will play next week if we beat the Browns?

I do, but I'm not a doctor looking at the bone scan.

Comment From Charlie

Did you agree with the suspension lengths yesterday?

I thought Gronk's should have been longer.

Comment From Filipe Almeida

The defeat for the Ravens still hurts. The Packers would be 7-5, going 8-5 to face the Panthers in Charlotte.

The Ravens game is the one that really got away in terms of the performance, at home, etc. I felt the same way last year about the Colts game, and thought that would be the one big regret of the season. Turned out GB overcame it. Let's see if the Packers can do it again.

Comment From BrettGB

Mike, is "Path To The Playoffs" returning this season?

If the Packers beat the Browns, I'll bring it back next week.

Comment From Molly

Why is the intentional grounding rule specifically split between the passer being in the pocket and out of the pocket? I ask because it seems as if the league wants to protect the QB they would increase the QB protections then increase the intentional grounding rules or penalties to keep it competitive.

When I was a kid, the out of the pocket rule didn't exist. Any throwaway was intentional grounding. Will we see any more rule changes in that regard? I doubt it, because as much as the league wants to protect QBs, sacks are a big part of the game and any more protections would almost remove them.

Comment From Guest

You said the offense has to make the running game work on Sunday. Would you agree a good mix of play action passes will force the Browns to respect that and keep the running attack open?

Play-action only works if you get the running game going and the defense is respecting the run.

Comment From Zachary

What a funny game football is. Packers have a NFC defensive player of the week, and it's Dean Lowry?

Lowry came on strong late last season, too. Maybe he's setting up for an even bigger finish.

Comment From Joe

Please mention to whoever slants ,slants and more slants until the defense starts to cover them. They have been there for three games running and it gets the ball in the hands of the wideouts. All playmakers when they have a shot.

I'll be sure to leave a note on Edgar Bennett's door. Look, I know a fair amount about football, but to think I, or any of us, have any idea how to devise a game plan against a specific NFL opponent ... let's be real.

Comment From Jerry Erie, PA

Do you think that Hundley will get his number called a few times more to run?

The read-option definitely worked as a surprise at crunch time against TB. If it stays in the game plan and the defensive end is respecting Hundley's ability to run, that should mean one less guy in the mix against the running back. We'll see.

Comment From Linda P.

Mike, What is your opinion of Zimmer as a coach? Although the Vikings are playing well, I think that they are playing dirty on defense and his decision to not give Chase the QB job as well as he is playing is wrong in my opinion.

It's hard to argue with anything Zimmer is doing right now. I've always said their defensive guys play on the edge, and that's the way he likes it. He'll deal with a personal foul here or there. His defenses have always been tough and he's not changing their style.

Comment From Guest

The games the browns barely lost this year, did you see teams not taking them seriously or did the Browns hang with some pretty good teams this year?

The Browns have hung with plenty of teams. Lost four games by three points each. Look at last week. The Chargers eviscerated Dallas on Thanksgiving and had the extra rest heading into last week and only scored 19 points against that defense.

Comment From Patrick

I heard Leroy butler comment that even if Rodgers comes back and the pack win out, this team is not a Super Bowl contender . I tend to agree because our defense consistently gives up 3rd and long and over middle completions. What is your opinion on if they can compete with a bottom 3rd d

I respect and appreciate Butler plenty, but I think Aaron Rodgers makes you a SB contender. Atlanta exposed plenty of defensive issues last year in the NFC title game, but that same defense was good enough, with Rodgers, to beat the NFC's No. 1 seed, Dallas, on the road last January.

Comment From Joe

Gronk's play looked intentional? Why is there so much squawk on the radio that his suspension is unwarranted? Seemed to me he was promoting his WWE potential?

Anyone who believes a suspension isn't warranted for what he did has no respect for the game.

Comment From Tom

Do you ever go down to the team weight room and toss around some plates with the players?

Ha. Uh, no.

Comment From Rick

Mike: If you handle your children as well as you handle frantic Packer fans, you must be a terrific father. What is your guiding principle in navigating the emotions of others?

Try to keep my own in check first. It's easy at work. Part of the job. Done it for a long time, longer than I've been raising kids. It's not so easy at home, but hopefully I don't screw up my kids too much.

Comment From Eric

How are we going to afford all of these receivers next year?

I don't know. A great question for the offseason. Not worth worrying about right now.

Comment From Arborist..Joe

HI Mike, if/when they activate Rodgers, who gets waived, or do they just IR someone so they do not get "poached" by another team ?

Might depend on what happens Sunday in Cleveland.

Comment From Paul, London

Watched the Vikings/Browns game at Twickenham earlier this season. Had a great day with some lovely people, managed to get into the press seats bang on the 50 yard line and watched a "good" Browns team hang in there with the Vikings until the forth quarter. Take them lightly at out peril!!

They probably should have beaten the Lions in Detroit. They really botched a scoring chance on the goal line at the end of the first half that could have put them in control of that game.

Comment From Chris

Who do you think the most underrated Packer is this season? Like the player who's been surprisingly good throughout the season and hasn't gotten much attention.

I'd have to say Burnett. I've been really impressed with him, and this defense is always better with him on the field.

Comment From Jeff in Idaho

Mike, is it a lack of disciple, coaching or combination of both when special teams players are flagged for block in back? Seems like every game I watch this is an issue. Thanks.

Good question. It's a problem for every team in the league. The flags on returns are almost automatic. I think more and more teams use a lot of young guys on special teams, and they just aren't disciplined NFL players yet.

OK, I have to take off soon. A couple more. Thanks for all the questions today. Really appreciate the participation.

Comment From Jonah

Does Rodger's clearance to play come strictly from Packers medical staff or does it have to pass league tolerances? I'm curious if it's a league monitored process or something in the CBA rather than strictly team sourced. Thanks Mike.

It's GB's medical staff. The league, per se, is only involved in concussion issues, where an independent neurologist has to clear the player.

Comment From Ray L.

The theme of today's chat seems to be "The Browns will beat the Packers Sunday"

There's definitely angst amongst the fan base. I get it. Nothing is easy and everyone would have felt the same way four years ago against a team like this without Rodgers. That wasn't a smooth ride, either.

Comment From Braden

If you went and got a beer with Rodgers, what question would you ask him "off the record"?

Whose opinions of him he truly cares about.

Comment From Steve

Jahri Evans for most underrated.

Good call there.

Comment From KD

Any particular beer you prefer as we near the holiday season?

Shiner Cheer is one of my favorites. Hints of peaches and pecans. Can only get it this time of year.

Comment From Larry

In the words of the great Al Davis - 'just win baby!'

We'll call that the last word for today. Have a great rest of the week, everybody. Take care, Mike

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