Mike's Mid-Week Chat: Who's a new weapon for the Lions?

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Hey everybody, thanks for logging on today. I see questions coming in already so I’ll get rolling.

Morning, Mike. Thanks for all you do. This has to be slightly easier than the game blog, right? Any word on Alexander, Tom, or Campbell’s injury status?

Oh, the pace of this is totally different from the live blog. Two different worlds. As for the Packers’ injuries, it’s impossible to know on a short week. The final injury report will come out later today, and I expect a whole bunch of guys to be listed as questionable.

Guessing you totally type without looking at keyboard on the gameday blog as you keep 1 eye on the field ?

That’s a prerequisite. If I had to look at the keyboard while typing, I couldn’t function properly.

Why didn’t the Packers challenge the ruling that Love was down on the ball he threw away?

It wasn’t reviewable, I don’t believe. The official ruled in the grasp, which is another way of saying forward progress was stopped. Forward progress is not reviewable. He didn’t rule he was down in terms of his knee touching the ground or anything.

Mike, thanks for doing this! I must admit I had made a few comments during the game regarding Matt LaFleur’s teams deflating at the first sign of adversity. Never before has crow tasted so good!

I’ve felt one of the hallmarks of LaFleur’s teams has been their ability to respond to adversity. It doesn’t always happen within the same game, but this team has bounced back from tough losses and tough circumstances numerous times since LaFleur got here. Last year’s losing streak was the only significant one of his tenure.

Im.liking the underdog role. You?

I don’t look at the Packers as underdogs. No, they’re not playing the way the Eagles and 49ers are right now, but nobody else is either.

Revenge for being knocked out of the playoffs last year. Is that something players buy into or not?

Depends on the guy. Some just forget about the past entirely. Others let it motivate them. Whatever works.

Mike, do you think Love’s accuracy issues are something we have to live with or do you suppose it’s partially due to timing with his receivers? That’s really my only concern with Love through three games.

He’s missed some throws here and there. That’s going to happen. Rodgers did too. I don’t think inaccuracy is an overwhelming issue. He’s put several passes on the money with his guys having a chance to make contested catches. Not easy grabs, but they’re catchable, and some of those have gotten away. It’s his first year and he’s throwing to a lot of young targets.

Any plans for your 10/11 day bye ? Sneak to a Brewer game ?

Probably not. Just trying to recover and catch my breath a little. We just get the weekend off and then we’re right back at it, even though the next game won’t be until that Monday night in Vegas.

Mike, were any fines issued for the player who tried to block our kick with his towel? Surprised it wasn’t flagged as it was plain as day to see on the broadcast…

Haven’t heard anything, but fines usually aren’t announced until later in the week.

I was watching the Cinnci game and after a touchdown, the stadium played “I don’t want to work”. I know it’s a copycat league, but come on, that’s our thing.

I heard that, too.

From what I’ve witnessed Rasul Douglas has been playing lights out this season. Not only in coverage, but making tackles. What a find he was by Gutey.

Douglas has played some really solid football. He’s just had this intensity to him since the start of training camp that didn’t seem prevalent to me last year. Not saying he wasn’t intense, but it’s showing more.

Mike, this team reminds me a lot of the 1978 Packer team, which was also a very young team, and got off to a fast start. Also based on the last two games, the team is also reminding me of the 1989 Cardiac Pack team! Is this team reminding you of any past Packer team, or unique on their own?

Can’t really think of an apt comparison off the top of my head. I’ve never covered a Packers team with this much youth and this many injuries on offense at the same time.

Re: forward progress, the initial announcement from the referee was “down”, not “in the grasp” or “forward progress.” That’s why I’m wondering why it wasn’t challenged.

Valid point, but he might’ve misspoken, too, and a different message was relayed to the sideline. I don’t know.

The biggest question is which teams will be playing like the Eagles and 49ers are now in December?

Exactly.

Good morning, Mike! Whose return will have a bigger impact on the offense: Jones or Watson? Fingers crossed both happen tomorrow night.

I don’t mean to equivocate, but I think Jones’ return would have a bigger impact on overall production, while Watson’s return will change how defenses defend the Packers.

Hi Mike. I must say this is enjoyable. I have no expectations. I am just watching til the bitter end and not getting too emotional.

It’s still early. If this team gets itself in the hunt for something, you’ll change, lol

Thanks for the chat, Mike! How impressed have you been with Rashan Gary’s comeback so far?!

How can you not be impressed? He’s playing limited snaps and having the biggest impact of any single defender on the unit. I’m reminded of Mickey’s line in Rocky III about Clubber Lang: “This guy is a wrecking machine, and he’s hungry.”

4th straight game as underdog. Vegas is looking.

Gambling remains illegal at Bushwood.

Do you think that coaches are taking more chances later in games these days with 2 point conversions. These final scores look weird (18-17, 25-11) 70-20, lol!

The two-point conversion and the increased attempts based on analytics, etc., in recent years has created more odd scores, for sure.

Wilson has not flashed in the season like he did in the preseason. Is that the level of competition or the complexity of assignments given him?

I don’t think his assignments have been particularly complex, but playing in the regular season against front-line defenses is not the same as August game action. It’s just not. It’s another transition and acclimation period he has to go through.

Dan Campbell has changed the thinking in the Detroit. They will be a tough team to play going forward. He also looks like he could go out on the field and play today.

He changed the culture there. No doubt about it. That team embodies its head coach maybe more than any other in the league right now.

I didn’t realize Hod did all the legwork on the Gameday books. You guys have some crazy workload. How far in advance do you prep, or is it a constant thing? (Assuming that rule number 1 of II doesn’t apply)

T*he game program is his thing during the season. I take charge of the yearbook in the offseason. That’s how we’ve split things up when it comes to those publications.*

Mike, what are the chances the Packers see the 10-day break as a chance to fully heal Jones & Watson and sit them again on Thursday?

I don’t think they’ll view it that way. If they’re ready to go, they’ll play. If not, they won’t.

Depending on injury status of our CB’s , could this be a game Savage has to play the slot at times ? Gaines ?

Yeah, the DB situation feels in flux right now, but both Alexander and Valentine were listed as limited on yesterday’s injury report, I believe. That’s promising.

Mike, is Romeo Daubs as cool, calm and collected as he seems?

He’s very calm and rather quiet in the locker room when the media are around. But I sense that he’s a pretty intense guy in the heat of competition.

We knew it would be lumpy early on, and week 2 and 3 confirmed it at the both ends of the pole.

What do you see as “Three Things” the Packers need to find to maybe level things out a bit?

They just need to keep playing, keep battling, and not get bogged down mentally. Easier said than done, but in the heat of the game it’s about reacting, not thinking, because things happen too fast. The mind will eventually adjust.

I’m so tired of seeing the Eagles “rugby push” on short yardage. To me, that’s not following the spirit of the game. Do you ever see this changing?

If the league didn’t address it this past offseason when the team using and abusing the play almost won the Super Bowl, I don’t see how it ever will. It’s here to stay and I’ve never liked it. It’s not football.

Shout out to my sister Jane in Missouri. She won the family season ticket drawing for the Saints game, and she didn’t jinx them for a change. What’s the one area you see needing the most improvement so far? I would say discipline.

That ranks up there. The penalties in general have to get under control. Some are going to happen. But this rate of flags can’t continue.

Any word on Patrick being added to 53?

A popular question. Haven’t heard anything specific, but we’ll see.

Hey Mike,
What difference has the coaching change made on the db’s? I know RD gave lots of credit to Gray for learning film study, but this year they are definitely “chippier.” Did the change in coaches influence that?

I don’t know about that. I don’t know Coach Williams well enough, but the players don’t seem to have any issues playing for him. I think the guys just feel like they play better the more they can be themselves. As long as it’s not resulting in flags or anything detrimental to the team, I say play with the attitude you want to play with.

In your opinion which rookie has had the biggest impact for the Packers the first three weeks?

Jayden Reed.

Who in the defense best matches up against Sam LaPorta? He’s certainly going to garner some targets.

Yeah, he’s going to be a handful. I’d think the Packers would switch it up between Walker taking him sometimes, and the safeties staying over the top of him.

I missed the game this past weekend due to a trip to MN, but I was able to catch the highlights via NFL RedZone. It’s a pretty interesting way to keep up with all the action. Are you a RedZone fan?

I rarely get the chance to watch that channel, but when I do, it’s pretty cool.

Hi Mike, any thoughts on Mike McDaniel’s decision to kneel the ball instead of going for the 73 point record?

Not really. I definitely did a double-take when I saw that final score, though.

How do our coaches prep the team for the Lions to who seem to be playing the game with house money? I mean, a fake punt deep in your own territory to start the season? This used to be a gentlemen’s game 🙂

That’s Campbell’s approach. When there’s more on the line, and it’s not so much house money anymore, we’ll see if that changes, but I doubt it. That’s just him and how he wants to play.

Is it to the Packers advantage that opponents don’t have alot of game film to study on Jordan?

I don’t know. Maybe initially, but he’s also not playing with some of the best players around him. The Packers are doing just as much adjusting as the opponents are right now.

I wanted us to kick the field goal the first time.

I understood going for it there on fourth-and-2. If it had been fourth-and-4 or more, I’m guessing LaFleur would’ve kicked it.

Player to keep an eye on during TNF?

Aidan Hutchinson. I’ve been saying it all week, as short as it’s been. The Lions have a formidable defense, but he’s the guy who makes it all go. If the Packers can keep him fairly quiet Thursday night, I like their chances.

Mike, is Rashan Gary eligible to sign an extension? I know he’s still coming back from injury and it’s only week 4, but I have a sense that every packer fan and member in the front office know he is THE priority to sign a long term deal.

Yes, he’s playing on the fifth-year option right now and is in line for an extension. I have no idea how much negotiating, if any, is going on behind the scenes right now. The Packers don’t talk about contract stuff publicly.

Mike, what part of the Lions game do you think we have the best chance of exploiting? They seem to match up pretty well against our defense, but I think we might be able to surprise them a bit with our offense

The Lions lost safety Gardner-Johnson to an injury, so that’s a big loss. Brian Branch is off to a heck of a start in that secondary, but I see the Packers trying to attack through the air. The key there is to protect the QB, which the Falcons couldn’t do last week when they couldn’t run the ball. They couldn’t keep the Lions honest. If the Packers can find some sort of balance on offense, which will be a more manageable task if Jones is available, then the protection has a better chance to give Love opportunities.

A banged up Lions offensive line and a surging packers front 7 has me very excited for tomorrow night.

I know the Lions are hoping to get Taylor Decker back. That would be a big boost for them. We shall see.

I think we’ve left a lot of YAC out there based on JL not hitting a lot of receivers in stride. Should a wide receiver really have to slide to catch a ball? Great gain but could be way better.

They look at all of that on film. I think it’s a lot to ask a first-year starter to throw perfect passes. He’ll get there.

What did the Seahawks do to beat the Lions?

They got a pick-six against Goff, for one. That was a huge play in that game.

Mike – in games where you get down by 17, are players as riled up as fans are watching? Does it play into making a comeback?

Again, that’s different strokes for different folks. There’s something to be said for staying calm and continuing to plug away. Fire and brimstone make for great NFL Films clips, but that’s not usually how professionals go about their jobs. When things aren’t going well, they know they can do better, and they focus on that, not emotions or speeches.

Forgive me for not turning the page juuust yet. I was in town for the game Sunday and I got goosebumps the way the crowd exploded for Love’s introduction. This team and fan base is 100%, unequivocally his. I hope he’s the man here for many, many, many years.

That was a cool moment when he came out of that tunnel, for sure. A memorable moment.

Mike, with the game after Detroit being a Monday night game, will the players be given off until next Wednesday? And do the coaches get some time off over the weekend?

I think everybody’s going to get their breaks, but I don’t know the specifics of the schedule for players and coaches.

It seems like it’s only a matter of time before Love and Musgrave really start to connect. When that happens, how much will that help this offense when it begins to get some starters back?

I agree it’s only a matter of time. Musgrave has been getting open with some other key weapons missing. When this offense is at full strength, some opportunities could really open up.

gutsy call by LaFluer on the 2 point conversion!!!! Could have backfired

Of course. It can always backfire. But if they’d missed, then they go for 2 on the next TD and try to get the game tied up. I thought getting the two points really ratcheted up the pressure on the Saints.

If Ridder throws 38 passes against the Packers like he did against the Lions, do the Packers win that game?

Probably, but when you don’t stop the run, you give the opposing offense no reason to turn away from it. I said all during Week 2 the Packers had to make Ridder beat them. They didn’t do that. The Lions did, and they got after him. 7 sacks!

I know Watson hasn’t made his name as a top-flight WR yet, but doesn’t he change the game plans as much as anybody?

Yup. We saw it last year.

Do you think putting Joe Barry up in the booth has helped play calling and schemes at all? Looks like the team does, which makes me wonder why they haven’t done that before.

I think there are plusses and minuses. Coaches like to have a finger on the pulse of their players during the action. You only get that from the sideline. Up above, things are calmer and the mind can be a little clearer in certain instances. There’s no perfect answer or everybody would do it the same way.

Feels like this game will require the offense to do much more. I’d love the D to surprise me, but Detroit is a lot better on offense than NO with their backup QB.

I think the Lions are going to try to pound the ball on the ground and make the Packers stop it. Of course, as soon as I say that, Goff’s first play is going to be a deep shot to St. Brown or something.

Any concern over the lack of pressure by our other linebackers, or is Gary’s success more a function of those other guys eating up blocks, for example?

Gary is just in his own world right now.

How do you think Jahmyr Gibbs compares to Bijan Robinson?

They’re similar players but the schemes are different. I didn’t expect Gibbs to be drafted as high as he was, but the Lions obviously saw something and envisioned exactly what they think he can be in their offense.

Maybe I haven’t noticed, but have the Packers deployed a Smith-Clark-LVN-Gary combination on the line yet? I feel like this would be a great rush package on 3rd and medium-long

I want to say I saw that in the Chicago game. Maybe. Not sure if they’ve used it since. LVN hasn’t been fully healthy and Gary is still on a snap count, so we’ll see.

Seems like our depth has been tested early this season at crucial positions, good thing we had some to begin with. Who would have thought we needed so much of it?

You always need it in this league, at some point, if not all the time. That’s why roster construction is a 24/7/365 endeavor.

The scores of the Packers vs Lions games last year were 15-9 and 20-16. Should we expect anything different?

I have no idea. This is a totally different Packers offense and we’re not even sure who’s playing. I think if the Packers can hold the Lions to 15 or 20 points again, they’ve got a great shot to win.

The main area I’d like to see improvement in would be Love’s connection with the TEs. Musgrave’s been wide open several times and JL’s just missed. If half those passes are hit in stride, that’s 2 more TDs, and I suspect opposing defenses would scheme more for that, opening up other areas for us.

There have been missed opportunities, for sure. They’ll get there. I’m confident in that.

Love’s attack on New Orleans CB Yiadom got me thinking. I can see this being a trend, and I like the tenacity.

The Saints were dealing with one injured starter at CB and safety who had just been suspended. It was a day of adjustment for them. I loved the persistence Love and Doubs showed with that matchup, and it finally paid off.

If Love continues to build off his strong start, the Packers are going to be dishing out a ton of money between extending Gary and extending Love. A good problem to have.

No one in the front office would be complaining about that. And all the Rodgers money is off the cap come ’24.

That diving catch by Reed was incredible to watch live and in person. You really get an increased appreciation for these players’ athleticism watching them with your own eyes vs the tv copy

Totally agree. At first, I didn’t think Reed had much chance to catch that. Same with Doubs down the other sideline in the third quarter. Those were fantastic grabs.

An NFC North question: We know the Lions are a pretty tough team. We know the Bears are kind of a mess. But what do you think is up with Minnesota? The loss to PHI was expected. Chargers was a toss-up. But the loss to TB was a little surprising. Are they really as bad as their 0-3 record suggests?

I don’t think they’re that bad, no. But I’m not totally shocked because they decided to make a transition on offense, letting two of their top playmakers go (Cook and Thielen) and they turned over a lot of personnel on defense, too. It’s really hard to sustain success in this league. It just is. Change is constant. Letting two chances to beat the Chargers in crunch time get away has given the Vikings a bigger hill to climb moving forward.

If Jaire and Valentine are back for this week, and St. Brown being such a huge threat from the slot, do you think we see some Douglas-Valentine-Alexander snaps?

I’m not sure about that. Nixon has played nickel almost exclusively thus far and I’d expect that to continue for now.

But that’s exactly the point of going for two there: if you succeed, you’re golden; if you fail, you get one more chance to make up for it.

That’s the rationale, yeah.

How big of an advantage is playing at home on a short week?

It feels like it would be an advantage, but strangely, under LaFleur the Packers are 0-2 on TNF at home, 2-0 on the road. So go figure.

Is there anyone feeding analytics percentages into Matt’s ear? Or is he making some of those analytics based game decisions on the fly based on his previous studies?

He talked about Connor Lewis in his press conference the other day. Connor is always in his ear about that kind of stuff and LaFleur takes his input very seriously.

Wayne Larrivee and Larry McCarren calling Packers games on the radio. Bob Uecker calling Brewers games. TV may get the spotlight, but how fortunate are we to have these guys on the radio?

Plus all the years of Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas, now Mark Tauscher, on Badgers games. This state is blessed.

I have a feeling Rasul might have an INT or a pick 6.

This defense is due. After those missed chances in ATL, it was quiet on that front last week. We shall see.

That’s why they ripped the band-aid off on taking the cap hits this year.

Exactly.

Not that we can count on this, but I like some of the intangibles of catching the Lions now. If it has to come on a short week; in Lambeau, and a boost with a big 4th quarter win, that has to help some?

I wish the Packers were healthier, but we’ll see who’s out there Thursday night. It’s really something both games against the Lions are on Thursdays this year, and these two teams appear at least early on to be the top two in the division.

I think MN is just getting the other side of 11-0 in one score games last year

There’s definitely something to that. The margins in this league are forever small, and a drastically different record doesn’t necessarily mean you have a drastically different team.

Stokes is eligible to come off PUP after this game. Is that for certain or does he not even have a designation at this point? Davis is IR for the year I believe, what about Tenuta?

Stokes will be eligible to come off PUP after this game, and Tenuta will be eligible to come off IR as well. I don’t know if they will. Davis is done for the season, yes.

Luke Musgrave is due for a TD, it’s tomorrow.

Sounds good to me.

Nice to see so few opposing fans at Sunday’s game. Let’s keep that going, even against our division rivals!

I’m curious what tomorrow night will look like. Last year for that Week 18 finale, there were a ton of Lions fans in the crowd.

I think how we finished against the Saints could be extraordinarily important for the young teams psyche. To have the knowledge that you can definitively come back from any score and to have that in our proverbial “back pocket” as extra motivation, watch out.

It’s huge for a young team. They just have to understand you can’t count on doing that over and over. The first three quarters need to be much better, like they were in Atlanta. It’s about putting it all together as consistently as you can. No easy task, but this team is learning a lot in the early stages here.

Call it, Mike. Thanks for the chat as always, but I gotta get back to work!

I should get onto other things as well. Thanks again everybody for all the participation. Lots of questions today so sorry if I didn’t get to yours. Enjoy the game tomorrow night. I’ll be back on the live blog. Take care, Mike

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