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What are the key matchups vs. Tampa Bay and Tom…

5 min read
What are the key matchups vs. Tampa Bay and Tom...



Do you find it hard to not get excited over the Pack’s fast offensive start or does your sportswriter professionalism prevent it?

I just know it’s a long season. Only five years ago, the Packers were 6-0 heading into a bye week. Then they came out of the bye and lost 3 straight, not looking anything like the team we’d seen. I’m not saying that’s going to happen to this team, which I think is much better and deeper than the ’15 team. But anything goes in this league. It’s tough to keep winning the way the Packers have.

I’m trying to not get my hopes up and just enjoy the journey. That said, what is one reason we should be excited for this team’s chance at reaching it’s ultimate goal, and what is one road bump that has a high-level possibility of derailing them?

The reason for excitement is the injuries to this point haven’t knocked the team off course, and some of them have been to significant players. That’s a sign you have a strong roster for the long haul. The possible bump? It’s the NFL, and you can’t take anything for granted.

Mike McCarthy said once a team has to learn how to handle winning. Do you see this as a potential problem this year?

No. While I agree with McCarthy’s point, this team learned how to win last year. Lots of close, down-to-the-wire games, and they found ways.

Are you bummed or relieved to not have to travel to Tampa this week? Has it been a nice change of pace to stay local while the team is away?

I miss being at the games themselves, that’s for sure. But I don’t miss the travel, hotel, time away from my family, and all of that. I also don’t miss writing stories on bus and plane rides after the game. But not being there for the actual game is a huge adjustment.

I saw on the Dope sheet that the Packers average more than 10 yards per third down, but their opponents average 4.2. How significant is that?

It’s called the money down for a reason. The Packers have converted several third-and-longs already this season. I’m not sure that’s sustainable, but they’ve been tough to stop no matter the down and distance.

What are the chances MLF will try to get AJ Dillon on the field more? Jones and Williams are playing lights out, so (injuries aside) it seems crazy to shake things up. What a great problem to have!

I think that’s the way LaFleur sees it. He wants to get Dillon involved more, but forcing it and potentially breaking the rhythm of the offense when it’s going so well is a risk. It’s a long season, though, as I keep saying.

In response to an II response, is there anything to be said for Jaire not getting interceptions because he’s not being targeted? Curious what the stats look like this year so far for the ball heading his way.

Yeah, he’s not getting attacked as much, but he’s still kicking himself for the pick he missed at New Orleans. He was looking at the end zone on that one. I don’t have any stats in front of me as far as how often he’s been targeted, but with any corner, when you have a chance to get your hands on the ball, you have to cash in. It might only be once every two weeks, but the great ones make those plays.

If Kevin King can’t go, do you see Jaire matched up on Evans? Hoping Godwin doesn’t come back this week because I don’t trust Jackson that much.

That’ll be an interesting decision. There are always two schools of thought. You can put your best guy on their best guy, or you can count on your best guy to shut someone else down by himself and keep a safety over the top of their best guy for help.

What will your setup look like on Sunday? Are you and Wes both going to be at Lambeau (working in separate rooms with the same TV broadcast that we see)?

Exactly. We use different conference rooms that have big screens, and we have our laptops set up to work through the game. He’s doing the quarter by quarter story updates and I’m live-blogging the whole game. Then we go through the Zoom press conferences afterward before returning to our desks to write our postgame stories.

It’s election season, and with all the toxicity I’m trying to be positive and collaborative, but is it ok if I still hate the Bears?

Joining late after a zoom meeting, so you may have answered this already. Does Tampa Brady make you as nervous as NE Brady would have in the past?

I put nothing past Brady. I don’t know if he’s had a receiver as good as Evans to work with since Randy Moss was in New England. You know he’s angry about how last week’s game ended, especially with the biggest mistakes being his own. The Packers have a chance to make the Bucs 3-3. I suggest they take advantage of the opportunity.

Does live blogging from a TV broadcast help with incoming questions being that you are seeing the same footage as we are?

It helps to keep things more in sync timing-wise, but I don’t get to see as much of the field and other things going on as I do from the press box.

It’s looking inevitable that the league will eventually have to add weeks to the season if they want to play a full schedule. Is there any way to do so and keep the drama of a 2010s-style Week 17?

Probably not. But the league is going to hold out as long as it can before adding the Week 18.

Seems like the Bears have been absurdly lucky but in your view is there anything ” there” over there to worry about?

That defense seemed to settle in during the second half last Thursday, and Foles is capable of playing way better than he has so far.

All right, I have to sign off now. Thanks for all the participation folks and enjoy the rest of your week. Take care and stay safe. Best, Mike

https://www.packers.com/news/mike-s-mid-week-chat-packers-at-buccaneers-preview

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