After the Pack­ers’ game against the Sea­hawks, beat writer Lori Nickel an­swered ques­tions from fans in a chat at JSOn­line.com. For a full tran­script, visit www.json­line.com/pack­ers.

Packer Plus - - Packers Chat With Lori Nickel -

Q: If the Packer play­ers and coaches took an IQ test would the av­er­age score break 100? Over 50 years as a Packer fan and with this joke I QUIT!

A: OK, let’s get started. You were the first to post a ques­tion. Hang in there, Bill.

Q: I would like to know why Dom Capers re­mains with the Pack­ers? It takes 60 min­utes to win a game like this and he did not ef­fec­tively coach this game, nor has he in the past. His days are over.

A: I re­spect­fully dis­agree. Here’s why: after the Pack­ers 11th of­fen­sive drive of the game, which re­sulted in another punt, the Pack­ers still led 19-7. There a lit­tle more than 5 min­utes left and GB S Mor­gan Bur­nett picks off that ball from Kearse (after Micah Hyde’s de­fensed pass). It was Rus­sell Wilson’s 4th INT. Another in­cred­i­ble show­ing by the un­der­dog Pack­ers de­fense (in this matchup any­way). What does Green Bay then do with another op­por­tu­nity? It doesn’t even give its de­fense a chance to get a drink of wa­ter on the side­lines. Drive No. 12: 1st and 10 on the 43, GREAT field po­si­tion. (Again). Lacy gets to run the ball — after he sat out the pre­vi­ous se­ries for some rea­son (TV said he wasn’t hurt) and the Pack­ers of­fense goes three and out. Ter­ri­ble. Ab­so­lutely a crit­i­cal time in ball game to me right there. Green Bay’s de­fense is forced back on to the field and tried to stop Lynch and Wilson and just can’t, but be­ing on the field for so long, I don’t think giv­ing up the first TD to them late in the fourth Q is any crime on the GB D. Just my opin­ion. Thanks for post­ing.

Q: Why did the coach leave 8 points on the field in the first half with less than a yard to go? Why did the coach coast in the 4th quar­ter with three straight run­ning plays in two of­fen­sive se­ries with plenty of time on the clock? Thank you for try­ing to get us an­swers to my ques­tions.

A: Here’s what McCarthy said after the game: Tough to set­tle for field goals early? “Field goals early in the game, we knew that points were at a pre­mium. Frankly, I would have liked to have gone for it there on fourth down, but based on what we saw, on sec­ond and third down, I just felt that you had to take points. I didn’t think a lot of points would win this game. I didn’t think it would take a lot of points to win this game to­day was my think­ing com­ing in. I felt great about our de­fense all week, just the way they’ve been build­ing here in the last eight, nine weeks. So, that’s why we had to take the field goals.”

Q: Is there any more proof that we need to get rid of Slocum as our spe­cial teams coach. He is HOR­RI­BLE!! What do you think?

A: For the life of me I will never get that im­age out of my head: Jordy Nel­son right there to catch that on­side kick. For all you fans who wanted to know why Bran­don Bo­stick wasn’t get­ting more PT this sea­son, I think now you have an idea. He lost fo­cus on his job and just tried to make a play. But — Jordy makes that catch, I’m sure of that. Is it on Shawn Slocum to re­mind the all-hands team who should get the ball? I am sure he does in prac­tice. Just a rough play.

Q: How come the Pack­ers al­ways choke in the Big game?

A: Sorry Ken. Does 2010 seem so long ago?

Q: The coach be­came too con­ser­va­tive with the last sev­eral Packer pos­ses­sions. What’s your re­ac­tion to that state­ment?

A: 99 times out of 100 Lacy has got to be a great choice there at least on the first few downs. I have in my notes it was rain­ing good on that Drive No. 11 (that ended on third down with a drop from Quar­less). No. 27 kid is a mon­ster. In the muck, I give it to him. But, he sat out the pre­vi­ous se­ries, and I have no idea why. There had to have been some rea­son why. (Right?) So yes for that rea­son this was the one time I would have liked to see Rodgers fire it off. But ev­ery­thing about that se­ries stunk. En­ergy, ef­fort, block­ing, body lan­guage, bleh. That was out of character for GB. You make me want to go call it up on my DVR to see if I’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing now or not.

Q: Lori, the Pack­ers lose ev­ery year due to the same de­fi­cien­cies: poor de­fense, not be­ing able to stop the run, poor spe­cial teams

and the in­abil­ity to score touch­downs in the red zone. Is there any chance that they’ll ever ad­dress th­ese prob­lems and cor­rect them?

A: Well I agree with the red zone stuff. But I saw im­prove­ments ev­ery­where else. They’re more phys­i­cal. I thought Pep­pers was a great pick up (who knew). I don’t think the Great Wall of China could stop Mar­shawn Lynch — keep­ing him to 100 should be a good goal. And Crosby sent the team in to OT with a bru­tally tough kick. I know ev­ery­one is frus­trated. And the Pack­ers did blow the end of the fourth quar­ter, but that’s a heck of a Seat­tle team there, can’t we agree? What are they, 26-2 there now in the last three years?

Q: Why, oh why . . . with six min­utes re­main­ing, did Mor­gan Bur­nett slide down in­stead of re­turn­ing the ball for more yardage? He clearly had a bit of run­ning room! Did he think that pick was the ball game?

A: I thought that was in­ter­est­ing as well. Maybe he wanted to give it to the skill guys, a more sure thing. He’s not paid to score. He did his job. The safe thing is to keep the pos­ses­sion. He’s not afraid of con­tact, we saw him take the first hit on Lynch a few times, so, I’m just guess­ing. I don’t know.

Q: Hey Lori . . . they threw you to the wolves, eh? The thing that beat them to­day was not go­ing for 3 TDs in the 1st QTR, set­tling for FG’s. That never works in Cham­pi­onship games.

A: Yeah! Wolves. I’m delet­ing the nas­ti­est ques­tions. So you know, I went back and forth on that. Usu­ally when a de­fense forces a team to set­tle for a field goal, that’s a win for the D, right? For the other 28 NFL teams not play­ing to­day, for sure. But against Seat­tle, Green Bay was chip­ping away at them just enough that I thought it was wear­ing them down a lit­tle, and cer­tainly with the early time of pos­ses­sion num­bers, it was. But re­mem­ber, Green Bay had that 10-play first drive, moved down­field, and then a shocker, Rodgers got picked off. For just the 6th time all year. He thought he was get­ting a free play to Da­vante Adams who had a 1-on-1 matchup. But that Seat­tle LDE or LOLB wasn’t flagged. That in­ter­cep­tion sent a big mes­sage to Green Bay and it might have made them err on the side of cau­tion for awhile. Get any points any way you can. That was the motto.

Q: Pack­ers are slow learn­ers, why run be­hind Rodgers at the 1? Do you agree Capers, Slocum, B Jones, Hawk, Bo­stick, Wil­liams will be gone next year?

A: I won­der about A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones and Bran­don Bo­stick. Just be­cause of how things have played out this year, not just this game.

Q: Once again the Pack­ers let a team back into the game. This has hap­pened far too of­ten. Why is this? Why do we take our foot off the pedal? We don’t have “killer” men­tal­ity on of­fense for the en­tire game. On another note, what is up with Mor­gan Bur­nett not run­ning out his in­ter­cep­tion with green space ahead of him. That ex­tra 20-30 yards would have been enough for a field goal and a three pos­ses­sion and likely game over . . . don’t un­der­stand what he was think­ing. A few sim­ply ter­ri­ble plays erased so many good ones . . . hard to be­lieve what I saw.

A: OK I am go­ing back to re­play this on the TV. Re­mem­ber, Mor­gan Bur­nett cov­ered the spe­cial teams forced fum­ble caused by Brad Jones. He had a sack for mi­nus-4 at one point in the game. So, maybe in his head he was think­ing, just save it. Or maybe the foot­ing in the rain stunk. Now that I watch it, maybe his foot slipped. Ha Ha was right there with him. Kearse has his head down, he’s out of the pic­ture. There is a ton of space around him. I just don’t know. It has to be a foot­ing is­sue.

Q: Would of should of could of . . . Where do we go from here be­sides the near­est bar? It takes so much to get to the Su­per Bowl. Re­minds me of the chance at Philly and I be­lieve at Carolina. Favre never went back. That is my fear for Rodgers.

A: Yeah I thought this team was spe­cial. Had a lot of weapons on of­fense. Had lead­er­ship, solid team­mates. It had health. They were good enough to make it to the Fi­nal Four. Imag­ine how a home game would have been here to­day in Lam­beau. I went for a walk and it was 40 de­grees at 1 p.m.

Q: Hi Lori, bru­tal. When will teams learn not to try to hang on. That strat­egy doesn’t win cham­pi­onships. Mo­men­tum lost, lead lost, sea­son over. Have a great off-sea­son.

A: I hear you.

Q: You can never re­cover from this type of de­feat. Ev­ery­one needs to be fired. Trade Rodgers for a 7thround draft choice. Start com­pletely over.

A: I’m go­ing to drink a glass of . . . wa­ter . . . ev­ery time I see “fired” in this chat.

Q: It’s never too early to start talk­ing about changes for next year. I know it is fash­ion­able to call for Slocum’s fir­ing. How­ever, I think in this case it is the right thing. The num­ber of ST gaffes this year, in­clud­ing to­day, just can’t stand or be ad­dressed by “we are work­ing on it.” What do you hear from your sources on this sub­ject?

A: (Drink). McCarthy prob­a­bly wouldn’t even an­swer a ques­tion like that this week, much less now.

Q: No ques­tion . . . Just . . . De­pres­sion. WE HAD IT AND WE BLEW IT AND WE GOT UN­LUCKY!!! (cries in beer)

A: Oh, Pa­tri­ots again. You know I didn’t even watch a sec­ond of the other game? Just flipped it on. Hang in there Jesse.

Q: Why did the Sea­hawks dom­i­nate the Pack­ers so thor­oughly?

A: Dom­i­nate? I, with all due re­spect, I mean, the Pa­tri­ots dom­i­nated to­day. . . . But Mar­shawn Lynch get­ting 157 yards — and a bet­ter than 6 yards per carry av­er­age — was too much.

Q: Will there be an end of year inventory of coach­ing ac­com­plish--

ments? Who grades McCarthy? (Do they do a 360 re­view where the as­sis­tant coaches get to re­view McCarthy?)

A: As far as I know, GM Ted Thomp­son does the re­view — if you call it that — of McCarthy. I’ve never heard of as­sis­tants grad­ing their boss. I do know the play­ers have an op­por­tu­nity in their exit in­ter­views of the year to speak up if they wish.

Q: Lori, did you at­tend McCarthy’s post-game press con­fer­ence? Was he as de­fi­ant as some as his an­swers seemed? I don’t think he’s aware of how big a coach­ing fail­ure this loss was.

A: He was very emo­tional after the game with his TV in­ter­view. He was some­what com­posed in the press con­fer­ence, but still clearly up­set. Mike’s a pretty straight for­ward guy. He may come across as de­fen­sive but I think that’s the com­peti­tor in him. And those are pretty raw emo­tions from ev­ery­one for a team that didn’t want to lose.

Q: More dev­as­tat­ing loss: to­day or the Favre pick against the Gi­ants?

A: Man, that is a tough, tough call. I say Gi­ants. I re­mem­ber Bart Starr telling me that week that there was NO way the Pack­ers were go­ing to lose at home. Back then it was still blas­phemy for an op­pos­ing team to talk about win­ning in Lam­beau in the cold. That was, to me, such a real shocker. And then look what hap­pened be­tween the team and Favre after that sea­son ended.

Q: Think Ted is kick­ing him­self again for not pick­ing up Lynch a few years ago when he was avail­able rea­son­ably cheap?

A: Haha! Boy do I re­mem­ber that week. Ryan Grant and that in­jury. I doubt it. (Now if they didn’t have No. 27 maybe). Ted looks for a cer­tain player — and per­son­al­ity plays in to that as well. Ed­die Lacy is per­fect for Green Bay.

Q: Hi Lori, my take on this game is not a de­fen­sive fail­ure but some­thing that to me has plagued the of­fense ALL year. Scor­ing touch­downs in the red zone. Ev­ery time the Green Bay of­fense was in the red zone this sea­son I found my­self scream­ing “score a TD!” . . . and they didn’t . . . am I sta­tis­ti­cally cor­rect? If so what is your opin­ion on why they have strug- gled in the red zone. It seems to be a prob­lem in the past few years. Fi­nally I want to thank you, Tom, Bob and Tyler (and all those be­hind the scenes) for some ex­cel­lent cov­er­age and in ef­fect mak­ing us Packer fans some of the smartest in the NFL.

A: I think that’s a re­ally good ques­tion — and story idea — about the red zone. Maybe for later in the week. I can’t find my stats on that (there are web­sites out there but I go with the nfl­me­dia stuff). I’m sorry! I do know that the Pack­ers led the NFL with 30.4 points per game so it wasn’t a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion, but I feel like they missed on some stuff inside the 10 es­pe­cially this year. Thanks also for the kind com­pli­ment.

Q: Hi, Lori, you’re do­ing a su­per job on a tough day, but I think you prob­a­bly weren’t around to re­mem­ber the ’70s and ’80s when the Pack­ers were the most pa­thetic team in pro­fes­sional sports. Real con­tenders had to turn that around. Mark Murphy, Ted Thomp­son, and Mike McCarthy are NOT Bob Har­lan, Ron Wolf, and Mike Holm­gren, never were, never will be.

A: My child­hood Sun­days meant Meuer’s hot ham, rolls and bak­ery, read­ing the news­pa­per — ev­ery sec­tion — and my ex­as­per­ated Mom swear­ing at the TV from Noon to 3 at Pack­ers games. Ahh, mem­o­ries. Thanks for the com­ment.

Q: I’ve been watch­ing the Pack­ers since the late 1950s and I can­not re­mem­ber them squan­der­ing more op­por­tu­ni­ties and chok­ing as badly as they did to­day. I’m speech­less! How could they lose this game?

A: I’m run­ning out of an­swers for you guys . . . We’ll wrap this up soon.

Q: Props to Ran­dall Cobb for show­ing up to­day, and not just be­cause he was in the hos­pi­tal. Has to con­cern the Pack­ers that Nel­son was in­vis­i­ble in the play­offs this year, to­day and last week. Pack­ers may have to break the bank for Cobb, you could make the case he is the most im­por­tant play­maker be­sides A-Rod.

A: I think they sign Cobb, but I have no inside in­fer on that. Two catches for Nel­son vs Dal­las. Catches 5 of 8 tar­gets his way to­day for 71 yards. Cobb had 7 catches for 62 yards. Not ideal con­di­tions for the pass­ing game, though. Wilson had 209 yards pass­ing for Seat­tle and Rodgers had just 178.

Q: Hi Lori, Starks seemed to have fresher legs and speed we re­ally needed at the end of the game. Why didn’t we see more of him?

A: He had 5 car­ries for 44 yards and a 8.8 av­er­age. I think they just went with the same plan they’ve al­ways gone with. Lacy’s been the man all year.

Q: Lori, you are a good sol­dier to do this chat. The “boys” must be in hid­ing. I have been a Pack­ers fan for 50+ years, and I have never felt so de­jected after a loss. That in­cludes the loss to Den­ver in the ’98 Su­per Bowl. What wor­ries me most is my belief that Ted Thomp­son won’t even con­sider fir­ing Mike McCarthy, and MM won’t dare fire his good friend, Sean Slocum. Or Dom Capers. Go ahead, have that next glass of “wa­ter.”

A: Haha! . . . I’m sorry to hear that. You should see th­ese ques­tions on this chat. Peo­ple are re­ally ticked. I thought that ’98 Su­per Bowl loss topped all in the “dis­ap­point­ing” dept. Noth­ing worse than be­ing 60 min­utes away from im­mor­tal­ity. . . . So on the fir­ing thing. I guess I’m the kind of per­son who thinks it is ab­so­lutely in­sane that the guy in Den­ver loses his job. I mean, other than the fact that he didn’t get along with the leg­endary GM over there. Of course. But they had play­off suc­cess and whelp, no Su­per Bowl. No soup for you. I guess to me, just as a re­porter, I mean, what was this a sixth straight play­off ap­pear­ance for the Pack­ers? And then to stink last year and still no one in the NFC North could win it be­sides the Pack? I don’t take all this win­ning for granted and I cer­tainly can’t be­lieve how many MVP QB sea­sons I have cov­ered. But I hear you and part of the rea­son I’m post­ing th­ese com­ments is be­cause I think it is good for it to be known that Pack­ers fans ex­pect a Su­per Bowl out of a high scor­ing, tal­ent­laden team. They blew it in Seat­tle. In many ways and forms.

Q: 12-4 . . . Ar­guably the best quar­ter­back in the NFL . . . Reg­u­larly one of the last four teams stand­ing . . . Best sta­dium in sports . . . I would say we’re spoiled . . . Even good teams have bad games . . . On a scale of 1-5 (5 be­ing ir­ra­tional), where would you say we’re at?

A: Spoiled rot­ten and silly. I went to In­di­ana. Ask me about my col­lege foot­ball team. But se­ri­ously, Pack­ers fans also de­serve all that good stuff. They flock to GB for sum­mer va­ca­tions and watch prac­tice. They brave the worst weather of any NFL team to pack that sta­dium.

RICK WOOD / RWOOD@JOUR­NALSEN­TINEL.COM

Seat­tle Sea­hawks wide re­ceiver Chris Matthews reaches for the ball after Pack­ers tight end Bran­don Bo­stick fum­bled an on­side kick while Jordy Nel­son watches. Matthews re­cov­ered the ball and Seat­tle went on to score a touch­down.

RICK WOOD / RWOOD@JOUR­NALSEN­TINEL.COM

Sea­hawks wide re­ceiver Jer­maine Kearse pre­pares to throw the ball into the stands after scor­ing the win­ning touch­down against Pack­ers cor­ner­back Tra­mon Wil­liams.

KRISTYNA WENTZ-GRAFF / FOR THE JOUR­NAL SENTINEL

Pack­ers wide re­ceiver Jordy Nel­son runs after a catch in the sec­ond quar­ter of the NFC Cham­pi­onship Game against the Sea­hawks on Sun­day.

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