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.
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.
Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse prepares to throw the ball into the stands after scoring the winning touchdown against Packers cornerback Tramon Williams.
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.
Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson runs after a catch in the second quarter of the NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks on Sunday.