NFC North: Hokey Pokey

NFC North weekend mailbag

July, 24, 2010
7/24/10
12:00
PM ET
Thanks to everyone who mobilized Friday afternoon for the return of the weekend mailbag.

You sent so many responses, in fact, that I'll dispatch with the usual filler. To squeeze in as many questions as possible, and have some fun at the same time, I'll respond with one sentence apiece.

As always, I can be reached through the mailbag portal, Facebook or Twitter.

Onward...

Justin of Rochester, Minn., writes: How comfortable is the Green Bay coaching staff with Matt Flynn's ability to take over if something happens to Aaron Rodgers? What are the odds that Graham Harrell makes the roster? With as many pieces in place as they have, wouldn't they have been smarter to grab an experienced veteran in the off season like Baltimore did? Would Sage Rosenfels be a good fit w/ GB if/when MN lets him go?

Kevin Seifert: Every team has a dropoff from its starter to backup, and the gap between Rodgers and Flynn is bigger than most, but the Packers' aversion to veteran free agents make Harrell a likelier option than Rosenfels.


Bryan of Madison, Wis., writes: How much of an impact do you think Johnny Jolly's suspension will have on the Packers' defense?

Kevin Seifert: Minimal, as long as B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett stay healthy.


Joe of Eden Prairie, Minn., writes: What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it is all about?

Kevin Seifert: Then we all better start turning ourselves around.


Maynard of Jamestown, North Dakota, writes: Reports from different media sources on the Bears' Mike Martz's system mostly agree that Jay Cutler will endure a high number of sacks as a result of seven-step drops, that Greg Olsen will see a reduced role, and that turnovers will remain similar to last season's totals if not increase due primarily to defensive pressure because of a potentially weak offensive line and Cutler's penchant for throwing picks compounded by the demands of Martz's system. Do you have any sense that Martz may tweak his system to meet the realities of this Bears offense?

Kevin Seifert: Only Cutler can lower his interception total by making better decisions, but I'll make this prediction: Olsen will set a record for most catches by a tight end in a Martz offense.


Mike of Chicago writes: I just read the other day that there is a realistic chance that Desmond Clark could beat out Olsen for the Bears starting TE spot. I think that Clark has been a great player for his entire career as a Bear. Do you think that the Bears coaching staff/front office would actually make this move with all of the effort they have put into publicly voicing their belief that Olsen is a star in the making?

Kevin Seifert: I just think Martz is too smart to do anything but maximize Olsen's receiving skills.


Brett of Toledo, Ohio, writes: I am greatly concerned about the state of the Lions backfield. Jahvid Best is clearly the "best" of a bad bunch of RB options with Kevin Smith's future uncertain. There is little value in regards to strong runners behind Best. Why do you think the Lions have chosen to take such a chance at such an important position in their play-action heavy offense?

Kevin Seifert: Don't fret -- the way I see it, the Lions have upgraded the position by going from no gamebreakers to one.


Zach of Kansas City writes: How do you think Zack Bowman will fare against Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson and Sidney Rice?

Kevin Seifert: Competently, as long as he can reverse his career trend and stay healthy for an entire summer and regular season.


Mike of Minnesota writes: What is your take on Jasper Brinkley? I am assuming that E.J. Henderson will not be ready in time to start the season. I thought Brinkley was developing really quickly as a replacement in the time he was allotted. Specifically, against the Saints and the Cowboys there was no apparent holes because of the absence of EJ. Is it too early to assume Jasper can be a good player in the league or did he show enough last season to have proved himself worthy of a starting role on some team?

Kevin Seifert: Brinkley has a long way to go to match Henderson in his prime, particularly as an enforcer on the line of scrimmage.


Via Facebook, Farley writes: Other than the quarterback situation, how long do you think the talent window will stay open for the Vikings? They've done an excellent job managing cap space and such, but I don't see how they can keep it going indefinitely.

Kevin Seifert: Their defense is a long-term question mark with Pat Williams and Antoine Winfield well into their 30's and Henderson's future in doubt.


Wendall of Forest City writes: What are the chances that Terrell Owens is signed by Green Bay?

Kevin Seifert: About the same chance of Brett Favre being signed by Green Bay.


Dustin of Dell Rapids, South Dakota, writes: If there is a lockout, do you see the owners bringing in players to play? I saw a show on the NFL Network about a season a while ago where there was a lockout. What do you think the chances are that the owners take a similar approach, keeping the NFL alive if there was a lockout?

Kevin Seifert: You're making me feel really old, Dustin, by mentioning a "show" you saw about the 1987 season, when owners replaced striking players with non-union scabs -- of which there is absolutely no chance this time around.


Justin of Brookings, South Dakota, writes: I saw an ESPN headline that Bobby McCray is back on the Saints roster. Any thoughts on if this means anything for the Vikings-Saints opener? The point is moot if McCray doesn't start/see the field, or if Favre surprises the world and retires for good, but I figured you might have a little something to say about it.

Kevin Seifert: To be safe, Favre better double-tape his ankles for the game.


Clay A. of Orlando, Fla., writes: Is there any way that we can get you some classes in objective journalism? Then maybe you can see why you are the basis for so many jokes...Go Bears!!

Kevin Seifert: OMG -- Clay Aiken reads this blog???!!!!!


Tom of Janesville, Wis., writes: We know most of the starters for all four division teams, but besides the backup QB, who do you see as the most important backup for each team?

Kevin Seifert: Chester Taylor in Chicago, Tony Scheffler in Detroit, Brandon Chillar in Green Bay and Lito Sheppard in Minnesota.


LambeauOrWrigley writes: So Dez Bryant signed as the only first round pick so far [as of Friday]. He was picked #24, right after [Bryan] Bulaga at #23. So, does this somewhat set the price for the Bulaga deal? If so, can we expect a "quick" signing and arrival by opening weekend? Or could there be Bulaga's agent claiming his guy was a lock for a top 10 pick and should not be paced at the price for Bryant? Rodgers was a top 10 pick that dropped to #24. Bulaga was supposedly a top 10 pick that dropped to #23. I feel positive karma.

Kevin Seifert: It helps to have the beginnings of a slot framework, but no deal is believed to be imminent.

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