Chat with Kevin Seifert
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert will drop in to chat about the NFL.
Seifert joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for eight years. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and daughter.
Send your questions now and join Seifert Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Kevin Seifert (1:59 PM)
Hi everyone... thanks for checking in here this afternoon. We only have until 2:30 p.m. ET today because of training camp schedules, so let's get right to it a few minutes early.
bob (new jersey)
hey kev u were in packers camp this week whats the word on al harris and how good did morgan burnett look.......
Kevin Seifert (2:00 PM)
The word on Al Harris is that he wants to start practicing but Mike McCarthy is making him take it slow. There was genuine concern this spring about whether Harris will make it back, but now it seems clear he will. Just a matter of time. As for Burnett, he looks like a rookie with a lot on his plate.
Kevin, I read that Bryan Bulaga started practicing at left tackle monday. Do you think its a good move?
Kevin Seifert (2:01 PM)
He started practicing at left guard. I'm not that into it, personally. While he played some left guard at Iowa, he was drafted as a left tackle and is clearly going to be a left tackle in the future. It's hard to develop offensive linemen when you're constantly changing their positions, which is what the Packers have done with a number of their current guys. I'd prefer they keep Bulaga at left tackle and, if they're going to move anyone, move Chad Clifton to left guard instead.
What are you hearing about Stafford's progress so far in camp?Liking his odds for a big upcoming season ?
Kevin Seifert (2:03 PM)
He looked really, really comfortable and confident in the three days I was at Lions camp. It's been huge for him to have every practice rep instead of spitting them with Daunte Culpepper, and I think he's ready to make a jump this season. Does that mean evening out his touchdown-interception ratio? Or does it mean approaching Pro Bowl level? I think the former is more likely, but you never know.
Minn Sports Fan (MN)
Of all the NFC north rookies, which has impressed you most in camp?
Kevin Seifert (2:04 PM)
Interesting. So far, I would say I liked what I saw (briefly) of Ndamukong Suh. Just his personality. He's a serious, serious man. I also think Chris Cook looked pretty smooth at cornerback for the Vikings.
Raj (Windsor, Ontario)
Hi Kevin, I was wondering if you could tell me how well is Nate Burleson looking in training camp, I keep reading on how he is assuming a leadership role but how is he in the huddle and running his routes...hopefully avoid the Bryant Johnson fiasco of last year! (drops and might have been plays)
Kevin Seifert (2:05 PM)
He looked good from what I saw. He has excellent leaping ability and really good hands. A big upgrade.
Do you buy that Sidney Rice is exaggerating his hip injury because he's mad about his contract?
Kevin Seifert (2:06 PM)
I think it's a really interesting issue. Something strange has happened. He participated in minicamp in mid-June without a hitch. Then, after that, he started saying that his hip was still bothering him. The Vikings don't seem to think it's a big deal, and there have been mixed messages throughout. I think he's probably mad about his contract, but it's an awfully serious allegation to suggest that he's dogging it. At this point, there isn't enough evidence to say that he is.
Jordan Adams (Madison)
Despite Jordy Nelson makeing play after play this summer Mcarthy insists that James Jones still is the #3 WR. Is this just empty words to make Jones feel better or does Mcarthy really believe this?
Kevin Seifert (2:08 PM)
I don't think he's trying to make Jones feel better. I'm guessing he thinks he's better in the slot, which is where the No. 3 receiver often goes. Nelson is built more like an outside guy. Both are going to play a lot.
matt (Ewing, NJ)
Everyone is talking about Finley as the breakout player for the Pack, but Hawk is quietly having an excellent training camp thus far. Possible Pro Bowl year for Hawk? Thoughts?
Kevin Seifert (2:09 PM)
Don't know if I agree. The Packers are still taking him off the field in their nickel package. It's going to be hard for a base linebacker to make the Pro Bowl in this defense because there are so many sub versions.
Will Ryan Grant continue to be the complete workhorse for Gb at RB or will Brandon Jackson begin to take on a more prominent role?
Kevin Seifert (2:09 PM)
Every year, the Packers say that will happen. And every year Grant is the workhorse. I'm not going to get tricked again.
Craig (Braintree MA)
Kevin, You picked the Packers based on momentum of the defense from last year. Did you consider that their DC history record in year 2 is usually down from year 1? Have you done some research on how teams do in the last half of a season in carrying over that momentum to the next year?
Kevin Seifert (2:11 PM)
I've taken a look at some of Dom Capers' second years. I know in one case his defense was decimated by injuries. If the Packers' defense is decimated by injuries, it will be worse. But I don't think this defense is destined to slip because of Capers.
Are the Lions still destined for the basement of the NFC North even though they now have all of these offendive weapons? (Stafford, Calvin, Best, Scheffler, Pettigrew, Burleson)
Kevin Seifert (2:11 PM)
I think they're better than they were, but this is a tough division to advance in. All bets are off, however, if they pull off the upset in Week 1 at Soldier Field.
I heard that Matt Flynn started shaky in training camp. Are the Packers worried? Any talk of trading/bringing in/waiting for a team to cut a veteran QB? I realize if Rogers goes down the season will be done, but someone to come in for a game or two would be nice!
Kevin Seifert (2:12 PM)
I had read that as well, but he didn't look bad when I was there.
Kevin, How good do you think the Bears defense will be? Chris Harris says this is the most talanted group of safeties he's been around. Tommie Harris is going to be a real factor. He used to have Atrophie in some of his leg muscles from past knee surgeries. This is no longer a problem. Everyone keeps saying how great he looks. Urlacher is back. Not to mention they have a guy named Peppers. I asked Warren Sapp the same question and he said sky is the limit. What do you think?
Kevin Seifert (2:14 PM)
Well, any pass rush that has Julius Peppers involved can be a force to be reckoned with. But I think some of the other instances you named have flaws. Harris is being lauded mostly for participating in every practice. Let's see if he is a play-maker when the games arrive. Urlacher is back, but is he the Urlacher of old or is he just a guy? Those are some questions that need to be answered.
Lito Sheppard (Camp)
Holy cow...did you see how big Cook is?!?
Kevin Seifert (2:15 PM)
Yep. He's a solid 6-foot-2. Huge for a cornerback.
With the first game being played in a month, when do you think we can expect to get favre's decision? And if he continues to hold off, when should we start to expect not to see him in the first game?
Kevin Seifert (2:15 PM)
I think he comes in sometime next week or the week after. But who knows at this point.
Eric (Biston, Ma.)
Is Levy's back getting any healthier and when can we expect him back?
Kevin Seifert (2:16 PM)
This is starting to turn into a concern. It's now been over a week, and Levy is a player who really needs practice reps. It'll be worrisome if he doesn't get back soon. There really isn't a viable long-term replacement on the roster.
The Dude (Florida)
Can you comment on the true camp performances of guys like Zack Follett, Jonathan Wade, and Cliff Avril. Schwartz likes to talk these guys up like they are the real deal - are you seeing the same thing?
Kevin Seifert (2:18 PM)
I wouldn't put them in my top five of Lions defensive players, if that matters to you. Follett knows what he's doing. I don't know if he's a playmaker. Wade is very intense and competitive, but kind of on the small side. I think Avril is a starting-caliber defensive end who should get some favorable looks this year. He really needs to have a good year.
Brian K. (St. Louis, Mo)
Do you see Jordy Nelson taking over at the #2 reciever spot for Green Bay before Driver's new contract is up?
Kevin Seifert (2:19 PM)
Possibly. But the contract extension suggests the Packers think he's going to be pretty productive for a while.
James (St. Paul, MN)
Is it really that concerning that the top two Vikings recievers aren't practicing with Tarvaris Jackson?
Kevin Seifert (2:21 PM)
They're still going to be behind on their conditioning, if nothing else. And they're still missing out on building chemistry with the rest of the offense.
Lyndon (Slave Lake, Alberta)
Have you had a chance to watch Berrian yet?
Kevin Seifert (2:21 PM)
Yes. He looks pretty smooth and, most importantly, healthy. With all the attention on Rice and Harvin missing practice, it should be noted that Berrian has been out there for virtually every one of them.
Will Childress pick Favre up on his way to New Orleans or will Favre be joining before the end of the preseason?
Kevin Seifert (2:23 PM)
Ha. You wonder how far Favre will be willing to push the envelope. Two years ago, he missed a week or so of training camp. Last year, he skipped all of camp. This year, maybe all of the preseason?
Will a line of Williams-Garza-Kruetz-Louis-Omiyale get the job done this season? I almost threw up writing this.
Kevin Seifert (2:24 PM)
Ha. They have a chance. Williams and Omiyale are improved simply because they're in their natural positions. Kreutz is healthier, if nothing else. We'll see if Mike Tice can make wine from the water at the two guard positions.
Keith (Arlington, VA)
Seifert just to prove you cant say an unbiased thing about Favre - what type of team do you think the Vikings will be if Favre doesnt return?
Kevin Seifert (2:25 PM)
Thanks, Keith, for all of the words of encouragement. If I were biased against Favre, I would have to say the Vikings will have a better team if he retires, right? So I'll be unbiased and say they'll be worse.
Man Kevin, all these Bears questions, we need a break from all the Lions/Packers/Vikings questions already. Anyways, how did Martz's offense look when you were there?
Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)
I was there during the first three days of camp, so a couple things jumped out to me. First, there were a lot of false starts. That happens when there is indecision in a new scheme. Second, I was pleasantly surprised with how many passes were thrown to the tight ends. The Bears have too many good ones to let that aspect of their offense go to waste.
Kevin Seifert (2:27 PM)
OK, one or two more here. Remember, we're on a 30-minute training camp timetable.
Jordan (Newark, OH)
Who turns out to be the top receiver in the NFC North this year (assuming Favre returns)? Gotta be Calvin Johnson, right?
Kevin Seifert (2:28 PM)
Not sure about that. I think Burleson and Scheffler are going to benefit from Johnson more than he is going to benefit from them. I'm assuming you mean wide receiver? If so, I'm going to say Greg Jennings.
Whats your opinion of the Lions secondary?
Kevin Seifert (2:28 PM)
It's another patchwork year, other than Delmas.
How has Charles Woodson looked. Is he slowing down or are we in for another defensive player of the year award.
Kevin Seifert (2:29 PM)
He looked fine to me, but the Packers don't stress their veterans too much in the early portion of camp.
Kevin Seifert (2:30 PM)
OK everyone, thanks so much... Chat with you next week.