Chat with Rob Demovsky
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN NFL Nation Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky drops by to chat and answer all of your Packers questions.
Following 16 years covering the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Demovsky joined ESPN in 2013 as the Packers beat reporter. He is a two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Send your questions now and join Demovsky Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Rob Demovsky (3:59 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining us. Let's get started.
Taylor (NJ) [via mobile]
Do we really think Datone Jones can transition to be a starting caliber OLB this year? How do we get him on the field more?
Rob Demovsky (4:00 PM)
Taylor: I don't think their plans are necessarily to play him straight up as an outside linebacker. They think he can play there in certain packages as a stand-up rusher, but that's not going to be his primary role, from what I gather. Last year, Jones basically only played in the dime defense. They're going to get him involved in many more packages this year.
What really are the chanced the Packers bring 88 back?
Rob Demovsky (4:03 PM)
Ron: They're certainly better than I thought they were at this time last week. As I wrote on Friday, the Packers are more optimistic about Finley's health than was originally thought. They don't view it the same way they did with Nick Collins, who never played for them again. That said, there are still medical hurdles for Finley to get over and even if he passes those, there's still the matter of his contract.
Taylor (Morristown, NJ) [via mobile]
It seems that the Packers are very intrigued by Eric Ebron (TE from UNC) if he is available when they pick at 21. Is there real interest here? I find it shocking that drafting offense first round is even an option?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Taylor: As long as we're talking about the tight end spot, I'll hit your question. Ebron's impressive -- in fact, the whole tight end group was impressive at the combine -- but I'm guessing there's only a slim chance he's there at No. 21. As for taking a tight end, whether it's Ebron or a guy like Texas Tech's Jake Amaro, it obviously depends on a couple of factors. 1) What happens with Finley. 2) What other players are on the board at 21, to name a couple.But I wouldn't be totally shocked if that happens. There's something to be said for making your strength even stronger.
Andrew (Shawano, WI)
Who do you think will be the backup running backs behind Eddie Lacy this fall?
Rob Demovsky (4:07 PM)
Andrew: They really like DuJuan Harris and as long as he comes off that knee injury healthy, he'll get the first crack at it. They need to develop Johnathan Franklin, who other than the Week 3 game against Cincy didn't have much of an impact last year as a rookie. The role that James Starks played last season seemed perfect for him, so perhaps they would bring him back again.
How would you rank Bakhtiari, Bulaga, Sherrod, and Barclay best to worst?
Rob Demovsky (4:10 PM)
Jim: The problem is we don't know a ton about Sherrod, but let's project. Bulaga, when healthy, is still their best tackle. Watching him go against Clay Matthews every day in training camp the last couple of years has been impressive. As good a rusher as Matthews is, he rarely got an edge on Bulaga. I'll put Bakhtiari at No. 2. He held up perhaps better than could have been expected as a rookie left tackle who started every game last season. Sherrod would be No. 3 just based on his physical characteristics. The man is a giant. Barclay comes in last, but he's a serviceable swing tackle.
To go off of Jim's question, without injuries (knock on wood) how do you see the O-Line performing next year?
Rob Demovsky (4:11 PM)
Aaron: This is probably the deepest O-line they've had since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach in '06. I would expect another strong run-blocking unit. Pass protection can be shaky at times, but getting Bulaga back should help solidify things.
Taylor (Morristown NJ) [via mobile]
What's the chance that Cobb and Nelson get deals done this summer?
Rob Demovsky (4:13 PM)
Taylor: I'd be surprised if one of those deals doesn't get done before training camp. It sounds like they've already started talking to Nelson. That's going to be an interesting negotiation because Nelson's last contract was undervalued and he significantly out-performed it.
Hey Demo,Who do you think the Pack takes in the first round?
Rob Demovsky (4:14 PM)
Garry: Who told you my nickname? Still a little too early for that, but I'm still thinking if one of the top-two safeties -- Clinton-Dix or Pryor -- is there, they'll take him.
We have been pretty hurt by injuries the last few years. Yes, it would be great if we could somehow have the same depth we had in 2010, but I think it would be even better if we could keep the starters on the field for all 16 games. And after this season's numerous hamstring injuries in camp and at the beginning of the season, I'm frustrated with what should be preventable injuries. Has there been any mention about a new Training team, or at least a new philosophy about preventable injuries?
Rob Demovsky (4:15 PM)
Patrick: The entire medical staff and strength/conditioning staff was at the combine, so it does not appear that any changes were made to that staff. Like he has said each of the last several offseasons, McCarthy said he's studying the issue, but he didn't have any concrete answers.
Did Calvin Pryor's performance at the combine further the momentum saying that he might be the #1 safety in the draft? Since Louis Nix will likely be long gone by the time the Packers draft, do you feel the Packers should go safety in the 1st round and if so would Pryor or Clinton-Dix be a better fit?
Rob Demovsky (4:18 PM)
Joe: They were close coming into the combine and remain that way. It all depends on what kind of safety you prefer. Pryor is a hitter. Even Clinton-Dix admitted that, but he's more of a ballhawk. The Packers could use either -- or both. But considering that Morgan Burnett is supposed to be good on the ball, then perhaps the big hitter like Pryor might be more appealing to them.
Hey Rob I got a defensive personnel hypothetical for you that I think is interesting. The Dallas Cowboys are in cap trouble and are strongly considering releasing Demarcus Ware. Assuming we have enough cap space after signing Shields and whomever else we decide is worthy, can you see a way the packers offer him something despite Ted Thompson's track record with big time free agents?
Rob Demovsky (4:21 PM)
Michael: I heard what Jerry Jones said about Ware, and it surprises me. Players like that don't just walk into your building very often. I wonder if they'll find a way to restructure his deal rather than outright releasing him. But if they do, then that has to be something Thompson looks at strongly.
How set are the Packers on Tolzien or Flynn? Is this the year they may take a shot on a QB in one of the earlier rounds?
Rob Demovsky (4:22 PM)
Matt: They want to see how they can develop Tolzien this offseason. That will be one of new QB coach Alex Van Pelt's big projects. They also want to bring back Flynn because they think he's a guy who can get them through some games if they need that. But McCarthy also said he would like to develop another young QB. To me, that sounds like taking a mid- to late-round QB. No reason to think they take one before the fourth round.
Ryan T (Grand Forks ND)
What is the possibility of this scenario....shields signs extension with packers, Hyde moves to safety, Packers bring in Orakpo as free agent pick up to play sans Clay, first round pick could be either Nix, Haggeman, Amaro, Dennard, or maybe CJ Mosely.....who do the Packers pick? So many good options!
Rob Demovsky (4:26 PM)
Ryan: I think the first two are strong possibilities, but I'm not so sure Washington lets Orakpo get out of town. Don't think Nix or Mosley will be there when the Packers pick at 21. Could see Haggeman or Amaro as possibilities.
Have you heard anything about talks with Mike Neal? He had a good first year at the new position and could be a cheap option to bring back and hopefully improve on last year.
Rob Demovsky (4:28 PM)
Andy: I find it interesting that McCarthy said he felt Neal's best position was still as an interior defensive lineman. So that tells me that if they bring him back, he wouldn't play anywhere near as much at OLB as he did last season. McCarthy talked about him like he's still in the plans, so we'll see.
Is it me or does Worthy have bust written all over him?
Rob Demovsky (4:29 PM)
Steve: This is a huge year for him. He didn't do anything as a rookie and last year was basically lost because of the knee injury.
What do you see in Tramon Williams' future? He seems like he has gone the route of BJ Raji and been digressing rapidly. Personally I wouldn't mind seeing him leave, but what are your thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
Rose: The last half of the season, Williams played as well as he has at any point since the 2010 season, so I would be stunned if he wasn't back with the Packers this season.
Will Johnny Jolly be able to play next season? If so, what are the chances he's wearing green and gold?
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
Al: Apparently, that's still to be determined. If he's cleared, I would think he'd back under a modest salary.
Is it time to get a new NT? Raji seems pretty underwhelming to me....
Rob Demovsky (4:31 PM)
Bunny: If Jolly comes back, don't be surprised to see him play the nose.
Do the Pack keep James Jones, or do they like what they saw from Boykin.
Thoughts on letting JJones walk? Boyken looked like a really good peace for the future
Rob Demovsky (4:34 PM)
I see there's a couple of questions about James Jones, so I'll hit them both at once. First of all, they like Boykin. No reason to think he can't be a solid, productive No. 3, especially on the perimeter. That said, with Jones, it sounds like they could let him hit the market and see what's out there for him before they want to get into talks. That's what happened last time in 2011 and he returned for a three-year, $9.6 million deal.
Any change the Packers get selected for Hard Knocks this year?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
Tom: Neither Ted Thompson nor Mike McCarthy have shown any interest in doing the show. And they can't be forced to do it because they were a playoff team last year. That's one of the ways you can get out of it.
Tom (Naperville, IL) [via mobile]
What are the chances the packers make a change with brad jones or Aj hawk at inside backer?
Rob Demovsky (4:36 PM)
Tom: They like Hawk, especially as a first- and second-down player, and he was better on third down last season. Jones did not perform like they had hoped. Sam Barrington could be an option. Jamari Lattimore was up and down in Jones' spot when Jones was hurt last season.
Speaking of under-performing, TT just signed Brad Jones to a large contract last year. What would it cost the packers if he was cut or released?
Rob Demovsky (4:39 PM)
Aaron: Cap wise, they would be on the hook for $2 million of his $3 million signing bonus. If the took the entire $2 million on this year's cap, they would still save $500,000 because they would wipe off his $2.5 million base salary from their books.
How come we arent talking about the inside LBs? Hawk is just serviceable and Jones needs to make great improvements to get to Hawk's serviceable distinction. Why not move Perry (who is not cutting it at OLB) to play with Hawk inside and make Neal or a free agent play on the outside with Clay?
Rob Demovsky (4:40 PM)
Well, we're talking about it now, Michael. We've had a run of ILB questions. Don't think Perry is fast enough to play ILB. They need more speed up the middle.
What do you think the chances are they re-sign Shields before March 11?
Rob Demovsky (4:42 PM)
Faris: Better than 50-50. They talked to Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, at the combine last week and according to someone I talked to, they have agreed to keep negotiating, which is a good sign. What is more interesting to me is whether they would use the franchise tag on him, something they would have to do by March 3.
Charles (Columbus, OH)
The Packers ill draft the fellow cheesehead(Borland) to help at MLB,, right?
Rob Demovsky (4:43 PM)
Charles: Depends on whether the Packers are concerned about his height (5-11).
Is it time for Dom Capers to go if the defense doesn't improve this year?
Rob Demovsky (4:44 PM)
Ryan: I don't believe Dom Capers has been the problem. I believe it's a matter of personnel. However, the way this business works, if the defense doesn't produce, the coordinator usually goes.
Matt (Portsmouth, VA)
If available, do you think the Packers would take Justin Gilbert in the first round? Tall, strong, and runs a 4.3. Seems like a rare combination for a corner.
Rob Demovsky (4:46 PM)
Matt: Depending on who you talk to, there's a decent chance Gilbert will be there at No. 21. He ran a 4.37 at the combine. I could see it.
ryan (Madison) [via mobile]
Wouldn't Stephon Tuitt be the ideal 5 technique they have been missing and a pretty smart pick at 21?
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Ryan: It will be interesting to see what impact -- if any -- the foot practice that was discovered on Tuitt at the combine has on his status.
When can we expect to see the finalized 2014 schedule?
Rob Demovsky (4:49 PM)
Who would you prioritize Cobb or Nelson? Cobb's slight frame concerns me but he is a playmaker.
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
Bryant: Honestly, they're 1 and 1a. They'll get both of them done before they hit free agency.
Dennis ((Lima, Ohio))
The other teams in the division have made changes in the past two years. Who do you think the chief rival for the North crown will be?
Rob Demovsky (4:51 PM)
Dennis: Coaching changes in Minnesota and Detroit should help, but it often takes a year for those to full kick in. The fact that the Bears return their staff and their QB makes me think they will still be the main competition in 2014.
Shane Ohio [via mobile]
Charles Woodson said he still wants to play what are the chances we sign him back he would be cheap and I think a better option at safety then jennings
Rob Demovsky (4:52 PM)
Shane: I don't see it. They wanted to get younger and even though it didn't work out last season, they'll try again with younger options.
If they re-sign Shields and Finley, and Pryor and Clinton-Dix are both gone at 21, do you think they could choose a WR if a good one is on the board (Mike Evans?) or would it likely be the best of the Nix/Hagemann/big boys?
Rob Demovsky (4:52 PM)
Mark: Would think they'd go D-line at that point.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Did you ever think the Packers would miss Cullen Jenkins this much?
Rob Demovsky (4:54 PM)
Derrin: It's easy to sit here now and say yes, but yes. Especially considering it wasn't a break-the-bank kind of deal that he got in Philly.
Tim (St. Paul)
Follow up to Mark's question. TT generally avoids receivers in the 1st round. I have also heard that this is a deep receiver draft, so I would expect him to take some in the later rounds.
Rob Demovsky (4:56 PM)
That's entirely plausible Tim. His track record with second-round receivers -- Nelson, Jennings, Cobb -- is pretty good.
Do you have a best and worst decision from TT career so far?
Rob Demovsky (4:59 PM)
Oh boy, that's a tough one. I'm going to need some time to think about that one, but it's a good idea for a story as we get closer to the draft. I'll add that one to my story idea list.
Rob Demovsky (5:00 PM)
That's all the time we have for this week. There were nearly 150 questions, so I apologize if I didn't get to yours. There won't be a chat this week because I'll be at company HQ in Bristol for meetings, so we'll see you in two weeks. Thanks again.