Chat with Rob Demovsky
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Rob Demovsky (3:59 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining us a day later than usual because of yesterday's Packers' OTA sessions. Let's get started.
David - Texas [via mobile]
How is Clay Matthews looking? Good to go?
Rob Demovsky (4:01 PM)
David: Matthews has not participated in OTAs yet. Coach Mike McCarthy said yesterday that Matthews is "week to week." But the feeling I get from Matthews is that he will probably wait until training camp to jump back into things. Might as well give that thumb all the time to heal.
I recently was playing with the roster trying to get from 90 to 53 and I believe that the number of QBs the Packers keep on the 53 will be very interesting. If Tolzien plays well in pre-season, I think they keep only 2 (Rodgers and Tolzien) on the 53. What do you think Rob?
Rob Demovsky (4:02 PM)
John: I think they'll keep all three if Tolzien plays well enough. Flynn might be just a one-year guy and Tolzien could be the backup of the future. But I'd be surprised if they just let Flynn go this year.
Hey Rob. In OTA's the other day, I saw Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson taking some reps at emergency quarterback. It got me thinking. Who in the Packers organization would you like to see line up under center and throw a pass on Family Night for a laugh!
Rob Demovsky (4:03 PM)
Brock: I believe I saw both Nelson and Cobb throwing balls into the net yesterday. Both were high school QBs. Maybe someday Tim Masthay will throw a TD on a fake FG.
Rick (Beverly MA)
Hi Rob, thanks for the chats. I know a lot of us, desperate for an upgrade at ILB have wondered if Carl Bradford or Adrian Hubbard could play there, the answer is, as for now, no. What skills/talents differentiate OLBs and ILBs?
Rob Demovsky (4:05 PM)
Rick: Both Bradford and Hubbard have worked exclusively as OLBs in the two practices the media has been allowed to watch. Not sure either Bradford or Hubbard could cover the kind of ground ILBs need to cover.
Tyler K. (San Jose)
What's more likely to happen -- Packers keep 4 HBs, 5 TEs or 6 WRs?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Is there a way to keep all of them, Tyler? Of those three positions, I would say the five TEs is the least likely.
What is the story with Franklin? I haven't heard anything, and the longer it goes without hearing anything, the more serious I'm thinking it is. Do you think he might be a candidate to start out on the PUP list?
Rob Demovsky (4:08 PM)
John: Trust me, I'm trying to find out, but Franklin has not been in the locker room during the media availability times the last two weeks during OTAs and McCarthy won't give out any injury info at this time of the year. If he's not ready for the start of training camp, I'd say it would be time to worry. In the meantime, I will keep trying to get you the info you want.
Matt (Pittsburgh Pa)
Rob, love your coverage of the pack here in pa, was there a reason we signed Flynn to only a 1yr deal? Also can you see Barclay unseating Lang at RG?
Rob Demovsky (4:10 PM)
Matt: Supply and demand on Flynn. The Giants were his only other real suitor, so the Packers didn't have to give him much. Plus, on his part, maybe he wanted to do only a one year deal so he could try for another starting job next offseason. As for Barclay/Lang, they're happy with the way Lang played last season at guard (not as much when he played center), so there's no reason to think his job is on the line.
Steve (Dunlap IL)
Hey Rob As a reporter is there any difference now that you are working at ESPN vs reporting for the Green Bay Press- Gazette? I have always enjoyed your work but didn't know if you might have a little more freedom now?
Rob Demovsky (4:13 PM)
Steve: Thanks for the kind words. The job is a little bit different. ESPN is looking for more analysis/context in addition to the breaking news. That's why you'll often notice that if we have a news story (which appears on the upper right corner of the ESPN.com NFL homepage), then you'll also see an accompanying reaction/analysis piece. There's also a little more freedom in the sense that I don't have to think about how things will play in print. But as a reporter/writer, my goal remains to try to give the readers something that they don't already know.
Tom (South Carolina) [via mobile]
Assuming Finely passes medical for the Packers and another team, do you think he would he would give the Packers the chance to "beat" a contact offer from another team? Is that something that is common for players who, from what I can tell, seem to be open to re-signing with his original team?
Rob Demovsky (4:15 PM)
Those are big assumptions, Tom. My sense is that the Packers won't get into a bidding war with anyone for Finley. If they clear him, they'll set their price and Finley will have a clear idea of what that is when he hears from other teams.
Aaron (New York, NY) [via mobile]
With your late story of JC Tretter's offseason, it shows the dedication of some smaller name players. You should cover more of that. That being said, it's early but do you see Tretter taking the center job over 5th round pick Corey Linsley? Have you seen any flashes from either to think one is better?
Rob Demovsky (4:16 PM)
Aaron: Thanks. I'm sure there are plenty of other guys who go the extra yard to try to win a roster spot. At this point, it's Tretter's job to lose. It's interesting that for now Linsley is not even the No. 2 center. Garth Gerhart is. That obviously could change, but for now it's an indication of where things stand.
Jeremy (San Francisco)
Rob. The Packers have made moves that involve research and training changes that prevent or mitigate injury. Have you noticed anything in particular that the Packers are doing differently in the OTAs this year, when compared to years previous?
Rob Demovsky (4:19 PM)
Jeremy: I asked McCarthy about this yesterday and he clearly had no interest in talking about what they're doing. He compared that to talking about his playbook, which he feels would give opponents a competitive advantage. Last year, they started those regeneration periods that they call TV timeouts, in which players get the chance to hydrate in the middle of practice. But I can't say that I've noticed anything else.
justin, Mississippi [via mobile]
Any chance they would still sign jolly back if his neck is ok
Rob Demovsky (4:19 PM)
Justin: I would think he'd be one of the first guys they would call if they had an issue on their D-line.
Martin (Berlin (Germany))
Have you seen Kaepernicks new contract? 126 million total, $60 million guaranteed. Aaron Rodgers' deal was 5/$110M/$54M. Do you think that Rodgers is already underpaid in this context as strange as it sounds?
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
Martin: That's kind of the nature of contracts at the top of the position. Guys don't stay as the highest-paid for very long, do they? That said, Rodgers got a pretty fair deal last year that should hold up over time.
Packers have a lot of talent at receiver. When cutdown starts, I hope TT can trade for draft picks rather then let talent walk. Giant's offense could use some offensive players that know the system.
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
James: It's so hard to make trades when teams know they can get players on waivers the next day.
Rob; I read OTA's 2 and when I got to Roll Call I noticed, what seemed to me a few to many injuries for this time of year. Understand Matthews and his thumb but what about the rest of them. Seems to be the start of last year all over again!
Rob Demovsky (4:21 PM)
Ron: It has to be a bit trouble that an oft-injured player like Nick Perry isn't on the field yet. But most of the injured guys are just recovering from issues from last season. It doesn't seem that abnormal to me.
Hey Rob, thanks for the Chat. Why has HA HA not got the starting nod so far?? Is this just a message to Him or playbook reasons? Why draft and sit him he is better than any S we have had since Collins. Thanks!
Rob Demovsky (4:23 PM)
Maybe it's a change in philosophy where they're not going to hand a job to a rookie. Or maybe they're trying to drive home the point that they always state -- that it's veterans who will make or break the team. However, the most logical reason is they want to take a long look at Micah Hyde and see what he can do at safety.
TedTheSledge (River falls, WI)
Any early opinion on Mike Pennel? Is he just a big body that's tough to move or could he be a NT that gets some push from the center of the pocket?
Rob Demovsky (4:24 PM)
Let's wait until they do 1 on 1 drills with pads before we make any evaluations of O-linemen or D-linemen.
Justin (ohio) [via mobile]
How is julius peppers looking so far?
Rob Demovsky (4:24 PM)
Tall, Justin. Not trying to be funny, but like I said to the previous question, it's tough to tell much about pass rushers without pads. He looks to be in fine shape, though.
Since the Packers were willing to look at a smaller ILB like Shazier, wouldn't it be an option to convert Sean Richardson to ILB? Initially when they signed him as an UDFA, most of the talk was they were going to switch him to an ILB anyway.
Rob Demovsky (4:25 PM)
JC: Haven't seen him line up at ILB at all yet.
How fast has Janis looked?
Rob Demovsky (4:25 PM)
Mike: He's made at least one nice catch down the field each of the last two practices we've seen.
Nathan St. Paul [via mobile]
Is Datone Jones fully past his ankle injury? Looking for him to have big second year!
Rob Demovsky (4:26 PM)
Nathan: He won't use it as an excuse, I can tell you that. He's saying all the right things, but the bottom line is he needs to produce. His rookie year -- whether it was because of the ankle or not -- was a disappointment.
Does Abbrederis guarantee himself a roster spot if he shows he can return kicks and punts?
Rob Demovsky (4:27 PM)
Mike: That would help, but he has to show he can make plays in the offense, too.
Francis (Green Bay)
There's a lot of assumption that JC Tretter is our starting center or the rookie Linsley might compete for the starting job. Are these assumptions a good thing? They are both young, and very unproven. Do we have any plans if they can't get it done?
Rob Demovsky (4:28 PM)
Francis: They could use Don Barclay, but for now they're keeping him at guard or tackle. Their hope is that either Tretter, Linsley or Garth Gerhart wins the job.
Jeff (Green Bay, WI)
Hi Rob,Do the Packers have any shot at a compensatory pick in 2015 for Jermichael Finley if he signs elsewhere in free agency this year? The June 1st date used to signify the end of free agency, but unsure under the new CBA how the compensatory picks are structured.
Rob Demovsky (4:29 PM)
Jeff: Once you get past June 1, any player signed no longer counts toward the compensatory formula.
Connor in Iowa [via mobile]
A fun question. Is Raji still the emergency kicker?
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
I'm sure it would be Tim Masthay. Remember when Cullen Jenkins pulled a calf muscle kicking during pre-game warmups a few years back? That's why they don't want non kickers kicking.
Sam Iowa [via mobile]
What's the status of Brian Bulaga and Casey Hayward, Are they fully recovered? Will they have a shot to get there jobs back?
Rob Demovsky (4:31 PM)
Sam: Both appear to be practicing without any limitations. Buluga is wearing a big brace on his left knee but seems to be moving just fine.
Paul ( Houston) [via mobile]
Do you see an scenario where Ha Ha Clinton dix and Micah Hyde are the two starting safeties... Despite Burnetts high salary?
Rob Demovsky (4:32 PM)
Paul: I wouldn't think so, although Hyde does seem like he might be better suited to play strong safety, which is Burnett's spot. I don't think they're going to give up on Burnett just yet.
Ryan L (Minneapolis)
I realize the Packers are high on Micah Hyde, and for good reason. But I am the only one who thought he struggled covering the smaller, quicker, slot receivers in coverage? I know he has a knack for finding the football, and plays great against the run, but I'm not sure he has the speed to play the nickel. That being said, to me, he seems like a natural fit at safety. What do you think the odds are, that by the end of camp we see Clinton-Dix and Hyde the starting safeties with Burnett the odd man out. The Packers say all the right things about Burnett, and I know how much he makes, but Burnett seemed to struggle in every aspect of his game last season, and I'm starting to think he might be a bust at worst and a situational DB at best.
Rob Demovsky (4:33 PM)
Ryan: Hyde struggled against Victor Cruz of the NYG, but Cruz might be one of the top 2-3 slot receivers in the league.
Jonathan (Lawrence, KS)
Hey Rob, I believe I was the first question of the year so I'm hoping lightning strikes twice. With the hope that Burnett bounces back, Clinton-Dix being a starter from day 1 and Hyde getting more snaps on the field, where does that put Hayward? He seems much too skilled at creating turnovers to be relegated to the dime. Or are they pretty much banking on at least one of four getting hurt or under-performing? Could they possibly play Hyde a few snaps at ILB to help with the speed issue since he plays well in the box?
Rob Demovsky (4:34 PM)
Jonathan: It'll be a challenge to get all those guys on the field, even in the nickel package. If HHCD is the starter, then it leaves only one spot in the nickel for either Hyde or Hayward. In the dime, they would both play.
I attend SVSU and am a big Lions fan but I will be watching and pulling for Jeff Janis; awesome to watch him in college every Saturday. What are his odds of making the roster and getting on the field this year?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
It's tough for seventh-round picks. The two seventh-round WRs they drafted last year (Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey) didn't make it, but injuries played a big part. I'll say this, Janis has made a play or two in each practice we've seen so far.
Who controls the @notvicketchman twitter account?
Rob Demovsky (4:36 PM)
That, Tristan, is one of the biggest mysteries on the Packers' beat. If anyone knows, please share.
Ed (Escanaba, MI)
Any chance that ILB will be like last year's safety?: Ted seems to over-value some players.
Rob Demovsky (4:36 PM)
Ed: Good analogy. It could be.
Simon (Raleigh, NC)
Reading the OTA summaries there has been a lot of talk about having the best 11 on the field on Def. Based on the talent they have at OLB/DE/DB (v. ILB) do you think that will mean more fronts with only 1 ILB? For example, adding a OLB/DE closer to the line with 2 OLB, 1 ILB behind (closer to a 4-3 front) and packages with 3 safeties (Hyde, Clinton-Dix, Burnett). Seems like the best 11 would probably only have 1 ILB. Obviously, at times they will probably be forced to play 2.
Rob Demovsky (4:37 PM)
Simon: I don't see that happening. They're still using multiple inside LBs in their base and nickel packages.
Ethan (La Crosse WI)
Hi Rob, don't mean to call you out but I couldn't help but notice you didn't fully answer Rick from from Beverley MA's question about the difference in skill sets between OLBs and ILBs. Hoping you could give us some insight there.
Rob Demovsky (4:40 PM)
Ethan: ILBs typically have to have better lateral movement ability because they're playing more in space. In coverage, they're also usually responsible for running backs, whereas OLBs might be more likely to cover a tight end. As pass rushers, OLBs are more like defensive ends and have to be able to beat tackles.
If Barclay does truly become a 5-position backup like the coaches have been hinting at (not sure I want to see him at LT), does that allow the Packers to keep fewer O-linemen in favour of more recievers or running backs?
Rob Demovsky (4:41 PM)
Brandon: They'll keep eight OL, I would think. They kept seven once, but that seemed like a risk even though they only activate seven on game day.
Rob,Have you seen anything from Chase Rettig? Does he get any reps?
Rob Demovsky (4:41 PM)
Wesley: The fourth QB doesn't get many reps during team periods, so we haven't had a chance to see much yet.
lites (East of GB)
Seems to me that Barclay is a roster lock since he can seemingly play anywhere. Is this the deepest OL in a while?
Rob Demovsky (4:42 PM)
It could be, but you still have to wonder what would happen if one of the starting tackles went down. Is Sherrod ready to play? Is Barclay good enough?
Pete (Eau Claire)
Rob, when Capers is criticized, I notice that you often go to the "lack of playmakers" card to defend him. The argument is the system is sound, but Capers doesn't have the playermakers to be effective in the system. If that is the case, why in the world do the Packers stick with AJ Hawk? He is the opposite of a playmaker. And he's the middle linebacker for crying out loud. Why haven't the Packers made any attempt to get a playmaker at middle linebacker?
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
Pete: That's a valid question. Coaches sometimes like the "safe" choice and Hawk is that because he's reliable, dependable and smart if not relatively limited athletically. The problem is, you can't have 11 of those guys. I'm fine with them keeping Hawk but then you need to surround him with more playmakers. Not sure Brad Jones fits that description.
Francis again (Green Bay)
What is the playing status of Derek Sherrod right now? Is he healthy enough to be considered to be playing for a starting job or are they looking at him as just a backup? Is there a chance he doesn't make the 53 man roster?
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
He's working as the No. 2 LT right now and appears to be healthy enough to play. But can he ever play to the level he was supposed to?
Doug (Grafton, WI)
Your prediction: will Peppers' production be worth $7 million this season?
Rob Demovsky (4:46 PM)
Doug: Depends on how you define "worth it." I'm sure they'd like more than 7.5 sacks that he got last year. My guess is he'll be right around that number again, but if he's disruptive in general, then yes, I'll say he'll be worth it.
Jason (Madison, WI) [via mobile]
Could a guy like Tretter, Barclay, whoever the back-up LS is be used as the LS to save a spot on the 53?
Rob Demovsky (4:47 PM)
Jason: Every year in camp, they try out position players as snappers and every year there's a noticeable difference when compared to Brett Goode.
Nick (Portland Oregon)
I would like your thoughts on Colt Lyerla, what are his odds of being in the top 2 TE's on the Packer roster come opening day?
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Nick: I can't say for sure he'll even be on the roster, let alone be one of the top 2 TEs.
Why doesn't Nick Collins come back as an assistant coach in GB? He clearly still loves the game and it'd be great to see him on the sideline again, even without the pads on.
Rob Demovsky (4:49 PM)
It wouldn't be a chat without a Nick Collins question. Maybe he doesn't want to coach. Maybe the Packers don't think he'd be a good coach. Who knows?
Hey Rob, now that we drafted another Rodgers, does that mean #12 will have to wear A. Rodgers on the back of his jersey? What are the NFL rules regarding this?
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
Dave: No. The Packers didn't have Brad Jones, James Jones or Datone Jones use their first initial last year. It's not a requirement.
Eli (Mountaintop, PA)
Rob, 2 things. One: I'm not sure if you know based on your earlier remark, but Tim Masthay has already thrown a TD on a fake field goal. It was to Tom Crabtree. Two : What's the best quote you got from a rookie this year?
Rob Demovsky (4:52 PM)
Eli: You're right. It was against the Bears. I had forgotten about that, thanks. Don't have a standout quote yet, but Davante Adams seems like he could be a go-to quote.
Preston (Fort Wayne, IN)
Hi Rob, Do you know if the Packers have announced their training camp schedule yet? Thanks for the chat!
Rob Demovsky (4:53 PM)
Preston: All they've announced so far is that players will report on July 25 and the first practice will be July 26. No time has been announced for that first practice or any subsequent camp practices. Should be announced soon, though.
Pierre (Hartford, CT )
How does Ha Ha Clinton Dix look in OTA's, from reading the blogs looks like he is not even starting at all. Would the Packers really waste a first round pick on a needed safety for him to be back up?
Rob Demovsky (4:55 PM)
Pierre: Even if HHCD doesn't end up starting as a rookie, that doesn't mean it's a waste. He'll have some role in some of their packages, I'm sure.
Do the Packers provide housing for players during the season, or are players that make the 53 man roster or practice squad responsible for finding their own housing?
Rob Demovsky (4:56 PM)
Brad: The Packers provide house through the end of training camp, but once they make the roster/practice squad, players are on their own.
Eli (Mountaintop, PA)
Hey Rob thanks for answering my first question. Just want to clarify to I wasn't trying to be a smarta** about Masthay either. Just passing some info along. Haha Love the column. I plan on making a trip for a game in the next couple years. Would you recommend a whole week trip during the Family Night game? or a regular season game weekend in December in order to get more of the Frozen Tundra experience?
Rob Demovsky (4:58 PM)
No worries. I didn't take it that way, Eli. I appreciate the back-and-forth. If it were me, I'd come in the summer. There's plenty to do in GB. You could see a practice or two plus Family Night and take in some of the other area attractions. There's not much else to do in the winter other than the game, and if you're like me, the idea of sitting out in the cold for four hours doesn't sound like much fun. But that's just me.
Rob Demovsky (4:59 PM)
Thanks for all the questions this week. We're going to do this again next Wednesday because there's another open OTA on Tuesday. Remember, you can always find me on Twitter @RobDemovsky, where your questions are always welcome. If you want them to be considered for our weekly mailbag, use the hashtag #PackersMail.Have a great week.