Hi everyone. I'd like to extend a special welcome all of our guests today. :) As you know, three of the four NFC North teams have a bye this weekend. Detroit hosts Washington at Ford Field. Good seats still available. Let's get to it. We'll hit all of our usual topics, which I'm sure will disappoint some of you.
Does Lovie Smith need to fire Bob Babich?
That's starting to be the consensus among Bears fans, that's for sure. The fact of the matter is their defense hasn't been as good under Babich as it was under Rivera. Is that Babich's fault? Not all of it. Age and injuries have played a part, as has, frankly, the spread of the Tampa-2 defense. So many people play it that offenses are getting better at poking its holes.
I wish Heath Farwell was healthy.
That would certainly help. Farwell has been the Vikings' best cover man for a couple years now but has missed the season with an ACL. Whether it's because of Farwell or other reasons, the Vikings simply don't trust their coverage teams right now.
Hey Kevin, Huge fan of the blog. With Williams comming back for the Vikings after the bye, what will happen with Tyrell Johnson? It looked to me that he was starting to play well the past couple of weeks.
You're talking about Madieu Williams. I agree. Johnson has played well. But the Vikings paid Williams too much money to sit the bench once he gets healthy. I believe it was $13 million guaranteed.
Orton completed 133 of his 283 yards to his tight-ends. How much of the Vikings struggles against the pass was due to the injury to EJ Henderson?
E.J. has never been at his best covering tight ends. I attribute it more to the Bears having two really good pass-catching tight ends in Olsen and Clark.
Kevin, if Al harris is cleared to play against the Titains will Tramon Williams go back to playing in the nickel and dime package then?
I suppose it depends on Harris' conditioning level when he returns. It certainly makes sense to put Harris back at cornerback, where he can maximize his physical style. But Williams has proved he should be on the field a lot.
I was wondering why the Bears wore the orange jerseys this past Sunday?
They have worn them once a year in recent years. All NFL teams have the option of using a third "alternate" jersey.
How many more games until Tarvaris Jackson is back in. I'm sick of seeing gus make the same mistakes jackson got canned for. Gus has no future as a viking so why not put in the young guy to learn and gain experience?
Ah, I figured it would come to this at some point. The Vikings didn't trust Jackson to run their offense. Look back at the Colts game and see how much they DIDN'T let Jackson do. No reason to put him in there to be a caretaker. It doesn't make sense to use Frerotte if the season is lost ... unless you've already made your long-term decision to look elsewhere next season and have given up on Jackson. I think the Vikings are pretty close to that point.
Dear Kevin, I was just wondering if you think Drew Stanton will start a game this year for the Lions? It is clearly obvious that the Lions don't want to win any games so why not see what Stanton can do. That way we will know if we need to draft a Qb in the first round.
I would imagine at some point, but he could use a few more weeks -- or months -- of practice time.
Will Lovie and Babich ever address our defensive scheme? The cover 2 doesnt work without pressure up front.
This is true, and I think it's the biggest issue the Bears are facing right now. Have you even heard Ogunleye's name since Week 1? I can't remember many plays he's made. Ultimately they'll have to decide whether to blitz more and leave their secondary exposed.
What are your thoughts on Greg Olsen? He seems to be developing a strong connection with Kyle Orton. Do you seem him as a top 10 tight end at the end of the season?
Absolutely. I've thought for a while now that Olsen would emerge as the Bears' No. 1 receiver. He has all the tools and Orton seems to know where to find him.
Do you consider Charles Woodson as one of the premier corners in the league? If so, what does this say about Oakland being a black-hole for talent? (Randy Moss, Warren Sapp, Javon Walker, etc..)
Yes. Would you want to play in Oakland right now? Although in Sapp's case, I think he was largely done as a big-time player when he got to Oakland.
If the Packers and the Bears were completely healthy, who do you see winning the division?
I started the season saying Green Bay and so I'm going to stick with that for now. Of course, it's a hypothetical. Both teams are banged up.
Any chance we will see more than 2 plays with both Peterson and Taylor in the backfield? Thought they should have done it last year as well and it seems like it would open things up all over if they can figure out how to pass out of it, since both RBs are decent receivers.
Actually, they had three! Don't shortchange them. Three plays, two touchdowns. That tells me they should keep looking for more opportunities. Doesn't mean they will.
Hey Kevin. What do you think will happen to Ryan Grants touches this season if he continues to produce as lackluster as he has so far. Do they have to stick with him no matter what or do you see someone else taking the reigns at RB for the Green&Gold?
Seems to me like he's coming around. There definitely is no one on the roster who would seem to be an upgrade. The last two games, except for his turnovers, have been pretty productive.
Kevin: Two questions: 1. Who is the guy that was at the Pats game last night, and is normally in the endzone in Minny? 2. Are the Vikings the worst-coached time in the NFL this year, or the worst-coached team in history?
Didn't see it, but I'm guessing you're talking about Syd Davy, the guy who used to catch Moss in the end zone at the Metrodome. My understanding is that he and Moss are still pretty tight. As for your second question, probably a bit extreme. But I get your point.
How Many losses before the Lions fire Marinelli?
I'd say 16. One of the side issues here is there is no obvious candidate to replace Marinelli on staff during the season.
hi good day kevin, do you think the packers are going to have al harris and atary igby after the bye? also how do you rate the arod's play this season
At this point, it sounds like Harris and Bigby will be back after the bye. As for Rodgers, I think he's been as a good as could have been expected and has shown some toughness playing through the sprained shoulder.
You've watched Childress in action, what's your take? Seems like he can't carry over his knowledge to the playing field, which leads to an undisciplined and sloppy team...
I'm not sure if it's that. Sometimes I wonder if some players are overburdened with minutiae. Kicking out of bounds. Trying to field the ball on the sideline before stepping out. Sometimes it seems there is a focus on the fringe things a football team should execute and not enough on the basics.
Why does Rod Marinelli answer almost every question at a press conference with "I'll have to look at the tape"? Isn't it his job to know what is going on? I am getting sick of his coach speak.
Awfully convenient. Although I will say that immediately after games, most coaches say that. If they're still saying it on Monday or Wednesday, they're evading.
Could the Houston at Minnesota game be blacked out? Any insight as to how many tickets need to be sold?
The St. Paul paper reported there are about 5,000 seats remaining. That's a tough number, but not out of the question.
Kevin Which team is better today, the Bears or Packers?
It's pretty close. But I've liked Green Bay's roster from the start of training camp so I'll stick with them for the time being.
Your former rival newspaper, the Pioneer Press, reported the Browns turned down Vikes offer of two 1st rounders for Brady Quinn. If this is true, isn't Savage an idiot.
I saw that report. One thing that's missing is when the offer apparently took place. All I can say is I haven't been able to find anyone to confirm it.
Kevin, in the preseason we heard much about the Packers more aggresive and creative blitzing...but they've done little of that to help their weak pass rush. Is this a direct consequence of injuries in the secondary?
I don't think so. Even before the injuries, they weren't blitzing. My guess is that they just decided not to go through with those plans.
I've watched every Rivera and Babich game (and a lot of others). The big difference is blitzing. Rivera simply didn't do it as much as Babich. I think you'd see 4-5 blitzes a game with him. a CB dog, an FS blitz, so on.... but Briggs and Urlacher would never be up on the line feigning blitz as they do now. They were virtually always 2-3 yards behind the D Line. I think such a scheme would have been more appropriate in earlier years.
Well, one variable here is that under Rivera, the Bears got better pass rush from their front four. For whatever reason, the line isn't getting the same kind of push this year under Babich.
Why isn't Marinelli playing more young guys? Kevin Smith, Dizon, Cherilous, and the young d-linemen need to play. The Lions aren't going anywhere this year and everyone will admit it except the coaches, play the young guys and see what you have for the future.
That's a strong point, but Marinelli has said he is trying to fight a sense of entitlement and won't play rookies just to see them play. He wants them to earn spots by performance. I think he's taking it a bit far in some cases, because players can only improve by playing. But it's a nice thought.
In all honestly, Ryan Grant is not running as well as he did last year, especially his yards per carry. If Grant continues to put the ball on the turf, why wouldn't the Packers brass utilize Brandon Jackson more in the running game.
Well, they paid Grant a decent bit of money to be their main guy. I think Jackson has proved he can be a decent third-down guy and backup, but he's not someone I want to hand the ball to 25 times a game.
Hey Kevin, Can the packers expect to get anything out of Justin Harrell this season? Will he ever live up to the 16th pick? Thanks
We should find out pretty soon. There certainly have been a lot of injuries already. But if he can establish himself over the second half of the season, which will be difficult after missing all of the offseason and training camp, then he will have been worth the wait.
What players do the Lions have that you can build a team around? I see Johnson, Sims, Bullocks, and maybe Kevin Smith (he has looked good in limited action). There aren't any others that I see.
Maybe Cory Redding. I neglected to mention him a while back.
Why haven't the Vikings used Aundrae Allison as a kick returner this season? He seemed pretty darn good at it last year.
Very good question. I think they like Hicks' consistency there, but Allison clearly was a gamebreaker.
Really, Kevin, I'm proud of you.
Thanks Sid. I know who I can count on it tough times.
When healthy, where do you rank Peanut and Vash amongst the corner tandems in the NFL? In truth, I'd put only the Eagles (Asante and Sheldon Brown) at their level.
The interesting thing is that when Vasher returns, he'll have to split time with Graham. I don't think they're very high on Vasher these days.
Do you think Grossman and/or JP Losman might get looks from either Det or Minn to start there next season?
Maybe Losman. I think any team would have a hard time selling Grossman as an alternative.
would tyrell johnson be a better nickelback than charles gordon, once madieu williams comes back healthy?
I actually think Gordon does a pretty good job.
Its not a coincidence that Grant's productivity started with my return to the lineup.
Interesting. I think it has as much to do with the fact that Grant's hamstring finally started feeling better.
God, I'd love to be in purple right now... what do you think?
Hasn't been a lot of success for quarterbacks in this system. Just letting you know.
i wouldnt call grant's performance against the seahawks 'productive', he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry. he just got the ball a lot. that is cedric benson bad right there.
Fair point. When they get back from the bye, he won't have any more excuses.
Hey Kevin, love the blog. Do you think that Detroit will try to get any high profile free agents, or will they just try to build through the draft?
If they're smart, they'll draft and draft and draft. Too many holes to fill through free agency.
Am I learning anything on the sideline? Should I pack my bags for the CFL?
The Canadian dollar is doing well.
When am I going to get back on the field and catch a few passes?
I have no idea. And I don't get why you were put in uniform Sunday if you weren't going to play.
OK, thanks everyone for joining us today. I'm sorry I couldn't get to everyone's questions. We'll chat next week.