Hi gang ... Welcome back to our weekly chat. It looks like we're starting to get some clarity here in the NFC North -- unless, of course, Green Bay beats Chicago and Minnesota loses at Tampa Bay this week, which would give us three 5-5 teams. Anyway, onward and upward ...
Hi Kevin, I am huge 49ers fan and I can't stand yesterday loss. Whoever was responsible (Martz?) for calling 2 running plays with 20sec to go and no timeout should be fired. Horrible loss...
Martz calls the plays, but Singletary ha told him he wants to run the ball more. So was Martz sticking it to the new boss? Who knows.
What is the latest on the Pat and Kevin Williams' situation? I heard they were going to be suspended by last week, is there a chance they will win their appeal? What are the Viking's chances of keeping their momentum if the Williams Wall falls?
At this point, we're still waiting on their appeal. It's been a week-to-week thing. I would imagine we would know pretty soon (as in the next 24 hours) if they were going to be suspended for the Tampa Bay game. Seems unlikely. Assuming they are suspended at some point, it will be a huge blow that might be difficult to overcome.
Kevin, with Nick Barnett out for the rest of the season do you trhink the coaches will keep Aj and Brady in their linebacker postions and have either Brandon chiller or Desmond Bishop move into Nicks postion?
The easiest answer would be to put Bishop in there. But if the idea is to put your best players on the field, they would have to make Chillar a full-time starter. Might not be a bad idea to put Hawk in the middle if he can handle the mid-season adjustment. We should know for sure tomorrow.
I know our defense had gotten a lot of heat lately but Sundays loss goes on Wrecks Glassman. When you repeatedly fail to convert on 3rd & manageable and miss open receivers, you put your defense in bad position. Considering the Titans started in Bears territory the whole first half, we did a great job at limiting them to only 7 points.
Fair points. But don't forget to give some credit to Tennessee's defense. They are really, really good.
How bad of a call was the first safety in the Vikes/Packers game? Rogers was obviously trying to complete the pass and the replay showed a receiver right there also! It cost the Pack the game. If Crosby makes the fg at end of regulation, it doesnt even matter, but still, that call cost the Pack the game. Packers D was as good, special teams was dominant, and offense struggled. What would it take to bring Brett back, he would never have us in this mess to begin with!
Yeah, I don't think anyone got a satisfactory explanation on that play. I will say this: I would be surprised if Aaron Rodgers knew where Tory Humphrey was. I think he was just trying to get the ball out of the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
Kevin, what is the problem with Vikings' special teams? Is it coaching, personnel, or a little of both?
I don't see a lot of world-beaters in the coverage guys. They really miss Heath Farwell and Vinny Ciurciu is pretty average.
Am I gonna have a team anymore after I threw them all under the bus during that press conference?
That was your choice. Maybe it was a motivational tool, I don't know. But McCarthy usually plays things pretty close to the vest, so I was surprised to hear him refuse to blame himself for the issues in Sunday's game. Even if he that was his honest opinion, why not just say you win and lose as a team?
Do you have any idea why the playing of loud music is allowed at the Metrodome during kick-offs while the play is in progress?
It's not supposed to be. The music is supposed to end when the play clock starts.
at some point in the third quarter on sunday AP and Taylor combined for something like 230 yards, while everyone else on the offense combined for about 20. What is it going to take to drill into the coaches heads that we need to have a two tailback backfield? I did see a few plays with AP at wideout, thats a good start.
Yes, I've been pushing for that as well. They're starting to do more of it.
The Blog is great. After watching the Bears' game, I was wondering if you think Grossman is too short to play in the NFL?
No, I don't think he's too short. There are some other deficiencies, but height isn't his big problem.
Hey Kevin, originally from Minneapolis and have been reading your stuff for ages. Is there any chance that Brad Childress puts the Wildcat in with Chester Taylor getting the snap? We've seen him throw the ball, and its obvious that the Vikings quarterback corps shouldn't even get a touch.
You're making me feel old. I would say the Vikings are one of the least likely teams in the NFL to try the wildcat. Not much has changed schematically in this offense over the past three years.
Denver signed Tatum "I didnt steal your bag" Bell, today. Good move?
Is it official? If so, not as bad of a move as you might think. Bell had a lot of success in Denver and they knew him before RudiGate. They're in a position to give his character an honest assessment. The bigger question is if he can help them on the field. He wasn't very good last season or in training camp.
So you said in this week's power rankings, something is missing in Green Bay...care to explain your thoughts?
They're just not smooth, at least not since the very beginning of the season. Maybe it's a transition year, I don't know. But when you consistently have a handful of mistakes that spoil a game -- stupid penalties, turnovers, coaching decisions -- you wonder if there isn't a disconnect between what they're trying to do and what they're capable of.
What are your odds the Lions go 0-16? I'm saying 70/30 they go winless.
I'm going to go out on a limb (ha!) and say they'll win one ... somehow. ... They've been close a couple times already.
Read an article today that said Kenechi Udeze could be ready to play again by next season. Do you really think this is a possibility?
He is definitely on track for a recovery by this spring, which is the most important thing. As for playing, you can't predict the condition of a person's body after going through what Kenechi has gone through. We're wishing him the best.
Who in the NFC north has the best chance of winning a playoff game, assuming they got to one? As much as it pains me to say it, I dont think the vikings can squeeze out a playoff win with all the mistakes they make in the course of a game.
Interesting question. I might use it later this week. Check the Have at it feature on the blog. At this point, I don't see any NFC North team being very relevant in the playoffs.
Since "change" seems to be gold this year, what is one thing you would "change" about the Packers as the enter this stretch run? (If you say whip out the 5 wr set with more frequency, we're on the same page)
I'd change them into having better pass protection. Not sure how to do that, but that would be my campaign promise.
Is Peterson the most exciting player you have had the privilege of covering?
Randy Moss was up there, too.
What is the percent chance that the Vikings have 3 entirely different QBs on their roster next year?
Interesting. I'd say it depends on the coach. If Childress is back, it's likely that at least 2 of the 3 will be back.
No matter what anyone says about Rex or Lovie's defensive scheme the Bears struggles this year fall on three players. Tommie Harris, Adewale Ogunleye, and Mark Anderson. Those are the 3 guys paid exclusively to get to the QB and make the cover-2 work and none of them have done it.
Very fair assessment. Anderson has been especially invisible. Alex Brown has three sacks but I wouldn't say he's terrorizing anybody, either.
Kevin with this Cassel clown winning games much in the way I did in my earlier days, what's the likelihood that the notion that the Pats might not need me or not need me at my present salary is at least somewhere in the dark recesses of Belichick's mind?
after such a mixed performance this year, will the Wilf family be less likely to chase talent in free agency in the future?
A lot will depend on how the season turns out. Sometimes free agents impact the second half more than the first half because of the time it takes to get acclimated. The Wilfs are pretty aggressive, though, and I doubt they'll ever put the brakes on the spending.
who you got in the big game this weekend packers or bears?
I'm off the board until we find out if Kyle Orton is playing.
Orton is saying he has a good chance of playing, but how much of that is just to keep the Pack guessing? I need to know so I can plan my Sunday elsewhere if Rex plays.
You probably won't get anything definitive. But in talking to people who saw Orton warm up last Sunday, there is genuine optimism that he has a good chance to play at Lambeau.
Who says it's too early for xmas!! This year, all I want is the Packers to throw their loads of cap room at Albert Haynesworth in the offseason. They have both the glaring need and the money. What do you think?
That wouldn't exactly be a typical Ted Thompson move, but I like the sound of it.
is Antoine Winfield playing the best of any corner in the NFC?
Charles Woodson is right up there as well.
Kevin, do you think this is goint to be Matt Birk's final year with the Vikings, and if so will he play somewhere else or take the spot that is waiting for him on the Power Trip with Mike Morris?
Unless Clear Channel matches the money he would make in the NFL, I would think Matt would keep playing ... for someone.
What do you like more about this job with ESPN then the other one you had with the Star Tribune?
Lots of things. One of the best parts is the variety of covering four teams. The NFL routine can get stale sometimes, so having four times as many storylines is really refreshing.
Especially if Orton isn't geared up at Lambeau, we should see Matt Forte alot on sunday. Could he put up gaudy numbers like AP did or will the Pack recover?
I don't think you can fix something like run defense in a week's time. Losing Nick Barnett won't help matters, even though he wasn't having an outstanding season.
Hester nearly broke a punt and a kickoff against the Titans. Racked up 50yrds receiving and should've had a long TD after beating Finnegan on a route... will to be one of the smart ones and say that Hester to WR is going to work out alright?
The receiver part has worked out well already. As for the returns, or lack thereof, we're already more than halfway through the season. Based on the law of averages, how many touchdown returns could he realistically squeeze out?
If Orton is playing, who will win Bears or Packers?
I think the Bears would have a pretty good chance.
Would you still classify Aaron Rodgers as the best QB, in the division?
It's neck-and-neck with Orton.
Do I regain my starting job when I get healthy?
I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you might have played your last down for the Lions.
What are the chances that Tauscher and Clifton are with the Packers next year? Tausch is playing just ok and his contract is coming up. Cliffy has had a good game or two but has mostly been marginal at best.
It's hard to replace both tackles in the same season, but Clifton seems to be breaking down physically. They'll have a tough decision there.
Would you rather have one of the Lions starting QBs or Tarvaris Jackson under cneter if you had to pick one?
Yikes. I think I'd go to the Wildcat if those were my options.
Is there anything stopping the Lions from hiring Floyd Reese now? If he's our next GM why not get him in here ASAP so he can start looking at the guys we have and figuring out what the biggest needs to address in the off-season are?
There are no rules that would prevent it, but it seems pretty clear they want to see what Martin Mayhew can do.
Worst draft pick..T-Jack in round 2 or Justin Harrell in round 1?
First-round picks are gold. But let's give Harrell until the end of the year before we bust him up.
outside the division, but why are the chargers struggling so much? Did the loss of Merriman hurt them that much in terms of leadership?
I don't know all of the answers there, but the defense was pretty slow to adjust even last year. They were the last team to try to stop Adrian Peterson with seven men in the box.
Is Greg Jennings the best receiver in the NFCN? Isnt he due for a big contract?
He's been the best so far, yes. His contract expires after the 2009 season and it's expected he will get a new deal before then.
An underrated storyline in Chicago right now is the Brandon Lloyd. He seemed to spark the Bears offense and Orton's confidence early but is he on the verge of being one and done here? How long this injury is taking is doing nothing to quite the rumors about his commitment and toughness.
Agreed. Sometimes when something seems too good to be true, it is.
did you see me flying down the middle all day last sunday? Even when I wasnt getting to Rodgers, it was still great pressure. Will I keep a job on this team next year with the return of Henderson?
Right now you're trying out for a job -- any job -- with any team next season.
How's Nick Collins playing?
He's playing the ball as well as any safety in the NFC right now.
Who is the best Offensive Tackle in the NFC north today?
Interesting. I don't think anyone has stood out. One guy I would point out is Chicago LT John St. Clair, who was supposed to be short-term replacement but is doing well enough to keep rookie Chris Williams on the bench.
Is Leslie Frazier still a hot head coaching candidate or has he cooled off recently?
At this time last year no one was mentioning his name, either. He's such a low-key personality that he isn't going to make many lists like that. But a team could do a lot worse than hiring him.
You've answered like TWO Lions questions in this whole chat...granted it's better than the zero we are used to, but what gives?? (That's my Lions question, really.)
Haven't gotten many. Have fans given up?
Is there any developments with Chris Williams? It would be nice to see the first rounder get some action
It's hard for a team with playoff aspirations to rotate a rookie left tackle into the lineup. That might have to wait until next summe ... or an injury to someone else.
Where do you see Darren Sharper playing next year? Do you think the vikes bring him back?
I'm not sure where he will be playing, but I would guess it won't be Minnesota. Tyrell Johnson likely will take over for him next season.
Care the comment that the Vikes are 4-1 with McKinnie
They're also 5-2 with Frerotte.
St. Clair? Really? That says more about the state of LT in the NFCN than Orton being considered for best QB says about that position in this division.
I don't think he's been the best necessarily, but he's definitely played better than most people thought he would.
kind of an abstract question, but who do you think was the last player to come out of the draft and have such an immediate and profound impact on a team since Adrian Peterson. Was it Moss in 98?
In terms of the league, Tomlinson had 1,200-some yards his rookie year and 1,600-some his second. It doesn't happen too often, though.
"was martz sticking it to his new boss?" are you kidding me. or was it the ref's not telling the 49ers that they were moving the ball back and then started the clock at 4 sec. that was prolly it....
I think the question was who decided to call a running play. Whether it was the 2 or the 4-yard line, it wasn't wise. Especially if you're going to give it to someone besides Frank Gore. OK everyone, thanks so much for the questions. Chat with you next week.