Hello everyone. We're live here from blizzard central in Minnesota. We're prepared to talk playoffs, coaching changes, end-of-season gripes and whatever other NFC north topics you'd like to broach. So let's get to it.
should goodell step in and do something about the lions? similar to david stern's 'advice' to the knicks (hiring donnie walsh). ford field is going to be a morgue next season. as a fan, it is no longer possible to justify the expense and/or time away from your family to watch the lions.
I've heard that analogy before, Mark. I'm not sure it's an apples-and-apples comparison. I don't know all of the details surrounding the Knicks' situation, but I have to imagine part of the issue Stern had was the personal conduct of the people in the front office and how it was reflecting on the league. Of all the things you can say about the Lions, I'm not aware of any character issues in the front office. The commissioner can promote character but I don't think he can -- or should -- legislate competence. That's unfairly taking sides.
A little snow does not make a blizzard!
I'm looking out the window right now and seeing nothing but white. That's a blizzard in my book.
As of right now, the Green Bay Packers have the 9th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Do you think they should take a cornerback with that pick?
I'm not sure if anyone has started stacking their board yet. All things equal, I take a defensive lineman or an offensive tackle with that pick.
Kevin, If we listen to all the "experts", who change their opinions each week with the shifting of the wind, the Vikes have no chance in the post-season. This despite already beating the two top seeds in the NFC. I thought a strong run game, stopping the run, and a sound defense were the cornerstones of playoff success -- does T-Jack's presence really negate all of those factors?
Well, it does make some people nervous. If he plays like he did against Arizona, then it's a non-issue. But if he gets flustered by the Eagles' blitz packages, as he appeared to be at times last week against New York, then it could be trouble. Not many teams can survive a down game by their quarterback in the playoffs.
do you have any update(s) on the status of ticket sales for the Vikes game? I'm shocked with the apathy of the season tix holders.
Since yesterday, 6,000 tickets have been sold. I presume that means 14,000 are left. You would have to assume there will be at least one extension to Friday.
Kevin, With the Packers giving Winston Moss premission to interview fo the Rams head coaching does it mean that the Packers will be shaking up the coaching staff?
I'm not sure if one has to do with another, Kimberly. It's good business to allow your assistants to interview for head coaching jobs. The interesting thing is that Moss could also be a candidate to replace Bob Sanders if the Packers fire him as defensive coordinator.
Hey Kevin - Bears ?....Don't you think signing a possession wr like TJ Housh from Cincy would be perfect for the Bears...It allows Hester to strecth the field, Housh to work the middle of the field and Olsen to be a perfect safety valve.
I think they need someone, for sure. How about trading for Anquan Boldin?
What is the number one priority for the Bears headinging into this years draft?
They need defensive playmakers, in my opinion, at any position. The only guy who should be untouchable is Lance Briggs.
Pat Williams - despite what he says, do you think he'll be playing this Sunday? At first I was a little miffed that I have to wait until Sunday to see the Vikings, but the extra day (even hours?) gives Big Pat extra recovery time. Will it matter?
I think he's got a chance, but I also wonder whether the Eagles' passing offense will kind of make Pat Williams moot in this game.
Would the Packers really move Al Harris this offseason? Is Tramon Williams a good enough corner to replace him?
If I'm the Packers, I don't move him unless I'm sure he's on a significant downslide. There just aren't enough good cornerbacks in the league to be trading one of them. But Harris said during thes season that he thought he would be traded. There is a dropoff to Williams, but not too steep. Maybe the Packers think they can plug a few other holes by shipping out one of their assets.
I'm a big fan of the NFC North blog, keep up the good work! If I'm Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, it seems I would blitz Tavaris Jackson 100% of the time on Sunday? Anything less would be grounds for firing...
Well, I don't know about 100 percent. But I agree. I'd get after him with everything in the arsenal and see how he handles it.
Will there be a blackout on Sunday?
If I had to guess, I'd say no. But a lot still has to happen.
Poor clock management at the end of the first half and end of the game. The Vikings win in spite of Childress. Can't bode well for the playoffs...
I'll say this, Dave. You can't make those kinds of mistakes in the playoffs.
Kevin- I was one of the legion of Bears fans that left Reliant Stadium disappointed on Sunday. After seeing the Bears in person, I think Lovie Smith is crazy if he really believes the Bears "are close" as he said in the postgame. The game was a microcosm of the Bears problems all year: no pass rush, trouble preventing the pass over the middle on the deep and intermediate routes, and zero pass game w/ the WRs. I hope Jerry Angelo and Lovie dont use the 9-7 record as an excuse not to make the obvious and necessary changes. Thoughts?
Agreed on all counts. That's why I thought it was a bit concerning today when Angelo said his biggest priority is at quarterback. I agree that the quarterback is the most important position, but I think the Bears have bigger problems than Kyle Orton.
Did the Vikings and Eagles already play? It seems like the media is reporting that the Vikings have already lost.
Yes. A few of us jumped in a time machine and stole a quick glance. On the way back, we stopped at the grassy knoll. ... Seriously, it does seem that the Eagles and Falcons are the NFC wild-card favorites right now. Luckily for everyone, the games get decided on the field.
Will there be a QB available when their turn in the 2009 draft comes that might be a worthwhile choice for the Vikings?
Doesn't matter, JB. I see no scenario in which they take a quarterback with their No. 1 overall pick.
Will Kyle Orton be the bears QB next season?
He will at the start of next season. But based on what Jerry Angelo said today, he'll be on short leash.
Why would any NFL assistant coach take the Lions job? Shouldn't they look outside the box or something?
It would have to be someone who really, really wants a job and isn't sure he'll get another offer. That's a team that needs 3-4 years of good drafting to get into a good position. How many coaches get that much time?
I'm wondering if the eagles are going to try and exploit peterson's less-than-steller blocking abilities that cause him to come out on third downs. With all of their exotic blitzing do you see it as a possibility that peterson might see less playing time for passing plays?
That's an excellent point Rob, and something we'll be addressing later this week. Chester Taylor is definitely a better pass blocker. Taylor plays in most third-down situations, but will it change whether Peterson can be used on second-down plays where the Vikings are in the shotgun? If I'm the Eagles, I definitely come at him in those situations.
hi Kev....who do you got in the eagles-vikes game? oh by the way, it is 71 here today in so cal.
That's not what I wanted to hear, Mike. ... As for the Eagles-Vikings, and this isn't a cop-out, I want to see what state of mind the Vikings are in this week. If they're tight, you can expect a long day for them at the Metrodome.
Hey Kevin, so let's say the Eagles lose this weekend vs the Vikes. You think McNabb is returning to Philly next year or should Zygi whip out the checkbook again the bring him to Minny?
That's a good question Jeremy. If I had to guess, I say he's back. Zygi won't just have to whip out his checkbook. He'll have to give up more draft choices after already bankrupting the 2008 draft on Jared Allen.
Jackson is more mobile but Gus may be able to handle the big game pressure better. Who would you start Sunday if you had the choice?
And Gus is actually more prone to interceptions. But all things equal, I go with the veteran.
Kevin - With the Lions promoting the front office guys to president and GM, do you think it is odd that all of the candidates for coach so far are up and coming coaches with no experienced retreads? To me it looks like a consolidation of power move, but what do you think?
That's one way to see it, definitely. Lewand and Mayhew want someone who can "work with them." That's another way of saying someone who won't get too big for his britches. But more than anything, I look at this as a cashflow thing. It doesn't look to me that the Lions want to spend any money right now.
Kevin, percent chance Leslie Frazier is coaching the Lions next year?
For his sake, I hope he isn't. He'll get a better opportunity one day.
And maybe even this offseason.
Is Winston Moss a legit candidate for Rams head coaching job, or just a rooney rule qualifier.
Just based on his experience level, I'd say he's a long-shot. But I can't tell you how many people I've had tell me what a promising prospect he is.
When are you giving out NFC North Awards?
Not sure that I will, Mike. ... But if I do, it'll probably be next month. Do you think it's worth it? Are NFC North award relevant?
Should I be polishing up my resume?
Yes. And don't start any home renovation projects, either.
So Kevin, am I happy with all the money I spent duirng last season's free agency?
Based on your sprint onto the field after the game Sunday, I'd say yes.
I was thinking about the Lions roster and the only players that I think are keepers are Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith. Cliff Avril and Gosder showed a little something and they are young so I would probably keep them too. Anyone else you would add to that list?
Probably Raiola. Jason Hanson for sure. Maybe Bullocks.
will i ever get any credit?
I'm sure the CitiBank, Bank of America and both Freddie and Fannie would be willing to issue you a line.
Do you see Correll Buckhalter making any impact on this game after his great performance against Dallas? How about Reggie Brown?
Both guys, yes. The Vikings have improved their pass defense this year but are still vulernable to quick hitters.
Kevin.... Any news on the Ray Edwards injury and is Robison up to the challenge if he needs to start at DE?
Nothing new today. In my opinion, there would be very little dropoff from Edwards to Robison.
Please tell me that you are hearing rumors that Ted Thompson is ready to open the wallet and bring in an impact free agent if any are available when free agency starts! Thanks!
Thompson did that a few years ago with Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, right? So it's not totally unprecedented. But there has been no indications to this point.
Kevin, it is better to take the head coach job for the Lions than for the Raiders, that's for sure!
Most definitely. The Lions aren't third-world. They're just third-division.
Who do you see being cap casualties on the Bears? I was thinking Adawale and Tait might not be back. Maybe Vasher too.
Definitely Vasher. Tait might be asked to renegotiate, and he'd be wise to do it. Ogunleye might be worth taking to training camp.
Do you think it would be wise for the Bears to try and go after a WR in FA someone like TJ Houshmandzadeh?
It doesn't sound like that would fit under their philosophy. And while I think they need a big-time receiver, they need multiple defensive players more.
"But all things equal, I go with the veteran." I may be wrong, but I think both TJack and Gus are veterans. Is one of those two a rookie?
I guess I don't think of Tarvaris as a veteran. In either event, Frerotte is more of a veteran.
Assuming McNabb leaves Philly. More likely scenario, McNabb with the Vikings or McNabb with the Bears?
Interesting. The Bears might be more interested, given Jerry Angelo's comments today.
Kevin, It sounds like the Packers have a lot of faith in the young o-linemen to take over for Clifton and Tauscher. Do you think the Packers front office feels they have the 2009 starting O-line on the team now?
They shouldn't. It's hard enough to break in one new player on the line. But you're talking about potentially having two guys start that have never done so in the NFL: Sitton and Giacomini. I think it would be worth their while to at least see who is out there when free agency begins.
Sounds like Angelo likes me a lot. Would I be a good fit as D-Cord in Chicago?
Ideally, you'd be assistant head coach/defensive line.
Will Brad Childress will lighten up and get some humor? He seems so inanimate out there.
He has a very dry sense of humor that doesn't go over very well in big groups. But I can confirm I've laughed at things he's said before.
What about Ernie Sims? He's pretty solid.
Yes. Add him to the list.
Kevin, please settle an argument for me. My friend says Dan Orvlosky is a better QB than Kyle Orton. Is it safe to say Orton is no Peyton Manning, but I am pretty sure he is better than Orvlosky.
Based on the first half of the season, Orton is the easy answer. After the second half, it's pretty close. But I'd go with Orton because of arm strength.
In your opinion, do you think the lions should trade their draft pick or use it?
Trade. They have far too many holes to fill.
eagles fan are snapping up those tickets!
Interestingly, I saw a story on the Philadelphia FOX TV station web site about Eagles fans buying them. I wonder how many people will actually make the trip.
I really hope you aren't being paid for your commentary at ESPN. The final week Power Rankings and all you say is the obvious, "Vikings await first home playoff game in 8 years this weekend"? Wow, mind blowing analysis. Thanks KS.
Of course the awards are relevant. We will finally have you settle the best kicker debate, which I believe Longwell won on Sunday. Also, how hard were you laughing at the Chris Kluwe story?
Ok, then let's go for it. I'll let you know when they're coming. As for Kluwe .. uh, er, well...
I have a follow up related to an earlier question that you answered. What position do you think the Vikings will address with their first round draft choice? Would they consider trading it again this coming draft?
I could see them trading, yes. You never know where the value is going to be, but personally I think they will enter the offseason needing a right tackle more than anything else.
Think the Lions have any interest in Derek Anderson? Not that I think the Browns need to give up on Anderson just yet but I'd think the Lions with excess draft choices could take a flier.
Possibly. But I'll be interested to see if the Lions actually spend any money on the free agent market. I know Anderson would be via trade, but they'd still have to pay his salary.
If you had to pick the biggest need for each of the teams in the NFC North whether player or coach, going into next season, what would you pick?
Minnesota -- right tackle Chicago -- defensive playmaker Green Bay -- defensive lineman Detroit -- offense, defense, special teams (except placekicker)
Were you laughin at Chilly or with him?
Knew that was coming.
...bankrupting the 2008 draft for Allen? C'mon, the Jaguars bankrupted their draft for unproven talent. Allen has been great on the field and in the locker room. What more might you ask for? Great deal to get him!
Agreed. But the fact is they didn't have much of a draft because they used those picks on Allen. That's fine. They got their money's worth and good value. But you don't want to do that too often or you'll have too many gaps in your player pipeline.
Considering Jerry Angelo's draft history, what is your opinion on the man as a talent evaluator?
I actually think he's a solid talent evaluator. But there are a lot of different parts of the puzzle. Not only is it identifying good players. It's finding good players that fit your current system and ones that your coaching staff can develop.
I believe the bears need to start with there o line in the offseason instead of addressing def playmakers. Tillman is young and vasher was hurt also the result of the def line being terrible put urlacher in some terrible situations over the season
Offensive line is another area of need, but I don't think it is more important than the defense. I don't see Vasher coming back and Tillman isn't that young.
In your opinion, who would win in an exhibition the University of Michigan or the 2008 Detroit Lions?
Both of 'em had down years, huh?
What are the chances Chilli's been saving some version of the direct snap to AP for the playoffs?
I guess it's possible but I've always thought the Vikings would be one of the last teams to use the Wildcat. Not Childress' style.
What is it about Jackson that has you so uncomfortable? He's still young and developing.
"Young" and "developing" aren't two words you want to hear when you're talking about a playoff game.
whoo would be a better fit in detroit to turn things around? Parcells, Cowhers, Jason Garrett, or Steve Spagnola?
Personally, I think they need a Pacells type who will change the culture from the top down. But that's definitely not going to happen.
OK, let's do one more question here.
With O-line and D-line being the Packers biggest needs, will it surprise anyone when Ted Thompson drafts a WR or RB with the #9 pick?
Best available, right?!
OK, thanks everyone. Have a great and safe New Years!