Hi everyone. Welcome to the first full week of the NFC North offseason. That means only one thing: It's speculation time. We'll delve into it on all fronts for the next hour. Let's get it on.
Did you expect more from Ryan Grant this season?
Steiny, the one thing I think everyone thought they would see more of is explosive plays from Grant. He was a home run hitter in 2007, but this season much more of a grinder. In fact, that 57-yarder in the season opener against Minnesota was by far his longest of the season. Seen through that lens, I think his season was a disappointment.
How would you compare leslie frazier to mike tomlin? Will tomlin's success help out frazier when it comes to landing a head coaching job?
From a personality standpoint, they couldn't be much different. Tomlin is extremely outgoing and, at least when he was a coordinator, big on motivation and salesmanship. Frazier is far more laid back, much more even-keeled. But both are smart and good defensive schemers. I don't think Tomlin's success will help Frazier too much, though. Two different guys. Two very different approaches.
Kevin: Love your work. The Vikings obvious offseason needs are at quarterback and offensive right tackle. They may also want to upgrade on special teams and at cornerback. But should they start thinking about a defensive tackle considering Pat Williams is getting up there?
Thanks Jim. At some point, they're going to have to replace Pat Williams. But he plays a position that traditionally can be played late into your 30's. I think he has several more good years ahead of him. I wouldn't make a replacement at nose tackle a huge priority.
What's the latest coming out of Lions Land, Kevin?
Derek: The absolute latest is that the Lions were apparently the team that inquired about San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. On Monday, Rivera issued a statement saying he had gotten interest but wouldn't interview with anyone until the Chargers' season is over. They are expected be interview Leslie Frazier, Mike Mularkey and possibly Todd Bowles this week.
Why oh why did NBC bring Millen on THIS YEAR? I knew he would (and should) be back in the booth eventually but only 6 days after his team went 0-16 he's giving analysis of playoff teams?
From a professional standpoint, this gets him on the air in advance of the broadcast hiring season. Networks that might be interested have an idea what he'll be like on TV eight years after he last did it. And I think it also allowed him to address his Lions tenure now so that it wouldn't be an issue when he joins a network next year.
Hi Kevin. A lot is being said about the Jim Johnson "tree" of defensive-minded coaches. Would a Rivera or a Frasier be a good fit as head coach in Detroit?
I don't think scheme is going to be as important as personality and patience. The Lions' next coach is going to have to be able to operate in a committee system. A big ego won't allow that. And he's also got to understand it will take several years to re-stock the Lions talent pool.
I'll be the millionth person to ask this question: who can the Vikes target as a QB for next season? Please God not Cassel or Anderson.
Kurt Warner is a pending free agent.
Why doesn't Brad Childress use Travaris Jackson's strengths (his mobility) instead of trying to make him a pocket passer? Shouldn't coaches use players strengths instead of making the player fit into a their offensive system? Bootlegs, QB Draws and a few option plays with Adrian Peterson seem would make the defense spend a lot of time preparing to play the Vikings. Thoughts?
Good points. All I can say is that's never been a hallmark of Childress' tenure. He has a very defined structure and scheme, and his approach is to find players that fit into it rather than mold around the players. We've seen it work in some cases, most notably with Chester Taylor and Chad Greenway. But there have also been countless other players whose skills simply didn't fit what Childress was asking them to do. Can't explain it other than to say that's the approach Childress takes.
Kevin, great job all year on the NFC North. Many holes for the Bears but I wanted to see what you think about some of my ideas...Offer Mike Brown a 1 year incentive laden deal and if he doesn't accept part ways...With the 1st pick in the draft (I'd love Crabtree but he won't be there) I would take either Graham Harrell or the Rhodes Scholar safety from FSU, sign Housh in FA and either look at the WR's from UNC or UGA (Massaquoi) his name is. This would give the Bears more offensive weapons which they need. Thanks Kevin.
Interesting ideas. I agree that they shouldn't totally close the door on Mike Brown. Like the Myron Rolle idea a lot at safety as well. We'll wait and see what people think of him at the combine.
What are your thoughts on what the Vikes are going to do or should do at QB next year?
I just think they would be making the same mistake twice if they count on Tarvaris Jackson again. It's OK to bring him back to compete for a job or to be the backup. But they need a viable alternative, and I don't think Gus Frerotte is going to want to fill that role again. There is going to be no obvious answer out there. But they need to have a better plan than Jackson and a veteran backup going into next season. Does that mean Derek Anderson? J.P. Losman? Perhaps. Again, that's not a perfect scenario. But it's better.
Kevin, With winston moss still on staff will he be the d- cordinator or will Mike Nolan be the new d- cordinator?
If I had to guess, I would say they will go outside. Nolan is a leading candidate. There are a few others who could jump into the fray if they are released from their contracts.
should the minnesota vikings go for donavan mcnabb in the offseason, and get rid of Jackson??
I'd be really surprised if McNabb is available. It would have to be the result of some kind of contract squabble, and at this point there is nothing going on in that regard.
Looks like Vike fan's greatest wish, Chilly's firing, won't happen. Is there any indication that Childres get's heat from above for the stupid in game decisions he makes? Do the Wilf's see it?
I guarantee you they see it. The Wilfs are huge football fans and there is no way they don't pick up on game management issues. I can only guess they consider that part of a much bigger picture ... that being Childress won the division this season.
What do your insiders tell you about the Williams' issue? Do you think this will carry thru to the first 4 games of 2009?
Nothing has really changed in a few weeks on that issue. Eventually it will get heard in court. There are obviously some complicated legal issues involved if two different judges delayed the suspensions because the needed more time to investigate.
Is Mike Nolan an exclusive 3-4 guy? I don't think the Packers have the guys up front to make this drastic of a change in the offseason.
He has run it but I don't know if that means he couldn't do the other way around. You can switch to a 3-4 pretty easily if you have a nose tackle. I think Ryan Pickett can do it. It's also a fairly easy position to grab someone for on the free agent market or even the draft. The bigger question is if the Packers have four linebackers who can do it. They could pull it off it Nick Barnett is ready to play when training camp starts.
What do the Bears need to improve and get to the post-season in 2009?
Jerry Angelo says they need to settle the quarterback position. I think the need to upgrade the defensive line and receivers.
Do you think Bill Cower is waiting out the Colts job?
The Colts have already named Jim Caldwell the successor to Dungy whenever he does retire.
Hey Kevin - why on earth would Frazier want to take that Detroit job? I understand the appeal of a challenge, but come on!
I don't know if he wants it. He's just said he would like to interview. As bad of a job as it might seem, I'll say two things about it. It's a better job than Oakland. And there are only 32 head coaching jobs available. If one of them gets offered to you, you better be awfully sure about your future chances. Already, Jason Garrett might be wishing he had taken Baltimore or Atlanta last year.
Kevin, If you had to put money on it who would be the Vikings opening day starter in 09?
At quarterback? Not saying I agree with it, but I'd say the most likely guy is Tarvaris Jackson. I think Childress wants to follow through on this experiment.
Who's the best for the job in Denver as Head coach?
It would be interesting to see what Josh McDaniels could do with Jay Cutler.
Is there a belief that what the Vikings do in free agency is tied to what happens at the Minnesota state capitol? I don't see him continuing to spend money on top free agents (quarterback) without seeing some cooperation from the state on a new stadium for the team.
I don't know if there will be a direct relationship. But I doubt the Wilfs will continue to spend indefinitely if there is no chance of a new stadium.
Can you refresh our memories as to why Childress drafting Booty?
The offense they run at USC is pretty similar to the NFL-level west-coast offense.
Really hard to speculate who the Lions draft untill they name a coach but this team really should take the "best available athlete" approach.They need everything and the first 5 draft picks should all become immidiate starters(barring some freak accidental free agent signee who has talent).Any chance the front office will actually let the knew coach have bigger imput in personnel decisions.
I don't think so. It's going to be a committee system, and the GM is going to have final say on the draft. The only thing I can say is that I hope they make this clear to the coaching candidates as they are interviewed.
Any chance of the vikings trading up in the draft to get a Stafford or Bradford?
I'd be stunned.
Whats your take on the switching of the Pro Bowl? How are the players reacting to it?
The first-time guys are going to be very disappointed. Many of them have never been to Hawaii and it's a big deal to go there. The guys that have played in multiple Pro Bowls will probably appreciate that it'll be more convenient.
With the development of Corey Graham, what should the Bears do with Nate Vasher? Does he have any trade value with that contract?
It's always possible he'll have trade value because most teams don't have enough cover corners. But you would think Vasher is going to have to renegotiate his deal to either remain with the Bears or get traded somewhere else. Otherwise, you would think he'll be cut.
I'm all for bringing back Mike Brown in Chicago. Why wouldn't the Bears consider a short-term, incentive laden contract for someone who is such an explosive guy on defense when healthy?
If they come up with a long-term solution either through the draft or free agency, it might be uncomfortable to ask Brown to come back as a backup. I wonder whether he would be willing to do that.
Who was the better rookie qb this season? Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan?
I thought Ryan. Special, special player.
Do the Bears cut Grossman loose and if so would the Jets hire him on the cheap in case Favre retires.
I doubt the Bears will bring him back. Someone will sign Rex Grossman. Not sure if it'll be the Jets because we don't know who their head coach will be. But the state of quarterbacking in the NFL means Grossman will have a job with someone next year.
Why doesn't Childress utilize his best players more? I don't understand why he doesn't start AP & Chester Taylor together to give defenses more to worry about. Your thoughts on this.
I've been asking that question for two years. There has to be a way. But as I mentioned before, Childress is committed to his structure.
Just to follow up on your Millen comments... that seems like a good reason for why MILLEN would want to be back on tv, but why would NBC want to do that?
They're getting a lot of attention for it, aren't they?
Hey Kevin- you mentioned it above and it sets my heart a flutter. what do think the odds are that the vikes could or would try to bring in Kurt Warner as a 2 year solution?
Remote. But he is out there.
Kevin wouldn't the Bears be better off continuing to recreate their offensive line? There seems to be quality lineman in this comin draft.
Well, they should get a new starter next season assuming Chris Williams is healthy. So that helps. I might be in the minority, but I thought the Bears offensive line was OK last season.
Even though they wouldn't have anything to do with each other, do you think Rodgers would feel a little insulted by Nolan being hired after he snubbed him in the draft?
Interesting question. But you're right, it would have nothing to do with anything now.
Do you see Ted Thompson actually spending some money in free agency this year instead of relying entirely on the draft again? Seems we need a little more experience and leadership to go with all the young talent especially with a new D-system coming in. I'm a Thompson supporter but at some point he needs to look outside the draft.
Yes, that will be interesting. Thompson typically doesn't do that but you can't switch schemes and then spend the next few years bringing in players to match it. You've either got to match up your current players for the scheme you want to run, or make some quick moves in free agency.
I think Detroit isn't nearly as far off as you continue to suggest. Yes, they suck right now, but you make like many of their players don't belong in the league. Rather, they have a lot of average guys that need a difference maker or two to make big plays. IMO, the Lions need a few difference makers to make plays come winning time. Ernie Sims was supposed to be one. If he gets back to that next year and we add two (i.e. a DE and a great OT) in the draft, we can win 7-8 games next year. That's how the NFL works.
Yes, and I know I've tried to stand on both sides of the fence. I thought the Lions were on the right track in the summer. But to me, the fact that both of their lines seem understocked means that it will take a while to get things fixed.
In hindsight would you have started Statue Ferrotte over Action Jackson?
Yes. And not just in hindsight, either.
When should us viking fans start actually getting concerned about the team moving?
Any time after 2011, when the Vikings' lease at the Metrodome is up. It will be interesting to see if the country's economic situation is any better by then. If it is, you'll probably have some other locales bidding for them.
hey kevin, there are many things to be perplexed about over the vikings this year, but one thing i could not understand was how they used sidney rice. He was mainly used on third down plays, in which he would run an out to the sideline, or run a curl. I understand that his big body means he can catch more of the one on one passes, but why on earth would they not at least once a game throw a deep jump ball to him? we saw him make a few amazing catches last year like that, but it just seems like childress not utilizing his personnel.
Another good example, Alex.
How would you rate Tyrell Johnson's rookie year? Will he replace Darren Sharper next year?
I think he was pretty average, but there is a good bet he'll replace Sharper.
Do you think the Vikes will re-sign Matt Birk?
I'm guessing no.
What are the chances that Farve is released by the Jets and ends up with the Vikings? The jets don't want him and he might be the best available QB free agent.
Ha. Interesting. Good thing is, we have eight more months to talk about that one.
OK, let's hit a few more.
Too many Vikequeen questions.Whats the word on Aaron Rodgers shoulder.Is he gonna have surgery or not.
I wouldn't be surprised but nothing has been decided.
Do you think Matt Forte can handle another year of being the offense's focal point or will he break down?
They would definitely do themselves a service to find a backup that they're actually willing to use once in a while. Kevin Jones obviously isn't that guy.
Kevin, My friends think a QB would be a good pick, but I think the Lions should trade down for more picks to fill the holes. Who's right?
You've got some smart friends.
Will the new Lions coach be around to see the team develop? Seems like it's a personell issue and not a coaching one and has been for the last seven years.
Yes, that's why it's going to take some serious patience.
Hey Kevin, do you think Marineli would favor the D-line job in Chicago over the coordinator job in Seattle, assuming he gets the offer from the Seahawks. I would love him on Bears sideline. Maybe not a great head coach, but we could use the intensity. Thanks
If he just wants to spend a couple years rehabilitating his reputation, I think coaching the Bears' defensive line is the best thing Marinelli could do for himself.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Sorry I couldn't get to all the questions. You had a lot of 'em today. Chat with you soon!