Hi everyone. Hope you had an excellent weekend and are ready to start ramping up for the NFL draft. Believe it or not, it's less than two weeks away. Let's get to the chatting, with -- as always -- a strong emphasis on the NFC North.
Kevin, love the info. you give each week in your chats! What are my beloved Vikes going to do at #22? The so-called experts and mock drafts all have differing opinions on what they will do! The Vikes I think need to draft a playmaker at #22 before they get an OT they can most likely get in the second round. What is your opinion on what they WILL do?
Thanks, Matt. More analysts than not seem to think along with you, that the Vikings will draft a receiver. I'm not sure what that's based on, other than the pursuit of T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Trust me, the Vikings could always use more playmakers. But rarely does a rookie receiver become a big-time playmaker right away. I think Spielman will generally pick the best available athlete, but he'd be smart to strongly consider a lineman that can play right tackle. I don't think Ryan Cook is a starting-caliber right tackle and they need to find someone better. That's where I think they should go if all things are equal.
Why don't the other fans in the NFC North have their own fancy website? Is it because we have more championships as of late, or did we just not get the memo? Sorry about the rant Kevin, but I haven't been happy with ESPN since hearing about the almighty ESPN Chicago, and you happened to be the messenger.
Patience, Jason, patience. I'll also reiterate that all NFC North fans continue to have a blog dedicated to all four teams. Where? Our blog, of course.
Here's an obscure question (non-Cutler related). Please contrast the NFC North backup QB situation -- which team is set up best?
Interesting question ... and the answer isn't entirely clear right now. You've got Caleb Hanie in Chicago, Matt Flynn in Green Bay, Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels in Minneosta and Who Knows in Detroit. It's funny how people sometimes judge backups by what they haven't done. All things equal, you would think the loser of the Vikings' competition will be the most qualified backup in the division. But they've also proved not worthy of being a starter, so some people might look at Hanie or Flynn as having more "potential." But I'd probably go with the Vikings' situation right now, relatively speaking.
The "experts" continue saying Ted Thompson is going to draft the best player available, even when he won't pick up a free agent to fill needs. How can he continue to do that during this defensive switch? Even if Maybin, Orakpo and Raji are off the board doesn't he need to fill the positions?
I find that one of the big paradoxes of the offseason in this division. Ultimately, it will put a huge amount of pressure on the new defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, to design a defense around the players Thompson has given him.
Is the Lions new logo supposed to come with a new uniform or will it just be a change in the logo.
If I had to guess, I would say all of the above.
Chicago doesn't have the first local version of ESPN - NY and Boston have this whole original site....sorry, couldn't resist.
Great Blog Kevin, love it man, anyways Is the defensive scheme that the Pack intends to run is a straight up 3-4 or a hybrid type? Thanks
Based on the fact that most of the players will be culled from last year's 4-3, I'd say it will be a VERY hyrbid form.
Hey Kevin. I was just wondering if you think there is any way possible the Rams will go fo Curry over smith? Everything I here hints at them taking a left tackle.
Certainly possible. Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive-minded head coach. There are also rumors that the Rams like Eugene Monroe more than Smith, so at this point anything could happen. Glad I could clear that up for you.
Do you get to talk to Zygi much in interviews? Im curious as to his take on Tjack. I mean, he watches all those games from the skybox so he must have seen him struggling! At what point does the ownership say 'get real' and demand a REAL solution at the most important position in pro sports?
Yes, I've talked to him a fair amount. The one thing that strikes me is that he is a really big fan of football, and he doesn't try to hide it. Most fans direct their excitement and ire toward the quarterback, so I'd be really surprised if Wilf doesn't have a strong opinion about Jackson. But I also think he's judging Childress and Spielman based on the body of work, not just quarterbacks. Ultimately, it's their professional reputations on the line when they choose the quarterback. That's the way a good owner manages his football people.
Any news on the Holt front in Chicago, I've read that Pace is pushing a little on both sides and it seems like a perfect fit ...
It might be, but there's one problem: The Bears have expressed no interest. I suppose that could change, but until the Bears acknowledge they are interested, it's not going to happen.
any word on the lions first round pick from last year gosider cherilius' progress this year?...I mean is he too small to play OL for the new coaching staff?
No, I think he's locked in right now at right tackle, something that could change depending on the draft. As far as his size, it's not a problem. The Lions coaching staff is trying to get a lot of the defensive players to bulk up, but it's not an issue on offense that I'm aware of.
Hey Kevin! What (if anything) is to this buzz about the Lions letting the clock expire and not making the first pick? I know they can "legally" do it but it would really chap some butts!
So far, it's just buzz. I agree, there are a lot of obstacles to actually going through with it. There would be a lot of upset owners in the NFL, for one, and it might not be the way for the Lions' new regime to start things off.
Has a team ever made the Super Bowl with an open QB competition in training camp?
I think that's an EXCELLENT question and one I plan to follow up on. Stay tuned.
Do you really think Spielman is calling the draft shots? I find it hard to believe that The Control Freak would not have his say...
I know for a fact that Spielman makes the final decision. Childress has a strong say in describing the type of player he wants, and any good general manager tries to avoid drafting a player that a coach doesn't want. But Spielman runs the draft.
Are fans all around the league as insane as here in MN? To listen to people here, you would think that the path to the SuperBowl involves only firing Childress and cutting Tavaris Jackson. In the real world, I imagine they are looking WR and RT in the draft and need Adrian Peterson healthy and performing like a star.
Yep, I get more anti-Childress and anti-Jackson questions/comments than anything else. It's only fair to point out they won the division last year.
Kevin, what are the chances that the Lions go after Brady Quinn with their 20th or 33rd? Wouldn't that be a steal considering that would allow them to take Jason Smith with the #1?
Not sure if the 20th would be a steal, but the 33rd pick might be reasonable. They'd certainly be able to lock in Quinn for a number of years at a much lower cost than it would take to sign Stafford. But I don't know that you could say Quinn is substantially more accomplished than Stafford at this point. I'm not sure it's worth the Lions' time.
Is it also fair to point out that most of the Vikes wins came without T-Jax at QB?
Indeed. Gus Frerotte won eight of their 10 games last year. Nice to hear from you J.B.
Can I expect a 1000 yard season from Kevin Smith this year?
I think so. Go back and look at what Scott Linehan did in Minnesota the first year he was offensive coordinator. They had Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss at their prime, but they also led the NFL in rushing.
Is there anyway Robiskie falls to the Bears at #49, or will they have to trade up if they want him?
I suppose it's possible, but as of now Mel Kiper has him going about 15 spots ahead of the No. 49 overall.
quick follow up: you say that "Ultimately, it's their professional reputations on the line when they choose the quarterback." Thats fine and true, but at what point does Zygi recognize the failure? From what you're saying they could be in an indefinite holding pattern, as long as Childress sticks to his guns. My question is if Childress never gives up, when does zygi step in and fire him? Doesnt there have to be SOME point where the owner has had enough?
I suppose their record will be the ultimate judge of performance. If they win with Tarvaris Jackson, he keeps his job. If they lose with him, he gets fired. Are you asking if Wilf will fire Childress if he's winning with Jackson? I doubt it.
Hey Kevin, awesome blog. Quick question, word around Chicago is that Tommie Harris is still suffering from injury. Any thoughts on how this might hamper Chicago's D-line this season or do you think the addition of Marinelli will be the factor in Tommie reverting to his old pro-bowl self?
I hadn't heard that, but there are more players than you think who have to maintain injuries for the majority of their career. Whether it means laying off in certain drills of practice or getting routine surgical maintenance, sometimes that's the way it has to be.
Hypothetical situation, but say that Freeman, Britton, and one of the WR's are all available at #22. Which direction do you think the Vikes would go?
Really depends on how they've evaluated each player. If they all have equal grades, I take Britton. That's where they have the greatest need.
Come on Kevin! can you honestly say you dont understand any of the frustration vikings fans have had with childress and his favored son? Since the day he arrived he was supposed to groom a qb into a premiere starter and then run his "kick a** offense". Instead we have had 4 years of solid mediocrity. I mean, imagine how boring and stale the offense would be if AP hadn't fallen into our laps two years ago!
No, I fully understand it. I'm just saying in the big picture that they have improved the record each season and last year won the division. The quarterback situation has not been handled well, no doubt about it. But I think people should balance their opinion on that topic with a big-picture acknowledgment that the record is going in the right direction.
no that wasnt my question because thats not realistic in any sense of the word
Well I don't know what the in-between is. I think Wilf wants the quarterback position settled, but he'll judge things based on the record, not the quarterback.
Do you think the Lions plan on keeping Jeff Backus at LT?
Sounds to me that they're looking for a way to move him. That could come by drafting someone high, or by signing a free agent later this spring to serve as a bridge to the next guy. Seems they want Backus to move to left guard if they can figure out who will play left tackle.
The reason for all the anti-Childress talk is for anyone that watches them regularly they seem to win in spite of childress as opposed to because of him. His refusel to ustilize his two best offensive players(AP and Taylor) together, taking your best player off the field in key situations(ie after he single handidly won a game in the 4th then next week is on the sidelines). They win when their defense plays good, and when AP decides they win.
Hey Kevin, outstanding writing. Proper grammar and punctuation, yay! The ineptitude kills me every once in a while. :) Anyhow, I'm of the opinion the Packers have a slight advantage this season from the 'question mark' standpoint. Offensively there should be little uncertainty in their gameplan as opposed to Chicago (new QB situation) and Minnesota (QB competition/lack of experience). Granted, we'll have to figure out our defensive scheme, but relative to putting points on the board, seems like the Pack have a SLIGHT advantage. What say you?
What, did I make a mistake? NEVAR! Here's what I would say: The Packers' ability to score is at least matched by the uncertainty on their defense.
Pettigrew @ 20 for the lions? Y or N?
Too high for a tight end, in my opinion.
Do you think the Lions plan on using Jordan Dizon at the MLB position? This kid was a stud in College! Sims/Dizon/Peterson looks like a good trio!
Right now, he's too small to be a consideration. The Lions made a point to draft small, quick linebackers in the old Tampa-2 defense. But that's not what they'll be running under Jim Schwartz. I think Dizon was around 225 and they need him to be at least 230. And even then, he's going to be on the small side. I'm not sure if there will be a role for him right away in this defense.
For Pettigrew? That's more reasonable.
Kevin, Don't the bears have to feel obligated to get at least a #2 WR to help Cutler? I means Olsen is nice and Hester is at most a #2.
Right. They should start by getting a No. 1 receiver before they worry about No. 2. But overall, they need an upgrade and their second-round pick might provide an avenue.
was i at the offseason workouts? did i get my toes fixed?
Yes, your toes are fixed. Childress said at the combine that you were healed up enough to have played in the playoffs if you were eligible. My understanding is that you've been at most of the workouts.
What have you heard about Adrian Peterson's weight? And whats your opinion, good idea or not?
That he wants to go to 230 pounds, from 218, and Childress doesn't. I agree with Childress. Too much weight for a back that relies on speed to put on in a short time.
In response to Cory's question. The Packers had the best offense(Total Yards) in the Norris by far last season. The defenses inability to stop opposing offenses resulted in a 6-10 record. I would be worried.
You guys will get to settle the debate on Sunday night of opening weekend.
Red Wings or Blue Jackets?
Huh? Just because I'm in the Twin Cities doesn't mean I know anything about hockey. Or are you referring to a new strain of insect?
Don't you think people are getting alittle ahead of themselves putting the Bears in the SB because of Cutler? What has this kid accomplished?
The big thing I think people are overlooking is that the Bears haven't really touched their defensive personnel in a substantive way. They have overhauled the coaching staff, which might help. But they're still going to use the same base group of players who didn't get it done last year. Maybe they're hoping the offense can cover things up a little better.
even though i got hurt late in the season, have I become the best MLB in the NFC North?
Some Bears fans might argue, but I would say yes.
Kevin: To what do you attribute the Vikings improvement in outdoor games? For several years they couldn't win outside of the Dome.
A-d-r-i-a-n P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n. Winning on the road is a lot easier with a power, big-play running game.
I used to respect you....now I don't and most likely neither do most of the people of Hockeytown!
Living in Minnesota, where people are still playing pick-up ice hockey on the lakes, I've learned it's better to admit your hockey ignorance than try to fake it.
DO U THINK THE COWBOYS CAN THE SUPERBOWL WITH NO THREATS AT WIDERECEIVER?
Depends on Marion Barber.
Will we be a contender in the AFC West with Orton starting at QB
Put it this way: He won't hold you back. But I also don't think he'll take you there on his own, either. He can be a good "systems quarterback."
Do you think the Packers will re-sign RT Mark Tauscher? Or is Tauscher done?
I think they would like to but are rightfully concerned about the risk of counting on a guy coming back from an ACL. I don't think he's done forever, but it might be hard to catch on with a team until he proves he's healthy.
Urlacker is the best linebacker in the game EJ
I knew we could count on someone to speak up.
Kev, there was an article in the strib regarding the Viking taking 78 players off their board due to character and or injury issues. Any idea on how severe those issues need to be or how they break it down?
There is a wide scope of reasons why a player might get ruled out. NFL teams go to great lengths to investigate. But I doubt all of them are serious issues. There are enough good players out there that you don't need to take a risk on a question mark.
What are the Pack going to do with the #9 pick?
Best available, baby. But I think the Packers will have a number of tough decisions to make, based on the players projected to be on the board at No. 9. Do they take a risk on Alabama offensive lineman Andre Smith? Do they take Boston College nose tackle B.J. Raji, whose position is not exactly one of great need? I'm interested to see what Ted Thompson decides.
Good character doesn't matter in the NFL.
How do you feel about the NFL using fake Facebook and MySpace accounts to dig up dirt on possible draft prospects?
Yes, that was an excellent story by Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com. I actually am not offended by it. Those of you who use Facebook know you can ramp up the security to keep your profile from being accessed. And you can always ignore the friend request of anyone you don't know. So if you're not careful enough to privatize your information and life, then you get whatever you have coming to you as a result.
I was just thinking about how AP fell due to injury concerns. Wonder how those teams that passed on him for that reason feel now.
I'm sure they don't feel great about it. But it wasn't a slam-dunk at the time, either. The Vikings did tests for a couple of weeks before deciding Peterson didn't need surgery. He wore a special pad and didn't participate in all of training camp that summer to help protect the area.
You mentioned that the Bears haven't expressed any interest in Holt. Have they expressed interest in any FA WRs? Are they possibly just trying to fly under the radar? I'd have to imagine they address their lack of anything resembling a #1 WR and, in my opinion, expecting a late 2nd round pick to step in and fill that is unrealistic to say the least. If you had to predict, who is the Bears #1 WR next year (Greg Olsen doesn't count.)?
Always possible that things are happening behind the scenes. It'll say this: It won't make much sense to enter training camp with this current group of receivers. You have to at least try to upgrade, right? But I think Hester will be the leading pass-catcher among the Bears' receivers. I guess that makes him their No. 1.
Isn't having a facebook or myspace account against team rules for almost all college teams? so would that now show character issues?
Really? If that's true, I don't know about it. But of course I don't cover colleges. And, in this case, the facebook research is being done after the college season is over.
Yeah but what about the NFL people impersonating people to dig up this info? That doesn't seem to honorable to me.
Honorable? Maybe not. But if you're considering giving millions of dollars to a 22-year-old kid, it's understandable to use every legal option at your disposal to investigate. Players can easily avoid this trick by not "friending" someone who makes the request. If they're thinking with something other than their brain, then that's their fault.
Isn't Forte the Bears #1 receiver?
Yes, but I think the question referred to wide receivers.
OK folks, one or two more here.
You say every "Legal" option... ever think we will see legislation on something like this?
When can we have a 2hr chat like some of the other bloggers?
Hmmm. I'll think about that one. But not this week. Thanks everyone!!!