Hey everyone. Let's jump into things here. Hopefully you saw our most recent post, where Vikings president Mark Wilf didn't deny the team's interest in signing Brett Favre. Let's get to it.
What is your take on how Chilly might feel about Farve not wanting to particpate in Vikings Off-season practices? How would that sit with the other QB's and Team members? Would he (or should I say Ziggy) pull the trigger anyway? It seems it could cause a few problems in the locker room.
I'm sure Childress would prefer Favre to be there, but it might not be an option. So then you ask if that's a dealbreaker, or would you still want him on your team? I'm guessing the Vikings would still want him.
Mr. Seifert, with the Cutler to Chicago, Stafford to Detroit, a more experienced Rodgers in GB, and the possible addition of Favre to Minny, make the NFC North the best quarterback division and potentially one of the overall best divisions in football?
First of all, I don't put Stafford on that list yet. He might not even play this year. No doubt that Cutler alone will make a huge difference in this division. I think the addition of Favre would make this a much more competitive division, but probably not the best in the NFL. The NFC East still projects above them, among others, in my opinion.
Kevin, How much of an impact will having an improved LB core have on the Lions defense. The DL seems to have more of an impact but how do you feel about the LB's.
This is easy to say, but they're definitely better than last year. I'll be interested to see just how much Peterson has left, considering the Seahawks were reportedly set to release him. But the situation was so bad that the Lions can pick up a pair of declining veterans in Peterson and Foote and still make a big improvement.
I would take a wait and see approach on Stafford.
What are the odds the Packers go for Larry Foote for the 3-4 experience?
Unlikely, in my opinion. I guess you could project Levy as the other inside linebacker, but I just don't think it's in the cards right now.
Chester Taylor is in a contract year, what are the chances that the Vikings will extend his contract?
Haven't heard anything about it to this point. I'm wondering whether Taylor would want to at least see if he can get a starting gig somewhere else, especially considering the possibility of an uncapped year in 2010.
The Packers have a big question mark at right tackle coming into this season. Who do you think they'll play?
At this point, I don't think the Packers even know. If you had to guess right now, you might say Breno Giacomini. But that's just a guess right now. I wonder if the Packers are just waiting to see if Tauscher's knee is going to be stable enough to be ready for training camp.
If Favre did have the minor surgery, wouldn't that keep him out of some of the off season activities anyway, so it's not like he would be "skipping" them right?
Right. If he's willing to do it. He could also decide he wants to "rest" the arm for a while and then decide, oh, a day or two after the final OTA, that it's healed and he's ready to play.
The question was about the Packers and not the Lions.
Oh, well then the questioner should also know that Foote signed with the Lions.
Do you think Peterson and Foote have anything left in the tank or is this Brian Kelly revisited?
It's a fair point. We've already discussed Peterson. In the case of Foote, the Steelers had a former No. 1 draft choice ready to step in. That move made sense. He's only 29. I would hope Foote has a few more productive years in him.
Winfield is also in a contract year. I read that the negotiations have broken off. Any insight?
I really think it's too early to panic. All contract negotiations have ebbs and flows. I wouldn't start getting worried until the season starts (without a new deal).
Any chance Brandon Jackson gets the nod at running back this season over Ryant Grant?
There really are a lot of fans down on Ryan Grant right now. One thing I look for the Packers to do is establish more of a two-man system. Whether it's Brandon Jackson or someone else, it's always a better format to have a 1-2 punch, rather than just sending the same guy into the line every time.
Is there a reason why the vikings just don't clear the air so to speak and just tell the fans what is going on with the favre situation?
I'm not sure what people want them to say. It's obvious they want him and they are trying to sign him. Would it make anyone feel better if they told the truth and said, "We might get him. We might now?" Because that really is where things stand. It's a unique, high-profile story, but I'm not sure there is much they can say that would clear things up.
who starts at SS for GB? bigby or smith?
All things equal, I say Bigby. If he's healthy, he can be a really good player in this league.
What do you think the future holds for Chris Williams? Will he ever be the left tackle the Bears want? Orlando pace can be good for 2, maybe 3 years. Will Williams be the long-term solution?
For the Bears' sake, I hope he develops into a long-term left tackle. You don't draft a right tackle as high as they did. I think the Pace experiment will be more like 1-2 years. I'd be really surprised if the Bears don't envision Williams moving over after that.
Has anyone inside the Packers organization said anything about Giacomini this off-season? There seemed to be a fair amount of praise last year after the draft, but since the RT spot has opened up, I've yet to hear his name uttered by a coach or trainer in GB. As a Packer fan, while this does worry me a bit, I think it also bears noting that no one said much about Sitton last off-season, and he won the starting RG spot before getting injured.
Yeah, Sitton was a rookie last year, though, right? I hope I'm getting my tiemline straight on that. Regardless, every time someone has asked any Packers coach about the right tackle spot, they've gotten a shrug. No speculation, no maybes. That tells me they're still waiting on Tauscher.
Packer fan here, I am wondering if there has been talk from the Pack about Bishop replacing Barnett or Hawk in the middle while they are in their base 3-4 package? Although they have a higher pedigree and I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt because of injury problems, It makes sense to me. Even though Bishop was a sub, he had the same amount of Big plays (Sacks/FF) than both of them combined last year, what is your take? P.S. Who is the front runner to start opposite Collins @ SS?
The only thing I've heard about Bishop is they plan to use him as a "swing" player both outside and inside. The one thing to keep an eye on is Barnett's health. Is his knee going to be ready to start training camp? If not, you might starting hearing more about Bishop. As for safety, I'm guessing Bigby will get the first chance to win that job.
I've heard people say they don't think Kevin Smith fits Linehan's offense very well, what are your thoughts?
I think that's mostly because Linehan doesn't really run the "zone-blocking" scheme that Smith was in last year and also in college. But the adjustment is easier to make from zone-blocking to man than the other way around.
ESPN reported that Favre sent X-rays so the Vikings could evaluate his biceps tendon. X-rays only show bone and no tissues, is the report wrong or are they just looking at the joint structure for more extensive damage?
My understanding is that it was a lot more than X-rays. Pretty much his whole medical report.
I'm a Packer fan living in the land of Purple. It makes me sick to think of Favre playing here. Can't cheer for him and the Vikes. I personally think he's coming. So, my question. How long before Brett Favre's steakhouse is on the market? I don't think he's going to feel welcome in G.B. for a long, long time if he plays here.
Interesting. I wonder how much, if any, damage has been done even if Favre doesn't sign with them.
.. Provided that Loadholt wins the right tackle spot, does Cook move back to center? .. Sullivan is unproven and a bit smaller than Cook.
No, I'm guessing Cook becomes a multi-position swing backup. I think they really like Sullivan and want him to win the center job. You don't have to be a huge guy to play center.
The Lions had a need at MLB and passed on Maulaluga at 20 and again to start the 2nd round. They couldn't have been banking on getting Foote. Did they just like Pettegrew and Delmas more or was there something going on with Maulaluga?
They weren't the only team down on Maulaluga, who slipped further than the media analysts thought they would. They might not have been banking on getting Foote, but I'm guessing they had a decent idea he would become available. It wasn't a secret in NFL circles.
A popular sportswriter on another website asserted that the Chicago Bears are the 4th best team in the NFL...ahead of Indy, Philly, SD, Baltimore, Dallas, Tennesee, Atlanta, and Arizona (rounding out the top 12)...Are you buying it?
Yeah, a lot of you have asked about that. Peter King of Sports Illustrated had the Bears at No. 4 in what amounted to an offseason power ranking. More than anything, that tells you the influence of acquiring a big-time starting quarterback. Do I think the Bears will be that good? I'm not sure about that. But that's the kind of excitement and expectations that Cutler will bring.
as you may know i'm on a crusade to get the term "vanilla" out of football anlysts vocabulary regarding plain or predictable schemes(defense, playcalling etc.) can you think of one flavor of ice cream that is more versatile or dynamic than vanilla?
What about custard?
Hey Packer fans, why hate on the man who saved your franchise and brought you 2 superbowls? All that is forgotten just because he still wants to play, and wanted to stay with the Packers but YOUR management didn't want him anymore!
And we're off.
The Bears won't be a top 5 team in 2009 because their defense won't be top 20... not with all those old fogies running around on the defensive side of the ball.
That's definitely the other side of the coin with the Bears. They have upgraded their coaching staff on the defensive side, but not so much the personnel. This year will be a referendum on how much impact position coaches can make.
Kevin - what's the consensus of Vikings' fans you've talked to? Are they in favor of Favre or against it? I, personally, think it would be a mistake.
There's a pretty big split. I'm saying more people are in favor than against, but maybe not a lot.
i submit to you that vanilla is more dynamic a flavor than custard, which is not a flavor. however if you would like to use custard when describing blah playcalling i would not be opposed. i submit ketchup as the flavor used to describe blay playcalling... pass tha along to mark schlereth, trey wingo and merrill hoge
Will do. Thanks.
how does a qb like cutler bring excitement? he has a losing record. and they traded orton who had a winning record.
Er, uh. Wait until you see this guy play.
To add to the King power rankings- he put the Bears that high because their defense actually had many top-ten rankings...turnovers forced, yards per rush and pass, etc. Couple that with the increased points scored by the offense, and you have a very good team!
Sure. Those statistics are all there in black and white. But looked at from the big picture, the Bears do have some personnel questions. Where is Brian Urlacher on his career timeline? Who will replace Mike Brown at safety? Can Nate Vasher salvage his career?
Who has the best defense in the NFC North?
I'd probably go with Minnesota, perhaps by default.
How do you consider the Bears taking 4 out of 5 of their first picks as defensive players not upgrading their personnel?
Fair point. In my mind, a third-round pick isn't a sure upgrade by any stretch. And remember, that's where the Bears took Jarron Gilbert. They took defensive players. But are they better than what they have? You can't tag a third-, fourth- or fifth-round pick with that kind of expectation.
KS: If the Bears gather their senses and hit the veteran WR free agent pool, which player would fit the best? Has to be Toomer right?
That's one possibility on a short list. I still say they should make another run at Boldin.
Dull play calling is green jello. It's simple, cheap, and can be found on just about every buffet in the United States.
Nice. I knew I could count on you.
Kevin the 3 questions you brought up about the Bears D don't even include the most important one... Can they rush th passer? if the Bears can get after the QB (aka Tommie Harris gets his butt in gear) it seriously raises the level of that side of the ball. You need to get pressure with the front 4 in the Bears scheme and they were forced to blitz too much last year because they couldn't.
Fair point, Sean. I guess I was referring purely to personnel issues. But like any defense, improvement starts with a good pass rush.
RE: Bishop being the swing player that may start if Barnett is still hurt, to me I would think Poppinga would be the better fit there given his toughness, experience and lack of coverage skills, thoughts?
Possible. I also wonder if they'll try using Poppinga as a defensive end when they morph into a 4-3 alignment.
When will Peanut Tillman be moved to FS? He's big and physical enough. He could also fill that leadership role Mike Brown had by getting everyone in the right place.
Not any time soon. He's too good of a cover guy. I know some Bears fans are down on him, but he's the best they have. You don't move your best cover guy to a non-cover position. It's more likely they'll move Corey Graham to safety than Tillman.
Green Bay went 13-3 two season ago and won the NFC North in walk-off fashion. In relation to the question about who has the best defense in the division, do the Packers have the best ANYTHING at any position or phase of the game anymore? Do they have the best offense? Best QB? Best secondary? How far have the Packers truly fallen, or was last year's 6-10 campaign more an aberration than anything?
Interesting way to look at it. I don't think it's mandatory that you have the best player at the most positions to be the division winner. But I'll start at quarterback. While I think Jay Cutler is an excellent quarterback and will make a big impact, I think the Packers enter the season with the best quarterback situation with Aaron Rodgers. He's much further ahead of Cutler in terms of chemistry with his teammates and knowledge of the division.
And I'm sure everyone will leave that response alone...
Have you heard anything about Percy Harvin? Is his health squared away now?
He's been released from the hospital and the Vikings expect him to join their workouts later this month.
Kevin, do you see a competitive advantage to running a 3-4 opposed to a 4-3 base?
Not really. I know Mike McCarthy likes the idea because he's faced challenges in coming up with offensive game plans against opponents who run a 3-4. But these things are cyclical, and people figure them out eventually. Ultimately, you have to run the scheme that best fits your personnel.
The Packers have quite a few players with contracts expiring at the end of this upcoming season. Which, if any, do you see getting contract extensions before the season starts?
It sounds like they're working on Greg Jennings. After that, I'm not sure. Nick Collins would be an obvious possibility, but to date there's been no known substantive discussions.
Defensive stat the Bears weren't top-10 in: points allowed. The goal is to score more points than the other guy, not to have more yards than him.
What if you have to use the bathroom mid-chat?
I'm thinking of a scene from Dumb and Dumber....
Kevin, are you, would you say, friends with any of the players in the NFC North or is it a strictly business type of deal? I know you have sources, but does it go deeper than that?
My own policy is not to be friends with the people you cover. You can be friendly, but to be friends clouds your objectivity. That's just me. Everyone has their own way of doing things.
Alot of analyst say that it takes a year or more to evaluate a trade, so what is your evaluation of the Jared Allen trade?
Slam dunk for the Vikings so far. A couple more years of 14-plus sacks will make it a legendary move.
So you saying rodgers is the better then cutler ! thanks Kevin i knew you had a honest bone in you.
You have a future in the media ... putting words in people's mouths. What I said was that Iike the Packers' quarterback situation the best entering the season.
Do you think Brett Favre really cares what Packer Fans think?
In a way I'm sure he does, but I wonder if he thinks his reputation is so impervious that people will always remain loyal.
What happens to Daniel Manning this year in Chi-town?
He returns kickoffs and competes for the nickel spot. I'm not sure if he wins a starting safety spot.
Do you think the Vikes should use Sidney Rice more in the red zone? He is quite tall and is a good jumper, yet he was hardly in there last year, even when he was healthy.
That's pretty much the only way they use him. I'd like to see him on the field in non red-zone situations as well.
Brett Favre is the most overrated QB ever. Trent Dilfer has as many rings.
I think Ray Lewis had something to do with the one Dilfer wears.
thats how you feel? i wanna be traded again.
Any news on Mike brown being picked up or looked at?
So far, nothing. I think he still wants to play, but the injury history obviously is scaring some teams off.
Is Nichols still living outside of the Favre residence? How long before she gets a 1 on 1?
For the sake of my employer, I hope sooner rather than later.
KS, obviously Boldin is the best choice. What could the Bears possibly swing in a deal to get him though?
There would definitely have to be a mortgage of future draft choices. But if Boldin really makes things hard on Arizona, I wonder if they let him go for a discount.
Is this a make or break year for J Angelo and Lovie? Bad drafting, staff decisions, and personnel decisions make it seem like someone should get fired. Moves such as paying a kick returner who doesn't return kicks 40 million and 4 first day picks not on the roster 3 years later.
I some ways, I think it is for Smith. It seems like ages ago, but remember he took over the defensive playcalling and is basically saying they can get better on defense with better coaching. If they don't, he's set himself up to be the reason why.
Mark wilf sure seems coy in that interview with Judd in the strib. it really seems like hes indirectly implying favre will play for the vikes
I think he is implying the Vikings want him, and it's up to Favre and his chronic waffling to decide if he will do it. That's what I got out of it.
By the way, Matt of Chicago: Send me your e-mail so we can discuss the John Sullivan story.
send it to the mailbag on the blog.
Hey Rookie, how did I get all the details from Favre's friends and family, while that carnival over at ESPN is still trying to figure out what's going on? Also, how legitimate do you feel were the comments regarding Favre working out with the local HS team?
Patrick, good to hear from you. I think it was actually your colleague Jim Souhan who had those quotes, but I would say it's pretty likely that Favre was throwing at some point last week.
Kevin, How is that league fines player and coaches for comments or criticize the refs , But when Jared Allen says he going to be ripping Cutler's head off and scalping there's nothing. What are the chances of that with a mobile Cutler and Pace in the way.
It'll be a nice matchup between Allen and Pace, that's for sure. (At least if Pace is healthy.) There's no rule against talking trash in the media, as long as you're not criticizing authority figures.
OK everyone, one more question.
How far have Brohm and Flynn come from last year and in your opinion, who is going to be the second string opening day?
We'll know more once OTAs start, and Brohm will get a chance to win the job. But a lot of people around the Packers like Flynn and won't rule him out.
OK everyone, thanks so much. And to think, we made it through 60 minutes without a single Bruce question and a minimum of Will Ferrell references. It's a new day!