Hello there. Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. We can touch on any NFC North-related topic that suits your fancy, and we should probably acknowledge the great NFL loss of quarterback Steve McNair as well. On with it.
Outside of farve, what is the biggest story line to follow in the division once training camps open?
It's almost a cliche, but to me the quarterback position is THE story for 75 percent of the division. How much better can Cutler make the Bears? How far does Matthew Stafford have to go in Detroit? Can Daunte Culpepper bridge the gap until he's ready? And, if Favre doesn't come to Minnesota for some reason, how will the Vikings regroup. Only the Packers can say they are settled at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers.
How likely is it that contract talks with Winfield slowed down due to contract negotiations with Brett Favre? In my opinion, Winfield needs to be signed, but with all the Favre talk, maybe the Vikings need to have a better grip on where they are in terms of cap space if they DO reach a deal with Favre.
I don't have any definitive proof of that, and the fact remains you can squeeze all kinds of contracts under the cap if you really want to. But I'm sure from a cash perspective, at least, the Vikings are weighing how much they would be willing to give Winfield knowing Favre is going to need $10 million-plus. It's a factor, but not the deciding factor. When it comes down to it, I don't think the Vikings want to pay big money to a 32-year-old cornerback.
Which of the NFC North teams is most likely to experiment with the Wildcat this year?
I'd really be surprised if the Vikings don't use it with Percy Harvin.
Do you think there is ANY chance the Vikings brass let Sage know BEFORE he was traded that they MIGHT pursue Farve? I realize players know there are no guarantees that another player might be added to the roster at their position but it seems Sage, due to the two-year courtship by Childress and the good situation he was leaving (backing up Schaub), should have been forewarned.
At that point, Favre was still under contract with the Jets (and retired). So I don't think that happened. In reality, I think Rick Spielman is the guy who really is the backer of Rosenfels. Remember, he acquired him in Miami as well.
Where is the vikings salary cap at? Do they have room for Winfield if Brett takes about 10million? Or are they just worried about a premium contract for a 32 year old?
Last I checked, they were around $18 million under. That's enough, but it would be tight.
Sage was traded for... not signed as a FA.... so why would they tell him anything?
He also signed a contract extension as part of the trade agreement.
Kevin, i have heard some very good things about Aaron Rodgers regarding his mini camps, but with that shakey OL really not making any offseason moves, do you think rodgers will be running for his life, or on his back for 50% of passing plays?
I don't, but mostly because the Packers have a timing offense that doesn't leave him in the pocket for very long. Things are still up in the air at right tackle, but eventually I think that will work out. The only real concern the Packers have, in my opinion, is whether they can get another season out of Chad Clifton at left tackle. That's the one spot that can get a quarterback maimed.
Now that that Plaxico is out of the picture, do you see The Bears picking up any of the other free agent veteran receivers? Or maybe Plax ain't out of the picture(Bears blowing hot air)
Everyone, Bears included, are waiting to see if Goodell disciplines Burress before his trial. But it really seems like Chicago is going to go to camp with the players it has.
Kevin, what's the good word before training camps begin? Have you heard any big names being mentioned who may be on the cutting block? What's up with this Johnny Knox guy, I hear he's kind of fast and could end up cracking the starting lineup?
Nothing urgent these days. Most football people are on vacation right now, so it could be quiet for another couple of weeks. As far as Knox goes, he's the classic type of guy who impresses people in non-contact passes. But there's an old saying about how you can't teach speed. He's got it, and I'm sure the Bears would love to find a way to get him on the field to put extra pressure on the defense. But I'm going to hold off on making an proclamations until we get to training camp.
Who do you see emerging as the backup for Aaron Rdogers?
I'm guessing it will be Flynn again. But I can't say I was impressed with either him or Brohm during minicamp. Every time I looked up, Flynn was scrambling instead of throwing the ball in team drills. That's generally not a good thing -- in practice.
with nick collin's contract still uncertain am i a strong and capable candidate to start at strong safety this year
You're definitely a confident one, but the Packers might need you if Atari Bigby has a health concern. I don't think the Packers are planning on Collins missing training camp.
Does Northcutt have anything to contribute at WR or will he just be a kick returner? After Megatron, I'm not sold on the Lions WRs.
No, I think he'll compete for the No. 2 or No. 3 job. Everything's relative, but the Lions could have a decent trio with Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson and Northcutt.
How has the economic recession effected Zygi Wilfs ability to use signing bonuses?
It's a fair question, considering Wilf is a real estate guy and everyone knows that real estate has tanked across the country. But I haven't seen any dropoff in player-related spending. They tried to sign Houshmandzadeh to a big deal and seem willing to do the same for Brett Favre.
What are the chances the Lions do the right thing and let Stafford watch all season?
At this point I'd say it's really 50-50. Schwartz keeps saying that Stafford will start once he's ready and is the team's best option. It's not out of question that he meets both requirements at some point this season.
Didn't the Bears run some wildcat last year with Hester and Forte?
Yes they did. But as I recall it was two or three times, tops.
Is Dom Capers actually going to stick around for awhile or are the Pack going to continue with a revolving door at DC? Seems like this change in defensive style will take a few years to fully implement and I'm not sure McCarthy is that patient.
I think he will. To me, Capers has worn out his welcome as a head coach, so the Packers probably don't have to worry about him getting into that carousel again. And with as much as McCarthy has staked on this change, I think he has no choice but to give Capers a few years to implement it. He might not get a chance to start over again.
Kevin, I know it's kind of hard to tell so early, but were there any late-round (5th-7th) picks that looked particularly good in OTAs for any of the NFC North teams?
People are definitely buzzing about Knox in Chicago. That's the only name I've heard so far.
When I was on vacation back in MI I bought a hat with the new Lions logo on it. Where does it rank on the pitiful scale that a) I bought the hat and b) I was happy about it? Is there a 12-step program for Lions' fans? Having said that, I also bought a t-shirt that says "Rebuilding since 1957" on the back.
That's awesome. In college, a friend of mine used to wear a Red Sox T-shirt that said, "World Champions, 1918." Solid.
are the packers worried about signing some of their future free agents to extensions because of the future potential uncapped season. and how would an uncapped season affect such a small market team such as the packers
There is a pretty big misconception that an uncapped year is going to lead to a wild bonanza of player salaries. There would be enough new restrictions introduced -- including moving the requirement for unrestricted free agency from four to six accrued seasons -- that many people believe the money is going to be about the same. And while the Packers are officially a small-market team, their recently-revealed finances show they are making mid-market money.
So Favre signs with the Vikings, making him the number one QB. Rosenfels becomes the backup, something he already was with the Texans but for less money, T-Jax goes from starter to clipboard holder, and J.D. Booty is learning what a Rouge Point is and how to run a two minute offense on a 110-yard field, right?
I'm a little slow this afternoon. So are you asking if Booty will end up in the CFL? If so, I'm not certain about that. I think the Vikings take all four guys to camp and wait to see if someone gets hurt, first of all. That would make the decision easy. Then the question becomes whether Jackson or Booty has the best long-term potential. I wouldn't rule out Jackson being the one who moves on.
Do you think the bears need more D-line help? Do you think Marcus Harrison will take a step this year?
This is going to be an interesting, ongoing issue. Everyone is expecting Rod Marinelli to be a miracle worker -- that he can turn around what became an unproductive group last season. I'm sure he can make them better, but how much better? No one can reverse age.
Do you think Chicago misses me yet?
It would be ironic if the Bears ultimately sign a veteran receiver. But I don't think they regret the decision on Berrian. It's clear Jerry Angelo doesn't want to pay receivers anymore. Whether that's right or wrong, that's the place he's in right now.
oh well must be a closed chat...
Haven't seen any of your questions sir.
Kevin, also it's a shame what happened to Steve McNair. I was absolutely shell-shocked when I first heard. He was a great warrior, er Titan of the football field and I don't think I ever heard him complain of pain...he went out there and did his job on the football field. Off the field aside, he has to be one of my favorite QBs to watch, he wasn't flashy, he just got the job done. We'll miss you Air McNair!
Yes, I was just watching a highlight of his run at the end of the Super Bowl in 2000. He flattened a St. Louis DB while trying to gain a few extra yards. No fear.
Kevin, where are we with the Williams Wall suspensions?
Nothing's changed, Matt. Unless I missed something, we're still waiting to hear whether the original injunction that blocked their suspensions is still in effect.
don't forget the lions also have ronald curry!
You're right, thanks.
What does the addition of Curry and Northcutt tell us about the progress of Derrick Williams? Will he be a kick returner only or will he see some time in the slot?
Just that he's a rookie and rookie receivers, on average, don't contribute much.
Any word out of Bears camp on Mark Anderson? Has he been working with Rod to get that explosiveness back that he had as a rookie?
Haven't heard word one about him, which probably answers your question in itself.
How strange on a scale of 1 to 10 is it that Dr. Andrews spoke out about Brett Favre and his intentions. Seems pretty weird for a Dr. to start releasing info on clients(even though he mostly just repeated what everyone has guessed all along) Does this hurt his credibility among players?
I don't think so. Players aren't the ones who typically hide injury information. It's the teams. They consider it a competitive situation. So if he had revealed more information than Favre did, that would have been one thing. But in reality he just reiterated it. Andrews is still the go-to guy.
KS, did you see Matt Birk's special MMQB and what did you think of it?
Good stuff. He's been passionate about the retired players situation for some time, so I figured that would work its way into it. And I laughed when he questioned why the media reports when players miss OTAs. He skipped all of the Vikings' OTAs last year.
Who is closer to jumping from the frying pan to the fire: Childress with the public attempts to get Farve, or Lovie Smith taking on defensive play calling?
Depends how the Favre thing works out in the short term. If Favre stays retired, Childress looks really bad. In Lovie Smith's case, I think he's basically taken his tenure into his own hands. Which is the way it should be.
Kevin, with Jolly facing possible suspension or jail time , Jenkins coming off an injury and Harrell's injury history, do you think the Packers should make a move at DE? Possibly Vonnie Holliday or Kevin Carter?
Probably a moot point. Jenkins should be fine by training camp. Harrell is a bonus regardless. And, as we know, the Packers are loath to sign veteran free agents.
Is Justin Harrell the Biggest Bust of the 21st century?
So far, he's up there. The biggest problem to me is that he had an injury history in college, too.
Weakest D-Line and O-Line in the division this year?
You're so negative. Jeez. Defensive line: Lions. Offensive line: TBA. ... It might be the Lions, but we'll wait and see how Cherilus comes along.
Sorry for the followup to my 1st question, but with this game (Vikes @ Lambeau) as big as it is, can it be hijacked for a Thursday night showing on the NFL Network?
No. Flexible scheduling doesn't start until after that.
I'd like to see ESPN comment on Athlete vs Hero/Role Model ala (McNair, ARod, Manny, Favre). Any chance?
I'm guessing there are Web and newspapers editors around the country scribbling out story ideas about the true private lives of athletes. It's a story worth pursuing, in my opinion, but it must be handled fairly and delicately.
I'm skeptical that the Bears will rest Forte with any regularity this season, despite his heavy workload. Do you agree?
It definitely sounds good in theory, but we've all seen how preseason goals and in-season realities don't always coincide. I'd be surprised if he carries as frequently as last year, but it might not be the kind of 2-1 ratio with Kevin Jones that the Bears have been discussing.
Kevin, how was you're 4th? I myself was bored to tears considering we had no news coming from the black and blue all weekend. Did you happen to watch the hotdog eating contest? 68 dogs wow, i dont think i could handle 5.
It was great, hopefully yours was as well. And, YES, I did watch Joey Chesnut from start to finish. What an awesome display. And for those of you who don't listen to the commentators in the annual hot dog eating contest, you're missing half the fun.
Is Donald Driver still the clear #2 WR for the Packers, or will one of the youger guys begin to supplant him this season, ala Anthony Gonzalez for Harrison?
I think he is, yes. I don't see Jones, Martin or Nelson taking his place this year.
Which team appears to have the best draft class?
Way too early to tell. I do think the Lions (Pettigrew and Delmas) have a good chance at the best level of immediate impact.
"Is Justin Harrell the Biggest Bust of the 21st century?"Charles Rogers and you know it. Stop pretending.
Ew. Why? Athletes aren't role models, they are people who are physically gifted. Why do people expect they have the answers for how you should live your life???
Just human nature, I guess. That's a question that's been asked for generations. Personally, I think the hero worship has lessened over time.
If you were a betting man, would you bet on Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler attending the Pro Bowl? THanks.
Interesting. We started an ongoing debate last month about Rodgers v. Cutler. I'm going to answer Rodgers for your question because no matter how well each of them plays, the offenses for each team suggest Rodgers will have significantly better stats.
What? Neither of those two guys in Detroit can jump out of pools like me!
I thought your name was Jarron Gilbert.
What's the historical measure of RB workload(ala 100 pitches, 200 innings)? Is it carries per game? Carries per year? And at what value before you typically see Earl Campbell career effects?
The only one I've heard is the "Curse of 370" from Football Outsiders. They have documented that a runner who gets 370 or more carries in a year typically has a notable dropoff thereafter. Not necessarily physical issues like Campbell, but performance-wise.
Who has more receptions next year for the Bears: Earl Bennet or Matt Forte?
Forte every time. That doesn't mean Bennett doesn't have some success this year. But I think Forte is a really gifted, natural receiver that Cutler would be wise to make use of.
What team do you think has the best role model type players? Guys that are great in the community? Indy, Packers?
It would be hard for me to know what each team does. There are some individual players in Green Bay that do good work, for sure, including Donald Driver and Nick Barnett.
Why all negativity for the bears offense?!?! They now have a pro-bowl quarterback, a stud running back, two incredibly underrated tight ends that create matchup problems on D, a rebuilt O-Line and DEVIN HESTER! Where's the problem on Offense?!?!
Calm down!!???!!!!!! I wouldn't classify my recent response as negative. Just suggesting that the Bears are more of a running team than Green Bay, and that the Packers have a better overall group of targets for Rodgers. So to me it make sense that Rodgers will throw for more yards in 2009. Does that mean he has a better season than Cutler? Not saying that. Just saying more yards.
Kevin, Cutler isn't a check down type QB. I expect Forte's receptions to go down.
He'll check down if that's his best (and/or only) option.
Charles Rogers was more productive then Harrell has been in both of their first 2 seasons, Harrell 28 tackles in 2 years Rogers 36 catches for 440 yards and 4 tds, i would rather have Rogers on the pack than Harrell
Thanks for that bit of research.
with the bears having so many LB's right now...who's the odd man (or 2) out?
The Hunter Hillenmeyer era might be over.
OK everyone, another question and we'll wrap it up.
370 carries/year is only 23/game. Really speaks to needing a quality tandem at RB. Anyone better than Peterson/Taylor in the NFC?
Stewart and Williams in Carolina come to mind.
Okay, thanks everyone. Chat with you next week!