Hi everyone. Thanks for swinging into our jungle here for the next hour. We'll take any and all questions, but let's keep it fun, lively and clean. On with it...
Hey Kevin, thanks for the great work. Love reading your blog and getting some insights on the divison..its stuff you can't get anyplace else online!! Anyways, my main question is about the Lions and did you see any positives coming out of the Minnesota drubbing?? Also, I was excited about Ko Simpson when we picked him up the the Bills, and I thought he could really help out our pass defense, but I haven't heard anything about him. Do you know what gives there? I was hoping he could replace Pearson at some time in the as-soon-as-possible future.
Thanks Vince. ... Simpson was a DNP Sunday. He wasn't going to make the Bills and I can only assume he's a fringe player for Detroit right now. But the way Marquand Manuel kept getting hurt Sunday, you never know. ... As for positives for the Lions, I thought Kevin Smith did a really nice job running against a tough run defense.
Watching the Packers offensive line pass protect is a very painful experience. I have been led to believe there are usually old, wily, veteran lineman free agents who maybe have one more year in them. Are there any free agents or other personal available for the packers at O-line?
The obvious guy to consider is Mark Tauscher. During the offseason, the word was that his knee would be healthy by October. In general, though, it would be contrary to Ted Thompson's philosophy to go out and get a veteran during the season. A lot of people are talking about Jon Runyan. It sounds good, but when you look at TT's history, it doesn't seem likely.
I'm a little concerned about the Vikings line giving up seven sacks thus far. Is it stuff that can be corrected or is Favre just holding onto the ball too long on some of them?
To me it's been a mixture. Loadholt and McKinnie have both given up some speed rushes. But in general, the offense isn't in synch because Favre is still trying to figure out what to do. He generally gets rid of the ball quickly when he's locked in mentally.
KEVIN! How does Tyrell Johnson look? Just saw sharper return a pick for a TD, wondering if tyrell is ably filling those shoes..
Wow, a supermodel. Tyrell Johnson has looked the same he looked last year: OK. He doesn't make a lot of splashy plays. Sharper has made a bunch of huge plays for the Saints, but that's in a different defense. The Vikings wouldn't let him take the risks that the Saints are allowing him to do.
What has happened to Chicago's run game? I understand having Cutler available to Ron Turner changes the play-calling a bit, especially when the Bears are playing from behind, but averaging 2.2 yds/carry for the first two weeks of the season is not acceptable. Forte is very lucky he has Cutler to take the spotlight away because god knows he would have been lynched by the media at this point. FYI: Adrian Peterson (Bears version) averaged 5 yds/carry on Sunday.
In Green Bay, I thought they just didn't stay with the run long enough. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but they threw on 22 of 30 first-half plays or something like that. That's not conducive to getting the running game going. Against Pittsburgh, I think you have to credit the Steelers. That's a great run defense, and not many teams pile up big numbers against it.
Johnny Knox- the real deal, or a flash in the pan?
To be determined. But I think you have to go back and look at what Jay Cutler did with some other young and unknown receivers in Denver. The guy isn't afraid to throw their way.
So was the Lions stadium louder last week than you heard before when you labeled it a quiet stadium?
Not really, no. The loudest ovation I heard was for Ernie Harwell before the game. I think the turnstile count was 59,000. Lots of empty seats.
Kev....how much longer can Minnesota's offense go with a glorified handoff machine at QB? I know Peterson is great but sooner or later the old man will have to help his team win by passing the ball. Will he be able to respond? He's been sacked 7 times already and hit twice that many.
Yeah, that's kind of my feeling as well. At some point, Favre is going to have to complete some downfield passes. This will always be a West Coast offense, but what's happened this year is off the charts even for this version of the WCO.
How come Adrian Peterson is never flagged for taking his helmet off after a big play? Sunday was the 3rd time I've seen it not called since the start of last season.
I didn't see that Sunday, but when he did it against the Packers last year, the NFL came back and said he should have been penalized. He's been lucky so far.
Kevin - after having seen the Lions in person on Sunday, what's your best guess as to what they will be able to accomplish this year? Are they still an 0-16 team? 4-12?
I think more than four wins would be a real accomplishment.
Kevin: Do you have any idea how Lions LT Jeff Backus is regarded around the league. As a Lions Fan, I cannot believe he starts. He's awful.
I think most people were of the opinion the Lions would move him to left guard. That seemed a better fit for him at this point in his career. His whiff on Jared Allen in the third quarter, and his inexplicable reaction to the fumble, looked pretty bad.
No one is touching on the fact that the vikings have removed their starters in both games with plenty of time left, and they're they are not out to pad stats or make the score look good. can you shed a little light on that?
Only thing that's stood out to me is I wonder if they're trying to get Jackson some good tape so they can showcase him for a trade down the line.
Hey Kevin...where are you going this weekend?
I'll save that brawl for Friday. Stay tuned!
Hey Kev, do the Vikes need to be concerned with Favre and the lack of a deep ball?
I'd like to see at least one play where he just cuts it loose and throws it 50 yards downfield. even if it's not completed, I think he needs to show opposing defenses he can do it.
Kevin, What do you think chilly is doing to the vikings at halftime? Does he have a whip and a bat with nails in it? Does he just set a gun down on the table and start yelling? They look like a totally different team after the half both weeks so far.
I don't think he's a rah-rah kind of halftime speaker. In Cleveland, they made the radical decision to keep handing it to Peterson. He took care of the rest. In Detroit, their surge actually started in the second quarter with that late touchdown drive.
Is it true Lambeau will start banning beer next season:.
Only for you.
Kevin - you were at both of the Vikings games so far. Please tell me, and other fans alike, what in the wide world of football is going on with their run defense?!?!
Yeah, I'm surprised. They even had to put eight in the box to defend the Lions on Sunday. That rarely happens. I don't have a good answer for you. It's worth looking into this week, though.
Hey Kevin, love reading the daily updates! As an avid Packer fan, what do you think are some of the adjustments Dom Capers and the new 3-4 defense need to make to help slow down the run?
The one thing I wonder is if this will speed up the timetable for B.J. Raji. Nothing helps more than than a 330-pound guy who can get into the backfield.
Kevin, what do you forsee as the remedy for the Bears immediate running game woes?? Will it take a game against the Seahawks, that just got run over by Frank Gore, to get them back on track? Or will it be something that they have to do up front, what are your thoughts.
They just need to stick with it, in my opinion. There's no schematic or personnel reason why they shouldn't be able to run. It just seems they've been throwing a lot more than they used to. Having Jay Cutler will persuade you to do that. But ultimately, run games are built on repetition.
Please tell me when the bears go to nickel they will keep Danieal Manning at FS, bring in Corey Graham and leave Kevin Payne on the bench. He looks lost back there and plays so deep that the 10-15 yard pass on 3rd and long gets to be easy. Any thoughts?
I'm in total agreement. All things equal, I don't know why you would want to complicate things by swapping safeties every time you go to nickel. Corey Graham must really be in the dog house not to have that job.
Crap! I forgot what I was going to ask!!
Ok, let me know ...
Could Minnesota be holding back in preparation for Oct. 5th?
Oh, there you go. ... I don't think that's the case. But will they have any surprises for the Packers? Possibly.
Kevin, I'm not sure what to think about that Pack loss. It boggles my mind. Why is it that I thought Cincy could actually win that game? Seems deja vu. Thats the type of game that's going to hurt them. They have the easiest sked in the div. They get most of the tough teams at home. On paper, it appears the big 3 are 10-6. Whats the biggest nondivisional game for the vikes down the stretch you think- for making the playoffs or not?
That Carolina game in December could be huge. The good news for the Packers is that if you're going to lose at home, it might as well be to an AFC North team. Little to no effect on tiebreakers.
Great game by Greenway on Sunday. I thought he went a little early on draft day at 16, but he's really performed at a high level after losing his rookie year to injury.
Well, I'm going to be radical and say that he caught two passes thrown directly to him. I saw him miss a few tackles early against Kevin Smith. He's active, but I'd like to see him shore up his tackling a little bit.
Hey Kevin, is ted thompson dooming the packers by his inability to hit up free agency during the season. We desperately need depth at we have 4 tackles i think...and 3 FB's...something is wrong with this picture. I know its not normal for TT to go out and pick up a veteran. But if he does not add depth to the line are the packers out of the playoff race?
At this point, I'm not sure what he can do to dramatically improve things. The time for that discussion is the offseason. There's no rule that says the Packers have to sign free agents, but to ignore it as an option for improving the team isn't good business, in my opinion.
Peterson was out of bounds when he took off his helmet against Detroit. Is it a penalty to take off your helmet when you are OB?
Is that what happened? Like I said, I didn't see it. If he was on the sideline, then no, it shouldn't be a penalty.
Isn't it great to get paid to make 1 play a week? Gotta love this country!
Beats what the Bears were getting last year, though.
Kevin: Being based in the area, what are you hearing from Sage Rosenfels? The guy comes to MN thinking he's going to be the starter and he's now relegated to clip board holder. He was in better shape career-wise with the Texans!
Agreed. He has kept his mouth shut, but I can't imagine he's very happy. You can't control whether you get traded, but you can control whether you sign a contract extension, which he did as part of the trade. He signed that deal with the expectation he would get a chance to compete.
With all the parody in the NFL following week 2, which of the teams in the NFC North do you see having the best season?
Who's making fun of the NFL? Oh, par-ity. I still think it's going to be a three-way race between Minnesota, Chicago and Green Bay before it's all said and done. At this point, I'm sticking with my preseason prediction that Minnesota will win the division.
Kevin, it seems like the Packers WR has had a case of the drops the 1st two weeks of the season. Like the staph infection, do you think they got it from Braylon Edwards when he visited in the preseason?
Ha. The Donald Driver thing really has me surprised. This is a guy who proved long ago he has good hands. It has to be a concentration thing, but I have no idea what could be causing him to suddenly lose focus.
So far, do you think Harvin looks good for Rookie of the Year?
He's definitely become a Favre-ite.
We can pick on Favre I guess but his performance Sunday was efficient and gunslinger-free. What more can the Vikes ask of him?
If it keeps working, then nothing. I guess the assumption is that at some point he's going to have to complete multiple downfield passes in a game.
How excited are you to be attending the last monday night game of the season at Soldier Field and what do you plan on wearing in below freezing weather?
Nothing can be worse than the GB-Chicago game at Soldier Field last year. I'm still thawing out from that one.
How do you see the rest of the Packers season playing out? Do you see their o-line getting better any soon?
The problems they're having along the OL might not be easily fixed. If guys are just getting beat physically, and there isn't much depth to speak of, then there's only so much you can do. No team makes the playoffs with an offensive line that has protected the way the Packers have protected in the first two weeks.
What's the deal with Calvin Johnson's slow start? You would think that with KSmith running effectively, it would open things up for the big guy downfield. Is it just a case of developing rapport with a rookie quarterback?
That's a big part of it. Definitely some miscommunication involved.
What about Vasher in the nickel? Has he gone from starting to straight bench? Did he play special teams vs Pitt? Or is it a different skill set to be the nickel back more suited to Graham?
I wouldn't trust him. I'm surprised he made the team, actually. If Tillman and Bowman had been healthy all summer, Vasher probably would have been cut.
Parody in the NFL? Wouldn't that include only the Lions?
You said it. Not me.
Kevin- Have you heard if GB mgmt has contacted Tauscher or Runyan? They need to get someone in here ASAP!! Colledge cant play tackle and Barbre is below avg at best... oct 5 Allen is going to move to barbres side and possibly end Rodgers career!
Last I checked, they were monitoring Tauscher, but that was over the summer. Not sure where it stands at this point.
Kevin: Is Mike M. coaching for his job in GB? Do you think he is a good game manager/play caller?
We've never seen Mark Murphy hire or fire a coach, so we don't know how reactive or patient he is. (Although I suppose Ted Thompson would have a big say in that.) That said, McCarthy isn't coaching for his job any more than any other NFL coach. The Packers had a bad year last year and made a lot of changes to fix it. If they have the same kind of season this year, which I don't think they will, then it's fair to question if McCarthy deserves more time to try something else.
I love how everyone seems to be on Tommie Harris because he only made 1 play last week. Do people not realize that for the most part he has been double teamed and that it allows for the defensive end on his side to go 1 on 1 with the tackle? Oh and your Favre-ite comment is just awful
Love it or leave it, baby! ... As for Harris, is he really being double-teamed on EVERY play? I'm not sure about that.
Peter King has Favre as the 5th greatest QB of all time. Is he insane??? Favre is probabaly around 15-20.
Well, he holds most all-time records for NFL quarterbacks. That's a good place to start.
Sage Rosenfels is doing quite alright, thank you!
You have to be the fastest typer among the ESPN chatters. How many words per minute do you type?
No idea. I just punch the keys and hpe threy're write.
Ok, I could be totally off base. I understand the hype with Sanchez, I know he played well against the Pats. But I still think that Stafford has more physical tools, but playing on the Lions might be the reason he will never live up to his full potential.
Definitely has a stronger arm. Really, I like everything about him except he's been a bit too aggressive downfield on some throws. Agreed on the fact that a rookie playing for the Lions has a much harder time than a rookie playing on a team like, say Atlanta with Matt Ryan last year or Baltimore with Joe Flacco.
What's your take on the Bears LG debate? Omiyale looks overmatched at times, but Beekman is a little undersized at G.
Yeah, they didn't pay Omiyale that kind of money to sit the bench. He's going to have to be horrible for Beekman to replace him.
That GB-Chicago game last year was miz. 50 mph winds constantly, couldnt even tailgate because the grill kept getting blown over!
Wow. I was in a cab coming over the stadium. Cab gets in an accident about three blocks away. No other cab is going to take someone three blocks during rush hour. So I start walking. Uh, brr.
Kevin gotta good question/comment . what is up with mcarthy only calling 3 run plays in the 2nd half? we werent behind till late 3rd. also dont you think if a qb is getting sacked and pressure the best thing to do on first down is run the ball? i know the run game hasnt been good, but help your qb out ,3rd and 5 looks better then 3rd and long cause of a sack on 1rst down!
I'll take your word on that figure. Haven't counted it up myself. But yesterday McCarthy was talking about all the long-yardage downs he faced. It's usually tough to call a run on second-and-10 or first-and-15.
2:45 post is post of the day!
Glad someone got it.
Kevin, if you want insight on Tommie Harris and the other 3 teams in the NFC North...go out and watch the other games at THEIR Stadiums...it beats the Metrodome anytime and I'm not so sure you've been to the other stadiums since you never travel east of the Mississippi River.
I cross it all the time. The Mississippi River goes straight through Minneapolis. :)
How is Green Bay's running back Brandon Jackson coming along? Will the Pack see a boost to their run game with his return?
He's got a bad ankle sprain. I've never been a big fan of his. I think the problem with the Packers' running game is the same as the Bears: Repetition. If you want to run well, you've got to run often.
Will TT's love for Rodgers cause him to go outside hiss philosophy and get a veteran OL player?
That's a good point. They gave Rodgers $20 million in guarantees last year. Why do that and then hope that some mid- to late-round draft picks can protect him adequately.
Who has been more impressive Johnny Knox or Percy harvin
Good question. I'm more impressed with Knox in the sense that he's coming from relative nowhere. We all knew Harvin was the type of player who can make an immediate impact.
KS: Should Tillman have been called for defensive pass interference vs Holmes in the endzone? Certainly looked like he didnt even try to turn his head around; he just waved his arms in front of Holmes' face.
Yeah, a lot of people are wondering about that. Technically there is no faceguarding allowed in the NFL. Watching it live, though, it just looked like a really good play. I'll take another look.
Ok folks, one or two more here.
Bored at work... Can you try and break the ESPN chat record? That would keep me occupied the rest of the day.
What's the record?
Could Urlacher make it back for the playoffs, if the Bears make it?
Doesn't matter. He's on injured reserve and therefore can't play.
On Vikings.com, during childress's monday presser, he acknowledged the fact that there is a "clamoring" for downfield passes, and I think the vikings may be saving amo. We've used Wildcat once, we've thrown no playaction passes, and we haven't given the better teams any good film to study us on as far as the deep ball
He was just being sarcastic. They're not saving anything, in my opinion. He's just making fun of media people who think they know what's best. (Can't imagine who he might have been talking about.)
Green Bay's Safety problem... big?
You never want to be down to safeties No. 3 and 4 when you're in September. The Collins injury is strange. I've never heard of a sprained clavicle before.
I thought you could take players off of IR at end of the year, no?
I don't think so. But maybe I'm missing a rule. Another thing to check on.
Ok eveyrone, thanks a bunch. Chat with you next week!