Hi everyone. Welcome back to a full week of NFC North play. Chicago and Green Bay are back from their bye weeks, and we'll have all four teams in action this weekend. OK, let's get to it.
Kevin,Can you please explain to me the roughing the passer penalty. I was a the Lions game on Sunday and saw The Steelers benefit from a pick that was reversed because of one call. I thought it was borderline at best. I then saw Culpepper throw a pick and get hit clearly after releasing the ball without a call. I see this as very inconsistent and two plays that clearly effected the outcome of the game. Thank you, Ed
Yeah, I hate these calls but I think it just reflects where the NFL is going with quarterback protection. It all stems back to the hit Tom Brady took in the 2008 opener. It's now illegal for defensive players to, essentially, hit quarterbacks low. (They also can't hit them above the shoulders, either.) It doesn't look like football, but the NFL isn't going to back off its attempts to keep quarterbacks healthy.
Good afternoon Kevin,My question is with the Mark Tauscher signing does it give some confidence to the offense?
Hi Kimberly. I doubt it will do much of anything in the very short term. There's no way he could be in good enough football shape to help the Packers right away. I would say that if he could be in the lineup by midseason, that would be a good turn of events for the Packers.
let be serious what are the bears chances of landing terrel owens
I'd be STUNNED. (Of course, that's happened before.)
Would you say the Cincinnati victory means the AFC North is tougher or easier than you thought 5 weeks ago? Does that also mean Green Bay's loss might not be as bad as it once looked?
I suppose that could be the case, but you look at that game and have to blame the Packers just as much as you give the Bengals credit. Way too many mistakes and an inexplicable inability to adjust to Antwan Odom.
Kevin,with Brett Favre playing the way he is and even with the possibilty that he could still break down, what are the odds that the Vikings could move either T-Jack or Sage before the deadline.With the state of quartebacking on some teams there could be some value there.
Yeah, I speculated on that a bit Monday and a lot of readers thought I was just trying to stir it up. If I had to guess, I would say Jackson won't be traded. There just aren't that many trades at midseason in the NFL, and quarterbacks would have an especially hard time adjusting quickly enough to make a contribution. The issue of Favre's stamina is also something to keep in mind. But if someone offers you a third- or a fourth-round draft pick for one of those quarterbacks, don't you at least have to consider it?
Now that we're several games into the season, how do each of the four NFC North teams individually compare to your pre-season expectations for that team. For example are the Bears better than you thought they would be, worse, or about the same?
Fair question. Minnesota is about where I thought it would be. Chicago's a little further along, and the Packers are a little further back, than I thought they would be. Detroit is about where I thought.
Kevin, should GB consider trading Aaron Kampmann for immediate help (not draft picks) before the 10/20 deadline? He is a great player, however, his move to OLB in the 3-4 defense seems to be a "square peg-round hole" manuver and there would be some teams running the 4-3 that need some DE help. Granted, he only has 4 NFL games under his belt at that position, but given the Packers current talent level, getting immediate help for the OL (Joe Thomas?) or at the safety position would be a spark instead of continuing to "build for the future" with draft picks. Thanks!
That's an interesting option. You would have to think that someone would be interested in a pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end. But I doubt the Packers would do it. He's too much of a fixture and we can't write him off in the 3-4 after four games.
kevin, when is espn going to get someone to cover the nfl central that is not biased. all you can write about is the vikings. they are not all that but you dont seem to care. it would be nice to see someone who knows how to write about the whole division.
When the NFL Central returns, let me know.
Kevin, it's the moveable object versus the resistable force--the Lions' pass rush and the Packers' pass protection. Which lackluster unit is more effective on Sunday?
Hey Ty... if the Packers blitz the way they did in the preseason, and against Chicago, then it will be a long day for the Lions. But if they get conservative like they did against Minnesota, their front three won't do too much damage.
What do you think of the Bears chances of winning next Sunday against Atlanta?
Great game, first of all. I'll say this: The Bears are better equipped to play the Falcons this year than they were last year. I was at that game last year, and people forget how short-handed they were. I want to say that Marcus Hamilton was one of two healthy cornerbacks at the end. That's why they couldn't use the nickel defense and ended up having Hunter Hillenmeyer defending someone in the slot. That was a freak, freak series that led to the Falcons' victory.
Like the blog. On to the question; any chance the Lions trade Ernie Sims for some DB help?
I'm not sure if anyone would take him at this point. It sounds like his shoulder isn't healthy.
Hey Kevin, I know it isn't relevant to the division, but what's your personal take on Rush Limbaugh trying to buy the Rams?
I covered Minnesota's ownership change in 2005, and I can tell you the first thing that the league cares about is whether you have the cash. From all accounts, Limbaugh has it. So I wouldn't discount his candidacy from that standpoint. As for my opinion, I believe in the free market. He should have a fair opportunity to buy the team. And the NFL should have a fair opportunity to accept him or turn him down based on whatever criteria it wants.If he somehow gets the team and then suffers reprecussions from his previous statements, that's the way it goes.
Is it possible that the Lions secondary is worse than last year?
To me, the problem is that the pass rush isn't much better. They don't have a single player who requires unusual attention from a blocking scheme.
OK Kevin..putting aside that you would be stunned...should the Bears go out and get TO? What would it cost...3rd or a 4th?
Wouldn't do it regardless of what it costs. I think the Bears have a pretty good locker room right now. I wouldn't risk that kind of disruption. The Bears' receivers have outpaced all expectations.
Can da bears continue to dominate with nick roach playing mlb
I didn't like the way the Lions exposed him in pass coverage, but apparently I'm in the minority on that one.
With the GB MN game being moved to the 4:15pm ET slot do you think this has the potential to be the highest rated game ever?
That's an interesting one. Typically the highest-rated games are in prime-time. But as far as 4:15 games, you would have to think it has a chance.
Kevin- any word on Loadholt.....you wrote that he would test the ankle in today's practice
Kevin, do you think the obvious improvement of Minnesota's special teams play can be attributed solely to the presense of Farwell? He is pretty much the only difference between this years squad and last years, right?
No, there are a number of other reasons. There's a new special teams coordinatory (Brian Murphy). And they also signed a guy named Kenny Onatolu who is doing a pretty good job as well.
What are the chances that Matt Forte has been recovering from an injury, leading to the talk that he's looked slower this year? If there's any truth to that do you expect good things for him after a bye week?
Well, he did seem to have some kind of hamstring/groin injury during the spring, but I have to hope that's not still bothering him. I was a little surprised that he got caught on that 61-yarder against the Lions. Let's put it this way: He won't be fresher at any point of the season than he is now after a bye week.
Kevin,What is your early prediction for the baltimore at minn game. I will be at the dome, and i hope it isnt the first game minny loose!
This will be Minnesota's toughest opponent yet. Don't be fooled by the Ravens' record. They're an excellent team and they'll be tough to run against.
Kev, have you seen Jesse Ventura's beard lately, its ridiculous!
I'll let him know the next time I see him at Canterbury.
Do you think the Bears can beat Atlanta on the road and are they for real...
I think it's a great game and yes, they could definitely win.
I think Ty @ Lions in Winter was asking about the other side of the ball as in the Lions DE's versus the pathetic GB o-line. And I'm curious too. What do you think would happen? Do you think the Lions can finally get couple sacks on Rodgers this weekend?
Really? Whoops. Good discussion either way. As for your version, I'd say this is a good week for the Packers offensive line to get itself together.
Detroit will beat the Rams, Browns, and Green Bay on Thanksgiving. 4-12. Schwartz is headed in the right direction.
Not sure about that Thanksgiving prediction but that's a long way from now, regardless. As for Schwartz, I like some of the things he's done but I think he's finding out -- if he didn't already know -- that there is a serious talent issue in Detroit.
Please address the over-rated Vikings and their piss-poor schedule they've had so far!!! Failure to do so will only continue to reinforce your bias towards them!
That question is addressed, more or less, in a post that will publish at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Turning to a new stadium issue for the Vikings. To fund the stadium, place a toll bridge over 94 west bound as the Wisconites head into the Twin Cities to work each day. Then get them on the way out too as the head home each evening. How ironic .. have the Packer fans pay for the new Viking stadium. Thoughts?
Here's my proposal: Tax the Twins at 98 percent for all additional profits they make as a result of their new ballpark. Because you know they're just going to pocket it otherwise.
Someone's impersonating me. Kevin's our blogger. That's that.
That worked out well for Rex. And Kyle.
IS TIILMAN BEST DB IN NORTH?
I'd go with Charles Woodson, followed closely by Antoine Winfield.
Has big Pat Williams hit the wall? He clearly is not playing at the level he has in the past. The film doesn't lie...maybe that's why more teams seem willing to test the run up the middle against them?
Yeah, I watched him a fair amount against St. Louis. I thought he got moved around a bit more than he used to. But I still think he's a starting-caliber NT.
As of now, who do you think got the better deal out of the Cutler trade??
Bears. They wouldn't be 3-1 with Orton.
Adding to Ariel's question, what are the chances that, even if HH comes back ready to play, he retakes the MLB spot from Roach?
Everyone seems to have crowned Roach. He's probably better as a blitzer and against the run, but not sure about the pass.
EJ Henderson seems to not be near where he was last year. What's the deal?
Disagree. I think he's playing pretty well. He's never been great in pass coverage. But as an aspiring lawyer, I'm sure you object....
Your blog at the beginning of the season is not looking that far off about the Pack receivers versus the Vikes....care to stir the pot again!
I never turn down that opportunity. But in reality, let's see if the Packers WRs can turn things around. They have an awful lot of talent.
Are Stafford and Johnson expected back this week?
Not at this point, no. But the Lions have done a pretty good job concealing their injury details.
What happened to me since week 1? I feel like I'm being surpassed by a third stringer.
Kellen Davis? ... Well, if there's any criticism to be put on the Bears' receivers, it's that none of them necessitates a double-team. That means opponents can focus on Olsen more than they ordinarily would.
In light of Matt Birk making his first return to MN as a non-Viking, do you think he would have stayed with the Vikings if he knew Favre was going to be taking the snaps?
No. I think that decision was made last year when the Vikings declined to extend his contract. He knew then that he wasn't in their long-term plans.
Does ESPN track Blog hits? It would be interesting to know which division blog gauges more interest. I think your Blog has to get more hits than any other with all of the changes and hype the North has. Just wondering.
They do. I could tell you the details, but then I'd have to, uh, un-tell you.
Hi Kevin and greetings from Madagascar!!I'm a lifelong Bear fan and have been impressed at the way they have bounced back from the loss to the Packers. I actually believe this is more due to an improved defense (especially the pass rush) than to the presence of Jay Cutler (though that certainly hasn't hurt). My question: do you think the Bears can sustain the good defensive play with all their injuries at the linebacker position?
Hi John. What's life like in the movies? (Yes, that's how closed-minded I am.) As for the linebackers, I think the Bears can cover for them if they continue to mix their blitzing and Tampa-2 schemes effectively.
So Kevin, which game will YOU be at this Sunday? I'm gonna guess the Vikings-Ravens contest! Right or wrong?
Who says I can't be there and in Atlanta by 7 p.m.?
Cannabalism. The most hateful of crimes or a way to fix population and world hunger your thoughts?
I think you are way off in your negative assessment of the Mark Tauscher move. Do you really think that Packers' management looked at things in late August and said, "Well we look pretty terrible on the O-line but we can just slide by for the first quarter til Tausch gets back."? No way. They thought they were good enough on the line. They were wrong. Now a proven vet is ready to play. Why would the Packers not bring in this potential problem to this unexpected midseason problem? They weren't trying to get by. They have a problem and they're addressing it. That's a positive, not a negative.
But based on what we've seen so far, there's no reason for them to have thought that Barbre was ready to handle the job. I would hope they didn't plan to "get by" with him until Tauscher is back, but you don't know that's not the case.
With Jermichael Finley lining up as a receiver now, if Rodgers gets more protection how dangerous is Green Bay?
The whole thing is predicated on better protection. The question is whether the Packers can afford to have their tight ends split out or if they need them to help block and chip.
I'm curious how you found Jennings rant about not getting the ball enough not to be the usual WR complaining? Sounded pretty "me me me"?
I just thought he had a measured, rational tone. It was in the context of what is best for the team. And I agree. It's better for the Packers to have the ball in his hands more.
How can you say the Bears got the better deal? Seriously. With the situation that was there, isnt that like saying the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys should have kept Owens? Only the Broncos are undefeated and received great compensation.
I realize the Broncos couldn't have been better than 5-0 at this point if Cutler was their quarterback. And it's a positive for them that to this point, the trade hasn't negatively impacted them. But I think it's had more positive impact for the Bears.
Let us talk some Gosder! Have you seen enough of him to make a call long-term? Is he a building block or easily replaceable? If nothing else, his radio spots are amazing...
That's a good question. I'm not completely sure. It looks like he's got to get his emotions in check. He's got the physical tools.
First off, no one believes you are in your mid-thirties! Second, you should sport a mustache and mullet like my man JA! third, Chilly, mustache or beard? I used to think beard, but I don't like it as much as I thought I would.
So they think I'm in my mid-20's?
Seifert just doesn't want you to know I am by far the most popular blogger.
The secret is out.
It seems like Brett has gotten a connection with Rice and Harvin but still can't get on the same page as Berrian consistently. Should the Vikes try to move Bernard for his sake or do you think Brett is going to spread the ball around all year and eventually everyone will have a big day at least once during the season?
I keep hearing that, but when you look at the stats, Berrian is the Vikings' second-leading receiver. It took him a while to get going last year, too.
Why does Lovie Smith not show much emotion? It was refreshing to see McDaniels this past weekend.
Hmmmmmm. I prefer the even-keeled personality myself. Something about not getting too high or too low. I watched McDaniels and wanted to tell him to act like he's won a game before.
Kevin, what's the most glaring position of need for the Lions in regards to the 2010 draft (I know it's a long way off, but hey, I'm a Lion's fan)? one of the 2 stud DTs projected at the top of the draft in Suh and McCoy are who I'm looking at. Is secondary a bigger need?
Line, line, line. I thought the same thing last year. They have to address both lines. You win from the inside out.
Have you seen the video on YouTube of Jared Allen spearing and killing an elk from a tree? That guy is a freak of nature. Glad he's in Purple and Gold.
I have not. I'll have to google that bad boy.
Matt Birk at the Dome on Sunday...the crowd will a) Cheer or b) Boo him?
Since no one seems to do player introductions anymore, I bet they'll never hear his name called.
Ok, one or two more here.
Is there a bigger steal in this year's draft than Johnny Knox?
He's the SOD so far.
Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre Brett Favre
There. That helps balance things.
Just read your comparison of 98 Vikes to current team. Nicely done. Are you insinuating that they will make it to at least the NFC Championship game?
Thanks. They've got that potential, yes.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week!