Hi everyone. Thanks for heading to our little neck of the woods to talk NFC North football. Let's get on with it.
As bad as the defense was for the Bears on Sunday that makes two straight weeks of horrible offense. I thought the fact the bears offense was so bad because we didn't have a franchise quarterack that could throw the ball but now we have Cutler who was called a franchise quarterback and the offense still can't get going. Sounds like there's a bigger problem than just not having a quarterback because kyle orton obviously can't be a franchise quarterack.(see 6-0 denver broncos).
Couple issues here with the offense. First, I think most of us would agree that the offensive line transition hasn't gone smoothly Chris Williams is jumping offsides too often. Frank Omiyale seems overwhelmed at left guard. Orlando Pace looks his age sometimes. As a result, the running game isn't clicking and Cutler seems to be pressing. I agree. Franchise quarterbacks shouldn't be producing three-interception games, let alone throwing four. Cutler needs to even out his play, but it starts upfront.
A few weeks ago you said that you thought Sidney Rice didn't have the speed to be a #1 receiver. Have the past 2 games changed your mind at all? I mean when you can make catches like the one he made on 3rd & long on the sideline, do you really need elite speed? With his size, hands, and leaping ability he is a very tough matchup for almost any cb in the nfl.
Well, I haven't changed my mind about his speed. And I won't make any rash judgments off of two really good performances. I agree on all of your observations on his skills. Let's see if defenses can adjust to him, or if he can maintain this level of play over time.
Is it possible that Frank Omiyale is better suited to play tackle? I know this may seem like a strange suggestion, but maybe he is better off going against lighter defensive ends instead of defensive tackles, most of which are able to drive him 5 yards into the backfield.
He's definitely not suited to play guard, that's for sure. I've never quite gotten the difference between body types for guards and tackles. But it's clear to me he's not a starting-caliber guard.
Who is going to be starting at LT for the Pack on Sunday? Clifton has looked horrible all season, including the Lions (not much better than the Browns who Lang handled). Allen has crushed us the past two games and I think McCarthy needs to see what he has in this kid.
I'm betting Lang. Clifton isn't going to practice much this week, and he hasn't played a whole lot in the past month or so. That's not a good combination for facing Jared Allen. Lang is a rookie, which isn't an ideal status for facing Allen, either. But at this point he might be the Packers' best option.
Is Calvin Johnson going to play and make an impact this weekend?
We'll get a better idea of the Lions' injury situation later today and Wednesday. We don't know how severe the knee injury was, although he looked like he was limping pretty good on the sidelines during the Steelers game. But it's impossible to guess how much progress he's made since then.
Does Favre have his own dressing room in Minnesota like he had in Green Bay?
If he does, I don't know about it. The Vikings have a pretty small facility, and there aren't many places to hide.
Do you think Jeff Dugan should be fined or suspended for the hit on the ref during Percy Harvin's return? Personally, coaches teach that the refs are part of the football field. I don't think it was malicious.
No way. When you watch the replay, it's obvious Dugan didn't see the guy. He's looking over high right shoulder at Harvin.
Please tell me the Bears will clean house after the season? Trade Urlacher for picks (b/c they currently have none thanks to JA), cut Vasher and T. Harris......try to assemble a youthful O-Line.....Sunday was embarrassing and showed just how far the Bears have to go. Lovie and Jerry must go!!
You and about 10 trillion Bears fans are feeling the same way this week. I really doubt they fire either Angelo or Smith, but we also have no idea how the season is going to play out. Ultimately, both men have long-term contracts. I'm not sure the Bears are interested in paying either of them to walk away.
When was the last time you saw the Bears play this badly? What do you blame for the giant meltdown in Cinncy?
Actually, and I think this shows how football encourages short memories, they were terrible in their loss at Green Bay last year. I think it was 37-3. Got their tails waxed. But by the end of the year, they had worked their way back to playoff contention. I don't think this week's loss was much worse.
riddle me this kevin, i have noticed alot of the media jumping off the vikings bus after the loss at pittsburgh,these same reporters also seem to think that the bears or the pack will win the north. they also give pittsburgh all the credit in the world for the gift the vikings gave them. why is that,i think the vikes played great on defence and if not for a bad call and some lucky bounces,the vikes would be 8-0. i know the vikes have had some luck but no one is saying that about the steelers this year!!!!
I'm not sure I buy the premise, Dan. I don't think too many media types are jumping away from the Vikings quite yet. As I wrote Sunday, I thought they played pretty well in the loss.
Kevin ma boy, how do you see the Vikings' secondary faring against Aaron Rodgers? Were you encouraged by the play of Asher Allen, Karl Paymah and Benny Sapp? Do you see the Pack exploiting the middle of the field with Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee?
Well, Dan, I've got a couple 13-14 things I could tell you about that. First of all, I'm wondering if Finley is even going to play. He was on crutches Monday because of a knee injury. But to the heart of your question, I think the Packers are pretty well equipped to exploit the Viking secondary unless Aaron Rodgers is once again overwhelmed by the pass rush.
It seems like everyone's bashing the Packers wins over the Lions & Browns because of the weakness of those teams. Why do they seem to refuse to acknowledge that Minnesota allowed those teams to put up much more of a fight than they were able to muster against the Packers.
I don't know if anyone's glossed over that fact. I think it's fair to harness your enthusiasm when those Lions and Browns games are the only bodies of work the Packers can show since their last game against Minnesota. If that makes sense. Do we say the Packers are much better than they were three weeks ago because they beat up on Detroit and Cleveland? Or do we say they're going in the right direction and that we'll know a lot more after seeing them against better competition? I choose the latter.
Kevin, just say it! Cutler is not the future of the Bears, no matter what type of extension he signed. I did not like him in Denver, I especially don't like him in Chicago. Can we officially put Lovie on the hot seat? IF the Bears don't make the playoffs, he has to be gone...he and Angelo. What do you think?
Sorry. He is the future of the Bears.
Whew, I almost completely missed hitting the submit button! My buddy Tyrell whiffed on his first attempt too. What in the world is wrong with us?
You guys have got to tackle better. I give you a more of a break because I think you have some coverage skills. But Johnson is supposed to be a hitter. And he's missing more than he's hitting.
..did you get the number of that truck?
License plate: AD-28.
Favre's fumble and Hutch's missed block.a one-play fluke, or has the guards play dropped off this year?
Hutchinson has had some back problems this year, so it's possible he has been limited by that. But I don't think this has been one of the best years of his career.
With Berian probably out and Harvin showing a propensity to get banged up is Minny getting thin at WR in your opinion or do you think Shiancoe can pick up some of the slack?
Shiancoe can do that, and both Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson can help out in the passing game. Also, Jaymar Johnson -- the Vikings' No. 5 receiver -- isn't bad.
does GB come after favre this time? there D has looked very good with bigby back even though it was the lions and browns.
They should. You saw what happened in the last game when he had enough time.
What's the real story on Antoine Winfield? six weeks? day to day? seems like it is hard to get a straight answer.
Agreed. Welcome to the world of NFL injury information. I honestly can't give you an answer I'm 100 percent confident of. If I had to guess, I'd say they re-evaluate his status after the bye.
I used to think Greenway and EJ were the hands down best LB's Minnesota has, but Leber makes every tackle, comes up clutch, and just gets the job done, yet he is the one who comes out in nickle packages. What gives? Because from the outside looking in he seems to be outplaying both of them.
That's something that's come up every year when the Vikings take him out for the nickel. I guess they think Greenway is faster and E.J. is the signal-caller, but I agree. I'd want Leber out there as often as possible. Never, ever out of position and makes every play that's available to him.
Kevin, did you see the story where Capers said he wasn't planning on blitzing Favre much? I don't understand why Capers would volunteer this information, if he is being sincere. If he's not being sincere, why would the media report it? It would sort of be doing the team's bidding, no? Can you give some insight into if/how teams like to use the media to their advantage? Thanks!
Yeah, I wondered about that, too. First of all, teams don't usually finish their gameplans until Tuesday, and they begin installation Wednesday. So I'm not sure if Capers even knew what his final approach would be if he talked to reporters on Sunday or Monday. Second, you're kind of in a bind if you're a reporter there. If you ask the question, and you're given an earnest, on-the-record answer, you're not being fair if you don't report it. The best you can probably do is couch it by saying "Capers claimed" or "Capers wants you to believe."
are you going to Lamboo on SUnday? If so, I'd like to invite you to our tailgate. West side of the stadium - a big Irish flag is flying . Are you in?
We'll see what we can do. I'll bring a compass.
Kevin, Are the Vikings still an indoor only team and suffer from playing outdoors and do they struggle playing physical football against the likes of my bra Polamalu?
No, I think Sunday's game showed they could compete outdoors, on grass, etc. I look at those last two turnovers as exceptional individual plays by the Steelers, not necessarily self-destructive mistakes.
Kevin,Who is gonna take over for Brett Swain?
Early hints are Jake Allen, a practice squad receiver.
Kevin, thanks for printing Madieu's question. We tried to high-five after we saw it but missed hands 4 consecutive times...
Kevin, is there a chance that Tommie Harris has actually been playing better this season than we all thought? With Benson running wild Sunday, maybe Harris wasn't getting the stats but was putting his teammates in position to make plays. Please for this season's sake, say he has been a difference maker and is a big reason for Benson's big day.
Well, I have to say I hadn't thought of that. I suppose it's possible that he was holding up blockers, but he sure wasn't make the plays himself. That might be a stretch but I like your thinking.
yo Kev, I noticed AP is holding the rock in his right hand more often even when running to his left. Do you think thats why we are not seeing him break the longer runs because he cant use the right arm to stiff the opponents as he is too conscious of fumbling?
I hadn't noticed that, but if that's the case, that's a really interesting observation. I'm pretty sure he's right-handed.
can someone make it clear to me what happened to winfield??? The media says fracture and out up to 6 weeks but he says he is day to day and childress never answered. Is he gonna play this week?
I'd be really surprised if he played this week. Otherwise, the NFL system for reporting injuries is so whacked that it's impossible to know what's going on. Don't get me started....
Kevin, What would have been so bad with the Lions taking Michael Oher? He would have solved a lot more problems than Pettigrew, no?
I was definitely in favor of Oher there, and thought it would have been a lucky break for him to fall that far. As we discussed last week, the Lions have to strengthen both of their lines. It's too early to make any judgments on Pettigrew, but I'll say the same thing I said April: You've got to be one heck of a dynamic tight end to be the No. 20 overall pick in the draft.
Which team from the NFCN do you think had the best draft so far?
You look at the Bears and they're getting help from two guys: Knox and Afalva. The Packers are getting help from Matthews, and that's about it. So it's down to the Vikings and Lions. Harvin might be the rookie of the year, and Loadholt is starting at right tackle. But the Lions, perhaps with no other choice, are using almost their entire draft class right now. So I'll side with them at this point.
How long before the Lions are real contenders for the NFC North title?
I won't even consider that possibility until they address their offensive and defensive lines. They can't win with what they've got.
Is anyone paying attention to the Lions-Rams game this week? Also, are the Rams going 0-16 if they lose to the Lions?
I am. The Lions are actually favored in that game. John Niyo from the Detroit News tweeted it's the first time they've been favored since the 2008 opener. As for the Rams, they have the talent to win ... a game.
Coach Seifert - lots of ink lately on Kampman, but it sure seems like Jenkins and Jolly are making a lot of plays. You think these guys are underrated?
At the very least, they are proving to be well-suited to the 3-4. They've also shown you can be a playmaker from the end position in this version of that defense.
Are Forte's problems the same as Cutlers? O-Line betraying him, or is there actually a hitch in his giddy-up this year?
Partly offensive line. I also question whether he's the type of back who can manufacture yardage on his own.
Are they seriously talking about making the officials where helmets?
Yes. Although I'll say a helmet might not have helped the guy Jeff Dugan ran over in Pittsburgh.
Um. The NFL Power Rankings out for the week. NFCN is now 4th. I'm going to go cry in the corner. Care to join?
I'm actually headed out to Target for another box of Kleenex.
Are you sure you're not Juan Epstein's brother from Welcome Back Cotter?
Is that the John Travolta character? Or is it the one who raises his hand and says, "Oh! Oh! Oh!"
Hey Kevin, you mentioned that Clifton might be on the outs. I agree. I was suprised that no one picked up on the fact that Clifton was struggling prior to the ankle injury. Are you hearing that the Packers are unsatisfied with his performance?
One thing I know is they're not happy with the pre-snap penalties. I think it was two false starts and two illegal formation calls last time against Detroit.
As bad as the whole team was, I think the worst part was that the Bears defenders often looked as if they had no idea what was going on. Nick Roach is still trying to make calls as Palmer was taking the snap and the DBs were lookung at each other with their hands up as if they had no idea what coverage they were in or whom they were supposed to cover. I'm sure the Bears saw the same formations and routes on tape before the game, but you would never know it.
Part of that is Lovie Smith not getting the calls in quickly enough. But frankly, part of that is simply having your third-string middle linebacker in the game. Maybe Brian Urlacher deserves more credit for keeping the team organized over the past few years.
Hey Kev, I know that power rankings stuff has been delegated else where, but how come you don't give us your own rankings, at least for the NFC North? Additionally, how come you don't pick the games? Make your own predictions?
The problem for me in the power rankings is that you can't do them in a vacuum. You have to compare the NFC North teams to the rest of the league, and I don't claim to have more than a passing knowledge of some teams, especially those in the AFC. My focus during the week is usually just on the four NFC North teams. As for picking games, I know that's a fun exercise. But it's such a random exercise, and the NFL is so entirely unpredictable, that I don't see the point. Maybe next year I'll pick games using a dart board and see how accurate I am.
Media mania about Favre is getting the Lamboo fans lathered up. So if you, Kevin S, had a sign in the stadium what would it say?
is it just me or do the vikings get shredded pretty uch every time they blitz? is it just that they cant disguise them, or cant read the gaps to get to the qb fast enough? whats going on?
Not every time. I thought Asher Allen made a heck of a play to sack Roethlisberger on that blitz in the fourth quarter.
Is Hillenmeyer going to go back to the middle and Roach to the outside? Hillenmeyer seems to be better suited to call out the plays and changes in formation.
I agree, but it seems the Bears like Roach's athleticism in the middle. They've got to make a decision on that pretty quickly.
Kevin, is it just me or does Schwartz seem to give out less information when it comes to injuries than most head coaches?
I think he's been pretty hard-core about it while staying within NFL rules. Many, many first-time head coaches have the same approach. Some of them, like Bill Belichick, stay that way for their entire careers. Others realize that the energy required to keep injury information secret isn't always worth the supposed advantage gained.
Ooh Ooh his name was Horshack..
Got it. ... I saw him get beat up in a celebrity boxing match against Dustin Diamond of "Saved by the Bell" fame. That was good television.
Favre threw 51 times on Sunday in a close game....Childress needs to take some heat for not giving the ball to Peterson more, doesn't he?
No, not necessarily. The Steelers have one of the best run defenses in the country, and I give the Vikings credit for finding a way to move the ball after the running game failed early. They still managed to accomplish their main goal of keeping the Steelers offense off the field.
would the THANK YOU be painted in green, or purple?
Black and blue.
Do you think we'll see more A.D. and Chester and less Favre in Green Bay this week. I know it's his homecoing and his emotions have got to be running high but how many times can he throw 51 times a game?
That's not going to happen too often. But if they're not moving the ball via the run, they now have the proven option of moving it consistently through the air.
I should be pretty happy about the Vikes' performance this past Sunday, right? Many are complaining about the 51/18 split but several of the passes were like extended pitch plays and why not take what the opposing defense is giving you?
Totally agreed, if this is the real J.B. The bottom line is they had almost, what, 37 minutes of possession?
OK, what's with this you give Favre a standing ovation or thank him lovie dovie stuff? I'm going with what Mike Vandermause said, which is you BOO and yell at him, not because he left to a rival team, but because he's the OPPOSING QB now and you'd do that to any other opposing QB.
I think fans should do whatever is most fun for them. But if you're the Packers/stadium ops, anything you do to downplay Favre's return is another step toward moving on. If they go out of their way to incite their crowd, which I don't think they will, it just shows they haven't gotten over his departure.
Seriously, does Favre have some sort of man-crush on Percy or what? What QB runs down the field when one of his WRs get hurt???
Harvin's made him look pretty good this year.
So, when's the visit to the next lions game coming up?
In the works but definitive plans beyond next week yet.
How stupid was the NFL for not scheduling this Minnesota @ GB game for MNF? Why the other? Made little sense to me.
Schedule was out before Favre returned. But I see your point.
Sadly, I think Sunday is the biggest day in the history of Green Bay...not the team, the town.
It'll be their own fault. They need to rise above it, especially the mayor-stooge. There have got to be better uses of his time than encouraging citizens to harass Favre but to use "taste."
Ok, one or two more.
Why not move it to Sunday night? WS conflict?
Flex schedule hasn't started yet. That's not an option.
I just want to say congrats on being Muti-Talented, you are in this chat and still have posted stuff on you blog.... way to go Kevin. You are my role model cuz of you im going to finish my paper.
Thanks. That's the power of what we call "future-posting."
I was just reading one of the questions and thought it would be fun if you could include on the NFCN facebook page a place that all of the fans could compete against each other each week in picking games. Think you could make something like that happen?
That might be doable. Let me look into that.
So, then was Pawlenty commenting on Favre a similar waste of time?
I didn't see it, but if so, yes. ... Although the Green Bay mayor put a letter on his web site, I believe.
Thanks for your support, Kevin. You will never have to pay for a pair of Wranglers again!
And thank you all! I'm out of time here. Chat with you next week!