Hi everyone. Welcome to our special Thanksgiving chat! What's special about it? Well, it's two days before Thanksgiving! Ok, let's get to it.
Happy thanksgiving Kevin to you and your family. My question is with Al Harris and Aaron Kampman out what do you think Dom Capers will do defensively now?
Right back at you, Kimberly. I've actually got an extended post coming up this afternoon that addresses it. In a nusthell, I think Capers' pledge to create a scheme around the talents of his players is really going to be tested. He might need to have some creative packages. An example could be using an extra linebacker, and one less defensive back, in the nickel.
Kevin, it is too simple to chalk up the Bears' poor season merely to the loss of Brian Urlacher, but in what sort of position do you think Chicago would be in right now had their star LB not been hurt?
I think the biggest way he would have helped is to get the defensive more organized. There have been too many times, especially when Hillenmeyer was injured, that the Bears weren't even lined up at the snap. You've got no chance to stop anyone when that happens.
Two MVPs in MN...possible?
It will be interesting. But would voters choose Favre over Peyton Manning if everything stays equal?
Now with severe injuries to the Packers D and the continuous struggles on the O-line will the Packers even be able to fill all of their needs in the upcoming draft? Do you think it is possible Ted decides against his usual approach of building from the draft and signing some free agents, or am I the only one who thinks the Packers have no depth left of the roster and need some serious help if they want to be contenders??
I don't think you're the only one who thinks that, but I have no reason to believe Thompson will test free agency this year.
Hi Kevin. I'm a Colts fan, but wanted to talk about Matt Stafford. Looks like the boy became a man on Sunday, right?
Think so, yes. I haven't seen a Lions player care that much about winning in a long time.
Kevin, your much maligned opinion on the Vikings having the best receivers in the NFCN is looking a bit less ridiculous at this stage of the season wouldn't you say?
Ha. I would say that it's been tougher to judge the Packers' receivers this season because of the pass protection issues. And I can't claim to have known that Sidney Rice would emerge the way he has. I will claim that I was convinced Harvin would be a big-time player.
Can you change the name from "Rapid Reaction" to "Careful Consideration"? Come on Kevin you are the slowest guy in the blog league!
Whaaaaa?? I think you are getting our designations mixed up. "Rapid Reaction" comes right after the game I'm covering, and I really do post that within minutes of the final gun. We then do "Wrap-up" posts for the games we don't cover. Everyone has their own approach to that, but my strategy is to focus on giving the best first-hand coverage of the game I'm attending before moving on to the ones I didn't cover or see. I like to watch the online video highlights and look at the final gamebook before writing any of those wrap-up posts, too. That's why those take longer.
KS: Any word on Megatron?
He didn't practice today. Sounds like it's 50-50 he plays Thursday.
Watching Jay Cutler step sideways or backwards to throw tells me multiple things: 1. He doesn't trust his o-line to not get him leveled(why would he) 2. Nobody in Chicago is working with him on mechanics 3. It's going to cost him what little accuracy he has at this point. Why would you invest so heavily in a QB and not give him any good coaches, wr's or linemen to work with? He needs to step up and take responsibility for his poor mechanics and find a way to fix them... clearly the Bears aren't going to do it!
I'm big on your second point. It's clear that someone needs to remind him about that stuff. It's fine if you're completing passes and winning. If you're not hitting open receivers, it has to be addressed. Then I think you get into the issue of how coachable Cutler is and whether he would listen to Pep Hamilton if it was mentioned to him.
Hey Kevin, do you think that Chester Taylor's workload will increase over the duration of the season - especially in games where Adrian is sputtering?
I think they should consider pulling back on Peterson's workload the same way they have with Favre/Tarvaris Jackson. Taylor can handle more than 3-5 carries a game, and I don't see a need to give Peterson 24 carries in a 35-9 game.
Its so obvious to me that the problem with the Bears offense is the O-line. How much better could Forte be with some blocking? How much better would Cutler be with some blocking and help from the run game? He wouldn't have to throw from his back foot with two guys in his face every throw. What are some realistic options at Oline for the future?
They would both be better. But I will say that the best running backs find ways to get yards on their own. That's one thing I don't think Forte does. He needs holes.
hey kevin why is t jack coming into games instead of sage even though the vikes gave up a fourth round pick to get him?
Because Childress has liked and continues to like Tarvaris Jackson better. Childress didn't make that trade. It was Rick Spielman from the front office. I've never seen anything to suggest Childress is a huge Rosenfels fan.
It's still a bit early to consider some wild card scenarios, but you've never been one to shy away from stirring the pot, right? What are the chances of the Packers becoming Vikings fans at the end of the year? They're just a bit ahead of the Giants right now...
Very interesting and prescient. I think the Packers will need four more victories to ensure themselves a spot. If they're at nine wins entering Week 17, however, it's not out of the question that your scenario could occur.
kevin, love listening to you and bareirro chat it up on mondays. do you think Antoine Winfield is ready to come back this week, and if he is, does chilly wait to bring him back for the Arizona game next week?
Hey, thanks Dave. If I had to guess, I would say Winfield plays in some capacity. Maybe in nickel?
good games around the division, but the highlight of the weekend was yes the LIONS. can we expect more crazy, fun exciting games in the future or was that just because they played the browns?
As soon as Stafford gets back on the field. He's got some incredible moxie.
What did you think of Kahlil Bell Sunday night? His first carry was the longest the Bears have had in ages. He seems to have that second gear that Forte is lacking this season.
It was a really nice run, but let's not get carried away yet. What I think he can and should do is give the Bears a second option when Forte is having one of those games where he's got 47 yards on 15 carries.
hey kev love ur writing and also happy thanxgiving! anyways, if the vikes keep their offense churning out the pts like it has do u see sid rice looking at a new contract with his agent rosenhaus and berrian going the route like wade did contract wise
On Berrian, I'm not sure we're there yet. My educated guess is that he's getting more attention from opposing defenses than anyone else. I also think he's been slowed down by his hamstring injury for most of the season. As for Rice, I'm sure Rosenhaus will seek a new deal. But a lot is going to depend on the CBA talks. If there is an uncapped year, Rice wouldn be three years away from being eligible for unrestricted free agency.
Kevin: First off, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and thank you for being my line to the best conference in the NFL. Now, is it just me or is Brett starting to wear off a bit on T-Jax? The kid looked almost like an NFL QB in relief Sunday, didn't he?
Thanks and same to you J.B... Favre might have an impact on Jackson, but I'm not willing to make any judgments about anyone from garbage time. If Tarvaris has to go in to a game that is still in doubt, I'll have my notebook out.
Do you expect Stafford and CJ to play on thursday? If not, BLOWOUT city, once again......
Stafford: Definitely not. Johnson: 50-50.
So based on your previous post about Forte youre telling me that Adrian Peterson could put up a lot better stats than Forte does with the same offensive line?
The Vikings' Adrian Peterson? Yes. Absolutely would fare better. How much better? Not sure.
Hey there Kevin, keep up the good work. Lets talk about Thursday...any chance the Lions win? What's your opinion of the Lions keeping the Turkeybowl in D-town even though they are pretty terrible pretty consistently.
I wouldn't pick the Lions to win other than with the standard "anything can happen." Huge comedown after Sunday's game and they aren't going to have Stafford. As for keeping the game in Detroit, I don't think there is anything immediate to worry about. The league seems more intent on expanding the Thanksgiving schedule than taking it away from anyone.
Do you think Eric Mangini's gripes about fake injuries to slow down the Browns no huddle offense on Sunday are legitimate? It really bothers me when losing coaches whine after the fact, but it would also really bother me if the Lions bent the rules to beat one of the other worst teams in the NFL.
No. I think it was one of the dumbest, most hypocritical things I've heard this season. First of all, it's not against the rules. The rules committee has informally discouraged coaches from doing it, but there is no penalty if you do. Second, officials are instructed to stand over the ball until the defense has had a chance to make substitutions when a no-huddle is being implemented. So there is less incentive to fake injuries. Mangini has been accused and convicted of multiple actual rules violations in his career. The injury report is one of them. To bring up something like that is total, complete sour grapes.
Kevin, if the Vikings lock up 2nd place in the NFC (and they can't catch the Saints for first) do you see Brad sitting Brett for a full game or two to keep him healthy and rested for the playoffs? It could also give TJack some quality PT in case he's the starter next year
I doubt he'll sit him for an entire game because of his consecutive-games played streak. But I could see him limiting his playing time. He already has. Jackson has gotten into five games and played the equivalent of about three quarters already this season.
I vaguely remember reading about Pep Hamilton once - that he doesn't like to tinker with a QBs mechanics too much. What happens when the QB's mechanics clearly DO need some coaching, then?????? (he didn't exactly work wonders with Alex Smith when he was in SF, or with Rex). Obviously, a lot of Cutler's issues at the moment are on Cutler, but it also seems clear to me that he's not getting a lot of help from the Bears current offensive staff.
That might be true, but is it because they're not helping or because he won't accept their help? I don't know the answer there, but it is always a two-way street. Did you see Cutler drawing up plays on the grease board during the game Sunday night? That was a big warning sign of coach-player disconnect to me.
"when Forte is having one of those games where he's got 47 yards on 15 carries."You mean Sundays?
To Packers Nation: It's more likely I will have a first round bye sewn up by the Giants game. Then I think I'll play our back-ups to ensure the Packers DON'T make the playoffs. Right Kevin?
Ouch. It might work out that way, but I'm not sure there will be direct intent involved.
Concerning the Vikings' stadium situation....what is the Metro Sports Facilities Commission thinking with their threat to jack the rent up on the Vikes??? It almost seems like they're pushing them out the door, which, considering the Vikes are the last tenant left at the dome, makes absolutely no sense!
I think they think they're calling the Vikings' bluff and want to set up a longer timetable for building a new stadium. The big question is what will happen if the Vikings' lease at the Dome expires? They aren't first on the list for Los Angeles and there might never be a team there. It's not clear if they have a real option if they don't want to stay in the Dome.
Visanthe Shiancoe: Best TE in the NFC North. This is not arguable, is it?
Greg Olsen has been pretty good and doesn't have the offensive threats around him to get into favorable coverage situations.
Kevin, why do most teams stick their best pass rusher on the left tackle? Wouldn't they rather exploit the rt? Shift a linebacker over towards the lt in case they try running it to the left since the lt is most of the time the best blocker? Why wouldn't the Vikes do this with Allen and Edwards? Thx
Interesting question. The general theory is that most quarterbacks are right-handed and therefore more vulnerable to a back-side rush. But many teams, including the Vikings, swap out their defensive ends at times.
Kevin, that touchdown catch from Greg Jennings off of the slant looked a lot like what happened the year GB's receivers were dominant in YAC. Should I expect more of this the rest of the year out, or are the Pack going to return to just throwing it deep the whole time? I'm all for the exciting deep ball, but it seemed like the offense was clicking with the short slants.
Agreed. I think the Packers have to stay with that sort of passing game. It's a necessary concession to the pass protection issues. Even Jennings said so after Sunday's game.
How can you say that Forte is just an average back. he is not as explosive as adrian peterson or maybe chris johnson but he did run for some pretty nice yards last year when running behind a line that was decent at run blocking and this year he is getting hit three yards in the backfield every play.
To me, that's the definition of an average back: Getting the yards that are afforded to you. A great back gets yards on his own.
Kevin, after Chris Johnson's 5th consecutive 100yd game last night, the debate of CJ vs AD seems to be creeping up more and more. Who's better/more valuable in your opinion, and what are the separators?
Well, right now Johnson is better and that's not a dig at Peterson. I would say that I would take Peterson over him if I needed one yard to win the Super Bowl.
What would you do to fix this Bears team, if you where the owner of the organization?
There aren't any quick fixes here, unfortunately, at least not ones that wouldn't cost an excessive amount of money. Firing Jerry Angelo and/or Lovie Smith would cost a ton. They're facing another thin draft at a time when the defense is aging and the offense is bereft of linemen and playmakers. So I guess I might sit tight another year and see if Angelo can dig his way out of this.
Where do you see the Packers ending the season now that Harris and Kampman are lost for the season? 9-7? 10-6? Wild Card?
I think they can definitely be 9-7 and have a decent chance at 10-6. They'll need 10-6 to get into the playoffs, in all likelihood.
Re-iterate my vote for HOW: Eric "I used to be a" Man-gini.
It's strongly under consideration.
Just had a baby girl, sitting in the hospital with the wife. Names Marlee Jo. Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to all the NFC NORTH, and you Kevin. Question: Turkey, duck or the complicated to make turduken this year? I'm going turkey and duck. Also favorite dessert.
Congrats Dano! Enjoy every minute of it. I'm a traditional turkey guy. I'm actually not a huge dessert guy. I'm more about seconds and thirds and fourthzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Vikings special teams ranked at #1?! Are the home games being played in the BizarroDome? Joking aside, the Vikings special team play in 2008 was terrible at best; what's the #1 reason for the turn around? Don't worry, this one's multiple choice, so no essay required.a) Heath Farwell (for those who aren't KS he's an excellent ST specialist who incurred a season ending injury in the 2008 preseason)b) Percy Harvinc) Coachingd) None of the above (show your work)Thanks for all the interesting blogs!
Harvin is the single biggest reason. But I also think they went out and got some really good coverage guys to complement Farwell. Onatolu, Sanford and Brinkley are all really good.
Down the stretch, who's gonna have the better run game? Vikes or Saints? Saints are statistically better right now I think.
Isn't Reggie Bush back to having injury problems?
Watching TJack in relief makes me realize just how good Favre is and how underrated he is as a football mind. The great ones always adapt like Jordan did w his fade away jumper in his later years...my ques is...do you think Favre is adapting mentally to make up for his diminishing physical skills? I cant explain how he's this good at 40 years old...
I don't see anything physically different from what he ever did. But maybe that's the secret. Veterans always talk about how they wish they had their knowledge when they were young and spry. Favre clearly doesn't play like a 40-year-old, but he has 19 years of football knowledge and experience in his head. It's a great combination to have.
Hey Kevin, the Vikings front office has put together such a talented, balanced team. But, who would get GM of the year award? Would they have to rename it the 'triangle of authority of the year'?
Ha. Spielman has run the draft the past three years.
Kevin, did you happen to see the poll on SI with the players saying that they would not want to play in Oakland and Green bay but would rather play in Detroit and Cleveland
I did hear about that. I'm assuming it's their reaction to where they would want to live versus the organization they would want to be a part of. Many NFL players have preconceived notions about Green Bay. Just a fact.
*crossing Seifert off Christmas card list*
Fair enough. Did you get mine?
Will somebody bench O. Pace for me please?
I've been wondering if they would have the guts to do that, move Chris Williams back to left tackle and put Omiyale at right tackle.
So if adrian peterson was getting hit constantly behind the line of scrimmage like forte he would still be one of the top running backs in the league?
All I said is that he would have better numbers in the Bears' offense than Forte does. I'm all for stirring the pot, but I don't see that as an outrageous statement.
Will Favre follow the team out West when we are booted out of Minnesota?
He'll be 43 in 2012.
I did see Cutler drawing up plays during the game, but I read into it differently than you - I saw a guy who was willing to try anything, perhaps even an unconventional play, to try and help his team win. But, I can also see your point - Cutler does not appear to be totally comfortable with Turner's play calling in certain situations. Then again, who would be?
True. Maybe I'm overreacting. But we see that so rarely. Usually a coach is making those kinds of corrections/suggestions.
Kevin, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...and thanks for all fo the hard work you put into the blog. As a longtime Packer fan I have realized that Al Harris has been burned many times the last two years. The Pack have groomed Williams to be his replacement, which I think he will excel in. Kampman, although I love him, wasn't the right fit for the 3-4. With that being said there shouldn't be a big drop off in defensive production right? I mean Harris did get burned by Crabtree for a TD before he went down. Your thoughts? Thanks Kevin.
Thanks Josh, same to you. I think Harris is like many corners: He got beat sometimes. The biggest thing I think they lose is the continuity of having the same starter in there, and having backup-type players continue to be backups. Woodson said after the game that Harris was just starting to get into the swing of playing in this scheme. Now the Packers have to plug in someone else to make that adjustment.
Rumor is something big went down in Berea today with the Browns.
Care to elaborate?
Man Kev must love the fact that ESPN posts things at various times for you because you just made two posts on the blog and still had time to respond to these awesome questions and insights.
We call that the beauty of "future-posting."
Kevin, Berrian's numbers are still down and he is not stretching the field with his spend. His plus 20 and plus 40 yrd catches are non existant. Do you see his hamstring getting better or will he be hampered all year
I've just had the feeling this would be one of those years that we get to the end and find out he's been hobbled the whole time.
What about kevin shaffer at rt since he played that for the browns and was alright for them and i really don't want to watch omiyale miss guys completly again.
I just figured they would use Omiyale first because they paid him so much money and that's the position he played in Carolina.
Charles Woodson- Hall of Famer right now, or does he need more time/stats/marquee plays?
Maybe a couple more years like the one he's having this year.
I wonder how much the Ravens would be willing to pay for a guy like me
I think Matt Stover could have helped!
Why do I stick with Ron Turner, is it because his brother is Norv?
Because you can't fire both coordinators in one year. Last year it was Babich. This year it will be Turner.
Quit taking creme puff questions. Its not Wed. afternoon yet.
Detroit's last play win: A turning point for the franchise and the fan base or a setback towards obtaining the #1 draft pick next year? Also, I think you are well spoken / written
Thanks Mr. Detroit Fan. ... I think it's a turning point for believing that Stafford should be the guy for a long time. As for the first pick, half of the time you're better off not having it. Too much money relative to the skill available.
With all the stats that say beating a team 3x is nearly impossible, do you think the Vikes would struggle more if they had to host GB in the playoffs?
I'm not sure about that. The central questions would still exist: Would the Packers have an answer to the Vikings pass rush? And would they find a way to get pressure on Favre?
The Favre MVP talk doesn't make sense...the rationale being used is that Favre hasn't taken last year's Vikings team to a new level...but that's simply a case of him arriving last...what if Favre was there last year with AP, and AP showed up this year...would AP then be the MVP? It shouldn't be a case of who arrives last to a team
No, but look at it this way. What do you think the Vikings' record would be if Favre weren't the quarterback? I'm saying he's the difference in at least 3-4 wins this year.
Ok, one or two more here.
Pack ain't going 4-2. Dante is gonna pull one out of the hat and then eat the Turducken. Calling it in now!
Ok, we'll check back here next week on that.
Thanks everyone! Have a great Thanksgiving!