Hi everyone. Thanks for taking time from your busy day to join me. It's mid-February, but we're actually in a pretty busy NFL news cycle. The combine starts Thursday. LaDainian Tomlinson was released yesterday. Brian Westbrook just got released this afternoon. Let's get right to it, with an NFC North focus -- of course.
Do you think the Vikings will get a deal done with Chester Taylor?
I know they want to. I'm wonder how Taylor would fare in a market that already includes Tomlinson and Westbrook. He has much, much less mileage on him than either of those two veterans. It depends on how much he wants to make a deal with the Vikings. They'll give him a fair deal, but the possibility exists that he could get a bigger one elsewhere.
It seemed like Kampman was finally starting to "get" the 3-4 before he went down, and that Capers was finding out how to use him in that D more effectively. But even so, I think that is one of our deepest positions and it seems unlikely that TT is going to shell out to keep him around. Should I prepare myself to see yet another Packer great in a different jersey (Detroit/Chicago) twice a year?
The problem is that Kampman was a great defensive end in the 4-3. He had made himself into a competent hybrid LB/DE. Until he proves he's recovered from his knee injury, it's hard to know what he is at this point. It seems likely he'll be elsewhere in 2010. In the NFC North? Not sure about that.
Kevin, do you think the Lions should trade down from No.2 if a team with 2 first rounders offers a deal? Seattle has the No. 6 and 14 and San Francisco has 13 and 15 or 16 (coin flip pending)would either of these teams offer a deal and if so would the Lions accept? Do you think the Lions would try to trade Calvin Johnson if they could fill more positions? Martin Mayhew did say he wanted to get more talent and trading C.J. for multiple draft picks would accomplish that. Your thought please.
I think they should entertain either one of those options involving the No. 2 pick. Trading Calvin Johnson wouldn't make sense to me. He's young enough to play through several rebuilding years and still be around when the Lions are "ready." He's a one-in-generation physical talent. I wouldn't trade him now for anything. Well, almost anything.
Do you see the Vikings moving up in the draft to nab one of the top two QB's if Favre doesn't return?
No. That would mean the Vikings would be entering the year with a rookie as a starter? I don't like that idea if they consider themselves Super Bowl contenders. I would think they would use their assets to acquire a veteran if they were sure Favre wasn't coming back -- which, by the way, I don't know how they could be unless they rule him out themselves.
Kevin I know he is almost done but I think L.T. would be a great addition to the Bears. They couldn't get it done in short yardage last season and he was actually good at that. Plus add his pass catching ability and he could take some of the load off Forte. Think LT will consider?
A few people have mentioned this. I don't see it. Forte is a really good receiver, which is the primary role of a running back in Mike Martz's offense. I don't see the Bears as a good fit in that regard. He wouldn't really complement Forte.
I think the Packers need an OLB more than they need a safety..who do you think will be available? Given that Ted doesn't trade back, which I believe is highly likely..
I don't think they need a safety, at least not this year. Bigby and Collins are both RFAs, meaning the Packers can keep them if they want. I understand the need to replace Kampman at OLB, but I'm not sure I would make that a high priority, either. I'd say the Packers' top two priorities should be OT and CB, in that order.
Earlier today you posted that the Lions were looking at trading the #2 pick. Can you explain why you think that ensuring either the 1 or 1a best player will be available when we pick will REDUCE the market for the pick? And can you think of any good teams in the last ten years that have been based around multiple top-5 selections? I can point at San Diego as a team that traded a high pick and pulled their franchise out of the gutter, though they really only got LT and a bunch of garbage for Vick.
Thanks, Byron. I saw your comment on that post as well. My thinking is that the No. 2 pick is often more attractive because it doesn't carry the pressure or the finances of No. 1. But in this case, it's almost as if we have two No. 1 picks. I don't see there being a big financial gap between No. 1 and No. 2 this year. Hence, there isn't as much of a "discount" from a financial standpoint. Maybe I'm overthinking. But that's where I was coming from.
As for your question about teams building around high picks rather than a lot of lower ones, I see your point. But each instance is separate. If you feel you have a chance to get an All-Pro type of player in the top 5, I say you go for it. If you're doing your job elsewhere, you won't be back in the top 5 very often.
Couldn't Percy Harvin be the Vikings 3rd down back? The guy can obviously catch. He has a scat back skill set, and, he's a fantastic blocker.
Not a bad idea, although blocking downfield is much, much different than picking up blitzes. In general, I want Harvin downfield more than I want him in the backfield or in the flat.
My co-worker tells me there is no chance LaDainian Tomlinson will want to become a 3rd-down-only back for the Vikings (or any team). Tell him that he is wrong.
How about this: He might not have a choice.
How come the Packers don't lineup some of their ILB's outside? I think Bishop, Chillar, or Hawk could be an upgrade to start opposite of Clay. Brad Jones didn't play bad, but he also was not a major playmaker.
No, but it would be hard to draw any conclusions about Jones one way or the other based on half of a rookie season. The fact that he held his own was a big plus for me. But I do agree with your fundamental point: The Packers have plenty of personnel at linebacker. And you didn't even mention Brady Poppinga.
Do you think the Bears are going to make a big splash in free agency this year like Peppers, Kampman, Taylor one of them or someone else??
I'll be really curious to see if they do, considering they don't start drafting until the third round. Peppers would certainly be a nice fit for the Tampa-2 defense, and Rod Marinelli certainly knows how to get the most out of pass-rushing defensive ends.
Hey Kevin, how much leverage has AP lost in contract negotiations? I mean, between a fair drop-off in production and a nagging propensity to cough up the ball, thats gotta hurt his wallet in the next year or two doesnt it?
Interesting point. I was looking at that today after Tomlinson got released. You wonder how many more seasons Peterson has before he hits the proverbial running back "wall." Even if he doesn't hit it, the subject of running back age is always a battle in contract negotiations. Recent experience with backs like Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander only emphasize what could -- emphasis on could -- be in Peterson's future.
where is the NFC west blogger?
Hey Kevin got a Lions question. What do you think of the Lions trading something to the Patriots for Julian Edelman? That'd give them a great slot guy and with him, Pettigrew, and Johnson on the field we could have a playmaker at every point down the field. The only question would be what value do the Pats put on him.
I would think the Patriots would put a ton of value on Edelman considering the Welker injury. Not going to happen.
What level of tender offer do you think that the Vikes will put on Ray Edwards? What are the chances someone will try to sign him?
Outside pass rushers are such hot commodities that I think Edwards would get some interest. I think the Vikings put the first-round tender on him to protect themselves. It's wort $2.521 million. Not a big deal in an uncapped year.
What just happened to brian westbrook???? Why????
Teams don't hesitate when running backs start breaking down. History isn't on Westbrook's side.
Expectations for Matthew Stafford for next year and 5 years from now?
That's a good question for continued discussion on the blog. At first blush, I think it's fair to expect Stafford to increase his completion percentage and to throw more touchdowns than interceptions next season. As for five years from now? The No. 1 overall pick in a draft should be a Pro Bowler by then.
id take Berry over suh, you?
As a rule, I wouldn't take a safety over a defensive tackle if both are blue-chip players. Some teams use safeties as just that -- a safety net. That's not worth a top-3 pick.
What are the possibilities of the Packers signing Randy Moss next year if the Patriots don't give him a deal? Especially since the "Packers" wanted him so bad a few years ago.
I would answer that the same way as I do all other questions about the Packers and free agency: What evidence have they give you in the past few years that they are willing to go out and make a deal like that? Thompson hasn't signed a significant free agent in three or four years.
Or made a significant trade, for that matter.
Kevin, Do you think Ted will use any tags on players?
I don't, Kim. I know he hasn't ruled it out, but I don't see the necessity of making any of their free agents either a franchise or transition player. The deadline is Thursday.
How much is the beating Favre took in the NFC championship playing in his mind? What's to stop every team on our schedule next year from using the same tactic of accepting 2 or even 3 penalties in order to beat him into submission?
I'm sure he was hurting after the game, but I think that "beating" was unique to the way the game was flowing. If things are going the way they should, Favre won't be in so many must-pass situations. And in general, the extra penalties will work against the opponent too often to make it worth the risk.
If Favre doesn't return they must have a top flight rookie on their team. It doesn't mean he is a starter, it simply means he is their future. There are almost no veteran talents worthy in free agency this year. T Jack may be better than all of them. Even if they somehow get McNabb if behooves the Vikings to find their future QB sooner rather than later. Would you agree?
Agreed on that. I'm just saying if they trade up to get Clausen or Bradford, then it means they probably haven't traded for McNabb. So their options for a 2010 starter are pretty limited. I guess what I'm saying is that they really need Favre to come back, or else they have to trade for McNabb, or else they're in the same spot they were in two years ago: A really good team with no quarterback.
If you had to pick one to keep, who would it be: Tauscher or Clifton for the Packers this next year?
Wow. Interesting question. Maybe that's our Have at It for the week. That would be a hard-core football debate! Based on last season, it seemed Tauscher had a longer career ahead of him. But in terms of internal replacements, T.J. Lang seems more suited to be a right tackle than a left tackle.
I know it is a sad situation with the passing of Gaines Adams, but please explain how an enlarged heart can get past the doctors for an NFl physical. Doesnt that seem like something the Bears would physicians would have detected before the trade went through?
I don't know all the details on that, Matt. But I'm pretty sure you need a heart-specific procedure to detect that. Maybe someone on this chat can help us. Those types of tests aren't part of a standard or even above-standard physical that I'm aware of, mostly because of cost, I'm sure. The only way you would know about it is if there was a previous incident.
What's the chances of the bears signing Torry Holt. I see this as a no-brainer. He knows Martz's system and he is a hall of fame veteran receiver who could be a tremendous help to the Bears young receiving corps.
Makes a lot of sense. The only catch is if he has anything left. Also, and I mean this with seriousness: How fast would he be on the Soldier Turf mud?
The Bears seem willing to keep the same receivers that they had last year. Although I think some of the receivers have great potential, don't you agree that a veteran presence would help the Bear's receivers develop?
It's too early to say they are willing to keep the same guys. They're not going to tip their hand publicly on that.
Knowing the short NFL life of RBs, will the Vikings waste another year of AP with Favre behind center?
So are you saying it would be a waste of Peterson or a waste of Favre? I don't see Peterson getting a better quarterback to play with any time soon.
Word is the Lions love CJ Spiller and would take Spiller if they traded down...have you heard that as well
I have not, and it's early for even the Lions to know who they like in this draft. It would make some sense, but at some point the Lions are going to have to move away from offensive skill players and start drafting some linemen.
Are you looking forward to covering McNabb wearing purple and gold this upcoming season?
Can't imagine it would be any more of a circus than last year was. I just don't know how likely it is. Are the Eagles really ready to go with Kevin Kolb?
Is there any chance the Bears spend the money to go get Julius Peppers? They really need help on their defensive line and transcendent pass rushers are too rare to pass up, right?
Last year at this time I would have said no chance. But my opinion of their front office changed with the Cutler trade. They were aggressive and stepped out. There's no reason to think they would rule out Peppers.
If the Vikings don't re-sign Taylor, it seems almost like a perfect fit to sign Westbrook (if he's healthy enough) and use the opening to sign a competent free agent for depth at another position that they otherwise wouldn't be able to.
Yeah, and we have to always take into account Brad Childress' fondness for former Eagles players.
Regarding Tomlinson and Westbrook: Haven't we seen with recent backs like Eddie George and Shaun Alexander, and to a lesser extent Larry Johnson, that you're probably better off picking up a cheaper back in the draft than a veteran released because of declining production? I just don't understand why a team would think Tomlinson is a better option than, say, LaGarrette Blount or Ben Tate, especially given their relative price differences.
Agreed. That's why I don't see Tomlinson really having many, if any, choices to be the No. 1 back somewhere.
Most likely he died from Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis (IHSS). To diagnose that you would need to do a EKG along with an echocardiogram, and even still the problem is usually asymptomatic until sudden cardiac arrest. Take this with a grain of salt because I'm not a cardiologist but it's one of the leading causes of sudden death in young athletes.
Yes, EKG was the test I was thinking of. There was recently some talk of requiring an EKG in all pre-draft physicals, but that's an expensive prospect to say the least.
No Favre, No McNabb for the Vikes...is there a QB who can be the Mark Sanchez for the team? Be a game manager, and hand off to Peterson and Taylor. Yes, without one of those QB's they need to keep Chester around. Maybe Chad Pennington, or is their someone in the draft?
Based on what I saw last year, the Vikings wouldn't have made the NFC Championship Game with a caretaker quarterback. They needed more from their quarterback than the Jets did from theirs.
When do you REALISTICALLY think the Lions will have a record over .500?
Every year stands on its own, so I don't want to stand here in February and say they have no chance at doing that in 2010. But a realistic goal, given their talent situation, would be in 2011 ... just in time for the lockout.
Would you answer one of Matt's questions from Saginaw, MI please? I'm the one suffering having to listen to him whine. Thanks
Hopefully he has piped down.
What in the world can the vikes do to make it clear to AP that he MUST fix his fumbling issues? Bench him for 2-3 games? He always comes back saying that its from his running style, and never takes responsiblity for it which seriously starting to irk me.
Agreed. A few weeks back, Tiki Barber said he changed his style after Tom Coughlin got in his face and told him that he was hurting the team. I think the Vikings need to do that with Peterson. Some kind of shock-talk that will make him realize that 1,300 yards and 18 TDs are great but they don't mean much if you can't hold on to the ball.
About the enlarged heart, I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, mitral valve prolapse, and 4 murmurs as a senior in high school during my sports physical. It was only detected because I had an arrhythmia heard during the physical when the doc listened to my chest. I wasn't diagnosed with the other conditions until after I had an EKG and an ECHO-cardiogram in Chicago. Without the ECHO, there would have been no way to know I had this type of problem. ECHO's aren't required by NFL during physicals, so unless he had another issue like my irrhythmia there wouldn't be a reason to check. Should they check players now? I think so.
Thanks, Andrew. I think it would be great if they checked every draft prospect, but who would pay? I'm pretty sure it would be an enormous expense for what (I hope) would be a small percentage of diagnoses. I'm afraid an NFL bean-counter might object.
The Eagles are ready to roll with Kolb...they just aren't willing to hand McNabb over to another NFC team who could win the Superbowl with him...that is if he holds onto his Chunky Soup.
Ha. That's is definitely something the Packers thought about when they traded Favre... getting him out of the division and the conference altogether. But ultimately you take the best offer, right? If the Vikings get to the point where they start talking trade, that means they've been spurned by Favre and are in an urgency mode.
What do you think of Jared DeVries coming back next year at DE? Does that make it a position of less need? Or do you think they'll still try to draft one and/or go after Vanden Bosche?
It's hard to tell with Achilles tendons. Some players come back as if they never missed a beat. Some can't run again. I don't know if anyone knows where DeVries is on that scale. In general, they would be well-advised not to count on him.
With no true immediate needs, do you see the Packers trading down to rack up some third round picks to pick up a tackle of CB? A blue chip LT/RT is hard to find near the end of the first round.
You can get a right tackle at No. 23, but maybe not an elite left tackle. The draft is supposedly deep with tackles, though. So I wouldn't say the Packers NEED to trade down.
If the lions turn down one of the two DL anchors for the next 10 years and take a running back they should take the franchise away.
I'm assuming the Spiller question was based on the Lions having moved down in the draft. Agreed. Spiller shouldn't go ahead of either defensive tackle.
the bears lost to the packers twice last year but you could argue they should have/could have won both and split with the vikings. is that enough evidence for the bears brass to be content with their current roster? they need de,fs,guard. one or two should be filled in free agency. your thoughts?
I don't think they should be content with their roster after missing the playoffs for three consecutive years. Over a three-year stretch, you are what your record says you are. That, combined with their lack of draft choices, compels them to turn over every rock in free agency. At least that's my opinion.
Not to be contrarian but to my knowledge EKGs are actually pretty cheap and quickly done. And not to be too callous but with the amount of money that owners are investing in these players, you would think they would want every precaution taken, not to mention the problems the NFL has with concussions...I'll get off my soapbox now
That could be. And it would make sense to protect your investment.
In response to Mike from Burnsville on the AP fumbling situation, do you feel a fine system (e.g., $1,000 fine for first fumble in the game, $5,000 fine per game for each fumble after that) could be beneficial to help AP with his "fumbleitis"?
NFL teams can't fine players for performance issues. Against the CBA. Wouldn't fly.
Ok folks, one or two more.
Some have said that thompson might change his approach to free agency as gb gets closer being a real title contender. do you see a free agent out there that might be what they need to get over the top or are their deficiencies better suited to drafting to fill in depth? Personally, i dont think they can find a CB or a OT out on the market that's "the one" they need.
Not at those positions, no. And I think that discussion is all speculation. Only Ted Thompson knows if that's actually the case. It sounds nice, but I don't think the evidence is there at this point.
The Lions need some help at RB, is there someone in free agency that makes sense or in late rounds in the draft?
We'll end where we started. Chester Taylor (Detroit native), LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook could all be out there. Taylor makes some sense.
Ok, thanks everyone. Chat with you next week!