Hi everyone. IT'S WEEK 1! Need I say more? Ok, on with it...
do you think javon walker showeed he can still be a option for somebody thin at wr?
It sounds like the Vikings thought he still had his hands, body control and ability to make circus-type catches. But at this point, the speed isn't there. You would have to accept that he wouldn't be getting much separation from defensive backs.
I love your offense, Mike Martz.
I don't blame you. I'm especially looking forward to that part of Sunday's game at Soldier Field and have a post coming up later this week on the "matchup" of the Bears offense and Lions defense.
What is the rationale of the Vikes to keeping 3 healthy CBs into a game against the leagues most potent passing attack? And if the Vikes need to score in a hurry, are they going to be able to do so with only 4 healthy (ish) WRs?
I'm really not sure anyone understands that, unless they think that Chris Cook (knee) or Cedric Griffin (knee) is going to come back quicker than originally anticipated. Otherwise, it's a really thin group -- especially when the No. 4 cornerback appears to be your backup safety. (Husain Abdullah)
Why do people always say I blitz a lot? Seriously... I'm a pretty 'vanilla' guy.
Riiiight. ... But this year, you might not have to blitz as much. There should be a pretty decent rush coming from the front four.
Wow... so that happened... what now?
Help me out ... What did you major in at UNC?
Alphonso Smith for Dan Gronkowski... straight up! BOOYA!
Apparently there was also an exchange of draft choices, but I hear you.
It seems clear that you think Childress put his ego ahead of the well being of his team when they traded Rosenfels, and you reiterated that point a couple of days later. Over the last three preseason games - Rosenfels was 10 for 22 with 1 TD, and Jackson was 8 for 17 - no TD's. Advantage Rosenfels, but not significant. Career stats are comparable and from practice reports - it didn't appear that Rosenfels was outperforming Jackson. I would argue that Jackson at $1.1M and a 5th is better than Rosenfels at $2.6M, and Childress wasn't letting his ego get the better of him.
I can't deny the stats you provide. But here's where I would counter: When, at any point in the preseason, did Jackson's play suggest he could or should be a No. 2 quarterback on a team with Super Bowl aspirations? I know it was against starters, but shouldn't he have had to play well at some point in order to win that job? Rosenfels wasn't perfect by any stretch, but I don't care about a fifth-round pick if my backup quarterback can't keep me in a game.
So, who is going to be the Lions starting corners, now that they got Smith over the weekend and cut King and Bly?
I'm guessing it will be the same as throughout the preseason: Chris Houston and Jonathan Wade. As for nickel and dime, your guess is as good as mine.
In the unlikely event that a member of the Lions' front office peeks at this forum... please propose some options for the Lions' LB issues.
How old is Chris Spielman?
Do you see the packers making any moves in the secondary? I would really like to see them trade for a corner who could give us some help. Is there anyone out there that is out of favor with their current team we could trade for?
Understood, but this time of year, everyone would like a cornerback who could give their team some help. There just aren't many of them out there, and never do good ones become available on the relative cheap. The Packers' best hope is that some of their oft-injured players, Brandon Underwood chief among them, recovers quickly and can jump back in the lineup in a productive way. I'm not any more comfortable than you are with a rookie (Sam Shields) at nickel.
Hey KS, how many touches will Best get this weekend in Chicago? I'm a Bears fan, but I have to admit to being excited to watch this kid in the NFL. Thanks!
He's going to get as many as he can handle. Assuming the Lions aren't playing catchup, I think it's reasonable to expect upwards of 20 touches.
Kevin - I love the Packers, I love the players they have. I just am concerned about the decision not to get or keep a true KR/PR, and only having 2 running backs seems very risky. Your thoughts?
Agreed, although things could change on that front. There are some rumors that Clifton Smith, a running back/KR who made the Pro Bowl in 2008, is under consideration.
Do you foresee me becoming the return specialist (punts only now it seems) I was when I first entered the league? Or are my new duties as a receiver going to keep me from breaking the all time return record (13 by Brian Mitchell) and returning 3 more for 14??? I know I say it's not such a big deal, but it's got to be in the back of my mind subconsciously . . .
To me, the ship is pretty close to sailing on your return career. It's pretty obvious you've been focusing on receiver, at the request of the Bears, and this year's offense is especially complicated to absorb.
Were the Vikings going after TJ?
Nope. They wanted him last year to play the slot and they've got their slot guys in Percy Harvin and Greg Camarillo.
How long before people realize that an over-the-top personality doesn't translate into tackling/making plays and I get benched? I'm guessing it'll be after the 5th/6th TD against me where I get stiff-armed in the open field by a backup TE.
Yeah, that's a topic I broached in preseason. But the best thing Follett has going for him is there are no obvious replacements on the roster. He'll get every chance to grow into his position. He should embrace it, because it wouldn't have happened on every team.
Kevin, Any chance Schwartz and the Lions will get into the Haynesworth mix?
Doubtful. They're in relatively good shape at that position.
Hey Kevin, do you think the Lions can get enough pressure on Jay Cutler to pull an upset and finally get a win on the road this week?
I think it's a real, real possibility and will hinge on whether the Lions' defense is less bad than the Bears offense. (irony intended).
Hi Kevin,Last year I asked you what you were most looking forward to watching in the NFC North (you said the QB battle between Favre/Rodgers/Cutler/Stafford). So what about this year? What are you most looking forward to about this season?
Among many things, the response of each NFC North team to what is a sizable divisional shift toward the pass. The Bears signed Peppers. The Lions re-made their defensive line. The Packers have changed the positions of four players and have two new starters in the secondary. And the Vikings made a cornerback their top pick in the draft. Whose pass defense does the best job of limiting the newfound passing attacks in this division?
Kevin, Who's your surprise player of the year in the division? The one who has the best chance to exceed anybody's expectations.
I don't know if this is a surprise, but I'll go with Johnny Knox in Chicago. If the Bears get their offense unhitched, he'll be a big part of it.
Reports of a Clifton Smith visit to Greenbay. How big is this for the packers return game?
He was a Pro Bowler in 2008 but has been injured since then. Obviously Tampa Bay chose Kregg Lumpkin over him....
Were you surprised with the Lions releasing Bly and keeping the least experience backfield in NFL history?? Also, how many wins do you see the Lions improving this year??
It didn't bother me at all. There's nothing worse than being bad and old. If the Lions are going to be short-handed in the secondary, I'd rather it be because they were giving younger players a chance to grow into their positions than because they wasted time with veterans who have already proved their limited effectiveness.
Do you see the Packers making the jump from a good team to an "elite" team this year?
I think they have a great chance, yes. You can't be an elite team without an elite quarterback, and so from that standpoint the Packers are already there. They'll need their defense to tighten up a bit but when you compare them on the whole to other NFC teams, you don't see many that are definitely better.
If TJack doesn't end up working out and the vikings begin to struggle because of their QB woes, how many years has Childress secured his position as head coach with the success of last season?
Well, he got a contract extension last year so he absolutely has nothing to worry about for the next few years.
Do you see any issues with Clay Matthews and his position move from one side to the other?
Nothing huge. Conceivably he'll be facing less effective pass rushers. What I would be worried about is the fact that he hasn't practiced for a month because of his hamstring injury.
Will I help keep the #12 jersey clean this year or do I just look ridiculous in the modern Air and Space division?
I assume your point is that the Packers kept three fullbacks and four tight ends in a passing division. I agree that I don't totally get that, but there is definitely a special teams element there as well.
Do you think the Vikings win or lose pick Walker up after week 1 so that they don't have to pay him a guaranteed salary? He didn't look like a bad 5th WR to me those last two games.
Seems like he's on a short list if they have an injury, but I don't know that they need a 32-year-old No. 5 receiver.
That's usually a developmental spot.
What happened to Nathan Vasher? He was a very promising corner in Chicago once and he's just been cut again by San Diego?
Lost his aggressiveness. Great guy, though.
So let me get this straight.....the Vikings don't want to use a guy who was a record setting punt returner in college (Asher Allen) to return punts because of the lack of depth and over exposure, but they will risk the only veteran starter WR they have in Berrian to do the job? That makes no sense. Which leads to a separate but related issue....what is Childress doing to this roster?
I didn't think Allen looked particularly comfortable doing it in the preseason. Did you?
.... c'mon Kevin, you can tell us... it was Minnesota that the Chargers put the kabosh on in regard to a V-Jax trade.
The team's name really hasn't been confirmed, but I've heard nothing connecting him with the Vikings.
How do you think Burnett will play for the Packers this season? Have you been impressed, unimpressed, or what?
I thought he made a couple nice, instinctive plays against the Colts in preseason Week 3. There is definitely going to be a time when, like any rookie, he gets beat. But I don't think he's going to embarrass them out there, which is always nice.
McCarthy can't seriously be thinking about using Jennings for punt returns, right? I wouldn't say he's injury prone, but he seems to often have minor, nagging injuries. I would dread watching him take pops on returns.
Highly, highly doubtful. If it's not Tramon Williams and they don't sign anyone, I'm guessing they have Jordy Nelson do it.
With so much emphasis being placed on the valuable spots on a 53 man roster, why wouldn't teh Vikings consider moving Toby to FB? That puts a better runner and playmaker at that position than Tahi and with guys like Kleinsasser and Dugan as back up FBs you don't lose depth at the RB spot.
But can he block?
Kev, great stuff this past week. You gave us your two-cents on the back story with Sage Rosenfels. But Reynaud seems to be the even bigger mystery move. What is your two cents on that?
The way their roster was shaping up, I don't think he was going to make the 53. With the injuries at other positions, I don't think they thought they could afford to keep a guy who was only going to return punts. Take it for what you will.
KS...I see the NFL is tweaking the umpire positioning again to alleviate concerns on how it is impacting the no huddle. It appears the offensive coordinators are outdueling the defensive coordinators on this one. I never hear anyone talk about another benefit of moving the umpire to the other side of the ball, namely wide receivers can't use the umpire as a screen to pick the defender of his route. Shouldn't that benefit get a little more airtime?
Yeah, we discussed that back in March. I asked Mike McCarthy about it and, obviously, he was in favor of the move. He said teams didn't actively draw up plays to use the umpire as a screen, but obviously smart receivers were always aware of the advantage. Another benefit to offenses: The umpire won't be in the line of site of the quarterback. McCarthy said he once saw Joe Montana hit an umpire in the forehead with a ball, negating what would have been a big completion.
What's your best guess for who starts for the Bears at Strong Side Linebacker and Defensive End opposite Peppers? Specifically what are the chances of seeing Corey Wooten this weekend?
At linebacker, it would really surprising if it's not Pisa Tinoisamoa. At defensive end, it's either Israel Idonije or Mark Anderson. Anderson was the starter during the early portion of camp. That's probably a pick 'em and the bottom line is both will play. As for Wootten, to be determined.
Although I love Camarillo as a fill-in for Sidney, is it safe to assume hindsight tells the Vikes they'd be better off right now with Javon Walker and Benny Sapp?
Let's give Camarillo a little more time. He might be a really nice addition. But I will say the Vikings might have been a little aggressive in adding a receiver before cutdown weekend. There were plenty of names available, probably cheaper, at that point.
Am I a punk for starting crap even though I am not playing?
No. You're the media's best friend right now. Way to go Sharp!
What are the odds that I'm the #1 receiving TE by the end of the 2010 season?
I won't tell Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez that you said that.
I think the Vikings could finish last in this division. Seems like nothing's going right for them. Am I nuts?
Cutler doesn't trust his O-Line, the WR's are still "young"...Lovie and Angelo's Q&A saying that the Bears are "going to win a lot of football games this year" is truly an astounding quote. A lot of football games will be 5 and we'll hear all over again about Lovie, Angelo and Cutler...all 3 need to go!
A little. They still have 10 Pro Bowl players from last year. A really talented roster.
Ok, that was the answer to the previous question.
As for the Bears, five wins should mark the end of Lovie Smith's tenure. But I've been thinking it's only natural they'll end up in the gray area of 7-8-9 wins that makes his future a little less obvious. Isn't that how it always works?
I like the Lions secondary!
But can you see it when you're lying on your back? We'll find out on Sunday...
Kev,Why dont you think the Lions went for some more WR depth, like Housh for one yr at 855K? If someone goes down....we could be in trouble! Thoughts?
I'm not sure if a 32-year-old slot receiver is a good fit for the Lions. I like the weapons they have and would rather see them using Tony Scheffler in the slot than Housh.
What do you make of AP's "I'll just hold the ball higher and I won't fumble anymore"?
Don't get it. But I do think he was more specific Monday when he said he needs to be careful not to brace his fall with the arm holding the ball. That was a real, actual thing he is working on to avoid fumbles. It's a start.
Zack, himself, stated he sure gets a lot of attention for a guy who has 10 career tackles.
Yes he did. I like his self-awareness.
Kevin, don't you think the Lions are getting a little to much hype going into week 1. Lets not forget that this is the same team that has only won 2 games in 2 seasons. I agree that they are improved, but I don't see a victory over the Bears and that is coming from a Bears fan who doesn't expect his team to finish over 7-9!
Half of it is Lions hype and half of it is the fear of Bears fans. Bad combination.
Kevin, your Bears hatred is showing, you should tuck it back in! While I am a doubtful Bears fan myself, you have not had a single good thing to say about this team all offseason.
Not true. I noted they are the ninth-most valuable team in the NFL based on Forbes rankings.Seriously, I think I've praised them in a number of ways. I thought Martz and Tice were the right guys to hire for their respective jobs. I thought they deserved credit for spending the money to get Peppers and Taylor. I think they have two perfect running backs for Martz's system in Forte and Taylor, and I was all for re-making the safety position the way they did. Does all of that add up to a Super Bowl team? No. But sometimes people just read what they want to read.
Quick - who leads the division in TD's scored this season?
Scored? I still say Adrian Peterson.
The most recent talk regarding the Lion's picking up Alphonso Smith from the Bronco's is that they are also swapping picks in some later round. Hypothetically speaking, what if the Lions end up with a better record at the end of the year?
Interesting point. Sometimes those deals contain caveats that include the phrase, "whichever is higher." I don't know if this one did, but there are ways to ensure a team of a higher pick or else multiple picks to make up for it.
Is Zach Bowman a legit #1 cornerback?
He's a legit ballhawk. Time will tell if he's got blanket coverage skills or not.
Briggs again missed practice yesterday. The Bears keep saying he'll play Sunday but am I right to be concerned about this?
I'd be stunned if he didn't play.
Why are the Vikings so heavy numbers wise on the DL?
They thought they had a surplus of good players, so they kept them. I also imagine Pat Williams is moving closer and closer to a part-time role.
Hi Kevin. Who do you see leading the Lions in sacks this year? I got a funny feeling Avril is going to edge out Kyle-VB.
Well, Avril is going to get more 1-on-1 chances. I wouldn't be shocked, but if I had to choose I would still say KVB.
What do Mike McCarthy and TT see in Jarrett Bush? He's consistently been bad for years but he continues to be on the roster, and, even worse, on the field. What will it take for the Packers to finally get rid of him?
Absolutely no idea, but injuries probably played a role. If Al Harris and Brandon Underwood were healthy, I bet Bush would have been released.
what game this up coming season are you looking forward to covering
Packers-Vikings should be especially interesting, starting with the Lambeau game next month.
Do you consider Cutler an elite QB (I'm laughing while writing this) or even a franchise QB (I can't believe I wrote that)???
He's a franchise quarterback in the sense that the Bears have committed to him for a long time. He's not at elite status but has the skills and smarts to be there if he wants to.
Is there an outside chance that Cedric Griffin or Cook will be ready to go for Saints game? Are Vikes trying to play subterfuge with their player-health issues?
Definitely not Cook. I suppose Griffin is a possibility, but that would be really risky and actually kind of silly. I doubt it.
What do you think of undrafted free agents like Sam Shields and Frank Zombo for the Pack? think they can make an impact early?
Sounds like Shields will, for sure, if he is the nickel back as expected. As for Zombo, the return of Matthews and Brad Jones might make it tough for him to get on the field right away.
How do you think Kevin Kolb will react to Dom Capers' 3-4 and will the Philly offense have any success Sunday?
People forget that Kolb has some experience. It's not like he is making his first NFL start. Still, Capers should have the upper hand in that matchup.
How big of a leap do you expect from Stafford this year? What kind of #'s do you think he puts up?
I think he's on track to make a significant leap, starting with a season that has more touchdown passes than interceptions. If he plays 16 games, I could see him throwing 25 TDs.
Ok, a few more here folks.
Norman conquest is boring me. Is it Thursday yet?
1066. Wait, what?
Now that I got cut, do you think Gosder Cherilus can handle the RT spot the entire year without me their to push him?
To be determined. I think you were the heavy favorite from the start in that competition.
In your opinion, who is most likely to pull the upset this weekend: Detroit over Chicago, Philly over Green Bay or Minnesota over New Orleans?
I'll go with Detroit over Chicago as the likeliest upset, but that's not a prediction.
Is this going to be a bounceback year for Matt Forte, or will the offensive line and Cutler's mistakes derail this offense?
No, I think he'll have a good year. Looked like he was getting 75 percent of the snaps or so this summer.
who determines what an upset is in a new year of football?
Me. And soon you will know the power of the dark side.
OK everyone, thanks so much!