Hi everyone. We had a wild Week 3 here in the NFC North and have some interesting storylines in play for Week 4. Let's do this.
Dear Packers Special Team Coach:Please do not kick the ball to Mr. Hester the next game Please???Respectfully,LL (VA).
I don't blame the Packers for kicking to Hester. He hadn't done squat as a returner in almost three years. The Bears were actually giving some thought to taking him off the punt return team altogether. But he had a nice night Monday and I imagine that moving forward, opponents will have to be more cautious.
It became quite obvious on Monday Night that Brandon Jackson will not be able to get the job done. Does this awful performance on the ground motivate TT to finally go get a running back?
So far, it hasn't. McCarthy was awfully positive about the situation Tuesday. There are still a few weeks left before the trading deadline. In a passing league, you don't need a great running game to win the Super Bowl. But you at least need a big enough threat to make your play-action passing work, and right now I don't know if the Packers can say even that.
Do you think that the Chicago Bears will be like the 2007 New England Patriots?
As in 16-0? I wouldn't start making calls to the 1972 Dolphins quite yet.
Hey Kevin, I grew up in the U.P. of Michigan where allegiances are split heavily between the Packers, Vikings and Lions...I am a Bears fan. After seeing the Bears jump off to 3-0 and watching them on MNF, I think they are for real and they remind me of the '06 team that just gets it done. So, my question...do you think they are a better team than the Packers?
They were definitely better Monday night, and right now they're actually hitting on more cylinders than the Packers are. But three games in, I'm not ready to change my preseason thoughts that dramatically. I still think the Packers should win this division.
Lost in all the Favre drama has been the amazing play of the Minnesota defense. 14 pts at NO; essentially 7 against the Dolphins (one came on the Favre turnover); and, yes, 10 last week ? but 7 came when the Lions were given a 12-yard field after another Favre turnover. AD is on a roll. Favre will eventually come around. Am I delusional to still be cautiously optimistic about a 3rd straight NFC North title?
Agreed on the defense. It's definitely been overshadowed by all the Favre-Rice-Harvin-Peterson discussion. But I think it's still an uphill climb to win the division. There are already two teams in this division off to better starts.
Will the packers ever do anything to improve the o-line? For the past couple of years it has been one of the worst in the league. Maybe instead of getting smaller athletic linemen, we just need to get some bigger, stronger ones.
The one thing I'll say about this year is they have better options if their tackles are underpeforming or injured. Bryan Bulaga could take over competently for Chad Clifton at the left side, while T.J. Lang should be a decent replacement for Mark Tauscher on the right side. It's a matter of when they pull the trigger.
Are the packers sending in that last PI call to be evaulated by the NFL? If not shouldn't they, I mean you can tell the reciever is all over the defender too.
I'm not sure if they'll send it, but they won't anywhere if they do. I just reviewed the play for a post I'm working on. Burnett has his right arm around Bennett's waist and is still holding on to him as the ball arrives. That will get called 10 times out of 10 in this league.
I am a Bears fan, but am extremely concerned about Jay Cutler. He seemed to revert to early 2009 Jay Cutler by throwing the ball up for grabs and making some very poor decisions (he was bailed out of most of these with penalties and drops by defenders). Was this just a poor game or is he really just Rex Grossman deux?
Here's my thought on Cutler: People need to recalibrate their expectations for him. If you accept that he's good for 2-3 boneheaded throws a game, decisions that will be mixed with some incredibly unique and athletic passes that go for completions, you'll feel much better when it plays out that way. Right now, he's making more good decisions than bad.
Do you think that by the time the Vikings play again, that Hank Baskett will know the offense enough to play flanker so they can move Percy back into the slot?
First off, everyone is off this week, so I don't know if much extra work is getting done. Second, I think the Vikings are intrigued by using Harvin at least some at flanker to see if they can make him him into a pure deep threat.
Do you think the Lions will bring stafford back to salvage the season before it gets to far away from them?
They'll bring him back when his shoulder is healthy, and not before. Throwing shoulders are nothing to mess with.
Monday's game looks different depending on what team you like - Packers handed it to them, or the Bears took it from them. Regardless, how worried are you about Green Bay? Were the penalties an anomaly or a sign of an impending relapse into bad habits?
I wouldn't be as worried as the penalties as I would about their offense becoming too one-dimensional. Penalties can be a really volatile statistic. But if they get nothing from their running game, it's going to slow down the offense significantly.
Hey Kev, what did you think of Chris Cook? I liked what I saw. Thought he did nice against Megatron. He contested all the throws and made him make some tough catches. Didn't see many YAC, either. Nice debut?
He looked a lot like what we saw in training camp. Physical, aggressive, fast enough to stay with receivers and good technique. So far, so good.
Hi Kevin. Long time Vikings fan here. Question on that 4rth and goal play from the Dolphins 1 yard line. Why didn't the Vikings spread out the defense with 3-4 WR's out wide to make it easier to run up the middle?
I think they felt their running game was strong at the moment, the Dolphins defense was tired and that they could get in with strength-on-strength.
Aaron Rodgers is the Pack's best QB. He's also their best running back. Is there anyway they can get him to line up at Guard too?
Can he cover kicks?
Do you think the Packers are going to go after Marshawn Lynch? In my opinion they would be foolish not to.
Put it this way: If they don't, they better know something we don't about their current guys or have seen something in practice that is soon going to bubble to the surface in games. Otherwise, I don't get it.
Is there another player in the NFL who has the "I should have retired" look on his face more than me?
I know a lot of people are saying that, but I guess I just don't see it. Do people expect Favre to be jumping around and looking enthusiastic when the team is losing? He's like most other players: His emotions are fed by results. They don't cause the results.
Any word on when Stafford comes back?
He's going to start throwing lightly this week. That suggests it will be a couple weeks yet.
GNB had 18 penalties while CHI had 5. We're they really all legit penalties, or was the game officiated in a one-sided manner?
I think most were legitimate. It's harder to get a grasp on what should have been called. But I'll say this: The Packers could have been called for holding Julius Peppers on every play. Man, it looked like assault and battery a few times out there.
Kevin,James Starks is possibly coming off the PUP in time for the game against Minnesota. Is he a running back that could take over as starter quickly, or is he more of a blocking back like Jackson? And if Bigsby comes back, is Burnett on pace to keep his position as a starter?
I don't get why everyone keeps mentioning James Starks. He didn't have any training camp, and he didn't play last year at Buffalo. A guy that's been out of the game for 18 months is going to step into the middle of an NFL season and be an impact player? I guess it's possible. But it's a long shot.
Hi Kevin. Could you tell us how Sidney Rice is coming along with his rehab?
I hear it's slow, but he's still a month or so away from being eligible to practice.
Kevin, if the Vikings do not make the playoffs in 2010, do you feel there could be turnover in their coaching staff? What positions do you feel they need to address the most in the offseason? QB? OL? Something else?
If you're asking if Brad Childress will be fired, I would really doubt it. He's been awfully loyal to his coaching staff over the years as well. But I do think the roster is headed for overhaul. There are a lot of players with expiring contracts on that roster.
A lot of people have been jumpin on the Bears bandwagon since the big MNF win, but going to the Meadowlands for a Sunday Night game against the Giants is never easy. After a short week and an emotional win, what are the chances for a Bears let down in week 4?
I know a lot of people are looking at the Bears' schedule and seeing a few more wins piling up, and I don't disagree. So here's what I say: If the Bears are going to be a legitimate contender this year, they'll need to be the kind of team that can go to New York on Sunday night in a short week and win.
Are there teams that are sniffing around on Tommie Harris? If so, what's the best the Bears can get for him?
Don't think so, and I don't think the Bears have totally given up on him yet, either.
Reading more into the Harris and Bowman benching, apparently Lovie's changing his "player's coach" disposition. Who woulda thunk? Actually, why do you think?
Well, he denied it today, but I think he's clearly (and appropriately) dropped most of his loyalties in what he must think is a make-or-break year for him. There are no tenured members of this roster, at least none that don't deserve it. Briggs and Urlacher are pretty safe, but they've done nothing to make that a question, either.
Why is it that every time the Bears win a game it has to be questioned by the media? The Lions by all accounts should have won (key word is should have) and the Cowboys were in disarray but they beat the Texans and all is well again. give these guys some damn credit ESPN. I understand the Packers committed a ton of penalties but by my account most of them were justified and even more holding penalties could have been called against the Packers LT and RT. And my favorite excuse is that the Packers outgained us by 100 yards and thus that qualifies as a win, purely stupid! Not to mention that they only had 3 more first downs than us. The Titans got out gained by 200 yards and the Giants committed a ton of penalties but no one questions that win.
Well, I was among those who wasn't impressed with the Lions victory. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I thought the Bears were fortunate there. As for the Dallas game, I thought that was legit and wrote it. And beating the Packers on Monday Night Football qualifies as the same.
So what's the new show for you this year Seif? Are you a Boardwalk Empire man?
Still catching up on the DVR. Actually hoping to take a TV hiatus for a while anyway. Too much time.
KS, are you really the vikings super homer like everyone claims you you to be?
As the Vikings if they think I am.
The biggest thing I came away from both NFC North games this weekend. The Packers are head and shoulders above Chicago & Minnesota, the followed by Detroit. The Packers couldn't have shot themselves in the feet anymore and still only lost by 3 points. Bears and Vikings don't look good at all. Am I the only one that sees that, or is that what others see too?
I'm sure others do, and it just shows that people can look at the same weekend of games and draw entirely different conclusions. I don't think the Bears are perfect, but 3-0 is 3-0. And the Packers had some problems in that game that may or may not be easily correctable. As for the Vikings, I thought they were marginally better in Week 3 than they were in Weeks 1 and 2.
Who is the best QB in the NFC North?
I think after Monday night's game, you have to give it to Aaron Rodgers. He was great in the short and medium-range passing game, and he took matters into his own hands (or legs) to score from the 3-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Hey Kevin...at the beginning of the year you were not that confident about Rod Marinelli as a D coordinator. What is your feeling now after 3 games, the #1 rush D and a team that only gives up 17 points a game (playing against two great offensive teams in Dallas and GB)?
Can say nothing but nice things. I've been especially impressed with how he's limited his blitzing, allowing more players to be back in coverage and relying on the defensive line to do its job.
Should the Bears keep Omiyale as their left tackle?
I think that's going to be a really interesting question moving forward. Normally I would say no. Chris Williams is a former first-round pick. But if this keeps working, will the Bears really mess with it?
I heard a dude on Chicago radio say J'Marcus Webb will be a Pro-Bowler and the Bears will have an elite line in 2-3 years. Am i crazy or is the city drinking too much of the Lovie and Co Kool-aid?
Well, statistically that's a long shot. But Webb is a big dude and is playing for a coach in Mike Tice who has a reputation for developing unknown players into competent starters, if not Pro Bowlers.
How come our (GB) punter can't seem to kick the ball out of bounce yet our kicker does it all the time?
Good point. Maybe they should switch spots.
You seem to be pretty harsh on the Packers after the MNF game, saying that they weren't handling the hype well. I disagree; it was one bad game, the other two games were very solid and they still have 13 more regular season games. Plus, remember how they bounced back after last year's atrocity in Tampa Bay.
Right. They didn't handle the hype well Monday night. I didn't write that they wouldn't be able to all season. And it wasn't my intention to suggest they are done. It was just one 60-minute period where they really didn't keep their composure.
I'm sure you have something coming but...What do you think the consequences will be following the jared allen scuffle at the metrodome and the Nick Collins incident.
Normally you see fines in those situations. Unless suspensions are involved, I don't get too excited about it. If they're not going to miss a game, the punishment is of limited significance to me.
Do you agree with MM not allowing the bears to score at the end of the game? I know the percentages are still low, but why not give Rodgers a minute and a half with a timeout to at least force an OT rather than a basically guaranteed loss?
Here's where I stand on that: It would have marginally increased the Packers' chances of winning. Historically, teams win in those situations 10 percent of the time. So I can't come down on McCarthy too hard for it.
I was actually more up in arms about him using a timeout to challenge Tim Jennings' fumble recovery. it was obvious on replay that Jennings was in bound. That cost a huge timeout.
How did the Bears patch work o line manage to keep Mathews off cutler all night when better lines haven't?
Apparently, the bottom line is that Kevin Shaffer did a really nice job at right tackle.
How do you see Suh coming along this year?
He's been pretty active and is making plays. He looks like the real deal.
Do you think the Lions have a chance of being a playoff team next season?
That seems so far away. Right now, I want to see them learn how to win some games. I agree with Vanden Bosch. They're good enough to win with some regularity. But there is something missing. It's almost as if they don't know what to do when the game is close in the second half. They need to figure out that part.
Kevin my man, I agree with your assessment that Peppers was getting mugged on almost every play. With so much attention paid to him why cant anyone else produce opposite him? I think getting rid of Alex Brown for this bum Mark Anderson was a mistake. He has shown no glimpses of anything since 06!
First, there is quite frankly a big dropoff from Peppers to the rest of that line. That's why they keep switching back and forth between Anderson and Idonije. But the production is going on in the back end. I think part of that can be traced back to Peppers.
I have been putting in some serious overtime lately. is it fair to say that we havent seen the real lions team this year? I know the bears wouldn't be the same team with an injured Cutler/Forte/Hester/Urlacher compared to the injured Lions Stafford/Best/Burleson/Levy
Yes, but what if the real Lions team is one that has a lot of players who get hurt a lot?
Think I should be worried about suspension?
I would think not. From the video I saw, it looked like there was some yelling and finger-pointing and a mouthpiece thrown into the stands. There are two sides to every story, and personally I would be surprised if he was suspended for his role in it.
I heard that the Vikings were looking at Trent Edwards as a possible franchise QB after Favre leaves. Although its not gonna happen, have Ziggy and Chilly lost their minds?
Yeah, I didn't hear that although many people have asked about it. I honestly don't think they've thought about their QB position beyond this year.
My thought on Cutler is that he is an INCREDIBLE gamer and people need to stop analyzing his actions on the sideline and watch how he hangs it out there between the lines, which is what matters afterall. Any analysis of what he can become needs to be tabled until they can find someone to block for him...
And I would add that he's shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can take a hit. The Lions roughed him up a couple times in Week 1, and that hit under the chin from Frank Zombo on Monday night was vicious.
Thoughts on the Bears throwback uniforms?
Liked 'em. I almost always like throwbacks, except when the color scheme makes it impossible to identify what team they are.
Bears of 2010 = Broncos of 2009? They had a fluky first win, then roll for the next few weeks until there is an epic collapse. I'm predicting it, right here, right now. Thoughts?
Ha! It's possible. They could also be the 2001 Bears team that came out of nowhere to go 13-3.
Kevin, why is it that some fans (blinded by their bitterness) can't acknowledge that the Bears DO in fact have talent on their team. To say that the Bears "don't look good at all" is a joke!
Agreed. There are flaws, just like any team. But 3-0 is 3-0, especially when two of the wins came against teams that were considered preseason Super Bowl contenders.
Kevin - Can you talk about how Shields held up for the game against Chicago and also your opinion of how the GB secondary is doing without Harris or Bigby? Thx
I thought he was fine. It didn't look like the Bears were trying to pick on him. Burnett's pass interference call was one of 3-4 plays that cost the Packers the game, but overall they've done a nice job patching this secondary together with a varied scheme.
Do you agree with Martz use of the wildcat? I'm all for giving the defense another thing to worry about, but inside the 10 with an offense that needs to get better in the red zone?
I think they're trying to find a way to score in the red zone in addition to throwing into the end zone. Forte has been awful in goal-to-goal situations in recent years. This offers a different look. Just something to look at.
Packers win 38-10 if 10 less penalties committed....agree?
But the penalties were an intricate part of the game, not just a sidelight. That's like saying, the Packers would have won 38-10 if they had scored 18 more points and the Bears had scored 10 fewer.
Kevin, I know it's the media's job to make predictions and address "issues" through out the season. However, week 4 hasn't been played yet and ESPN and every other sports media outlet act like every game "defines" the season. Do you find that the media, including yourself, tends to "over hype" certain situations and games for something to write about? I'm not trying to call you out I just want an answer from someone who works in the industry. Don't you think that week 4 is a little hard to make any bold predictions about any team or player?
I can only speak for myself. Especially early in the season, I try to limit my conclusions to the 60 minutes I just watched. Take Monday night. It was my conclusion, in part based on postgame interviews, that the Packers really imploded. Nick Barnett's quote was "crapped down our leg." That doesn't mean they're going to do it all year. It just means that in one big, early game, they couldn't handle the pressure.
Any news on the Vikings offensive line? i thought cook did ok for filling in.
They've got a bye now, so it will be interesting to see if they stay with Ryan Cook or go back to John Sullivan at center. Not sure who I would pick from that pair.
Kevin, do check out the Boardwalk Empire. Way cool.
I am a Buscemi fan...
Kevin can you explain the play that Brett Favre threw backwards and the refs said it wasnt a fumble because he was trying to throw fowards? Did the refs just make up a rule on that play?
I'm going to take a look at that in a post later today, in fact.
Although TT has put together a great team, do you think it is an inherent flaw in his philosophy of not signing big time F.A. that prevents the packers from being a perennial elite team?
I think normally you have to use all the avenues available to you. If you choose not to follow one of them, the others really have to compensate. So in the Packers' case, they need to draft near-perfectly to make sure they have enough depth at every position.
Am I the only one that believes penalties are the result of being unprepared, undisciplined, or just down right beaten on those certain plays? Packers lost the game, but the Bears took it from them in the process!
Depends. Pre-snap penalties has to be blamed on discipline. I'm not going to say that Julius Peppers caused Mark Tauscher to jump offsides. But the holds and pass interferences? Those are often the result of getting beat, yes.
Ok, a few more here.
Don't you think that the excitement over Cutler's performance should be tempered? Yes he played well, but he also threw an interception, two more interceptions that got called back, and two other near interceptions. It seemed like he regressed to last year's form to me.
I wouldn't go that far. As I said earlier, you just have to assume there will be a few bone-headed throws, mixed in with some hellacious throws that few other guys can do. Cutler is kind of like Favre in that way.
How do you feel AD is doing as a 3rd down back - blocking and receiving?
Excellent in receiving, average at best as a blocker. He's willing but not always in position.
Doesn't anyone remember when Mike Holmgren allowed the Broncos to score late in the '98 Super Bowl to give Favre and Co. a chance...How did that turn out? McCarthy did the right thing, and anyone thinking that his decision at the end lost the game clearly wasn't watching.
Yes, that's a fair point. The chance of winning would have been increased a bit, but not enough to get on McCarthy one way or the other.
Forget your job for one second. Who do you pull for on Sunday's and Monday's (Thursday's and Saturday's later in the season). Please tell me you're a Packer fan...that would be awesome!
Hah. I'm really, really not. The only thing I root for is something interesting to write about. And in this division, I almost always "win."
Ok everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you in a bit.