Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

October 19, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Seifert

Kevin Seifert
  (2:00 PM)

Hi everyone. Let's get right to it...

Jeremy (Wisconsin)

Why does the NFL allow the status quo to be that their officials are below incompetent? This is a multi billion dollar industry yet they allow their officials to be part timers that dabble in officiating as a second job rather than force them to work and train at it year round? Why is this?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:03 PM)

My biggest problem is the lack of transparency. The truth is that every game in every sport ends with some question or another about officiating. It's an inexact science that will never be perfected. But what I don't like about the NFL's approach is the lack of true explanations for why calls are made or not made, be it during the game or afterwards. I'm not saying the league has to admit every time there is a mistake, but there really is no resource for fans, or media by proxy, to access for help in understanding. When there is a big call or no-call -- say, Aaron Rodgers being hit in the head on an overtime interception -- fans deserve to know what happened.

Justine (Belgum)

Will Matt Stafford ever play as well as Shaun Hill just played for a solid month?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:04 PM)

The Lions think he will. The big thing for Stafford is we need to see him put some games together. It's too bad that his shoulder probably won't be 100 percent even when he does get back. But right now, the biggest doubt about Stafford is his ability to stay on the field. There is a general feeling that he made a lot of progress during the offseason. But we'll only see that if he can stay on the field.

Lleyton (Sydney, Australia)

Are people finally understanding how good and important Ryan Grant was to the Packers offense? Would Marshawn Lynch not have been an upgrade though for this season, and perhaps into 2011?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:05 PM)

Fair point. But I would say this: Grant's value was increased by how big the dropoff there was from him to Brandon Jackson/John Kuhn. If the Packers had a Lynch or a Chester Taylor or even a Kregg Lumpkin, maybe they would have been able to absorb Grant's loss better.

Thomas B (Czech Republic)

Do you know that Aaron Rodgers record in games decided by less than 4 points is 1-11?Is he to blame, or is it Crosby, McCarthy, or the whole team?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:06 PM)

I do know that. I would say it's a combo platter, but Rodgers deserves more than equal blame. He is the one player who touches the ball on every play. As the quarterback, he has more of a chance to impact the outcome of games than any other single person.

Ben (MN)

Why does it seem like there are so many more brutal hits now a days than there used to be? Are the players that much bigger, faster, stronger, or are people just starting to care more about it?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:09 PM)

There have always been brutal hits. Go back and watch the hit Frank Gifford took from Chuck Bednarik. It was as bad as anything you see in the modern era. But Bednarik was very much a physical freak of his era. There are a lot of wannabe Chuck Bednariks out there now. My feeling is that this is a violent game that has been trending this way for a long time. It's like watching gladiators. They're just trying to rip each other up. I don't know how you reverse the trend. That's the game.

Wayne (Sioux Falls)

Can you please explain to me why all the praise that's been heaped upon Aaron Rodgers over the past couple of years. He's never won a division title (Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson, for crying out loud won in '08 and Brett Favre won in '09), he's never won a playoff game (remember, it was his fumble that led directly to GBs loss to Arizona) and his record in close games is far less than pedestrian. His "championship belt" gesture after certain plays looks absolutely juvinille (an act you would never see Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or any other championship caliber quarterback do) and his constant pleading with the officials got old a very long time ago. So, can we please hold the over-the-top praise for him until he wins something... anything?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:11 PM)

Ouch. I thought after watching him play the past couple years that he was exceptionally accurate, surprisingly mobile and very careful. Very few mistakes. I'll admit that this year he has fallen short of that performance, for a variety of factors. But I think it's fair to say all of the NFC North quarterbacks have slipped this year.

Duncan (Mpls)

KS, what's the injury situation looking like for the Sunday Pack/Vikes game? Are we going to have to worry about CM3 blowing by Loadholt?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:12 PM)

If you're asking whether Matthews will play, it's a little early to know but I think the Packers are really hopeful. If he does play, you wonder how close he'll be to 100 percent. He needs all of his speed. But with that said, the Vikings haven't been able to protect Favre all season. If they have to account for Matthews, it's going to cause them a lot of relating problems.

Matt (DC)

Jenn Sterger's last name is "Regrets" backwards. Coincidence?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:13 PM)

Whoa. Couldn't resist posting that.

Ramblin Man (Everywhere)

Have you ever eaten at Fogo De Chao? Yum

Kevin Seifert
  (2:14 PM)

No. But I've eaten myself into submission at several other Brazilian steak houses.

Aaron (Winchester, VA)

So, I thought Favre's arm looked fine against Dallas. The Vikes offense still looked bad, though. What would you say the main reason for that is?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:14 PM)

They're not dealing with the pass rush well, that's for sure. Favre looks like he's trying to hold the ball to get Moss open, but right now that's not an option.

Greg Jennings (GB, WI)

More of that to come... finally huh? Geez, I'm always open.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:15 PM)

Without Jermichael Finley, the Packers have to target you. No choice, right?

Greg (Daphne, AL)

Kev, how much pressure is on Stafford to win (and not just perform well) the rest of this year? Or is he off the hook because of how atrocious the Linebacking situation is?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:16 PM)

No. I don't see the linebacker situation giving Stafford a pass at all. At the very least, we need to see him stay on the field. After that, it would be nice to see him run the offense and utilize his weapons in a way the Lions have predicted for him since this summer. He doesn't have direct control over winning, but I think it's fair to expect some serious offensive production from him.

Chester Taylor (Hallas Hall)

Dear Vikings,How's that blitz pickup working for you guys?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:17 PM)

Ouch. But I have to say I'm surprised the Bears don't use you more than they do.

Jay Cutler (Chicago, IL)

Ok ok ok... we all saw this coming. First couple games were nice... but this is what we all knew I was going to play like.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:18 PM)

Well, I wonder if that will just be your way... some great games followed by some duds and then back and forth. Trent Dilfer cut a video for ESPN.com this week and basically said it's your fault for not understanding the need to get the ball out of your hands.

Aaron Rodgers ([watching sportscenter])

Kevin, please tell me we are going to get me a RB... please.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:18 PM)

I wouldn't strain your eyes on that ticker.

Matt Forte (Chicago, IL)

I'm a bit of an enigma this year huh? I've been scoring, just in unconvential ways... lots of catches and long TD runs. I get essentially zero rushing yards but I keep finding the endzone and I guess that's all that matters.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:19 PM)

True. But you can't do that unless the offensive coordinator calls your number. Personally, I'm not sure if you're an ideal between-the-tackles runner. But both you and Chester Taylor need to utilized more often.

Chris (Madison)

Since it's obvious TT wont make a trade for a Running back now, how's James Starks looking? If Green Bay can't run the ball and miss the playoffs, Will TT and MM be fired?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:20 PM)

The hero of hopeful Packers fans everywhere: James Starks. He doesn't start practicing until Wednesday. As I've said before, it would be hard to expect a guy who hasn't had any contact in 18 months to be ready to contribute any time soon.

dan (willcox, az)

In all honesty...how culpable is rodgers in the packers problems this year?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:21 PM)

The quarterback touches the ball on every play and has much more than 1/53rd of a role in a team's success and failure. I'm not sure why, but Rodgers definitely hasn't been as accurate this year. Also he's made some questionable decisions. There could be more going on behind the scenes, but he doesn't deserve a pass.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:22 PM)

No pun intended.

Chad Greenway (laying in the grass facefirst )

Hey I know I am a great player but what did I do wrong on Sunday when I whiffed on Tony Romo? Was my head down? I looked like that corner that wanted nothing to do with BIG Jimmy K, however I had pounds on Romo.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:22 PM)

Yes, that won't go down as the high point of your career.

Percy Harvin (The endzone)

What else can the Vikings do to get me more touches in a game? I am happy with the amount I am getting right now, but people have been talking that I need more because of my big play ability. Should I be on punt return? Greg is doing well there but has no chance of breaking one he is consistent and gives a bit of value to the Benny Sapp trade. What do you think?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:22 PM)

Sounds like you might be returning punts before too long.

Allen ky [via mobile]

I'm so sick of the NFL. They want to baby the players if they don't want them to get heart than play with flags. Football is a mans game. growing up playing football you know that your going to get hit and. So what if the guys are biger faster and stronger take the hits.no one is making you play

Kevin Seifert
  (2:24 PM)

Yep, it's definitely volunteer work. I do think that every now and then a player does something stupid and should be penalized/suspended for it. But for the most part, it's hypocritical to market violence while at the same time trying to manage it.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Kevin, Peter King recently said that he thought if the Vikings could reach a 4-4 record at mid-season, they would have a good chance of winning the NFC North. Do you agree with his assessment, and do you feel this could possibly happen?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:26 PM)

I didn't see Peter's comments, but I think the NFC North is wide open, for sure. It helps the Vikings to still have both game against the Packers and Bears, because it means they can have maximum impact on their own destiny. I'll say this: The Vikings definitely have the talent to pull it off.

Kimberly (Wi)

Good afternoon Kevin, My question is With the Packers being 3-3 and the vikings being 2-3 to you does there seem like there is not much buzz about the game?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:27 PM)

There will be, although it won't be the same as last year. Favre's already been back to Lambeau. Been there, done that. But I know the Packers very much want to turn the tide against him.

Josh (chicago)

Logan to Chicago? 2 hours to go until trade deadline.......

Kevin Seifert
  (2:29 PM)

Logan Mankins? I suppose it's possible, but to this point it has sounded like the Bears were tapped out from a financial standpoint.

Jon Ryan (Seattle)

Do I know what day it is yet?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:29 PM)

I'm sure Earl Bennett would remind you.

Bruce (Turlock, CA)

Too little is being made of the shambles the Vikings o-line has been in. When will John Sullivan return and how long will it take for him to settle in once he's back?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:29 PM)

Who says Sullivan would be an upgrade? I think just switching back and forth between centers has been a big problem.

Andy (Arlington, VA)

Kevin, very humbling that the third best team in the AFC East has now at Lambeau and at the Metrodome. Can you trace the offensive woes across the NFC North to the fact that across the division we have porous and inconsistent offensive line play?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:30 PM)

It's a slippery slope. There have definitely been some offensive line issues, but ultimately it always comes down to the quarterback. There has been a slip of quarterback play in this division.

Chris (Minneapolis)

Will Rice ever come back to the Vikings?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:31 PM)

He's off crutches and starting to do some football activities. I think he'll be back in a few weeks.

Roger G. (NFL HQ)

Better idea to prevent helmet-to-helmet hits and subsequent concussions?1) Widen the field (dumb)2) No more helmets (increase player recognition)3) 5 game suspension (without pay) for helmet-to-helmet hits4) Nothing, we all secretly love the collisions and don't really care who gets hurt

Kevin Seifert
  (2:32 PM)

As long as we're just dishing here, I like No. 2 and No. 4. Only the toughest of the tough guys would stick their face into a player's chest with no face mask. But ultimately, it's like asking NASCAR drivers to slow down. That's why people are tuning in. (That an 80-yard touchdown passes.)

Michael (Norfolk)

What do you make of Colin Cowherd's comments on Aaron Rodgers? Personally, I think his assessment was extremely unfair, and his stats were skewed: the 1-11 record against games decided by 3 points or less shouldn't fall solely on the quarterback, especially when the defense, special teams, and the offensive line are more often the culprit for the losses than Rodgers is.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:34 PM)

I didn't hear them. But I'll say in general terms that whenever you get a player like Rodgers who is lionized with such universal fanfare, there will be a segment of people who enjoy it when he falls short.

Mo (Chicago)

By cutting Grant, the Bears open up a roster spot with the trade deadline approaching... anything cooking there KS?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:34 PM)

Brad Biggs of the Tribune is reporting the space is likely to be filled by a practice squad player.

Ndamukong Suh (Allen Park, MI)

21 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 6 TFL 8 QB hits, 1 INT for 20 yds through 6 games. Am I the best DT in the league?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:35 PM)

You're everything the Lions could have hoped for. Put it that way.

Jason (Michigan)

What's the latest on Zach Follett? Will he play anytime soon?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:35 PM)

They'll take their time with that here on the bye. But it sounds as if he avoided serious injury.

Rogie (Grand Rapids)

With Stafford back do you see the Lions winning at least 4 more?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:37 PM)

I honestly don't think Shaun Hill was the reason they were losing games. But if Stafford is as special as the Lions hope, then he should help them win some games they otherwise wouldn't.

Nathan (Phoenix, AZ)

Is this the internation chat? Belgium, Australia, Czech Rep... Wisconsin?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:37 PM)

We welcome everybody. Even from the country of Wisconsin.

Bernard Berrian (MN)

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still around.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:37 PM)

Yes, I saw you were unable to come up with that deep slant last week.

Yhammi (La Crosse)

I know that Lovie says its the entire offense to blame for the sacks but Kevin if you had to pick one position that is to blame for MOST of the problems with the sacks given up would it be, O line, Cutler, Running backs, tight ends, Mike Tice, or Martz

Kevin Seifert
  (2:38 PM)

I think Martz could have helped himself a lot by making different calls. And ultimately Cutler just has to let it fly. Stop holding the ball.

Jason (WI)

To follow up Lleton questions do people realize the Packers are avg the smae yrds/carry as last year just now the Packers are not running the ball which is the bigger question...why not?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:39 PM)

Two reasons: They don't trust the guys they have and McCarthy has always been a pass-first guy.

Ty (MN)

Assuming Favre doesn't miss games due to injury, when do you think would be the breaking point where the Vikings go with Jackson instead of Favre considering his recent mediocre play.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:40 PM)

I think his arm would have to be figuratively falling off. There's no way you spend $16 million on a guy and then consider benching him for performance reasons unless he is absolutely terrible. He hasn't been close to absolutely terrible yet. (Hopefully one say someone will write that about me!)

David (Georgia)

I'm pumped to go watch the Vikings play at Lambeau this weekend. Am I going to see you there?

Brett Favre (Whirlpool in MN)

Bednarik sacked me a few times.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:41 PM)

I'll be mixed in among 70,000 others.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:41 PM)

Sorry. Previous answer late to post. Lost my chance at one-liner. Was going to tell Brett that I heard he hosted Bednarik on a recruiting trip.

Billy (Black Hills SoDAK)

How much of a machine is Calvin Johnson, even less than healthy? And do you think that Chris Houston and Alfonso Smith still have room to grow into competent corners, both are young and it seems they are getting better with every game...Linebacker seems to Glare as a more desperate need then Corner even if Levy was playing...?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:42 PM)

I thought it said a lot that Johnson played, and played well, with that shoulder injury. That was a significant deal.

NorsemanPower (MN)

Man, NFCN rocking the Power Rankings. FAIL!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:44 PM)

Rough week for us, yes.

Erik (Chicago,IL)

Kevin, yes, the NFL markets violence. But if the sport goes too far, middle class and upper middle class people are going to eventually find it too brutal, not let their kids play, and the popularity of the sport will wane. Look at boxing! Doesn't the NFL have an interest in the long term popularity of their sport?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:45 PM)

Sounds like you've been reading Malcolm Gladwell. He's got a similar theory. I think middle class parents have much more tolerance for their kids seeing violence than a generation or two ago, and the trend in the NFL has been gradual. But I do think that if the violence level continues to the point where you're seeing career-ending and/or life-threatening injuries every week, the popularity will sag.

Tom (Taget)

Does Jarred Allen look heavier to you than last year? He seems more beefy than long and lean (like a timberwolf). Maybe that is why he is slower this year. thoughts?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:46 PM)

I hadn't noticed that. And for what it's worth, I thought he had a pretty active game against Dallas. No sacks, but three quarterback hits and around the ball a lot.

Helpless WR (League-wide)

I'm not "helpless" or "defenseless" am I Kevin.Simple solution... don't attempt to catch the ball when you know you're going to get blasted. Its a choice... make the catch and get destroyed or don't and protect yourself. Maybe we should have "Decision" classes for WRs.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:47 PM)

Hmm. But if the decisions is "get drilled in the head by another player's helmet or fall down," then the game suffers.

Ed (Pa)

What are Levy's chances of playing in the next Lions game.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:48 PM)

He better be ready to play after this bye. Jeez.

Harish (Fargo ND)

How are the vikings going to defend the pack with those cornerbacks? Please tell me cook is back this week!

Kevin Seifert
  (2:49 PM)

Cook could be back. But if he's not, the Packers better watch that Cowboys film and see all of the opportunities missed to exploit Allen/Sheppard.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:49 PM)

OK, a few more here people.

Paddy (St. Louis)

Just to chime in on middle class kids playing football, I like watching North American Football (throwball), but it is the one sport I wouldn't let my son play. You can't physically rehab a brain injury. These players that are getting concussions now, there is no telling how many they got in Pop Warner and High School because their coaches told them to tough it out and be a man and keep playing. I agree with the theory that was also proposed on Inside the NFL, get rid of the helmets and you'll see less concussions.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:51 PM)

On the latter issue, I imagine you'll see less violent concussions but it's going to be a lot easier for people to get them in routine plays without them. As for the former, strong point. Knowing what I know about the game, and what I've seen with my own eyes, I'm not sure I would be in favor of any young kid I know playing it, either.

Martin Mayhew (Allen Park, MI)

I wonder if Cliff Lee can tackle... Hmmmmm.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:51 PM)

If not, he could be your backup quarterback.

Madhu (South Windsor)

Urlacher or Henderson for Comeback Player of the Year?

Kevin Seifert
  (2:52 PM)

Ohhhh. I like that. Check back on the blog tomorrow.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:52 PM)

Ok everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week.