Hi everyone. Thanks for finding us one day later than normal. Half of our fair division is still in the playoffs, which means we have puh-len-ty to talk about. Let's get to it.
The possibility is looming of a Bears-Packers NFC Championship game in Chicago. Would be the magnitude of this kind of a thing and has anything like it happened in recent history?
It would be epic. The Bears and Packers have only made the playoffs the same year in four seasons. They've only played each other in the playoffs once, in 1941. So I would consider it just about unprecedented.
Are the Vikings going to hire Josh McDaniels as their OC?
It appears McDaniels is going to interview with some other coaches before this thing gets settled. I don't know how much the Vikings want to hire him, either. There aren't a lot of details coming out of Winter Park these days.
Why did it take two concussions to get Aaron Rodgers the "special" helmet? This technology must have been around for at least this season. Taking it one step further, are the helmets super expensive? Even if they are super expensive, why not have everyone wear them?
He has a different one. I don't know that it's special or designed to stop concussions any more than the previous one he was wearing. For the most part, NFL players wear Riddell helmets because that's the league's sponsor. They have the option to change to a few others. Rodgers took that option.
Where will the Minnesota Vikings play their home games at in 2011?
I wouldn't be surprised at all if they play at TCF Bank Stadium. I know that's where they would prefer to be.
Why is the Packer's defense still successful after all of the injuries it's had this season? Is is because of their depth or do you think it is Caper's system? What will be their biggest challenge vs the Falcons O?
I think you have to give a ton of credit to Capers, who is excellent at identifying the strengths of his personnel, whomever they might be at the time. Look at what he did with Erik Walden in the second Bears game. Guy had three sacks and 16 tackles. But you also need to give some credit to the fact that most of their top players -- Matthews, Woodson, Tramon Williams, B.J. Raji and Nick Collins -- have all been relatively healthy.
I dont understand the love that Starks is getting right now. It was one game. Do you expect him to have another banner game Saturday?
First, it's a really compelling story. Guy went almost two full years without playing in a game. Second, the Packers offense has been pretty good this year without a running game. Imagine how good it could be with one? As for Saturday, it will be interesting. Not many teams ran the ball against them this season. But if Starks runs as hard as he did in Philly, he could really change the dynamic of the game.
What type of value does Matt Flynn have? Could he net a 3rd? Also which ILB is the odd man out in GB?
Hi Stewie. I've been surprised by this line of thinking. The guy has only started one game. He did well in it, but how much would a team be willing to give up for one good start? The only way the Packers will get real value for Flynn is if there is a personnel man out there who had him highly rated in 2008 but missed out on drafting him for whatever reason. Given that Flynn was a seventh-rounder, I don't know how likely that is.
Any thoughts on who the Lions could/should be targeting this offseaon for either or both of the starting OLB position openings?
Given the likely lockout situation, which would freeze free agency, the only way the Lions will be able to upgrade at OLB will be the draft.
Seriously... how much do Lions fans hate me?
They might like you a bit more if you catch the winning touchdown Sunday against the Bears.
Be honest KS, you've never seen a run better than mine have you? Are buildings in Chicago up to earthquake code?
Bears have only allowed one 40-plus yard run this year.
What do you guys think? About 4 1/2 inches this week? Or should we go for 5?
Seifert, stopping copying my hairstyle... it's trademarked, so if you want to talk royalties.... I'm available.
Ouch. Trust me. There's only one Mel.
Prior to the Packers/Eagles game, a lot of media attention was made of Aaron Rodgers not winning a playoff game and that he needed to get the monkey off his back. Why was this? Rodgers had probably the best game of any QB playing in their first playoff game: 121.3 Rating, 4 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD, 1 Int (when the receiver ran the wrong route).
I have no idea. I wrote last week that the whole conversation was silly. Now, fortunately, it's over.
Doesn't Nnamdi Asomugha make sense for the Lions? Instead of taking a chance in the draft we could have a proven corner. I'm sure he will want a lot of money but he would be worth it. We could potentially make a run next year and he could be a huge part of it.
Certainly from their perspective, but it sounds to me like he wants to play in New York.
If Jay Cutler plays two turnover-free games in a row, that probably means the Bears are in the Super Bowl, right?
I would put it this way: The most likely scenario for a playoff loss would be a Cutler meltdown.
Lovie Smith: to extend or not extend his contract?
Think they have to at this point. Tough to go into a season as a lame duck. Look at what happened in Carolina this year with John Fox.
Is packer nation going overboard with James Starks' performance? He did have one very good game...so did Samkon Gado.
But it's not a matter of whether Starks is their guy for the next five years. This is the playoffs, and next year they'll get Ryan Grant back. This is all about if he can help them again this week, and then the next and then the next. That's it.
Was Martz's lopsided run/pass ratio in Week 17 an anomaly, or should I be worried he's going to revert back his early season play calling in the playoffs? It made no sense and probably lost the Bears that game (and the one earlier in the season against the Seahawks). Please talk me off the ledge here!
I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but I believe a good number of those passes came in the fourth quarter when they were trying to come back. They had a decent ratio in the first half, I believe. In either event, Martz has acknowledged that ratio and reinforced that he needs to be balanced.
Is the back strap of a baseball cap really the best place to hold a pen?
Ha. I'll ask coach McCarthy the next time I see him. Would you prefer he follow Mike Tice's lead and have a pencil behind his ear during games?
What's Matt Hasselbeck's record/stats in cold-weather games? My gut tells me its not pretty
I don't have that off the top of my head, but here's all you need to know: The Seahawks are 1-7 on the road all-time in the playoffs.
Can the Seahawks stop Forte? Can the Bears stop Mike Williams? Who throws more interceptions, Matt or Jay?
I see Forte having a decent game. And if that's the case, Hasselbeck will have more interceptions.
Why is it that I got flack for not winning a playoff game till now and Matt Ryan doesn't?
Very good question. I guess when you're Matty Ice all criticism slips off of you. ... Seriously, there was no reason to question Rodgers' 0-1 playoff record before, and there's no reason to do it with Ryan now.
Help! I have needed a QB since 2005 and I still have no long term answer. What is the most reasonable short term and long term for next season??
They need to go get a McNabb-like player for the short-term and draft someone for the long term, and then keep drafting quarterbacks until they get one. Sometimes it takes more than one swing at the plate.
I'm not expecting a great deal of "Lions" talk today... could you maybe throw me a bone or something?
So far the only Lions questions I've seen are asking about Asomugha... I don't see it happening.
Kevs, The Hawks have been using fewer db blitzes over the past few weeks, will the Bear's see a similar sort of plan, or will they see corners and safeties beating up on Cutler again?
Well, if I were the Seahawks I would definitely come at Cutler in one form or the other. He has shown in the past that he capable of panicking under a fierce rush.
Are Lions a serious playoff contender for next year?
I would say so, yes. But they've got to get this Matthew Stafford situation figured out. He needs to stay on the field.
Seifert, if you're not 5 minutes early to the chat, you're late!
I wish I could type what I bet Coughlin's response would be.
Admit it Kevin, you're salivating over the prospect of a storyline of Starks shooting for revenge against the Bears on draft day. The bigger story here is, does GB draft another RB? Brandon Jackson may not be a first-line tailback, but he is an extremely reliable third-down back, and can block and receive. Which means if they draft a RB, Starks figures to be the odd man out. Thoughts?
Ha, that would be a fun angle. There is plenty of room next year for Ryan Grant, a change of pace -- whether it's Starks or someone else -- and a third down back in Jackson.
Got any stickum?
How is that thumb doing?
Kevin, if you look at history the Bears have historically not done to well when they are the #2 seed of the playoffs ('01 and '05). Is this team one and done for this year or do yout think it will be different this time around?
Yes. I really think they will win Sunday. Their defense and special teams have been excellent all year. They would need a complete meltdown from Cutler, or a total departure from the way the rest of the team has played over the past two months, for them to lose.
Somewhere Ted Thompson must be smiling. His team is in the playoffs while old man Favre is at home.
Yes, as we discussed on the blog a few months ago, the Packers have emerged on the other side of the Favre divorce as a stronger team. And, to boot, Favre helped contribute to the Vikings' collapse this year.
If McDaniels is hired, which I'm not sure will happen.
Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, what are their futures in GB?
It's an interesting offseason question. I think Tauscher is probably done. Clifton would have two more years on his contract. He could be back.
If you had to pick between a Bears/Packers NFC title game and a Super bowl, which would you attend? Bears Packers would be huge! Thnx ;)
That's easy. The former. I've been to the Super Bowl before. I might never have a chance to see a Bears-Packers NFC Championship Game again.
Kevin, if the Vikings want a new stadium...raise prices, make everyone pay a tax. If they are fans, they'll understand. But wait, they don't want to spend their own money to help with the stadium, but they'll still go and pay big bucks to see them lose, er play a game.
Yeah, there is so much hypocrisy that goes on with these things. One way or the other, there is going to be some kind of user fee that helps pay for any stadium that gets built. No way around it.
I heard a rumor that Randy Moss is interested in a 3rd returnp to MN because he wants to retire a Viking and Frasier the kind of coach that can help him as long as he acts like he did that first Pats year. Have you heard this and what are your thoughts?
I have not, and I have a hard time believing Frazier would put himself through that.
Everyone talks about Off and Def but i think Special teams will be the decider, who's special teams unit wins it?
For Bears-Seahawks? Both are really good, but the Bears are the best. If you're talking about Packers-Falcons, I'd go with the Falcons' special teams.
Meltdown! what meltdown?! I am gonna play my behind off so that the town of Chicago can enjoy some success....
That's the spirit!
If you were the Packers, what would you do with James Jones? Would 1) re-sign the guy who gets open against the best corners or 2) let him go UFA for dropping too many of those?
Who knows what free agency will even look like after the lockout. I think he makes enough plays to keep him around, though. Just hard to trust him to be more than the No. 3 or 4 receiver.
Do you think the NFL will police in stadium replays to prevent what happened the last time GB was at Atlanta, or is that a perk of being at home they don't want to touch. Would be tough to see a questionable play in a playoff game decided that way
I've been surprised at how much outrage this topic has created. First of all, we don't know if the delay at the Georgia Dome is an intentional thing or just the result of the way it's built. Second, there is nothing in the rules tells a team how to handle its in-house television feed. So the bottom line is the Falcons, if they have manipulated the situation this way, would be perfectly within the rules. There is nothing to police.
Any word on Zack Follett's injury? Is this a career ender?
The last I heard, there was some concern about that, yes.
Did the packers just have a bad tackling game when they played the falcons the first time or was that the result of a good falcon offense?
It was their worst tackling game, but some of their guys are really tough to bring down. Michael Turner is tops on that list. And, the Falcons went with a game plan that maximized the short passing game and put an emphasis on open-field running -- and tackling.
As a follow-up to Scott G's question, sports media (esp. ESPN) poses the question "When can we talk about Rodgers in the same class as Brady and Manning?" when in fact just by having the debate, they are indeed putting Rodgers in that class. SO, my question: Why does ESPN milk the 'Aaron Rodgers level of eliteness' narrative when the basic foundation of the argument renders the question null to begin with?
Well, in this case, I'm not sure I agree. Rankings of quarterbacks don't matter except in the cyberspace debate, but to ask whether Aaron Rodgers is as good as Brady and Manning doesn't render it moot. You could make an argument that he isn't yet. I think he's elite, but what is elite? In my definition, he isn't top 2.
So with Desmond Bishop signing an extension, does that mean that Nick Barnett or AJ Hawk will be gone next year? If so, who's the odd man out?
It's an interesting question. You would think Barnett, given his age and injury history, but Hawk is due $10 million next season. He'll have to re-do his deal in order to come back.
KS: You said there is not a lot coming out of Winter Park these days. Have you see what John Elway is doing on twitter? That kind of transparency is really appreciated by the fans; maybe other teams (like the Vikes) should take note.
I have seen it. It's incredible and refreshing. It's also hard to imagine it will continue indefinitely. Fans and media appreciate it, but many teams find value in keeping their internal dealings private until such time as they are official. Avoids embarrassment and potential hard feelings. What if Elway announces six names for interviews and then none of them are hired? Then he goes to another round. Putting the roller coaster of a coaching search on public display isn't always fun.
Kevin...GB at Seattle in NFC title game, who u got?
Wow. Wow. Qwuest is a tough place to play, but the Packers are used to that and would have proved their worth by winning in Atlanta. So I would go with the Packers.
Kevin,The lockout is going to shut down all activity except the draft after the Superbowl. Ignoring the hype and retoric, do you see any chance of the labor dispute being settled or a temporary compromise being reached before the end of summer. At the earliest?
Honestly, no. It's true that players will be without health insurance after a lockout begins, but they wouldn't begin losing income until September. (Players receive their base salaries in bi-weekly checks during the season.) So that's where things will start to get really hairy for them. Why would they give in before?
If the vikings do end up at tcf field, is it possible to install a field heating system in the offseason? Will it continue to be a dry stadium?
Don't know about the latter, but I would think a heating system would be mandatory.
Do I have your vote for Rookie of the Year?
If I had a vote, you would have it.
If you had to put a percentage on it, how likely is it that Capers will leave for a head coaching job? And how can the Pack lock him down- how much would that take?
I would be surprised, that's for sure. If the Packers wanted to do a deal, the best coordinators in the game in 2010 made up to $3 million per year.
Which is the biggest game? Jets-Pats III, Steelers-Ravens III or the potential Packers-Bears III?
How much confidence does Seattle have going into this game, do they really feel like they can win?
Well, they did it during the season. That's a huge boost.
If everyone's available, who starts at OLB for GB: Walden or Zombo? (I can't believe this is where the season has brought us)
True. But it doesn't sound like Zombo will be ready, so it will be Walden.
I heard the forecast calls for snow in Chicago; this actually would seem to benefit the Seahawks cause it will like slow down Peppers from being able to get good traction. And you know what Dan Marino said: "If it's snowing, I'm throwing!" Thoughts?
The traction already is poor at Soldier Field. I think the Seahawks would be impacted more than the Bears if that were to happen.
A reporter from the SF Chronicle states that Nnamdi Asomugha will play for either the Jets or Packers next year. Packers are an option because he's such close friends with Woodson. Would the Pack sign Nnamdi Asomugha and move Woodson to safety?
I didn't see that article. I just know that he has expressed interest in New York in the past. Would he come to Green Bay for the sole purpose of playing with Woodson for a couple years? I don't know. And we don't need to discuss Ted Thompson's recent aversion to free agency.
Chicago bears #1 offseason priority is?????
Any of the five offensive line spots. Yes, including center. Olin Kreutz can't play forever.
If you were Martin Mayhew, how would you prioritize your draft? OLB, FS, RG, etc.?
OLB and CB would be neck-in-neck.
Who does Matty Ice throw to after Tramon shuts me down?
Some guy named Gonzalez.
Why didn't they put heated coils in TCF Bank Stadium? Won't that make it harder for the vikings to play there?
They didn't think they would need them with the season ending in November. Guessing they're not cheap. But I don't see why they couldn't dig up the ground in the summer and put them in.
Kevin, your opinion on who won the Jared Allen trade three years later? Chiefs ended up with Branden Albert, Jamaal Charles and Dujuan Morgan with their picks.
It's been a win-win. Allen had a lot to do with the Vikings winning consecutive division titles.
hey kevin, i think forte could get 200 yards rushing/recieving.....if he gets 25 plus touches......personally i think if the offense goes thru forte the bears can easily win....wat do you think
I'll back you on that. It also minimizes the chances for Cutler to melt down.
Dave Toub, ST coordinator for DAA BEARS, has been excellent, any chance he gets HC considerations if he remains a ST coordinator or does he need to move on to gain interest?
Well, he has been at the top of his field for a long time. It's hard to get that job strictly off special teams. John Harbaugh moved over to defense before he got the Ravens job. But if Toub got in front of an open-minded GM, you never know.
If James Starks goes over 100 yards, how can the Packers lose?
Hard to imagine them losing in that scenario.
OK everyone, one or two more questions here.
Meltdown? You think I might have a meltdown? WAAAA!!! I want to be traded. waaaa, snifle, waaa!
See what I mean?
NIce session Kevin I'm glad to see you have only fielded questions about Minn, G.B., and Chi .................. as usual Detroit gets shafted thanks. I used to value your opinion now I see your like everyone else that does anything with the NFC north ....... G.B. primarily and Minn cause that's where you live!!!!!!!!! Can't wait for next year!!!!!!!!!!
Come one now.... I can only answer the questions I get.
in all honesty...if there is a lockout for'11 what nfc north team does this damage most in the long run? does it help any?
Well, it would set back the Vikings' efforts to rebuild. They have a ton of decisions to make and can't do much about it until after the lockout ends. And if you believe in momentum from one season to the next, the Lions would have a long wait.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next time!