Hi everyone. Sorry we missed last week's chat. Duty called. ... But let's make this one twice as fun! We've already got 80-some questions lined up in the que. I'll get right to it.
Every year people talk about the Super Bowl hangover. Thanks to the lockout (something I rarely say) it seems like the Packers will avoid the Super Bowl hangover. Do you agree or do you think the Super Bowl hangover will hold back the Packers this year if there is in fact football?
I think every team will be on more equal ground given how chaotic this offseason has been. Often you see some teams really bear down in the offseason while the Super Bowl champs are out partying. That couldn't have been the case this year. And oh, there will be football. As I've always said, too much money is at stake to cancel anything that counts.
hey kev. great job for all of us 'babao'ers'!! Ever since the "ridiculous one" broke the nfl record for returns back in Dec against your beloved Vikes, my buddies and I cannot seem to agree on whether DH *already* deserves to be in the HOF, as in if he never plays another down, would he get in? I say "yes", quite emphatically, simply based on the jaw-droppingly quick fashion (years/attempts) that it took him to break Mitchell's record; they say "no", and based their idiocy on the fact that he's "only" made such amazing plays "14 times". Where do you stand on this?
Interesting. If I read your question right, you're asking if Devin Hester should be in the Hall of Fame because he's broken the record for most returns in a career. I'm going to say no, at this point. It's not as if Brian Mitchell was headed there. If Hester continues at his current pace for an extended period, then maybe it's a conversation. But right now, no.
Kevin, Who do you think will reach a deal first the NBA or the NFL?
NFL, definitely. Much more pressure on them as far as the timetable goes.
If the Bears could sign just one FA this year who would you sign if you were the GM and who do you think they will sign,thanks.
I'd go after an offensive linemen if I had only one slot. Maybe Robert Gallery. Maybe Harvey Dahl.
Kevin can you tell me why Best will lose playing time to the rookie? People seem to be down on Best this year. Is injuries the biggest reason or is the rook that good?
I'm not sure if he will "lose" playing time. Best was sharing the position with Morris and Smith last year. But the Lions didn't make the trade for Leshoure so he could ride the bench. They intend to use him a lot. Best might be better suited for an extended package of plays as opposed to the other way around.
In your early years, were you a fan of the Vikings? If so, how do you objectively cover the NFC North without playing favorites. (As a Lions fan, I have much dislike for the rest of the division.)
I was not, no. I grew up on the east coast and so the entire NFC North environment has been a learning experience for me. As I've written before, I root for fun and interesting things to write about -- and that's it.
Kevin, I'm a firm believer that Starks is going to blow Grant's doors completely off in training camp, leading to a 2 to 1 ratio of carries. Crazy? Or crazy like the fox?
I think you're underrating Grant's competitiveness and maybe overrating what Starks did in the playoffs. He had one excellent game against the Eagles, one he wouldn't have had the opportunity for had he not opened with that 20-plus yard run. Against the Falcons, Bear and Steelers, he got the ball a lot but wasn't exactly explosive. That said, younger is always better than older when it comes to running backs. We'll know soon enough.
OK, I know you had nothing to do with it, but I have a beef with that "choose the All-Pros 3 years from now" game ESPN is running right now. Far too many Lions left off the list. No Stafford, but Newton and Sanchez are options? No Best, but Leshoure is an option? And the real crime, no Pettigrew, but Jimmy Graham, Zach Miller and Marcedes Lewis are on there? I know the Lions were well represented overall, but to say there's no chance that these guys could be all-pros 3 years from now is crazy.
I hear you, man. The line had to be drawn somewhere. I'm not sure if I would vote for Stafford or Best, but it would have made sense to include them as options. I'm not sure that I have an explanation for that one.
Kevin:How much impact do you think the lack of a stadium agreement and or the small media market of Minnesota will hurt the Vikings chances of re-signing Sidney Rice or Ben Leber? Also, aside from Ponder, what rookie do you feel will contribute the most this upcomoing season?Thanks Kevin!
I don't think it will impact the free agency situation at all. One thing Zygi Wilf has been very consistent on: Money won't determine football moves. If they don't re-sign Rice or Leber, it will be because their football people decided to go in a different direction. As far as other rookies, I think the new tight end, Kyle Rudolph, has a chance to play a lot.
What is the coolest, non-football-related thing you've done (as a tourist) in any NFL city you've been to?
I don't really get a chance to do much on road trips given the travel schedule. Usually get in Saturday night, go to the game Sunday, work most of the night and fly out Sunday. I did a lot more tourist stuff in my days covering baseball. But I did go to the Alamo one year when the Vikings played a preseason game in San Antonio. Does that count?
I'd like to thank the NFC North for your interest and support, but I'll be taking my talents to Philly or the ATL.
Fine. We didn't need to overpay for you anyway.
Am I really going to be the SS for the Lions or am I just around to be used as a bargaining chip? This Mayhew guy... just get the feeling he's going to turn me into a 2012 5th rounder somehow.
Ha. You never know. I'm guessing the Lions would like Spievey to win that job.
Hey Kevin, hope you enjoyed your time off. It sure looks like the Green Bay defense no longer has room for Nick Barnett not to mention he may no longer "Packer People" with his media out lashes and could be a cap casualty. With all of these negatives what will Ted's compensation be for trading him, 4th round? What are your thoughts?
The hard part about trading a player who doesn't appear to have a role is that most teams know he will eventually be released. So can the Packers get much value for a 30-year-old linebacker with two season-ending injuries in the past few years? I'm not sure about that. They might end up having to release him.
Good afternoon Kevin,My question is do you think training camps open up on time?
It's going to be awfully hard for the Bears, who are scheduled to open a week from Saturday. The other teams, who will open the last weekend of July, still have a decent chance.
Would you please put a % on the chance the Viqueens getting an outdoor stadium with a real grass field like in the days of Kapp, Eller and Marshall? Thanks.
0.0 percent chance of an open-air stadium. Slight chance of retractable roof. There has to be some kind or roof, either retractable or fixed, for it to work as a multi-purpose facility. And if they're looking to cut costs, they can save $25 million by having the roof be fixed instead of retractable.
Hi, Kevin. I'm a huge Packers fan and have a question regarding compensatory draft pics. We will probably see Jenkins, Barnett and Jones go in free agency and I doubt they will acquire anyone of their caliber; would the Packers then get three potential comp draft picks for them? (I've never understood that process!) If so what sort of value might they hold? Thanks for your time.
Totally jealous of your location. The NFL purposely keeps the compensatory draft pick formula a secret because, I guess, it doesn't want teams manipulating it just to pile up extra draft picks. But if they lose the players you're talking about, the guess is they would receive one draft pick -- maybe a fourth-rounder? -- in return.
Will Gabe Carimi start at LT or RT this year. I think his skill set is better suited for run-blocking (thats all the badgers do), but if you put him on the right side who will start at LT? Frank Omiyale understood the position but just doesnt look physically suited to play tackle. J'marcus Webb is a tremendous physical specimen but came from a small school and hasn't had enough pro-level coaching (especially with this lockout going on). Whats a bears fan to do? I'd really enjoy not seeing my QB not getting creamed all year.
If I were them, I'd put Carimi at left tackle. He's got the best chance there this season because of his experience, be in in a running offense or not. If it doesn't work out, eventually you could station him at right. I'm with you, however. I would be scared to put Webb out there, and Omiyale should be their last resort.
We have HOW much money to work with under a $120 Cap? WOOT WOOT!!!
About $37 million. But don't forget. There will be a high "floor" as well. You HAVE to spend the money under the reported terms of the new salary cap.
Heya guys, just checkin in... things cool?
I'm a little itchy right now. Otherwise, good. You?
If you were Dom Capers who would you rather have opposite to Matthews with the current choices of Jones, Zombo or Walden? I think all three have potential and the rookie Elmore may get a chance once he fully learns the system.
I liked what Walden did at the end of last year. He sure looked strong on the pass rush. But there's a big difference between a short stint as a starter and 16 games. As far as Elmore, there is a reason he was still available in the sixth round.
Better for the Lions: Asomougha at $18 million or Jonathan Joseph and Steven Tulloch for the same price?
That's not as easy a question as it seems. If you have a chance to sign an elite cornerback, sometimes you have to jump at it even if it means your linebackers might not be up to par.
Hi Kevin, GB has a big hole at left guard assuming College will not be retained and Ted does not sign a free agent. Is Sherrod, Lang, or McDonald the week 1 starter? I am worried about the franchise (Rodgers) being properly protected with a potential hole this this, your thoughts?
Fair cornern. I wonder if they wouldn't give Lang a chance there. They have been trying to find a spot for him for two years. I wouldn't be surprised if they try Sherrod there as well, but Lang might get the first shot.
will there be a HOF game this year?
It's looking awfully, awfully iffy. I think somehow we could get by without it.
KS - I see the NFC North as a weak division with the exception of the Packers. However, IF the Vikes can get decent QB play and IF they can pick up a quality lineman AND a corner/safety in free agency I see them as a serious wild card contender. Your thoughts...
A lot of ifs there, Todd. You're right in as much as there are still a lot of really good and even elite players on the roster. But can they come together under a new system right away? Not sure about that.
Kevin, I heard Rich Gannon say football fans want to be comfortable while attending games (as an argument for a retractible roof in Minn) and I wanted your take on that. I've seen the Vikings play at Lambeau 3 times and their fans have not only traveled well but endured the frigid Lambeau temps to support their boys. I'm planning to go to the Packers @ Carolina game (if there's football) in my last trimester of pregnancy. Seems to me football fans care less about being comfortable than they do getting to experience the game live. Will the Vikes not fill a stadium if it is topless?
Wow, you're a trooper. My take: There is an entire generation of fans in Minnesota who have never had an outdoor football stadium. They like the idea of outdoor football but might not even be aware of what it's like in December. Sure, some of them go to Lambeau, but that's a small percentage, right? There's a big difference between a small sample of people who brave the elements and finding a base of 65,000 ticket holders who would like it. I think the Vikings need some kind of roof on their stadium.
Kevin,If Nick Barnett is available why don't the Vikings make a push for him in case we lose Greenway in FA?
Because they have no history of signing former Packers players. Come on. We all know that. ... Seriously, Greenway isn't going anywhere this year. He was franchised.
Assuming you were ever a GM, would you ever carry a 30+/yr old RB on your roster? I think my limit is 28... just doesn't make sense to me.
Oh, I wouldn't have a hard-and-fast rule. Some guys have exceptional physical abilities that allow them to extend beyond the usual curve. And some might retain pass-catching skills that would make them good on third-downs. But as a feature back? History tells us it's unlikely.
Chased away by the deer. No lie.
What are the chances we see three lions d-linemen on the final dream team roster?
It could happen. I'm not sure if enough people know about Cliff Avril, but we NFCNers should do our part.
Hi Kevin. I have a hard time seeing Shiancoe and Rudolph sharing time. Would they trade Shiancoe, or is this a good problem to have? Would they be out there at the same time. Thanks
Oh, I think Musgrave could find a way to do that. That's assuming he wants his best weapons on the field as often as possible. If he's healthy, Rudolph is a stretch-the-defense kind of tight end.
Given the lockout do you think rookies sign just to get rolling or hold out to see what the picks before them sign for like years past?
That's going to be a really interesting dynamic that will be decided in part on what kind of rookie scale the sides end up agreeing to. If the scale is really rigid, players will have no choice but to sign at their slot number. If not, however, it could take some time to get rookies into camp.
When healthy Ryan Grant was really good, late in the season and playoffs Stark's was solid and the packers spent a 3rd round pick on green from Hawaii. I dont think McCarthy is a rb by committee type of coach who gets the carries in 2011?
He hasn't been in the past if he could avoid it. But it would be silly not to take advantage of the varying skills he now has in his backfield.
Kevin am I out of line for thinking that paying 16 mill for a corner (no matter how good he is) Is not a great decision given the salary cap?
It depends. If he is your only asset, then maybe. But with a D-line like the Lions have, and a legitimate shutdown corner in the back end, the Lions defense could be transformed.
Kevin, enjoyed the Calling Canton article today. One stat that wasn't mentioned--and might be difficult to compare--that I always sing Woodson's praises on is tackles for loss. I think that there is what sets him apart from so many of the other topflight CB's currently playing--he does an decent job shutting down receivers and plays above average defending the run. Any idea how his tackles for loss numbers stack up against others?
Not off the top of my head, but it would be worth checking out. I'll do a follow-up post if I can find it. Thanks, Jay.
Any idea where Tommie Harris might resurface? Not back in Chicago, right?
Definitely not in Chicago, at least I don't think so. And there haven't been a ton of rumors as to where he might end up. One of many, many interesting questions when free agency arrives.
What do you think is the most likely LB solution for Detroit. Levy in the middle and sign an OLB or Stephen Tulloch in the middle and move Levy to the outside?
It's hard to know what they're thinking. But putting Tulloch at MLB might be the better of those two scenarios.
If DeAndre Levy played for another NFC North team would he even see the feild much? The Lions are in for a rude awakening if they don't pull off some free agency magic in the LB core.
I've always found the Levy situation interesting. The Lions have welcomed him as a cornerstone player from the start, and he certainly has displayed some potential and made some big plays. But he also misses a lot of tackles and I wonder if their faith will be rewarded.
So are you saying that Best profiles best as a 3rd down/passing down back? Could it be a platoon broken up that way, with LeShoure in on early downs?
It could be. John Clayton has also speculated that the Lions could emphasize one or the other on a weekly basis, depending on the makeup of the opposing defense.
Help me here Kevin, trying to be proactive. With the #1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft the Minnesota Vikings select _________ ?
Seifert, With James Jones history of drops do you you think that will make him less of a recruit so to speak in free agency or do you think other teams will look past that b/c of his other skills?
He probably cost himself some money in the playoffs, and this WR class is deep in free agency. But I do think there will be some teams interested.
Is it possible the Lions may be thinking about signing Plex for the right price?
I saw that Tom Kowalski wrote about that. I'll say this: If the Lions are listing their free agent priorities, WR would have to be near the bottom of their list.
Coach Frazier said the Vikings plan on bringing back Bernard Berrian. He's just being nice? Right? Please say 'yes'.
Well, they could bring him to training camp and try to trade him. Or they could ask him to renegotiate his contract. But with a clean slate, he might turn out to be valuable to them.
With the likely departure of Cullen Jenkins, who starts for the Pack at defensive end?
I would guess Mike Neal, their second-round pick last year. He's a beast and just needs to stay healthy.
The Vikings have no history of signing former Packers players? I hope you're joking! Longwell, Ferguson, Sharper, Walker, Favre?? I know I'm missing some more. The Vikings are always looking to pick up our trash
Ah, you got me. You forgot Sherman Lewis, and maybe a few more...
I was reading a competing website (sorry) and they said the top 2 things on the Packers to-do list should be resign Jenkens and go get a guard to replace Colledge. What are the odds of either of those happening, in your opinion? And should I quit reading that site...
I saw that story you're referring to. They were better with Jenkins last year, but I just think they want some of their younger players to take that position, be it Neal or C.J. Wilson or Wynn. In a cap environment, you can't re-sign everyone.
In a 4 X 100 Relay race... which NFCN team wins? I'm taking the Lions team of Megatron, Burleson, Houston, and Best
Interesting. That's a pretty good one. Vikings with Peterson, Harvin and Berrian are close. But I can't think of a fourth there.
Stephen Nicholas of the Falcons has intimated that he would love to play for the Lions and fits better than Tulloch...what say you
In what way did he intimate that?
Chances I become the Packers 3rd string Qb not to mention #4 WR/KR/PR?
Not sure about third-string QB, but your ability to learn multiple positions in the playbook will be tested.
Target field has stayed full, even on the bad weather days when all the critics said it wouldn't work or fans wouldn't show up. For every terrible weather game, there are 7 other games where the weather is good or great, which is why the new Vikings stadium should be outdoors. A lot of fans loved the snow at TCF bank last year, just not the bench seats, or the cold field for the players.
Perhaps. But they'll need at least a retractable roof so they can have other events. Will fans go to bad-weather games as a rule rather than a novelty? I'm not sure yet. Attendance at Target Field early this season was down, wasn't it?
Nicholas did an interview with Birkett after the SB
Ah. Interesting. Well, add him to the list.
Bears: Hester, Knox, Manning, and Bennett. Book it.
I'll pencil it in.
The Packers 4x100 team of Shields, Cobb, Davon House, and Woodson wouldn't go down lightly
OK, maybe we've got a fight after all.
So was the Twins record!
And so was the weather...
If the Bears pick up a solid LG in free agency, where does that leave Chris Williams? Back-up guard? And if so, how could the Bears ever justify paying a back-up guard starting left tackle money?
Well, he's making first-round pick money but they pointedly haven't signed him to a long-term contract extension. So at this point, they aren't going to start him just because of his money. Would they keep him as a backup at the money he's making? Perhaps.
Your missing the point on the stadium issue. If in the next 10 years the NFL wants to play 18-20 games and play into sweeps week for the networks all of the northern teams will need a dome.
KS, what are the chances of the Lions addressing the O Line in Free Agency? Do Mayhew and Schwartz see that as an area of need?
I don't think so, no. Only position that doesn't seem clearly defined is right tackle, and that's only because Cherilus is still coming back from knee surgery.
Sounds like a "Have at it" to me.
Ok, one or two more here.
Now that we know Sidney Rice will be a UFA, do you really think he'll come back? He said he wants to test the market and having Christian Ponder at QB, and having the new OC say it will be a run based defense pry isnt that enticing.
We're not 100 percent sure he will be a UFA, but it sure seems like it. But I agree. All signs are that Rice wants to at least see what else is out there for him. To my knowledge he hasn't worked out with Ponder at all this offseason.
If the Bears miss the playoffs, as it seems everyone predicts they will, what are the odds of them bringing me in to take over? Or Cowher?
Would the Bears spend the kind of money it would take for you or Cowher? Or would they consider one of the former head coaches on their current staff? If I had to guess, I would say the latter.
Kevin, I know this isnt NFC North, but do you think Kolb ends up in a Cardinal uniform week 1?
Who? Where? Never heard of either. ... Seriously, it sure seems that way, yes.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Have a great week!