Ok gang, let's do this thing...
Was it just me, or did the Lions' run defense against the Bengals look just as bad as last year's squad? Is this cause for concern yet?
Cedric Benson was hitting the hole pretty hard. But it's silly to put too much weight into anything you see in the preseason.
Kevin who's going to be the better WR2 for the Pack: Nelson or J.Jones? Do you see either jumping over the other and having a bigger year than last season? Thanks
I guess technically Donald Driver is the No. 2. If you're asking who will have the second-most playing time/catches after Greg Jennings, I would say Nelson. He finished the season ahead of Jones in the rotation and while Aaron Rodgers really wanted Jones back, he seems to have a strong comfort level with Nelson.
How do you think the Lions were planning to use rookie Mikel Leshoure and sophomore Jahvid Best together before the season ending injury?
My suspicion is that by the end of the year, LeShoure would have had more carries. Best would have been a big-play guy who wouldn't have had to stand up to the pounding of 250 carries. But we'll never know for sure...
KICK OFFS. I asked Mike Pereira via Twitter how a delay of game penalty would be assessed on kick-off and as you would think it's a five yard penalty, kick from the 30. What are the chances the Bears just let the play clock run out on kick offs during the pres-eason to enable them to continue to kick from the 30??
I suppose they could do that. Of course, the other team would have to accept the penalty.
Do you think the Lions can seriously compete for the playoffs if Stafford stays healthy? Or do you think it's completely out of the picture?
With Stafford in the picture, this is a team that has a chance at the playoffs. That's the best we can say at this point.
All the Buzz with the Calvin Johnson/Cris Carter debate: As a hardcore Lions fan...I tend to agree with Cris Carter. I saw a LOT (more than 3) "long balls" hit Calvin in the hands and he dropped them. It was early in his career, but I can remember Randy Moss dropping almost none of those bomb passes.
Without question, CJ isn't at Moss' level yet and may never get there. He has definitely dropped some balls. But he also is a relatively rare player who forces teams to change their defensive approach. That's a huge weapon in itself.
There's been some talk of whether TT should trade Flynn before his contract expires in order to get something in return. What would stop the Packers from franchising Flynn at the end of the year, then work out a trade with another team, who would presumably give him a new deal making the franchise figure meaningless? I would imagine his value is similar to Kolb's, which is much higher than the Packers could possibly get in a compensatory pick. Plus, the Packers would have a top notch backup for one more year in case Rodgers goes down for a game or two. What am I missing?
Funny, I have a post about that on the blog. (It went up a few minutes ago.) The only problem with the franchise tag is that it would probably lower what the Packers could get via trade. Other teams know that the Packers wouldn't actually plan to pay Flynn the franchise salary for quarterbacks, so it would be a transparent move to get trade value. It would be risky.
Do u think ponder will be the vikings starting Quarterback in 2012?
I do. And it could come much earlier.
Kevin, what's the latest on the 4 game suspension of Kevin Williams? I know the NFL can legally move forward, but hasn't officially. Is this an olive branch to the NFLPA due to the stricter testing agreed to in the CBA?
My guess is that it's on the NFL's post-lockout list of business but just hasn't been dealt with. It's not really an issue until the start of Week 1 of the regular season.
Hello Kev, Its really starting to worrie me that I havent heard anything about the Vikes and Peterson talking about a contract extension. I could see the Wilf's not wanting to pay him if there is no new stadium deal. I am affraid its going to be Red McCombs and Moss all over. Your thoughts?
I think both sides feel comfortable where they are right now and so there is no pressure point to get a deal. Peterson is set to make $10.7 million, a nice chunk of change. And as a result, the Vikings don't yet have to make the tricky decision of deciding how much to pay a running back in his second contract.
How serious are the injuries to houston and wright? They apparently are not practicing today. Is there any serious concern there?
My understanding is that neither injury is serious.
QBR - During the season, how does QBR get tracked? Will it be updated after each play?
That is still getting worked through. At the very least, I expect to have access to weekly and cumulative QBR ratings and rankings in the early part of every week of the regular season.
Kevin, great job as always. With the injury to Corey Wooten, what are your thoughts on the Bears rumored interest in Aaron Maybin? Think Marinelli could successfully work him in as a DE if he puts on weight, or do you think he has enough reclamation-project players on his hands already with Gholston and Okoye on the d-line?
Thanks Tom. The rumors are that Maybin is interested in playing for the Bears. But do they have interest? I'm not sure yet. Agents tend to direct players toward Rod Marinelli, who is obviously a good defensive line coach. But he's already got two projects on his hands in Vernon Gholston and Amobi Okoye.
Over/Under 20 for Jay Cutler interceptions in 2011?
I'll take under. Sacks might be the more important question. I'll take under 50 on that, but that's mostly because I don't see another 9-sack game coming.
Good afternoon Kevin, My question is what up coming game or games are you looking forward to covering?
The only one I know for sure that I'm covering is the Sept. 8 Saints-Packers game. The rest will be determined at a later date. But that's a pretty good one to be looking forward to.
Any chance Booker takes over the #2 role from Gerhart?
It's an interesting question. I think he runs harder, but Gerhart is a second-round pick. He'll get the first crack at the job.
Hey Kevin, I was at the Lions first preseason game and came away pretty impressed with Amari Spievey's play. Was it just me or did he play well? and do you see him maintaining his starting role and being an effective starting safety this year?
It wasn't just you. The Lions are very excited about him in part because he reported to training camp in excellent physical condition. He's a big guy and a pretty good tackler whose background as a cornerback at last gives him a chance in coverage.
Enough with the new QB rating, mothership. We don't care.
I understand where you and everyone else is coming from. The QBR people don't need me to defend them, and I'm not saying we're going to start using this exclusively on the blog. But I do plan to look at it and see what, if anything, it can tell us. Let's not be completely close-minded to it just because of where it came from.
How concerned should we be with Titus Young's injury?
All I can tell you is that he could hardly walk last week when I was at training camp. So it's going to be a while for him. He will have missed a lot of valuable practice time whenever he does finally get on the field.
Rodgers > Cutler
Not according to your clarification statement...
If you had to pick, Harrison or Bell
The consensus seems to be that Harrison is the better fit behind Best. He was the first back off the bench Friday night.
Do you think Aaron Berry will work his way into the starting lineup?
No. He has skills but has been hurt a lot in the past 12 months. If he can stay on the field and be the Lions' nickel back, I think that will be a good accomplishment for 2011.
How good does Ballard and Griffen look in camp? Robison got manhandled in the run game.
Ballard is intriguing. He would have been drafted a lot higher were it not for his reported positive drug test at the combine. He is big and athletic and can make some noise. Griffin? Haven't seen much to date.
The Bears offensive line is gonna get Cutler smashed, what can they do between now and the season opener?
Honestly, they need to stay the course a little bit. I admit I don't know if they have the right pieces in the right place, but you can't knee-jerk and make changes the first time things look shaky. Give it at least half of the preseason.
What's your assessment of Randall Cobb. Do you think he'll be put in a position to be an impact player for the Packers or do you think the Packers will limit his role this year to develop him further?
No, I think they'll give him as much as he can handle. So far, he's shown he can handle a lot. I would think he'll be the Packers' returner and if he can keep making tough catches, it's going to be tough to keep him off the field on third down as well.
Hi Kevin. Leber moved on. Was it money, age, or did the Vikings like their options with Henderson?? It appears he was still productive and fit their system well. thanks
I liked Leber as well. I just think they felt other priorities were higher. A 4-3 team doesn't necessarily need three established linebackers, and Leber came off the field in nickel situations anyway.
Do we know as much about the Starcaps/Suspension issue as you do?
I think everyone -- you, me, Kevin Williams and the Vikings -- know about the same right now.
I think that with Wright, Houston, and the emergence of Spievey, the Lions secondary is better than everybody thinks. What are your thoughts?
Add Delmas to that list, of course. I wrote almost those exact words in my Camp Confidential report. It might be the relative weakness of the defense, but it has a chance not to be porous, if that makes sense.
Did the preseason game prove Graham Harrell can't cut it in this league.
Too early for that. I know Mike McCarthy really likes him.
What do you think of the fact that QBR doesn't take into account the strength of the opposing defenses a QB faced? To me it's crazy that this system would give equal value to facing the best pass defense in the league as facing the worst pass defense.
Is that true? I'm not sure that a comprehensive list of criteria has been released.
Will Cliff Avril have to improve his ability to contain the run to get an offer from the lions that puts him on par with the Charles Johnsons of the NFL, provided that he gets 10+ sacks this season, or will he be paid as a 2-down 'system' speed rusher?
If he has a 10-plus year, he should get a deal that is at least equal to what Ray Edwards got in Atlanta, right?
Can Nick Fairley be expected to be effective after his foot surgery this year?
That's a fair question. It sounds like he had the boot removed today. But obviously a broken foot at the bottom of a 300-pound man is something to take seriously. He'll recover at some point. When? I'm not sure he'll be ready for 60 plays after his four-week recovery process.
Are the Vikings happy with their group of receivers?
So far. A lot of it is riding on Percy Harvin being reliable enough as a quasi-No. 1 receiver. And part of it is the hope that Bernard Berrian is ready to contribute again.
Hey Kev - which player from the NFCN impressed you most this weekend? Which player "unimpressed" you most?
It's a broken record, but Randall Cobb definitely was able to translate what he's done in Packers camp into a game. Matthew Stafford also looked just as sharp as he has looked in practice. As far as being unimpressed, I didn't see much from Bears LT J'Marcus Webb to think he's ready to be a 16-game left tackle in this league.
Who is #2 behind Cutler in Chicago? I have a feeling that O-line won't hold up and Jay gets sidelined this season?
It has to be Hanie at this point. If the Bears really feel that a rookie fifth-round pick is ahead of him, they have bigger problems.
Let's talk QBR. If a metric tells us that Cutler was better in '09 than '10, maybe we need to question that metric, not try to revise history to convince ourselves that it's true. I get it, it would be nice if there were a better stat, especially since MLB geeks have all their fancy sabermetrics, but football is much more dependent on teammates than baseball, so in the end a true individual stat will always be imperfect.
But I like the fact that someone is trying, and if QBR adds one nugget or layer of information to our understanding of the 2011 season, it'll be worth our time.
do you think suh is a dirty player ?
I do not. I think he likes to push that line and isn't above trying to create an aura about himself. But 99 pecent of the time, I think he's just going really hard.
Forgetting prior patience, Do the Lions have to finish at least .500 for Mayhew and Schwartz to not be on the hot seat?
As long as the curve is going up, I don't think either will be in trouble. There's little doubt around the NFL that they have the franchise in a much better spot than it was when they took over.
Are you scared of Suh? How worried should the North be?
Not unless and until he acquires the ability to leap into the press box in a single bound.
over/under 20 tuchdowns for stafford this season
Over. No question.
Dane Sanzenbacher was excellent at Ohio State, and I was stoked when the Bears signed him. Any updates on his camp so far, and what do you think the chances are he makes the team?
Everyone loves him. Cutler said on the radio yesterday that he could be their version of the Patriots' Wes Welker. Wow.
Rank the NFC North QB's in order from 1-4... I got 1. Rodgers 2. Cutler 3. McNabb 4. Stafford
I'd have McNabb last and Stafford challenging Cutler at No. 2. Little bit of projecting, but that's what I've seen so far in camp.
Kevin, there is just no way our State Legislature is going to approve any new fees or taxes to finance a stadium. Not after what we just went through. Without public money, is there any chance the Vikings stay in MN?
I agree it's going to be an odd debate after the budget brawl. Why fight so hard to keep out anything resembling a tax hike from the budget but then approve user fees and local sales tax increases for the stadium? I think ultimately they will, but it will only be when faced with the imminent departure of the team.
Do you find it odd the Lions are still using Levy in the middle at times when they desperately needed a guy like Tulloch?
No. I think they're experimenting from a matchup perspective. There might be some occasions where it makes sense in specific situations during the season.
Are the Vikings going to use Ballard at all this year or did they just draft him for possible future use when Kevin and Pat are gone?
They'll play him if he can help, especially if Kevin Williams gets suspended. Typically they use a rotation of 3-4 defensive tackles per game.
Detroit vs. Tampa week 1 is huge for both teams. Assuming no major injuries between now and then, who do you like?
Yes! Our first must-win week of the season! I'm going to hold off a bit on any predictions.
When I put up monster numbers this season as a safety blanket for whichever young QB is slinging it, will there be any outcry in Chicago? Will Martz and Angelo take any heat? Will Jay still call?
Ha. ... You are capable of putting up big numbers, but not in the Bears offense.
Scared to give me 1 reason why the Packers won't go 16-0. I thought so.
(Crowd goes oooooooooohhhhh)
O/U 80 receptions for Earl Bennett
Ok, this is getting silly. UNDER.
Care to make a prediction on how the teams finish in 2011?
The Packers have two starters gone from last year's championship team - LG Colledge, and RE Jenkins. Who do you think is going to take over their positions this year? Also, who wins the ROLB spot opposite Clay Matthews, or does Capers use a rotation?
I've assumed that if the LG competition is close, the first-round pick (Sherrod) would have the upper hand. As for DE, it sounds like Mike Neal will get the chance to move into he lineup. (Although Neal sprained his knee in practice Tuesday.) As for the OLB job, I think Zombo and Walden with both play at some point.
Is the "every TD replay" for regular season too?
How did my boy Melton look in camp?
He looked ok. But he looked really good in the preseason opener.
So if Cobb is talented enough to merit a lot of playing time, who is the odd man out in Green Bay? Was it a mistake to re-sign Jones?
It's going to be incumbent on McCarthy and Rodgers to find ways to get everyone the ball. It's a tough but good job to have.
It seems to have been downplayed a bit, but wasn't it a mistake for the Packers to try and do night practices? I don't know what it was intended for, but it didn't seem to work.
There was some value. First, the weather was a little cooler so players could have a quicker recovery time to the next day. Also, the practice could be the culmination of a day's worth of installation. But in the end, I think it just got too late. It's hard to be 100 percent focused in a full-pads practice at 9 p.m. local when you've been going at it since the morning.
Is it just me or are people going a little overboard in their praise of the Lions secondary? They played well against an Andy Dalton lead offense. Let me know when they shut down even a mediocre offense.
To this point, I think people are glad it isn't horrendous. No one is saying they have a bunch of Pro Bowlers playing back there.
reading my question about the starcaps/suspensions issue, I didn't mean it to come off as "why don't you know the answer to this?" I was just wondering if you had heard anything more from anyone more inside. thanks for the response!
Oh, ok. No one is saying anything about it at this point.
It was interesting that most teams ran the ball out from 5-10 yards deep out of the end zone. How did you evaluate this thinking?
I think teams are just experimenting on it and want to see their blocking teams get work. If in doubt, run it out -- at least in the preseason.
Kevin, the post explaining the QBR did say that defenses weren't taken into account, mainly because it is easier for them to add them to a defense-adjusted formula later rather than add them and then try to factor them out.
Ok, then. As you can see, this is a learning experience for everyone.
Are you forced to do these chats? Do you hate them?
I don't hate them.
Green Bay is already penciled in to be the division champ, but if something happens to Rodgers can Flynn get the job done?
I think Flynn showed last year he can play at this level. If a backup's job is to hold down the fort until the starter gets back, I think he could do that.
Ok, one or two more here.
Kevin you mentioned the Bat time today, who's your favorite Superhero?
I always liked the Apache Chief for some reason.
stop answering dumb questions Kev
Should I open up my checkbook for new turf?
The greatest thing is that you wouldn't have to pay for it. The Chicago Park District would.
Ok everyone, thanks so much!