Hi everyone. Lots to talk about today. Let's get right to it...
Hey Kevin - Has there been any word on whether Suh will be fined/suspended for the punch that he threw agains the Patriots - you know, the one that nobody saw until several replays later?
Ha. Nothing official yet. No penalty was called, obviously, but that doesn't mean the league won't discipline him. I'm not sure what will happen in this instance, but it's clear Suh has brought upon himself tremendous scrutiny for the foreseeable future.
Why does it always seem like the Bears are full of questions heading into the season? I mean, every team has their question marks, but it always seems like the Bears have an abundance of them.
And in most years they seem to figure out a way to get it done. I don't think the Bears have more issues than most teams. But I'm not sure if they adequately addressed many of the issues they ended last season with. That goes for their interior defensive line, their receivers and their offensive line.
Hey Kev. Assuming Chester Taylor is eventually cut from the Bears roster, what are the chances the Vikings take a look at him? Gerhart doesn't appear to be a prototypical 3rd down back and while Booker shows promise, there is no denying how well Taylor complimented Peterson in the past.
I don't have any inside knowledge there, and I'm not sure how much Taylor has left in the tank. But it's a good job of dot-connecting, if nothing else. The Vikings depth behind Peterson is uncertain at best, especially with Toby Gerhart and Lorenzo Booker both knicked up right now.
No more delay.. Time for your predictions for the NFC north this year..
Oh no, there will be more delay. ESPN.com's season preview will post Thursday afternoon, complete with my picks for the division. Hold on....
Kevin, for all the handwringing about the Vikings WRs (they're okay), O-line (again okay), D-secondary (not okay at safety), there hasn't been much expressed concern about the limited LB depth, which is basically three starters and four injured special teamers -- you agree?
I think that's a fair assessment, and it was brought into full light Monday when the Vikings started using 273-pound defensive end Everson Griffen at outside linebacker. It sounds like they're pretty high on undrafted rookie named Larry Dean, but obviously if one of their starters is injured, their healthy options are very limited right now.
Most likely to get 80 catches this year? Knox, Hester, Bennett?
Of those three, I would say Earl Bennett. But I'm not sure if anyone will get to that level this year in Chicago.
The Bears botched the whole Chester Taylor situation (obviously), but is their "You're cut--no wait, you're not" thing because someone is going to give them a draft pick for him?
Maybe they think someone will. Or maybe they're holding on to him just in case someone is injured between now and Saturday. Almost certainly the end result will be releasing him, however.
Is there any chance Mike Vick's ridiculous contract impacts the NFC north?
I'm not sure. I do wonder at what point the Packers are going to have to look at Aaron Rodgers' contract. He's signed through 2014, but he's shooting down the list of highly-paid quarterbacks while shooting up the list of highly-regarded quarterbacks.
You ignored me last week, when I asked if you thought I was good enough to merit keeping 6 WR's but everyone is writing articles about me and my 7 foot wing span. I nearly got a punt block vs the Colts and I knew to get out of bounds with that 3rd down grab at the end there (dragging a defender with me I might add). There's gotta be a place for a pterodactyl on this team!
Ha. You get a mention for using "pterodactyl." Your talent and build are absolutely unique, that's for sure.
Where's the fine line between fierce and dirty, relentless and cheap? I believe I have crossed it.
Truthfully a fair question. Here's how I would answer it: Dirty is intentionally trying to hurt players or otherwise flaunting the rules to win. I don't think Suh is doing that. I think he gets after it hard and occasionally pushes it too far. Big difference to me.
With R. Elmore performing so poor in camp for the packers so far is he likely to be one the cuts the packers make to bring their roster down to 80 by this evening, or will TT be loyal to one of his draft picks??? Thanks for your time every week kevin
It doesn't sound good at this point for making the final roster, but if they hold on to him through this round of cuts, they probably have a better chance of getting him back on the practice squad if that's what they want.
Shall we leave the first question blank in honor of Tom Kowalski?
Daggone it. I wish I had thought of that. (Or seen your question before I started.) I'll figure out something to do at the end. Maybe we'll leave the last question blank to give Killer the final word.
Kev, why do I read things about Ponder needing to be the #2 qb to free up Webb to play in the Wildcat, or whatever they dream up for him? Why can't the #2 qb play Wildcat?
Fair question. The No. 2 quarterback can absolutely be the Wildcat quarterback. It's more just a matter of streamlining and prioritizing. There are limited practice reps. If you want Webb to do the Wildcat and other packages, let him work on that and perfect it. But if he has No. 2 quarterback duties, he'll be pulled in a lot of different directions while the third quarterback, Ponder, doesn't do much at all. It's not a deal-breaker in either event, though. You're right about that.
After last season I'm going into this Vikings seasons with ZERO expectations. But after watching our first team Offensive line and the depth on our D line it's hard not think we could be better than .500 if AP holds up and our corners stay healthy.
Well, to me, most NFL teams should be able to say that entering a season. And the Vikings have enough blue-chip players to make .500 a reasonable proposition. I think it's fair to have some expectations for this team, but it's a tough division and they're entering the season behind the eight-ball in terms of program development.
Kevin. I saw at least three articles today describing the "dysfunction" in the Bears' locker room. How serious is this issue, and will it have an impact on Chicago's season? Thanks
Well, when you add up the issues that are coming out, from the Matt Forte negotiations dragging on to Lance Briggs' contract request to the Chester Taylor issue, you could argue there is some kind of disconnect between the players and the front office. But I don't see a big trend here. The Taylor thing was a mistake but not an aggressive act. Briggs doesn't have a leg to stand on in his dispute. He's got three years left on a deal he signed at the height of his market value. I don't think anything dramatic has happened in Chicago despite these incidents.
Hey KS what have you thought of the Lions LB's so far? They seem to be getting it done to me.
Absolutely. Really like Stephen Tulloch. Seems like a tough guy who plays with emotion and can get it done physically as well. He's a huge addition for the Lions.
Please make the Suh is dirty madness stop. He tried to get Mankins to let go of LoJack's facemask and he wouldn't the ref made the right call for not fining Suh. Sheesh
He was defending his teamamte. But you can't throw a punch, open- or close-handed, at the other guy's face mask no matter what the other guy is doing. He's lucky it wasn't called, frankly. Regardless, that was an instance after the snap. He's not trying to hurt players during the actual live action, I don't think.
If the Packers keep 6 wide receivers, do you think they keep West or Gurley? At first I assumed West, but I think Gurley is just such a unique athlete that he's hard to pass over.
Ultimately, it will come down to who the best special teams player is. The Gurley punt-block thing is interesting, but do you keep a player on your 53-man roster in hopes that he makes a play that happens once or twice a season?
Glad to see you have finally started chugging some Stafford cool aid. Only pre-season....but are you thinking Lions are a playoff team yet.
They've got a chance, which is more than has been said about them in a decade or so.
Don't I deserve more money?
It's a complicated issue but, in the end, no. You signed a six-year deal at the height of your market value. You have performed well but not better than you were at the time of signing. So it's hard to argue you've outperformed the contract. You agreed to these low base salaries in 2011 and 2012, in exchange for big guarantees the first three years.
Kevin, what is your take on the stadium issue with the Vikes. It seems that one day the Gov is for it and the next day he throws a kink in it. Do you think thatthey will get a new stadium or does it look like another lost Minnesota team (Lakers, North Stars)
I think we are where we've been for a while: On course for a crisis. But if you subscribe to the theory that nothing happens in state government until a crisis arises, you could conclude that a deal will get done at the 11th hour. That's kind of where I am on this thing right now....
From what I am reading the Bears are sitting 19 million under the cap. They do not seem to be brining anyone else in. Why does Forte not have a contract extension? I think he should get 18 million garaunteed at the least.
They are more than $19M under the cap. I think they'll eventually use that on Forte, even if it doesn't happen until the end of the season. This isn't really the time to sign any highly-priced free agents. Those guys are all off the market. If they're smart, the Bears will use the surplus to lock up a few of their pending free agents.
Kevin, have you watched the Bears play this preseason? The interior defensive line is going to be a strength of this team. Is there a personality at ESPN that believes this team can go 10-6 or better?
I have. So other than Okoye, who has played against second- and third-teamers, who has stood out to you? Henry Melton has had some flashes, but he's one player and I don't think that one player can cover for position-wide depth issues.
Clayton said he would expect the lions to go after Taylor. Thoughts?
Well, he's from Detroit and the Lions clearly need a workhorse to split time with starter Jahvid Best. Maybe Maurice Morris or Jerome Harrison will be that guy, but Taylor is another thought if he can still play.
how is winfield looking after that hit last game
It was a scary injury but it sounds like he's a lock for the Sept. 11 opener.
Am I certifiably insane to be sorta excited about a Maurice Morris - Jerome Harrison backfield?
So we can't get a season prediction yet, how about in division records?
Where does Michael Jenkins fit into the Vikings offensive scheme? Is he number three behind Berrian and Harvin? It just seems like this team is loaded with slot WRs.
Oh, I think those three guys will get the majority of snaps. Harvin can play slot and on the outside. Jenkins is a bigger dude than you might think. He's fine as an outside possession receiver. Their big issue is if Berrian can provide an explosive component to complement Harvin.
Am I the starter at some point this year and when?
I'll stick to the same answer. I'm not sure if you'll start or if that really matters. You're going to play a lot, and maybe more than Ryan Grant, no matter who takes the first snap of the game.
The Packers look unstoppable in no Huddle, as a Bears fan, should the North and fellow NFC teams be worried if they roll with that in the season?
Well, it has the makings of a really nice look. You've got a veteran quarterback with receivers he's used to playing with. Everyone communicates well. But I'm thinking it will be a wrinkle rather than a staple. In fact, I think that's the way Rodgers described it earlier today.
Has the Bears line impressed you in their last 2 outings or are they just looking decent because its preseason and they havent seen the different packages/blitzes that they will see in the season?
They got blitzed a fair amount by Tennessee, for sure. The line has gotten to the point where it's giving Cutler a chance to throw, even if he's getting hit a few times. Not a disaster at this point. (Great compliment, I know.)
If I traded for McNabb 2 years ago instead of picking up Favre would I still be the Vikings Head Coach?
I'm going to say no. Favre saved the 2009 season, and earned you a contract extension, in a way that McNabb might not have been able to.
Whats the latest on Fairley? With all this Suh talk it seems like people forget that the Lions have another beast waiting to be set loose.
He hasn't started practicing yet, which doesn't bode well for him being ready for the Sept. 11 opener. A more reasonable goal is for him to start playing during the first month of the season.
Do you think the Vikings are better off without McKinnie? I know I for one think they are he was a locker room distraction and penalty prone.
Maybe in the long run. But it's hard to find left tackles who are his equal even when he's not playing that well. Tough position to play and fill.
I know it's early but you have to agree that Sanzenbacher has a good chance to produce consistantly late in the year once he gets more comfortable in the system. >45 catches this years is possbile.
Oh, I don't know about 45 catches. It's obvious he has a really strong chance to make the roster based on playing with the first team the other night. That's all we can say at this point.
Kevin.Are the chances pretty good that Mike Neal will be on the field(playing) opening night against the Saints?
That might be a little optimistic.
Being a Bears fan my concern is about management, from ownership down. It seems like they run the club like keystone cops from bungling the draft deal with the Ravens, not managing the field debacle for fan appreciation and now your cut...wait just kidding. Does all this negatively affect the oganization within the eyes of the NFL?. IT sure does from the fans.
I think there can be cumulative effects, for sure. And you also have to worry that the clear lack of organization will lead to a really harmful mistake instead of just an embarrassment.
The Packers have only one new starter on their O-line...but they haven't looked great this preseason. Do you think that's a problem area going forward?
It's worth watching. I have to think Sitton will get it together at right guard, but people have been wondering about Clifton for years. He's answered the bell every time until this point, but he plays such an important position that you have to be on the lookout for a slip at any time.
Earl Bennett will have a breakout season this year. Yea or nay?
I think he'll be Cutler's top target, yes.
Have you ever seen a defending Super Bowl Champion get less ink than the Packers? It seems to me all the stories are whether the Lions are for real or about the Eagles Dream team, or Peyton Manning's injury to me.
No news is good news, right? If I'm the Packers, I'm happy to let the Lions, Eagles and Saints get the attention. You just lie in the weeds and wait your turn.
I like McNabb better than Favre. Just sayin'.
That. Is. Obvious.
Hey I do more than block punts. I've been on all the special teams, I've been out there as an edge blocker on field goals and punts. I've been a blocker on kick off returns too. Tori "pterodactyl" Gurley is more than just a punt blocker on special teams.Don't forget that I ran faster at the combine than West did too (4.53 vs 4.59). You throw me that perfect over the shoulder, catchable in stride ball, and I'll go 97 yards too.
Wow. I didn't know the extent of your fan club. Duly noted.
Kevin, will the rules comittee revert back to the old kick-off rules next year? Im sure Devin Hester would hope so & so would I.
I'm sure they'll want to see how the safety numbers work out and if the touchback rates are maintained even after the weather turns colder.
Raji or Suh? Who do you feel is the more dominant DT in the NFC North?
Well, Suh will more often be put in position to make plays than Raji, who will at least a portion of the time be in the 3-4 scheme. But in the fight for national attention, Suh has won by a landslide.
Has Tim Jennings locked up the 2nd CB spot on the Bears?
Looks like it at this point.
Are we looking at one more good year from A-Rod before a ridiculously gigantic extension for him from the Pack (Favre lifetime contract size)?
It will be interesting. After this year, he'll still have three years remaining. But unlike Lance Briggs, Rodgers will probably be able to argue he has outperformed his deal, which he signed after a month or so of being a starter.
Lance Briggs is the perfect example of a player "forgettting" what his team did for him. He got a ton of guaranteed money when he signed his contract. The downfall with doing that, is that you have a low base salary in the latter years of the contract.
Correct. He could have accepted less guaranteed money in exchange for a shorter contract if he wanted to get a new deal in 2011.
I hear LA is real nice in December
Watch out for smog, though...
Everyone's been raving about how good the Packers are in the no-huddle, but how about their struggles when they go back to the traditional huddle offense? How do you think this plays out in the regular season?
Right. That's been an offensive line issue, mostly. Fair question and something we probably won't get answered until the Saints game. Starters won't play much, if at all, Thursday night.
Maurice Stovall is looking like a beast. Never bad to have another 6'5 guy with speed and hands on the roster. What are your thoughts?
He made a nice special teams tackle early in the Patriots game. That's where he'll make the roster.
Ok, a couple more here.
Please point out to everyone (including the national media) that Devin Hester doesn't return kickoffs. He only returns punts and does a splendid job at that.
Hester doesn't, but the Bears have still benefited from Danieal Mannign and Johnny Knox in the past. It's a weapon they've lost, whether it's with Hester or not.
Hello, Kevin. I would like your thoughts on the Vikings' Chris Cook. I know this is only his second year, but I have not been impressed thus far. What's the word in camp? Do you think he will have a future with the Vikings?
I thought he was great in training camp last summer, but he wouldn't be the first cornerback to make a good early impression and then slip off. Marcus McCauley and Asher Allen are two just off the top of my head. Jury is definitely out on Cook.
Is Titus Young still #3 receiver for the lions?
He will be eventually, I would say.
Way to sit the fence on the Suh/Raji question, Kevin. You could just compare who is better at their own position and it's still Suh by a landslide. I know you don't like to make definitive, controversial statements, but come on...
Raji is a better dancer. Good?
Kevin, Killer has covered the Lions for so long throughout all the losing. He kept us all sane through 0-16. I just kinda wish he coulda seen them turn around. He deserved it.
I'm not trying to make the guy a saint, but I truly think he would have appreciated that because it would have made fans happy. I'm not sure if needed the Lions to win for his own enjoyment or self-worth or whatever. But he would have liked Lions fans to remember what it's like to win again.
In honor of Killer end the chat with "Guess what time it is"