Hi everyone. Welcome back from your bye, Packers and Bears fans. Let's get to it...
What do think may come out of Suh's talk with the league?
Not much. It's not totally clear how this thing came up. The NFL said Suh "reached out." Suh said it was "mutual." I'm guessing the NFL wants to make sure one of its most well-known players doesn't swerve too far off message. And Suh probably wants to hear what NFL people say when he explains his actions and words. That's about it.
Is it possible that the Lions are an overall better rushing team without Jahvid Best on the field? I know he has that amazing big play ability, but Best is only averaging 65 ypg this year (which goes down to 45 ypg if you take out the Bears game where he broke that 88 yarder) while the Lions as a team have rushed for a respectable 104 and 113 yards per game the last two contests while he's been out with the concussion.
It's a fair question. They're definitely more of a big-play threat with him on the field. But he isn't, and has never been, a tough inside-the-tackles runner. It makes more sense that Morris/Williams would excel at that.
Saying Suh isn't dirty because he isn't Conrad Dobler is like saying Greg Jennings isn't a good WR because he isn't Jerry Rice
No it's not. It's saying Greg Jennings isn't one of the best WRs ever because he isn't Jerry Rice. Big difference.
Alright I could be wrong, but I think the Vikings could be 4-3 possibly 5-2 with Ponder starting from Day 1?
It's an impossible question to answer because we don't know how much, if any, progress Ponder made by standing on the sideline for six weeks. Would he have been ready to play at San Diego and win in Week 1? Could he have done anything to stop the huge Bucs and Lions comebacks? I'm not sure about that.
I know the Packers on the favorite for the Super Bowl, but as of now their D is no where near Super Bowl form. They are opportunistic with take aways and red zone stops but they are very close to breaking. Do you see a high-powered offense coming into GB in the play-offs and beating them?
Well, that's the fear you might have if you remember 2009. When you get to the playoffs, you're more likely to be playing a high-quality quarterback. You would like to think the Packers could match scores with any offense, it he playoffs or elsewhere, but it is probably atop a short list of things the Packers need to worry about in the second half of the season.
Why are the Lions so polarizing? One either has to declare them one of the best teams in the NFL or deride them as perennial losers. Why can't they just be a run of the mill 10-6 team that might get hot or just as easily bow out in the wild card round?
Too many personalities, too many high-profile players, courtesy a bunch of high draft picks. They're a pretty high-visibility team.
Do you see the Bears obtaining an NFC wild card spot? I thought I liked their chances, until I started glancing at the schedules of the teams they will be competing with.... For instance, the cowboys are only 3-4, but look at their schedule! It is extremely favorable, way too easy!
They absolutely have that opportunity ahead of them. The one issue they're dealing with in 2011 that they didn't have to in previous years is the Lions. It's been a long time since the Lions were standing in their way to make the playoffs. Of course, we could settle all of that by having both the Lions and Bears make the playoffs. ESPN.com's "Playoff Predictor" is projecting that exact scenario.
When the Bears spank the Eagles Monday night...what will be the excuse? Andy Reid? Castillo? Lord knows we won't hear what the Bears did right....just what Philly did wrong. Just pointing out a trend in big games involving Chicago. ;)
I'm saying it will be dropped interceptions. :)
Hey Kev, why am i 4-0 all time against Vick?! is it the simplicity of the cover-2
Helps to have athletic defensive players who are less likely to get run around.
Honestly at this point halfway through the season who would you pick as MVP, Rodgers or Forte?
Honestly, Rodgers. He's playing out of his mind at a more difficult position.
Will Burnett still be wearing a cast on his hand this week?
That's a good question. McCarthy said he would discuss injuries on Wednesday. That cast can't come off fast enough, as far as I'm concerned. Tough deal.
Based on Finley's recent comments, do you think he's just playing nice to help his cause in negotiations or do you really believe he'd be happy with the franchise tag?
A little bit of both. He would get just south of $10 million for one season under the tag. I think he knows the Packers have every reason to try to work out a deal and doesn't want to give them any reason to hesitate.
In last years draft the Detroit Lions GM was criticized for not addressing the back 7 of his defense. Should people like yourself be giving a lot of credit? The pass defense is 3rd in the NFL and seems to be getting better each week.
Yes, the April 2011 draft. I can't speak for everyone, but what I said at the time was that there better be more to come, via free agency/trades. And there were. They signed Tulloch, Durant and Eric Wright. So at that time, I gave them the credit for following through with patience and a plan.
What's gonna stop Ponder from being the next Flacco, Sanchez, or even Matt Ryan, i.e. a young QB who initially looks good because of tempered expectations, but never really becomes anything more than average?
The truth is we don't know what his ceiling is, or the ceiling of any young QB for that matter. I think I would put Ryan a little bit above Flacco/Sanchez but I see your point. For all we know, Cam Newton will never get any better than he is now. That's why we wait to see.
I keep hearing some analysts saying that T.O. would be a good fit in Chicago with Cutler. Your take?
I can't envision any scenario in which that wouldn't be a complete disaster. Hopefully that clears up what I think of that one.
Any chance we can do a mid-season All-pro NFC North team?
I'm not sure if we'll do a full team, but we will have a have an extensive midseason report next week.
Kevin, why are people calling for Leslie Frazier to be fired already? Give the guy a break. In the almost year he's been the head coach he's had to deal with a collapsed stadium, a lockout which handcuffed him from evaluating talent before the draft and establishing his offensive scheme. People need to calm down and have some patience.
That's how it goes sometimes. Obviously I think Frazier should get multiple years to carry out his vision, just like any other NFL coach. Many of the Vikings issues have been out of his control. And some have resulted from things he could have done differently, just as in any other situation.
Suh isn't dirty, he plays a nasty position and plays hard. Dirty would be stepping on somebody's head(like haynsworth did). other than the delhome play, what makes him dirty? tackling somebody by the hair or pushing cutler down? get real people
I'm with you. He's rough, not dirty. Dirty is Conrad Dobler biting people and Bill Romanowski spiting on people.
Hi Kevin, Has Kevin Williams fallen off the planet? I know i pay more attention to Jared Allen on defense, but i don't hear Williams name much. Not a single sack, not many tackles. Are there injuries, or did Pat Williams have that much of an impact on him. txs
The Pat Williams thing is real. He absolutely benefited from having him next door. But Kevin was a Pro Bowl player even before Pat got to town. I think it's pretty clear that plantar fasciitis thing has taken away some of his quickess.
I feel like Ponder is getting too much credit for the Vikings improved play the last 2 games. I'm not endorsing McNabb in any way, but let's face it. The Vikings played like dogs for the first 5 games of the season, when everyone knew they were better than their record showed.
Well, I think Ponder deserves some credit for injecting some competitiveness into the situation. Maybe that's why the Vikings aren't playing like "dogs." They know the have a quarterback who cares.
Would the Lions be a better offense with Nate Burleson benched in favor of Young? He seems to be going the way of Berrian with Minnesota (well, not QUITE but downward trajectory).
That talk needs to stop. Young has had some awfully quiet days, too. ... Burleson is going to get his.
How did you get started in sports writing? Any tips?
I worked at my college newspaper, and the career office at school set me up with an unpaid one-week internship at a local newspaper. It went from there. The world is already so different that I'm not sure if my path is even possible anymore. But generally speaking, find a way to get yourself published by an outlet big enough that people will see you work. And do your best to develop multiple skills so you can adjust to the changing environment. Anyhoo.....
A little cranky today Kevin? Sheeesh...
What I do?
Hey Kev, I am really tired of hearing about the Packers' "awful defense" The point of the game is to score more points than the other guy. Who cares if the score is 45-35 every time? Winning in this league is tough enough. People think that because the Pack isn't dominating by 40 points then somehow they aren't allowed to compete anymore. Thoughts?
The problem with that line of thinking is that it puts a lot of pressure on the offense. Even the best have a down game or two.
Donald Driver's age seems to be catching up with him in a hurry. Do you think this is his last year as a packer?
It might be, but everyone is being first-class about it so far.
I don't see you as being cranky but am intrigued at a follow up to your mention of Ponder being 'a QB who cares.' Did McNabb not care?
I've written it before: It didn't appear that McNabb was taking the losses too hard. Truth be told, he played only a partial role in going 1-5. And sometimes it helps to have a quarterback with a consistent attitude. But a quarterback still needs to be emotionally invested in the team's weekly results. I don't get the sense that McNabb was. Just my take.
How is Stafford's health coming out of the game, any worse for the wear?
Seemed like he was fine. With the bye week, he should be as good as ever for the Bears game.
As a niner fan and Bay Area resident, I've seen great QBs. I believe it's time to put Aaron Rodgers in the best ever category, ahead of Joe Montana even. Thoughts?
Wow. I've helped lead the charge on the Rodgers crowning in recent years, but I'm not ready to go that far. He's the NFL's best quarterback in the first half of the 2011 season, but I think Montana is safe atop that list for a good while.
Let's be honest here... it was more Frazier's fault that the Vikings started the way they started than McNabb. Yes McNabb was awful but he wasn't the reason the Vikings stopped handing the ball to Peterson while they were leading... They had the Lions and Chargers beat, all they had to do was close out the game, why stop giving the ball to your best player?
That just points to there being multiple reasons for a 1-5 record. I'm not sure if I would blame Frazier more than McNabb, or vice versa, but they both played roles. If McNabb had thrown better passes, that move away from Peterson might not have mattered as much.
Sack record here I come!
You've got a decent chance. Record is 22.5. You need 11 of the final eight games to break it.
Was reading the Michael C. Wright piece you linked about Forte and towards the end caught the part about 2011 cap space not able to be used for extensions in a couple weeks. Where do the teams stand in current cap space? And in particular, how might that impact a Finley extension?
I don't have the latest updates. But I wanted to address this question anyway because that deadline won't impact whether the Packers can re-sign Finley. It's just the deadline for using 2011 cap space on extensions. If you sign someone after that, you have to spread the hit starting in 2012 and beyond. It's more a race to use your surplus than it is to squeeze something in that otherwise wouldn't fit.
Kevin, thanks for giving Garza some due credit for filling in at center. With Williams playing pretty solid at left guard and the right side of the line showing some promise, what do you think about putting Carimi back in at left tackle instead of right tackle?
There has been a lot of discussion about what to do with Carimi. I thought he should open the year at left tackle to alleviate concern about Webb, even if he ultimately would up at right tackle. But now that they've committed to Webb at left tackle, it makes more sense to put Carimi back in at right tackle and leave him there. But what do I know?
I am going to say it, the NFC Central (Yes, Central) is the best division in the National Football League, if you digress, who tops them?
Ha. According to ESPN's Power Rankings, you're absolutely right. Three teams in the top 10 and the lowest composite ranking among the eight divisions.
What happened to Chirs DeGeare?Didn't he start a few games as a rookie last season?
He's on the practice squad this year.
Do you think the bears are getting the short end of the stick against the Lions this year. They had to play them at home on their first monday nighter in years and next week they'll play them as they come off a bye. Payback for the Calvin Johnson catch non catch garbage...... conspiracy theories at work!!
Eh, not so much. But the Lions will have a highly motivated Chris Harris!
I don't think Aaron Rodgers is going to lie down for Jared Allen though.
Nope. It might come down to Week 17. If so, will Jay Cutler take a dive?
Can Ponder bring us world peace?
As soon as he is done curing cancer.
Kevin. Lots of hating on the Chargers today. I suspect this week's game will be closer than anticipated since the Bolts' collective pride will be on the line. What thinks you?
From the outside, it sounds like a tough task to get off the carpet from last night's game, fly halfway across the country and then get yourself ready to play (or, at least, beat) the best team in football.
The Carimi situation is a big conundrum. Louis has been doing a great job at right tackle. The question is do you risk continuity for putting your best 5 out there? What say you Kevin?
It really is tough. You figure the Bears want their first-round pick out there. But if they truly feel like what they've seen from the five who are out there, breaking them up just as a playoff push is beginning might not be the wisest decision. That's why they pay Lovie Smith the big bucks.
It was nice to see Percy get that red zone carry early in the game. I know we drafted Gerhart to help out with those situations, but if you're going to mix it up, can you think of anyone else you'd rather have back there?
Agreed. I would get the ball to Percy as much as possible. No comparison with Gerhart.
Kevin, I think the Bears should extend Forte but should be conservative about the guarantees given the inherent RB risk. What do you think would be a fair offer? DeAngelo Williams territory? If Forte is asking for more than that, do you think it's time to start blaming his camp instead of the Angelo camp?
Forte has already turned down something in the neighborhood of $13 million-$14 million guaranteed. I can see why the Bears wouldn't want to give him DeAngelo Williams money and wonder if they aren't destined to franchise him at less than $8 million next year.
Jared Allen will get 8 against the Bears by himself. He won't break Strahan's record, he'll shatter it and maybe share it with DeMarcus Ware.
He was pretty quiet in their last game.
Why don't teams try to on-side of so some short pop up kick when teams commit personal foul penalties after extra points. It seems foolish to boot the ball when you're kicking from the 50.
Or at least a squib that could pin a team inside their 10. I'm surprised we haven't seen more of that.
Who is your mid-season defensive player of the year?
Hard to avoid Jared Allen on that one.
Jeez I just read a recent article about the TD race and yet again you fail to account for Rice having 14 TDS thru 8 games. All I want to know is why? Is it cause he only played 12 games that year? Regardless, he still had 14 thru 8 games, which is 3 more than Moss or Johnson. ARGH
On that particular record, Rice is held back by the fact that there was an NFL strike that season. He had 14 or whatever through HIS first eight games, but not through the 49ers first eight games, which included three scab games. I understand why you're saying that, but I'm thinking that's why the history book treats it the way it does.
I know this is technically an NFC West question, but I'm a Seahawks fans still trying to makes sense of Pete Carroll's decision Hasselbeck for Tarvaris Jackson. Is there something to his game in Minnesota we just didn't know about? Move makes less and less sense the more the season wears on.
Sadly, no. You're seeing what Vikings fans and observers saw for four years in Minnesota. Good guy, strong arm, mobile, can't play.
What do you see happening with Chris Cook? Do you think he gets cut?
It's a real possibility. That would be a huge blow to the Vikings' future. He's a good player. But the Vikings have put such a high priority on citizenship that they are going to have to seriously consider it.
Is Rodgers grateful for the fans that protected him by voting for Peyton Hills and Vick who are both having sub par seasons? The curse continues.
That would be a good question to ask him right now on his radio show...
Looking like Clifton might not get his job back when he comes back. Is anybody in the NFL better than the packers at filling up a roster?
Oh, I wouldn't go that far. I suppose some of the decision will be how long it takes him to heal. If he's ready in say, Week 16, it might be tough to get him back into playing shape. But otherwise, I think he's the guy the Packers would want securing Rodgers' blind side in the Super Bowl.
Why did it take this long for the vikings to use Adrian in the passing game? he is the best player on the team, and maybe the league. Don't you think it is dumb for him not to touch the ball at least 25 timtes a game?
That could be the Ponder Effect as well. It's a no-brainer for a rookie quarterback.
Man, I really want to get on the field. Do people realize I can run a 4.5 40, have hands the size of hubcaps and can out jump MJ in his prime? Just saying I can catch anything thrown at me...especially in the end zone...if I get the chance.
I'm surprised the Vikings haven't found a way to get you more involved, but maybe that will be a post-bye thing.
Don't you think that defenses the last couple weeks are treating the Lions running game like they were treating Cam Newton's passing game early in the season? In other words, no one really defended it because they didn't really expect anything out of it. I'm expecting that as soon as teams realize that the Lions are still going to rush (and do ok), they'll be definding it more and the decent rushing days will go down, just like Cam has come back down to earth recently.
It's possible. But I also think Morris/Williams are running hard, hitting the hole quickly and going north-south. Different style than Best.
What do you expect out of Kyle Rudolph for the remainder of the season? Is he going to be taking significant targets away from Visanthe?
That's another guy who I thought would have more impact than he has. But that could be something we see more of in the second half.
Just recently national pundits are starting to put Greg Jennings in the elite category. I know you have been lobbying for him for a while now. What did it take for the national media to see that we have been watching for years?
Super Bowl. Really, that's about it. A lot more people saw him play last year than ever before.
Kevin, what did you think of the comment Leslie Frazier made when asked about Chris Harris and he said something to the effect of "I don't feel we need to upgrade in that area.' Do you think he really meant it? Because I honestly can't think of a team with a worse group of starting safeties then my beloved Vikings.
No clue. Maybe they have some plans there we don't know about. Winfield? Griffin?
It's pretty unique that a member of each NFC North team has a shot at breaking significant records this year. Allen with the sack record, Megatron for receiving touchdowns, Forte with yards from scrimmage, and Rodgers for passing yards/passer rating. Which do you think happens?
It's awesome for the NFC North blog as well. I think Rodgers has a chance on passer rating and Allen has a chance on sacks. The others will be even harder.
And yet Sidney Rice decided to reunite with Tavaris.
I know... Maybe it was a money thing, I don't know. But it's surprising.
One NFC North player has already broken a record...Devin Hester YOU ARE RIDICULOUS!!!
Yes he did and yes he is.
In response to The D's question about defenders playing against the run... Isn't that exactly what the Lions want?
Right. I don't see a major adjustment there.
Do the Lions deserve the "bad boy" moniker that is being put upon them. Even as a Lions fan they seem to be kind of over the top with their cockiness and arrogance.
Maybe, but I wouldn't put the Tebowing thing in that category. That was just funny.
WHEN ARE WE GOING TO TALK ABOUT ME???????
Is that a Toby Keith song?
Does Ponder give Vikings fans hope in the Rodgers era? Or do we have to wait until GB runs Rodgers out of town and we get him for one more glorious run at a Super Bowl?
A cynic would say the Vikings just need to wait for Rodgers to sign with them after he retires.
In other news, time for a few more....
If Cook is cut or still suspended when the Vikes play the Lions how do you see them trying to cover Johnson? It seemed like he actually was really impressive in that role for them most of them.
That's where he jumped out to me. They won't be able to single-cover Johnson at all in that game without Cook.
What do you think about Louis at LT? I'm not sold on Webb. I think That would the best 5 starting
Louis doesn't seem built for left tackle to me. It's either Webb or Carimi.
Just had to get my name in there at some point this season!
Man, you've been quiet.
Ok. so Stafford seems healthy, CJ is catching the ball like the athletic freak he is, the LB's seem to be doing a better job and the Secondary isn't a total liability. What do the lions need to do to push themselves into that consistently excellent level. Is it really the running game? or is there some intangible (or very tangible) part that is missing?
They're 6-2. If they can do the same thing in the second half, they're going to the playoffs. I don't think much is missing other than proving they can be consistent.
Ok everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week!