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January 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Seifert

Kevin Seifert
  (3:00 PM)

Hi everyone. Thanks for coming to our rescheduled chat. Let's get right to it.

Rich (New Jersey)

Lions draw the difficult task of stopping Drew Brees and the Saints on Saturday. I don't think the defense will shut Drew down but do they have a shot at slowing him down so Matthew Stafford can keep it close enough to pull the upset?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:02 PM)

We've got a post on that very subject up on the NFC North blog. If the Lions want to slow down Brees, they'll have to hope that their four-man rush is at the top of its game. They'll also need to force Brees into a turnover or two, something their defense has been good at all year. So yes, I think there is a chance.

Matt P (Berkshire, NY)

Would Justin Blackmon be worthy of the Vikings number three pick?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:03 PM)

Typically, picking a WR that high means he needs to have Calvin Johnson-like skills. The Vikings have a lot of needs, and I'm not sure WR is at the top of that list.

M Lee (Wisconsin)

How will the change back to Chad Clifton change the performance of the Offensive line?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:04 PM)

I'm not sure if it will. I think the Packers, especially Mike McCarthy, just trust the veteran more than they do Marshall Newhouse. And, if something goes wrong with Clifton, they can always bring Newhouse in. Probably easier to do that than to start Newhouse and have him looking over his shoulder at Clifton.

Argyle Winters (Indy)

I saw Jared Fogel in the grocery store and was excited becuase I thought it was you. Do you get that a lot?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:05 PM)

Yeah, that and the guy from Freaks and Geeks.

Stephen B. (Cleveland, OH)

Gotta love the talk about A-Rodg being a "system QB," that should provide the motivation for Rodgers to bury the NFC in the playoffs

Kevin Seifert
  (3:05 PM)

I'm sure he will take it as motivation but it's such a preposterous idea that I wonder if someone didn't throw it out there just for fun to see how far people would take it.

Donny (Omaha)

Hearing a lot of buzz about Flynn's value after his breakout game. Can the Packers afford to franchise him attempting to get greater value than a future compensatory pick while risking Finley and Wells in the free agent market. These two both have great value on their team and must be resigned. What are your thoughts?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:06 PM)

You hit on the obstacles. Franchising your backup quarterback could mean losing your starting tight end. Worth it? I'm not sure about that. And if they do franchise Flynn, he'll be an immediate $14 million cap hit that would limit their ability to re-sign Finley and/or Wells. It could happen, but it's not the likeliest scenario.

Fred Pagac (Doghouse, Somewhere in Minneapolis)

Give me a break guys! My defense led the NFL in sacks. You try turning water into wine with that putrid secondary, without question the worst in the NFL. You give me a healthy Antoine Winfield, a merely good FA corner and safety and devote some mid-range picks to bolster the unit and you'll see a big difference in '12. You can't blame me for the ridiculous bad luck we were handed this year.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:08 PM)

Just as you can't be 100 percent blamed for what went wrong, you also can't escape total blame, either. I hear you on the secondary stuff. But did you do everything you could to protect that weakness?

Kysan (Virginia)

Sunday's game was frustrating for 2 reasons. It was the worse game Detroit's defense played all year, and the worse game i've seen officiated. I'm hoping the former was just a one week thing. Regarding the officials, have you heard anything from the League Office about possible changes to review potential TDs next year and not just TDs? The ref was looking directly at the play and missed the call. He should've ruled it a TD know that it was going to be reviewed. Almost like the refs had it out for us.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:10 PM)

Many of you are expressing that conspiracy theory. I don't know what to say about it. Bad calls don't equate to conspiracy. On the issue of replaying potential touchdowns, the league wants to avoid expanding replay too much for fear of having the game stopped every other play for an automatic review. But the answer also isn't to call everything close a touchdown, either. That's allowing replay to have too much of a role. Sometimes you have to accept imperfect officiating when the tradeoff is a game that loses its rhythm.

Michael (Asheville )

On the MVP race, I wanted to point out that Aaron Rodgers called the plays for Matt Flynn. So, in essence, he was still involved with game. I also wanted to point out that had Rodgers threw the same amount of attempts at his current completion percentage and yards per attempt, he would have thrown for 5617 yrs and 59 TDs. That far surpasses Drew Brees's numbers. Of course it's all speculation but it could have been. Any thoughts?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:11 PM)

I agree that it must be pointed out that Brees threw 150 more passes or whatever the number was. That's huge, and it's something that can't be held against Rodgers. That's why average per attempt is such an important statistic.

Wags (Detroit)

For the Detroit Lions, is RB or OL more important in the next draft? Who would be a good fix for their problems.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:13 PM)

They are 1 and 1(a), as I pointed out in the Lions season wrap-up that posted earlier today. They'll have to decide if they think they can get a few more years from Jeff Backus. If not, left tackle might be their top priority. Otherwise, the might have to go the running back route again.

Mike (Buffalo Grove, IL)

From what I have been hearing Lovie Smith is having a say in the hiring of the new GM, possibly even helping conduct the interviews. Is it that far of a stretch to say that Lovie and not the GM will have the power in Chicago in 2012?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:14 PM)

I think that's possible, but it's also worth pointing out that it's not completely irregular for the head coach to be in on the interview process. It would be awkward to interview candidates and not have him sit down with the head coach so they can see if they're on the same page. If Smith's opinion on the candidates is then incorporated into the decision-making process, that's something different.

Pat (Rosholt)

J. Allen is a beast and with the league moving to a more passing offense is this the time for the Vikings to trade him and get some insane value in return. They gave up a 1st and two 3rd round picks for him when he was good but not great and his personal choices were questioned. What could they get in return now for him. It could help get fill in many holes.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:16 PM)

Some good points there. On the down side, however, I'm not sure if someone would give up a first-round pick for a player who turns 30 in April. A trade might make sense if someone gives up a bounty, especially if the Vikings move to a 3-4, but I'm not sure if the value is going to be there.

Jake (Detroit)

Great the Lions made the playoffs but wow the Saints are good and with all the 1 year contracts they signed, backfield injuries and looming free agents could next years team be taking a step back?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:17 PM)

Oh, I think the nucleus of this team will be around for a while. It shouldn't be too difficult to re-sign Tulloch, and they should think long and hard about letting Avril leave.

Kevin (Chicago)

Why ddnt't the Bears pick up David Garrard, or at least think about it?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:18 PM)

He's not healthy. Left Jacksonville with an injury.

Jeff (Mpls)

Kevin: Generally speaking, you don't pick for need with the #3 overall pick but rather the BPA. I know things will change over the next 4 months but let's say it goes Luck and Khalil. Do you think the Vikes would go with RG3 if they couldn't trade back?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:19 PM)

No, I don't. But obviously things could change between now and the draft. In that scenario, however, they might look to trade for someone who does want him.

Kimberly (Wi)

With Reggie mcKenzie interviewing with the Raiders do you see him getting the job right away?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:19 PM)

There have been some pretty consistent rumors that he will go there, given the fact that Ron Wolf is one of the people advising the Raiders on their search. It's a distinct possibility.

Roger (Milwaukee, WI)

If the Packers are able to win the Superbowl, is it finally time to move forward with honoring Favre at Lambeau next season?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:20 PM)

I don't think it matters whether they win the Super Bowl. Time is the only thing that will make that happen.

Jeremy Anderson (Lake Zurich)

You should change your picture.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:21 PM)

Won't do much good.

Brian F. (Detroit, MI)

Who are the funniest guys to interview in the NFC North?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:23 PM)

Jared Allen is funny because he really doesn't care what people think about what he says. Clay Matthews has made me laugh a few times because he's one of those guys who is usually so serious that it takes a moment to realize he just made a joke. The guy who made me laugh the most though was Randy Moss. He is filthy funny when he wants to be.

Geoff (Green Bay, WI)

In McCarthy's 6 seasons, EVERY season he has had top 10 offense and 2 of those seasons a top 3 NFL offense, it is time to start crediting this guy as the most brilliant offensive mind in the game!!!!

Kevin Seifert
  (3:26 PM)

And it's too bad that he'll probably lose the coach of the year voting because the award typically goes to guys who engineered turnarounds. McCarthy has won 21 of his past 22 games. That's an extraordinary feat.

Ross (South Dakota)

Kevin:I understand the thought process of drafting an OL (Kalil) or a DB (Claiborne), however, doesn't Minnesota need to draft Blackmon if he's available to help Ponder, AP, and Harvin to open up the offense a little more and reduce the effectiveness of 8/9 man fronts? Maybe trade down a few spots to let someone get RGIII and still get Blackmon and some additional picks or player(s) who can contribute immediately? Thanks Kev!

Kevin Seifert
  (3:26 PM)

There really aren't many positions the Vikings couldn't benefit from investing in. But at No. 3, they need to take whoever is the best player. They can't weight it based on what position he plays.

Mike (Adrian, MI)

How does the lack of Lions-related media coverage impact the team vis-a-vis pro-bowl voting/officiating?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:28 PM)

Has nothing to do with officiating. As for the Pro Bowl, there are players on teams throughout the league who get snubbed for whatever reason. I think the reason the Lions had some players go unnoticed is that the team was 6-10 last year, 2-14 the year before and 0-16 the year before that. It take some time to get noticed after years of losing.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Kevin, now that Rick Spielman is general manager of the Vikings, do you foresee any coaching changes in the Vikings' staff in the offseason?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:28 PM)

There has been talk about replacing some of the defensive assistants, and possibly DC Fred Pagac. I don't think that will be a Spielman thing, though. That's on Leslie Frazier.

mike (ohio)

Any word on what type of injury Kevin Smith incurred in practice today or the severity of the injury?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:30 PM)

Schwartz said that both he and Scheffler recovered and returned to practice. Unless he's lying, it the collision they had was not a big deal.

Nathan (DC)

Does Tice really seem like the most logical guy for the next Bears OC? Would his system be similar to Martz's? Think they might interview Todd Haley?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:31 PM)

Tice is the logical candidate if the Bears want to keep the transition pains to a minimum. His background is from the same Don Coryell tree that Martz was, but obviously he would emphasize the run game more and have different blocking schemes. I'm not sure if they'll interview Haley but I do think they'll talk more than just Tice.

Matt P (Berkshire, NY)

With Speilman hired as GM do you expect the Vikings to be very active in free agency?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:32 PM)

He has traditionally not been shy about jumping out after free agents. But usually he wants them young, as Visanthe Shiancoe was a few years ago.

Scott (NJ)

Which Green Bay assistant coach leaving for a HC job would be most devastating to the Packers?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:33 PM)

Tom Clements is one of the best quarterback coaches in the league, and has been instrumental in developing both Rodgers and Flynn. That would be a tough, tough loss. If I were him, I'd think twice about jumping to Penn State, though. That job sounds a lot better than it is probably going to be. Things are a mess there.

WyattBurp (Chicago)

Afternoon, Kevin. Isn't the Lions challenge against NO this Saturday what goes on in the Lion's secondary?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:33 PM)

It won't matter if they can't get a pass rush on him.

Subhani (Minneapolis)

Who would you blame ponder's last 4 game stretch after a promising start? Conservative play by ponder or conservative play calling by Musgrave.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:34 PM)

I wonder, truly, how bad that hip injury was and if if it wouldn't have served him better to sit out at least the Lions game. He was a mess after that.

Brent (Denver, CO)

Do you foresee the Packers defense stepping up in the playoffs? Or does it come down to if Rodgers can out score the other team every game on the road to the Super Bowl?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:35 PM)

Sometimes you have to admit that you are what you are. The reason they've gotten this far is that they've consistently caused turnovers. Unless that changes in the playoffs, there probably isn't a reason to panic.

Lee (Detroit)

Will Stafford be the comeback player of the year this year? As the season went on I heard a lot of support for Alex Smith for the award. It seemed a lot of people forgot about Stafford as a candidate.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:37 PM)

Agreed. As always, it depends on how you define the award. What does the player need to come back from? Smith was a promising quarterback back when Norv Turner was his offensive coordinator. His career slid due to performance. Stafford was a 20-interception rookie quarterback who played in 10 games in 2009 and then missed most of 2010 with an injury.

dc (tucson)

any news on nick collins health and or future?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:38 PM)

Actually talked to him recently for a project I was working on. He said he is back to running and confident that he'll eventually be cleared to play. The doctors will decide that, of course, later this offseason.

Sean (Detroit, Michigan)

Kevin you mentioned that you didn't understant why you got ripped for not lauding Stafford enough. It is because Stafford didnt just have a breakout season. He had the 2nd best season IN THE THE HISTORY OF THE QB POSITION for his age

Kevin Seifert
  (3:39 PM)

Based on yardage, yes. Look, I don't want to take away anything about what he did. If I were just covering the Lions, I would have done more on it. Every day is a balancing act between four teams, each of whose fans think their team should get more coverage. We do the best we can each day, and then start over the next day.

Jason (Grand Rapids, MI)

Do you think Avril will ultimately end up with the franchise tag in Detroit? I keep hearing how the have been negotiating for a year now and cant seem to get anything done.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:40 PM)

He definitely earned himself some money this season. The Lions don't have a ton of cap room, and they're probably going to have to do a new deal for Calvin Johnson. It's really hard to know at this point, but teams can go a long time without having a 10-sack defensive end. The Lions have one in Cliff Avril.

justin (ky)

kevin will you be at the lions game this weekend?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:41 PM)

Yessir. Wouldn't miss it.

James (Detroit)

The lions drafted best and Leshoure in the 1st and 2nd round in the past 2 drafts, is it really necessary for the lions to draft a running back in the first round/second round again?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:42 PM)

If they don't think they can count on one or both of them in 2012, then yes, it is.

Cheese (Washington, DC)

Actually, I think your picture makes you look something like Ruxin from The League.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:43 PM)

Is that good?

Al (Wausau, WI)

Kevin, regarding Jeff from Mpls' post on the Vikings, I would say if the first 2 picks go Luck and Kalil, the Vikings should draft Morris Claiborne from LSU. He's the best defensive back in the draft, and could help the Vikings right away. Do you feel this is reasonable?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:43 PM)

If he's the best player, yes. Best player, best player, best player. That's all I would care about.

Alex (Tennessee)

Do you think the new Bears GM will work out the contract dispute with Forte or will he just get tagged?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:44 PM)

From a pure business perspective, it would make sense to franchise Forte and just go year to year. It depends on how much of a scrapper the new guy is.

Matt P (Berkshire, NY)

Is Ryan Longwell likely to be cut? His season was disappointing.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:44 PM)

I don't think so. Losing your long snapper never helps.

Todd M. (Eagan, MN)

With Delmas back, do you think the Lions defense will play better football? It seems that he drives that defense and the unit as a whole plays better with him on the field. Could he be a big factor in helping the Lions chances at defeating the Saints?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:45 PM)

He'll be better than what they've had and could factor in some turnovers. That's what the Lions defense needs to do. They're not going to stop Brees cold. One thing they've been good at all year is creating turnovers. That's what could turn the game.

Joe H (Chico CA)

IF the Packers knew, as they say, Matt Flynn was THIS good, wasn't the time to trade him this preseason? I know they had no backup besides Harrel but if he WAS and IS this good you gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em as they say.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:46 PM)

They didn't know he was 480 yards and 6 touchdown good. No way. No how. And even if they did, no one else in the league would have been convinced. It's not like they would have gotten a first-rounder for Flynn during camp.

James (SF)

Who do you think is the guy to pick up some slack for Clay Matthews on the right side of the Packers LB crew? Looks like they'll be going with Jones but I'm definitely not won over yet.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:48 PM)

They don't have anyone who can pick up the slack. The fact that they're considering new options as the playoff starts tells you all you need to know.

Joe H (Chico CA)

Who has it better? You or Wilde? Both work for ESPN but you cover (4) teams and he only has the PACKERS! You guys draw straws?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:49 PM)

Ha. We're corporate cousins, basically. The big difference is Wilde goes to Lambeau Field every day to work and I go to the basement of NFC North blog headquarters. You decide.

Chuck R. (Detroit)

If you could only sign one FA, who would you sign: Tullock or Avril?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:51 PM)

Good question. Man. I really think Tulloch has been an unheralded addition this year who has really solidified so many things on that defense. He would be a lot cheaper than Avril, too. On the other hand, it's rare to find an 11-sack pass rusher. I might be inclined to sign Tulloch first and then see if Avril gets a lucrative offer elsewhere and make a decision on him at that point.

Todd (Minneapolis)

How likely is it the Vikes have three new starters on the O-line next year?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:52 PM)

Very possible, at least people in different spots. Hutchinson might retire. Herrera might be released. Charlie Johnson could move from left tackle to guard. I think Sullivan and Loadholt are back.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:52 PM)

OK, a few more here...

Jeff (Chicago)

I am 100% rooting for Detroit the next 2 weeks. I want to see Detroit/San Fran: Part II. Especially after Harbaugh saying they are preparing for New Orleans. Not the smartest thing to say, even though everyone knows it's true.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:53 PM)

I saw that. I'm sure the Lions filed it away.

Tommy (Chicago)

It is a close race between Brees and Rodgers. Do you think McCarthy's decision not to play Rodgers, and Flynn coming in and tearing it up in his place, will have an effect on Rodgers winning MVP?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:55 PM)

I hope not, and it shouldn't. I'm not sure we should hold Brees' extra production against him, but in the end he played in an offense that threw the ball 150 or so more times than Rodgers. If you compare them on a per-throw basis, the only thing Brees topped Rodgers on was completion percentage. Does Brees get the MVP because he had a better completion percentage? I don't think so.

John (Princeton)

I know McCarthy moved Edgar Bennett to WR coach to expand his knowledge with the offense, any chance he ever becomes an Offensive Coordinator?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:55 PM)

I think that's a possibility, especially if Joe Philbin ever moves on to a head coaching job. Philbin has an interview Wednesday with the Chiefs.

Jon (Chicago, IL)

Who plays LT for the Bears next season?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:56 PM)

Unless they draft one in the first round, you would think it will be J'Marcus Webb.

Jeff (ABQ)

I think you're coverage is excellent! To be fair, the Lions, Vikings, Bears, and Packers are four very old franchises with four very devout fanbases that very much dislike one another. How is that?Anyway, my question: If you were building a franchise right now, say expansion, who would you want to have. Stafford, Rodgers, or Brees? What if you weren't sure on how the draft would turn out over the years?

Kevin Seifert
  (3:57 PM)

Thanks. I would choose Rodgers because he's still young enough to be playing once you get the rest of your team up to speed from a talent perspective. I also think his leadership skills are underrated.

Kevin Seifert
  (3:57 PM)

OK everyone. Thanks so much!