Hi there. Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. We'll be chatting here for the next hour unless your questions stop before then....
Could u see josh robinson, harrison smith and robert blanton starting 4 vikings vs jags?
Three rookies in the secondary in Week 1? I'm going to guess not, although Smith and Blanton could be the safeties. But if Robinson is the No. 3 corner, he will play a lot even if Chris Cook and Antoine Winfield are the ostensible starters.
Are the Lions sacrificing the long-term stability of the franchise in favor of short-term success by hiring an impulsive coach and drafting talented, yet nefarious players? They're a doppelganger for the Bad Boys Pistons except Schwartz is no Chuck Daly.
Interesting parallels. I'm not sure I'm ready to say the guys they drafted are bad people. They ones from 2011, at least, are pretty immature, though. There is a fine line between the two, however, and the Lions have definitely been aggressive in bridging it. They've put a lot of pressure on Schwartz to hold it together, but it might be too difficult of a task.
Does the release of "Concerns regarding Forte's Knee" and "Bears coaches impressed with Michael Bush's catching ability" strike you as a fairly obvious tactic by Bear Management to low-ball Forte?
I know a lot of people are looking at it that way. But I would caution people, generally speaking, against assuming that information like this gets out only when a team decides to leak it as a negotiating ploy. There are a lot of excellent reporters who do a great job of rooting out information that teams don't want out there. It's quite possible a reporter did a really nice job of ferreting out private information, rather than a team delivering information to the public through this reporter.
I have a feeling your life has never been affected by a drunk driver. On Sunday you classified the actions of Nick Fairley as "selfish and stupid". I don't disagree, but the tone of your piece seemed to ignore that his actions were also dangerous and reckless. It wasn't "high-speed driving" that was the main offense committed by Fairley. It was driving under the influence and evading police. Those actions result in thousands of deaths of innocent civilians every year. You did a disservice (I'm sure unintentionally) to the victims of these CRIMES with your article that made it seem like his actions were essentially harmless or merely jeopardized the well being of his football team. He jeopardized the lives of everyone on the road that night.
I totally agree, but generally speaking, in legal cases involving football players, I try to keep the posts about the implications on their careers and teams. To me, it's understood that drunken driving is dangerous and often results in deaths. I don't feel it's necessary to establish that fact, but I agree that someone could interpret that as glossing over something more important.
Kevin on Fairley I think the lions should hand out a suspension of 8 games with no pay i belive that would send a message to all players and would stop the problems they are haveing what do you think ?
The CBA calls for the NFL, not the individual teams, to mete out unpaid suspensions. If the Lions wanted to send a message, they could deactivate him for games. Obviously he would still get paid, but in the big picture, players can't achieve their career goals from the bench.
Kevin, how far along in rehab is Adrian Peterson? Is it realistic to hope for him to be back on the field by week 4?
He is on schedule to begin practicing before the season, which means Week 4 is realistic, yes.
The Bears were, for the first time in a while, a bit soft up the middle on rush defense. Will the Bears use Paea/Toeina at dt on running downs? Or will they hope that Melton improves his run def?
I think that's quite possible. You also wonder if Israel Idonije will get some time inside if Shea McClellin becomes a starter.
It's sad too see how poorly the Forte/Bears relationship has devolved. But I think there is a lot to be said for the notion that the Bears are clearly trying to reconstruct this team to be a pass first offense (bringing in Marshall, Cutler's QB coach from Denver, and taking a WR early in the draft). They might think they don't need Forte as much as they have over the last few years, and that they can be a plug-and-play RB type team. And if they really believe that, then why pay him? Harsh reality, but business is business.
I agree in a lot of ways. They have him in a pretty good spot. He can't get away to another team and can't get paid unless he plays for them. In that position, I would be awfully tempted if I were the Bears to just go year-to-year with him.
Hey Kevin, I love reading your views on everything related to the NFC North, but I need to take issue with you calling Nick Fairley "stupid." I agree that getting stoned in your apartment is "silly" or "stupid," but getting drunk and driving 100 miles per hour goes far beyond that. Had a mother and her three children been driving the other direction we could easily be calling this act "homicidal," not "stupid."
Understood. But again, it was stupid in the context of football because he was already under NFL scrutiny. To me it goes without saying that drunken driving is beyond stupid. It's a serious crime. I don't think I need to acknowledge that every time a player does it, but I agree the post can be interpreted to be glossing over what seems like an obvious fact.
Your colleague James Walker wrote a blog post about how Marcell Dareus was the better choice for the Bills compared to Fairley. Who do you predict having the better career?
Little early to make that conclusion, but there is definitely a reason Dareus was chosen first.
Kevin,When are the Packers going to regain their post season home field advantage? Does the weather need to get worse, or do the Packers need to start practicing outside more?
That issue hasn't gotten as much discussion as I thought it would this offseason after the playoff loss. Lambeau hasn't been a playoff advantage for quite some time, but I'm not sure if anyone really knows why. Outdoor practices are a tradeoff because it impacts the quality of your reps. That's important, too. There is a big investigative analysis out there waiting to happen.
Ive read reports that M.D.Jennings is in competition for the safety spot vacated by Collins. Are the Packers just doing their due diligence and hoping for someone to step up or is Jennings really a legit option here?
He fits the mold of some other players who eventually became starters, including Tramon Williams. But I would imagine Jennings isn't the first candidate they'll look at when camp begins.
Do you really believe that Brian Urlacher will be testing free agency when his contract is up? I know its a business and players do what they need to financially but why wouldnt a franchise player who will go down as one of the all time great Bears would want to go play somewhere else for a year or two?
It's not a matter of whether he wants to but if the Bears want him back. Remember, everyone jumped on Brett Favre for wanting to play for the Vikings. But that was only after the Packers made clear they had moved on. If the Bears move on, and Urlacher wants to keep playing, then he'll of course need to test free agency. I'm going to guess it won't come to that, but we're probably about 10 months away from knowing for sure.
If there were an ESPN blogger popularity poll, where would you rank?
The NFC North teams collectively are the second-highest among all NFL divisions, so I would expect and assume the same treatment.
Could A.J. Hawk be in jeopardy of losing his starting job to D.J. Smith? Seem to me he has regressed in the last couple of years and Smith performed well last season.
A.J. didn't have a great year last year, although he has said he thought he played much better in the second half of the season. Given the financial commitment the Packers gave him last year, it isn't likely they'll be looking to replace him unless Smith proves so overwhelmingly better that they can't justify keeping A.J. on the field.
QBs get hurt all the time. Green Bay is a super bowl favorite due to Rodgers but if they lost him in the pre-season (the packers are due for such a loss at QB) would they even go 8 - 8? How about if the Bears lost Cutler? The Lions Stafford? Not sure the scenerio would have a huge impact on Minnesota's 2012 record.
You're referring to the Dream/Nightmare scenario post from last Friday. I think they would still have a decent team to support their backup, whether it's Graham Harrell or someone else. But we would definitely find out if Rodgers' influence on the Packers is the same as Peyton Manning's was with the Colts.
I'm going through stadium post withdawl Kevin...with the last hurdle cleared for the new Vikings Stadium, what are you going to the rest of the summer? Can we expect hourly updates on Forte's contract or the impending Megatron injury due to the curse?
How about stadium design updates?
After the first week of OTA's who do you think will have breakout seasons for each of the four NFC north teams?
Bad premise. No breakout seasons should be evidence after the first week of OTAs.
Should the Bears select a middle linebacker high in the draft next year with the possibility of Urlacher leaving in a year/ retiring in a few years?
Definitely. But one way or the other, the need to find someone to be his heir apparent.
To finally clear things up, are there two Harry Potter books on the shelf behind your desk?
There are, but I haven't read them. I'm guessing that will go down as an "I didn't inhale" admission, but it's the truth.
Who do you expect to have a bigger impact on the Vikings' offense this season, Jarius Wright or Greg Childs?
If he's healthy, Childs. He could be a legitimate downfield threat.
Do you listen to music while you chat? You seem like an Eddy Money kind of dude.
He occasionally comes up on my Pandora station.
Wouldn't it be a good idea to keep Urlacher out all of camp, maybe through preseason, and see if Deciccio has what it takes to take over middle linebacker? Would like him to be around till retirement, but could possibly hit the market, or injury could still linger in to season.
Only if you really think DeCicco has a chance. Otherwise, no sense in wasting reps.
Do you think comparisons between the current Lions and the Bengals of a few years back are legitimate? Both teams tried to improve their talent level through bringing in troubled players. It backfired horribly on the Bengals, and seems to be hurting the Lions this offseason.
The Lions have definitely opened themselves up to that kind of criticism, but each situation is different.
Newhouse or Webb? Bishop or Tullock? Tramon W. or Peanut? Go!
Newhouse, Tulloch and Tillman.
auto-update issue again...
Thanks for the update on the auto-update.
Do you see anyway that the Vikings can make the playoffs? It seems they have a lot of players trying to prove themselves on one year contracts, like Carr, Simpson, and Swchwartz, and if they perform well the Vikings could be contenders.
In this division, that's going to be awfully, awfully difficult.
What options do you believe exist for the Packers at backup QB? You noted, and everyone would agree, that if Rodgers were to get hurt, there would be a steep dropoff. Given Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, there will clearly be a significant dropoff, but what options are there to minimize this? Or is Harrell the best option?
At this point, the established backups have mostly been signed. So the Packers will have to put their faith in their ability to develop Harrell. A player or two might shake loose from rosters this summer, but there would be a quick learning curve, and that player would come with the knowledge that teams don't usually get rid of functional quarterbacks.
Nationally the Vikings are getting beat up in the press. I understand we are rebuilding and going to play alot of young unproven players and hope they are the real deal. Do I have any hope this team is heading in the right direction and worth watching this year or should I plan on alot more hunting trips this fall?
Heading in the right direction? Yes. Ready to make the playoffs? Probably not.
Green Bay's lack of homefield advantage is probably tied to the fact they rely on Rodgers to throw perfect back shoulder balls to his WRs. They cannot run the ball and their defense is terrible statistically. In Dec and Jan in Green Bay the weather makes that much tougher. They need a dome over Lambeau or they'd be better off playing on the road in the play-offs.
Maybe that's it. They're a dome team.
I'm not sure where Toby Gerhart is in his rehabilitation, but let's say, hypothetically, neither Adrian nor Toby is ready week 1, who would be the next man up?
Gerhart will be ready, unless he suffers a new injury.
What is Ted Thompson greatest skill as a GM?
Why do so many people want to cut loose players in May? All i hear about in Wisconsin is how the Packers have to cut AJ Hawk, Donald Driver, and/or James Jones. WHY??? Why worry about cutting them and why not save them until you have to cut them incase of injuries.
I agree. Hoard your players until they're of no use to you any longer.
If Newhouse locks down the LT spot, what does that mean for Sherrod in the long term? LG maybe ?
Perhaps. But given the extent of his leg injury, it's hard to make big plans for him at the moment.
Please tell me ESPN is bringing back QBR for the 2012-2013 season
You better believe it.
Hey Kevin, Something I've been wondering about for a while now: With all the talk about concussions, post-retirement life, lawsuits against the NFL, etc., will there come a time when offensive players begin suing defensive players in civil court for hits on the field?
Hmmm, interesting question. Only if those hits were illegal in the context of the game. Players can't be liable for hitting within the rules, can they?
Your discussion of Green Bay and weather certainly reminds me of the Vikings lack of success back in the late 60s, early 70s in the superbowl when they had to practice in in a gym. How is your recall of those days?
Non-existent, sorry. ... But I think its' a conversation that could extend to the Vikings if they build a retractable roof stadium. Would cold weather really be an advantage?
The consensus is that TT's moves in free agency this year are the result of the having a superbowl caliber roster with a couple holes to fill. However, we have had superbowl caliber rosters with a couple glaring holes in the past. Such as in 2011 and I would argue even 2009. I suspect that TT has altered his philosophy after seeing the 2011 season unfold. He's shifted toward a more pragmatic approach to free agency. One which I suspect he will stay with in coming seasons at least as long as the packers are in SB compitionion. Your thoughts.
There is definitely something to be said for maximizing the window of an MVP quarterback. It could be as simple as that. But it should be noted the Packers didn't exactly spend a ton in free agency. They got one starter at a market-level deal, and that's Jeff Saturday, who really is a year-to-year player at this point.
Kevin: For each game that you travel to this season, you should do a live skype for a quarter or a half. Think about all the hits you could get!!!!
Pretty sure that NFL rules prohibit live "broadcasts" during games, unless you are the game's TV rightsholder. But I am trying to figure out some things to do differently on Sunday. All ideas welcome.
Do you think Donald Driver could be a number one or two on a different team? He sure seemed clutch during the playoff game when everyone was dropping balls.
We've all learned our lessons about underestimating Donald Driver. My instinct is to say he could be someone's really decent No. 3, but he's made a career out of surpassing expectations.
As an ESPN journalist and knowing how the NFL goes season-to-season, can you tell us what is the point of even doing 2015 power rankings from last week?
It was just as attempt to gauge which teams have set themselves up best for the long-term at this point. Obviously the 2015 teams will have a lot of players, and maybe coaches, who aren't even with those teams yet. But there is a big difference between a team that is set with a young franchise quarterback than one, for example, that is not.
What kind of responsibility do you think the Lions head coach has with regards to the off the field issues? Do you think the GM or the HC is more responsible? I've heard people say that Schwartz is not in control all the time and the players emulate that behavior. I don't buy it.
There is a little of that, but I agree that it's tough to hold coaches accountable for what players do in the offseason, off-the-field. To me, if you want to be critical or apply scrutiny, you back it up and look at the Lions' decisions to draft these players in the first place. What kind of character evaluation was used? Were warning flags missed or ignored? If you draft high-risk people and come down on the coach for not keeping them in line, well, that's a tough standard.
Why do you always answer such crap questions, but never answer the good ones? Seriously, why answer questions abouot the power rankings for 2015 and not about what defenses are doing to prepare for a QB heavy division?
Ouch. I try to answer as many as I can, of all shapes and sizes. As for what defenses are doing, I'm not sure we're in a position to know anything new at this point. The Packers obviously are trying to make their front more active, after drafting Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels and signing Anthony Hargrove. The Lions are doubling down on their attempts to run the defense through their defensive line, the Bears added a pass rusher in Shea McClellin and the Vikings will have an all-new interior defense -- NT, MLB and both S positions.
Have you heard of any interest around the league regarding Nick Collins? Are other teams not willing to take the risk either? I guess the real question in has Nick Collins played his last down in the NFL?
Nothing at this point. I can't say for sure that he's played his last down, but obviously when the original team doesn't think it's happening, you take notice. If the Packers thought he could play safely, they wouldn't have released him.
who do you see having the biggest impact on the Packers defense. Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, Casey Hayward? How much better is the Packers defense then last year?
I really think Worthy can make a huge impact but I don't know if we're going to be able to measure it with traditional statistics.
With the Vikings improving the secondary how many sacks do we get as a team this year?
The secondary will be different. Will it be better? I don't know that, yet. But the Vikings were pretty good on their sack totals last year. If the secondary is better, the passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage will all go down, while interceptions will go up.
Where in the league would you rank the current lions secondary? And what effect do you think they can have in a long playoff push?
Middle to bottom third. If the Lions' defensive line is as good as it appears to be, the secondary can be protected.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week.