Hi everyone. Thanks for joining me for today's makeup chat. We're not discussing makeup, though. It's a make up for missing Tuesday's regular slot while at Packers minicamp. We'll go for at least 30 minutes. And we're off...
Any insight, at this early date, whether D.J. Smith has a good shot at taking over Hawk's starting role? I know it is very early.
I saw no indications Tuesday, nor did I hear anything, that suggested the Packers aren't fully committed to Hawk at his spot. If they get to camp and start rotating with the first team, then we'll know something's up. But nothing of that sort when I was there.
Kevin: Let's say that Childs or someone else tears it up during Simpson's suspension. Do you think Simpson would have to earn his way back into the lineup if that happened?
That's a best-case scenario for the Vikings. Based on what I can tell, they'll very much need Simpson's services when his suspension is up.
Hey Kevin,With all the talk on the Packers defensive linebackers and secondary I contend an effective 3-4 d needs a strong rotation on the line getting inside pressure pushing the offense outside. I'm not sure if Jerel Worthy is the answer but If him and Mike Neal can come up with some effective pressure I could see the Packers defense be a top 15 defense. (at least against the Vikings). Any thoughts on Jerel Worthy??
There are a lot of people who think Worthy will be the best player the Packers drafted this year. He could really had some juice to the front and give Raji a chance to take a breather every now and then. That's a lot to ask of a rookie, but the early consensus is that he's up to it.
With Leshoure suspended the first two games and Fairly likely to get a similar suspension, you said that your not sure it would make much of an impact on the outcome of the Lions games against the Rams and 49ers. Much like with the Suh suspension, it doesn't seem likely. My question is once Leshoure and Fairly return to the field, do you expect them to make significant impact against a Tennessee team that should be pretty good? How about the rest of the season?
We would be speculating about Fairley, of course. If his attorneys push out the legal situation, his suspension might not kick in until later in the season. Regardless, I see no reason why both guys wouldn't be ready to jump in and contribute immediately.
Can we read anything into Matt Forte's statements about not having to be paid like one of the highest salaried running backs? Does it mean the two sides are bickering over a small amount of money, or what?
No. It just means he's not looking for Adrian Peterson/Chris Johnson money. Which I think we all knew anyway.
Kevin:-Player you're most excited to watch this year-Rookie you're most excited to watch this year-Fearless record predictions for every team. -Isn't covering the best conference in the league pretty great?
Good questions, and we'll get to all of those answers before the end of the offseason. But I can answer the final one: Hell yeah.
Do you see three NFC North teams (Packers, Lions, Bears) making the playoffs this season? It looked possible last year before the Cutler and Forte injuries, and I think most people would agree that the Packers, Lions, and Bears have all improved over the off-season via the draft, free agency, or simply maturing (maybe not in respect to Detroit's off the field antics).
It's quite possible, but the NFC South in particular has some teams that might have something to say about that.
Just wondering about the Vikings CB and OL. Have you heard anything about who is currently taking the most 1st team reps for RG? Also, any chance that Winfield is not a starting corner this season? If so, who do you think would start across from Cook?
Geoff Schwartz and Brandon Fusco have been rotating at RG. That will be a training camp competition. As for CB, I think Winfield will mostly be a slot/nickel guy this year. In the relatively few occasions when the Vikings are in their base, the question is whether he will also be outside or if Chris Carr or maybe Zack Bowman will handle that role. I don't think that's been determined yet.
Are you planning any follow-up articles on the request for feedback you made a couple weeks ago? It'd be interesting to see if there were any trends and any new ideas you are currently working on.
Yes I am. I've already started implementing a few suggestions, including the Rookie Buzz. There was widespread support for BBAO and some other cool ideas as well. I'll get to that in the next few weeks. If you don't see it, hit the mailbag and I'll e-mail you a link.
Am I the only one who thinks the Vikes linebacker situation could be a potential disaster this year? Counterpoint - could it also be a huge success if they use Griffen as a hybrid lb/lineman?
"Disaster" is strong. Obviously there is concern when your longtime MLB isn't returning, and the guy who is replacing him is oft-injured. But Chad Greenway is always solid and Erin Henderson played better than people realized last year.
On a scale form 1-10, how close were you to crying when you found out the Packers canceled practice?
I held it in.
Kevin with Mike Leshoure's wake up call being suspended for 2 games can we expect Nick Fairley's wake up call to be 4 games or will he get the same as Leshoure?
Part of Fairley's suspension will be based on how the legal process plays out. But four might be a bit high. No pun intended.
Have you heard any of these trade rumors of James Jones to the Houston Texans? What are your thoughts on this and in a hypothetical scenario where this trade happens, what should the Packers receive in return?
The only rumors I've heard have been the ones sent me via readers. It's natural for people to make the assumption after the Packers decided to bring back Driver. I guess it wouldn't be stunning if they made the trade but I'm not aware of any talks at this point.
What are your thoughts on this growing movement within the Packers fanbase of what I see as blindly supporting Ted Thompson. This is not to say Thompson has failed as a GM but rather an increasing number of fans having this "In Ted We Trust" mentality. To them, if you aren't a 100% TT supporter, then you're anti-TT. Since when was it wrong to support him 90-95% but still be critical? I mean let's just pretend things like Justin Harrell and our pass rush situation last year never happened. Am I blowing this out of proportion or do you sense this as well?
I'm probably guilty of it to a certain extent. You're absolutely right that everyone, be it Vince Lombardi or Ray Rhodes, deserves scrutiny and criticism when warranted. Many of the things we've criticized him for in the past have proved not to be a problem, but I don't agree with blind trust on anything.
What do you believe is more important to evaluating a rookie QB's performance: red zone efficiency or pass % on first down (and please don't say they are equally important).
Considering Ponder was great in the red zone and terrible on first down last year, I'm going to say first down percentage is more important, because he didn't have a great year in 2011. First down is when a defense has the least advantage in guessing run or pass.
has anyone stood out at the lions camp this year
Sounds like Titus Young has made a bunch of plays since returning from his "absence" following the Delmas fight.
What do you think is the best case scenario for Cutler and the Bears offense this season?
If it goes as well as possible, the Bears could have one of the top 5 passing offenses in the league.
I have the belief that Leshoure's suspension and Fairley's (likely) suspension could deter the Lions early in the season. They will be favored against the Rams, but this will be a Rams team with new direction with Fisher. What scenario's would enable the Lions to be upset by the Rams the first game of the season?
Nothing against the Rams, but the Lions would have to hand them a victory with turnovers, mistakes and stupidity.
Lots of people are excited about Mike Tice being the new OC and him helping this offensive line. But I am worried about his lack of experience as a coordinator. Do you think the bears made the right choice in promoting Tice?
I think he's taking the right tack. Instead of locking himself in a room and drawing up the scheme, he's leaning heavily on the Cutler-Bates duo to tell him what they want. Makes sense on multiple levels.
With Asher Allen retiring, and with the Vikings picking up extra draft picks via trades from this years draft, do you see them making a push to trade for Mike Jenkins--he seems like he would be a great fit in our secondary where Winfield focus more on nickle downs.
It wouldn't fit into the way Spielman has tried to build this team, unless he could get Jenkins for a low draft choice.
Which of the lions rookies in the secondary do you think will be likely to be an eventual starter if any of them?
How much of an impact do you anticipate Eric Weems will have on special teams, with Hester still slated as the #1? Do teams change their game plan yet again?
I think they'll use him at kickoff returner the way they used Johnny Knox and Danieal Manning at times in the past. Weems is also an excellent cover guy, from what I understand.
were you upset that the Packers canceled practice, or upset that you weren't invited?
Thrilled not to have been invited to clay shooting. That would have had disaster written all over it.
Aside from Harvin, do you agree that Greg Childs has the most upside longterm of the Vikings WRs? He seems to have the size/speed/mentatlity to be an impact, assuming he stays healthy and develops.
No, Jerome Simpson has an excellent skill set. More character risk, but based on pure skills he might be the Vikings' best outside receiver.
How much pressure is on Jay Cutler to produce this season with the new weapons that have been brought in on offense? The fans have not forgotten about the image of him sitting on the sideline by himself, detached from the rest of the team. Does he need to lead the Bears to playoffs minimum to silence the fans?
It's a good kind of pressure because he's surrounded by favorable parts and friendly (to him) people. I'll say this: If the Bears don't make the playoffs, I don't think it will be his fault. It will be because the defense got too old, too fast.
What is the % chance Cliff Avril is not a Lion in 2013? (Because his back-ups will take his place and be just as good)
I would say 50-50.
Who would you bet more money on in a 4 wideout-1 back formation, the Packers or Lions?
Four wideout? I would say Packers, even though the best WR on the field would play for the Lions.
Will the Packers make a move for a legitimate back up QB, since Rodgers has a history of concussions?
I would be stunned if that's the case. I really think they're committed to Graham Harrell.
Lovie Smith and Mike McCarthy. Street fight. Who wins and why?
We did this one a few years back. I took Lovie in a Battle Royale among all NFC North coaches and will stick by that.
From your one magical day of observing superior athletes in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who was the player that stood out to you most as a pure athletic freak?
Pure athletic? Nick Perry. That guy looks like a big-time football player. We'll see if he is when the pads come on.
is LeShoure 100% physically?
Sounds like he is very close. Took his first 11-on-11 drills today.
Do you expect there to be any improvement with Cobb's kickoff return occasional fumbling problem or is it 'it is what it is'?
It's reasonable to assume that a young player could improve that significantly from Year 1 to 2. Too early to say it's just part of who he is.
Over/Under on 3 years before Favre's jersey is officially retired
I'll say under but I have no information on that.
Speaking of retirement Kevin, when are you going to ride off into the sunset and let me take over?
Check back in about 30 years.
How has Greg Childs looks so far physically? He seems confident that he is 100%, or close to.
His knee is good, but he's had a calf strain and hasn't done a lot in the offseason work. Looking forward to seeing him in minicamp.
Do you think this will be the year that the Bears defense gets old?
No, but that moment is coming and the Bears aren't adequately prepared for it yet.
Seems like the Packers could have a worse record than last season and be a better team this year. Do you agree? Green Bay won a couple of games last year that they probably should not have and didn't seem very tested heading into the playoffs. I could see a 13-3 team more prepared for a deep playoff run.
Really tough to match a 15-1 record. So yeah, odds are they'll have a worse record than last season.
So is it safe to say Grant won't be returning to the Packers? His jerseys are on sale, so I wanted to make sure.
Can't rule it out, but it sure doesn't appear to be in the Packers' plans.
Kevin, How can the Bears have a top 5 passing offense with Mike Tice running the show?
Because he is smartly farming out some of the duties to people who are very capable.
James Starks will be better or worse then a 2009 Ryan Grant?
Better if he stays healthy. That's a huge if.
Questions still coming so we will keep going.
If the Vikings don't do well this season, who's out? Frazier, Ponder or both?
Interesting question. If they're at the top of the draft, they could fire Frazier and draft a new quarterback in 2013.
Over/under 10 sacks for Clay Matthews if Nick Perry provides the consistent pass rush we all believe he can bring. Or does Perry benefit from Matthews being double teamed?
No, I think Clay will benefit more than the other way around. If Perry is the guy the Packers hope he is, Matthews is back over 10 sacks in 2012.
Who wins the Bears LT competition? Webb or Williams?
I think they want Webb to win it. If Tice thought Williams could do the job, he wouldn't have moved him to guard a few years ago.
Will Alex Green be healthy, or does it look like he won't be ready for the season.
They are hopeful he'll be ready for training camp.
What about a battle royale between defensive coordinators? Im sure Kevin Greene can sneak in a tackle or two.
They would have to create a senior division for Gunther, Dom and Rod.
That over/under for Favre's jersey...would that be for the Packers or Vikings?
How about a prediction? Win totals for each team in the division and which team(s) are you picking to make the playoffs?
That will actually be the topic of a post next week. Stay tuned.
Kevin Greene would beat up all the NFCN coaches at once
From the top rope, no less.
Should Bears fans be legitimately concerned about Urlachers knee? He injured it in 6 months ago in December and is still not practicing. The Bears are making it sound like its no big deal, but if this injury would've happened in September it my have knocked him out for the entire season last year.
Or, they would have just brought him back quicker. I really don't think this is a big deal. If we get to training camp and he's not on the field, then maybe it's time to worry. A guy Urlacher's age doesn't need to be practicing in OTAs.
Whose the best pure cover corner in the NFCN?
Interesting question. I'll go with Tramon Williams. Not necessarily the best corner, but the guy with the best ability to blanket a receiver.
Kevin, do you see Alex Green starting out on the PUP list?
It's possible, but the Packers really think he'll be ready soon.
As a Seahawks fan I know TE John Carlson has the ability to be a very good receiving threat at TE, but given the issues Seattle had on the O-line he was asked to block most of the time. Any thought to what his receiving/blcoking ratio is intended to be?
I think they envision him and Rudolph as pass-catchers. You don't pay significant money to a free agent tight end so that he can block.
My Viking fan buddies keep telling me the Vikings are 7-8 win team this year. I don't see them winning more than a game inside the division, so they are going to go 6 of 10 against the rest of the league? That's not likely, right?
It's a really tough division. Seven or eight victories is the high point of the possibilities, I think.
Getting rid of Martz (no audibles?! ignoring Cutler's strengths), is really addition by subtraction. Not to mention the upgrade in personnel.
Fair point. But don't forget the Bears were also pretty productive under Martz during large stretches of the past two seasons. It's not as though his tenure was a complete failure.
Brandon Saine. Keep your eye on this kid. Mike McCarthy like him a lot.
Liked the Nick Perry article yesterday. Can we expect follow up articles tracking the progress of the rookies that you're covering?
To the extent that I can gather fresh information, absolutely.
Right now, today, if you could only pick one for your team who are you taking: Peppers, Allen, Matthews, or Avril?
I would be torn between Peppers and Allen but would probably pick Peppers for his all-around impact.
Do you think Kellen Moore is Shaun Hill's eventual replacement?
Potentially, but I really think he was just brought in to be a No. 3 for now.
I don't know if you covered this yet or not but apparantly Tramon Williams played at about 70% last season and had nerve damage. Do you think the Packers should have rested him a few games or was a 70% Williams better than Sam Shields (who played below average, if not horrible)?
I think it was one of those injuries that either needed to be maintained or a long period of rest. A few weeks might not have helped.
Am I crazy to think that the Vikings O-line could actually be very solid this year? They have gone from one of the oldest lines to one of the youngest but I really think a line of Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Fusco/Schwartz, and Loadholt could end be one of the better lines in the division in the next few years.
It has some room to grow, for sure. But if Kalil is what he is purported to be, then yes, it can be pretty decent in 2012.
3-4 1,000 yard receivers in Chicago?
I thought that was excessive but understand his point. This could be a highly productive offense.
Caution about getting rid of Martz, he's better than you think he is. Remember what happened to the Lions? (Hint 0-16)
Yes, clearly that was the reason.
"It's a really tough division. Seven or eight victories is the high point of the possibilities, I think."That's only because they have Ponder. Play Joe Webb and they win the division. Either way, you'll eat those words at the end of the season.
I chose that question to enter it in the record. We'll have the opportunity to look back at that one, too.
Another news site reported that Brandon Pettigrew could be the best complete TE in the game. What are your thoughts?
He is a better blocker than most of the "receiving" tight ends in the game and is a better receiver than many of the "blocking" tight ends. So does that make him the most complete? I wouldn't argue but would need to look closer at the full list.
Kevin, I think that Chris Williams has a legitmate shot at LT. He was only moved because Omyale could not play LG, Then last year they wanted to keep him in one spot. With the depth at guard, I think they felt 2012 was a good time to let him back t it.
I don't agree. You don't move a productive left tackle out of that position if he is in fact productive. It's much easier to find a guy to play guard than tackle. It was a reflection on Chris to a large extent.
With the stadium mess finally behind them, do you sense relief and a refocusing of purpose in the Vikings management about building / repairing the team? Do you sense this season is make or break for Frazier?
The football operation always moved separately from the stadium thing, so I don't sense anything different from the way they are building the team. I do sense they're taking a look now at some of the bigger issues facing the franchise, like the state of their practice facility and establishing a long-term contract with Mankato for their training camp.
Most catches by a Bear this year? Earl, Hester, or Marshall?
That's easy. Marshall The real question is who comes in No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4. I say Earl will be the No. 2 receiver.
Just joined the chat and reviewed the questions thus far....anything new on significant injuries like Urlacher and AP?
The Bears fully expect Urlacher to be healthy for the season. Nothing has changed for Peterson. Likely to open camp on the PUP.
Which vetren has the best chance to be sitting on a rocking chair this time next year? Woodson, Backus, or Urlacker?
His replacement is already on staff.
Ok everyone. Thanks so much. Appreciate the turnout for a Thursday afternoon. Chat with you next week, when we might also need to reschedule because of Vikings minicamp. I'll let you know.