Hello everyone. Let's get to this thang.
Kevin, Do you think Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat?
Ha! 2-3 after a Super Bowl and a 15-1 season. I would guess he is safe for the next few weeks.
Yr thoughts on the play of robert blanton when he replaced smith?
He didn't make any big plays, but the Vikings also weren't gashed. Best-case scenario I would think.
I look at the NFCN schedule and nothing really stands out as wow that is a great game in the next few weeks. I guess Houston and Green Bay will be good and very interesting. I really hate the packers, but think they will win, because they NEED to win for standings and for team moral. But what else is there for games to watch that will be great. They don't get good until divisional games starting in like 5ish weeks.
Kind of agree. Was trying to plan out my next few weeks and there weren't a ton of obvious games. Vikings-Seahawks might be more interesting than once thought, though.
You have seen both teams a great deal so who has a better defense Chicago or San Francisco?
Really interesting question. The 49ers are a little more physical but not as fast. And they're definitely not as opportunistic as the Bears. At this point, the Bears' defense has more to do with their 4-1 record than the 49ers' defense does. How's that?
What's wrong with the Packers? And can they still bounce back from a 2-3 start? I can't imagine not seeing them in the playoffs in 2012...
Their defense has been really inconsistent and their passing game hasn't been able to overcome imbalanced play calling and defensive schemes lined up against the deep ball. I do think they can bounce back. Plenty of really talented players and coaches. But the hole is getting deeper.
First quarter of the seasons special teams player of the NFCN? I am sure you first thought Percy Harvin, but I will help you out and say a bigger impact for the Vikings has been B Walsh. He in my opinion has been a difference maker and deserves that title thus far.
I would accept that. Harvin is a part-time special teams player. Walsh has made 12 of his 13 field goals, allowing a relatively limited offense to maximize its scoring opportunities, and his deep kickoffs have obvious impact.
I'm sure you're getting this question a lot, what's the update on James Starks?
He's healthy and I'm assuming ready to get back into the mix after the Benson injury.
How big is the return of Best and Delmas going to be? Two road games against Philly and Chicago will be tough, but if either of those teams thinks Detroit is overrated like these anonymous GMs, they're going to regret it.
I'm not counting on the return of Best until it actually happens. It's been almost a full calendar year since his last concussion. As for Delmas, he'll help create a more intense environment and, the Lions hope, lead to some more turnovers. But I agree, those are two tough games the Lions face to avoid going 1-5.
Alshon Jeffery is gonna be out a few weeks with a broken hand? What is the status on Earl Bennett? Do the Bears take a look at another WR available out there?
They'll probably sign a backup receiver but no one who would jump ahead of the current rotation. It's reasonable to hope Bennett will be back after the bye week.
So the Packers....not their year, eh?
I hate basing anything on karma or some other intangible criteria, but it sure /feels/ like it's not their year. At least not to this point. Karma can be a fickle thing. Or something like that.
Enjoyed your post earlier today about the Vikings and whether they are indeed the duck after looking, swimming and quacking like one so far. In all candor, they've had a good measure of luck (catching San Fran sleepwalking thru its road game, several potential picks thrown by Ponder dropped by opposing Ds, playing two awful teams in Jax and Tenn), and the benefit of a easy early sked, San Fran notwithstanding. They have been admittedly (surprisingly?) playing efficient football in all three phases, but when (as your duck-themed post suggests) will we we be able to know for sure that this is a legit Top 10 team? Not to sound like the cynical Vikes fan I've been since 1973, but can this team survive the brutal second half that awaits it?
At this point, the furthest we can go is to ask if they'll be a playoff contender. If they get through the first portion of their schedule with a 7-3 record or so, they'll by definition be one. Who knows what could happen after that.
It looks like the Vikings should have give Harvin a new contract before the season started. They will pay him, but it is going to cost more at the end of the year because of the way he has played. He could be in a discussion for MVP of the 1st quarter of the season.
I understand the reluctance based on his past character issues. But I never thought they were prepared to let him go.
Has Sanford done enough to remain the starter?
I don't think so, but we'll see. He's been saved in some coverage mistakes by Harrison Smith. Good player against the run, though, and a good tackler.
Do you think Adrian Peterson has a big game against the Redskins this week in his return to the scene of the crime?
Ha, normally I would say those things don't matter. But sometimes they do for Peterson. I recall the first week of the 2008 season at Lambeau Field. The year before, Al Harris had hit Peterson's knee and sprained it. In that first game back to Lambeau, Peterson lowered his shoulder on Harris near the sideline and completely blew him up. We'll see if he has anything extra for the Redskins this year.
What's your take on the play of the offensive line thus far? I think that Ponder has had quite a bit more time to read the defense.
It starts with the left tackle, and he's as good of a pass blocker as advertised. Remember when we were debating whether a left tackle or downfield receiver is more important?
Which of these statements most accurately describes why the Vikings are 4-1:1. The Vikings are a good team2. The Vikings have had an easy schedule so far
I lean toward the former. The 49ers are an elite team, and the beat them start to finish. The Lions were also a 2011 playoff team.
Hey Kevin, I know he's caught a couple passes in the last two weeks, but why has John Carlson been so underutilized with the Vikes this season? Did they sign him just to block or something?
Hard to understand that one. I guess he provides insurance in case Rudolph is hurt. They would still be able to run the same offense, with a pass-catching tight end, that they are now. But you wonder if he is on the same page with Ponder after missing training camp and the preseason.
Still think the NFC North is the best division in football?
At the moment, it isn't. It's the NFC West. But it's early.
Will Christian start looking my way now that defenses are going to start planning for Percy?
Not if your back injury is serious, no.
Is it stafford and the offense....or are special teams and back 4 causing most of the problems ??
I don't think anyone escapes blame. The offense hasn't been able to finish drives with touchdowns. That rests partly on Stafford because he is the quarterback. But I think the best thing the Lions can do is find a way to run the ball better so they can capitalize better on the imbalanced defenses they're seeing. Special teams have clearly been horrible.
Let's have a look with what the Motor City Kittys have to deal with post-bye: 5 division games, all of their division road games, and games against ARI, PHI, ATL, & HOU. I think they are done.
It could happen before then if they lose to the Eagles and Bears. 1-5 would be a brutal hole.
With all that has happened to the Packers, are you writing them off yet?
Nope. Way too much talent and experience at winning.
Aren't TEs supposed to be Cover 2 busters? All we hear is how Finley draws coverage from everyone else. This year teams have been ignoring Finley and taking away the WRs and he's still mediocre.
He has trouble securing the ball. Even on passes he catches, it's like he's spending an extra step securing it instead of getting downfield.
How do you account for GB's performance, if not coaching? McCarthy has been slow to adjust. They let Wayne do whatever he wanted. Other teams just seem to want it more...
It's not a matter of "want." Three other teams have been "better" than them. There have been some head-scratchers this year, though. Not sure why McCarthy keeps getting away from the running game, and not sure why the Packers couldn't adjust to Wayne.
Do the Packers realize they need an actual running game to help out Rodgers?
They don't even need to be overly effective. There just has to be the understanding that they will run regularly, regardless of the score. Otherwise, they are having trouble protecting Rodgers against defenses that don't have to worry about the run.
No mention of Robbie Gould for ST player in the NFCN? He's perfect on his field goals and is rated as the 2nd best kickoff kicker in the league by Pro Football Focus.
Kevin, do you know if B.J. Raji will be available for the Packers in their game at Houston?
McCarthy said he has a chance to play.
What are your thoughts on Leshoure? What did he do to win the starting job and what did Kevin Smith do to lose it. Leshoure hasn't looked all that great yet.
The Lions have a pretty good idea of what Kevin Smith is, and isn't. Mikel Leshoure has the potential to be more than that. I think that's why he's starting.
KS: Is the Bears system flawed against great QB's?
Meaning they will have trouble getting turnovers against great quarterbacks? Perhaps. But they would still have a better chance against them than most.
Does Cedric Benson's play and injury now change the Packers view on Running backs, in next years draft? Do you see them drafting on fairly high (rounds 1-3) to get the running back that can be the go to guy?
A little early for that. If anything, the fact that they were able to sign a guy off the street in August to play as much as Benson did might be vindication for not using a high draft pick on a runner.
How much can we really count on Starks if he's been a healthy scratch the last 2 weeks? Is this Green's spot to lose?
That's a reasonable assumption, but things change when you're looking for a starter instead of a backup. Do the Packers trust Green in that role? Or would they feel more comfortable with Starks?
I don't get this Harvin for MVP talk. He's not in the top 5 for WRs in yards from scrimmage or TDs, even when you factor in his rushing stats and return TD. Yes, he's been good, but he's not even been the best WR this year, much less best player in the league.
Couple things here. First, Harvin leads the league in yards after catch. That means he's doing more on his own than any other receiver. Also, you ahve to take into account where the Vikings would be without him. No one has said he's the top candidate. But he's been playing as well as anyone could possibly imagine.
What's the word on the Lions getting Ryan Broyles into their offense? A 2nd on an injured WR means they have to like him, when will that investment pay off?
From the start, it was been a long-term pick. You wonder if Broyles could leapfrong Titus Young if Young doesn't step it up, but I don't know if anyone thought Broyles was going to make an immediate impact.
The safety position has been a rotating door for the Bears during the Lovie era (save for Mike Brown). Do you think the Bears are confident that they have found their tandem in Major Wright and Chris Conte for the foreseeable future?
For Bears safeties, the future is about three games. So yes, on that level, I think Conte and Wright are safe. The Brandon Hardin preseason injury made that pretty likely, anyway. There really isn't anyone on the roster that the Bears coaching staff is probably tempted to play.
Any news on Urlachers knee? He looks to be a bit ginger on it. I think he is to tall when it comes to filling and tackling. I'm guessing this is all about his knee. He's too tough to admit any of this. Any inside info?
I think it's fair to assume Urlacher is still working his way back. I've seen some gut running plays where he's been turned out relatively easily and/or he just gets run by. But he's obviously playing well enough for the Bears defense to be as good as it is.
Re: Carlson: I told you in a chat before the season that he was signed to block!
I don't think guys get $25 million free agent contracts to block.
Which Viking's rookie would you give the highest grade to so far this season...Kahlil, Smith, Walsh, Robinson, someone else?
Kalil has stabilized the pass protection, but I think Smith has made the biggest impact. Really important to have a play-making safety out there enforcing things.
so, are the Vikings a duck, or should we believe what the Tuna (get it, duck v, Tuna) said, "you are what your record says you are."?
They're 4-1. That's what their record says they are. But 4-1 could be 4-12 or 15-1 at the end of the season. Tuna was basically saying that at the end of the year, we know how good you are. They look like a duck and swim like a duck, and soon we'll know whether they are or not.
Do you think Josh Robinson has the potential to be a shut down corner?
Not sure about that yet, but he definitely looks like he belongs.
Kevin, virtually everyone's preseason rankings of the division QBs went 1. Rodgers, 2/3. Cutler/Stafford, 4. Ponder. Care to go again?
No, not yet.
Any chance Greg Jennings plays against Houston?
We'll see if he practices Wednesday. But the indications were that the Packers were going to take their time and let him heal fully before returning.
How much credit does the Viking's coaching staff get for the team's efficient and relatively mistakeless football?
A ton. Really done a nice job of matching the scheme with the players.
any chance we see Jarius Wright any time soon, especially if Simpson's back problems continue?
He looks to be at the bottom of the Vikings' depth chart, even behind Burton. So I wouldn't get excited yet.
How can Graziano rank the Vikings 14th in power rankings, does he even watch football?
Not only does he watch football, but he is one of your New Jersey neighbors. Be nice....
Hate to keep harping on it, but is not going after/getting Marshawn Lynch the biggest regret of the Aaron Rodgers era thus far for the Packers?
I don't think so. It's not valuing the running game enough from a play-calling standpoint.
Some sort of nod to former NFCN'er Alex Karras would be nice today.
Indeed. Prayers with his family.
What's the story on Armando Allen? I know he's a smaller back but when he hit the hole on his 46 yrd td run he displayed explosiveness that I havent seen out of a bears back in a LONG time. Any chance he gets his number called a little more to take some of the 'outside the tackles' pressure off of Forte?
Not with the money the Bears are paying Forte and Bush, but it's nice to know they have a player with those kinds of skills available if someone is hurt.
The packers biggest problem is teams don't bite on their play action anymore and they play deep cover 2 against them. McCarthy is so cocky that he still thinks Rodgers can beat the cover 2 with no running game. Your thoughts....
I don't know if it's because of play-action, but I do know they've had a hard time beating cover 2 when they're not running the ball.
More improved this season...Brinkley or Sanford?
Brinkley. Surprisingly good in pass coverage. Not sure if Sanford has been great in coverage.
Will Jahvid Best play again this season? If he does, will he get his job back from Leshoure? Doesn't his pass catching ability fit the Lions' scheme more?
If he does come back, it will be as a big-play complement to Leshoure. People forget that before the concussions, Best wasn't really a great every-down runner. Does a great job in the passing game and in certain other situations.
Carimi really had an Omiyalesque game. Sack, Hold, False-Start, False-Start. Or was it Hold, Sack, False-Start, False-Start?
Ha. The last guy anyone thought should be worried about is Gabe Carimi. I would expect that to be nipped in the bud.
Carlson: Well I guess that's why your just an analyst, and don't have a front office job with a team.
One of about 5,678 reasons.
Are you going to Talk to your friend Dilfer about me now?
We'll see what he says.
I'd like to see Harvin or Joe Webb line up on the punt team like the Jets do with Tebow.
Oh boy, here we go. I wouldn't mind seeing them find a place for Webb, but I'm not sure the Vikings agree.
Few more, everyone.
It's funny how much people talk about how I don't throw the "long ball" but why should I when I don't need to? If the situation calls for it I have the arm to do it. Oh btw, didn't you see that beauty I floated to Percy for 45 down the sideline? Leave me alone.
I don't think anyone's on your case anymore.
How long is Jeffery expected to be out? I've heard a few weeks and I've heard a few games. With 2 weeks off in the meantime a few weeks would only be a game or so, right?
It's not expected to be long-term. I would imagine at least one game, but it's early to know yet.
Kevin, something tells me the NFC North race could be REALLY tight come December! Do you agree?
Yes! Can't wait.
Thanks for the Vikings chat today. It's been super informative.
What's the time table for Jahvid this week? Any word out of MoTown on SC changes made to improve our dreadful unit?
Nothing yet on special teams. As for Best, there are supposed to be tests this week but in the end he isn't eligible to come off the PUP before next Monday.
OK, everyone, thanks so much! Chat with you next week.