Hi everyone. We're going to start this thing off early, for once, and probably wrap it up around 2:30 p.m. ET. Let's go...
How awesome would it be to have a Packers-Seahawks rematch for the NFC Title, going back to week 3 but now at Lambeau with real refs. that's a game i would love to see
You think I wouldn't? Man, that would be fun. A lot has to happen first. The Packers have to win at SF and the Seahawks would have to beat the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta. But if it happens, I think my asterisk button (*) would wear out by the end of the week.
Will the Joe Webb demand to start by fans finally stop? And can the Vikings find a back up QB for Ponder over the offseason so they can plan a strategy on how to utilize Webb's play making ability as a slot reciever, hb, or wildcat player?
The best result out of Saturday's game for the Vikings is there is no question now why Webb wasn't called on to replace Ponder during the season. Here's the way I look at it: There aren't enough good QBs in the league to think that everyone will have a good backup. In Webb, the Vikings have a player who has played decently when put in the right position. That means letting him run. If they put him in the pocket, he's going to be no good. So they need to decide what they want from their backup and go from there. If they want someone who can run their regular offense, the need to look elsewhere.
You commented on the Bears plan of interviewing a wide variety of coaches for their head coach as well as division assistants. Doesn't it make some sense to try and hire a coach from a division rival for two reasons. One you can get insight on the rivals plays, personal, and preparation. Two you force the rival to change up their coaching staff and look for a new member. What are your thoughts?
It couldn't hurt but that can't possibly be the deciding factor. The best coach is the one you need to hire, no matter where he comes from.
Are there any posts coming up on what the teams that have been eliminated should be doing personnel-wise as it relates to the cap and the team in general?
Eventually, but this week our priorities remain the playoffs and the Bears' coaching search. Doing the best I can...
Is dujuan Harris the favorite to be opening day starter at rb next season
The Packers have been so week-to-week at running back over the past few years that I don't think anyone can look ahead. I would imagine he'll be in the mix. But I also wonder if it won't finally become a priority for them in the draft.
Can't the Bears just hire Mike McCoy and be done already? By the time Emery is done with the process he'll have interviewed close to 20 candidates. In your opinion, what's the upside of this?
The number is at 13 for now. First off, they couldn't talk to McCoy before last Sunday. So they might as well take at least that amount of time to find a coach. Clearly, Phil Emery went into intending to make it a thorough process. You never know who might knock your socks off if you actually give them the time to get in front of you. I'm OK with it. Plus, you wonder if some of these candidates in reality are possibilities for the next coach's staff.
Has Finley's recent performances been good enough to keep him on the roster next season?
It's a fair question, and I don't know the answer or if the Packers know the answer yet. The question on him is not ability but consistency. You want to see this kind of play and urgency all the time.
Kevin, I have a feeling Aaron Rodgers will play like a man possessed on Saturday. Apart from the preseason, this is his first trip to San Francisco, and he has made no secret of holding a grudge against the 49ers for drafting Alex Smith over him. With Alex Smith not even starting anymore, I can't imagine there would be anything he'd like more than to end the 49ers season. Thoughts?
With Aaron, I'm sure there is some kind of perceived slight there to motivate him. Your guess is as good as any.
Having Singletary as a candidate has got to be a joke, right? They must just be remembering what he did for them as a player and ignoring his performance in San Francisco, right? RIGHT?
Yeah, as we've been discussing, it can't hurt to get him in front of you and see what he says. Could be a courtesy to him, for all we know.
Kevin, of all of the free agent decisions the Lions face this offseason, who is the one guy they must do whatever they can to keep and why?
It's a good question. You wonder if Cliff Avril's value has gone down enough that they could afford him. He's a guy that's going to give you good pass rush, if not elite. Given Martin Mayhew's comments on the defense overall, however, I'm not sure there is anyone on that list that is a must-sign.
Do you see the packers using Randall Cobb coming out of the backfield more this game to keep the 49ers in more Dime Defense to keep either Willis or Bowman off the field?
They did it in the first game a fair amount and it was one of the few things that worked. A slippery guy against a good-tackling defense.
Is Nancy Here? I hear she's Fancy
So she claims.
Do you think the Pack O-line can protect ARodg adequately Sat night?
A lot depends on whether Justin Smith plays. He's been hurt, and their defense is a lot worse without him. The numbers are crazy.
High level, how is the 2013 cap situation for each team?
I don't have those numbers yet but I know a lot of you are looking for them. Will effort.
How healthy will Justin Smith be by Saturday? That seems to me to be maybe the most important matchup in the game...
Totally in the air at the moment. Maybe we'll get a better picture of it later this afternoon.
Kevin, I know players have to play thru injuries when the playoffs get to this level. Is there any concern for the Packers not having Nelson or Finley against SF? Seems like all weapons will be needed.
We'll know more soon, but there doesn't seem to be much concern about either player.
Do you ever think Ted Thompson will get bored and look for a new challenge elsewhere? Attempt to rebuild some other team.
Doesn't strike me as that restless. I'm guessing this is his last job.
Why did the Vikings stop running the option after the first drive? It worked well, and Joe is a phenomenal runner.
It was an inexcusable oversight, and Frazier's explanation -- that you can't just run the read-option -- doesn't add up. You can run the read-option exclusively when you're in an emergency situation, as they were, and the guy playing has already shown he can't do anything else.
Shocked to hear no love for Chris Houston. He's been the closest thing Detroit has had to a shutdown corner in...decades?
Right. I gave that some thought. He is a good player, but he took a step back in 2012 and their secondary was really weak overall. Do you spend money to bring back part of a week secondary?
Did you happen to listen to Paul Allen's broadcast of the Vikings game on Saturday? Have you ever encountered such a home-favoring announcer in your travels?
I did not. PA is a very emotional announcer, and I would bet that most of the people who listen to him -- Vikings fans -- identify with him.
KS, thanks for your work on the blog ... really enjoy it. A question about how good the Packers really are ... I think it's safe to say they are one of the best 5 teams in the league (Packers, SF, NE, Denver and Seahawks) ... but other then the Houston game when have they played well enough in a complete game to beat a team like SF on the road? I really think that if they come away with a W they need to play at a level they achieved in only 1 game so far and that doesn't make me feel very confident.
Thanks. I just feel they've done a good job this year finding ways to win games that maybe weren't complete, dominant performances. That's a crucial trait in the postseason.
How much does DuJuan Harris actually improve the Passing game? His ability to run and now to take checkdowns can only open things up for the WR's, right?
I think he gives them their best chance to capitalize on the deep zones they have faced and continue to face.
Been hearing a lot of criticism of the firing of Lovie Smith from some circles. Why? He had nine years. Five is a coaching average. He couldn't make gameday adjustments and stubbornly ignored offense. Is Lovie that well loved around the league? He hasn't been interviewed by anyone else for a HC job.
He was interviewed by the Bills, from what I understand. I agree he was given a fair run in Chicago and have said that since the day he was fired. Most of the people upset about it are his former players, which I understand and you probably do too.
Any chance the Vikings will go after Matt Flynn?
Not unless they can get him as a backup at backup money. Ponder is their starter, whether we think that is right or wrong.
Holding a grude against SF when their coach (McCarthy) is now his coach. This logic is illogical.
No one said it had to make sense.
Bruce Arians seems like the best candidate the Bears have reached out to so far. And Singletary is just laughable. Your thoughts?
Have already commented on Singletary. Arians makes sense from the perspective of the work he did this year and also his long-time relationship with Ben Roethlisberger. If he can handle Roethlisberger, he can handle Jay Cutler.
I was very impressed by Emery as a GM up until the coaching search. At this point the process looks like a huge joke and it appears he does not know what he is doing. Mike Singeltary? C'mon Man!
Don't judge it based on that. Could be a favor, for all we know. In the end, it is a good process if it leads to a good final hire.
Will Crosby be playing in GB next season?
I don't know. I think they felt like a midseason change wasn't in order. But with an entire offseason to consider and possibly even draft a replacement, you never know. His conversion rate for his career is pretty low relative to the NFL's best kickers.
By changing the offense to suit Webb's running ability, they're taking away the ability to use AP as effectively as possible. I don't think the Vikings had a good choice. It was either run with AP or run with Webb, and they went with the guy who had already torched the Packers for over 400 yards in 2 games.
Not sure I buy that. Peterson ran well out of the read-option in limited opportunities. Imagine a defense focusing on him but also having to account for Webb in the passing game.
Joe Webb - shoulda, woulda, coulda been... a DB? Certainly wouldn't be the worst that the Vikings had on the backside.
Too late for that. Best bet is to figure out how to use him as a "slash" player on offense.
John Clayton posted the 2013 cap numbers for every team today: http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2012/story/_/id/8822266/nfl-mailbag-carryover-rules-impact-cap-strategy
Well there you guys go. Serves me right for not checking with the professor first.
I wonder how many times the decision to defer to receive the ball in the second half has benefited the Packers. The logic behind it is sound as to why they would do it. I wonder what the Packers percentage of double upping is compared to the rest of the league because you would think that more teams would do it.
It's an excellent question. I kept track of it last year and it happened a lot. Would be worth going back and checking again.
Hey Keving Love the blog. How would you rate Brinkley's performance this year?
Thanks. Better than expected. Thought he was just a guy and he played a little better than that.
What are the chances that Packer fans will see Donald Driver active in a Packer uniform again?
Unlikely unless there is an injury to the top four. If a fifth WR is active, it will be to play special teams. DD doesn't do that anymore.
With Justin Smith hurt, do you forese Rodgers getting a lot more time in the pocket? I would expect the McCarthy to see if Justin can be blocked one on one, while double teaming Aldon. If Justin can't do anything, it'll be a long day for 49ers defense and we all know nobody wants to have to blitz Rodgers.
Definitely the thought process the Packers are going through right now.
OK guys, about 10 more minutes here.
You're colleague, Colin Cowherd, said this morning that SF would destroy GB. Do you agree?
I suppose anything is possible. But the Packers are a different team than that Week 1 game.
If I was Leslie Frazier, I would have had AP run the ball on the last play of the Week 17 game to try to get the record there and taken my chances in overtime. Thoughts?
If the packers vs. 49ers game comes down to a field goal... Which kicker are you taking?
Ha! Tim Masthay.
Any update on the Packers refusing to let other teams interview Tom Clements?
They can't refuse to let the Bears interview him to be the HC.
Did we learn anything from Ted Thompson's handling of Donald Drive that would make us hold our horses about the team 'for sure' parting ways with Greg Jennings and even Finley for that matter. The national sentiment seems like GJ leaving is a for gone conclusion.
But at least in Jennings' case, it's a different situation. They need to give him a new contract. He's a pending free agent. Big difference between him and Driver, who had a deal and was willing to take a pay cut.
Just a comment on the "outrage" over a Singletary interview, and my apologies if this sounds insensitive...but they are required to satisfy the Rooney Rule, if nothing else.
No, it's a fair point. They have already satisfied it, however, with Keith Armstrong of the Falcons if not others as well.
When does the draft talk hype up. I'm getting bored....
Can we wait until February on that?
Can you explain the cap carryover in Clayton's blog please?
The rules are new this year, but I'm assuming he is referring to the ability to push a cap surplus into future years.
So, I guess that's a no on matt flynn
That would be my guess.
Is Titus Young done as a Lion
He should be. I'm guessing Martin Mayhew is leaving open the possibility of a return because he is talented, but how many times do you have to kick a guy out of your building before sending him home for good?
The Packers havent had a 100-yd rusher in forever. the 49ers stout run D allows them to drop more guys in coverage to defend the packers air attack. That coupled with their dual-threat QB and strong run game leads them to victory. Discussion over.
OK. I'll cancel my plane ticket now. No need to play the game.
KS, any offense taken to being called a colleague of Cowherd? He's an entertainer while you are a serious and analytical reporter.
Haha. One big happy family, we are.
If the Lions have another awful year in 2013 will Mayhew and Schwarz be fired?!
I would think that's a very real possibility.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Hope you enjoyed the bonus "pre-chat!" Talk to you next week.