Hi everyone. Let's get started.
When will the Vikings start paying Ted Thompson for being their GM too?
Ha. Was talking about this the other day with someone. The Packers have been so good at developing young talent that their castoffs are more than worth sifting through. When the Packers release someone or let them leave via free agency, it doesn't mean they can't play anymore. It just means the Packers have younger and/or cheaper players they want to use instead.
Did you get a sense from Vikings minicamp who the likely KO and P returners will be? It sounded like half the team got reps.
If I had to guess, I would say Patterson for kickoffs and Sherels for punts. But we're a long way off.
I know the Packers weren't in trouble with the cap, even with Desmond Bishop on the roster. But now that his contract is off the books, will the Packers try to use the remaining money to re-sign key soon-to-be free agents like Sam Shields and B.J. Raji? Also, if Raji underperforms, will this be his last season in Green Bay?
I don't think one had anything to do with the other. They had enough money to sign Shields and Raji whether or not they cut Bishop.
Thoughts on the Idonije signing?
Have something going up on the blog soon. (Israel Idonije signed with the Lions, for those who didn't know.) He gives them an ideal swing guy who is just as good as a DE as he is at DT. He's also tall with those long arms, a body type the Lions are suddenly in love with.
Do you see Bishop playing more inside or outside?
I guess it could go either way, but as I said on the blog yesterday, it would seem odd to have him playing outside with Erin Henderson playing inside. Isn't that two guys playing at their second-best positions, if not out of position altogether?
With the signing of Chris Hope and Delmas not taking a snap in OTAs, will Don Carey or Chris Hope start at Safety? I feel like Delmas might play less snaps than last year if he can't recover from a year (maybe 4 year) old injury.
I would guess that Carey would get that chance in camp if needed but that Hope will be available to jump in if he falters. But the key is Delmas. He'll get the first crack.
limited participation, signing of Chris Hope, things really aren't lookin good for Louis Delmas' season, are they?
At the very least, they've given themselves several backup plans. As they should. The guy hasn't been healthy for 18 months.
Do you envinsion Det CB Daruis Slay matching the success GB CB Casey Hayward had last season as rookie?
Two different kind of players, and interceptions aren't always the way to gauge young corners. But Slay will get every opportunity to play the same kind of prominent role that Hayward did, if not more. It's very possible Slay will be a starter from Day 1 on the outside.
So I hear. Congrats to the Chicago portion of this chat.
Is Nick Perry going to fix his coverage problems? He really struggled last year in his limited time
I talked to Kevin Greene at minicamp and he seemed pretty convinced that Perry can handle the coverage aspect and brought up a specific play against the Colts, where Perry had Reggie Wayne on a vertical route and stayed with him. He just needs reps, more than anything.
Who do you like better starting alongside Harrison Smith? Raymond or Sandford? I think if Raymond can stay healthy he is a much better coverage safety.
Raymond is never healthy, though. I just think it's kind of funny how every year they try to find someone other than Sanford to play, and none of the other guys can stay on the field.
If Slay or Bentley goes down, and both have had a significant injury in the past year, aren't we talking about the same old Lions secondary problems? Especially with Delmas looking like he may not play very much.
You have the same problem in terms of untested players being forced onto the field. But sometimes those untested players work out. There is a lot of positive buzz about CB Chris Greenwood, who spent the year on IR.
I keep hearing Jared Allen is getting old and that's why the Vikes didn't redo his contract. Could it be JA is setting himself up for FA if the Vikes youth movement hits a speed bump this year?
Sure seems that way from here. There is every reason for the Vikings to do an extension from a salary cap standpoint. The fact that they're willing to absorb a $17M hit suggests this could be it for him in Minnesota.
Do you think the vikings will use some Pistol on 3rd downs to keep Peterson on the field and get Patterson some creative carries.
That's not really the way Bill Musgrave operates, but you never know.
Mark the date, 6/25/13 - Auto refresh was turned on at the start of the chat without any proding! Bravo.
I'm a quick learner.
With the limited number of quarterbacks and the unlikely senerio the bears will be selecting at the top of the first round next year wouldn't it be to the bears advantage to sign cutler now instead of possibly paying a flacco type money?
I think they would if they felt confident he was their guy moving forward. But with a new coach and a general manager who isn't responsible for acquiring him, it appears the Bears are taking it slow. Better to do it that way than sign him quickly and then have Trestman decide he doesn't think much of him.
What is the deal with all of these former Titans becoming Lions? I understand the coach connection, but isn't this a knock on Jim Schwartz? Is he blinded by the guys he is familiar with from his Tennessee days while ignoring better options?
Not in cases of backup players. If anything, his background with these players gives him a good idea of what he's getting, and he knows the players will be up to speed pretty quickly.
The Packers must have a lot of faith in Jones replacing Bishop. If memory serves correct, Thompson's only whiffs on letting guys go early is Wahle/Rivera (pick one, Sitton can only replace one of them) and Cullen Jenkins.
Brett Favre and Ryan Longwell weren't through, either, when they left Green Bay.
you say " There is every reason for the Vikings to do an extension from a salary cap standpoint. The fact that they're willing to absorb a $17M hit suggests this could be it for him in Minnesota."but IF they can absorb the $17m this year, (and they can) why spread it out in future years with a contract restructure, where it could handicap them in future years (see: Detroit Lions)
It's a fair point. I guess I should say that the Vikings, like most teams, CAN hack it. You can always make choices to accommodate huge cap numbers. But generally speaking, teams get better deals when they sign players to extensions than if they wait until free agency and the player has more leverage. If their goal was to get a good deal with Allen, this would seem a better time than next winter.
Anything on the Stafford front regarding his contract? I do think we need to lower his cap hit at some point.
Nothing at the moment that I've heard. They've made it this far with his current hit. So they can get through the year if they need to. The urgency isn't quite the same as it was in February/March. They've already made the moves to push other guys' hits into the future so they can accommodate Stafford.
All the talk right now is that SF and SEA are the class of the NFC. What are the pundits seeing as the Packer's biggest weakness that is keeping them out of the class of the Niners and Seahawks?
Everyone wants to see what the Packers have done to fix their defense. They certainly haven't overhauled their personnel.
Think Tony Scheffler is on the roster bubble?
Not necessarily for 2013, but his contract and Pettigrew's contract are both up after the season. Hard to see both of them being re-signed.
How much will the Bears miss Idonije. He was a very good player last year in run and pass defense. Detroit got a steal IMO
The Bears are going to ride with younger players, including Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton. Eventually that was going to happen.
Referring to my earlier comment, Thompson had Rodgers and Crosby to replace Favre and Longwell. They're still trying to find a guard to replace Wahle/Rivera and a pass rushing 3 down DE like Jenkins. Nick Collins also effectively replaced Sharper who also had a few good years left. The career ending injury was more of a fluke thing but you can't deny Packers had Collins to replace Sharper.
There's a difference between having good players to replace departed veterans, which the Packers did, and letting players go when you judge their careers to be done, which the Packers did not. They have released players who still have some tread on the tires. In most cases it was prompted by having a worthy replacement on hand, but that doesn't mean those players' careers were over when they were released.
More receptions this year - Reggie Bush or Matt Forte?
This will be an ongoing debate. I'm going to say Bush because I think the Lions will throw (much) more than the Bears.
Did vikes sign all players from 2013 draft yet?
None of the three first-rounders have signed.
Will CM3 ever be good in the run game? I know analysts love him and will bend over backwards for him but I'm sick of watching him run right past RB's on handoffs.
Oh, I don't think he does that as often as you think. I've always felt he was a very underrated run defender. He's also a very sure tackler. Rarely misses when he gets his hands on you.
About the Thompson comments. It was definitely an unknown that Rodgers would develop into the league's best QB. Remember early in his career the talk was can he stay healthy enough to replace a legend.
True from the outside, but while the Packers didn't know Rodgers would become an MVP, they did feel very confident that he was ready to play at a high level. If their backup at the time was, say, Graham Harrell, I think they would have been more receptive to Favre's return.
I read somewhere that Trestman uses a 60/40 pass to run ratio. Do you think that the lions will use a higher run pass ratio than that for bush to get more receptions than forte?
I don't know about that. Maybe that's bee his history, but he'll be smart enough to do what's best with his personnel. Based on how Jay Cutler takes to his offense, that might well be the right ratio. We'll see.
Do you like ludefisk?
Never had it.
Would you get more or less quesions if you did this blog when we were all at home, as opposed to sending you questions from work?
I'm going to guess far less. I don't even think we schedule chats during off hours.
Why havnt the Bears tried to extend the contracts of Tillman or Jennings? I know they're up there in age but they should be good for at least a couple more years right?
If they were 100 percent convinced of that, they would have. But it's also possible that something could happen in camp or preseason. Too early to declare they have decided against it.
what do 1st rounders have to gain by holding out... I thought the ballpark figures were set in stone
No one is holding out yet, and it rarely happens anymore. Pretty much everything is slotted.
Why is all the hype always on the packers, every time the vikings do something good, it seams like it is always down played. Example is that Ponder played some of his best games against good teams like the texans, packers and 49ers.
Hmmm. I'm pretty sure I have written multiple times that Ponder had the second-best QBR in the NFL over the final four games. He had a very up-and-down season, and no one is hiding from that.
See any indications of how receptive Jay was to getting the ball out quickly? Does this mean more throws to the TE and RB over say, Jeffrey, who runs a lot of vertical routes?
I would have to assume he is receptive. It means less hits and sacks. That's good for everyone. It'll be more about making sure he adjusts his instincts to hold the ball. I'm sure he'll intend to get rid of it quickly.
Does flip flopping the Oline really fix anything? I'm skeptical
It's all about Bulaga. The Packers needed a better left tackle than what Marshall Newhouse was giving them. If Bulaga can make that adjustment, it'll be worth the shift. I'm not worried about Sitton or Lang, and if Newhouse can't cut it at right tackle, they'll have Barclay there.
What year do you think the Vikings will sign Aaron Rodgers?
I'm saying the 2020 season.
If you had to guess week 1 for Vikings, how many times do the Vikings attempt Patterson the ball on offensive plays whether it be end arounds, bubble screens, or natural passes?
In Week 1? Maybe a half-dozen, tops. These things take time. But I do think he'll be their kick returner for starters.
Bulaga hasn't proven to be a good RT 2 of the last 3 years. How can he handle LT?
I'm not sure I agree with that. Sitton has been their best lineman overall during that time, but I think Bulaga has been their second-best.
Can I be a good CB like I was with the Rams before my injuries the last 2 years.
A broken neck is a pretty serious injury. Anything the Lions get from you is gravy.
any chance the lions would pick up a WR since they let one go and if so who will they go after? any chance that T.O. or chad johnson would be on the lions roster this year?
I think there's a decent chance they'll sign a receiver but would be stunned if it's either one of those guys.
Barring injury, what is your prediction on the Lions starting o line game one?
Reiff-Sims-Raiola-Warford-Fox. Best guess.
Seems like, by the Lions standards, a pretty quiet off-season in terms of arrests and the like. Especially compared to last season.
Very much so. For the most part, these things happen in cycles throughout the NFL.
to answer heath's question -- the pack is 17-3 in last 20 divisional games and the vikings ended GB's streak of 13 straight divisional wins --- the rest of the NFCN needs to beat the Pack to get the hype
There you go.
I tweeted at Matt Miller(@nfldraftscout) a couple of weeks ago about his thoughts on Mike Neal switching to an OLB. He said he's fast enough to play the position. I know 40 times don't matter much but he ran around a 4.8 at the combine I believe while Clay Matthews and Nick Perry ran 4.6s. I think he's athletic, but not fast enough. Will he be a bull-rushing OLB. How will he fare in pass coverage? Thoughts?
It's all about how the Packers use him. If he's basically a stand-up pass rusher, than he is plenty fast to do it out of a two-point stance. If they really plan to use him in coverage, he will look like a defensive lineman in zone-blitz coverage.
Is there any scenario in which you see the Bears letting a healthy Jay Cutler walk at the end of the season?
Yep. If Trestman's evaluation is poor, I don't see the Bears forcing him on their coach. But Cutler would have to be an exceptional disaster this season, far below his career averages, for that to happen.
Regarding Mike Neal comments, he will mostly be a rusher will he not? I think the idea of playing him at OLB is more to confuse defenses on where he will line up. They don't really plan on him covering anybody.
I have to agree.
RE the vikes safeties, is there a possibility that Robert Blanton or Andrew Sendejo will overtake Raymond/Sanford in the pecking order? Do you think they have the talent/potential to offer more than what Raymond and Sanford have shown over the past couple seasons?
Blanton might get a chance. Thinking that Sendejo is a special teams guy.
Why don't analysts believe the Vikings will be able to get the ball into Patterson's hands in similar ways they got it to Percy? He is more built for these quick types of plays and will be a better threat on the outside because of his size.
It's not that they don't believe they can get him the ball. It's that everyone knows Harvin is a special player and athlete. There is some doubt that Patterson can duplicate what Harvin did once he had the ball in his hands.
Michael Bush has disappointed me. Poor YPC and not as many TDs or 3rd down conversions as I would like. Not worth the money?
The entire Bears offense was a disappointment last year. I wouldn't come down on Bush in particular. He's a good runner.
Who will be the new face of the franchise for the bears?
By definition it's Jay Cutler. You don't always get to decide the FOF. When you think of the Bears, who is the first player you think of? It's Jay Cutler. That makes him the face of the franchise.
Do we have the best offensive line in all of football?
I'm not sure I can say that. What I can say is the Vikings are the only NFC North line not to undergo major renovations this offseason. So at the very least, they'll start off training camp ahead of the rest of the division.
I say Packers, Lions, Vikings, Bears in that order at the end of the season. Thoughts?
The division is so wide open that I could see that happening. Could also see the Bears in second place. They might be the most difficult team in the entire league to project.
Do you expect bounce back season for Tramon Williams or is he the next guy that is replaced by TT with younger options (Hayward, House)
He's getting close to that fate, but I think he'll do well and I think he was better last year than he was in 2011.
It seems to me the Lions are adding a lot of solid, veteran depth this offseason. Injuries have been a big problem for this team (particularly last year and particularly on the defensive side of the ball). Do you see any positions where they are short on depth still?
The offensive line is pretty unproven in terms of depth even though they have a lot of intriguing possibilities. We're also waiting to see who takes the third linebacker job alongside Tulloch and Levy. But no team is perfect. Overall, they've done a nice job this offseason.
OK, a few more here.
I know Cutler isnt a top tier QB, but the Bears are 26-9 over the past 35 games he has started and finished. As you said eariler, assuming he doesnt absolutely tank the season singlehandedly in epic fashion, he is clearly the franchise QB, and deservedly so.
Agreed. You also have to consider the likelihood of finding someone better. When you look at the history of the Bears, Cutler is the best QB in at least 20-25 years. It's all relative.
Draft Bros: Better season, Nick Perry or Shea Mclelin?
Interesting. I think Perry will get more opportunity. So we'll go with him.
What does the Vikings record have to be or Ponder's QBR, for them to switch to Cassell? 0-4, 2-5? QBR under 20?
Something like that. He'll have to be really, really bad. If he goes through another slump like the one he had at midseason lsat year, then yes, I could see it happening. Remember, this is Leslie Frazier's contract year. Will he go down with a losing quarterback?
do you agree in 2016 Stafford is only the 7th best QB?
Ask me in 2016.
How much of an efffect do you think Jim Washburn will have in Detroit this year and moving forward?
He's a great coach. I'm not sure I fully understand exactly what his role will be, but generally speaking he is well regarded and should help.
Ok everyone. Thanks so much.