OK, faithful readers, let's begin this Wednesday 11 a.m. chat ... Mike: I can't say they got old in a hurry. Once again, it's a very young team, on balance. I questioned Ted Thompson about the perils of complacency because the GM and coach here have been at it for more than 10 years. He immediately responded that he and Mike McCarthy guard against that all the time, discuss it all the time, take measures to prevent it all the time. To keep up with New England isn't easy. Given the number of teams today, the rules designed to foster parity and the excellent work being done across the league in almost every front office, Bill Belichick is my choice as the greatest coach in NFL history. I can't criticize bringing back Peppers or Nelson. Those were no-brainers. Matthews will be an exceptional player again.
Paul: Janis has shown almost no improvement since training camp opened in late July. There are no excuses to be made for him. That's on him. Trevor Davis is a typical rookie mid-round pick. He makes a few plays, misses some others. Adams, Nelson and Cobb are better than Davis right now, and Allison is on about the same level but has much better size. Yes, the offense needs vertical stretch. It also needs to function and win games, one way or the other. Playing time at WR is not the issue.
Walt: I do not know. I doubt the Packers know. I wish nothing but the best for Sam Shields, He has had an outstanding career. The Packers really, really miss him. Concussions obviously are dangerous. Specialists will make their determinations, the Packers' medical staff will examine them and ultimately Ted Thompson and Mark Murphy will decide if the Packers will permit him to put on one of their uniforms again.
Lanny: Marwin Evans has great potential. He belongs on this team. He's a big, fast safety, the kind of trendy player that would be a great fit in sub packages once he gets more experience. Kyle Murphy was a sixth-round pick who had some excellent moments in the exhibition season. I remember one scout telling me Murphy would be an NFL starter some day. You do not get rid of prospects like this. There is dead weight on this roster but Evans and Murphy aren't part of ballast.
Jim F: Based on their track record, it wouldn't surprise me if Herb Waters was promoted from the P-squad before the end of the season. He's the WR from Miami who was moved to CB in early September after the final cut. I've heard good things in the locker room about Waters' development. Of course he's still raw, but in time he might become a contributor at CB.
Mark: I don't see Ted Thompson being someone who spends a lot of time looking backward. He knows where he hit and where he missed. His weeks are filled with team issues early in the week and then school calls and writing college reports later in the week. There's not a lot of time for introspection. He has his formula, and it has been a winning formula. He probably sees 4-6 as a downturn amid a long stretch of winning. He also isn't foreclosing the possibility of winning the NFC North title. In a conference call with Detroit writers Tuesday, Vikes coach Mike Zimmer said, "I honestly think there is a lot of time left. I think we've got five games after this. A lot of things can happen. I mean, we went 0-4 in four games. It's a big game. It's a divisional rival on the road. Both teams are trying to fight for the division championship and by no means I don't think Green Bay's out of it as well." There's 38% of the season left. Why fans want to turn the page on a season so early is just beyond me. You scratch and claw for every victory you can, then add it up Jan. 1. Who cares about next year? This is this year, and the Packers are two games back of two vulnerable teams in the division. Cliche or not, nothing has been decided THIS SEASON.
Mike: Seattle coordinator Kris Richard, 39, rattled Carson Wentz Sunday with a series of blitzes. It was Wentz' worst game. Dom Capers, 66, has more than enough in his package to throw off Wentz. What he doesn't have is Richard Sherman at LC and Earl Thomas at FS. Hard to blitz with what the Packers are trying to cover with and the mistakes being made at safety.
Pete: Wow. Matthews is 30 and in his eighth season. His dad played LB for 19 years. Matthews has had injury woes this season but didn't miss a game the past two years. To me, he's a massive part of the solution, not part of the problem. The Packers already blew it this year by throwing away Josh Sitton, one of their top players. Tossing away 52 would be irresponsible. As for a trade, his contract is too big to trade.
JQ: He justifies it by trying to win the game utilizing experiences from a lifetime in football. He blitzed merely 11.4% against the Redskins, and just one of his four blitzes was more than five. With his four-man rush a joke, Capers took a chance rather than let Cousins carve him up. The blitz was picked up and the man coverage was burned. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Barclay played well at RG vs. Tenn, then hurt his shoulder in pregame against Wash and turned in a poor first half. D2 Jason Spriggs was barely OK there in second half. By and large, Spriggs had an unimpressive August at tackle. As a guard, I question his strength, size and toughness. If Spriggs start Monday night we'll get a good read on his development based on how he fares against Eagles 3-tech Fletcher Cox.
Roberto: As I mentioned earlier, the Packers could be six weeks away from winning a division title. Not sure if that qualifies as upper level in your judgment but a playoff berth isn't out of the question. Depending on Shields' future, the Packers gave a very good core of players. I've seen too many seasons turn in exactly the opposite direction I expected them to be heading. It is a wacky, crazy business. Fortunes change overnight. How people can pick games for a living is beyond me. We just have no idea right now how this season will finish in Green Bay. Until we do, maybe it's best to just let it play out, you know?
Dilweg: Fat or not, Eddie Lacy was off to a very good start. Starks is fine as a No. 2, and the decision to send Kuhn out to pasture and promote Ripkowski was wise. The mistake was wasting a roster spot on QB Callahan for 5 weeks. The Packers became infatuated with him, and I could never understand why. There is very good depth at LB. So you think this coaching staff has gotten a lot out of these players this year, huh? You've got to be kidding.