Hello everyone, let's get underway here on a sunny 20-degree day from Green Bay ... 54: Cornerbacks were the major problem on defense. Injuries were a part of that. Safety was and is a position of strength.
TJ: I would hope there are much better options available to rush the passer than Connor Barwin. He'll be 31 in October, too. Not much present or future with that player.
Pete: Callahan? Really? He was on the street some of the year. He has no market value. Hundley? The Packers drafted him for protection at the most important position. They need him. Rodgers was remarkably durable this season but given how many hits he decides to take and the amount of running that he does, the Packers need a capable backup. Not a warm body like Graham Harrell.
John: I see little point in discussing possible free agents now when so many of them will be re-signed. Let's see what the player pool looks like on the first day of the signing period.
Kevin: I'm guessing he has been out of ball for a decade.
Bill: The Packers will have a ton of cap space. Is Ted Thompson the man to take advantage of it? That is the question.
Rick: By all means. That's what Desmond Bishop did and a young Nick Barnett did and Brian Williams did. That guy who plays every snap, like Deion Jones or CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier or Eric Kendricks, are worth their weight in gold. It's a very underrated piece of an NFL defense in today's football.
Paul: I hope none. The human body needs rest and recovery. Season ended three weeks ago.
SS: They'd be fools if they did.
Matt: Rodgers is a big boy. He can speak for himself in less cryptic words whenever he chooses.
FOH: They need a veteran presence at cornerback. That should be obvious to everyone in the organization.
CJ: I see ILB as a more punishing position than OLB. Matthews is an outside backer. He just needs to stop taking so many chances and play his position. His dad played to 40 or something like that. So did his uncle. I expect Clay to play well and for a long time.
Mike: Peppers and Lacy wouldn't be cut. They'll both be unrestricted free agents in mid-March. I think I'm the only one that thought Peppers' production was more than adequate. Depending on what options were available and his thoughts, I'd strongly consider bringing him back for another year. Lacy? Someone from the organization (McCarthy, Thompson, Wolf, Highsmith) needs to get him on a scale and then sit down with the guy and see where his head's at.
Bob: First question is to determine if he wants to play football for anyone. If a guy couldn't keep his weight in check and his conditioning in order in a contract year, what would he be like after signing a new deal? It's beyond me how the current coaching staff allowed Lacy's weight to balloon in the two months before his injury.
KP: I'd imagine GB's roster changed 25 guys from 2014, too. The difference is NE has so many more veterans on its 90-man roster than GB. For example, on Tuesday the Patriots announced the signing of nine new players for 2017. One of them, TE Rob Housler, was out of football since being cut by the Bears on Sept. 3. Housler, 28, was a third-round pick in 2011. Playing for three teams, he has 109 receptions for 1,166 yards. He's an athlete with seam-stretching speed. I assume he's protection in case Gronkowski isn't back. Housler is the type of player Ted Thompson would never add to his 90. He wants people like Justin Perillo, Mitchell Henry and Casey Pierce taking up space on the 90 like last year. None of them can run. Therefore, they really have no chance to contribute in a substantial way. Housler probably will get cut in late August but there's no financial risk because it can be assumed he was given no guaranteed money. With his speed and experience, however, one could foresee that he actually could contribute. Belichick makes a move like this amid the Super Bowl hubbub. It's the little things that he does that puts NE over the top.
Kona: Belichick is the GM. He does the jobs of Thompson and McCarthy, and he does some of Russ Ball's negotiating job, too.
Mike: Murphy is dead right in not declaring a successor to Thompson. The best successors presently are under contract in KC (John Dorsey), Sea (John Schneider) and Oak (Reggie McKenzie). You can throw in Scot McCloughan in Washington, too. Wolf and Gutekunst have never made GM decisions. Neither has Ball, but at least he has worked several other places. Dorsey, Schneider, McKenzie and McCloughan are GMs. It's not really a young man's gig in Green Bay right now. The pressure to win is unbearable. It requires seasoning under pressure. Sports Illustrated's Austin Murphy referred to Green Bay this fall as "EnTitletown." He was comically spot on.
Ben: Maybe the Packers should not pay anybody ... I'm being facetious, the CBA has minimums teams must spend ..... but is no one worthy to be paid? What didn't you like about Perry this season other than his busted hand? What didn't you like about TJ Lang other than his hip/foot injuries? What didn't you like about Jared Cook?
Jere: I can't answer that. I first would have to talk to scouts/assistant coaches about how Tramon Williams played this year.
Jimmy: They can talk to their own UFAs to be anytime. They can't officially talk to agents for other UFAs to be until, what is it, three days or so before the start of the signing period.
Boulder: Good heavens, I hope the club isn't content with Michael as a No. 2. The larger question is if they consider Montgomery to be a legit No. 1. They need to draft a lot of positions, and RB is one of them.
Steve: The two quarterbacks the Packers have had over the last 25 years have made everyone on offense look better. Never done a study. No general impression.
Hank: If Davon House were cut it would have to be a consideration. He fell out of favor in Jax but played adequately when on the field. He can play press man, he's big and he can run. Good guy, too.
Tom: Thompson has said several times that he just prefers being around players that he knows. He believes in taking college players and letting McCarthy and his people mold them without having been influenced by other NFL systems/coaches. There is a lot to be said for that philosophy. There also is a lot to be said against that philosophy. Seems like the way to go would be a happy medium between the two, you know?
Woody: I'm sorry. Covering the game Sunday night in Houston, I never once thought of the Packers. It seems a bit myopic to think of a team that isn't playing when an all-time Super Bowl is going on and being decided for the first time in overtime.
Mike: Joe Montana was 4-0 in Super Bowls. It's either Montana or Brady (5-2 in Super Bowls). 1-2 or 2-1. It's that close. For younger readers, Montana was a more athletic, faster Aaron Rodgers with somewhat less of an arm. Bill Walsh described him as poetry in motion, and he was. Favre sits somewhere in that 6-9 range.
Bill: The Packers had a pretty good go with injuries this year. Of their 7 guys on IR at end, only Shields and Lacy were factors. NE played 4 games without Brady, their best player, and 11 games without Rob Gronkowski, their second-best player.
TJ: Disagree. Ted Thompson should be the GM without having his authority diminished until the day he steps down or is fired. Any other model involving Thompson wouldn't work.
Jimmy: Very good point. Ron Cox was 28 at the time. He replaced Koonce nicely. The fourth ILB at end of this season was Jordan Tripp ... well, we could sit here and chat all day but that's more than enough from me. Thanks to all for reading us at JS and participating today//BOB McGINN