Ha! That was one a rare dose of comedy in a game the Packers will surely want to forget. With three starters dropping out due to injury — Lane Taylor (knee), T.J. Lang (foot), Bryan Bulaga (evaluated for a concussion) — Letroy Guion had to come in and play right guard for the final series with Brett Hundley at QB. And honestly, he wasn't half bad. He only had one poor play. But obviously it's not a long-term solution. I still believe Raji is done with football.
The only coaching change McCarthy announced was the departure of associate head coach/offense Tom Clements, whose contract expired. Clements called the plays for part of the 2015 season before McCarthy reclaimed that job. From there on out it was sort of unclear what Clements' role was with Edgar Bennett as offensive coordinator, McCarthy as play caller and Alex Van Pelt coaching the QBs. He seemed like the extra chef in the kitchen.
Yes and no — but mostly no. The reason why you could say yes is because Capers' scheme has been exposed in playoff games recently. His aggressive blitzing leaves defensive backs in tough matchups down the field, and the Packers have lost those matchups recently. But I lean toward No more than anything, especially this year. The Packers were so injured and depleted in the secondary that I'm not sure any scheme could have gotten them to the Super Bowl. They just didn't have enough healthy talent back there to hold up. Capers' scheme can be very effective if he has enough talent to work with. I don't think the 2016 team had enough talent. I'm not sure the 2015 team did either. If the Packers don't bring in some new parts, don't expect a whole lot to change on the field.
Where injuries mattered: the secondary with Randall, Rollins and Shields; the outside linebackers with Matthews, Perry, Fackrell and Elliott. Where injuries did not matter: inside linebacker -- where there simply isn't enough talent on the roster, running back -- where the roster was poorly constructed from the beginning; defensive line -- where everyone was healthy but Mike Daniels was the only game-changing player. Put all that together and you have a story in which injuries are a key player but certainly not the only issue.
If the Packers are set on asking one of those two guys for a pay cut I think Cobb is the logical choice. He had a very poor season relative to the amount of money he earns, and his slender build makes him very susceptible to injury. It's also clear that he needs talent around him in order to produce. In other words, his production won't remain steady year after year regardless of the other receivers on the field. I think Matthews justifies his salary a bit more than Cobb does. I'm still not sure the Packers ask either one to take less money, though. But maybe I'm wrong.
McCarthy announced this earlier today at his press conference. Clements is gone.
My guesses -- with guesses being the key word: Lacy, Lang, Jones
It's definitely a huge factor, which is why T.J. Lang presents such a dilemma for Thompson. Lang turns 30 next September and has a long, long history of injuries, with this season being no exception. He pushes through pain very well and plays his heart out, but sometimes you have to wonder if the Packers will invest several million dollars per year — probably $5 million to $7 million for Lang — in a player who is on the wrong side of 30 and very injury prone.
You think Eddie Lacy is getting $8 million per year? There are only 3 RBs in the league that made $8 million or more in 2016: Peterson, Charles, McCoy. I would be stunned if Lacy got anything more than $4 or $5 million, and that would put him in the top 15 RBs, which he probably doesn't deserve given the serious ankle injury and the weight issues. Lacy can likely be had for a bargain unless some other team takes a big risk.
This is one of the biggest questions Thompson has to answer before the beginning of March, which is when free agency begins. He has to decide if Randall and Rollins can hold up as the top two corners without Sam Shields, who in all likelihood has played his last game for the Packers. If the answer is yes, then Thompson will probably not expend a ton of resources bolstering the position. if the answer is no, then he has to commit to finding better options. Personally, I think Randall has the talent to be a decent corner in this league. His ball skills are really good. But he struggles to play through injury, which might be a cause for concern. How often are players healthy for a full season? He doesn't seem to like the physical part of the game either. Rollins might be more of a project. He looked lost in coverage at times this year and might have relied more on pure athleticism than anything else. With his injuries (groin, neck/concussion) it might be hard for Thompson to evaluate what Rollins is all about.
This is a very logical and well-composed statement. However, I don't think the league would prevent anyone from signing Shields if they wanted to. Shields will make a choice about whether he wants to try, and then it's up to the front offices of every team in the league to decide if it's worthwhile. My guess is he will work out for a few teams but won't get a job. I would urge him to retire as well, but that's obviously easy to say for someone who isn't in that position
I think you're a little bit confused on this one. You are correct in that the Packers hardly ever play their 3-4 defense, but the nickel and dime have the same number of outside linebackers as the base. The only thing that changes is the number of defensive linemen and inside linebackers in terms of the front seven. Base defense has three D-linemen and four linebackers (two outside, two inside). The nickel has two defensive linemen and four linebackers (two outside, two inside). The dime has two defensive linemen and three linebackers (two outside, one inside). So in all three cases the Packers have the same number of pass rushers at the outside linebacker position. Declaring the nickel their base defense wouldn't change anything. It's just a title.
I think cornerback and outside linebacker are the two most likely areas for Thompson to throw down some money if he chooses to do so. With Randall and Rollins struggling, it wouldn't make a great deal of sense to draft another young corner and expect the problem to go away. That's an issue only veteran leadership would solve. As for outside linebacker, I think young players can come in and contribute right away at this spot, but it doesn't happen very often. Again, if you want immediate contributions here the free agent market is the best bet.
Pass rusher. They can't afford to take another young corner. Too much of a gamble, in my opinion.
Lacy yes. Starks no. Peppers no. Damarious Randall yes. Randall Cobb yes. Not sure which Randall you were referring to.
Ha! Can't say I've ever had that comparison before. He's much taller than me. I'm pretty short at 5-8 1/2. I might match the comedic aspect of Sheldon, but his character is way smarter than I'll ever be. Thanks for reading all season.
I wouldn't say he monitors it by skimming Twitter, but Murphy definitely knows the discontent is out there. He's talked about being aware of those sentiments in the past. He certainly isn't oblivious to it.
I will not be in Houston for the Super Bowl. But my colleague Bob McGinn will be there providing lots of coverage, so be sure to check the website throughout next week. I think the Patriots can slow Matt Ryan down a little bit, but stopping that offense would be difficult. I think Atlanta is really good offensively. However, Brady might be able to exploit the Falcons' secondary, which is pretty bad. I was stunned the Packers couldn't do more against a weak set of corners and safeties.
Lane Taylor told reporters it was just a knee sprain. T.J. Lang's foot is likely broken based on what he was saying. Same foot that broke earlier this year and never really healed. Bulaga cleared the concussion protocol. He was just a little dazed. Not sure about Brice and Hyde, who both had shoulder injuries. Montgomery seemed to be OK after his rib injury. Doesn't seem like there is much to be concerned about for next year.
I'm not sure what the coaches and front office think of Montgomery, but this season hasn't convinced me that he can be a No. 1 running back. He only had one game with 10 or more carries during the regular season. He had 11 carries twice in the playoffs. When Lacy was at his best the Packers ran the ball 20-30 times a game. I'm not convinced Montgomery can hold up if McCarthy wants to return to his traditional offense next year. I think they need a legitimate running back on the roster. Not to say Montgomery isn't legitimate, I just mean someone with more than 1 year of experience.
This is something I've pondered myself. I honestly don't know.
I do not. I think Ryan, Thomas and Martinez can be decent players, bot none of them strike me as above average NFL talent.
That's all the time I've got. See you guys later. Thanks for chatting with me.