Hi everybody, let's get started. Yeah, they already have. Montgomery has real RB ability, looks like he has good vision and definitely the ability to cut back, to plant his foot and get up the field. I'm sure there are some things he's still learning, but he's been a big part of the five-game win streak. Michael looks really fast and explosive, though as Bob McGinn pointed out in his game-tape review, he's erratic about picking the right hole or cut, etc.
They say they're going to play everybody against Washington, but since the Giants are locked into the No. 5 seeding, I have trouble seeing them playing everybody all game. Why risk Beckham/Manning and guys like that to injury if your seeding can't change? So if I had to guess, I'd say they'll start pulling some of those guys in the second half. Either way, the Packers have their future in their own hands. Win and they're in.
I haven't seen him quoted anywhere, appears he's laying low. Overall the D-line has been OK, but you're right that it affected the draft. The closer I've looked at it the last few years, the more I've realized Thompson drafts for need just like everybody else in the league. I don't think they would have taken Ragland in the first round because he's not a true three-down LB. I doubt Thompson would have taken a chance on Jack because of the knee, though I still think he would have been worth the risk. Especially drafting at the bottom of the round, sometimes you have to swing big and be willing to risk missing big if you want to land a great player. I have no idea if Raji will ever return to the NFL. He's 30 years old -- 31 in July -- and sat out a full season. No idea what kind of shape he's in, either.
I glanced at free agency a few weeks ago, specifically receiver, and the names that jumped out immediately were Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor, at least as far as talent goes. The thing with looking ahead right now is that a lot of the good players will re-sign with their teams in late February and early March, and some guys will get the franchise tag, so the landscape will change a lot between now and the start of free agency. I think the priorities should be CB, outside pass rusher, WR/TE, and RB, though Montgomery has improved the prospects there.
There very well might be with that whole PED investigation. I don't believe he was ever suspended but maybe teams including the Packers were concerned about his role in that whole thing.
Don't have an answer for you. The Packers usually use a receiver who's a good special-teams player -- I seem to remember Janis often being that last guy. But you could argue it would make more sense to put a safety there. Maybe there's a reason I don't know about for using a WR.
Not really except practice and hope Randall's health improves.
Yeah, pass rush is a huge part of pass defense, a really good rush can cover up weaknesses in coverage, no question. Matthews missing games and playing injured (hamstring, shoulder) has really hurt, that's why I think OLB is a big draft need. They need another really good rusher so the whole thing doesn't fall apart if Matthews can't play or is diminished by injury. Nick Perry is a decent rusher, so his broken hand took a little something from the rush. Age is catching up with Peppers, though maybe he's got enough in the tank to make a difference in the money games. Capers blitzes a fair amount, and I think he sends his safeties a decent amount, though maybe not the CBs as much. I'm sure part of that is playing short-handed in the secondary without Shields (and Randall and Rollins for a stretch there) affected the game plans and blitz packages quite a bit. They definitely don't have a slot blitzer like Woodson was, if that's what you're saying.
Good point on Williams, he was like Raji, a borderline difference maker, was a really good CB and at the peak of his career at that point. I think the only guy on the roster capable of being anything like that is Randall. He has a lot of talent and really good ball skills. He's also still bothered by that groin surgery that he had surgically repaired in October -- it's basically a hernia-type thing -- and for the last couple weeks has had a shoulder injury. So that's affected him, and he was really inconsistent even before getting hurt. He'd have some really good plays but get caught peaking in the backfield and give up several big completions too. Williams was way more consistent. But if you're looking for who could up his level of play over the next several weeks (if they're in the playoffs), Randall is the best bet.
Davis hasn't been listed on the injury report, so as far as I know he's healthy. He's kind of been in the dog house since the fumbled punt a few weeks ago. Allison did look good last week. He's a really big target, and Rodgers seems to like his route running and is more than willing to throw him the ball. I'm interested to see how much he plays if Cobb is back this week.
That's one of the big questions, maybe the biggest one if this team is in the playoffs. I'd say the safeties aren't better, because Collins was really really good, a true difference maker. Losing Shields this year was a huge blow, he's really good and the dropoff from him has been bigger than I would have guessed. I don't know if they'll hold up or at least be able to make enough big plays to make up for giving up plays as well. That's why the pass rush will be huge, as will the offense's ability to either control the ball or get early leads. They might not have enough to overcome the Shields injury. We shall see.
Randall is plenty fast and talented -- he played safety in college but actually played a lot of slot CB too, and he definitely has CB skills. Rollins has pretty average speed for an NFL CB. Last year I thought he was a definite starting CB in the making, now I'm not so sure, though I don't know how much his groin injury affected him this season. Because of his inexperience as only a one-year college player, as you note, it's too early to dismiss him. But maybe Thompson overdrafted there. We'll see. They do need the CBs to up their level of play if they're going to do anything in the postseason, no question there.
I've wondered that a little myself, though I did notice in re-watching the game there was one and maybe even two plays that appeared to be designed screens that were blown up and Rodgers looked elsewhere. Agree, though, that screens would seem to be something right up Montgmery's alley. Maybe they've been saving them for when they really need them.
Have to agree. He's a 30-year-old RB, that's ancient for that position, and he had knee surgery during the season. Hard to see them bringing him back.
A lot depends on whether the CB Slay plays. He's been out with a hamstring injury, practiced yesterday so looks like he might play. If he does, will be effective? He's one of the better CBs in the league, and there's a big dropoff in the Lions' CBs after him. If he can't play or is really diminished, that's a huge loss for the Lions' defense. I'm not sure they can cover the Packers well enough without him.
I'm sure we're all guilty of that. Guys flash here or there, and we wonder if there's a lot more of that to come. Other guys have a bad game, or a few quiet games, and we wonder if they've lost it. That's why you have to look at the whole season and look for trends.
That's one of the big offseason questions. Lang's a really good player and a great guy to have on the team because of his toughness and leadership by example, etc. But he's going to need hip surgery in the offseason, so there are some concerns about how that will affect his performance. And cost always is a factor too. Either of the possibilities you point out is possible, and I really don't know how this will turn out. Thompson's history suggests he might let Lang leave in free agency and draft a guard to replace him. But there always are exceptions and Thompson might see Lang as an exception. Cost will be a major factor. I'm not sure what Lang's value will be on the open market coming off hip surgery.
I'd think they'd need to run more against the Lions -- they were moving the ball so well in the air that they kind of abandoned it against the Vikings, though it's hard to blame McCarthy for that, Rodgers was moving the ball up and down the field. I'd guess Montgomery will get more like 15 carries in this game.
I doubt it. I don't think anybody is going to want to take on Cobb's contract -- I think he's scheduled to make $9.5M in salary and bonus next year. I doubt anybody would give up anything for Janis, they'd think they could find a WR they like with a later-round draft pick.
That's an interesting point. One thing about following a team closely, you know all the draft mistakes it makes, but you really don't know how other teams' drafts have been. I strongly recommend going to drafthistory.com and looking through the first rounds of the last 10 years, or picking a few teams and looking at their last five drafts. If you've never done it, you might be stunned at all the picks that didn't pan out. Thompson's drafts overall have been good. Now, with his philosophy, which is more draft oriented than anyone in the league, you have to hit on a few more picks than if you also take some shots in free agency. Thompson hasn't hit big on a pick since Mike Daniels. In earlier drafts he hit bit with Rodgers, Matthews, Collins. He also hit big signing Woodson. He needs to hit big on a pick or two again.
Seems OK. He made some glaring errors earlier in the season, haven't noticed any the past few weeks. He's got a lot of physical talent. If he has the head for the game, he could be a starter down the road.
I agree with your overall point, the great finish and even a great run in the postseason won't eliminate the weaknesses on the roster. There is a lot of work to do in the offseason to build a team that can be a champion while Rodgers is still a premier player. As for heads rolling, I seriously doubt that's on the table. But we do have to let this play out before making final judgment there.