Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Dec. 29 transcript

  • Can Montgomery and Michaels give us a semblance of a run game?
  • 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.
  • Pete I like our chances, do you think the giants will come to play?
  • 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.
  • Hi Pete- Wondering if anyone has heard from BJ Raji lately. I know he wasn't a world-beater, but his unexpected absence on the D Line this year has been overlooked a bit. The "we don't draft for need" approach got thrown a curveball due to it, and I still think we'd have drafted Myles Jack or Reggie Ragland if there wasn't a huge void in the middle of our line. Happy New Year.
  • 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 appreciate your column. How about a peak into the future. Who do you think the Pack should sign of the impending free agents? Also in the draft what would be their priorities? I would love to see them draft a dominant defensive lineman and a strong receiver. Thanks in advance.
  • 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.
  • With all the injuries at LB, why would the Packers not sign Mike Neal. There has to be more to the story.
  • 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.
  • Hi Pete, please answer this football question that has plagued me for years. When teams are in the victory formation at the end of a game why have a RB as the last man? Why not a speedy corner or sure tackling safety just in case the ball does come loose and the opposing team gets the ball? The Michigan State vs Michigan game a couple years ago proves anything can happen in football at the end. Why not be extra cautious?
  • 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.
  • Happy holidays. At this point of the season is there any the packers can do to make the secondary better more trusting?
  • Not really except practice and hope Randall's health improves.
  • Thanks Pete: All things considered, the pass rush is a considerable part of pass defense. Although the D backfield has been porous, the LBs and DL have not been a dominant pass defense force in most games. Also, it's curious that Capers hasn't added more safety & corner blitzes. Your thoughts?
  • 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.
  • Pete...I don't get the play of the Packers defense. TT has spent a lot of high draft choices...like Matthews, Perry, HHCD, Randall, Rollins, Burnett, Clark, Jones and a number of 4th...like Daniels, Ryan and Martinez. My list doesn't include B. J. Raji. That's a lot of talent...so where's the production? Is it a coaching issue?
  • Hey Pete. Enjoyed today's column comparing this year's team to the 2010 Super Bowl champs. There was one glaring omission however, Tramon Williams. The guy was relatively unknown and played brilliantly throughout the playoffs. Pick six against Ryan and jumped so high people were speculating he could fly. Are there any players amongst the D-backs who you think can step it up to that level - Gunter or Brice, Randall or Rollins, maybe Dorleant?
  • 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.
  • Has Geronimo passed Davis on the depth chart because of his play or because of an injury to Davis? He did look impressive on Saturday.
  • 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.
  • Hi Pete, In 2010, the secondary was the strength of the D: (Woodson, Collins, Shields, Williams and Peppy). The 2016 Safeties may be better (Ha Ha and Burnett) but are Rollins, Randall and Gunny good enough to hold up against Dallas, NYG, Washington, Seattle, Atlanta and maybe eventually the Pats?
  • 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.
  • Pete,
    We constantly see HUGE numbers being put up by receivers against our secondary for the past few years. The Pack spent high draft picks for Rollins and Randall. Rollins only had one year of College experience and Randall was a FS in College and now plays CB in the NFL. Should we as fans expect different results from this group considering they lack speed and frankly experience?
  • 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.
  • Pete- wondering why GB doesn't screen more, getting Montgomery out in space where he is best. I know the passing game is working well, but at times when the run seems stalled this could take the place of the run (?).
  • 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.
  • Barring injury, have we seen the last of James Starks? He has been ineffective in the run game and okay in the screen game. He has not served as a power back and makes poor reads on cuts and angles when he is carrying out of the backfield. I can't see him in Green and Gold next year either. Thoughts?
  • 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.
  • Hi Pete,

    So what's your "gut feeling" about this very winnable ROAD Game on Sunday night? Assuming GB wins, then I believe they'll have a winnable HOME game against the NYG before going to Dallas...Happy New Year!
  • 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.
  • Do you think Fan expectations on player development is short sighted and at times to quick to both condemn and elevate players? Allison and Cobb were both players that fans made a lot of comments both ways this last week.
  • 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.
  • The Packer offensive line depth has served the team well this year thanks to good planning and the need to protect the franchise. I know it is early, but could you see TJ Lang getting a big contract or do the Packers look early in the draft for O-line help in the interior?
  • 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.
  • Hey Pete, can we expect better run results against the Lions as compared to the Vikings?
  • 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.
  • With the emergence of Allison and the need to draft another speed receiver next year, do Janis or Cobb have any trade value at draft day?
  • 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.
  • Hello Pete, Thanks for chat. Judging from the deficiencies on defense, I would be very happy to see a defense-heavy draft next year. Quick thought on Detroit: They have a great quarterback and have been drafting relatively high in the pecking order for a number of years now. Yet, I don't see a huge difference in productivity from them in comparison to the Packers that have been getting picks much later. Might this comparison be a testament to Thompson keeping us competitive?
  • 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.
  • How is Brice playing in limited snaps when Burnett moves down to ILB?
  • 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 think everyone is going over the top thinking all is well again in GB. There is still issues with the roster make-up with a limited number of "playmakers" on it. If they finish 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs or even make the playoffs and get bounced early, there has to be a head or two rolling. The were a SB favorite to start the year and collapsed.
  • 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.
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