OK everybody, let's get started. First thing on your question Paul, with a lot of the undrafted guys the 40 times aren't real reliable because most of them didn't go to the combine. So the 40 times you see are from news reports from their pro days, and I think a lot of those are reported faster than the guy really is, or faster than he'd have run if he'd been at the combine. Hawkins' 40 is fast, though, you're right. He's a second-year guy and is doing OK, he's in the running for making the roster again. Crockett had a drop or two yesterday, he's pretty raw. The undrafted receiver who looks like a great practice-squad candidate is Michael Clark, the 6-6 receiver from Marshall who started his college career as a basketball player. He's made several really good leaping catches on jump-ball throws. He's really raw too -- he had a bad drop yesterday where a ball a little above his head went right through his hands like he was trying to catch it with paddles -- but there's plenty to work with there.
His history says no, but you never know. In his defense, it's pretty tough to find anybody who can help during the season. As Eric Baranczyk said last year, it's not like the next Deion Sanders is working at McDonald's waiting to be plucked off the street. In-season trades are tough to make though not impossible. If Matthews or Perry suffers a season-ending injury, that would spell big trouble and Thompson probably would have to do something.
That is the challenge. Just got off the phone with a scout for another team, and we were talking about Kevin King, and he said it wouldn't surprise him if King struggled in camp. And I told him King was kind of struggling. But he also thinks King long-term is a really, really good prospect. Thompson's early drafts for the Packers were outstanding. His last several haven't been as good. But at least early on it does look like King and Josh Jones, his first two picks this year, are pretty talented guys.
I'd still guess better than 50-50 at this point, but it's definitely not a given. The top four are locks: House, Rollins, Randall, King. Then there's Gunter, Hawkins and the UDFA Donatello Brown battling for one or two spots. Gunter has pretty decent size, he's tough and competitive and all that, so if I had to bet, I'd bet on him making it. But it's not a given. The preseason games matter most, so the most important part of the auditions still is to come.
I guess I'd go Murphy, Amichia, McCray, Gray, Patrick, Leff. Kind of tough to rank after McCray. Lots of football to go, and the preseason games are huge.
Yes, that is the downside to playing a safety at ILB. Talked with an assistant coach for another team yesterday about that, he works for a team that uses a safety at ILB. He said the problem comes mostly when there's a lead fullback, and when that's the case the defense probably will just take the safety out of there. So some of that can be handled with personnel vs. personnel. But Dallas, for instance, will be a really tough matchup because Ezekiel Elliott is so good, and the Cowboys' line is one of the league's best. They don't use a fullback, but having a safety at ILB will be an inviting target for Dallas to run at. But the Cowboys also will have three WRs and a good TE on the field and you want to be able to cover. So that will put Capers in a quandary. Probably means using a few different packages. But to your original point, yes it can make defending the run tougher. The thing is, teams generally win in the NFL throwing the ball, and their whole goal there is finding favorable matchups. So pass D is critical. Part of what they'll do is, even if they're in Nitro they can put their two best run-stopping DTs on the field on non-obvious passing downs. Might hurt the rush but gives a little better chance to stop the run. They also have a package where a safety plays ILB but it's still base D with three defensive linemen. That's another option for stopping the run but improving pass coverage over the normal base D.
That was a day last week when they were inside, and they were inside because of rain. This week they were outside and kicked outside. Hart's two bad snaps the last time they kicked, that was alarming after the bad kicking performance on Family, which likely was at least partially because of snap issues. I'm still thinking they more likely than not will bring in somebody else, perhaps Goode, but maybe they want to see Hart in the game tomorrow night first.
Agree. He keeps getting open, the QBs keep throwing to him, and he catches it. The thing with Janis is special teams. If he's really really good covering punts and kicks, he still has a good chance of making the team. Sort of the WR version of Jarrett Bush. But McCaffrey so far has outplayed the two draft picks, Yancey and Dupre, and it's really not that close. Still a lot of football to go, but McCaffrey keeps this up he'll have a damn good chance of making the roster.
Funny you say that, I kind of wrote that when they picked him, though not quite as strongly. Basically said judging that draft will come down in large part to whether Spriggs is really good, because they gave up an extra pick to get him and badly needed help on defense. Now, here's how the Packers looked at it. One, Bakhtiari got hurt in '15, their offense really suffered while they groped to find an adequate backup (Tretter ended up being the best option). So Thompson wanted to protect from that happening again by drafting a guy who's a left tackle. I get that. Also, it gave him some protection if contract extension talks on Bakhtiari went south. That said, it still seemed like a steep price to me, basically using two picks for that. I still wonder if they could have found an adequate backup in maybe the fourth round, and used the second-rounder like you said on defense. We'll probably need to wait another year or two to make a more definitive judgment. Maybe Spriggs will end up saving their bacon this year. We'll see. But I'm still with you on this one.
Yeah, a little late. Relative to the rest of the league he's not that late, there are only a few teams that are using safeties at LB regularly. But a couple have been doing it for a few years, and Thompson just doesn't value ILBs in the draft, and probably rightly so. But knowing that, they should have been thinking this way; in the 2016 draft, maybe even 2015.
Depends if they think the issue is more the long-snapper or holder. If it's Vogel, then they'd have to think seriously about it. But it looks to me like it's more the snapper. Like I said earlier, if I were a betting man I'd bet on a new snapper before camp is over.
They kept seven last year, and there's probably a good chance they do it again this season, especially if they keep Janis for special teams. Eight seems a little too heavy because they're going to keep at least three TEs, and Kerridge is making a strong push to stick as the second fullback.
Haven't thought a lot about it, but I'd think for game-day actives they'd have three RBs and one or both FBs active. Depends in part on how much Rikpowski gets the ball. They could get away with two RBs if they give him the ball a few times a game. But it would be that strange to lose two RBs to an injury in a game, so I'd guess they'd prefer having three up on game day.
I'd first say we really have to see him in a game, because as you suggest his mobility is big part of his game, and you need to see him in live action to see if that translates to his play in the NFL. But Callahan is pretty clearly better than him. So I'd still say odds are firmly against him, though that can change depending on performance in the preseason games.
Yeah, we'll be addressing that regularly, in fact I did a column on whether to extend Clinton-Dix, Linsley, D. Adams and Burnett. You're right, though, Taylor is the kind of guy who could be a good candidate because they could get a team-friendly deal if they do it now for a guy who's shown he's good enough to be a starter. Wouldn't be surprised at all if they did something with him in camp or during the season.
That would be pretty light. I'm sure they've done it at times in the past, but usually it's at least nine. But they always have a couple on the practice squad too, and that's their extra depth. They suit up only seven or maybe eight on game day, anyway.
Looks like that's going to be important but don't know how good it will be. Daniels still is their best inside rusher, and he's looked pretty good. Lowry probably has been next-best, followed by Clark, but at this point I wouldn't say either looks like a difference maker in that role. Let's see what they do in the games.
Look at how much better the offense got when Cook got back from his injury late last season. It was night and day. Bennett isn't as fast as Cook but he's a really good athlete and receiver, so much of what Cook brought still will be there with Bennett. Plus Bennett is a far, far superior run blocker, so that puts more stress on defensive coordinators for what personnel to play, which leads to matchup advantages for the offense. Kendricks is faster and a better blocker than Richard Rodgers, so now the two tight-end package becomes more effective. And as long as one of the three draft picks at RB is at least OK, there's a little more depth at RB. That's why I'm expecting this to be one of the best three or four offenses in the league.
If you're talking about how he's playing, I don't see any reason for alarm at this point. For all his obvious talents, he is raw and played CB at Washington for only 1 1/2 years -- he was a safety before that. But like I said earlier, I just got off the phone with a scout for another team who said he wouldn't be surprised if King struggled early in camp, and when I said he was having his rough moments, and the scout wasn't at all surprised and basically said that that's what he needs, he'll be better in the long run for it. He's going to take some lumps. The big thing will be looking for improvement in camp and throughout the season.
Okay, probably not making as many plays as last year in camp, or maybe it just seems that way because he was an unknown going into camp last year. But he looks fine from what I've seen. I do wonder if he's playing slightly less than he otherwise would because he's suspended for the first game. Not sure about that.
So far, so good. No red flags as far as hitting the wall (he turns 34 later this month).
Have not heard anything about the severity of the issue. No idea if he'll need surgery after the season, might depend on how it holds up in games. But whenever a guy has to wear a harness or whatever, there's always reason to have some concern. Sometimes he's just fine and it doesn't affect performance; other times it's the sign of a real issue.