OK, here we go, thanks for joining in. McCaffrey is having a good camp. He's catching a lot of passes, which means he's getting open and the QBs like throwing to him. He has a real shot. Really good chance they'll keep seven WRs. There's Nelson, Cobb and Adams, then Allison, and also Davis because of punt and kickoff returning. Then you have Janis, McCaffrey, Yancey and Dupre going for two spots. That's the way I see it. Allison hasn't had an eye-catching camp but I'm still thinking it's a given he makes it. Janis has a leg up because of special teams, especially kick and punt coverage. He's caught a few more passes in recent practices, also, and the TD in the game. McCaffrey has been way more productive than Yancey and Dupre, but upside will be a factor too, and if Thompson thinks another team would claim, say, Yancey, and he likes Yancey's long-term potential better than McCaffrey, than Yancey probably would make it. But no matter what, McCaffrey has had a good camp and has a real shot to make the team.
The Packers have to be wondering that. He has great length and is a good athlete, but he's not quite explosive enough to win with speed, and he just doesn't have play strength. You never know when the light might go on for some guys, but it's not looking good for Fackrell early in his second training camp. As Rob Demovsky tweeted, Fackrell this week won his first one-on-one pass rush rep in two years. That's a bad sign. Thompson liked him enough to draft him with a high pick, so he'll get some leash, but right now the prospects of him panning out aren't looking good.
If Matthews or Perry gets hurt, the next guy up is Jayrone Elliott. Maybe Biegel will have that spot in a couple months -- that's if he returns soon from foot surgery performed in mid-May. I thought the pass rush was at least an equal priority to coverage for the draft and free agency, and I'd have put rush at 1A. But Thompson clearly thought coverage was the greater need (House, King and Jones). I guess the thing that surprised me most was that he didn't take a rusher in the third round. That had to have been a board-driven pick -- have to think M. Adams was the highest-rated guy on their board by a fair amount. Either way, the rush could be a problem, and it almost definitely will if Matthews or Perry misses extended time.
I've asked around about that, and the impression I get is that it's Thompson, for whatever reason he's liked those guys they've drafted from the Pac-12. I still don't know if there's something he likes about that league, or he's just happened to like those players.
He's looked OK. He's flashed more than any of the other backup OLBs, though I wouldn't say he's done anything to force himself on the field. He'll probably play a lot, at least until Biegel returns and they find out whether he can help them this year.
No, he's got a good arm. He's pushing Callahan for the No. 3 job. Not saying he's going to win it, but he's at least got a shot based on the way he played against Philly.
Not sure, maybe it contributes to a slower start, at least in the opener. But I'm on the side of sitting guys or playing them less. You just can't be getting your best guys injured in games that don't count. It's obviously less than ideal to not play them much, but the risk-reward skews so heavily toward risk. If that means not playing quite as well in opener, then if I'm the coach I'd say, so be it. It's a long season. I realize every games counts for home-field advantage, but what matters even more than that is how you're playing in January.
He didn't do much for the first 1 1/2 weeks or so of camp, then had the TD and caught a few passes in team drills this week. He might be getting a little better at it -- he caught a bomb from Rodgers yesterday -- but it still looks like he's pretty far down the depth chart as a pure WR. His value still is mainly special teams.
Slot guys generally are quick more than fast, and that helps because from the slot they can break either way, so that makes them tougher to cover. That usually means they're smaller guys. Nelson is an exception. He's good in the slot because he's an excellent route runner and had good size, which gives him a bigger catch radius and ability to handle physical play. He's almost like a tight end in there -- not quite, but almost. Cobb and Nelson are their best slot guys. Nelson still is good outside too though not the threat deep that he was a couple years ago. Adams is good on the outside because of his size and leaping ability. Davis is better outside because of his speed.
No downside in that way from that I see, because the team can just sit those guys if it wants. There's a lower risk of wearing out guys with practice reps that final week, and in the final preseason game too, because a lot starters won't play in that game, or play only a series. The one thing that probably gets tougher is sifting through the guys cut league-wide for someone you might want to pick up for your 53. A lot more guys to look through with the cuts coming all at once. But even then, I'd think they know the guys who might get cut by other teams even before cuts are made.
It might. I mean, part of me questions how playing four series instead of two series in the preseason can really matter that much. As Rodgers said this week, practice is where they get realistic looks -- they're working against blitzes, etc., whereas in the preseason games most teams scale back their game plans. But maybe it helps a little bit for timing, audibles, etc. But as I said earlier, IMHO the risk-reward skews too heavily to the risk to make it worth playing him much. Practice is a more controlled setting as far as pass rush, collisions, etc., than a game. And while the odds of him getting hurt in a preseason game are low, they're zero if he's not on the field.
Yeah, they tackled really poorly against Philly. SI magazine had an interesting article about tackling last week, said some teams are now studying rugby tackling and using those techniques, which are all about keeping the head out of the way and wrapping up, and using pretty specific footwork to set up the tackle. McCarthy might very well join that movement. Also, I'll bet he has those robotic tackling dummies next year. I asked him about that in the offseason, he said he likes them but is hoping the technology improves just a little more first. I'll bet he takes the plunge next year.
He appears to have some ability, but he's had his share of struggles. He's been working at guard with the No. 2 offensive line. It's not a given he'll make the final 53, though if he's cut you have to assume they'd sign him to the practice squad.
Yeah, it cuts both ways. I often think that when the fans at camp cheer for a long touchdown pass, because it means the Packers' DBs got hurt. I get it, big plays are exciting and fun, and they cheer interceptions and big pass breakups too, but it does cut both ways. As a reporter, I guess you kind of take it on a case-by-case basis. How good was the coverage, how good was the throw, who are the players. It's not an exact science, for sure.
I'd think his injury history is a deal breaker there. They drafted three of them, have to see if any of them can play. You'd think they should hit on at least one of those picks.
Thompson hasn't done much of that, and in recent years there's not a lot of that league-wide, though the past week the Watkins to the Rams trade, and Jordan Matthews to Buffalo, show trades are still possible. The thing that makes a deal tough is if, for instance, the Packers want to trade one of the drafted receivers (Yancey or Dupre), teams will take that as a sign the guy is going to get cut, so why give up something if you might get the waiver claim. But if enough teams might be interested, you still might get a pick or, better yet, a player on the bubble with another team who can make your roster at a think position. But if you're wondering if they could get a pass rusher who can help them, well, teams aren't giving those kind of guys away. So the chances there are pretty slim and unless they'd part with one of their better players, and that's unlikely.
I don't know that anyone would pick up Yancey, Dupre or McCaffrey for their 53. Not saying someone wouldn't pick one or any of them of them up, but teams have been working with their guys since the offseason, so they'd have to see something they really or be really, really thin at WR to bring in a guy for a spot on the 53. That's part of the cat and mouse on final cuts. Some of it is to be determined too, because there are three more preseason games that teams will be studying.
It will be a lot, I'm sure. With the way the cap keeps going up, I'd think in the $10M range, at least. I doubt there will be room under the cap for Nelson, Cobb and Adams all to be making that kind of money. So there's a pretty good chance once of them will have to go. As things stand today, I'd guess Cobb as the odd man out. That's my best guess. But these things can change based on health and performance, etc.
Backup center has to be a big concern. That was a real luxury the last couple years with Linsley and Tretter. Even with Barclay healthy, that's a real dropoff from Linsley. That's the one that would concern me the most if I were the Packers. But you're right, they're not deep overall on the line. I think Murphy has looked OK at RT. He's worked only a little at guard. Maybe he'll be a viable backup there too.
I'd be a little reluctant to trade him at the end of camp, but if the offer is good enough, you do it anyway. But in the spring, if they can get a D2 for him, I'd do in a nanosecond. Those compensatory picks are at the end of the round, so even if he signed a great, great deal that would net a third-rounder, a second-rounder still would be a lot higher. And you get the pick sooner rather than later (that is, in 2018 instead of '19). Then you just draft another QB in the fourth round or later and try to do it all over again.
Wondering that myself. Kerridge has had a good camp and has real shot to make it as the second FB. If that's the case, I'd guess three RBs make it. But let's see how they do in the next three games. Maybe all three of the draft picks will show enough to make it.
Sorry, previous answer was for the question below.
They're doing fine. Ryan looks OK, Martinez looks like he's improved. The only thing is, they're not playing as much as they used to. The Packers are doing a fair amount of nitro and Sooner, which are defenses where a safety (Burnett or Josh Jones) is one of the two ILBs. It's the way the game is going. You need guys who can cover because offenses are finding the best match-up and exploiting it. It's hard for a 235 to 240-pound ILB to cover a good tight end or receiving running back unless that ILB is really special, like Bobby Wagner. So we're going to see more and more of this in the league, bigger safeties playing ILB to improve the coverage matchups. There's still a place for the standard ILB -- some early downs, against two and three tight end alignments, or maybe when there's a fullback in front of a halfback. But it's becoming a real niche position.
I've never had a chance to ask him, time with him is usually limited and there are more pressing issues. But I've wondered the same thing. My guess is he does it to keep the sun off him, but maybe it's something else.
Yeah, you kinda answered your own question, and really, Capers revealed his hand last week against Philly. They're probably going to use all kinds of blitz packages. So it will be important for someone such as Randall, Rollins or Jones to emerge as a good blitzer. There's a real skill there, timing and disguising, then being fast enough to get there but under control enough to actually sack the guy.
Overall, he's done OK. Made a couple plays in the game at Philly -- tipped a ball at the LOS, defended a pass in the secondary if I remember right. Yesterday he got beat deep by Davis but then someone took the ball out of Davis' hands just after the catch. I'm still not sure how he did it and what happened on that play, but all of a sudden he had the ball, not Davis. I'd think Pipkins is at least a PS candidate.
I wonder the same thing. Maybe they want to see Goode in a game, make sure he can run downfield on punt coverage, before making the move.
You can't do the second half of that -- ones vs. ones in practice the week of the opener -- because those practices are all game-plan oriented. You'd run the starters into the ground, because they'd have to take the majority of reps on both sides of the ball for all periods. For instance, if they're doing third downs, they do offense first (against a defense running that week's opponent's defense), then they do deffense (against plays they expect to see from the opponent's offense). Scout-team players do the opponent stuff so the starters don't have to take all the reps. To do it the way you suggest, the starters would be taking almost all the reps both ways. That would be too much work, they'd leave their legs on the practice field. I've wondered the same about playing the starters most in the fourth game, and I think that's how Jeff Fisher always handled it. But as I thought it through, I realized there's one significant risk. It's not so much the catastrophic injury -- that could happen as easily in Week 3 as Week 4 -- but it's the nagging, short-term or performance-diminishing injury. For instance, a sprained ankle that sidelines a guy for two weeks. He'd miss two real games instead of one. Or any kind of injury that a guy can play through but might affect his performance for a week or so. Those are fairly common, and you'd rather have those injuries two weeks before the opener than a week before. Long and short of it, it's a long season, and guys get beaten up, you want them as fresh and pain-free as possible to start the slog through the 16-game schedule.
The norm is 5 to 6. Seven is pretty rare, I think. I've never heard of eight, though that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. They kept seven last year, and sure looks like that will be the case again this year.
No, they're not revealing anything there. On Tuesday during practice he was doing some short sprints with one of the strength coaches at the unused end of the practice field. He made it sound like he'd been doing that kind of stuff in the Hutson Center previously. Either way, doing real sprints, even short ones, suggests he's getting closer. Though I don't know if that means he'll be back next week, or in a month.
I'd think he'll make it. He's playing mostly as a slot guy now -- he opened camp as an outside guy. Maybe Donatello Brown or Pipkins will push him out, but if I had to bet, I'd bet on Gunter making it.
That would have to be a pretty severe concussion for that. But there are three games (and two full weeks of practice left), so an injury or two still could end up making some of these decisions.
OK everybody, have to end this here, other duties require my attention. But thanks for all the questions, a lot of really good questions today and plenty I didn't get to. My apologies if I didn't get to yours, hopefully we'll address it in stories over the next week, but if not, try again next week when we next chat. It's always a pleasure talking with you. As for picking up an OLB at final cuts, there's definitely a chance of that. Now, finding a guy who can make the roster as the last OLB, and a guy who might get you a few sacks in the season as a backup, those are two different questions. Teams just don't let decent rushers get away often. Occasionally they make a mistake and mis-evaluate, and then it takes some great scouting and some luck to identify a guy like that and pluck him off the waiver wire. But yeah, I could see the Packers at least trying the waiver wire at final cuts to find someone who might help. There's always the outside chance of a trade, too. Thanks again everybody, keep checking back to PackersNews.com and JSonline.com for all the Packers news, we're updating constantly. Take care, we'll talk again next week.