OK everybody, let's get started. I'm wondering the same thing, Dean. Maybe he didn't make strength gains, or at least the gains he made haven't made him much stronger functionally. Maybe he's not quite as athletic as he appeared coming out of college. It might be he needs to be a lot more diligent with his technique work. He hasn't had a particularly good camp and didn't play well in the first two games. Doesn't mean it's a lost cause, but it has to be a concern for the Packers, because you're right, you'd think he'd have made a nice improvement from last season.
I'd think he'd get a decent amount of work there. I don't think he's on the No. 1 kickoff return, but that would be a natural place to put him. He's been working on the No. 2s. I wonder if they're limiting his special teams work, at least for now, so that he can spend more of his energies on defense. His plate is pretty full there for a rookie working both at the nitro spot and safety.
They have to be. It's one of the thinnest position groups on the roster.
Yeah, that's a good point and illustrates how important difference makers are, they make everyone better. If Shields played last season the Packers' secondary probably would have been fine, or at minimum much better than it was. I wonder if Martellus Bennett would be on that list this season -- think last year how the offense took off when Jared Cook came back. Nelson might be on it. Bakhtiari probably is on it, don't know how they'd replace him. On defense Daniels and Clinton-Dix for sure. Matthews and Perry probably because of the lack of rushers behind them.
I'd say there's zero chance they'll be hunting the waiver wire for an RB. They're going to give those guys a chance. It appears they feel pretty decent about them The rookies haven't done much in the preseason games, and it's probably safe to say there's not a special player (or anything approaching that) in the group, or we'd be able to tell already. But that doesn't mean they won't end up being decent players. It's not like there's been a lot of running room out there.
They have the assistants do press conferences for their benefit, to help prepare them for possible head coaching jobs. So most of them presumably want to do it even if they're uncomfortable. It used to be that they'd all be available at the same time, and reporters requested beforehand which ones they wanted to talk to, then went from one to another during the availability. But the Packers' stated reasons for the change are that it's more time efficient for each coach, and it's training for possible head coaching jobs or even coordinatorships.
I can't say for sure what they'd do if Bakhtiari got hurt. My guess is they'd move Bulaga over there and put Murphy at RT. Maybe they'll try Murphy at LT before camp is out just to see if he might be able to do it, but I don't remember him playing there at all so far.
Probably can't rule that out, they were going to try Murphy inside until they signed Evans as a free agent. More likely, the long-term solution is playing his final year of college football.
I'd still guess Montgomery will have the most carries at season's end, though I don't know that he'll be what you'd call a full-time back. There aren't many full-time backs anymore, to be that the guy has to be outstanding and uncommonly durable. So you'll probably see a decent amount of rotating in at that position. Don't forget Rikpkowski will get some snaps as a lone back too. But durability is a concern with Montgomery, no getting around that. That's why they'll probably have to monitor his snaps and touches.
The Evans signing was something new for Thompson, he hasn't been a stop-gap guy before. Spriggs' bad start is a big factor here, I don't know if anybody saw this coming. I know I assumed he'd improve a decent amount.I talked to several scouts last year who liked his potential. They were thin on the inside, even with Barclay healthy. I still wonder if the top backup guard is on somebody else's roster right now. I easily could see them picking up a guard or guard/center after final cuts.
Strongest, aside from quarterback, probably is the combination of WR/TE. No true star like a Julio Jones, but several good players. Weakest is probably outside linebacker, just no rushing outside of Matthews and Perry. Offensive line depth is similar, the starters are really solid but after that could be an issue, Murphy is the only guy I'd feel pretty good about as of now if I were them.
I'm still having trouble distinguishing who's better between Jones and Mays. Williams looks like he's the best of the three, but the games haven't revealed as much as I might have thought.
He could be a starter, he's starting now in the nickel with House (hamstring) out. But if House is ready for the opener, I'd guess House will be the starter, with Randall and Rollins the other guys in the nickel. But King is right there. He played better in the second game than the first, had what looked like a pretty decent week of practice last week, made several plays on the ball in team drills. He might not be in the top three when the season opens, but I'd think he'll be before the season is finished. I'd also think he'll be rotating in the playing rotation in the opener.
If it's me, it's the pass rush.
I'd say the most positive developments are Evans looking solid at guard, and that opening drive at Washington with the starters on offense. That drive displayed all the things the offense has going for it. Might have to throw the run D in there too, Clark is playing the run well, Ricky Jean Francois was a good signing. Biggest questions are the pass rush and O-line depth. Clark hasn't made a big jump as an inside rusher, that would have helped, though Lowry has been OK there, improved from his rookie season. Neither Elliott nor Fackrell has shown in practices to suggest they're going to make much difference as pass rushers. Maybe they improve as the season goes on, but you'd think there'd have been more flashes by now if that were likely.
No. He might finish with more catches, I really have no idea how the catch numbers are going to break down. But Nelson and Rodgers still have a special chemistry.
I can't say I've noticed the play-action fakes as being cavalier or half-hearted, but I'll look for it this week. I've always thought Rodgers was pretty good with the play-action fakes, but maybe I haven't been paying close enough attention.
You can't rule it out, you never who might lose its starting QB before the season begins. But I'd say it's not very likely. If I'm the Packers, it would take a really good deal to make the move now. Usually those deals are for a draft pick, and that won't do the Packers any good this season. They presumably can get a pick for him in the offseason. And they have to feel pretty well protected if Rodgers has to miss a few games, or maybe even half the season, that Hundley can keep them in the running until Rodgers returned.
Yeah, I'm thinking there's a decent chance they could find a backup G or backup G/C after final cuts.
I wouldn't say his spot is safe, no. Hawkins has passed him so that makes him No. 6 at best (House, Rollins, Randall, King, Hawkins). If the Packers like the upside of Pipkins or Brown better, Gunter could get cut. Gunter has been playing on the No. 1 kickoff coverage, so that's a decent sign for him. He's tough and smart and instinctive, has some qualities to like, but there always will be a limitation there because of his speed (4.69 40).
He missed last week because of an ankle/foot injury -- I believe he got stepped on. He's back this week. He hasn't jumped out in camp like he did in the offseason stuff, but he's still looked good. He fills holes hard in the run game, he's a big guy for his position (220 pounds) and looks pretty explosive. He just hasn't made plays on the ball like he did in the offseason practices that were open to reporters.
McCarthy really likes Cobb, so I don't see it happening. And the draft pick doesn't help this year. They're trying to win in the here and now, the time for that kind of move would have been the offseason in my opinion. Now, once we get to the offseason, yeah, there might not be room under the cap for Nelson, Cobb and Adams (he's in the final year of his contract and could be in for a new deal in the $10M range, depending on how this season goes). So then one of the three might have to go, and that could be Cobb. But I wouldn't do a deal now, they're going to need those top guys at WR to win the Super Bowl this year.
I'd guess five. The question might be whether it's four RBs and Rikowski, or three plus two FBs (Ripkowski and Kerridge). Kerridge has had a nice camp, blocks well, catches really well from what I can tell, and is a good special teamer. But he's not as good a runner with the ball as Ripkowski, and two FBs might be too much of a luxury. We'll see.
No, it's part of the CBA. If a player with fewer than four years in the NFL is going to IR during training camp, he first has to clear waivers. If the team doesn't want to risk somebody picking him up, it has to carry him on the 90-man roster until final cuts, then put him on IR. I'm not sure of the reason for that rule.
I'm not sure. There is a school of thought that Capers' scheme is pretty complex and that there's some truth to what you say. That's getting beyond my level of expertise, and I haven't talked to any experts who say that, though it hasn't come up much. It's incumbent on teams in today's NFL, with the heavy roster turnover and the need to keep a lot of cheap (i.e., young) labor so that the key players can be retained, to make sure guys can handle the schemes if they have to play. I know McCarthy and Capers talk regularly about paring the playbook, etc. Are they doing it enough? I can't swear to it, but they at least seem to be aware of the potential issue.
That's Donatello Brown, and I'd say his chances are decent. He and Pipkins are two undrafted CBs who look like potential NFL players, and one of them could beat out Gunter for a roster spot. If that doesn't happen, I'd think both would have a pretty good shot at the practice squad.
No, only info is he's still out for this week. They say it's an ankle injury, so he very well might have a high ankle sprain.
It's a possibility but takes two to tango. Most teams have young players they like and are developing, just like the Packers. There might be a team or two out there that are really thin, and they might be looking hard at the Packers' guys. But maybe they'll be hoping for one or two from McCaffrey, Yancey and Dupre to get cut, so they won't make a trade because they'll try to get the guy on waivers. Depends on how much they like them. Could the Packers get a backup interior OL better than what they have for one of them? I doubt it. For Allison? Maybe, but Allison had a good game and then a good week of practice last week. With Nelson's age and the possibility of losing one of the top three games in the offseason because of the cap, I'd be hesitant to trade a WR prospect you like and unless you feel pretty good about what you're getting in return. And they might very well need Allison if one of the top three guys gets hurt this season.
Nobody saw Sitton coming last year, so I guess that's why these things are a surprise. These decisions generally are made in March. I guess Gunter would be the guy on defense. No one on offense comes to mind.
No, looks like he doesn't have much chance. For much of camp he wasn't getting all that many snaps at ILB. He's played a little more lately in practice but just hasn't made any plays. He can play FB too, so maybe someone will give him a look there in the future.
There was one play where Spriggs let an outside rusher go, but it actually might have been the right decision, and that Hundley should have been responsible for the outside rusher. But I'm not sure that's as much the issue as much as consistently blocking the guy he's going against.
Hadn't heard that, that's big news. I'd say his chances are really good. So when the selectors meet the day before the Super Bowl in February, someone from that committee will give a presentation on Kramer. Then the discussion will open. And then we'll vote up or down on him. He needs 80 percent of the votes (I think there are 49 voters) to get in. I'd think his chances are really good. Just looked it up, and from what I can tell the last Seniors Committee nominee who didn't make it was Marshall Goldberg in '08. Kramer actually was the Seniors Committee nominee in '97 and didn't make it. Goldberg had two shots and didn't make; Henry Jordan and Dick Stanfel had two and got in the second time.
Combination of great scouting and luck. It's really, really unusual. SF did it with Montana and then trading for Young and developing him. Indy probably will have it with Manning and now Luck. Great trade by Ron Wolf to get Favre, one of the all-time great trades. Great pick by Thompson to take Rodgers, not all teams would have, some would have gone for a player to help in the here and now. But there was a fair amount of luck that Rodgers was available at No. 24 overall.
Really, that would be the thinking even with two tight ends, that's why the Bennett-Kendricks package could be effective, puts defensive coordinators in a quandary because both are decent run blockers. Do you go nickel? Then you have trouble matching up in the passing game with Bennett, Kendricks and Montgomery. Dime? Then you're really vulnerable to the run.
He's definitely got a chance. Comes down to whether they keep six or seven receivers. Janis is in good shape because of special teams and he's made a couple plays at WR in the games. Davis has speed the other receivers (except Janis) don't and looks like a good punt returner -- if they can rely on him to catch the ball. The final two preseason games are huge for him in that regard. If McCaffrey has a couple good punt returners and Davis fumbles, maybe McCaffrey could make it ahead of him. Or if they keep seven, then he'd have a pretty shot. He's done more than Yancey and Dupre in practice, for sure.
The numbers don't back that up. In the offseason I checked on that, there are a couple websites that aggregate league-wide injury info, and though I don't have the numbers in front of me, the gist was that over the last several years the Packers had one really bad injury season but a couple where they were among the last injured according to the metrics (games missed, importance of players factored in). In fact, this camp has been among the best I can remember in 25 years covering the team as far as injuries go. No season-enders yet, many of the lesser injuries have been to lower-roster guys. It probably looks worse because injuries are a huge part of the NFL, so you see all these guys injured and think it's an epidemic. But if you read daily about teams around the league, there are a lot of injuries everywhere. Seattle just lost its starting left tackle, for instance. That hurts. Seems like McCarthy's changes from a few years ago based on GPS data have helped some.
OK, this will have to be it, have other duties to attend to. Just want to say thanks for coming by and for all the good questions. So many I didn't have time to get to, my apologies. If yours wasn't answered, we'll do it again next week, so try then. As for Amichia, you'll find that about a lot of the guys taken in the fifth through seventh rounds. Different scouts (with teams and independent scouts you read online) grade guys differently, even near the top of the draft, let alone at the bottom. For instance, Some fraction of scouts (I'm guessing maybe one-fifth) considered Biegel a better prospect than T.J. Watt. Watt went in the first round, Biegel the fourth. A lot of guys drafted in the last couple rounds were considered free agents by many teams, and some undrafted guys had draftable grades by certain teams. The Packers liked something about Amichia that some other teams and scouts didn't. They liked his athleticism and thought he might be a center in the future, among other things. But if they didn't take him, maybe someone else would have. We'll never know. Doesn't mean he'll end up being a good pick, but that's the nature of the draft. Thanks again everybody, always enjoyable to chat with you. Until next week, take care.