OK everybody, let's get started. And just to let you know, only going one hour today, the Monday night game changes our schedule this week so have other responsibilities today. The article Jack refers to was written by Tom Silverstein, not me, and it was a good one. You get at the heart of an issue that doesn't have a clear-cut answer, at least in my mind. The talent definitely isn't what it was in '09 and '10, when they had three stars: Matthews, Woodson and Collins. That's what you need to play really good defense in the NFL. Daniels is at that level, but Matthews, while still a good player, isn't at that level anymore. Nobody else is either. Clark is ascending and is looking promising but has to continue improving as a pass rusher to get there. So that's a big issue. Could the way they're used help anyone else on the current roster get there? Maybe. Depending on how things go the rest of the season, Thompson and McCarthy are going to have to take a good, hard look at that question themselves.
I know a lot of people who agree with you, including Eric Baranczyk -- he and I co-author a weekly video review of the game column. I'm less convinced -- not dismissive of the point, but less convinced. Hayward had a really good rookie year but had injury issues and didn't play quite as well thereafter. Is he better than what they have now? Yeah, hard not to conclude anything else. But he played really well as a rookie. Maybe there's a scheme issue there, he's probably better in zone, and the Packers play a fair amount of man to man. Hyde played a lot of good football for the Packers. He had speed limitations but was instinctive and smart and a really solid player. But he wasn't an outside cornerback, didn't have the speed for it, so where would he have played for the Packers this year? At $6M-plus a year, he'd have been a backup safety. You'd probably rather have him the slot in nickel than Randall at this point, but I'm still not sure that if I'm the Packers I'd want to pay him what Buffalo did for that role. So I don't think it's so cut and dried, but if Hyde keeps this up all season he'll prove me wrong. He's been really productive.
I agree with you. I mean, it's hard not to impressed with what Callahan has done. A DIII guy who's been able to stick in the NFL? He runs only a 4.9, so it's not like he's this great scrambler-runner. He's just resourceful and a gamer and all those things, and the fact that McCarthy likes him says a lot, too. But in the end, I'm still thinking his upside is just a little too limited to be a No. 2. Maybe he'll get a chance to play this year and prove that wrong.
Capers is a 3-4, that's what he knows, so for him to become a predominant 4-3 guy probably won't work, if you mean making that change over the bye. The 10 guys on the field is really bad, and no one calling TO is even worse. The recent third down issues are just like last year. I'm sure McCarthy was appalled by the second half against New Orleans, and I suspect the coaches meeting the day after wasn't pretty. But I have to think you're on the right track in that they have to make some adjustments over the bye if they're going to win some games from here on out, because the defense has to play better than that to have much chance without Rodgers.
For a mid-season game it's pretty big. The Lions have the best QB in the division by far now, but they've lost three straight. So they really need a win and surely smell blood with Rodgers out. Hundley's debut was unimpressive so there's a lot riding on this game for him and McCarthy as well. And as you say, the Packers could be at or really near full health (minus Rodgers), and they've had the bye to regroup. So lots going on in this one.
Bates was a good defensive coordinator. I don't blame McCarthy for not hiring him, that had potential for problems because Bates was interviewed for the head coaching job as well that year. But Bates' record as a DC was pretty good. The NFL, while always a young league, seems to have gotten younger because guys on their rookie contracts are cheap, so it keeps costs down so teams can keep their stars and good players. That means coaches have to walk a tight rope between keeping up with the growing sophistication of the game and keeping things simple enough so there aren't too many mental mistakes. Maybe Capers hasn't simplified enough. McCarthy talks about simplification a lot, and while he's usually been referring to Hundley there, he also could be talking defense too.
I can only speak for myself, and I think their odds of making the playoffs are fairly low. If they win this week it probably won't change my mind. It will take more than that. But the great thing about sports is, what any of us thinks and says doesn't matter. It will be decided on the field. The Packers' schedule isn't bad for the rest of the year, so the opportunity is there if Hundley finds his way.
I'll probably wait until their third season to make a fairly hard judgment there. Things can change so fast. One of them could suffer a really bad injury and never be the same, or be hurt often and miss a lot of games. Next year at this time King might be one of the league's better corners, or Watt might be one of the top rushers, or both. So far, advantage Watt. But their rookie seasons aren't going to answer this question.
Very much so. I have to think Jones will be a huge part of the game planning from here on out. Sure looks like he's a real RB. That will help Hundley a lot. Lacy was a huge factor in Flynn playing well enough to go 2-2-1 back in '13. Same will apply here.
They have to file an injury report today. Just checked my Twitter feed. The reporters covering practice say Spriggs is practicing today, so he's going to be one of the two IR-return guys. The five guys not practicing today are: Brice, Thomas, Brooks, Bennett and Dial.
Yeah, I think the pressure keeps building as the Rodgers' window shrinks. Funny you mention Polian. I contacted a long-time Colts reporter about a week ago to ask if Polian was fired because they went 1-15 or for some other reason. He basically said it was just time, that Polian's history is he can be tough for owners to work with and over time the relationship wears out. So I don't think Polian was fired for 1-15. Hell, that was the best thing that could have happened to the Colts that year, it got them Andrew Luck -- this is, best thing if his shoulder ever heals.
I think that explains the miss on Fackrell. He has the length you look for in a 3-4 OLB, and pretty decent measurables, but he just doesn't make plays. Jones was drafted as a DL but the mistake there was that he was a 'tweener. Thompson drafts the players, so any mistakes with not fitting the system are more likely his.
It could be a tough final nine games. If they finish 8-8 they'll have done OK in my mind. It's just really tough to replace a QB of Rodgers' caliber, he's their LeBron James. I'm about as sure as you can be without knowing the future that McCarthy will be back. Dom Capers, I'm less sure about. A lot depends on how the rest of the season goes. McCarthy has all the respect in the world for him, but he has made plenty of coaching staff changes in the past.
I'd think the odds for Adams being active this week went up first when they cut Ricky Jean Francois to make room presumably for Biegel. Now, Dial is on the injury report, and if he doesn't play, then it's a given Adams will be active. Adams is healthy and there's no indication he's in the doghouse or anything.
Yeah, if they re-sign Adams, which I have to think is going to happen, then it comes down to those two. I'd think they'd go with Nelson. He's older and nearing the end, but he's a much bigger guy than Cobb, so he can do more over the middle, and his chemistry with Rodgers is off the charts.
Just to let you know, on a lot of these I have to look up a fact or two (like Hyde's contract, for instance), it takes longer than you might think. So sorry for the delays but that's the way it is.
And hope you feel better soon, Rodger.
Don't know if you say, but Jason LaCanfora had a report today saying the Packers' interest in Hoyer was cursory. I don't doubt that's true.
Need would have to play a big role. I mean, if you see a guy as a tremendous prospect and a cut above everyone else, you have to take him regardless of position. But I'd be looking more for need. In the first round I'd be looking to get the best pass rusher I could, though if there were a clearly better CB prospect, or WR or TE, I'd probably take them instead.
No, I'd re-sign Adams. I'd probably move Montgomery back to WR, but I'd still re-sign Adams. Montgomery is a slot guy.
That's a tough one. I'm inclined to think they're better off with the top 10 pick, but that brings some baggage. Turmoil from fans who want everyone fired, maybe poor play on defense. If they finish on the fringe of the playoffs, it could mean that a few of their young guys on defense play well, which would bode well for next year. And if Hundley plays well, then there's the trade value that you mention. So there's upside either way. Push to shove? If I'm management I'd probably rather have the higher pick, but that's just me. They'd also have to weather the fans' storm, and it could cost some coaches their jobs, so easy for me to say.
Yeah, they kinda are. That's why I'd draft three of them next year. You never know which one will pan out. Go to drafthistory.com and look at the first round of drafts starting maybe two or three years ago and working backwards. You'll see a lot of missed picks on rushers (and at a lot of positions).
I'm thinking they were looking at him as a backup.
OK, gotta go, other pressing duties. Sorry about the short chat, blame the Monday night game. But thanks everybody for coming by, many excellent questions. I'm probably going to pick the Lions, don't have a score yet. Thanks again everyone, we'll chat again next week. Until then, take care.