Just kind of guessing/gut/etc., I put them at 25 percent, so we see it about the same.
He's a dynamic player, that's for sure, something they badly need on offense. If he and Williams are at full strength, I'm playing Jones about 70 percent of the time and Williams about 30 percent. I don't know if the Packers see it that, but that's what I'd do. That said, I doubt he's quite at full strength yet.
Hundley's definitely improved. You should have seen the first week of his rookie training camp. I remember thinking he was going to get cut. He sailed throws over open receivers' heads. In drills where they stepped over pads while dropping back and moving out of the pocket, and then threw on the run, you'd watch him do it after Rodgers, and it was like they were playing a different game. He's improved a lot in those things over the past couple years. The hardest part about playing NFL QB is how fast you have to be able to play. Take Tom Brady. He's slow afoot, but he plays fast. He processes the game at lightning speed, and when he sees something he can get the ball out in an nanosecond. All the top QBs can play fast, that's what separates them, and that's the greatest limitation on most of the rest.
I haven't been to any of the practices -- reporters are allowed in only for individual and some small-group drills during the regular season -- so I haven't seen him throw. But the reports from the reporters who've been there say he's throwing it as well as ever.
With the one-back set, the defense probably is in nickel personnel (if not dime), where in two-back it's probably in base, which means an extra linebacker on the field to help stop the run. So that's probably the biggest thing, getting a favorable personnel matchup. But nothing wrong with mixing in some two-back sets, which I think he has (though I don't have a numerical count as proof), and even running play action off that too.
I think it's less about solid players than it is about finding a couple standout guys on defense, guys who play their position at about the level Mike Daniels plays his. One of them needs to be a pass rusher. If they can improve their rush a lot -- and that's not easy to do -- everything else on defense improves instantly. On offense their greatest need is speed at WR/TE.
Interesting question. That has to be a concern, especially as Burnett gets older. That has to have been part of the thinking of drafting Jones, who runs a 4.41 40. The nitro LB was part of the thinking too, but Burnett is ahead of Jones for the nitro LB job anyway. Having a guy like Nick Collins back there was a great asset because he could outrun mistakes.
Maybe Pankey. Maybe Joe Kerridge.
I didn't mention him because I think Jones is better, or at least more talented. Grant did the job for several years, which counts for a lot, and he was a good solid back who helped them get to the NFC championship game in '07. So I don't dispute that. I don't think he was a game changer in the strictest sense of the word, but he did improve their running game a lot in '07 (because they had nothing else at RB) and that was important for that team's excellent season. But I think Jones is a better runner, more dynamic. We'll see if Jones can stay healthy and do it for a few years like Grant did.
I didn't say this in the last answer but I'm guessing they'll adjust his contract in the offseason, maybe give him some guaranteed money and a year or two extension in exchange for lowering his cap number in '18.
The most compelling analyses I've seen on this are that TV ratings are down across the board for all types of shows, mainly because of streaming. And younger people consume sports differently -- including streaming -- than older people. So yeah, I strongly suspect that that's the issue more than anything.
The coaching staff has size-speed prototypes for all positions, minimum standards, etc., and body types that they'd prefer. Those are probably set on defense more by Capers and McCarthy than the position coaches. I do know the position coaches scout the college draft class after the season, so they have some input. And when they bring in guys for visits during the draft process, I think the position coaches have the primary meetings with the players.
This is really early in the process, so a wild guess at this point: Bakhtiari, Taylor, Linsley, Evans, Murphy/draft pick. I would have ruled out Spriggs at RT a couple weeks ago, not quite so sure about that after he played OK the last couple weeks, but let's see how he does the final month, still a ways to go from being OK as a fill in to being the projected starter for a whole season. Not sure either if Evans will be back, but he's done the job this season and might have one more year in him.
I have to say I think he's worth more than three extra wins. A high-ranking personnel guy I talked with a few weeks ago said that if Rodgers were the Browns' QB, they'd probably win 10 games. He's probably right. If you put Case Keenum on the Packers and Rodgers on the Vikings to start the season, the Packers would finish as what, probably a five-win team? And the Vikings would be prohibitive SB favorites. If Rodgers hadn't gotten hurt the Packers very well might have won 12 or 13 games, it sure looked like they were headed that way with how well he was playing. Quarterbacks matter so much it's kind of ridiculous.
Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. Then probably CB, and a WR or TE who can stretch the field. They need to restock the OL too, right tackle and guard.
I agree that winning at Carolina and at home against Minnesota will be really tough even with Rodgers. He was so sharp before the injury, I wonder if he might have lost just a little of that with the two-month layoff. He's no doubt watched a lot of film, done mental reps while watching practice, and all that helps. But nothing beats doing it on the field. On the other hand, he does have a running game that they didn't know they had before he got hurt -- Jones was just starting to emerge, but Williams hadn't played much. So that should help him. But agreed, Carolina has a good defense a QB who can beat you with his legs, and Minnesota might have the league's best D even if it isn't ranked No. 1 statistically.
The one thing I'll say there is I thought Thompson finally handled free agency like he should last offseason. He plugged a hole at starting guard with an inexpensive, aging but still competent veteran (Evans). He signed two tight ends (Bennett and Kendricks), a veteran cornerback (House). That's what free agency is for, to fill in holes like that and maybe every once in a while take a bigger swing. Bennett didn't work out real well - he wasn't doing much as a receiver before that relationship fell apart -- and Kendricks hasn't made a big impact either. But they were sensible signings that didn't hurt the cap long term. House has been OK. But I wouldn't argue with how he handled free agency this year. I'd say he should have been doing this the last few years.
Datone Jones (first round), Jerel Worthy (second round), Jerron McMillian (fourth), Quinten Rollins (second), Kyler Fackrell (third).
I'd probably go Brady or Carson Wentz, but Wilson's been really good too, probably third on my list if I had a vote and the vote were today. Guess the final month will have to decide it.
Biegel hasn't flashed much but he had that long layoff from football, going back to his final bowl game at the UW really. So I'm still not sure what they have there. I really think they need to draft at least two OLBs, including one in the first two rounds, and maybe even look hard in free agency to find somebody who can help. Almost all the best players will end up getting re-signed or tagged in the offseason, so it's hard to know who will be available, and the cost for the best couple rushers might just be too high to make it worth the risk. But maybe they can find a diamond-in-the-rough type guy, it happens every once in a while. That's how Seattle got Michael Bennett.
OK, we've gone two hours, really have to move on to other duties. But always enjoyable hearing what's on your mind and chatting, so thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I don't see that happening. Sounds like the Browns are interested in Dorsey -- a couple of reports have said that -- and if he's their guy they'll probably hire him pretty quickly. Thompson has another year left on his contract and there are no indications Murphy has any desire to push him out early. So I guess if I had to guess right now, I'd guess the Browns will hire Dorsey in the next week or so. I'd think the job would be attractive. They're desperate so will offer a good contract, and they have a ton of draft picks from all the trading that Sashi Brown did. The big thing, though, is QB. I don't know if Kizer has much chance to be a winning NFL QB. And if you don't have one of those, you don't have much chance. But at least they have the draft ammo to try to find one. So that does it for another week. Thanks again everybody, fun as always talking with you. We'll do it again next week. Take care.