OK, let's dive right in. I didn't see the article and don't know how many Carolina players saw it. The thing is, Carolina is fighting for its playoff life, it could win the NFC South and it could finish out of the playoffs. So the Panthers should be plenty motivated without anything extra.
Sure. It was good enough to win the final six games last year, and I think it's a little better this year -- or maybe the same now that King is out for the year. It all depends on Rodgers playing at a high level.
Yeah, you have to make him beat you with his arm. Rushing to contain is huge, whether it's with four or five, you can't leave your rushing lane because if he breaks contain that's where he beats you.
He's young and fast, and he could improve with more playing time. I don't know that I'd bet on it, but sounds like House won't be playing, so Hawkins is going to be starting opposite Randall. I'd think Carolina would go after him.
The three guys you mention are all really good defensive coordinators, especially Phillips and Zimmer. I'd agree, seems like wherever they are, their defenses are good. The one thing I'll say for Capers, if you look at his record he usually does really well his first couple years with a team. That was the case with the Packers. They were a top 10 defense his first year ('09) and a top five the next. Some coaches are just kind of special, and I'd say Phillips and Zimmer fit in that category as defensive coaches. Look at Belichick, how many of his proteges have gone on to become successful head coaches? None really, not yet anyway. It's clear there's just something special about him. Same with Lombardi. Those two are the ultimate example. If you're an offensive coach like McCarthy, you have to get the best defensive coordinator you can. He really respects Capers, but he's also made his sharing of changes on the coaching staff over the years. We'll see if he makes any changes after this season.
The hard part with this matchup is how to play Newton. How much do you spy him? Normally you spy with a linebacker, but I'd question whether Martinez is fast enough to spy Newton. So do you play nitro and spy some with Burnett or Jones? But then stopping the run gets tougher. That's where defending Newton presents some problems. We haven't seen much nitro lately, maybe we will this week.
First thing I'll say Jack is I think your misrepresenting what I've written. I said the Packers season is over if Rodgers doesn't come back this year. I still think that's true, they'd have no chance at the Super Bowl or event he playoffs if he doesn't come back. He's come back. Now they have a chance. I also said that we don't know who the best of the three rookie RBs is, because each time one of them had to play, he played well. Williams was the top one coming out of camp, then Jones played and was better. Then Williams played a lot and did well. When camp ended I didn't think much separated the three and if I had to pick one I liked the best, I'd have picked Mays. So I wrote that for all we know Mays might be the best one, and that we won't know until he plays. I never said he is the best one. Look, I'm wrong plenty --- we're all wrong a lot. But I really think you did a poor job of representing what I wrote in those particular instances.
I'm wondering what's going on there too. This guy can't get on the field. But too early to write him off. I think back to Gilbert Brown. He was a third-round pick by the Vikings, they cut him at the end of camp and the Packers claimed. He hardly played that rookie year -- he was inactive for a lot of games if I remember right. Yet he became a really good player. But yeah, I'd have thought he'd have helped them some this year, and he hasn't at all. They needed all the immediate help they could get from their draft on that side of the ball.
Yeah, that's my thinking too. This is the hardest one because it's on the road against a good team fighting for its playoff life, and it's Rodgers first game in two months. If Rodgers has any rust, this is the game it will show.
The big thing is containing Newton, keeping him in the pocket. If you can do that -- and it's not easy, he's a really big, really talented runner -- you have a chance because he's not a pinpoint passer. He'll miss some throws. But he makes big plays and converts first downs with his legs. That's how he really hurts you, keeping a drive alive with a scramble on third and 10. The harder matchups with the injuries at corner -- King is out for the season -- are if they make the playoffs and face one of those top quarterbacks like Brees or Ryan. Those guys are masters and exploiting matchups.
They might, or at least have a couple guys who could. Perry could be a 4-3 end. Matthews can play any linebacker position.
After pass rushers I'd say cornerback is their next biggest need, probably over anything on offense. Those are the two positions I'd concentrate on if I were them. Agree on the needs you point to on offense. I would not take a QB high to groom as Rodgers' successor, too early for that in my mind. He's 34 and is hoping to play until at least 40. So the earliest I'd draft a QB would be the fourth, and I'd prefer to wait until the fifth. Brady was 37 I think when Belichick drafted Garoppolo in the second round as Brady's possible successor. That's proven to have been a tad early. But that's about the earliest I'd start considering drafting a QB high if I were the Packers, when Rodgers hits 37, 38. I might be inclined to wait a little longer if his health is holding up and he's playing well and wants to keep going into his 40s. Brady probably will show over the next few years what's possible as far as how well guys can play into their 40s.
No, McCaffrey was signed to the 49ers' 53-man roster.
That's a wild one, not sure what to make of it. Would be academic though if Gruden becomes Tampa Bay's coach in the offseason. I also don't know if there's much reason to think Murphy is leaving the president/CEO job any time soon.
I kinda felt the same way, all things being equal or even close I'd take the pass rusher. But if they thought King had a shot at being special and Watt didn't, then taking King was the way to go.
The trade deadline has long passed. The only way you can add players now is sign them off a practice squad, off the street, or claim a player who's been cut.
Haha, no hallucinogens here. You're right, they don't have anybody like that. But they didn't last year either yet won their final six games, then two playoff games to get to the NFC championship. LaDarius Gunter was their No. 1 CB for that run. Think about that. The pass rush wasn't very good last year either -- a tad better because of Peppers, but still not good. So if they did it last year I don't see why they can't this year. Rodgers has a run game now. In the end, it all depends on Rodgers playing at an MVP level. Might be asking too much from a guy who's been out two months, but I'm sure not ruling it out.
That's what Tom Silverstein wrote this week, that Capers is going to have to take some more chances. And having Rodgers back makes that easier to do, because Rodgers is there to erase big mistakes.
I agree, for exactly the reasons you cite. He has all sorts of resources to work with to turn that around. Now, finding a QB is essential, but if he likes one of the QBs in this class, he'll have the first pick, so the guy is his. And if he turns around that franchise, which has been a disaster since it re-formed 18 years ago or whatever it was, he'll be a hero. The thing he had to make sure about is whether the owner will give him enough autonomy, and whether he can fire the coach if he wants. I'm assuming he wouldn't have taken the job unless he could check both those boxes.
A lot of teams and players have fight. But teams also collapse down the stretch and lose games they have to win to stay in the playoff hunt, sometimes lose those by a lot. It's not just fight but poise too. I thought those last three games revealed some character traits in Hundley -- perseverance, poise, toughness. You're right that the Packers aren't the only team that shows fight, but they did show it. And for all the criticism McCarthy takes, deserved and not, the one thing that's been consistent throughout his tenure is that his teams hold together and don't unravel when things turn bad.
Earl Thomas is exceptional, the best free safety in the game, maybe/probably a Hall of Famer. Agree that Clinton-Dix isn't in that class. He doesn't have anything like Thomas' speed, for starters. Thomas is the perfect guy for that scheme, because Seattle plays mostly single-high safety, and his speed and instincts allows him to cover all that ground back there. But I'm sure he'd be a star in any system. Clinton-Dix has had a tough year, missed more tackles in the open field than I'd expect, hasn't made a lot of plays. I don't doubt some of that is luck of the draw, but some of it has to be on him too. Put it this way, if he were going to be a free agent next year, the Packers wouldn't be using the franchise tag on him. Doesn't mean he's not or won't be a good player. Last year he deserved to go to the Pro Bowl, but this year he hasn't had anything like a Pro Bowl season.
He is hurt a lot, and they knew that when the re-signed him two years ago. I wouldn't move on if I were them, only because they don't have any better options. But they failed to plan for the likelihood that he'd be hurt some, and haven't been developing OLBs for when he's hurt or needs reduced reps. It's not good relying on a player who's hurt as much as he is -- McCarthy always talks about availability being the most important ability -- but at least for now I don't see a lot of options. When he's healthy he's good. But agreed, his healthy issues are a problem.