Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's weekly chat at 1 p.m. Thursday in advance of the Packers-Lions season finale Sunday.

  • In your honest opinion, do you feel there needs to be changes made and if so, which changes would you make? Thompson/McCarthy/Capers or other?
  • OK, let's get started. Mark wants to get to the heart of the matter, so let's start there. It's hard to think Capers is going to survive this season, just doesn't seem likely, so yes, I'm betting he gets let go. I'm going to address the other issues in my weekend column so I think I'll save my opinion on the rest of it for that. I will say, I don't think there will be any other changes -- I highly doubt Murphy is going to push out Thompson, and Thompson isn't firing McCarthy.
  • Do we bring back Hundley or look for another option?
  • Both. He's on his rookie contract, so he's not expensive, and he's gotten valuable playing time. But they should always be looking for a developmental backup QB and should want to bring in someone who can compete with Hundley for the No. 2 job, so I'd think they'd draft one in the final three rounds.
  • It seems that every year the Packers have young defensive prospects in camp that show great promise and ability and then they produce little to nothing in their 1st year. My question is does Capers defense slow the development of the young players? Rookie contracts are only 4 years and I don't think teams can afford to waste a year while a player 'learns' the system.
  • The player that stands out in that way this year is Josh Jones. He looked really dynamic in the offseason practices but only had some flashes of that kind of play this year (the Cincy game in particular). He blew his share of coverages, that's for sure. It could be that Capers' defense makes it tough for young DBs to play a lot their rookie years. It's a tough transition for rookies to learn the NFL regardless of the scheme, but Capers' scheme might be a little more difficult, I've talked to a scout or two who thinks so but others who don't.
  • I was glad to Reggie Gilbert finally get a chance on the roster. I thought in the exhibition season he showed a knack to pressure the quarterback and should have made the opening day roster. Combined with Clark and Pipkins showing, there seems to be some opportunity in the last game to show they could contribute next year. Who should fans be watching for to make a splash or at least get noticed?
  • The guys you mentioned, Michael Clark of course. Trevor Davis, Biegel, M. Adams.
  • Thanks for the chat, Pete! While the GB o laid a goose egg vs Minn, I thot the def played decent in holding Minn to just 16 pts. Minn had the #6 passing o going into the game, but GB held Case K & com to just pass yds & 4-15 on 3rd downs. Thielen & Diggs have burned other def's, but not much vs GB. Your thots?
  • Agreed. The defense played well enough to win and did a good job on the outside receivers. But offensively the Packers did next to nothing. And they were without Perry and Matthews. Tough to win when you hardly ever get across midfield.
  • Pete, enjoyed you article on the Packers mistake letting Hayward and Hyde get away. One of a coaches most important jobs is to identify what his players do best and put them in a position to accomplish those things and be the best they can be. It seems like Capers has been unwilling or unable to adjust his defense to fit his players. Do you think this might be one of the reasons why players like Hayward and Hyde have flourished on other teams?
  • Hayward's tough to figure out, because he didn't play like this in his final couple seasons with the Packers. So I can't say for sure whether they used him wrong or whether the Packers letting him walk served as a big motivator for him. He might be a little better suited for a zone-oriented scheme, but the scout I talked to yesterday said Hayward looked just as good in man as zone in the video he watched. Even if the coaches could have used him better, it's evident he should have been re-signed because you have to have depth at cornerback to compete in this league. Hyde clearly wasn't playing in his best position, so that's definitely on Capers and the defensive coaching staff.
  • Hi Pete,
    I believe the biggest problems are lack of a pass rush and the inability of the receivers coach to train his guys in the art of getting separation. The receivers , aren't fast for the most part , but the coach is being paid to come up with ways to be successful with the talent he has. Do you agree that these are major problems ? By the way,what was the local media's reaction to the scene of TT staring in to space with his mouth open like he was clueless to what was going on ? A picture is worth a 1000 words. Thank-you and New Year !
  • I agree that the pass rush is a big, big issue. A good rush is like good shooting in basketball, it covers up a lot of weaknesses. I don't agree as much on the receivers. Technique and all those things are important, but you have to be able to run also, and the Packers don't have a dynamic receiving corps by NFL standards.
  • It sounds like Spriggs injury should be 100% healed by camp. Any idea on Bulaga? An ACL injury is pretty serious, do you think there's a chance he's ready to start the season? Also do you expect Kyle Murphy and Kentrell Brice to be ready by camp?
  • ACL's in football are generally a 10- to 11-month recovery, especially for big guys like O-linemen. Bulaga will hit the 10-month mark in mid-September, so his recovery will have to be slightly faster than the norm to have him playing football by the start of the regular season. Looks to me like there's a pretty decent chance he'll start the season on PUP, which means he'd end up missing basically the first half of the season. Maybe he'll make it back fast enough to avoid that, but outside looking in my best guess is that he's more likely than not to start the regular season on PUP. That's just a best guess. I'd think Murphy will be ready for the start of all the offseason work. I don't know the details on Brice's ankle injury so not sure if he'll be ready for the start of the offseason program, but I wouldn't think the start of training camp is in question.
  • Hi Pete,

    Always a pleasure to ask you a question! As I mentioned last week GB's defense needs some major overhauling albeit but a few of the 11 positions, but what this defense really needs is someone the opposing team will notice and "almost fear..." Who was the last Packer defensive player that scared anyone? Clay Matthews 5 years ago? Charles Woodson 10 years ago or Reggie White 20 years ago? I know you have to play within the rules of the game and GB probably wouldn't want a player like Jadeveon Clowney or Vontaze Burfict on the team, but GB needs a defensive player with a "nasty disposition" like Wayne Simmons had all those years ago...Your thoughts and Happy New Year!
  • Yeah, I'm in your camp, though I'd describe it more as difference makers that intimidating guys. As Capers has said repeatedly over the years, teams need probably three difference makers to play good defense. In 2000 and '10 the Packers had Matthews, Woodson and Nick Collins. All three were outstanding players at that time. Tramon Williams was one of the league's better cornerbacks for a couple years in there too. Then Woodson declined from excellent to very good, and Collins' career ended because of a neck injury, and the Packers haven't played that caliber of defense since. So I'd agree they need difference makers, even if they're not the physically imposing kind like White, though that helps. Kenny Clark could be headed in that direction. Mike Daniels is probably in that category. I don't mean to dismiss the importance of being intimidating on defense, it definitely helps to have some guys with a mean streak. But most intimidating of all is talent and playmaking.
  • Hi Pete. I get how you and others, on many occasions, thought it was a good (or at least acceptable) business call letting go of Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde. But you, and I, and those others are not the GM of the Packers. Thompson is getting paid to make calls better than us that benefit the Pack even if the rest of us disagree. He didn't. And with all due respect, so what that you or anyone else agreed? You do terrific work at your job, but as far as the team is concerned, that doesn't matter. As a fan I want results, just like an owner of any business wants results from his employees - or he replaces them. And an analysis of the roster says (you can even forget the Pro Bowl nonsense) without Rodgers - without ONE GUY - we're borderline bottom third of the NFL.

    This isn't a knee jerk reaction. It's been around a decade for all included - McCarthy, Thompson and Capers. Some argue "change for the sake of change isn't good, you may get somebody worse." No kidding. Staying with a system that has proven it doesn't work is even worse. It's madness. I have an 85 yr old Mother who hates change. I forgive her. I don't forgive the Packers for tearing my heart out each year with their neophobia. Plus, if you hire the wrong guy, get another one!

    Staying in a comfortable rut while getting paid millions, I'm sure, suits the current crew. Ask Matt Millen.

    Packer fans deserve more than singles hitters for their leaders. The Green Bay Packers need bold, aggressive, new blood. And don't hit me with that "Okay, where do you find them?" I have my own job.
  • You're right John, it doesn't matter whether I or anyone else agreed with the move at the time, it's on Thompson to get these decisions right, that's his job, and he has the resources and time to study it in a way the rest of us can't. But it is my job to comment on these things and I didn't want to be a hypocrite and not acknowledge what I said at the time they let Hayward go. I don't think you were disputing that but I just wanted to make it clear. Fans should want results, and Thompson should have known what I didn't fully appreciate at the time, you don't let decent cornerbacks walk, they're just too valuable and you need more than three or four to play good defense in today's game. So yeah, that one is definitely on him. I'm going to address the change question in my weekend column so as mentioned earlier will save the rest of my answer for that. But I don't disagree that this organization could use a fire lit beneath it.
  • Prior to concussion #2 I would have thought letting Adams test the market would have led to grossly over paying him. Would u agree the best play for the packers would be to let him test the market? I don’t think the guaranteed money he will want will be out there with his concussion hx?
  • Good question and I can't say I have a good answer. I don't know how other teams would handle it. He recovered really quickly from his previous two concussions -- played in the next game both times. Even if he doesn't play this week, it might just be they don't want to expose him in a meaningless game. I'd look at this way: If the Packers think he's recovered well then I'd just do all I could to sign him before the start of free agency. The problem is, once a guy starts taking visits you lose control of the whole thing, and if he's a good player he usually signs with somebody else while on the trip. Teams make the offer and say take it or leave it, and the players usually take it because it's a good offer. So that would be pretty risky to let him test the market unless the Packers have really good reason to be concerned about his future.
  • Hi Pete - great story on Hayward and Hyde this week (including the rarity of admitting where you had been wrong). In addition to those two, I wonder if the coaches also wish they still had Gunter on the roster. He definitely had limitations with his speed, but I have to think his performance would have been better than what they have gotten out of the safeties playing out of position. Do you think Thompson pulled the plug on him too early, or did he really not have anything to contribute to the team? Thank you again for your insight and willingness to take the time to interact with us fans!
  • No John, I think Gunter was part of the problem. I mean, you have to really admire the guy for how tough he was, a real battler, got every ounce out of his talent. He was impressive that way. But you just can't win with a CB who runs 4..69, that's just a little too slow for this league no matter how tough he is. That's my take.
  • If you Google "best gm's in the NFL" you will find Ted Thompson consistently listed top 5 in the league. Are we as fans losing perspective or just looking for someone to blame. I personally would love to see an organizational change for top to bottom and think Ted's time has come. But are we as fans just overreacting to a down year?
  • The questions are legitimate regardless of what the best answer turns out to be. Thompson's early drafts really were outstanding, he was on his way to an incredible drafting record after four or five years. He was unable to sustain that pace. Overall, in my mind he's been a really good GM, competent in the best sense of the word. He has a great temperament for the job. He also has his weaknesses, like all of us. And everyone's time comes, as well.
  • Hi Pete - do you have any insight into the future of Montgomery? Do the Packers still see him a full-time running back, and, if so, where does he fit with the other backs who have emerged? Has he given any indication on where he is and how he would like to be used in the future? Thanks!
  • I don't have a good feel for it. I'd think he'd have some value as multi-position player, but I wouldn't think he'd be a full-time back anymore, the difference between him and the rookies as far as just running-back abilities was pretty stark. He just can't run like they do. So I'd think he'd be more of a receiver next year but with the extra value of being able to line up in the backfield, and be the RB if a couple guys get hurt in a game.
  • Who are some potential replacement candidates if Capers is finally let go? Would the entire defensive staff get the axe along with him?
  • If Capers gets let go, I wonder if they'd wait on the rest of the staff until a new coordinator was hired, so the new guy could retain any of the remaining guys he wanted. If Chicago's staff gets fired, Vic Fangio would be available, but he's a Capers protege, and I don't know if that would be a plus or minus in McCarthy's thinking. People have asked about UW's Jim Leonard in the last couple chats. I still can't think of anyone who's gone from college coordinator straight to NFL coordinator, though it very well might have happened. We probably can't dismiss him as a possibility because he played in the NFL a long time, so he knows the league and NFL defenses and all that. I'm sure there are position coaches from Seattle and Jacksonville and maybe Minnesota who could be possibilities too.
  • Hi Pete. Do you think Jordy and/or Cobb have played their last games as Packers?
  • My best guess is they won't want to part with both in the offseason, that they'll want a veteran among that receiving corps as a possible security blanket and fallback for Rodgers. Earlier this year I would have bet Nelson was the guy they'd keep because he can play the slot and is a big target over the middle, and has that great chemistry with Rodgers. But with the way his productivity has dropped off the second half of the season, it's kind of a coin flip. Cobb is younger and faster but also a lot smaller and more injury prone.
  • Ted Thompson's tenure with the Packers, particularly the past few years, is much more nuanced than most fans let on. With that said, there is absolutely no excuse for Ted's failure to address the lack of pass rush since last year.
  • The Kenny Clark pick is looking better and better, that's for sure. I think we're all looking at the Hayward and Hyde picks differently, too. The pass rush is a major failing. Outside linebacker is the key position in Capers' defense, and Thompson hasn't put the resources there to sustain it. Compare that with Pittsburgh, which runs the same scheme.
  • Curious to hear what people thought of Getsy and his time here...getting an OC job, even in a college program, seems to be a good step up for him.
  • McCarthy always has spoken very highly of him, promoted him at a young age.
  • If Packers shareholders were to nominate their own slate of directors in 2018, instead of just rubber-stamping the incumbent directors as always happens at annual shareholder meetings, do you think it would give more incentive to President Murphy to make needed operational and coaching changes?
  • Good question. The shareholders have no power because their shares count for next to nothing in the voting process -- all the big shareholders are from the sales in '23, '35 and '49 (or was it '50). And the board members are really honorary positions too. The decision-makers are the executive committee. The new shares of stock are so diluted those votes are worthless. Now, I don't think you can run an NFL franchise like a democracy, and there'd be a big danger of shareholders-fans firing board members left and right, and creating instability in the organization, thus making it a lot less attractive for NFL executives and coaches to work here. But I get your point, the board members and executive committee members are basically appointed by the president and thus as the years go by more and more of them are beholden to him for their positions. So I don't know if there's a good answer to your question. It's up to Murphy and the executive committee to hold football to a high standard, because the Packers have the resources to compete at the highest level.
  • Repeatedly, during training camp, McCarthy said that 88 was his RB.
    Turns out that 88 wasn't much of a RB.

    Repeatedly, during the season, McCarthy said that 7 was his QB.
    Turns out that 7 wasn't much of a QB.

    It's one thing to be confident; another to be unrealistic.

    Signs like these make me think McCarthy's a little too firmly entrenched in his position.

    But I won't be surprised if they spin it again, with the current cast intact.
  • It's sometimes tough to separate what McCarthy says as a message to the team from what he really thinks deep down. So judge him more by what he does than what he says. It took an injury to replace Montgomery, so he was slow on the trigger there. I don't think he had a lot of options with regard to Hundley. So there probably was a misevaluation of him in the offseason, but by the time Hundley had to play there weren't other options that were any good, at least in my mind. I think a lot of what he said about Hundley was to instill confidence in Hundley and Hundley's teammates.
  • I've heard a lot of people wonder if Ted will have learned anything about the Martellus Bennett signing. To me, if anything he needs to learn from how he handled the Jared Cook situation. Do you agree?
  • Yeah, Cook added an element of speed that really helped the offense, and Bennett didn't have that kind of speed. And the Bennett failure shouldn't turn him off free agency. Sometimes signings don't work out. They structured the contract well, so it was basically a one-year deal with a team option the next two seasons. Those kinds of signings are worth the risk.
  • Pete- When I hear terms like "patterns of negativity" i wonder if McCarthy is simps one who dots the I's and crosses the T's and as long as that happens, you have the excuse to lose. When I watched the Viking game, I didn't see any swarming to the ball, or offensive players going all out. It was just mind boggling how ho hum the attitude seemed to be. I am not advocating getting rid of McCarthy, but I do wonder if we have the Don Shula syndrome going on there. His last few years with the Dolphins were a team on autopilot. He was clearly a great coach, but it was just to comfortable to win
  • The Shula example is a great one. I remember Bernie Lincicome fo the Chicago Tribune writing about all the Dolphins issues in one of Shula's last seasons as coach and saying something like, "These things wouldn't be happening if Don Shula were still the coach." What a great line and goes right to your point, Shula was not the same guy by that point. There's a fine line to walk between stability and the danger of people getting overly comfortable. One of the Steelers' great strengths is the stability at coach and GM for the last 45 or so years. But they have to keep an eye on getting too comfortable too. Belichick must have an internal drive that is a cut above the rest, because he's avoided getting comfortable. Lombardi obviously did also, probably at the cost of his own health. That's why they're the two best ever. So the point you bring up is something Murphy, Thompson and McCarthy all have to recognize. The danger is very real.
  • After the way Hundley has played why would we bring him back? He had accuracy problems in college and they have not gotten better. It is time to move on
  • It very well might be, but why not bring him back for the offseason and camp? It doesn't cost you anything, and he has picked up really valuable playing experience. Unless there's a veteran available in free agency that they think is better.
  • So Pete, if Capers does get let go, how quickly do you think he will be picked up by another team. Is he still highly respected in the NFL?
  • From what I can tell he's highly respected. But he's also 67. So I don't know if he'd get another DC job or not. There are other possibilities, such as a sort of coaching consultant role.
  • Does Capers love of sub packages make the front office ignore the ILB position or does the lack of a top tier ILB cause Capers to sub so much? Chicken or Egg?
  • ILB is a strange, almost no-man's land position in today's NFL. You need them to stop the run, but this is a passing league, and the best QBs in the league always find a way to exploit those ILBs in the passing game, even the really good ones like Wagner and Kuechley can be exploited by the Bradys and Breeses and Rodgers of the NFL. It's just almost impossible for 240-pound guys, no matter how athletic, to match up with running backs and the really fast TEs in the game if the QB is top notch. So that's kind of a macro answer to your question. The sub-packages -- and everyone plays them, not just Capers -- are such a big part of the game that it's de-emphasized ILB. I still think we're going to see more and more glorified safeties playing in there, but that again leaves the defense more vulnerable to the run.
  • How realistic is it to be able to address all of our needs (edge rushers, secondary, tight end, wide receiver, etc.) in the upcoming draft/free agency. Are we looking at a 2-3 year process?
  • It will be hard to do in one draft, even with 12 picks (their own seven picks, a seventh-rounder from a trade with Buffalo, and an expected four compensatory picks). But if they use free agency too, they can go a long way toward addressing all of them. Will they use free agency, though?
  • What are the chances green bay extends Burnett
  • I don't know that they'll extend him, but I could them re-signing him in the offseason to a short-term deal, maybe even let him test the market first if he doesn't like their initial offer.
  • Will the Packers finally pick a pass rusher at the top of the draft this year ?
  • I would think so, but I thought they would the last two years, too. I don't see how they can't pick a pass rusher with at least one of their top two picks, and I'd think there's a really good chance it will be with their first-rounder.
  • Do you think we lose E Wolf to a GM seeking team or is he content to wait it out in GB? Thx
  • I'd think if he gets an offer from a franchise where he thinks he can win, he'd take it. How could he not? The Packers haven't promised him anything.
  • Packer defense played well against Vikings?? The 16-0 loss is really misleading. The Viking offense was operating in a way not to make stupid mistakes and playing not to lose. This game could literally still be going on and the Viking defense would hold GB to under 10 points and the Vikings would have kicked 89 field goals. The Vikings were "slow playing" this game the entire time ... the score is misleading
  • Yeah, I though the defense was fine. The Vikings did play it conservatively, but they also have a limited QB -- I know his stats, but he's still a limited guy. They made some good plays in the red zone -- Pipkins tackle on third-and-goal from the 2, for instance -- that kept points off the board. So yeah, I thought the defense played well enough to win.
  • Wouldn't you agree that the upcoming draft might be the most critical in years to get right? Mathematically, we can't get any lower than the 18th pick and nothing above #10. TT has to nail this one!!!
  • I'm going to have to cut this off here, other duties to get to. But a lot of good and pointed questions, so thanks for taking the time. These chats continue throughout the offseason, so we'll be back again next week. If I didn't get to yours -- there were far too many for me to even read them all -- try again next week. You can submit questions a day ahead of time as well, and those are the first ones I see when I start up the chat. This is a huge draft because he's going to be picking higher than usual and has all those picks (it sure looks like at least one of the compensatory picks is doing to be a third-rounder, for Lang). The Packers need some immediate help from this draft, especially on defense, and most especially at pass rusher. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Enjoy hearing from all of you. Happy New Year and take care.
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