Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Thursday, Jan. 25 transcript

    Do we really want any existing coach’s back for the secondary? If yes then why were things so bad the last couple of years? Did Capers not allow input from coaches? Pettine wants teachers back there. Didn’t see results from teaching with last group of coaches.
    Hi everybody, let's jump right in. That's for McCarthy to decide. He obviously thinks really high of Joe Whitt and Darren Perry. I have to say I have heard and continue to hear good things about Whitt from many people who work over there, and McCarthy liked Perry enough to interview him for the DC job as well. Yes, the Packers have had their share of coverage breakdowns, which can make you wonder, but there can be other reasons for those besides the position coach.
    hi Pete......can you tell me your personal opinions on Brian Gutekunst and how you think the change will affect the team? and what do you think will end up being the biggest difference in talent chosen between Brian and Ted T? thanks ....
    I don't know a lot about him, have had almost no interaction with him until his hiring. In his press conference and in a small-group setting with writers after that he came across as level headed and smart. That's about all I can tell you. I don't know what his leanings are when weighing height-weight-speed vs. football instincts, things like that, I just don't know. Sounds like he's going to be more active pursuing players in free agency than Thompson was, but we'll see on that in March.
    Pete - living out here in Denver, thought that Trevor Simean is the kind of backup QB the Packers should be looking at. Will be available, not expensive, can be very competent in short stints. Clearly not a long-term starter, but would bring in experience and sufficient competency to bridge short term gaps. Thoughts?
    I didn't realize he was going to be a free agent. Yeah, that's the kind of guy who would be good to bring in to compete with Hundley. Has some starting experience, has won some games. Then they can also draft one in the later rounds as a developmental guy.
    Pete do you think the Packers will make an effort to bring back House? Evans? Richard Rogers?
    I'd think they'd look into bringing back all three, I wouldn't think the price would be very high. Evans could be iffy, his play finally started slipping because of his age at the end of the season, and after the last game he left open the possibility of retiring. But if he doesn't retire he could be a guy to bring to camp for a relatively small bonus, but they'd need other options as well because he might have hit the wall too.
    Pete, it looks like MM hired a bunch of guys he knows rather than letting Pettine hire his own guys. Should we be concerned that the defense will once again fall below expectations? I'd feel a lot better if Pettine had his guys cracking the whip so nothing is lost in translation. Thoughts?
    I don't have a strong opinion on this. If McCarthy really likes Whitt and Perry and Moss, he should keep them. I'm sure Pettine would feel better with a staff full of guys he's worked with, but if these guys are as good as McCarthy thinks they should be able to learn and teach the scheme. I have to say I haven't thought a lot about this issue, so maybe this will be more problematic than I think. Something to ask around about and watch for.
    I'm not as "sold" on this roster as others, particularly on defense.

    I've watched a few playoff teams this season, and the Packers don't look like these teams.
    I've seen...
    DLs that disrupt pockets.
    LBs that are f-a-s-t.
    CBs that are near the receiver when the pass comes.

    Clark is good.
    Daniels... perhaps more bark than bite.
    HaHa is a quitter.
    Randall is a headcase.
    Martinez may be making all of those tackles simply because he's being exploited as a weak link.

    And this is the best of the bunch.
    I'm not sure who's been touting this as a talented defense. Clark is a guy on the rise, no question. I think Daniels is very good. Perry is a pretty good rusher when healthy, but we all know the story there. Randall is talented and played well the final two-thirds last season, but yeah, consistency and temperament are issues. Not sure what was up with Clinton-Dix last year, maybe he's just not as good as some of us thought. Martinez is good in the run game but limited in coverage. Lowry is solid rotational guy. Matthews still can play good football but he's not the difference maker he was. That's the big thing I see, just not enough upper-level guys.
    Pete, thanks for the time. How much money does the new GM have at his disposal to sign free agents? In other words, how many free agent signings should we expect at most, given the cap space?
    I think they're projected to be a little more than $20M under the cap right now. They can pick up some room with contract restructures (Nelson, maybe Cobb, maybe Matthews), and when the extend Rodgers in the offseason they can structure the deal to pick up more room there if they choose. For their rookie class I'm guessing they need to keep about $6M-$7M. So that would give them maybe $15 for re-signings and free agency at minimum, plus whatever room they pick up with restructures, cuts and Rodgers' deal.
    The Packers invested heavily on Sam Shields, and failed to cut him after multiple concussions foretold of extended time out of action.

    With Nick Perry and Davante Adams, the Packers again paid heavily for suspect players.

    I don't think this was wise.

    While these guys have been good (at times, especially compared to other Packers...), I don't think their history is so outstanding as to warrant fat extensions.

    Your thoughts?
    In both cases I'd argue they were in a bind. They Perry was one of their only rushers, so to let him go would have presented an even bigger risk than re-signing, though agreed it was still a risk because of the injuries. Same with Adams, he's their best receiver. The one thing that separates him from Shields as far as the concussions go, Shields missed extended time because of his concussions, especially the one at the end of 2015, he missed a month with that one. Adams was back the next game after each of his first two. Hard to know for sure on this last one, I think they just shut him down because there were only two games to go anyway and they were out of the playoff race.
    Hi Pete....Now is the time for baseless guesses and groundless speculation, yes? We have a new GM, who, we've been led to believe will be more active in free agency, and presumably looser with the checkbook for the right players. In the perfect world, where one of these players becomes available, who does Gutekunst break the bank for? Ziggy Ansah? Malcom Bulter? Josh Gordon? Jimmie Graham?
    I'd break the bank for Ansah, none of the others. I highly doubt Detroit lets him get to the open market. I'd make a good run at Graham and Butler, though. Graham is interesting though his age (31) and past knee issues are red flags that need looking into. He was faster than Martellus Bennett in their primes and seems to have retained more of his speed. When I asked around about Butler last year the read I got was basically that he's pretty good but not really good. So you'd want to be careful about overpaying there. Gordon would scare me because of the substance-abuse issues. I know you asked what I think Gutekunst would do but I'm just guessing wildly there. And my wild guess is he'll take a hard look at Graham and maybe Butler.
    Pete it seems like the defensive assistant hires were a collaboration of both McCarthy and Pettine. Do you think McCarthy had final say or did he give that to Pettine?
    McCarthy has final say. I'm sure Pettine has great input and was able to pick a couple guys, but McCarthy has final call. I have to think they discussed all this during the interview process.
    What type of salary pool does MM have to hire all the coaches and what do you think about the 'new' titles for some? I really hated to see Edgar go.
    I've never added up my estimate of the salary pool. I think coordinators make anywhere from $1M to $2M, though maybe that's gone up in the last couple years. Position coaches I think are more in the $500K to $1M range (offensive line at the high end). I don't know if those passing-game coordinator and running-game coordinator titles come with much of a raise.
    Hey Pete,
    Given the dramatic dropoff in Jordy Nelson's performance I have a hunch he may surprise everyone and retire between now and training camp. I think he has too much pride to ignore what his tape now looks like, and doesn't want to end his career taking a paycut and then scratching for the 4th or 5th WR slot. A plausible theory? Or nonsense?
    Very plausible. I could see that too. He might be really torn. He also might want to come back for one more shot with Rodgers. He did suggest late in the season that he's open to adjusting his contract, which means he's open to a de facto pay cut, so that makes you think he wants to return. But I too could see him retiring.
    With Lang and Sitton gone, who are the "enforcers" on this squad (particularly on offense)? I'm still a bit surprised that nobody came to Rodgers defense after the hit from Barr, and equally surprised that there was no "best served cold" repercussion in the second meeting. It's like the team has no fight, which - in my mind - only invites a similar attack on our QB next season. BTW - I don't buy that these guys are all friends and they don't want to hurt each other. We saw enough malevolent shots on our players this year to know that's not the truth.
    I'd say Lane Taylor has some of that mentality. Murphy might to if he finds a spot in the starting lineup (RT or RG). I too wondered if they'd go after Barr in that last game against Minnesota but see anything that jumped out.
    Hi Pete. I know Aaron Rodgers is due a new contract, which would rightly make him the highest paid player in the NFL. However, Aaron Rodgers only played in 1 game after his broken collarbone. And it was my understanding at that time his collarbone may not have been completely healed. Do you think it might be a risk to extend his contact before next season even starts? I personally want to make sure the injury will not have a negative impact on his performance, especially considering he isn't a young player for NFL standards. I would feel safer seeing him play in a few regular season games first.
    No, I really don't. The risk is greater the other way. They wait until next season, the franchise tag starts getting baked into the negotiations, and the Packers don't want that. The reason to do the surgery is to avoid the things you're worried about -- the surgery ensures that the collarbone doesn't shorten and thus change his throwing motion. I get what you're saying, and there are no guarantees after surgery. But if I'm the Packers I'm full steam ahead on the extension. Get it done this offseason, it will only cost you more later.
    Pete what's the best outcome for the Packers at the tight end position to start the 2018 season?
    Best outcome would be signing a free agent -- Graham is worth a really hard look if they think he might have two good seasons left in him, maybe even one. That Luke Wilson from Seattle always intrigued me too, his stats aren't big -- don't think he's had more than about 25 catches in a season -- but he runs well and can make some big plays. Don't know if Seattle is going to re-sign him. Regardless, sign a veteran who's at least a pretty decent receiver, then draft one fairly high, maybe in the first three rounds. I'd probably re-sign Richard Rodgers too as long as it's fairly cheap. He doesn't have any quick twitch, but he knows the system and catches pretty well.
    If the packers were to bring in a free agent wr . Who would you want Allen Robinson or Jarvis Landry?
    Tough one, Robinson is coming off an ACL, sometimes guys are never quite the same, and Landry has such big red flags for locker-room and coachability issues. So big concerns with both. Guess I'd lean Landry but he'd still worry me because a big pay day is going to empower him even more.
    Pete, what's your opinion on the Pff grading system? Listened to Rick Gosselin yesterday and his take on why HOF voting is player by player cases was interesting. Different guys asked to do different things at their positions... I'm no statistical model expert but Rodgers hasn't been ranked the Pff #1 QB in many years, but has been the #1 QB in that span. Their grades have started to influence All Pro and Pro Bowl voting, and when the casual fan sees these grades on their tv they take it at face value. Am I just blowing smoke?
    I like PFF and think they do a good job and consider them a valuable resource, but they have their limitations too. They can't know assignments and coaching points, etc., so they're going to get some plays wrong, just like we all do. And when you grade on each play and then add it up, it doesn't take into account the extra value of a big play (if they have a way to add extra points for big plays, I'm not aware of it). They're a good resource and are especially valuable for their blitz and pressures stats. Their grades are a decent barometer but carry only so much weight.
    Watched the Q & A session with Pettine and cam away impressed. I wonder if you were also impressed with him?
    Have to say I was, he came across as smart and in command. Showed a sense of humor. Seems like he has an edge to him. But talk is cheap. I'm  not saying this about Pettine at all, but I started in this business covering college basketball at UW-Green Bay, and there was a head coach in the conference who had been an assistant at a really successful Big 10 school. He looked exactly like what you'd draw up for a basketball coach, was a great talker, seemed really smart. And he couldn't coach a lick. So we have to judge these coaches by what we see on the field.
    if there was one free agent you thought the Packers should be in play for this off season, who would that be and why?
    I still haven't looked hard at the free agent lists because a lot of these guys are going to get signed or tagged, and there will be a few cap casualties who become available too. I do think Graham is worth a hard look but you'd have to feel good that he can still run at age 31.
    Pete, how good do you think Mathews is in coverage if he played MLB? Good enough or really good?
    He's 31, so not sure he'd be really good because he's not as fast as he was. But I'd think good enough, the best coverage ILB on the roster would be my guess. He's taller and longer than those other guys, that helps in coverage (especially zone), and he's quicker than Martinez, Thomas and Ryan.
    Please bring back 42. We need his versatility. Pettine spoke on it. Price may be too high?
    He's 31, so not sure he'd be really good because he's not as fast as he was. But I'd think good enough, the best coverage ILB on the roster would be my guess. He's taller and longer than those other guys, that helps in coverage (especially zone), and he's quicker than Martinez, Thomas and Ryan.
    Sorry if that last answer posted twice, ScribbleLive locked up for a minute there. Burnett is one of the tougher calls. He turned 29 earlier this month, so he's not young anymore. They drafted Jones high and want to get his speed on the field. But Burnett does have some position versatility -- he can play in the box and deep -- and has a veteran's know-how. His age could help keep his price down on the open market. Brice's torn Achilles has to be a concern also, he might not be the same explosive guy he was. If they have questions about Brice, I could see re-signing Burnett, there are so many injuries in the secondary anyway, you need depth there. What's the right price? I'm just wildly guessing here, maybe $4M per year.
    Pettine wouldn't get specific there, so we probably won't know until they hit the practice field for OTAs in May. I'd play him more inside than outside if I'm them, but they have to then add some real pass-rush prospects.
    When will the local beat get a Q&A w Gunt, combine?
    Our Michael Cohen is at the Senior Bowl and has interviewed him once down there already and I think is scheduled for another one before he comes home. Then the next one will be at the combine. If you mean a formal Q&A where we run the transcript of an interview, that probably won't be until training camp, if he agrees to do it then. But as far as him being available for questioning, this week at the Senior Bowl and then the combine after that.
    Pete - how much does our extensive cash on hand now come into play for free agent signings? I mean is, with the rainy day fund north of 150 million and no more titeltown's to build, can we start dangling this money in front of some players not on our team?
    From what I understand, the rainy day fund is exactly that, it's for keeping the franchise on firm footing if hard times hit financially. It's not for funding players. But they have plenty of money for that. Having the cash-budget was never the issue -- remember, they signed Reggie White to the biggest contract ever, outbid every team for him, and that was back in '93. Thompson just didn't like free agency.
    Pete, I’ve heard over and over how it’s a QB league which is true. But watching the eagles run all over the Vikings with Foles at QB made me wonder how bad the GB offense is outside of Rodgers. Yes Foles is better than Hundley but that team shut the Pack out in GB not that long ago. How did the talent on O get so bad? Does Rodgers really cover up that much?
    Just kind of making it up on the fly, I'd say the QB is like 80 percent of it. That still leaves the other 20 percent to make a difference. Remember the Packers didn't have Adams for that last game against Minnesota, either. I don't know what to make of Foles. He seems capable of making some really good plays, but he can play absolutely terribly too. I don't know what happened to Minnesota's defense in that game, though Philly's D made a couple huge plays that either put points on the board or set them up for a TD, so Foles didn't have much to do with that. I like the Packers' RBs, especially Jones if he can stay healthy. He adds some juice to the offense. But yeah, the Packers don't have much playmaking in the passing game outside of Adams. They need help at WR and TE, they need immediate help from a good player at at least one of those two positions, plus guys who can grow into bigger roles a year or two down the road.
    Hi Pete,
    Why does it seem like everyone has to create some type of conspiracy or theory about everything? Maybe it just is what it is (Murphy created the "new" structure because of poor communication, most of Pettine's old cohorts weren't available to even hire, maybe the current defensive players just aren't good enough, etc.). We all seem to want to create some "controversy" out of every little move. Maybe things are a lot more black and white than the fans or media wants to believe. But, somehow, everything has to be second-guessed. Just an observation. Have a great day Pete.
    That's just human nature. We wonder these things. And nothing wrong with being suspicious of the company line, because in all walks of life we often find that the company line isn't the real truth, often enough that we can't take what NFL teams say at face value. So all of these things are worth questioning or probing. But you're right, sometimes things are as they appear.
    Do you consider B. J. Raji a bust? He had a few glood years...but no longevity for a #9 overall pick.
    Yeah, good question. I'm inclined to say no he wasn't a bust, only because in his second season he really was a difference maker and was a real factor in them winning the Super Bowl. If he made a difference in them getting the hardware, then he was worth the pick. But he never made that kind of impact again. Definitely didn't have the career it looked like he was going to have. Was a disappointment in that way.
    Pete, any idea why the Seahawks didn't hire Petine when he was right under their nose and they knew they would fire Kris Richards?
    Couple things there. One, Pettine worked on-site at Seattle only for a little bit in the offseason and part of training camp. He was off-site the rest of the time and was basically a scout -- he advanced scouted their opponents, and self-scouted their own team for Carroll. So he wasn't on staff. I suspect (but don't know) that Carroll wanted a DC who runs his system. He hired Ken Norton, who had been an assistant there from 2010-14. Pettine runs a different system. So that would be my guess but I don't know that for a fact.
    Hey Pete. Since Bulaga most likely can't return until second half of 2018, what will Packers do at RT? Packers just don't have anyone on roster who can perform at level needed to keep Rodgers upright.
    I could see them signing a Jahri Evans-type as a one-year stop-gap, plus drafting there in the middle rounds. Then also see if Murphy or Spriggs improves and can make a run at the job.
    Why is everybody in such a rush to extend ARs contract. He has 2 years left on this one and after next season would seem more sensible. Is he crying poverty?
    Has nothing to do with that. The closer he gets to the end of his contract, the less incentive he has to sign an extension. Then the Packers will have to tag him, and to tag him a second season means his salary goes up 20 percent, and a third season 44 percent above that, so those three years will be astronomical. And then that's the starting point of negotiations if he gets down to one year left on his contract. You do it now so he never gets that kind of leverage.
    An aggressive Free agency splurge seems to be the big talk of the town but that approach is full of potential disaster. I see the Packers possibly looking at second tier free agents and lower against approaching the big dollar talent. Thoughts?
    OK everybody, this will have to do it, but thanks for coming by, always a pleasure to chat and see what's on your minds. That is the more likely way, that they'll be in on more mid-tier guys, with only the occasional big signing. That's how NE does it. Belichick splurged for the CB Gilmore last spring but usually signs anywhere from five to 10 free agents at prices ranging from mid-level to cheap, and then he treats it kind of like a draft and isn't afraid to cut some them in camp. I suspect that's how Gutekunst is going to be. Will be interesting to see, the most interesting times around this team in years, that's for sure. Thanks again everyone and we'll chat again next week. Take care.
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