Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Thursday, Feb. 22 transcript

    Do you see the Packers making a splash via trade? Maybe trying to get Earl Thomas or Martavis Bryant?
    Sounds like the Chiefs might be willing to trade Marcus Peters, I wonder if he might be of interest. He's a top cornerback.
    Pete, I don't think the Packers need to cut either Cobb or Nelson.
    Pete, any rumors that HaHa might be traded? He had a down season which happens (see Mason Crosby). My big concern is he quit on his teammates the last game of the season.
    No rumors on Clinton-Dix, and because of the reasons you cite I doubt his value on the trade market would be very high. That's one of many projects this offseason for Pettine, to get Clinton-Dix playing more like he did a couple years ago. That last game, he really mailed it in on a couple plays.
    Hi Pete, despite the Packers having a relatively high draft position which will certainly help the roster, how aggressive do you think they need to be in free agency to contend for a Lombardi Trophy next year?
    I think they need to pretty aggressive, not necessarily going after big-ticket guys, but for filling in some starting spots with solid guys, kind of in the Jahri Evans mold last year, or even more expensive than that. At tight end, for instance, even if they draft one high, that's a tough position to have much impact as a rookie. So it seems imperative they sign a decent TE in free agency. Maybe a potential starter for RT and even RG. A decent CB if not better. Pass rushers are hard to find on the open market, so don't know if they can get much help there, but they have to at least look hard. Lots of ways that free agency could make them a little better.
    I'm really looking forward to seeing Pettines defense in GB. Although it sounds complicated, it also sounds like the players should catch on and we'll see less breakdowns on that side of the ball. The keys will be the coaches ability to teach and the players ability to understand and absorb. With the current CBA the coaches are prohibited from working with players or even communicating with players until OTA's start? Has Pettine been able to work with his assistants in relation to understanding and teaching his system and his buddy system of learning the defense? It's important they can hit the ground running when OTA's start.
    The coaches can't work with the players until the official offseason workout program starts in, I think it's late April or early May. But yeah, Pettine can work with his assistants all they want, and I'm sure he's been doing a lot of teaching with them the last couple weeks that will continue for a while.
    Pete, on a related note to my previous question I think the CBA has been mostly detrimental to the quality of the game. Players lack training and conditioning and it very much shows in the 1st half of the season. I think the lack of quality conditioning work also leads to more injury's in the long run, especially soft tissue injury's. Do you think those rules will ever change?
    They might not. The coaches don't like it, but it was a way for the owners to give up something in negotiations over the CBA without costing them money. So the owners don't have a lot of incentive to ask the players to spend more time in the offseason program, because the owners would have to give up something to get that.
    Hey Pete-
    I saw that ESPN had Calvin Ridley going #15 in the draft. Then some article said that CBS Sports had him as the 5th best WR in the draft. So what do you make of that? Also, do you think they have to take a defensive player or would it make sense to take Ridley if they thought he was really good?
    Rankings on players will differ, sometimes greatly, among any two scouts or teams or scouting services. That's just part of evaluating players, it's still more art than science. If the Packers think Ridley is special and he's available at 15, then they should take him. But special is rare, and I don't know if he qualifies. That's up to them. If they think he's good but not special, and they have a defensive player rated similarly, then I'd say they should go with the defensive player.
    Pete, As someone halfway between the Packers organistion and their fans, did you see or hear any indications or portents of the great front office and coaching overhaul, BEFORE it happened ?
    It wasn't hard to Capers' firing coming, I think just about everyone who covers the team thought that was going to happen. You just knew something was going to change, and the defense just hadn't played well enough going back to 2011. Whether that was more because of Capers or talent it didn't really matter at that point, it just seemed likely there was going to be a change. I thought (and wrote) they should move on from Thompson, but I really didn't think Murphy would do it because he'd been so publicly supportive of him for several years. To Murphy's credit, he made the move. It was time.
    Who do you think is the effective decision-maker when it comes to cutting the 90 man roster to 53 ? The head man would have been Ted (now Gute), but I'd guess the decisions are mostly McCarthy's, unless it is a bigger $ contract
    Murphy has said the roster is Gutekunst's responsibility. How much say Gutekunst gives to McCarthy is another matter. I can't say I know how that will work out.
    With their need for experience in the secondary, I can't believe GB would entertain allowing Morgan Burnett to walk. They've already made two mistakes in the past in this area.
    They did make mistakes there with Hayward and Hyde. But this is a tough call. You can't pay everybody, and if want to be active in free agency you need cap space. Burnett has had some injuries the past few years, and he just turned 29 last month. That's not young in this league. They also have a former first-round pick in Clinton-Dix and last year's second-rounder Jones to play that position. On the other hand, Burnett is a pro's pro, a student of the game, a really stable guy to have in the locker room. So it comes down to price. I really don't have much feel what kind of offers he'll get on the open market. Will it be $4 million a year? $6 million? $3 million? I really don't know.
    To me the timing of Josh Sitton's release was one of TT and MM biggest failures in their time in GB. It weakened the line, hurt depth and they got Nothing in return. I have no doubt there was much more behind that move than what came out at the time. In the 2 years since have you heard anything credible that shines a light on that decision and the bad timing of it?
    I wrote about it a couple times after it happened. From what I heard it was more driven by the coaching staff than by Thompson, that after the team told him early in camp it wasn't going to extend his contract, the coaches felt like he became corrosive for the locker room. That's why they cut him -- they didn't know it was going to come to this in the offseason, when they might have been able to trade him. By the time they made the decision, teams knew they'd have to cut him so no one was willing to trade anything to get him. So I don't blame them for the move and for not getting anything, unless you want to argue that they should have known he'd become a problem when informed he wasn't getting a contract extension, and thus should have traded him in the offseason.
    Pete, a lot has been said about drafting an edge rusher or the contracts of Cobb, Nelson and Matthews, but I think the number one goal should be drafting at least 1 elite player (don't care offense or defense) and at least 3 core players (assuming 11 draft picks). We have one elite player and nobody else. If we get one more on offense, we can become an offensive juggernaut with the ability to mask an ok defense. If we get an elite defensive player, defense will be respectable. That is a roundabout way of saying don't overdraft for positions of need, just draft elite talent regardless of position unless it already has elite or core players (e.g., QB, interior DL). Thoughts?
    Pretty hard to argue with that. Basically, if there's, say, a WR they think could be outstanding available at No. 14, by all means take him. All things relatively equal, I'd go defense with that top pick. Agree completely that hitting big on one defensive pick -- getting a player, say, who's as good as Matthews was as a rookie -- would improve the defense noticeably. Look at what Lattimore did for New Orleans last year. So yeah, pretty much agree with what you see. Great players win games. You have to get them when you can, regardless of position, because they're relatively rare.
    What do you think about redoing nelson contract, cutting cobb and using the money on defense and move Montgomery to WR. I think Cobb does not like going over the middle anymore.
    I'd ask Nelson for a pay cut, and last year he pretty much indicated he's open to the possibility. Mixed feelings on Cobb. He's a really tough guy and gets open on scramble plays and had good yards after the catch last year. But he's small so he's a small target and prone to getting injuries that slow him down some, that's what happens to smaller receivers. He's quick and fast but not exceptionally so. So he has his limitations too. I guess I'd probably only cut him if I signed a high-level WR in free agency
    Which away game would you reccomend a fan travel to this upcoming season? (Not a central division game)
    Seattle or New York Jets. Both are great cities in different ways.
    Pete- Here is the simple and easiest way to solve the back up QB problem. I think Hundley is smart and athletic but you can't fix inaccurate passing. He just can't play and nothing is going to ever change that. Incredibly we let Taysom Hill out the door with total ease. Anyone could see Hill was the next best QB on the Roster after #12. So why not get a draft choice, trade it to New Orleans and get Hill back. We would be covered with a good back up who could win. Unless Hundley is facing a Dom Capers defense, its over for him. Hill is a pretty good player and we'd be set at that position. Why not go get him back?
    I'm not sure New Orleans would be willing to trade Hill. I was talking to a Saints' reporter last season, and he said Payton seems to think Hill at least has a shot at being Brees' successor. If that's true, I doubt Payton would give him up. If he thinks the guy has even a chance of being his next starting QB, he's just too valuable to trade unless it's for a ransom. Agreed, I was surprised they cut Hill, he showed enough in the preseason to get a spot on the 53. That obviously was a mistake by Thompson. I don't know how much say McCarthy had on that.
    Do you believe Pettine will play Josh Jones at safety or more of a nitro look with him? Thanks
    I'm wondering that also, that's something we'll have to ask about next time we get to talk to him, or maybe from McCarthy at the scouting combine or owners meetings.
    Do you think Terrell Pryor or Donte Montcrief would make a good speed addition for the Packers? Which do you think would be more expensive.
    I'm guessing Pryor would be a little more expensive, he had the big season two years ago. They're worth looking into, but I wouldn't pay big money for either.
    When would you expect hear something on the Nelson/Cobb front should they decide to restructure or cut one?
    Soon, before the start of free agency, which I think is March 14.
    Two options that intrigue me at TE are Eiffert and Sefarian-Jenkins should either hit free agency. Do you think they would be a fit despite their past issues?
    Both are interesting, but big issues with both, as you say. Sefarian-Jenkins' substance-abuse (I think it's primarily alcohol) issues in the past have to worry you -- sounds like he's working at it, and he got through last season without issue. But it's a big concern because you count on a guy and then he relapses and you lose him. But I was just talking to a scout about him yesterday, and the scout said he's a really good athlete and good route runner and at least will give effort as a blocker. So yeah, definitely worth a hard look, though you'd want to hedge your bets there, you can't make too big a guaranteed investment. Eifert is all injury. Talented guy but he's missed so many games. If you sign him you can't just assume or think he's going to make it through the season. So you'd have to protect the team with the contract, and you'd have to sign another TE because you have to be ready for the likelihood that Eifert is going to get hurt.
    I feel we have an urgent need for a right tackle. Bulaga will probably start on the PUP list and our two backups are recovering from their injuries. Do we draft an Orlando Brown?
    I just don't see how they can justify drafting an OL in the first round with all their needs on defense and at WR/TE. You can't have everything in this league, and if I'm the Packers I'm looking for good enough at RT for this year. Maybe sign a fallback guy in free agency (kind of like Evans at guard last year), maybe draft a tackle in the fourth round, let them compete with everyone on hand (Murphy, Spriggs) for the starting job.
    Pete, would drafting a CB say Jackson along with signing and bring back T Williams for one year cheap make any sense? He is still playing at a high level and then could end his career with he team he started with?
    I'd think drafting Jackson at No. 14 is at least a possibility, CB is a huge need, though I'd put outside rusher slightly above it. Is Tramon Williams still playing at a high level? I don't know if he is or not. He turns 35 next month, ancient for his position, and an age where a guy can diminish even during the course of the season. He was an excellent athlete, so maybe he's got another year in him, and he played for Pettine in Cleveland so he knows the defense. Might be worth a look-see in camp just for depth purposes for one year, but the age is a big, big concern even for a guy who was as athletic and springy as he was.
    Hi Pete, I read an article after the SuperBowl talking about how the Eagles are very, very analytically minded. Where would you say the Packers would fall on the spectrum of using advanced analytics compared to other NFL teams? I'm talking more gameday and roster stuff rather than, say, nutrition and training.
    OK, have to wrap it up here, have to write a column today. Thanks for taking the time to stop in and sharing what's on your mind. We'll do it again next week, an extended version, to talk about any news that comes out of the scouting combine. So be sure to come back next Thursday. From what I can tell the Packers are very involved in analytics -- I talked with their former analytics guy, Mike Eayrs, this week, and he said they're among the most progressive teams in the league in all aspects of analytics. I think McCarthy has one of the analytics guys near him on game day for consultation. It's a big part of the game now, and the Packers have a four-person analytics staff. Thanks again everyone, take care and we'll have a longer chat next week.
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