Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

July 25 transcript

    re: A-Rod's contract: feasible to just set it to automatically average top two or three contracts at some specific date, e.g. June 1? Contract would run for say 5 years with these incremental adjustments; locks him in but keeps him one of the highest paid
    Hi everybody, time for the 2018 NFL season to get going, let's dive right in. I'm sure there will be a lot of questions about Rodgers' contract, and just so you know, I'll be writing a column about that tomorrow, so I'm still formulating my thinking. They could do that, but if read Andrew Brandt's column for SI.com that came out yesterday, even then it gets complicated. Top two or three contracts based on cap numbers that year? Or average for the entire deal? Or average for new money for guys who signed extensions? I'm sure the Packers want to avoid that if at all possible, and because Rodgers has two years left on his contract, the Packers have their share of leverage on this. Looks like this is proving to be a tough negotiation.
    It seems the strength of our defense will be on the front line. Many big bodies, but no true defensive ends on the roster. So do you see us in a three down, four backers and four db alignment, or more of a two, four , five package as our base with a lot of rotation up front?
    Based on what we saw at the OTAs, it looks like in that way it will be similar to under Capers, with two true defensive linemen and two outside linebackers who in many ways are defensive ends. Teams play mostly nickel in the NFL, with a some dime mixed in that for a 3-4 team also has only two DL and then the two OLBs. The base 3-4 with three  big defensive lineman, basically the body types of defensive tackles, and then two outside linebackers playing outside them, is becoming more and more rare. I don't know the exact numbers but I'd guess the Packers will play the base 3-4 only about, I don't know, 10 or 15 percent of their defensive snaps. The value of the depth of the DL will show mainly in being able to rotate guys and keeping them fresh for the fourth quarter, and for putting four or five of them out there in goal line and short yardage.
    Any idea how Pettine's defense differs from Capers? Capers morphed from mainly a 3-4 to more of a hybird 4-3, with OLB playing the DE spot, since the rules have changed to make the league more of a running league.
    This is in line with the last question. That's what I'm really interested to see in camp and the preseason games. In the three OTA practices that were open to reporters, the personnel groupings didn't look any different, and for the most part they seemed to line up the same. But that was only three practices, and I'm sure we'll see the differences with practice being open almost every day in camp.
    Does the incremental revenue from Titletown need to be shared with the rest of the NFL? If not, what advantage does this revenue provide going forward? Can the revenue be used toward signing bonuses or does it have to be used elsewhere?
    That revenue is not shared. The shared revenues are the national TV and radio contracts, tickets (the luxury suites are not shared as best as I remember) and merchandise. And they can use the revenue from things such as Titletown in any way they want. That's the great advantage of that kind of revenue, you don't have to share it.
    Hey Pete,
    Thanks for the chat! A quick question about the drafting of all the size/speed combo WRs in the late rounds of the draft this year. It seems to me that if you read between the lines a bit with the new Kick Off rules and specifically with Zook's and the Packers heavy input and involvement in those changes that the Packers may indeed be targeting having one of the premier special teams squads with these late round picks, as much as hoping that one of them pans out as a future staple at the receiver position. Since running starts are going to be seemingly taken out of the return game having a squad of very large and fast players on special teams becomes more vital to having a top end squad. McCarthy's comments to end last season about making sure the Packers are doing everything they can to win a championship may also point to a re-emphasis on STs. What do you think, is it possible the Packers field a top 5 special teams unit in '18? And do the rookie WRs play a significant role?
    I didn't see the drafting of those guys that way. I'm not even sure those three drafted receivers played much special teams coverage in college (pretty sure St. Brown didn't at Notre Dame, for instance). I think it's more they had a shot to get some really big receivers and took it. Those guys are such huge targets, so the ball doesn't have to be as much on the money with a 6-4 or 6-5 guy than a 6-0 or 6-1 guy, the catching radius is a lot bigger. That makes it easier to complete passes and to have a guy make an extended catch and keep running as opposed to having to lay out. And with St. Brown and Valdes-Scantling, their 40 times were good -- Brown in the upper 4.4s if I remember right, and Valdes-Scantling in the upper 4.3s. So from everything I could tell those picks were all about adding size to the receiving corps. Really not sure if any of them will do much as rookies. Based on the limited view we got of them in camp, J'Mon Moore looked the most advanced, even though his 40 time was slowest of the group he looked like the quickest off the line and the quickest in and out of his breaks.
    Hi Pete, Have you heard of any new steps or approaches the Packers are taking to reduce injuries, and keep the players on the field? The lack of depth on the roster seems to be a liability for the team.
    My suspicion is that camp injuries played at least part of the role in the decision for McCarthy to have a regular-season practice schedule -- that is, starting practice somewhere between 11:15 and 12:15 every day -- from the start of camp. Previously, he'd practice at 8:15 for the first six or seven practices. Now they'll be on the same schedule from Day 1, which means they'll have more consistent sleep times, which plays a big role in recovery. McCarthy was asked about the change at his press conference this morning but really was vague, just kind of talked around it. I'm sure other factors could have played into the decision to change the start time the first week, but my suspicion is that injury prevention was part of it. They have all kinds of injury and GPS data going back a lot of years now to figure these things out.
    Hi Pete,
    What kind of financial flexibility do the Packers have this season to perhaps sign a starter (OL) and/or some quality backups?
    I'd have to check online, but I'm thinking they have like $7 million in cap room, something like that. So they have some flexibility, though they also could end up using some of that room for contract extensions.
    My question is do you think Aaron Rodgers will be limited in training camp
    Not that I know of. He should be fully recovered from the injury. McCarthy today said they'll be monitoring how much Rodgers' throws but gave no indication he's on an actual pitch count.
    Hi Pete, Great to have chats with you again! My question is simple. Is there any chance Bulga can play in week 1? Will he definitely head to PUP (based on typically conservative approach by Packers)? Thanks!
    I haven't heard anything one way or the other on how far along he is, so I'd think there's a chance. But you'd have to bet against him being on the roster Week 1 at this point. He had the surgery I believe in mid-November, so he's maybe 8 1/2 months into his recovery. From what I've seen over the years, with big guys such as offensive and defensive linemen especially, the recovery from an ACL is 11 to 12 months. I'm assuming he'll be on PUP to start camp, and if I were a betting man I'd bet he'll stay there all camp and thus open the regular season on PUP, which would mean he'd have to miss basically the first half of the season. You never know, maybe he'll have a faster recovery than most. But I wouldn't bet on that.
    Will Davis make the roster Ailey based on the fact that he is adequate at catching a punt? Over other receivers who might actually be able to run routes, track the ball in the air, and catch- I mean is a subpar special teams player more important than an actual #5 wr?
    Not sure I'd bet on him making it, but it's a close call. Special teams matter, so it depends who else shows up in the return game, whether he proves to be much of a gunner on punt coverage, and whether he's improved at WR. Plus, how do all  those rookies plus Michael Clark play? Alexander returned punts in college, so he could end up with that job. I guess I'd lean against Davis making it at this point, but that's a wild guess. Rookie WRs often struggle, so maybe none of the picks will do much.
    Cobb played some QB in college. How many passes has he attempted as a packer? It seams that there should be occasions where this would be extremely useful as a trick play.
    Just looked it up, from what I can tell he's attempted one pass in the NFL. I don't know, if I have Aaron Rodgers at QB I'm not sure I want anyone else throwing the ball. I guess maybe it could get you an easy TD or two-point conversion like the Eagles had in the SB because of the huge element of surprise, but I'd hate taking the ball out of Rodgers' hands.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for chatting with us! I'm curious how LA Rams can manage salary caps. Is it largely due to a rookie contract of QB like Seattle when Wilson was in his rookie contract? Will it become some trends in NFL, eg, cutting older QBs earlier than later? Thanks!
    That's exactly what it is. Their dynamic will change in a huge way in a couple years if Goff plays well and gets a big contract. Look at what's happened in Seattle since Wilson got paid a few years ago.
    I feel as though Ted Thompson left the Packers in dire straits. Little or no depth at key positions, a lot of misses in the draft and yet, barring major injuries, the team is still an NFC favorite. Who gets the credit? Also, since the Packers Hall of Fame inducts anybody, I suppose Ted will get in. Who's next...Jon Staggers?
    The reason they're still one of the favorites is they have one of the two best QBs in the game. It's that simple. Thompson definitely slipped in his last few years, but I do have to say that the Kenny Clark pick is looking pretty good right now, and Kevin King looks like a talented guy though we'll have to see how his shoulder holds up over the long haul. In retrospect, yeah, they waited at least one year too long, and maybe two, to part with Thompson. But that takes nothing away from his overall body of work. He drafted Rodgers, that alone is a quadruple grand slam. Look at his first maybe four drafts: Rodgers, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Sitton, Lang. Thompson's early drafts were outstanding. He also signed Charles Woodson. So he's a no-brainer for Packers Hall of Fame in my book, very deserving.
    Thanks for the chat Pete. I find the Packer's leverage via the franchise tag in Rodger's contract to be a bit overstated. For a team that has been abysmal w/o their quarterback, tagging Rodgers would give him a tremendous amount of leverage simply through him not showing up until week 10 and still getting credit for a year of service. Rodger's has already made a lot of money in his career and seems pretty motivated to set a new standard in player control (can't blame him) so I could easily see him doing this. He would have strong support from fellow players and the union to do so.
    Yeah, I'm thinking through all that myself. If he were unhappy enough and inclined to do it, he could blow things up in the way you suggest or even create a lot of problems just by skipping all the offseason stuff. Would he actually do it? That's the big question. But yeah, the Packers have plenty of reason for keeping him feeling appreciated and having him fully engaged. The clock is ticking on his career.
    I’m currently in the 50,000’s on the season ticket waiting list and my 3 & 5 year old boys are in the 100,000’s. Should I have any optimism at all that any of us will see those tickets in our lifetimes? Give me some hope Pete!
    Sure, there's reason for hope for getting the tickets, though that would rest on the team declining. Once Rodgers retires they could fall to average or worse in an instant, and stay there a few years if not longer, maybe a lot longer. That waiting list could shrink incredibly quickly. Pretty sure there was no waiting list in the '70s and '80s.
    Should the Packers sign Clinton-Dix before the year ends?
    I'd wait and see how he plays in the new defense the first half of the season.
    Packers WRs question: Allison has the experience, J'Mon has the draft capital, but pre-draft many thought Equanimeous St. Brown looked like an early day 2 pick. What are the odds he can make a significant contribution in his rookie year? Seems like his range of outcome is being our WR3 to not making the 53 man roster.
    Yeah, agreed on that range, though the odds are long for him being the No. 3. Rookie receivers, even talented ones, often have a rough time in the NFL, though they've been a little better the last couple years. I'm curious to see if Michael Clark has improved much. He flashed some talent last year, an ability to get jump balls in the red zone and down field. But there's more to playing receiver than that. Who knows? Maybe he takes a big jump and becomes the No. 3. If I had to bet now, I'd bet on Allison or Moore, but really that's just a wild guess. That's what camp is for, to answer these things.
    Starting to feel it's going to be 2 years then 2 tags for 12. Am i crazy?
    Not crazy, no. I don't think it will come to that, and if I'm the Packers I don't want it to, because it doesn't seem to work out well when the QB is playing on the franchise tag, at least it didn't with Cousins, there was always controversy because he was playing on the tag. And you're risking rupturing the relationship with Rodgers, and all that could entail. But you can't rule out the play-it-out scenario.
    LT: Bakhtiari LG: Lane Taylor C: Linsley RG: McCray RT: Byron Bell.

    Sitting here in late July and NOT anticipating Bukaga to be ready to go Week one, do you see this being our starting OL?
    I'd maybe guess Murphy over Bell, but we really haven't seen Bell play so it very well could him. They signed him as a possible fallback starter.
    Why is Jason Spriggs so bad? Could the Packers really not gauge his strength during the pre-draft process?
    Strength has definitely been an issue, and his athleticism hasn't translated like projected either. He definitely looked thicker at OTAs, so it looks like he's added strength. But will that show up enough on the field? We'll see.
    Hi Pete. Ryan Wood's article projected that Kizer would be the back up to Rodgers. Do you agree with this? Besides the value invested in Kizer, what reason is there for him to be the back up?
    I guess I do, mainly because he's more physically talented. Kizer is a huge guy, like 230 or 235 pounds but moves really well, and he has a really live arm. But there's more to playing QB than that. When Hundley and Kizer went head to head last year, Hundley made the plays at the end to win, and Kizer didn't. So I guess I lean Kizer but that's just based on physical talent. The preseason games will tell the tale there.
    We all know that Rodgers is extremely accurate, why emphasize the size of WRs in the draft vs more speed? Are the big WRs there just in case Kizer or Hundley are in the game?
    Touched on this earlier, but I'd think a big part of it is run after the catch. A bigger guy can catch a slightly off-target pass still in stride where a smaller guy has to extend and getting thrown off stride. Or the bigger guy can extend and keep his feet after the catch on a ball that a smaller guy would have to lay out. Plus they're such big targets over the middle and catch the ball against tight coverage just by going over the CB or posting him up like in basketball.
    Do you expect Rodgers to play in any preseason games besides the 3rd game?
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