No, he's in their top three -- really, he's their second-best receiver. The rookies are all very raw, so even if one or two of them pan out, they might not contribute much this season. No, Cobb's position is not in jeopardy. He has limitations because of his size, but he's going to play a lot.
Adams, Cobb, Allison, Graham, probably Montgomery (but maybe Williams). Not sure what you mean by the fourth preseason game. Did I mistakenly refer to it wrongly? This week is the Packers' third preseason game, next week is their fourth and final.
He's not really quick (like, say, Matthews is or at least was) and he's not powerful (like say Perry). He can't win by just physical dominating in some way or another. He gives great effort, and as Eric Baranczyk has pointed out in our day-after-game video reviews, he keeps his hands and feet moving, really stays after it, makes himself hard to block that way. But he doesn't have a physical trait that allows him to win with some consistency just based on that trait alone.
More the latter. I mean, it definitely looks like they're better in coverage, that they have more talent there. Williams looks like an upgrade, King if healthy is talented (and didn't play much last year), Alexander looks quick and competitive, Jackson is improving quickly. So there's a lot of reason to think they'll be better on the back end. I still wonder about the pass rush and just don't know how much impact Wilkerson will have on the inside rush. He's a big, talented man, but gotta see the games to see if he's consistent. Preseason games haven't helped at all as far as seeing Pettine's impact, they've just been so vanilla.
Different teams do it differently, but I personally agree with the decision. You get the feeling a big part of it is the field in Oakland -- the baseball infield dirt is exposed and could be dangerous for footing. But even if they were playing at home or on a better surface I probably wouldn't play him, though I'm guessing McCarthy might. The big thing is getting Rodgers acclimated to Graham, and they hooked up for a TD and had a couple good plays in practice this week, so that seems to be coming along. I think you're observation about playing scared actually is a reason not to play him, the goal would be to make he gets out of the game healthy, so he might be more apt to play with that in mind.
Graham looks like he still has it, so that's one tight end who can make plays downfield. Don't know if there are any other TEs on the roster you can say that about. Valdes-Scantling could be a downfield threat as the season goes on. He's tall (6-4) and I think his 40 time was 4.37, which is really fast, pretty much as fast as anyone on the roster. He caught a nice bomb for a TD in practice yesterday, I can't remember if it was from Rodgers or Kizer, but he got behind the CB (think it was Brown) and the throw was right on the money.
The Steelers did run it down their throat that first series after the first-play INT. But I'm just not sure if it's worth making much out of it because of the approach on defense to show absolutely nothing. I really think run defense is going to be a strength of the Packers this year with Daniels, Clark and Wilkerson in the middle of the line. Perry is a pretty stout run defender on the outside, too.
I don't know of any reporters who are saying Davis is a lock, and I surely wouldn't. But I would say that being out for several weeks with a hamstring injury hasn't done much to hurt his chances. Nobody has emerged as a returner in his place. The punt returners are having occasional issues catching the ball in practice, and in two games there's been only one decent return on both punts and kicks -- Jackson had like a 22-yard punt return last week. Agreed on keeping seven, I'd think that's likely. As long as Kumerow's shoulder is OK, I'd think it would be tough to cut him, so that's four. If they keep all three rookies that's seven. But who's going to do the returning? That's a big question. So Davis could be in the running for that seventh spot, especially if J'Mon Moore keeps dropping passes.
That's such a hard question to answer because context matters too -- how did the regular season go, what happened in the playoffs, how was the team's health, etc.? But if they don't make the playoffs, yeah, agreed there's a good chance that could cost him his job. Anything beyond that, I'm just not sure. Things worked out as he would have preferred this offseason with Gutekunst (not Ball) getting the GM job, and Murphy having all three principals (McCarthy, Gutekunst and Ball) reporting to him, rather than having the GM the czar of football. So McCarthy has a bigger voice in personnel now. With all that comes even more accountability. An early exit from the playoffs would fall in a big gray area for his future. But I have trouble saying anything beyond that, because it's so hard to know what Murphy thinks, and that's what matters.
I'm sorry but I have to cut off the chat here, I have to get over to Lambeau for an interview. But want to thank everybody for all your great questions, so many I didn't even have a chance to look at, they were really rolling in today. Always enjoy chatting with you and hearing what's on your mind. That's a philosophy thing and cuts both ways. When Capers came in in '09, he blitzed a lot in the preseason for exactly the reason you cite. Now they're doing the opposite so opponents have to speculate more on what might be coming when the real games start. I'm guessing this is McCarthy going with his preference, though maybe Pettine convinced him it's the way to go, I can't say for sure. But it's clear they're not going to show much of anything schematically. And that will have to do it. Thanks again everyone, and be sure and check back to PackersNews.com several times a day, we're updating regularly with news and analysis. I look forward to chatting again next week, same time, same place. Until then take care.