Not at this point, I think he missed a couple weeks because of a thigh injury, hardly played in the preseason games. But it appears he's healthy now.
I think they've upgraded their line a little in the last two or three years, though I don't think it's a strength. It really comes down to the QB and how he handles the different looks and blitzes and disguises. Trubisky is really mobile, so the Bears probably will be counting on his feet to avert problems. I'd think Pettine would want to throw a lot at him and take advantage of his inexperience.
I'd think Bakhtiari is fine, his ankle injury didn't seem at all serious, and they limited his work after that with the regular season in mind. Bulaga came back from ACL reconstruction pretty fast, so I don't know how he'll hold up. It's the second time he's been through ACL surgery, and it sounds like that helps in the recovery. He seemed fine in camp, professed to feeling good, though you never know, if he didn't feel good he's very unlikely to say so publicly. He's a guy to watch, to see how his knee holds up early in the first month or six weeks of the season.
I don't know that you could ever call releasing a fullback a big gamble. That position seems to be going extinct. Maybe something will happen in a few years that will bring it back into vogue, but right now it's trending the other way, more and more teams seem to be willing to go without a FB on their 53.
Yeah, I do hope everyone realizes I'm just making educated (and sometimes not-so-educated) guesses, and there often are times where I have to say I just don't know. This is my 26th year covering the NFL, so I've seen enough to know that I'll think it's kind of obvious the team will make this or that move, and they do the opposite. Happens all the time. So I've tried to stop making some of those assumptions over the years. Players go from being good to bad in a heartbeat, and sometimes they're only good for a year or two or three. Things change so fast it can be mind-boggling, and there are so many moving parts and it's not easy to distinguish which ones matter most. I'll talk to scouts and ask about something, and it's not unusual to get three different answers from three different guys. So this is very, very, very much a gray-area world. But like all of you've I'm trying to make real insights and determine the signal from the noise, and I have the time and access to experts to help with that.
That's how it looks to me. Not ready to say he's another Lane Taylor -- Taylor stepped in for Sitton a couple years ago and did just fine. We need to see some real games to be sure on McCray, but he's looking like a guy you can win with in the starting lineup.
There probably are idiosyncrasies with every GM job in the league, and one here is that there's a little greater obligation for the GM to explain his thinking to the fans. The public ownership of the franchise makes this place different. That doesn't mean revealing any state secrets, but the GM can talk publicly and provide some insight without harming the team competitively. Ron Wolf did it. So while overall I think Thompson was a good GM -- his early drafts were outstanding -- he failed badly in that regard. Gutekunst's approach has been much more appropriate and benefits the people who follow this team. There are plenty of questions he doesn't really answer, but that's the way it is in this business. At least he's there to ask the questions, and there are going to be important moments when he's there and where Thompson wouldn't have been. For instance, when Sitton was cut, Thompson never really addressed that publicly, I think it wasn't until the following scouting combine in February when he was available to ask -- more than five months after he'd made the move, and with the season over. So yeah, Gutekunst has handled this very important part of the job well.
An injury at tackle could be a big problem, but a lot would fall on Rodgers to handle that also. The best QBs and coaches have to find a way to make it work. Now, if they lost both tackles for an extended period or the season, I doubt Rodgers could overcome that.
I wouldn't call King an afterthought. The injury to his shoulder sidelined him in camp for a while, but they're looking for him to be a good player this season. He just hasn't played a lot in camp because of the injury. He has a rare combination of height and athleticism, so there's a lot of ability to work with. We'll see what kind of player he is. Jones had a quiet camp, you're right there. I can't think of many plays where he did something that stood out. Usually if guys are going to break out, you see signs of it in camp. So that doesn't bode well for him having a big impact this season. But we still have to see things play out, you never know if the light might go on. He'll get his chances, either as an ILB in some nickel groupings, or at safety if there's an injury.
That's something I always have trouble getting a handle on. I know some reporters say they have a feel for it, and maybe they do, but I'm a little skeptical. Sometimes there are obvious issues, but I still think you need to be around the team behind the scenes to know these things. And let's face, as much as chemistry helps winning, winning helps chemistry, or at least camouflages issues. I'm not saying chemistry isn't important, because it is, it's very important. But having good and great players, and coaches who game plan well and call good games, is more important, even if there's some grumbling and dissension. Is there a group of 85 or so humans (in this case players and coaches) in the history of the world where there wasn't dysfunction and dissatisfaction? I don't think so.
Mack played in college at Buffalo, so I'm not seeing that as an issue. Explosive rushers are better on turf than grass, and the noise of domes for home games always helps the rush, but that applies to every rusher.
From what I understand, that's correct. There are two-play options that the QB takes to the line of scrimmage, looks at the defense and then calls either the run or pass. Then there's RPO you're talking about, where the decision to handoff or pass is made by the QB watching the defense react after the snap.
My first guess would be the RB they picked up this week, Jackson. But I can't say for sure, maybe they like him and want to keep him. That decision also could be made by an injury that lands someone on IR.
My guess is that because of his already lengthy injury history -- both MCLs last season, a hamstring in camp this year -- they'll limit his workload and have him split time with Williams. Agree completely, Jones is a dynamic guy with the ball in his hands and really threatens defenses, which among other things is a big help to Rodgers and the passing game. But he doesn't do them any good if he's hurt, so they probably need to limit his touches. That could mean an even split with Williams, something like that. But I can't say I know their plans, and they're not sharing them.
OK, this has to do it, other duties to get to. But thanks to everyone for dropping by. We'll do it again next week. He might have a good year, but I wonder if he'll fade as the season goes on. That happened last year, by the end of the season there was no run after the catch with him. I don't blame the Packers at all for moving on. Of course there's a chance he has a pretty productive season, and as you say, he has an abundance of intangibles, good size, all that. But it looked like he was hitting the wall by the end of last season, so they played the percentages and moved on. Oakland is paying him $7.4 million this year, that strikes me as too much. Wild guess? If he plays all 16 games, 60 catches and 6 TDs? Keep an eye on his average per catch, that will tell you a lot about how productive he is. And with that, we have to call it another chat in the books. Thanks again everybody, lots to talk about next week with the real games starting. Until then, take care.