Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Oct. 3 transcript

    PETE You around the locker room and the players and coaches is their actual tension in the atmosphere, do the coaches seem up tight and above all is M/M HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL
    OK, let's dive in. You know, it's hard, at least for me, to get a feel for things like that most of the time just from being in the locker room. The players know when it's open to reporters so avoid it if they don't want to talk, or come and go quickly. So most of the time the vibe is business as usual -- not always, but most of the time. I wasn't in the locker room on Monday and it's not open today until early this afternoon. Rodgers does his weekly press scrum at his locker on Wednesdays. I remember when Holmgren was coach, whenever they lost two games in a row the locker room was really subdued, like a pall was over everything and everyone. I have noticed that since, though it had kind of a testy vibe when they were 4-6 a couple years ago before going on that run.
    Pete,, good evening. What do you think about this?
    Puzzles me why MM won't move Montgomery to the slot as a WR while Cobb is out of game??? Monty is bigger, faster, stronger, more evasive and with good hands.
    A natural slot receiver for next year if Cobb is not renewed!!
    Even 2 back set with Monty in the slot.
    Is MM that stuck in the mud that he can't see opportunity??
    I wonder that too, and if Cobb were out for a longer time maybe it's something he'd do, but maybe he doesn't want Montgomery's practice time diluted by working at two positions. I'm still wondering if we're going to see Montgomery and one of the other RBs on the field at the same time, with both lined up in the backfield and then Montgomery eventually motioning out, which is basically the same thing as you're suggesting but with the formation beginning with both guys in the backfield. Something to watch for.
    have the packers signed any to replace Wilkerson yet, or are they just gonna see what happens next? But according to keep hearing that have been playing that way all season, Thanks pete
    They haven't signed anyone yet though I have to think they're still looking into it. Miami cut Jordan Phillips this week -- he was a second-rounder in '15 -- so our Eric Baranczyk wondered if they'd claim him. If they I think that wouldn't come out until this afternoon. But yeah, I'd think they'd need a fifth DL.
    How many points do you think the Packers would have scored in the Bills game - same 'Plan' - if AR and his receivers had combined for a passer rating of, say, 110?
    There were some drops -- as many as five -- and two or three plain misfires from Rodgers, so that alone would  have kept some drives going and led to more points. With the 110 passer rating you suggest, I'd think that would have meant 10 more points at least.
    The line with Detroit is even. Are you suprised the Packers are not favored? How can the Packers legitimately say we are a Super Bowl team if we’re not favored over the Lions?
    I hadn't seen the line, and that is a little surprising, I'd have guessed the Packers would be a little bit of a favorite. But sports books don't determine who will or won't win the SB, those things are decided on the field. Don't get me wrong, they do a good job on those spreads, but they're wrong just like the rest of us. If the Packers win a few games in a row the spreads will go more in their favor.
    Looking back at the Bills/ GB game, the difference between run plays and passing plays is close to double in favor of passing category, what percentage of the 76 plays called are changed by Rodgers at the" line of scrimmage"? If it is a large percentage than is it fair to say, the frustration has with the offense is the offensive plan not the plays?
    That's a great question and unfortunately I don't have the answer. They just don't share that information, and that's not something I can tell from just watching the games. Maybe it changes from game to game, maybe some games he changes a lot, some not so much. I just don't know, but it is a relevant question.
    Pete.... I think it's becoming clear the Rodgers/McCarthy rift may have gone beyond the repairable stage. Could this lead to a coaching change in the off season? And would Rodgers come off as the bad
    guy? Even if the Packers somehow make the playoffs?
    I think we're all wondering that. I don't know if it's reparable or not, but we'll have to keep an eye on this for the rest of the season. Sure it could lead to a coaching change, especially if it contributes to a disappointing season. The expectations are high and it's been eight years since they've been to the SB, and everyone (fan base, I'm sure the executive committee) is getting restless. Even without the rift, expectations are high, and I have my doubts that making the playoffs will be good enough. Would Rodgers come off as the bad guy if McCarthy is let go? I'm sure that would depend on who you ask. The anti-McCarthy crowd wouldn't think so. Others I'm sure would.
    Pete, its obvious Rodgers and McCarthy are not on the same page. This is not the first fallout they have had. If McCarthy's ego is so huge, A. does Murphy have what it takes to resolve the issue? and B. if Packers fail to make the playoffs does McCarthy get fired?
    This goes with the previous question. I don't know if you saw Tom Silverstein's column on PackersNews.com yesterday or this morning, but he basically said that it's up to Murphy to address this issue head on with McCarthy and Rodgers to get the air cleared, because Murphy now is in charge of football -- that was the change he made in the offseason after firing Thompson and hiring Gutekunst as GM. So this is on Murphy, not the GM, as it would have been under the previous setup. No word on what, if anything, Murphy has done to this point. And the decision to keep or move on from McCarthy after the season is Murphy's as well. He keeps a close counsel, so I don't know what he's thinking, but he has to be extremely, extremely concerned with the Rodgers-McCarthy relationship right now. It could have such a profound effect on the locker room and season if things don't improve.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for chatting with us. Any insights on 3 sacks by Fackrell? Is he getting better? Can we rely on him? or it's just from scheme or luck? How about Reggie? He was so good in last year to preseason and is getting fading out. Is it due to opposite teams knowing him or his performance?
    One game isn't going to change my mind on Fackrell. If I remember right on one of the sacks he wasn't really blocked, and on another he beat a backup RT -- he beat the guy, but still, it can be a huge jump going against a backup tackle as opposed to a solid starter. We see that with Gilbert, who was really effective in preseason games but working against starters hasn't been nearly as effective a pass rusher. Fackrell will have to do more to change the scouting report on him. But I will say, the one thing he's always done well is chase down the QB. When he's had sacks or made plays in the past in preseason or regular season in the past, it's often been chasing down the QB outside the pocket. He has the straight-line speed to do that, and he did it again last week when he dropped Allen for a two-yard gain on that scramble that could have gone for a lot longer.
    We are really paying for some of the roster decisions made by the previous administration. Two in particular stand out. The choice of Bennett versus Jared Cook, gave us a bad attitude player on the backside of his career. The cost was the same and Cook's performance over the second half of the season was outstanding. A player on the rise given up for two guys with not much left in the tank, that ultimately cost us more cap space.

    The other is Micah Hyde, who was played out of position because of a lack of cornerback talent. The man should have been a safety from the get go, no top line speed but great ball skills and a sure tackler. He is what they hoped Ha Ha would be. I know you can't keep everyone, but these were affordable
    Can't disagree on either count. Cook was a great fit in this offense because of his speed, he was still fast enough to threaten safeties down the middle of the field. Bennett had lost it. Hyde clearly was playing out of position, and yes, they definitely could use him. The Cook decision was on Thompson/Ball, the Hyde decision (i.e., where to play him) on Capers/McCarthy
    Hi Pete, there's been a lot written about getting Aaron Jones more touches and I agree. He's young and appears to be in excellent shape. In the NFL players can get hurt on any play, they can get hurt in practice, and as we've seen they can get hurt in pregame warmups. Doesn't matter if he has 5 touches or 25 there's always some risk. If he's limited to 20-25 touches and gets some series off he'll be fine as long as he isn't overly fatigued (which leads to injury). MM shouldn't play or game plan 'scared'. It's time to start Aaron Jones. Thanks for the chat.
    Yeah, I think it does matter, in two ways. One is fatigue, I know their GPS data shows that at a certain level of fatigue, soft-tissue injuries are more common. The other is that even five fewer touches a game, over the course of a 16-game season, is 90 fewer times a running back is getting tackled. Those guys often get hit hard, and twisted into awkward positions. All kinds of things can happen when they're tackled. Some guys are durable and some just aren't. Jones by appearances isn't. Maybe he'll prove otherwise in the next couple seasons, but he had two MCLs last year and a hamstring that cost him three weeks of camp this year. So the Packers have to find the line where he's having a big impact and helping win games -- he's clearly their best, most explosive runner -- and having him healthy and on the field in December and January.
    Hi Pete,
    25% of the regular season is complete. Who do you think is the Packers' biggest disappointment and nicest surprise through 4 games?
     
    I'm just winging this, haven't thought about it quite in those terms. But I'd say biggest disappointments were Montravius Adams and Biegel, that after a year in the program neither did anything to help the pass rush. Biegel was cut and Adams hardly played last week even with Wilkerson out for the season. The biggest surprise? Maybe that Bulaga was ready to play to start the season coming off the ACL last year. I'm not sure if surprise is the right word, but the fact that both rookie CBs have shown they're capable players is significant too.
    I’m old school. Isn’t Mike McCarthy the Head Coach and Aaron Rogers one of 53 players on the roster? Why is Rogers complaining about getting the ball more to his big targets? He ultimately has final say at the line of scrimmage, by killing the play if he dosen’t Like it. If I’m making 33 million a year, I do what I’m told, period end of discussion!
    That's definitely one way of looking at it. Another is that someone making $30M a year would feel empowered to have a big say in how things are run. Either way, this clearly is more than about the game plan for one game. Rodgers obviously doesn't like the direction the offense is taking and from what I can tell doesn't think the revamping of the playbook in the offseason improved anything as far as he's concerned. They clearly have a lot to work out, or at least try to work out.
    Pete this supposed McCarthy/Rogers rift seems much ado about little. Good to see AR showing some fire, though. They should have put up more points on the Bills and they are underutilizing Jimmy Graham
    I have to disagree, I think it's real. Now, that doesn't mean everything will fall apart. Maybe they'll work it out, and by the end of the season it will be, not forgotten but a low point in a season that ended up going well. None of us knows how this will turn out. But I do think there are real issues they need to confront.
    Greetings! Am I the only one not reading too much into Aaron's comments? He's frustrated because he knows what this offense can be and doesn't want anyone, especially the team, to get complacent. That being said, team cannot exploit matchups well if we take another injury. Scantling and Moore may be good prospects, Brown included, but with SB aspirations, they have a ton of growing to do. Is it worth cutting Brown to get a proven veteran that Rodgers may trust or are we waiting on Kumerow?
    I just answered the first part, but it will be interesting to see if they bring Kumerow off IR later in the season, he might help the offense some. And agreed on Tonyan. He needs a lot of work on blocking, and I realize that's important, but I thought he showed real potential as a receiver in camp and the preseason. He's their second-best pass-catching receiver IMHO.
    One thing I get is the 2-3 year planning with regard to the roster & salary cap, and what goes in to some decisions on drafting, releases, etc. What's maddening about that, however, is the lack of commitment to the O-Line depth, given that 12 is by far the most valuable asset in the NFL, and without him, GB makes last year's Browns team look like the Patriots. Also, the whiff on Randall & Rollins has impacted past drafts - including the bypassing of TJ Watt, and not addressing other positions, as they continue to backfill the secondary. But is there a plan that you're aware of to address O-Line depth? Spriggs is turnstile. But is there better talent available through trade, other teams' PS, or street free agents?
    No explicit plan I know of. I was surprised they didn't draft an OL until the fifth round, and it doesn't help that that pick (Cole Madison) never reported. We also have to remember that you can fill every hole in a draft, and even if you draft for all your needs it doesn't mean you've filled them, because the truth is more picks fail than succeed. But I'd think they'll have to draft a tackle fairly high next year -- by fairly high I mean in the first three or four rounds. And they might have to look hard for another Jahri Evans-type signing. The misses on Randall, Rollins and Spriggs hurt, there's no question. But Ron Wolf missed on most of his first-rounders and found ways around with great picks later in drafts and in free agency.
    Do you think the packers move on from Mccarthy if Packers don't at least advance far in playoffs, or would they keep him even if 1 and done? Personally, I like McCarthy but all things must come to an end at some point and I think there are some valid arguments about offense/message getting stale (a la Capers it was just time to move on). The offense does seem blah anymore compared to what's out there. I think even for Mccarthy himself there is an argument to be made it would be better for him to move on, he might go on to win a superbowl with another team even, who knows but that's a long time with 1 team. Change is good for everyone sometimes, but I hate to see him go Packers fans have been spoiled but that doesn't mean it might not be time to move on.
    Lot of questions/statements on this subject, so just thought I'd give Chad his say.
    Thanks for the chat Pete. I have a great idea for your next column. Compare the >20 yards pass plays in Aaron's 1st 5 year vs his last 5 years and break it down by passes within play design vs passes from extended plays. I would wager heavily that the last 5 years are a bit more heavy on extended plays and I don't think it is coincidence that the offense has gotten progressively worse in that time.
    I'd agree that they've become too reliant on Rodgers moving around and making plays. That is to some degree built into the offense -- they have rules/guidelines on what to do when he breaks the pocket, and they practice it. But it does seem like they sometimes get into ruts when he's not making those plays.
    Good morning Pete! What a difference a week makes and on any given Sunday in the NFL as look what BUFF did in MINN and then GB made BUFF look very pedestrian at best to be polite about it! But seriously some encouraging play by GB on Sunday and I really, really LIKE Aaron Jones!!! I know you've commented that he could be the best Packers RB since Ahman Green and do you see any flaws in Jones running style? IF he stays healthy and IF he's utilized properly, he can easily be a 1000 yard back for many years...Your thoughts. Thank you.
    The thing that stands out with him is his combination of vision and quickness. He just seems to recognize where the hole is so quickly -- he did it on his short TD run against Buffalo, it was designed inside but he immediately saw the hole a gap over, and if you didn't watch closely you probably would have thought that's how the play was supposed to go. You also see it on those runs where he starts in one direction but quickly cuts it back and breaks off a big run.
    Why can't the Packers sift through 31 practice squads for help on the dLine.

    Wouldn't fresh rushers be better than a 4th TE or 8th WR or a 12th Skill-Position-Guy-that-won't-see-the-field?

    If the guy gets cut, would the Packers be on the hook for his salary the rest of the season?
    In the bigger scheme of things, would it really be that much?
    That's worth exploring, too, but pass rushers are so valuable and hard to find that if they have much potential at all they're on the 53, not the practice squad. The Packers tried that with Odom last year and he didn't do anything. Not that it's not worth looking into, that's a must. But finding that gem is tough. From what I understand, the way it works for most teams is that each pro scout has a group of teams he's responsible for, and they combine to build basically a draft-like board of practice squad guys they're interested in, and trade prospects, etc.
    Pete, can you please explain to readers what you think AR is able to change when he “audibies/changes the play” at the LOS. Can he change routes, hot receivers, play call from run to pass or vice versa, etc?? It would seem that this would allow him to “adjust” the game plan to what he sees DURING the game, thus negating his concerns about his input not being considered. What can he do or not do in this regard??
    I don't know a lot about this, it's just something teams don't share. I don't get the feeling the QB has the entire playbook at his disposal each time he gets to the line, and I think a lot of plays are check-with-me type calls, where a play call basically has two plays -- usually a run or a pass, and when he gets to the line and checks out the defense, the QB calls one or the other. I think game plans also have some automatic checks, where if they have something called and don't like what they see from the defense there's a built-in play the QB can check to. So while the QB definitely has leeway, I don't think they can just call whatever they want at the line.
    Are you going to write a new article about a different defensive player the Packers could pursue since Earl Thomas is done for the year?
    Well, I take it you think I'm just taking wild shots and think they should just sign or trade for anybody. Fair enough. But I'd argue that the players I've suggested they pursue -- that is, Mack and Thomas -- were plausible. Both were truly on the trade market, I wasn't just throwing a name out there like it's fantasy football, and the Packers had a real need for both positions, or more to the point, for a playmaker at any position. That said, Gutekunst was right not to go after Thomas. The age and injury history were real concerns and were borne out, he's done for the year.
    Could Cobb really be on the trade block with the play of some of the new receivers and Geronimo stepping up his game?
    I don't see it, they need him. Agreed on Allison playing well, but they still need Cobb, those rookies need time to develop. The transition from college WR to NFL is tough.
    Hi Pete. When the Packers (and other NFL teams) bring in players for a workout midweek, who pays for the expenses of the player, such as travel, hotel, meals, etc.?
    The team working him out.
    Hey Pete, thanks for doing the chat. Quick question: What are your top five Beatles songs in terms of live performances? Which ones tickle your fancy in concert?
    For live performances from the clips I've seen:
    Twist and Shout from that Royal performance in I think it was '63
    Ticket to Ride from Japan
    I Saw Her Standing There from D.C.
    Don't Let Me Down or Get Back from the Apple rooftop.
     
    Saw McCartney in like '90 and Sgt. Pepper's rocked. I'm really hoping to see Helter Skelter when he plays in Madison.
    How do you think homefield advantage in the playoffs affects (helps) Aaron Rodgers and this Packer team. You have covered the Packers for a while now. Also, I think this week we will feature a two headed monster led by Aaron Jones in the back field and Ty Montgomery will move to the slot and play much more receiver considering the injuries there. THanks PETE.
    There's probably a real advantage to living in cold weather and then playing in it against a team that isn't as used to it. Doesn't guarantee anything but helps. I think the analytics/sabremetics stuff that economists have studied show that most of the home-field advantage derives from officiating slightly favoring the home team.
    Thanks for the chat and great analyses! My question is do you think owners are resistant to changing the roughing the passer rule because of the amount of money they invest in QBs and the fear of losing money if their QB gets hurt and the team starts losing games and fans? Something else seems to be motivating the league and owners that we don't know about.
    Yeah, that's a big part it, and to a large degree I don't blame them. I mean, look what happened to the Packers' season when Rodgers got hurt, and the 49ers now that Garoppolo is hurt. And to a big degree they deserve extra protection because they're so vulnerable to hits -- they're standing there throwing with 250 to 300 pound guys coming at that at full speed. A running back can concentrate on avoiding the hit and to some degree deliver his own blow. Linemen are hitting each other. But the QB is doing something else (i.e. throwing). And to a large degree, defensive players will be able to adapt to this, they just need to work on it. I saw something from Osi Umenyiora yesterday that said he'd be fine with today's rules because he always went after the ball anyway. Now, I'd agree the interpretation went too far with some of the roughing calls, and the way things were called last week suggests the league is adjusting. But I don't blame the league for looking out for the QBs. That's IMHO.
    I haven't paid close enough attention, so maybe he's said something and / or maybe I'm way off base, but I wonder if Rodgers watched the MN / LA game on Thursday night and that was the genesis of his post-game comments. It was clear to me (watching a Thursday night game, no less) that the Rams offense is at a completely different level, and I imagine #12 is frustrated that ours is nowhere close to that.
    I don't doubt that's part of it. McCarthy said on Monday that he and Rodgers talked about that game the next day.
    On offense. How much of a statistical break down do they do of play call versus execution effectiveness? Does that level of self reflection actually take place and change minds?
    They say they do that constantly, that weekly self scouting, with a deeper look at the bye. Without being in the meetings it's hard to know just how in-depth it is.
    How well are players filling in for Muhammad Wilkerson?
    OK, this will have to do it, have to get over to open locker room shortly. But just want to thank everyone for dropping by, good to know what's on your minds and exchanging opinions with you. There were even more questions than usual, so I didn't even get a chance to read half of them, but if I didn't get to yours, try again next week, same time, same place. As for Brett's question, Lowry had a pretty solid game from what I and Eric Baranczyk saw. He's a solid player, gives good effort, and the drop-off from Wilkerson to Lowry might not be that great. The bigger concern now is that without Wilkerson, they're an injury on the DL from a real problem, because Adams hasn't shown much as of yet. OK, that's wrap. Thanks again everybody, and until next week, take care.
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