OK, here we go. Interesting question, not sure if the advantage goes to either. Both know how the other guy thinks, but they're both with different teams, so they don't have any added insight into the other guy's personnel.
They've lost a lot of talent over the last however many years: Dorsey, McKenzie, Schneider, Highsmith, Wolf. That hurts, that's a lot of experienced guys who have proven good at their jobs as they've moved up the ladder. But they got their opportunities in GB when others left, so replacing personnel guys is just like replacing players. All I can tell you definitively is that Thompson's last few drafts weren't nearly as good as his first few.
That definitely was an issue last week, no argument on that here.
There is a school of thought -- I know Bill Walsh was a believer in this -- that a coach's shelf life with an organization is about 10 years. There's probably quite a bit of wisdom in that. On the flip side, Bill Cowher won his first Super Bowl in like his 12th year with the Steelers. But I did some research a couple years ago, and even if you look at the records of most of the legends (Halas, Lambeau, Shula, Landry, Noll) they're records in their first 10 to 12 years were outstanding, but after that was close to .500 if I remember write. (I used the data in a couple columns over the past two or three years if you want to do a Google search for exact numbers). These things aren't hard and fast rules, but those numbers are hard to ignore. I'd still say we need to see how this season plays out, but your point, as is Bill Walsh's (and I know Wolf is a general believer in this too) is well taken.
Very interesting question and a good case study. A couple points worth making. One, as you note the Saints had three 7-9 seasons in a row before last year, and that was with Brees at QB. Now, I thought they were the best team in the NFC last year, and the point about drafts is a good one. They had an outstanding, outstanding draft last year. Lattimore is a CB who can take away half the field. Kamara is a true difference maker at RB. They also got a legit starting RT (Ramczyk) and a good safety (Marcus Williams). That's a fantastic draft, especially Lattimore and Kamara, those two guys really made a difference. The Packers don't have any having that kind of impact, though let's see how Alexander and Jackson develop. So it's not even a few good drafts, it's one great one. I don't think we can understate how important that draft has been to where the Saints are now (and that Cam Jordan is a really, really good pass rusher). I don't doubt that Payton is a really good offensive coach, as well, but he was coaching two of those three 7-9 seasons (suspended for the other).
Seems like he's missed as many throws through five games as he normally does in a season. Can't say I noticed the issue in camp, so I don't think it's his shoulder after the collarbone injury last year, though I guess we can't rule it out. I'm still thinking it has more to do with the injured knee (pain planting his front leg on the throw) and not practicing much. But can't say I know for sure.
He's not getting much pressure, though from what I've seen Gilbert isn't doing any better than him. Matthews might be more impactful inside, he's been really disruptive playing in there in the past -- even if he occasionally is too aggressive or impulsive and gives up something, it's worth it because he also blows up plays from that position. The offseason would have been the better time to make that move, but it's something worth considering. The one thing I'm not sure of is how good in coverage he is at this point in his career. That's such an important part of playing ILB in today's NFL. I do think they need to play Burks, he needs the experience and has the athleticism to be a pretty decent cover guy. He could improve a fair amount between now and January if he plays a lot.
I basically asked Gutekunst that before the season started, and he said that any player he'd thought about or wanted to go after he was able to, which meant that Russ Ball did not have veto power over him. I don't know exactly how it works if McCarthy wants someone. The roster is Gutekunst's purview, that's in his contract I believe, but I'm sure if McCarthy wants help at a position or a specific player who might be available, Gutekunst would try to make it happen. Murphy has made it sound like he views his job as making sure everyone is communicating, but if there were a big difference of opinion, Murphy has final say. That's one of the problems with going away from the GM having full authority over football, the lines of responsibility and who has the final say blur.
I was thinking about that yesterday, as a matter of fact. I don't know exactly how it worked with Peyton Manning, but I think he had a lot of autonomy at the line of scrimmage. Still, I think that might be asking a lot for a guy to play the position, make all those decisions on each play on where to go with the ball, etc., and then call the plays too. It's pretty tough for the QB to always be thinking a play or two ahead while also carrying out his duties each play. I realize the guys in the '60s did that, but they were going against a player caller (I think it was usually the middle linebacker) who was doing the same thing. Now it's a D coordinator who doesn't have to worry about playing as well. It's an interesting question, though, and you do wonder what would happen if you let a Rodgers or Brady or Brees call his own game, how it would turn out.
I can't tell you the exact reason, but the facts are they've started really poorly in three of their five games, and that goes for both sides of the ball. That's a pattern, and it's a killer, because it's hard to play from 17 points behind. I don't know if there's complacency or staleness, players making a mistake early on a third down or whatever. But in the end, yeah, you have to put it on the coaching staff.
Probably more the former. Brice is younger and could improve with more playing time. Clinton-Dix is in his fifth year, so he pretty much is what he is at this point, and that's really inconsistent, makes some good plays (that interception against Buffalo was an excellent play) but then has feet of clay on others (basically responsible for I think it's three red-zone TD passes).
The poor start and the penalties come back on the coaches, especially because this wasn't the first time this season those things have been issues. Rodgers had by his standards a bad game, though, there's no getting around that. For this team to win he has to play well, that's just the way it is. The one thing on the punt that I'm not sure of is, how well can a blocker hear in a loud stadium on a play like that? He's concentrating on blocking a guy, so he can't see what's going on, and I don't know how well they can hear while running and blocking and with all that crowd noise. I don't know exactly how they teach that, but I'm going to ask some of those guys what they're supposed to do, so if you ask again down the road I hope to have a better answer for you.
Whitt is the passing game coordinator on D, so his responsibility is the coverage part of things. I'd still argue that overall the cornerbacks are playing OK, and that Alexander, King and Jackson all show real promise. I don't think they're the problem with the team, and in the end they're going to have to be the solution, because that's where the majority of talent is on this defense. The safety play has been shaky, but Clinton-Dix has been up and down for a couple seasons, and Whitt was coaching the CBs last year. All I know is, Whitt is held in pretty high regard over there.
They changed safety coaches this year and it doesn't seemed to have improved that area, so maybe it's more of a personnel thing than coaching.
I wonder. This season does feel a little different to me too, but then, back when they were 4-6 in '16 I remember thinking things were falling apart and that they weren't going to make the playoffs, and I also recall getting questions in these chats about whether McCarthy had lost the team. Then they ran the table. But this year does feel different, and that difficult schedule coming up (at Rams, Patriots, Vikings, Seahawks and Bears) is a big challenge. But this too will be decided on the field.
They're all worth exploring, so feel free to ask whatever is on your mind.
That tells you something about how Jones is doing. I know they think Brice has a better grasp of the defense. To me Brice's issues have been less that he's out of position and more that he doesn't play the ball well in the air. Sounds like Jones' issue is not being in the right spot, not making the right reads. But maybe he'll get his chance at some point. I do know that dating back to college he's been at his best as a box safety, not playing deep.
I would have been surprised. I'd have thought they'd be 4-1. I was talking about the rest of the schedule with Eric Baranczyk on Monday, and we were going through scenarios, etc., and I'm still hesitant to make big predictions because it's conceivable 8-7-1 could win the division. It kind of looks like there's the Rams and everybody else at this point. But I'm thinking they'll probably have to be 9-6-1 to have much shot at making the playoffs. That means going 7-4 to finish out. And it very well could take 10-5-1. And really, the goals for this franchise are a lot higher than just making the playoffs.
Cutting Graham next year would save $5.3M in cap space (he's schedule to make $9M in salary and bonuses in '19). Cutting Perry next year would save $3.6M (he's scheduled to make $11M in salary in bonus in '19). Matthews is in the final year of his contract.
He definitely did last week. I do remember him having a really, really bad game at Minnesota in Week 2 in '16, as bad a game as he's had a starter (except for maybe his first year starting). He missed more throws in that game than he normally misses in a month, and didn't see some open guys also. But he went on to have an excellent season.
I think he's probably right. I don't think he's done enough for the Packers to invest in him long term.
It's not a must-win mathematically, but I agree with you, it's about as close to a must-win as you can get for Week 6.
As far as I can remember, he can report at any time. I'm sure there's an exempt list they could put him on for a few weeks before they'd have to either activate him or sit him for the season. I'd think they'd welcome him. They drafted him and need help on the OL going forward even if he wouldn't help them this season.
Kind of doubt it. I think the ref on the field simply thought it went off King's back, and while the replay seemed to show it went off the Lions player's wrist, it wasn't definitive enough to overturn. I doubt the league could tell them more, unless the Packers felt the replay was definitive and just wanted a clearer explanation of why the Al Riveron didn't think it was definitive.
That's pretty much how I see it. There would be some other things mixed in. Jones having a greater impact at RB, Graham making some more plays in the red zone, maybe Burks playing more and better, or maybe someone unexpected adding something. But yeah, you pretty much hit on the nub of it from what I see.
I think they're figuring it out on the fly. Now they've got to aim for more consistency with all the officiating crews, which in this case means with all the referees, since the referee (i.e., the white hat) is the one making that call.
Yes, those platitudes ring hollow. All coaches have their sayings for public consumption, and they're empty and hollow. That's by design. For the most part they don't see the value of criticizing players publicly. As for the Rams, no question they're fun to watch. I had no idea Goff was this accurate a thrower. Cooks has always been a playmaker but there are concussion issues there. Kupp looks really good, better than Cobb, for instance. And of Gurley probably is the best RB in the game. So they have real talent. I'm surprised their defense was scorched like it was against Minnesota, but they do have a game changer in Donald, that guy is a threat to get a big sack or QB hit on any play that might help win a game.
A lot of truth there about the first rounds of drafts, though if you look at Wolf's first-round history, it wasn't very good. He just found ways to make up for it with great later-round picks and some key signings. It's also a lot harder to find good players picking in the bottom 10 of the first round every year than picking in the top 10 every few years. Think about NE. How many great players does NE have besides Brady? Maybe Gronkowski? Anyone on D? It's just harder to find a great player picking later in the round every year. Not that it can't be done. But it's on the front office to find another way when the picks don't hit.
He's been pretty decent from what I can tell. I don't think he's been a problem at all. Remember, pretty much all corners get beat in this league. But I don't think it's been a problem with him.
Sorry but this will have to do it, time to get to other duties. Didn't get a chance to see even half the questions, sorry about that but quite a few today. We'll be chatting again next week, so just try then, with no game next week will go for a couple hours if there are enough questions. I haven't seen a timeline on House's injury so not sure on that, but gut feeling is he's not coming back this year. I don't know Breeland's status because he had a hamstring injury last week, and with their game on Monday nigh this week they're not practicing today, so tomorrow will be the first injury report of the week. I'd think they'd want to get him out there, though I'd also think it would be on special teams, especially if Alexander is back. They want King, Alexander and Jackson on the field, plus Williams is doing fine and knows the system. But with the way injuries are in this league, they're going to need Breeland sooner or later. Maybe sooner. And with that, we'll call it a chat. Thanks everyone for coming by, always fun and interesting to see what's on your mind, so that much appreciated that you took the time to ask a question or share a thought. Until next week, take care.