Like I said earlier, I think they've got something to work with in St. Brown and Valdez-Scantling, and Allison was off to a pretty decent start last year before his injury, too. They don't have a true slot receiver, but they've got some talent. The big thing will be staying healthy at RB, they're rolling the dice there unless Williams ends up being pretty decent. Playoffs? I'm still thinking how to predict that. Big influx of players on defense, but a new head coach. Makes forecasting their season harder than usual.
I'm thinking there will be growing pains. LaFleur has the advantage that he's got a veteran QB, but then Rodgers might have to change the way he does some things (a new language, new footwork to time up with the routes), so there could be occasional problems there that could lose a game or two. Nagy did well, and Trubisky improved under him. But the Bears still won with defense.
From what I'd heard at least as of a couple years ago they've pretty much severed. If they were still friends I think we'd hear about it occasionally.
No, I don't think this is make or break, mainly because of the coaching change. But I'd say the next two years are make or break.
I just didn't see anything in this draft to make a strong judgment against it. Gutekunst seemed very sure that Savage was not going to make it to No. 29. Could he have been wrong? Maybe. I'm sure we could find a couple GMs and high-ranking scouts who question the move or thought he'd still be on the board at 29. But as I said earlier, just because Savage wasn't a big name all offseason doesn't mean he wasn't a coveted player. He did finally show up in the first round of a couple mock drafts I saw late last week. You're right he paid a high price, two fourth-rounders. But if he's right about Savage and the guy is a really good player, it's worth it. The thing is, we just don't know but shouldn't base our judgments on whether Savage was a big name all offseason. Just think if they'd done this for Nick Collins, who was not a well known guy when Thompson took him in the second round. If they'd done for Collins what they did for Savage, it would have been well worth the price. We'll just have to see whether this guy pans out. You're right that he overspent on Smith and Turner. Preston and Amos too, at least a little. But I thought he mitigated the risk by going after guys who are still relatively young and didn't have injury issues. The only one that's kind of a head scratcher to me is Turner, a couple scouts I talked to just didn't think he was that good. But the Packers see him as a good scheme fit because he's a mobile guy, which they need for the outside zone runs. We'll see on that. In my mind, if two of the four free-agent signings turn out well, and one of the two first-rounders, I'd say Gutekunst will have done well. If not, then you're right, the cost was steep and sets them back because of the assets (money and picks) spent.
The others are Martinez, Allison, Lowry, Fackrell and Bulaga. No must re-signs there. I'd think the most attractive are Lowry and Allison. I'm thinking this will be Bulaga's last season with GB because of age/injuries. Martinez could end up costing a lot, and while he's a really good quarterback for the defense and makes a lot of tackles, he's not a playmaker. With the way the game is going, you really need to be fast at ILB, so as of now I'd question whether he'd be worth paying big money. It's worth thinking about these things, but we'll have to see how these guys do in camp and early in the season. Evaluations of players can change quickly in this league.
No, it's worth keeping him around this offseason and for camp. He's cheap and has talent. Might as well give him a chance to see what he can do under LaFleur, who was hired in part because of his work with QBs. But as of now, I'd bet on Boyle to beat out Kizer for the No 2 job. I have to think if that happens, they'd cut Kizer.
They pretty much have to unless a decent ILB unexpectedly gets cut. They really need Burks to make that big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 that some guys make. They need more speed and explosiveness in the middle of the defense on passing downs. I'll be curious to see how they use Jones, too. If I were them I'd probably just move him to ILB.
No, there aren't. He was a special player. Have to think he'll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He combined both elite talent and elite intelligence/instincts. I remember talking with a couple of the young DBs about him one day while he was still with the team -- I'm pretty sure Casey Hayward was one of them -- and they just spoke about him with reverence, called him a genius for how he played. One of the most impressive things about Woodson was that he had a couple seasons with a really bad shoulder injury and hardly practiced at all, but then he went out and played great. Very few can do that, it's just too hard, you have to practice to stay sharp and strong. But he did it, said he would watch practice and visualize that he was out there doing everything the guys on the field were doing.
I'll have to look that up to confirm, but if so, it does speak to the value of being at least being pretty decent on defense.
No, I highly doubt Gary would have made it to 29. The guy I'm going to keep an eye on the next couple years is Burns, the OLB from Florida State who was drafted by Carolina. The Packers could have drafted him at 12, he's a true 3-4 OLB and speed rusher, so a good scheme fit and explosive athlete. Scouts were mixed on him too but more seemed to like than dislike him.
I do agree with him. The Vikings don't have a ton of cap flexibility, that's true. But they signed a lot of guys (mostly on defense) to big-money deals over the last few years and this offseason were able to give Thielen a raise and re-sign Barr to a big-money deal. They are tighter to the cap this year and the next couple than most, but they were able to do it. The bigger thing with Seattle was their defense -- that is, those big-money guys -- got old and injured. I don't know enough of the particulars about the Seahawks' roster to know what the deal was with Frank Clark. They tagged him but obviously were intent on trading him. I don't know if that was strictly money, or maybe they didn't think he was worth it, or they wanted draft picks because they only had four going into this draft. .
OK, this will have to be the last question, have a column to finish up. But just want to thank everybody for coming by, plenty of regulars, many thanks to you all. It's always fun and interesting to see what's on your minds. As for whether I'd have taken Gary, I just have to say, my opinion really isn't worth much. I just don't know these players like the teams do. Doesn't mean they're right or wrong with the moves they make, but I'm so much less informed than they are, and with the draft you have the big added factor of projecting guys from college to the NFL. It's more art than science, even with all the data they have to work with. Like I said, I wondered when they were on the clock if they'd take Burns, that was the guy I was expecting, or maybe Dillard, or even a trade back a few spots with a team that wanted a QB. From the handful of scouts I talked to, the feelings on Gary were kind of ambivalent. Everyone seems to think there's a ton of talent there, but there are concerns about why he didn't get more sacks and with the shoulder injury. Some scouts were concerned about his personality, that he'd been a great player from a young age, was the No. 1 recruit in the country for his class in HS, and that things had come too easily for him, and that he had a higher opinion of himself than his production warranted. They wondered if that could be a limiting factor in his career. Gutekunst and staff seemed to really like him, the combination of a big body (6-4 plus, 277) and uncommon athleticism for that size (4.58 40). He seems to fit what Gutekunst is looking for in pass rushers. We're all curious to see what he looks like on the practice field in camp. With that, we'll call it a chat. Again, thanks to everyone for showing up all these weeks and sharing your thoughts and questions. I hope you find them as interesting and valuable as I do. As I said to start this chat, this will probably will be the last one until training camp. Lots of down time in this part of the offseason for both the team and people who cover it. But July will be here faster than we know, so we'll pick right up then. Take care everybody until the next time.