Most of it depends on Trubisky. If he blossoms their future will look great. Mack turns 28 in February, so he was kind of a three-or four-year thing. I still think he was worth it for them (and would have been for the Packers), he's a big impact guy. But most of it hinges on Trubisky, or their continued success in drafting, especially on defense. History says it's hard to keep that up.
Their guard play wasn't good -- Lane Taylor wasn't as good as the previous two years, and right tackle was a soft spot all season. I'm thinking they need to sign a couple mid-level free agents on the OL, especially if they cut Bulaga because of the battering his body has taken over the years and the cap savings.
No sign or indication of that.
I could see them re-signing Breeland. I doubt he'll be expensive after his injury issues this year, and you can't have enough CBs in this league. He also might be able to play safety if they wanted to move him there.
I'd argue that his first go round as a GM looks promising. His first draft looks pretty good so far -- really impressed with Alexander as a player and competitor, and St. Brown and Valdes-Scantling show ability at WR. Maybe Jackson's best position will be safety, curious to see if they move him there, he does have skill playing the ball. Wilkerson was a smart, low-risk high-reward signing in free agency, even if it failed. Graham failed as well but was worth the shot. They can cut him and move on without cap issues. I've heard conflicting info on what he offered for Mack -- might have been two first-rounders, one this year and one next -- and I wonder if he could have offered more, or whether Gruden was going to take the Bears' offer because he thought they were going to be a bad team this year and thus yield higher picks. I'm in the school of thought they he should have pushed harder for Mack, though. Overall, I'd say his first season suggests he's open to being aggressive. Need to give him three full seasons to really get a good feel.
Can't say for sure. Valdes-Scantling has the deep speed that's so valuable, a lot of talent there, but St. Brown had passed him by season's end. I think they're both better than Kumerow, but I'd think Kumerow will have a good chance of making the team next year. I guess I'd go Valdes-Scantling at this point.
I thought he should have played despite the risk. In my opinion, his teammates needed to see him play through tough times, and that it could carry over to next year. They need to see the QB is with them through thick and thin, including that the QB himself didn't play well this year. Stafford played it out. Brees did when the Saints were out of the playoffs with three games to play in '16 and '17 (or maybe it was '15 and '16). Not saying the risk isn't real, it very much is, and we saw that with Rodgers sustaining the concussion, that's not good. But I'd have played him.
Murphy is very much putting himself on the line. If the new coach doesn't work out, it's his responsibility, he has final say. Also his responsibility if it works out well.
My feeling at the time was that it was temporary but I'm less sure now. I actually thought he would have Gutekunst hire the coach this year, but Murphy made clear it's his call. Not saying Gutekunst won't have a strong say in the choice, it sounds like he will. But I thought Murphy would turn it all over to him. So I don't know what his future plans will be. Will the new coach be hired thinking he'll be reporting to Murphy, and that's not changing any time soon? That's unclear.
OK everybody, this will have to do it, lots going on and other duties to get to. But thanks for coming by and sharing your comments and questions, always greatly appreciated. I thought he showed a lot promise in the preseason, he looked fast and explosive in coverage. But he's a real liability against the run, so he definitely needs to get stronger and better at getting off blocks if he's going to get on the field much next year. Coverage is such an important part of the job for LBs in today's game that I still have to think he has a chance, but he definitely has to get stronger and tougher against the run. He's definitely a guy to watch for that Year 2 jump, they definitely could use his speed in the middle of the field, but not a the cost of being a big liability against the run. And with that, we'll call it another chat. There's going to be lots and lots and lots of news with the coaching search, and when that's finished, its aftermath (filling out the staff, etc.). So keep checking back to PackersNews.com for what's new. Again, thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts, and Happy New Year to all! We'll talk again next week. Until then, take care.