Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's live chat Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT.

    How can we expect our new offensive system will impact our desired position demands in the coming draft?
    Alright, here we go. Yes, I'd think it would affect both the positions emphasized and the type of player they're looking for. The signing of Billy Turner in free agency fits with that. He's a scheme fit, not a power player but athletic for an O-linemen, so they think he's a good fit for their zone run scheme, where the OL often have to combo block at the line and then one has to break off and get to a linebacker. That takes good feet and quickness. They'll also be looking for one-cut runners for the zone scheme. And reading between the lines of what Gutekunst and LaFleur said at the owners meetings about slot receivers, there might be a little less an emphasis on quickness and more of an emphasis on savvy and size. Some of that is scheme-related, though I think some also is durability.
    Pete, wow. I must be in the minority to think Gutey's spending spree was patently irresponsible. By almost all reports - they way way way overppaid ZSmith and Turner. In other words, they may be "good" players but not "great". To me, overpaying is a recipe for disaster in any line of business. It's just not how well run franchises are run. I'm more ok with Preston Smith and Amos signings, because they were at least at market price. But, I can't believe how much they paid the other two. ZSmith smacks of the Joe Johnson signing years ago.
    You're probably not the only one. And I'd agree for sure that you can't conduct business like this regularly. I'm more of a fan of signing a lot of cheaper guys and treating it almost like a draft, where you know some aren't going to work out, so you cut ties. Doing it that way puts less on any one of the signings to work out. But that has its weaknesses too, becasue you can sign all these guys for anywhere from $3 million to, I don't know, $9M or $10M each, and you might not help yourself much, if at all. But I like that approach as a general philosophy. I get why they did what they did, and Gutekunst mitigated the risk a little by signing guys who are relatively young, so if they bust it won't be because of decline from age. That's where Z Smith is a lot different than Joe Johnson -- Johnson was old (I think 30 or 31 at the time) and had some injury history. But you're right, they overpaid, that's the cost of doing business in the first couple days of free agency. I'd say if two of the four prove to be nice upgrades they'll have done OK. I get why Gurekunst felt he needed to do something like this, they needed to upgrade. I might have been more inclined to sign one of the rushers and then spread the money among five to seven guys after the first couple days of free agency, rather than three. But I get why Gutekunst did what he did. Now we'll have to see how well they evaluated these guys.
    I can't imagine the Packers passing on Devon Bush at 12, assuming he's there (and I'm assuming Devon White is gone by then). Either of these players are "generational" in talent, because they have mind-bending speed and production. What do you think? Do you think that they would take Bush or even trade up to get either White or Bush?
    I can't say, because while they're really fast for their positions, that doesn't mean they'll be excellent players. Bobby Wagner was really fast and turned out to be an outstanding ILB, Derron Lee not so much. It does sound like there's no way White makes it there. I'd have to think the only way they'll trade up is for a guy at any position is if they think he's really special, like they think there's a pretty decent chance he'll be an HOF-type player.
    Hi Pete. Thanks for the chat. Frankly I like the moves that Gutekunst made in free agency. I believe that the acquisitions he made allow the Pack to go after a tight end with the first pick, a edge rusher with the second pick, then a safety and offensive linemen... Realistically if you're not picking in the 10 the probability of getting a game changer is somewhat remote My gut feeling is that they desperately need a tight end that not only can catch but also blocks. Hint look at Iowa. Your thoughts please.
    So a different take from Carl's earlier question. I doubt we can break it down to this position with this pick, that position with the next, because as you note the FA signings allow Gutekunst a lot of flexibility with those early picks. He can go for the guy he thinks has the best chance to be a top-notch player. Maybe based on how he's graded players, he can better project which positions he'll take in each of those first two or three picks, but even for teams those things can be tough to predict. Many unexpected things happen on draft day, and you never know how other teams rate guys. There are a lot of differences among teams, and among scouts on the same teams. I will say, even just outside the top 10 you have a lot better chance of finding a difference makers than in the later teens on back. Marshon Lattimore and Deshaun Watson were 11 and 12 in the '17 draft, Odell Beckham was No. 12 in his draft and Aaron Donald was picked right after him.
    I think Packers take a TE at #12 then maybe best available OL or S at #30. What positions do you see them aiming for in rounds 1 and 2?
    Just based on what little I know about the draft now, the positions with viable players for them to pick at No. 12 are probably outside rusher, DL, OL, TE, and maybe CB and WR. I really think it's wide open for their first three picks (Nos. 12, 30 and 44). Could be any of the positions listed above plus RB. I'd personally put WR as the lowest priority among those positions, don't know if they'd agree.
    Forgot safety also, that's a high priority but doubt it's in play at No. 12.
    it's difficult to find any one who thinks a. jones can hold up as an every down running back. where are all the writers and fans who lambasted mccarthy last fall for not using him more at the beginning of the season? you do all remember doing that, don't you?
    I do remember doing that, and I was wrong. McCarthy was in a no-win. He needed Jones on the field because Jones was his most dynamic guy with the ball in his hands, and the offense struggled. But Jones also is injury prone -- three MCLs in 13 months. That's why they badly need another RB in my opinion. Lots to like about Williams as an overall FB player but he's only OK as a runner.
    Hi Pete, the Packers look to have about $9M in cap $ after they sign their draft picks. Sounds like Gute would like to have about $5-6M available going into the season. So it would seem they'll be limited if he wants to add some pieces in the next 4-5 months. Mike Daniels is 31, in the last year of his contract and I doubt he'll be extended. His production seemed to decline somewhat last year (although still good). Daniels cap number is $10.7M with $8.3M cap saving if they move on. Should they think about trading him? Do you think there's a market and what might it be? This draft looks to be very strong in DL, will that be a factor? Thanks Pete
    Yeah, it's very much up in the air whether they'll extend Daniels, and you might be right, the odds might be against it. He turns 30 in May. Because of age, I'm not sure his trade market would yield the kind of value to make a trade worth it. He's still a decent inside rusher and has value for the Packers in that role. They don't have a top-end rusher, so their chances of having a good rush this year depend on coming at teams with quantity -- rotating guys and keeping fresh rushers from among the two Smiths, Clark, Daniels, what OLB, they draft , Fackrell and just maybe Montravius Adams. So I would not be looking to trade Daniels if I were the Packers, they need the depth.
    I thought Breeland was an important player to bring back and the contract he got in KC seemed reasonable. I also think he's a better option than Williams at CB. What am I missing here? Thanks
    I thought Breeland was OK, not sure if he was any better than Williams. Breeland had a pick six that made a big impression but also struggled a little playing in the slot, he was definitely better playing outside. Williams knows the defense so well and has value because he can play CB and S, he did it for Pettine in Cleveland and now in GB, and he plays the slot better than Breeland, or at least did last year before going to safety. Of course the concern with Williams is age, he's 36, that's ancient for a DB. You never know when he's going to suffer the big drop-off.
    Hey Pete, two things; does it sound like the Pack will bring Jordy back on a 1 day deal so he can retire as a Packer, and I haven’t heard anything about Aaron Rodgers and what he thinks about the regime change in Green Bay—is no one asking or is he being quiet about what is happening?
    I would assume Nelson will want to retire as a Packers player. Among other things, it's a smart marketing move, he's a fan favorite and can make a great living at autograph shows and making appearances in Wisconsin if he wants to. I don't think Rodgers has done any interviews since LaFleur's hiring, none I know of anyway. I'm assuming he'll be available when the offseason program opens in about a week and a half.
    What do you make of Packers decision not to try to sign Breeland? Does this suggest they see Tony Brown as a younger faster alternative or yet another plan to sift through a large number of low draft choice/ undrafted options?
    I think they're intrigued by Brown, and I can see why, he has some talent. But don't be shocked if they draft a CB in the first four rounds. If there's one there they really like I'd think they'd take him. With the way today's game is played, offenses spreading the field with skill guys, you have to have a lot of competent cornerbacks to match up and survive injuries.
    Hi Pete! I know 'it takes two to tango', but with where the Cardinals are leaning in the draft, I'm thinking the #30 pick for Josh Rosen. Current backup and future solved. Your thoughts?
    I don't know enough about Rosen to have much of an opinion on that at this point, though I'm inclined to think it's still at least a year early to do that. Unless they had a really high grade on Rosen coming out, then by all means. Because it's true that the hardest time to find a QB is when you need one. They're the emodiment of that with how and when they landed Rodgers. But I'd have to feel really good about him to make that kind of deal.
    Pete,
    Is the Press Gazette going to have the draft party they have hosted the last couple years? Haven't seen or heard a word about it.
    That's still to be determined. Check back in a week or two.
    Hey Pete, thanks for taking our questions. The draft is literally a month from now. How much stock do you put into the 30 "pre-draft visits" as far as a team's legitimate interest in a prospect? What I mean is, how often would you say a player that visits pre-draft with a team actually ends up with that team? Obviously, players set up several visits with teams pre-draft, and teams don't select 30 players in a draft, but just curious how much influence a pre-draft visit has in resulting in a player being selected by a specific team. What seems to be the Packers trend? Do they typically select the players they meet with pre-draft, or truly just take the best player available based on their pre-draft board? I hear a lot of players say after they were taken by the Packers, "I never talked to them before the draft..." Are these visits more about just getting to know the player (in the event a rival team picks them), or smoke-screening? Just wondering your thoughts, hopefully this makes sense.
    Different teams do it differently. Thompson used those visits primarily for late-round picks and potential undrafted free agents. If I remember right, AJ Hawk said he had minimal contact with the Packers before his draft. I'd have to look at last year's visits, but I think Gutekunst brought in some highly rated prospects. Yes, some teams will use one or two of the 30 as a smokescreen to feign interest in a guy -- all the visits are reported to all teams. And a lot of the visits are for real, they want to spend a day with a guy to get a better feel for what he's like. Only so much you can get from 15-minute interviews at the combine.
    Offhand, what key players on the current roster will be FA in 2020? Seems like cap space might get tricky. It's never to early to plan ahead. Thanks Pete
    Daniels, Bulaga, Allison, Martinez, Crosby, Fackrell. They surely will exercise their fifth-year option on Kenny Clark, but he'll be eligible for a contract extension starting next the offseason too.
    Packers need to take a difference maker at 12 at any position. That said, if they can get Hockenson they should do what it takes to get him. He might be able to do for Rodgers what Gronkowski did for Brady.
    If they think he's the next Gronkowski then they should take him.
    Hi Pete I just read an article the the Packers could trade Jimmy Grahm to the Pats for a third round pick this year. N.E. needs tight ends your houghts.
    I'd like to see that article, can you provide me the link? Have to say I find it a little hard to believe that NE would give up a third-rounder for him.
    Read a mock draft yesterday that the packers will trade their number 12 pick for the 23rd pick and number 54 this draft what your thoughts
    Not seeing it. They don't get to pick this high very often, I think the least likely scenario is they move back, especially that far.
    I've been skeptical of the Turner signing since I heard it (I hope I'm very wrong). There's no more help for OL coming in FA. I think the Packers need to add a G in the draft that can contribute from day 1. Do you see them using one of their first 4 picks there?
    I think there's a good chance they take a tackle in the first three rounds, in large part because Bulaga's contract is up after this season. But some or even a lot of those tackles can play guard, too, so if the guy were good enough to play, he could play at guard. They're paying Turner $7M a year, you don't pay that to a backup, so I'm assuming they see him as their new starting RG. Aaron Taylor had a down year in '18 but has attributed a lot of that to ankle surgery that kept him out all last offseason.
    Assuming the Packers draft a future pro bowler with pick 12, which one of these positions generally contribute well the first year in the league? Can you rank them in order? Offensive Tackle, Defensive Lineman, Inside Linebacker, Safety, Tight end.
    The positions where rookies seem to play best from that group are defensive lineman and tackle. I'd probably put tight end last, it's a tough position for rookies because there's so much to know in learn in both the run game and passing game. In the run game they're blockers, and there are a lot of details to learn in technique and assignment. Then the NFL passing games are more sophisticated and there are more audibles, etc., than in college. From what I've seen, safety and ILB are in-between OL-DL and TE.
    Pete, I’ve seen the argument that it made sense to keep Perry for the $4m savings. I disagree. I think it makes more sense to overpay the Smiths rather than keep Perry given their injury history and comparable production. The best ability is availability isn’t it in this case? I think the Packers risk on the Smiths is well worth it given their locker room rep and durability. What do you think?
    Our Tom Silverstein made that argument. I agree with you and think the risk was too great that they would have been throwing good money after bad. When Perry was  healthy he played well, but it wasn't just the games he missed because of injury, it also was that when he played through the injuries (broken hand, ankle) he wasn't nearly the same player. And he was playing through injuries often.
    What’s the real reason the Raiders let Jordy Nelson go? He had something like 60 catches. Did they just want to pay him less?
    I think they realize he'd lost his speed. They were bad at receiver and this is the NFL, lots and lots of passing, so somebody's got to catch the ball. He's smart and savvy and has good size and great body control, but he's lost his speed and I'm sure his quickness is diminishing fast too. I'm sure they saw he'd last a lot of speed last year and figured it would only be worse this year. The thing I don't get but would like to know is why they restructured his contract and paid him I think it was $3.5M, then turned around and cut him a couple days later. Haven't yet read or heard why they'd do that.
    Pete, Hearing anything on whether the Packers would be interested in Morgan Burnett if the Steelers release him? Could steady the back end and wouldn't be too expensive.
    I haven't. I'd be concerned about his injury issues the last few years, that's why they let him walk last year. He missed five games last  year, three the year before that, one in '16 and five in '15. Along with the risk that he'd miss a lot of games again this year, those things take a toll on a 209-pound guy.
    Hi Pete,

    Will the Packers be able to do any evaluation of players from their upcoming orientation session?

    Thanks
    Yeah. The offseason program is divided into the three phases. The first is strength and conditioning, where they can work only with the strength coaches in physical training (plus classroom work I'm pretty sure). The second phase is individual position workouts, where they can do small-group work by position. The last is organized team activities, which is just another name for a non-padded practice.
    New coaches, new players, new draft picks. Even with the unknowns, at this point are we looking at 8-8, or should we hope for better?
    I honestly don't know. They went 8-8 in McCarthy's first season after going 4-12 the year before, and they had Favre at QB. They have Rodgers, made several big signings in free agency and have two first-round draft picks this year, but will have a new and unproven head coach and will be running a new offense. Your guess is as good as mine.
    Will Rodgers keep his same cadence(Green 19 & Blue 58)under LaFleur?
    Hmmm, don't know. My guess is LaFleur has his own words for those things, don't know if they would adjust them to what Rodgers knows. My guess is it will change.
    A couple other Packers writers have said they are waiting to see the Matt LaFleur that knocked off the socks of Murphy, Gutenkunst and Ball. They don't feel they've seen that dynamic presence Murphy talked about when he introduced him. Do you feel he is quiet, still nervous in front of the media? Could it have an affect if this is how he is in the locker room?
    I've seen glimpses of what they probably liked. I talked to him one-on-one for about 10 minutes after he introduced his assistant-coaching staff. Also sat at his table at the coaches breakfast at the owners meetings on Monday for about 30 mins, plus he met separately for about 20 minutes later that day with the reporters from GB (there were only about five of us) who attended the owners meetings. In those settings I found him to be low-key but personable. Got the feeling he has a good sense of humor, kind of sly. He's not an extrovert, that's for sure, definitely nothing like Sean McVay, for instance. But all these guys are guarded to some degree around reporters, so what we see isn't necessarily what they're like with their bosses, players and assistants. I'm sure he's still feeling his way dealing with media. For comparison, McCarthy was more outgoing and had a brash streak in him. LaFleur from what I've seen so far is lower key, more self-contained.
    I was taken aback by Gutenkunst comments about Jimmy Graham living up to every expectation last year and surprising them at what a good job he did as a blocker? How could he possibly think Jimmy Graham played well last year? Makes me question him as a GM.
    OK, this will have to be the last question. Thanks for coming by and sharing thoughts and questions, interesting as always. If I didn't get to your question or questions, try again next week. As for James' question, I was a little taken aback too. I re-watch all the games, and there were times when Graham's blocking was fine, but there were plenty of times where it was really spotty. I think that's kind of the definition of a guy who's not a good blocker. I find it a little hard to believe Gutekunst really thinks what he said. My assumption is he's trying to build Graham up, to get him to want to perform for him and the team. That's my best guess. They've committed to bringing Graham back and know his personality after working with him for a year, so I'm thinking Gutekunst is doing what he thinks will help get the most out of Graham. I just find it hard to believe he thinks Graham is a pretty good blocker. And with that, we'll call it a chat. Thanks again everyone for coming by, always enjoyable chatting with you. Keep checking back to PackersNews.com for all the news leading up to the draft. Until next time, take care.
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