Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    With a potentially long-term injury to Burks, coupled with the perceived thinness at ILB, is there a world where you think Gutey explores trading a young WR and/or draft capitol for a veteran ILB who may be buried on his team's depth chart?
    Hi everybody, sorry for the late start, practice was a little longer than we'd guessed and then they had open locker room. Let's dive right in. Sounds like Burk's injury might not be long term after -- he said he won't surgery -- so I'm not sure they're going to do anything. For now it sounds like they'll probably play more of that personnel grouping that has a safety (Raven Greene up to this point) playing linebacker while Burks is out, but it also sounds like Burks might not be out that long. We'll see.
    Hey Pete, what’s your take on the crop of UDFAs so far? Any have a chance to stick?
    Yeah, WR Darrius Shepherd, ILB Curtis Bolton, maybe ILB Brady Sheldon, they're the first who come to mind. T Yosh Nijman is really raw but has some ability, looks like a really good practice squad candidate.
    Pete how many more drops and double clutches do the Packers have to see before making the inevitable move of getting rid of Moore? Seems like he’s just eating up reps that would be better for guys like Lazard and Sheppard at this point.
    He's got some ability as a route runner but yeah, those drops and even juggles are killers. Have to think it's a big uphill battle for him to make the 53.
    Hi,
    Whatever problems Moore has had catching the ball have clearly been exacerbated by the fact that he is stressing out big time. Do teams have sports psychologists who can help with the psychological aspect of the game?

    Thanks
    Agreed. And yeah, my understanding is they do have sports psychologist, though I don't know who it is or how she/he is around. I'd guess if he wants the help he can get it quickly and easily.
    hi pete what are the chances sheperd and kummerrow make the team and at whos expense. do you think that they will keep 7 receivers?
    Seems like it's becoming more the norm to keep seven, so I could easily see that. At this point I'd think they'd have a really hard time cutting Kumerow, he's been getting open, the quarterbacks are willing to throw to him, and he catches it. Shepherd definitely has a chance, he's been as impressive as any of the undrafted rookies. He could make it as the No. 7, maybe even as the No. 6 if they like him as  return guy instead of Davis, though for now Davis still looks like their best returner. Davis (stinger) has been out about a week now
    Hey Pete.....with the Burks injury, what's your take on Josh Jones filling in at ILB?
    Not sure, he's a natural possibility though Greene is ahead of him for that job, has been all offseason and all camp. Jones took a lot of reps as a backup safety and and LB with the No. 2 defense on Sunday, but then today he didn't practice because of an illness. I'm just not sure what to make of him and where he stands right now. He'd actually been working with third-string safeties the previous couple practices, but then was with the No. 2s at both positions (S and LB) Sunday. So maybe Burks' injury has changed his standing, hard to know with him missing practice today.
    Hi Pete , thanks for the chat. At what point in Kevin kings injury history going forward would he be let go ? Does he need to stay healthy all year to bring back again next year ?
    No necessarily. He'll still be on his rookie contract in 2020, so he'll be pretty cheap relatively speaking. And he has a lot of talent. I'd still think they'd bring him back if he misses a lot of games again, but they will definitely have to make contingency plans, CB would have to be a big draft-offseason priority, because they just can't count on him being healthy. Even if he plays all 16 this year I'd still make CB a big priority next offseason. His injury history is just a big red flag.
    Hey Pete, did you see the reports that Gutey was trying to trade for the punter/kicker from Baltimore before MN got him? If that's the case, WHY? In other words, they have Crosby and Scott. Why on earth would they give up on them?
    I did see that, and I'm wondering the same thing myself. He'd be a lot cheaper than Crosby, so that could be a factor, but it also would be rolling the dice on a guy who's never kicked in the league.
    Pete, I hate greatest of all time lists especially when you try to rank players and compare different eras. Usually I ignore them. I did look at the list of 100 greatest Packers. Bart Starr at 11? Given the Packers had tons of Hall of Famers and an all time great coach, but anyone who thinks that team wins 5 championships in 7 years with Billy Wade or Frank Ryan at quarterback did not follow the NFL in those years. Please say you were not one of the people that felt Starr should be so low.
    I am, I put him there. Look, there are several factors for that. For one, while QB was an important position in the '60s, it wasn't the be-all and end-all that it's been since the '80s or especially '90s. The NFL was still a running game at that time, and the Packers in the early '60s won because they had a great run game with an outstanding line and two great backs. They won in the later '60s primarily because of their defense. Starr was a great leader, outstanding poise, excellent play caller, accurate passer. But he lacked arm strength and wasn't athletic -- I went down to Alabama to talk to his HS teammates and coach, and his HS coach told me that even at the HS level Starr was not considered very athletic for a QB. Teams in the '60s didn't game plan to stop Starr -- I wouldn't be surprised if Forrest Gregg figured in their minds more than Starr. Cliff Christl, the Packers' historian, has dug up a stat that's telling. From 1965-67, which were Starr's best years, the Packers had eight games in which Starr either couldn't play because of injury, or that he had to leave because of injury with them anywhere from tied to being down by no more than seven points. Bratkowski took over for him in those eight games, and the Packers were 7-1. I'm not saying Bratkowski was as good as Starr, he wasn't. But that gives you an idea of the collective talent of those teams and of course Lombardi's greatness as coach. Starr was surrounded by, what, 11 or 12 other Hall of Famers? Look, if someone wanted to argue that he should be ahead of Gregg at No. 10, that's plausible. Same for putting him ahead of White at No. 9 because White was with the Packers for only six years. I'd disagree, but I'd get the argument, and maybe I'm wrong. Any higher than that though? I don't think so. Ron Wolf and Christl had were fully on board with the top of the list, and I trust their judgment on this. Both have talked extensively over the years with the coaches and scouts from the Lombardi era, and Wolf's and Christl's judgments are based on those conversations. And Christl has read pretty much everything Lombardi ever said publicly about his team and players (and every Press-Gazette sports section since 1919). Call me crazy, but I'm going with what the coaches and scouts from those teams said about those guys, which among other things was that Hornung was the best player from the '60s era. Wolf said he asked several of those caoches and scouts if every player from the '60s Packers were available in a draft, which one would they take first? He says they all chose Hornung. Also, Christl and a guy who wrote a book on Tom Landry a few years ago have reported independently of each other that in '65 or '66 Lombardi tried to trade Starr to the Cowboys for Don Meredith straight up (and Landry said no). On top of that, when Lombardi got to Washington, he told some of the coaches and scouts he'd worked with in GB that Sonny Jurgensen was better than Starr. Meanwhile, Adderley and Wood were incredible, impactful, dominating players in their era. Ahead of them on the list were Verne Lewellen, the best player on the Packers teams that won three straight titles (1929-31) and a member of the NFL's all-time two-way team (named in 1969 I think); Clarke Hinkle, who players from his era who remained affiliated with the Packers and lived in GB through the '60s said was the equivalent Nitschke on defense and Taylor on offense (and who Lambeau called the best FB and MLB he'd ever coached -- the best at both positions); Don Hutson; and Rodgers and Favre. I know the Starr fans consider it an outrage that he's not higher, and some think he should be No. 1. And it mostly comes back to five titles in seven years. But then how to explain Lombardi saying Jurgenson was better than Starr? Or Dave Hanner (OL and coach in the '60s) saying in the '90s that if Favre had been Lombardi's QB they might not have lost a game? Starr was a great player/leader, I'm not for a second disputing that. But I think there's also an emotional-sentimental attachment and romanticism with Starr that leaves some people closed to consider he's anything but the best QB and even best player in team history. When it comes to those '60s team, I just have to defer to the coaches and scouts who were with the team at that time, and what they have told Wolf and Christl.
    Pete, regarding the WR position, I just can’t see Davis making the team. I don’t think he’s had an injury free season since he was drafted. Therefore, this opens a spot for Shepard or Lazzard. Is there an advantage (despite the huge one of being able to return punts) of keeping one smaller receiver vs having a bunch of 6’ 3”+ guys on the roster? What does height mean to the slot position if any?
    First, apologies for the long lag, that last answer was long but I had to look up a couple things, etc. But I thought it deserved a full answer, I've heard from other who agree with Gary about Starr, and wanted them to have a chance to see the reasoning. As for Davis, it depends on how long he's out. Their return game is pretty shaky, I have no idea who would be their return guy if he isn't on the roster. Not saying that makes him a shoo-in or even good bet, but he has that going for him until someone does something impressive as a returner in a preseason game. But you're right about Davis' injury, that has to be a big red flag. And Shepherd does bring something to slot receiver because he's the most prototypical kind of guy they have for that role -- short and quick. Quickness is important for that role because from the slot there's a lot of space to go either left or right -- they call it a two-way go, and the quicker a guy is the harder he is to cover on those short routes. Size is OK there too, big target and ability to box out smaller cover men, but teams seem to prefer having small quick guys in the slot.
    Salary cap and youth cost us Mike Daniels. No Clay Matthews or Richard Perry. The “Smith’s” were paid a lot of money, have you seen or heard what kind of leadership skill they have? And finally, while fans are always optimistic, this seems like a team built for 2020-2021, not right now with our Division, thoughts?
    Z Smith at least in my opinion is clearly the best rusher on the roster. P Smith has been relatively quiet as a rusher, though he did have a sack in team drills today. But part of their thing to is being stout on the edge, so they need to be judged by how the run defense performs overall too, and we haven't yet seen there when there's actually tackling. It does seem a little built for the following couple seasons, but in part that's because any time there's a coaching change, there's usually a learning curve. LaFleur's offense could struggle early as the players learn the scheme and he figures out what works well and what doesn't. I mean, they signed three expensive FAs on defense, that's kind of a win-now move, though those guys are all young enough that the next two or three seasons theoretically should be their best.
    We can’t really be going into another season with these two as our back up quarterbacks can we? It seems borderline negligent.
    Neither has jumped out in practice, no argument there. Let's see how the final 3 preseason games go though.
    So what’s the deal with Josh Jones? Is the talent just not there, attitude seems he keeps sliding down depth chart!
    He's big and fast for his  position. Doesn't appear to be real instinctive though.
    Pete, thanks for the chat. Am I imagining things or does it seems like Gutey is churning the bottom of the roster a lot more recently than is usually the case with the Packers? I think he mentioned something about this in one of his first press conferences, and it's something teams like the Patriots have done with positive results more so than the Ted Thompson Packers.
    Don't think you're imagining it. I'd say he did it last year, too. That's a Ron Wolf thing, during the regular season he'd parade the tryout guys through the locker room on Mondays/Tuesdays and churn the bottom of the roster almost weekly for two reasons -- to get a first-hand look in practice at guys he kinda liked, and to keep players already on the team a little uncomfortable about their spot.
    Hi Pete: On defense, with all the variations of position ("he's a hyprid...") and stunting ("he as lined up in the 6 hole"), is the whole "inside linebacker/ouside linebacker" designation even valid anymore? Especially when you throw in the "dime/nickel/penny" packages for safety?
    There's still a distinction, at least in the 3-4 scheme. The outside guys are primarily rushers, the inside guys are primarily cover guys. When they go nickel, same thing, the outside guys rush most of the time and need that skill set, the inside guys, though they blitz sometimes, are more cover guys. But there might be times when they put three OLBs on the field along with to DL, and then the distinction blurs a little more.
    Pete, I don't recall hearing much about Geronimo Allison's return. Is he still expected to be a starter? How's he doing?
    He's had a quieter camp than last year. I'm still thinking he'll be the starter in the slot, that's where he's been lining up, but you're right, it has been a very quiet camp for him.
    Cornerbacks:
    How big of a drop off between King and T Brown?
    Have you noticed if Tramon has lost a step?
    I can’t remember a Packers CB playing at or near starting caliber level at Tramon’s age, other than Dave Brown and Al Harris, can you?
    Pretty big dropoff, King is a pretty talented guy. He and Alexander hardly played together last year -- I looked it up recently, they played two full games together (the opener against the Bears, then the Rams at midseason) plus most of the first half of two other games. The rest of the time, one or both were injured (mostly King). But when they played together the defense looked noticeably better to me. The Rams punted seven times (that was their season high) and had a fake punt too, so the Packers got eight third-down stops that game against an offense that was dominating the league up to that point. Brown's doing OK and playing a lot with the starters with King out and Jackson just returning after missing most of camp so far with a foot injury. But he's not as good as King.
    Hi Pete, Allen Lazaard making some noise. Would he have a realistic shot at the 53 and if not, does his size and ability make him desirable and wouldn't make it to the practice squad?
    I'd say yes to all those questions.
    Hi Pete—my question is, couldn’t Kumerow be in line to start? I know MVS has the greater speed and pedigree and Geronimo more experience, but do my eyes deceive me or is Kumerow more productive and a playmaker. Having watched Adam Theilen go from UFA. To legit playmaker for the Vikings, I see similarities
    I guess the most I'd say at this point, you can't rule it out. Kumerow has had a good camp,  I'd guess he's caught more passes than Allison or Valdes-Scantling or St. Brown. But Allison and Valdes-Scantling have worked with the starters a lot all camp, Kumerow rotates in but not as often. Pretty sure Kumerow isn't as fast or quick Thielen. I'd still bet on the other two as starters, especially Valdes-Scantling, he's got a great size-speed combo and seems to really want to be good. But there are three preseason games to go, maybe something will come out of those games to answer the question. Put it this way: I don't see how Kumerow doesn't make the team, and you have to think he'll work in the rotation some no matter what. Maybe it will end up being more than that.
    There are high expectations this year for Jaire Alexander. In your opinion, how has he looked this summer and, assuming he stays healthy, does he look like a guy that can lock down one side of the field?
    Looks pretty good, highly competitive, almost always in tight coverage. He does get beat. He and Adams have had some great matchups in team drills, and Adams has caught some balls on him in tough battles, as have a couple other guys. There are very few guys who can take away one side of the field, so I wouldn't go that far at this point. CBs get beat, that's just the way the game is. But he looks like a good player to me. Lock down, can't say I've seen that in camp, but how many lockdown guys are there?
    Wondering how much the LaFleur McVay Shanhan outside run with two backs is like the Packers sweep of old: different in that it is zone blocking? And do they have the modern day Kramer, Ringo, Thurston, Gregg, Gillingham to pull?
    I don't know all the details, but it's way different from what I know. The Lombardi sweep pulled a guard. There's no pulling in the zone scheme, the offensive line moves in unison like a chorus line.
    MLF said #1 offense would likely play 1st. qtr. in Baltimore Thursday. I think they need more with the new offense. Do you think we'll see another qtr. or more against Oakland? I'd like to see the new O running smoothly by Sept. 5th.
    I'm just guessing here, but I'd think in Game 3 the starters might go into the second quarter for the reason you cite, they need to work in the offense. I'd bet pretty heavy they don't play in preseason game 4.
    Is there real concern at middle linebacker, or is the drop from Oren Burks to the next man up not that significant?
    There might be reason for legit concern, but Burks said today he won't need surgery, and Gutekunst seemed optimistic Burks will return relatively soon. Not that Burks was just jumping off the field, I can't say he'd made many eye-catching plays in camp. But he has some explosion and cover ability that none of the other ILBs have shown
    It doesn't seem possible that they would keep a total of 5 FB/TE. I thought Lewis was underutilized last year, but with Tonyan and Sternberger do you think he is the odd man out this year?
    I could see them keeping five RBs, with how much LaFleur wants to run and the injury attrition at that  position, they easily could keep five, though I'm not sure who that fifth back would be. The concern I'd have with Lewis if I were the Packers is whether he'll decline during the season, that can happen with guys his age (35). It's not out of the question that he'd get cut, but the Packers did give him a $500,000 signing bonus. That doesn't guarantee him a roster spot, it's not too much money for the Packers to eat, but it doesn't hurt his chances.
    Pete, do you think Packers will find trade partners for Allison or Kumerow? I think we ought to trade one of Allison or Kumerow (preferably Allison who will be a UFA next year) and stash somebody with higher upside like Moore / Lazard. Would you also consider a trade for Davis if somebody offered a 6th round pick?
    I just have trouble seeing a team giving up much of anything for either. Allison is coming off an injury and had a quiet camp, Kumerow hasn't done anything in the league.
    Have you detected a trend over the years toward NFL players becoming more like “track” guys and less like old school football guys, who in earlier years might be more likely to tape up a ding and go practice rather than be out for weeks? Just seems that in our era of MRIs etc that guys stay out of camp longer (although I confess I played HS football in the dark ages of the 1970s).
    It's as much team management (coach and GM) as the players. Teams invest a lot of money in these guys -- even the 53rd guy is making well into six figures -- and they're careful with injuries in camp. Especially things like hamstrings that are easily aggravated. But some players pull themselves for lesser injuries. I think that was one of the issues the Packers had with Damarious Randall, that he missed a lot of practice because of injuries during the season but then was OK to play on Sundays.
    Hello Pete. Was the back-shoulder fade passes a fad, or is that something Rodgers can resume with his current crop of WRs? When it worked a few years ago, passing game was unstoppable. Is this something that's practiced daily? Thanks
    They're doing it a lot in practice, all the QB but especially Rodgers. He and Adams are devastating at it, I don't think that's an overstatement. Kumerow has caught a few, too. They practice it daily in individual drills as well as try it regularly in team drills. It's a staple of their offense still.
    Hey Pete. Every pre season we brush off the horrible tackling as just part of training camp. However , the Packers tackling is way worse than other teams. I’ve watched several games and no one is even close. It seems to always carry to regular season for Packers. Do they even emphasize all those missed tackles during practice?
    LaFleur said today that tackling better is the first thing that came to mind when asked where he's looking for improvement in this week's game. So I'm assuming they have and will talk about it as a team. But there's no tackling to the ground -- I can't remember the last time they had tackling to the ground at a Packers practice, maybe for a period or two in a practice or two in McCarthy's first year or two? Not even sure about that. Might have to go back to Mike Sherman for that, and even then it was really infrequent. It's a problem for all NFL teams, teaching tackling without risking ball carriers getting hurt. Really hard to do.
    Pete, My question is how does Aaron Rodgers like the new offense?
    He says he really likes it. I saw his interview with Chris Simms for PFT and he went on and on about how much he likes it. He told me in a one-on-one last week that he likes it. How he really feels? Can't be sure on that, though at minimum I have no trouble believing he likes it more than the previous offense. Pretty clear he thought that offense had grown stale and didn't evolve with the rest of the league.
    Pete, I have the utmost respect for the body of work that Ron, Cliff and you have through your career. And your list of Packers greats is outstanding.

    That said, you blew the call on Bart. It’s about being a winner. Bart was spot on when the game was on the line. He has five rings. He was named Super Bowl MVP twice. His job was to control the offense to win games. He was a virtual offensive coordinator on the field calling all the plays. He played in an era when defensive backs could chuck receivers. And he was pummeled by defenses after he threw the ball.

    You got that call wrong. I wish I could provide an opportunity for a do over.

    But thanx just the same for providing consistent excellent work.
    And thanks for the question Tom, you were not alone in your assessment. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
    Who were today's standouts from practice?
    This will have to do it, but wow, so many questions, don't think I got to half of them, maybe even less. Can't thank you enough for stopping by and sharing your opinions, observations and questions. Always great to know what's on your mind. If I didn't get to your question, definitely try again next week, there's always plenty to talk about, especially this year with the new coach and offense and all. They did a lot of team drills today. Wilkins led a TD drive in two-minute that was pretty good -- a fourth-down TD pass, dispute over whether he was sacked, but I didn't think so and he escaped pocket to throw TD on the move. Alexander broke up a deep ball from Rodgers to Valdes-Scantling, that was a good play. Tonyan caught a go route from Rodgers over S Will Redmond for a big play in a third-down period. Those come immediately to mind. And with that, we'll call it another chat. Make sure to return to PackersNews.com for updates throughout the day. And a special thanks to subscribers, covering this team as thoroughly as we do takes a lot of resources, and every subscription helps. All right then, until we chat next week, take care everyone.
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