Packers chat with Ryan Wood

Packers chat with Ryan Wood

Thursday, Feb. 23 transcript

  • Hey folks, Ryan Wood here. The Packers are about to exit the doldrums of the post-postseason calendar when their front office and coaching staff heads down to Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine next week. Let's get to your questions.
  • Looking back at last years draft, seems like Fackerell was a significant reach. He's old for a rookie, needs to add strength, and took a while to learn the system. Is that really what you want in a 3rd rounder? I am not saying he can't develop into a good player, but he seems more like a 6th rounder. Seems like they could have used a 3rd rounder on an area with more significant needs.
  • I think next season will tell us a lot about Kyler Fackrell's future as an NFL player. If you consider expectations for a third rounder, he had a serviceable rookie season. No, he didn't have a major impact on defense, but not a lot of third-round rookies do. Fackrell showed some potential as a pass rusher with a pair of sacks and a batted pass, forced a fumble. You're right, he does need to add weight and power, but that's why this offseason is critical. A full offseason should help him further develop. If it doesn't, it could be a problem. Fackrell turns 26 years old in November. That is old for a second-year player.
  • I assume they project Spriggs to eventually take over for Bulaga and as insurance for Bathiari, or does he start next season with Bulaga kicking inside to guard if they don't resign Lang? Bulaga had a pretty good year last year so I would be hesitant to move him, but eventually he will lose some quickness, as father time catches up.
  • It's going to be very interesting to see what Ted Thompson does with this offensive line. Jason Spriggs, at the least, can be a good swing tackle, and every team needs a reliable swing tackle. But you don't trade up in the second round to draft a backup. With that said, there's no obvious spot to put Spriggs. You're right, age and past knee injuries could eventually catch up with Bryan Bulaga, but he just had the best season of his career. He shouldn't move off the right tackle spot in 2017. T.J. Lang is a free agent, and how the Packers approach him will likely determine the future of this offensive line, but Spriggs isn't a guard even if you let Lang walk. And why let Lang walk? He's a Pro Bowl guard, and there are enough problems on this team (corner, edge rusher) to mess with a very good offensive line. So I'm not quite sure what they do here, but it will be fascinating to follow.
  • Looking back to the SB Team on '10, you had 5 legit playmakers on D - Clay, Raji, Woodson, Tramon, Collison, (not including Shields). Seems like they have 3 currently on D, and really only 2 when Clay is hurt - Daniels and HaHa. Perry had a good year, but he's hurt too much, which really makes this season even more of an anomaly. Point being, they need way more talent on D, TT's struck out a lot lately on that side of the ball - excluding HaHa (who I think would actually be better as a SS).
  • You're right, this is a defense that needs more talent. And that isn't good for a defense that has added a first-round pick each of the past five years. Even the "playmakers" weren't exactly difference makers this past season. Clay Matthews, with five sacks and two significant injuries (shoulder and hamstring), was not a difference maker. Mike Daniels, a borderline Pro Bowl talent, is better against the run than pass and didn't take over games as an interior rusher. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was a Pro Bowler, but he still can be inconsistent with his angles, and the interceptions come in spurts. Now, Clay Matthews can play better with more health, Ha Ha will get more consistent with experience, and Mike Daniels is very good inside, but Super Bowl defenses have playmakers at every level. The Packers currently do not.
  • My gut tells me they keep Cobb for one more year, and if he doesn't produce more then they make a move. He's too good of a player when healthy to jettison, plus they have the cap room. The only way I would cut/restructure him is if they did some big off-season FA signing, but that is doubtful.
  • It goes back to the offensive line, and not messing with a good thing. The Packers should have four solid NFL receivers entering the fall: Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. Could they use an explosive No. 1? Sure, but they're hardly alone in the NFL when it comes to filling that need. It's a solid rotation for Aaron Rodgers, and Cobb (when healthy) is part of that. The problem is keeping him healthy, where Ty Montgomery might help. Montgomery is moving to running back, but the Packers are still going to use his versatility as a receiver and move him around some. With Montgomery filling that role, perhaps there will be fewer carries up the middle for the 195-pound Cobb, less wear and tear on his body. We'll see.
  • I expect Randall + Rollins to bounce back somewhat next year, to what degree no one knows. I also think Clark and Lowry will play more and make more of an impact. What young players are you expecting to take a jump next year?
  • I think you hit it dead on with Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. The defensive line as a whole is in good shape. Only two defensive linemen are on the field for most snaps because of the Packers heavy nickel use, and there should be at least four solid linemen next season. Randall and Rollins will be the key to 2017. Nothing could provide a more immediate and significant improvement than them bouncing back from their sophomore slumps, like Davante Adams did last fall. It's why, to me, edge rusher is a slightly bigger issue than corner. At least the CB position still has young guys with potential. At OLB, you're looking at aging free agents, hardly a wealth of young talent. As for other young guys stepping up, I think you could see Geronimo Allison take strides, and Blake Martinez was pretty good before his knee injury in Washington. If healthy, I think Martinez could still be a solid linebacker.
  • As much as I loved watching Lacy rumble down the field, fat RB's just don't last long in this league. I'd just as soon move on from him if he doesn't want to commit to being a pro football player. Would you try and resign him or move on?
  • If it's a one-year deal, I don't see the harm in the Packers re-signing a running back who was averaging a career-best 5.1 yards per carry in five games before his season-ending ankle surgery. Wouldn't trust Lacy on a long-term deal, but a one-year deal makes sense. Either way, whether Lacy re-signs on a short-term deal or walks in free agency, the Packers will be searching for a running back of the future. I'll never predict Ted Thompson to take a running back in the first round, because that's just not what he does, but I'd expect the position to be targeted high in the draft.
  • It would be really sweet to have the Pack play in the Superbowl LII in MPLS............Just sayin'.
  • With Adrian Peterson in the backfield. **ducks**
  • All of the talk about McCarthy being good enough and Thompson being smart enough. I can't believe it. How many other franchises have had as many post season appearances since MM and TT teamed up? I venture not many ....
  • Not sure you caught the story I wrote a couple weeks ago on the Packers' legacy, but it's very much a glass-half-full, glass-half-empty perspective. On the one hand, they are one of just seven teams to make eight straight playoffs in the Super Bowl era. The other? Walsh's 49ers, Belichick's Patriots, Landry's Cowboys, Noll's Steelers, Dungy's Colts, and the 1970s Rams. The bad side of that is only the 1970s Rams made eight straight playoffs with only one conference title, until the Packers did it. Yes, the Packers win at a rate that probably makes them the No. 2 franchise in the whole league over the past eight years, enough to put them in rare air. This run should be remembered as one of the finest in the Super Bowl era. Without more trips to the Super Bowl, it won't be. That's where they are this offseason.
  • Two part question: 1) If BJ Raji decides to play again, do the Packers hold his rights or is he a Free Agent? 2) With pass rushing a need, why wouldn't the Packers have resigned Mike Neal? Is there more to the story?
  • B.J. Raji would be a free agent if he decided to come back. From what I hear, he still hasn't closed the door on playing in the NFL again, but certainly isn't thinking of making an imminent comeback. And there wouldn't be a spot for him in Green Bay. This defense has plenty of problems, but the defensive line isn't one. As for letting Mike Neal walk, he was one of the least productive pass rushers in the league when you look at his number of sacks (4) to number of rush attempts. There's a reason no other team signed him.
  • Why was Abbrederis cut? Rogers liked him, he ran good routes, and he had a solid exhibition season. Yet when the reg. season started he seldom played. Then he got hurt and was cut. Allison who replaced him was bigger but also slower. 4.50 to 4.67.
  • Jared Abbrederis was cut because he wasn't a top 4 receiver in this offense, and his special-teams contributions were minimal. Add in his extensive injury history, and there just wasn't much value.
  • With his physical limitations at cornerback, would the Packers consider switching Gunter to safety? Could he handle the role Micah Hyde has had as a hybrid safety/corner?
  • I would think Quinten Rollins might have a better chance to eventually wind up at safety. Gunter is a good corner, just not a No. 1 shutdown cover guy. He has the best press technique on the depth chart, thanks to hiis height (6-1) and length (31.5-inch arms). He could be a fine No. 2 corner. He's physical enough to play in a nickel defense. He's just not a No. 1. Ideally, that would be Damarious Randall, who has the talent and speed to be a shutdown type, if he can regain confidence and hone his technique. If not, the Packers will have to fill that hole in the draft or free agency (but probably the draft).
  • Ryan, nothing going on in GB as far as resigning guys, nothing in the league about teams resigning their own guys. Can't remember if it is normal to have zero activity at this point
  • Letroy Guion signed a three-year deal on or around Feb. 11 last season, and that was a big surprise because it was so early. Usually, those conversations take place at the combine. The combine was pushed back a week this year, which might be why it feels a little longer than usual.
  • Ryan, IF the Packers let TJ Lang walk is there a plan B on the roster? when they cut Sitton at least they had an option on the roster, with all the needs on defense can they really go into the draft with G as a big need?
  • They'd be looking at a guy on the practice squad (Lucas Patrick) making a big jump, or filling the vacancy through the draft. Maybe they re-sign JC Tretter and move him or Corey Linsley to guard, but both are natural centers. If they moved Bryan Bulaga inside to guard, they'd become worse at two positions instead of one. I think it's more likely the Packers would draft a guard. But you're absolutely right, with all the issues this team has, there's not sense in making offensive line a problem. That's why it makes sense to re-sign a Pro Bowl guard. Despite Lang's injury history (which is quite extensive), he's a guy who's proven he can play through things others can't.
  • Hello Ryan!
    What are your thoughts on Martinez and Ryan? I feel these two would be great twenty years ago, but for today's game I feel they are "serviceable" ILB's and lack the speed to make this defense a top 10 unit; would you agree?
  • Yeah, you're spot on. They're solid, serviceable linebackers, but nothing special. There's no other way to put it than the Packers simply need more speed in the middle of their defense.
  • Ryan - We've beaten to death the flaws of TT's team building philosphy of draft and develop, but the real question is does TT or members of the Packers Board see this approach will never get this team into and winning a SB? A great QB and solid coaching is the only thing that keeps TT's approach from total failure..
  • The basis of Ted Thompson's team-building philosophy has always been to keep an eye on the future, if not both eyes. There's wisdom in that. It's how the Packers avoid falling into financial ruin with the cap, and how they continue replenishing positions through the draft. At some point, you'd think, the future would give way to the present as the urgency increases with Aaron Rodgers' age. If they haven't hit that point yet, they've got to be close.
  • Is Joe Mixon on the Packers draft board? If he is sitting there as the Packers pick comes up at the end of round 3, do the Packers grab him? He would have to be the best player available at that time.
  • On defense, how do you balance being a "play maker" while also following your assignment? For example, the Packers repeatedly have problems with their edge rushers (like Matthews and Perry) crashing down in an attempt to "make a play" by getting pressure on the QB. But by doing that they give up outside containment, which often leads to big plays for the opponent.
  • That's a good question. The Packers give their edge guys (especially Matthews) flexibility to freestyle on the field, allowing a playmaker to make plays. Usually in the past, they've been rewarded. Sometimes they're not. Just how it goes.
  • Do you think the schedule maker put the Packers at a significant disadvantage in 2016 -- there was the early bye week and then the long stretch of away games...
  • It wasn't an easy layout, but ending the season with three straight divisional games was a big part of the Packers making their run to a NFC North title too. And they had the easiest strength of schedule entering the season. Bottom line is you've got to beat your schedule. In the end, the Packers mostly did.
  • Does Tretter have the "anchor" to play G effectively if they signed him rather then Lang?
  • I don't think so, but I'm not sure if the Packers feel the same. Tretter is a former tight end whose athleticism and football IQ (he went to Cornell) help at center. He can play tackle in a pinch, and guard. But he has quite the injury history with two significant knee issues. Hard to see how he'd hold up playing full-time guard.
  • Hi Ryan,

    It's always EASY to play "Arm Chair Quarterback" but if you could pick just one current player in the NFL who could help the Packers in 2017, who would that be? And it could be any player like Tom Brady who we don't need, but ANY current player. Thank you.
  • Richard Sherman. **ducks**
  • What are the trade rumors for the Packers? And how real can they be?
  • I haven't heard any, though it's not like the Packers broadcast those. Also, Ted Thompson isn't the type to make big trades.
  • Is it theoretically better for Packers to target OLB's or Corners high in the draft? We have to believe Randall and Rollins will improve in year 3 and getting to Quarterback equally important than an excellent secondary. Also, Packers have had success developing Corners. Capers appears to ask a lot from OLB's, so higher pick(s) have better chance for success in scheme, possibly.
  • Ultimately, I think the 29th overall pick comes down to the best player available at OLB or CB. They're both huge needs, so it's not like one is way more important than the other. To break the tie, I'd go with which position is older ... and that would be edge rusher. But both positions needs major work.
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