Hey, everybody. Hopes you all had a Merry Christmas. It's title week in the NFC North. For the fourth straight year, the Packers will play a winner-take-all division championship game on Week 17. It's the second time in three years that game has been played against the Detroit Lions. Let's get to your questions.
I think, just looking at what the award is, the MVP is really the NFL's most outstanding player over the course of a season. In terms of true value, Aaron Rodgers might be the MVP of the league this year. He hasn't been the most outstanding. If I had a vote, it would probably go to Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. I think most people view it in a similar light, favoring most outstanding over most valuable. In terms of value, however, it's hard to find a player who's been more. relied on than Aaron Rodgers, especially when you consider the lack of a true running game for weeks on end and the defensive struggles.
You are right that Aaron Rodgers' comments about not intending to play in the Pro Bowl were because he expects the Packers to be in the Super Bowl. As for moving the Pro Bowl to the middle of the season, that'll never happen. There isn't a single person involved with the league from an ownership, executive, coach or player level who would be OK with risking injury in a meaningless exhibition that potentially keep star players out of real games.
I think you have good reason to be worried. The secondary might have played better than it did in Chicago, but it still allowed Sam Bradford to have his best game of the season, and Adam Thielen to look like an All-Pro. Because of Sam Shields' injury, what was supposed to be a strong on this team has turned into perhaps its biggest weakness.
He's already rocketed past fifth-round rookie Trevor Davis and third-year vet Jeff Janis on the depth chart. Geronimo Allison isn't the speed guy the Packers need opposite Davante Adams with Jordy Nelson working mostly in the slot, but he makes plays. That's what's most important.
Merry Christmas to you too, George. You never know what Ted Thompson is thinking, but if you're asking me (and, clearly you are), Jordy Nelson's best position going forward is the slot. His ability to produce in the middle of the field has helped diminish the catastrophe the Packers have at tight end, with Jared Cook the only viable weapon. With how the game is played today, a slot receiver can have real value. With that said, you don't pay two slot receivers $10 million annually apiece. That's what they'd be doing with Nelson and Randall Cobb. The Packers find a lot of value in Cobb. They love his versatility, love his toughness. But it's hard to see how Cobb isn't a Nelson duplicate moving forward, and an expensive one at that.
Well, this entire offensive line was drafted specifically with the zone blocking scheme in mind. It's what they're built for. By that, I mean they have the athleticism to zone block. They're not necessarily downhill maulers. That's why they run the scheme they run, and to a man I think each offensive lineman understands that's their unit's strength in the run game. As for the other part of playing offensive line, I think the Packers have shown to be one of the finest pass pro units in the league, no matter what the sack numbers say.
Jared Abbrederis didn't give the Packers game-day roster anything when he was here earlier this season, and that had nothing to do with Trevor Davis. The rookie, unlike the third-year vet, still is viewed as a legit prospect with clear upside. That's why Davis is here.
I really wish I knew, Ken. Because Aaron Rodgers could not have played two more opposite games against the Vikings this season. He's clearly in a zone right now, mentally and physically. He's sharper in every aspect. Why does even a great player's game fluctuate so much? I'd really like to know too. But right now, Rodgers is playing like the best player in football.
For the right price, I think Eddie Lacy is back next year. You still want a true workhorse running back on the roster. Even though Ty Montgomery's transition to running back hasn't been a surprise to some scouts, I'm not sure any team was evaluating him before last year's draft as anything more than a change-of-pace, third-down tailback. That's a guy who can complement Eddie Lacy better than the aging James Starks, but not necessarily replace Lacy.
Quite possibly with Geronimo Allison's emergence, but you never know. Things can change quickly in this league.
That's probably the key to this game. I'd say no if Stafford was healthy, but he isn't. So it'll be interesting.
There's a chance, maybe. But I think it's unlikely. You have to remember, Mike McCarthy adjusted his preseason schedule specifically with December in mind. He was tired of seeing a key player have a season-ending injury in August. He wanted two things: to be healthy at the end of the season, and to have his team playing its best football. Look around. That's exactly what has happened. Whether it's because of the preseason schedule, I don't know. The Packers certainly didn't avoid major injuries this season (see: Lacy, Shields), but they're playing their best football when it counts.
If the Packers secondary holds up, they could absolutely reach the Super Bowl. But you're right. From what we've seen, that's a big if.
You root for Detroit. The Lions would clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Cowboys, though I doubt that really affects them one way or another against the Packers. They would still want the home-field advantage and division title. But a Lions would also would eliminate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, setting up a scenario where the Packers could clinch with a Washington loss to the Giants.
Great point, George. A porous secondary's best friend is a steady pass rush. If Clay Matthews and Nick Perry play like they did against the Vikings, it'd be a huge boost.
Yes, they could do it. So could other teams. I didn't say they will. Their secondary remains a big concern. But it's certainly possible. Remember 2010.
If I had to guess right now, I'd say Lacy, rookie, Montgomery. Wouldn't surprise me if Michael is back. Even if the Packers bring Lacy back, they need to insure themselves through the draft with a running back for the future.
The Lions actually have a slightly better run defense than pass defense, at least if you look at the league rankings. Both areas are middle of the pack. Mike McCarthy talked today about honing in on his team's strengths, not dictating it based on opponent. I think the Packers keep the football in Aaron Rodgers' hands, allow him to check into runs when necessary, and ask him to win a game. So just like every other weeks, basically.
No. That's really just a fan's rant. I don't know what you want him to do, buy a new No. 1 cornerback? This defense has problems, but there isn't a scheme that's going to fix them. When you lose a Sam Shields, when your best pass rusher is injured half the season, when the few inside linebackers you have deal with injuries for a few weeks at a time, you're going to give up points and yards. If the defense doesn't play better, it certainly could cost the Packers in the playoffs. I don't blame it on scheme.
Play better in the secondary, is really the only answer. It's worth watching LaDarius Gunter this week. Packers need all hands on deck against the Lions, and Gunter's elbow injury could be a problem. We'll see how many practice reps he takes.
I'm guessing there will be Packers fans who want Ted Thompson out even if the Packers win a second Super Bowl under the GM this year. Can't please them all.
Not officially. But it's hard for me to see him playing again.
You do realize they put up 38 points on a good Vikings defense, right? Don't understand wanting to see more screen passes when the Packers are picking up big chunks in the passing game.
I think the Packers could use a speed guy early in the draft, regardless Davante Adams' drops.
Don't know if I'd go as far as calling it a blessing in disguise yet. Eddie Lacy appeared to be back on track early this season. He had perhaps his best opening month before injury. And I still wonder if the lack of a true workhorse running back will come back to bite them. So far, it hasn't.
That's a good place to stop today. Thanks to everyone for participating. Good questions. If I missed yours, make sure you scroll back through and read the transcript. Hope everyone has a happy new year. Until next time, take care.