Packers weekly chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers weekly chat with Pete Dougherty

Nov. 7 transcript

    The Packers in the last ten starts by Rodgers are 3-6-1; the ten games led by Huddley were 3-7...Rodgers needed miraculous finishes to be la half game better. My question is, has the McCarthy system become old and predictable or has Rodgers declined?
    OK, let's get started. There's probably not a single answer to that. Rodgers definitely is not playing as well as he usually has, it's a little reminiscent of that stretch he had at the end of '15 and first half of '16. I'm sure the knee injury is a factor there. The question is, how much? He obviously was really limited the first few weeks after the injury. Last week he played without a brace. That doesn't mean he doesn't have any pain from bone bruising, but it suggests whatever ligament damage there was is healed. Anyway, I don't doubt the knee has been a factor, and all the practice he missed earlier in the season. But more recently it just might be that he's not playing as well as usual, regardless of injury, just more up and down. I find it hard to believe he's in decline. These top quarterbacks just don't decline in their mid-30s anymore because of the training and diet improvements and the protection they get from the rules. His chemistry with McCarthy doesn't seem good either, which suggests he thinks the offense has gotten stale. I really don't know how much to divvy up the responsibility there. Some of it is Rodgers not playing as well as usual, and some because of the staleness of the system. I just don't have a definitive answer for you.
    Hi Pete - Will a wildcard come out of the NFC North? Thanks!
    It might. Everything is still up for grabs right now. It's kind of amazing to realize we're only halfway through the season. Some teams might go on runs, or they might knock each other off.
    Pete - Why do the Packers throw so many swing and WR screens to Cobb? He has lost his speed and quickness. It has been several years since he was elusive. The Packers are ignoring this reality.
    I'm not sure, they seem to be in love with those throws behind the LOS. Like many I also wonder where the slants are, they used to be such an effective part of this offense, but you just don't see them much anymore.
    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for your time. I would think with so few teams utilizing the fullback position now that the Packers could find someone out there that could provide better blocking and still be able to catch out of the backfield than better than an out of place tight end. A few years ago the team kept three on the roster and now has none. You would think having a Run game Coordinator, Pass Game Coordinator, Offensive Coordinator and an Offensive minded head coach, someone would realize this. Your thoughts?
    The only thing I know about this is that a lot of teams are going without fullbacks now. When I asked a coach about having a FB vs. TE playing FB, he said they prefer the fullback because he's a little smaller and more able to change direction while blocking on the move. But the advantage of the TE is he's a true receiving threat. I don't think there are all that many FBs who are really good receivers. They're OK and catch the ball fairly well but aren't fast and are smaller targets. I really don't have the expertise to say whether they should or shouldn't have a FB. The fact that a lot of teams are going without one tells you something. Who knows? Maybe a few years from now it will swing back and FBs will return. But right now they're a dying species.
    Pete,, I really thought Montgomery should have replaced Cobb as a slot receiver this year. Bigger, faster, just as elusive with good hands.
    I expect to see him as a slot at Ravens, hope he does well there.
    Did that make sense to you?
    I leaned that way last offseason, that they could save a lot of money by cutting Cobb, move Montgomery to the slot and have extra money to sign a wide receiver. But I've also got to say, Montgomery was kind of underwhelming before they traded him. He's stronger than Cobb but not more elusive IMHO. He's OK but just not that dynamic a player. So I'm not sure they're any worse off going the way they did other than Cobb costs more. Cobb has injury issues, but Montgomery did too whenever he played a lot.
    What's with AR's less than perfect passing this year. Collar bone, age, lack of practice to be sharp?
    In preseason, everyone talked about how crisp and zippy he was.
    He looked good in camp, looked like his old self. I've been wondering if the collarbone has had any effect. I'm inclined to think not but can't say that with any kind of certainty. A doctor in the league told me that one of the reasons they do surgery on those (the throwing side) so the QB's collarbone doesn't change length and affect his throwing motion. I can't say I noticed any accuracy issues in camp, put it that way. Can we rule out it's a factor? No. The lack of practice and knee pain have to be factors. But he's playing without a brace now, so that shouldn't be in play anymore, especially if he practices all week full time.
    Pete,, have you heard if Gute put in a Bruce Irving wavier claim or is interested in him as a FA?
    He did not put in a claim on Irvin, no team did. Have not heard anything about trying to sign him since the waiver period ended. I wondered myself, because Irvin ha some talent as a rusher (40 sacks in 6 1/2 seasons). He had three sacks in eight games this year. He's 31, so maybe he's losing it. But he had some talent, so I thought maybe they'd go after him.
    Hi Pete, any speculation in IR status of Kumero or Davis?
    McCarthy said today that Davis will practice this week. He's eligible to come off IR next week.
    Hi Pete, Is King turning into an "ice-tub" athlete? Lots of football talent, but doesn't seem to be able to stay on the field. What's your take?
    There's real reason to wonder whether his body is going to hold up to the rigors of the NFL, that's for sure. He's a talented guy, and when he plays, especially when he and Alexander are out there together, the Packers are strong at CB. But availability is huge, and for 1 1/2 years he's proven to be fragile. He's got a slight build, so maybe that's a problem, though so does Tramon Williams, and he's rarely been hurt in his long career.
    Pete, are the Packers throwing in the towel for the season. Releasing Whitehead seems like a questionable move unless you have a proven replacement and quality depth at the position. Neither appears to be the case. Stupid play for sure but he shouldn't have been ejected. Coaching made more bonehead moves than Whitehead.
    I don't get that feeling, no. I'm thinking they feel better about Josh Jones recently and plan on playing him more. They also might think that the safety they signed this week, Ibraheim Campbell, is a little better than Whitehead, and they might feel OK about how Tramon Williams played at safety too, so they have some flexibility there.
    Hey Pete, any chance that in management’s mind McCarthy’s fate is already sealed? Reminds me of Wolfe’s first season when Infante was still the coach...
    They have to be thinking about these things but I wouldn't think any decisions have been made. What if this team goes on a run like '16 again?
    Pete- during the break, MM said they came to the conclusion that the team needed to "run more". So why is he ignoring his own advice? Pats played the pass, and GB obliged them by passing...badly.
    Good question, and I don't have the answer. They keep talking about running more but not doing it, and it wasn't like they were playing from a big deficit last week.
    Hi Pete Now that Allison is on IR do you see the team picking up a veteran wide out? They could use the experience since Cobb is injured quite often and Adams is our only veteran youyr thoughts?
    I can't say I do. Vadles-Scantling deserves to be on the field a lot, and St. Brown has improved through the first half of the season too. Sounds like they're going to activate Davis next week, and while he's mostly a return guy that also takes up a game-day roster spot. Plus they can bring back Kumerow if they want, or save the other IR-return for Allison at the end of the season. So no, I'm guessing they don't add a WR from off the street.
    Pete, I just don't get how many people want Mike McCarthy out. You take a look at top organizations like the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints who have stuck with Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton respectively through thick and thin because both have franchised aged quarterbacks with who knows how many years left. Who in the right mine wants to bring in a whole new coaching system where it could very well not be as good as you currently have and take longer to get established and waste whatever amount of productive years Rogers have left.
    There definitely are a lot of fans down on McCarthy right now, at least the ones who bring him up in chat questions and emails. You present the other side to this, and there's truth to it just as there's truth in the questions about McCarthy and the team's performance to date. There can be a learning curve with a new coach and new system and all that. There usually is, though the Rams improved dramatically in McVay's first year last season, went 11-5. But that's probably the exception. That certainly is a risk of hiring a new coach. McCarthy's first year, for instance, was a learning season, and then the next year they went to the NFC championship game. These are all things Mark Murphy will have to think about depending on how the rest of the season goes.
    Pete why don't the packers use a fast tempo offense like what pats used on first drive and we used on and we used in second half of chicago and 49ers game?
    That fast-tempo worked great for the Patriots against the Packers last week, that's for sure. There might be something to what you're suggesting. They've been doing a decent amount of no-huddle, but it's slow no-huddle, where they let the play clock run down and try to get the defense to get out of its disguise and declare its intentions. That hurry-up no-huddle really limits the defensive calls, as the Packers found out. I'm wondering too if McCarthy will try it. He has the quarterback with the experience to do it, and as you suggested in your other question (that I didn't post), their two-minute offense is usually effective, so maybe pushing tempo at times would help the offense find a rhythm. You don't want to play a full game that way, but mixing it up might work. It worked against them last week.
    At what point does McCarthy have to turn over play calling duties to Joe Philbin? My God this is as bad and unimaginative an offense that I can remember since the Infante years with Haddix up the middle for no gain on the first play of every game. Idk that things will be any better with Philbin calling the plays, but McCarthy continuing to call plays is pure insanity at this point.
    I can't imagine McCarthy giving up play calling. But he has to do something to get this offense in a rhythm and find an identity, because as you and many other questioners have pointed out, something clearly has been missing with this offense up to this point.
    Hello Pete - You see the recent roster moves as Gutekunst assuming control of football operations and paving the way for McCarty's departure? With all the love Whitehead had been getting prior to Sunday, his release really surprised me.... but seems to be a move winning organizations make.
    I have to admit it came out of the blue for me too, didn't see it coming because all signs suggested they liked Whitehead because he was smart and knew the defense. Yes, it is a sign of Gutekunst's control of the roster. What I don't know is how much McCarthy and Pettine were on board with this. I'd think they'd have a say as well but maybe this was Gutekunst exerting authority.
    Hi Pete, with the release of Whitehead, the injury's to King and Brice and some new faces in the defensive backfield Sunday's game presents some mystery there for Petine. Your best guess at this point at CB and S and the depth chart? Thanks
    Yeah, this is a guess. I'm thinking Alexander and Breeland on the outside, Josh Jackson in the slot, and Williams and Jones at safety. When a safety goes to LB, I'd think Jones would go there and the new guy, Campbell, to safety. But it also could be Campbell and Jones at safety -- Campbell played for Pettine in Cleveland so knows the defense -- and Williams in the slot, with Williams moving to safety when Jones comes up to ILB, and Jackson playing the slot in those situations. Several possibilities there.
    Pete - do I have this right, in no particular order: Whitehead released, Dix traded, Pipkins traded, Rollins released/IR settlement, Randall traded, Breeland signed, Campbell signed, Williams signed, House signed, Alexander and Jackson drafted, all since spring? What is going on? Or are we just not used to this because TT would sit pat so many years?
    Have you gotten any sense of concern from the organization that they are concerned that ARod can't stay healthy anymore? They signed him to the big extension, but it seems like he gets far more banged up than some other vet QB's (like Tom Brady) -two collar bones, the calf in 14', now the knee. Is Father Time catching up with him faster than anybody wants to admit? Personally, I think he takes too many hits, and they need to go to a quicker passing game ala Tom Brady - he's not Ben Rothlesburger who can take hit after hit.
    He probably needs to get the ball out quicker so he doesn't take so many hits, be a little more selective about scrambling, etc. But the rules changes protecting QBs should help him too.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chat! What was wrong on Whitehead in addition to the ejection? He was a core player, wasn't he? Does GM send good messages to team or will get backfired?
    They did seem to like Whitehead a lot, at least in camp and early in the season, because he's smart and knows the defense. But as Tom Silverstein said in his column about it today, Whitehead wasn't playing that great -- the Rams really picked him apart, for instance -- and they probably do want to send a message about accountability and the penalty/ejection. If he were playing better I'm sure they wouldn't have done this, but as Tom pointed out, his play left him expendable. They probably felt better about doing it because Josh Jones seems to be playing better and they want to get him on the field more anyway. And they might think Campbell (the safety they picked up this week) is better than Whitehead anyway, or at least just as good.
    Are Spriggs and Bulaga on the roster next year?
    Sorry but this has to do it, Packers have open locker room earlier than usual today so have to head over to Lambeau. Very possibly not. Bulaga is just having too hard a time staying healthy, his body has taken a beating over the years. Spriggs was maybe a little better last week but is looking like a bust. And with that we'll have to call it a chat. Wish we could go longer but with the Thursday game at Seattle next week McCarthy is shortened the practice schedule today. Thanks to everyone for coming by. We'll let you know the chat plans for next week, with the short week and travel to Seattle those plans are up in the air right now. Take care and thanks again for coming by and sharing your thoughts and questions.
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