It sure seems like it has to change, doesn't it? It is a joke, and if you read comments by coaches around the league, some/many are like LaFleur and think that practicing for a couple days against a team is more valuable than playing a preseason game, because you can lower (not eliminate, but lower) the injury risk but still get pretty good quantity and quality (not quite game quality, but good quality) work for your starters against another team's starters. The problem is the money. Not just the game tickets, but televising the preseason games is factored into a team's local media packages. So owners would probably insist on finding a way to make up for some or all of that revenue. I saw that Peter King this week advocated teams televising those two-team practices and making an event out of them. Maybe that's an idea to consider. But agreed, they need to do something, and it feels like we're nearing a breaking point where they actually might do something.
To keep St. Brown eligible to return from IR, they'd have to keep him on the 53 for final cuts, then put him on IR the day after. If he goes on IR at final cuts, then he's done for the year. I'm thinking he'll be on the 53 and then put on IR (if he's put on IR at all), and if that's the case, then yeah, you have to think they'll keep seven (including him) at the cut to 53 this weekend.
I would not bet on that but it's plausible. I'd think Cousins will be a little better this year -- if I remember right, isn't one of the new offensive coaches this year from the staff he had at Washington? And the Vikings have a lot of talent on D, though a couple of those guys are getting older, so that could start to slip, at least a little. I guess a lot of it comes down to whether Cousins is more than a 9-7 QB. As for the Bears, I do wonder if losing Fazio hurts them. I thought it was interesting that in an article I think it was on ESPN.com -- both it and Si.com did stories on McVay, Kyle Shanahan and LaFleur coming from the Mike Shanahan staff in Washington -- that McVay, Kyle Shanahan and LaFleur all were asked to pick a coordinator who gave their offense the most trouble, and all three said Fazio (I'm assuming the three interviews were conducted separately, so it wasn't like they were parroting each other). And Trubisky is a wild card. He has talent but in the end can he read defenses fast enough and throw accurately enough to keep improving? And who knows with the Lions? Maybe they'll be one of the surprises in the league
Morrison was just too slow, and coverage is so important at ILB. He did bring a physical element to the defense but was such a liability in coverage, I definitely think they had to move on from him. Like I said earlier, I'd think the odds are better than 50-50 they trade for or claim off waivers an inside linebacker this weekend.
I don't know what the coaching staff is thinking, they've worked with these guys in meetings and on the field every day, so there could be things we don't know. But from where I sit, Boyle should be the No. 2, and something pretty dramatic would have to happen Thursday night to change that. Among other things, Boyle has improved as camp has gone on, whereas Kizer seemed to level out after a couple weeks. Boyle looks to me to have more arm talent -- a stronger arm and better touch. And he plays from the pocket, whereas Kizer still has that impulse to bolt the pocket early. The Packers might see it differently, but that's my take.
Of the guys who were around last year, maybe Tony Brown tops that list.
Yeah, I'll be really surprised if Clark doesn't do an extension sometime this year, and without knowing anything I'd think there's a pretty good chance of it getting done before the first game. That's often when these things get finished, very late in camp or the week of the opener. I think Rodgers was done late in camp last year. Same thing for Bakhtiari the year before.
It probably is the way to go. Injuries are such a huge factor in a team's season, and anything they can do to reduce them has to be done. The league has been trending to less practice the entire time I've covered this league, and I started in '93. It keeps going down and down and down, and I'm guessing it probably will continue to, especially if virtual reality becomes an effective teaching tool. But there can be a price, the slow start. Coaches have to be willing to weather that and the criticism that comes with it for improving the odds the team will be healthier in December and January. The Packers are pretty healthy right now, only one starter (Burks) has a fairly serious injury, and his is not season-ending.
Not sure about that. He's a starting-caliber player, so he very well might be willing to take his chances. If he's cut he's a vested veteran (four years or more accrued) so he could sign with any team. Maybe he thinks he could do better on the open market than the pay cut the Packers would offer.
He's a little too talented to just give up on at this point, in my opinion. I get what you're saying, teams have to make hard decisions, and they often just part ways with guys because they're injured a lot, even if the player is pretty good. But King is on his rookie contract, so he's pretty cheap, and he has a lot of ability. If I'm them I'm definitely keeping him this year. When he and Alexander played together last season, that defense was noticeably better. Maybe they have to rest King regularly all season, keep him out of harms way, maybe play him three-quarters of the snaps, something like that, to improve the odds he's he's on the field in December.
I would think both of your points were factors. I didn't hear any off-the-record complaints from the Packers that Jones was difficult to work with or a problem in the locker room -- not saying those weren't issues, but I didn't hear anything like that. The problem with a trade is, if team's know you're looking to trade a guy like that, they know you're going to cut him, so they're less inclined to give up anything for him. He didn't get claimed, though I don't know how much his hyperthyroidism was an issue there. That seems to have been a new issue, sidelined him for the last week or so before he was cut.
OK, this will have to do it, so many questions, they kept pouring in, no chance of getting to them all. But remember we're doing this every week, so if I didn't get to yours this time, try again next week. As to this question, it has been a hole, probably for a couple positions. ILB is one the least-valued positions in the league, or at least has been, because as the league gets more passing oriented they play less and less, and there are few guys who can play three downs at a high level. That said, teams appear to be valuing that position a little more, for the very reason that it is hard to find guys who are fast enough to cover good TEs and these good receiving RBs. The last two drafts have seen an MLB in the top 10 -- Roquan Smith last year and Devin White this year. I think Detroit's Jarrad David might have been a high pick too though I can't remember if he was top 10. Anyway, Thompson definitely didn't value that position. Hard to know for sure with Gutekunst, he's had only two drafts. But if college football starts producing more guys like that -- basically, overgrown safeties who can really run, the NFL will value them more. It's all a matter of finding guys who can play the run well enough while also not being guys offenses target in the passing game. And with that, we'll call it another chat. Thanks again everyone for stopping by, and thanks especially to all our subscribers, it costs a lot of money to cover the team as we do, your support is invaluable. We'll chat again next week, plenty to talk about with cuts over the weekend and Bears game on Thursday. Until then, take care everybody.