Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's regular Thursday chat at 1 p.m. in advance of the Packers-Falcons game Sunday.

    What is TT's obsession with these rookie RBs? That position is commoditized in the NFL these days. If they dropped Davante Mays, it's likely no other team would pick him him. Why not keep Gunter and drop Mays?
    OK everybody, let's get started. The Packers were extra heavy at CB before cutting Gunter. I've been covering the team for 25 years and don't ever remember them having seven CBs on their roster until this year. Now they have six, which still is a lot. I honestly thought Gunter might get released at final cuts. As for the RBs, Jones was the RB left inactive last week, so as far as I can tell he's the No. 3 RB, not Mays. They like all three of the rookies. They bring different traits. I don't know if somebody would pick up either Mays or Jones if one of them were cut. But they were extra heavy at CB, and Gunter has a limitation (4.69 speed) that's never going to go away. So I don't blame them for cutting him instead of an RB.
    We hear a lot about M Ryan & the Atl o. What is their D like?
    It's young and fast. Last year they started two rookie inside linebackers, a rookie safety who played a role similar to Kam Chancellor's with Seattle, and one of their CB I think was a second-year guy last year. They were young and struggled through about 10 games, then in like the last six games they gave up on average basically about seven points fewer than they had in the first 10. Their head coach is a good defensive coach. They have some talent on that side of the ball that they were lacking in previous years, though I don't think they're a top defense, at least not yet.
    Good afternoon. Living here in Atlanta, I listen to their talk radio from time to time. Leading up to this Packer game, the team appears to downplay the changes on our team. They don't see many changes on offense from the NFC Championship game, where we know that we had Jordy playing with broken ribs and Adams playing with an ankle sprain. Quinn noted the speed of the defense, but failed to acknowledge that our starting corner last year didn't play against Seattle and is now not even on the team. What has been the sense in the locker room or in interviews from Green Bay's end regarding this matchup? I know McCarthy has already gone on record saying that this is a completely different game.
    I've been out of the loop for a couple days so I haven't been in the locker room this week -- am going for access to open locker room right after this chat is finished. I'm sure the Packers think they will be a significantly different team for the reasons you mention. I'm always leery of what opposing coaches say before a game, you never know what their agenda is for their team, the mind-set they're trying to establish, what they do or don't want the Packers to hear them say. So I don't know what you're hearing from players and coaches down there accurately reflects what they really think or not. It might, but might not. I'd think they'll look at the tape from the opener and see the Packers are a little different on that side of the ball this time. They just might not be acknowledging it publicly.
    what percentages of snaps would you say the Packers complete with less than five seconds left? With as good as Rogers is of catching the defense line off guard, wouldn't he be even more effective if he would snap faster in the count more often to keep them guessing even more? As a fan I almost always know what he's going to snap, certainly opponents can catch up too.
    I've never counted but it's a high percentage. Rodgers is able to get guys to jump offsides, so in that way it's still working. Another advantage of running the play clock down is that it helps Rodgers determine what the defense is doing. Defenses often disguise what they're doing and try to wait as long as possible to move to where they want to be to catch the QB off guard, but running the play clock down allows Rodgers to catch many of those last-second movements. You're that if the clock gets down to 1, then the defense can jump the count at zero, but from what I can tell running down the clock often provides more advantage than disadvantage for Rodgers.
    The Pack must really like Pipkins. How surprised were you that they cut Gunter instead of Pipkins?
    Wasn't surprised at all. The only reason I wondered if they'd cut Pipkins is that he was one of the seven inactives last week. But it's clear now that Gunter was active  over him strictly for special teams purposes, and that Pipkins is ahead of him at CB, or at minimum that they think he was much more upside than Gunter at CB and didn't want to risk another team picking him up. Gunter by all accounts was a good teammate, and he was a tough guy and a competitor, and he had some good games. But he could go only so far because of his limitations in speed and explosiveness.
    Hey Pete, thanks for the great analysis you guys produce every week. My question is about JC Tretter and the salary cap. I get that GB would have to pay starter money for him to serve as a backup behind a really good O-Line. And they can save money by turning to someone else. But why do that? The other backups are clearly not as good. There is money available, it's a really crucial weakness area on the team, and everyone wants the best chance to win this season. Why not pay the money and make a really big difference to their chances of winning the SuperBowl?
    For one, even if they'd offered similar money he probably wouldn't have taken it if Cleveland was offering the same money and the chance to start. So they might have had to pay more. Paying a backup O-linemen in the $5M to $6M range is really a lot, you just can't pay everybody. It's hard to put that much money into the position, because if they retain Linsley they'll be paying good to great money to four of their five starters. I get what your saying, but with the cap and budget and everything, it would really be tough to pay a fifth guy. Basically it's incumbent on Thompson to draft the next Tretter, so they always have a young backup who's cheap but ascending. He tried that with Spriggs but that might or might not work out. The other option is to sign a veteran for maybe around $2 million, maybe to $2M to $3M, for that role. So he could have done that but didn't. But you get in that $5M range, that's a lot for a backup with all the other contract they're going to have to do in the next couple years.
    hi Pete....why not use Cobb as a PR.....Davis looked terrible last week....catching a punt on your own 5 is inexcusable? Also, how many compensatory picks will the GBP get next year, what rounds? Thanks
    I think that's always a possibility. That definitely was a mistake by Davis. From what I can tell most teams now use the 7 as the cutoff, and he was inside that so should have let that ball go. I'm pretty sure we're going to see Cobb back there at some point, and maybe it will be in situations like that, where the punter is trying to pin them deep. Or maybe late in a tight game when ball security is at an even greater premium. As for compensatory picks, they lost Tretter, Peppers and Cook. The true UFAs they signed were, if I remember right, Martellus Bennett and Jahri Evans. I think Kendricks and House were cut by their previous teams. I don't have the greatest feel for the compensatory formula - there are NFL websites online that are pretty good at it - but they won't be getting much. Cook and Bennett are a wash. Tretter and Peppers, but minus Evans, will get them a late-round pick, I'd guess.
    Hi Pete,

    Always enjoy talking to you! But a good win against a Seattle team that probably isn't as good as they've been as in recent years and yeah ATL will be a lot tougher opponent and on the ROAD, but if the defense can play like that all year! So what are your two or three main concerns about Sunday night's game and do they still use the term "Revenge Game" anymore in sports? Thank you.
    Always enjoy talking with all you as well. Agreed, the Seattle offense probably isn't very good -- the defense still is, though. Atlanta will be much tougher, especially in that environment. Generating a decent pass rush will be huge for the Packers. As will protecting Rodgers with Bulaga presumably not playing again. It will be harder to do that going off the silent count. Any semblance of a run game could help slow the rush a little also.
    Pete, Ted T spent 5 draft choices on RBs and WRs. If he had kept Lacy, couldn't he have used all five picks on offensive linemen and linebackers to better effect? Alternatively, would cutting Mathews ($15 million cap) and signing Lang and Tretter have been smart? We are desperately pissing away young talent to make room for more untested OL.
    I have zero problem with him letting Lacy walk. Did you see the game last week? Lacy runs hard, but he had no speed to get around the edge when he bounced that one outside. I don't blame the Packers for holding the line on what they'd pay him. It was the right move. Drafting heavy at RB, no issue there too. You aren't going to hit on every pick, so going for numbers there is fine. The two receivers, there I see your point. Now, part of what they were doing is taking guys in later rounds they thought might have a chance to be something, regardless of position. Sort of a Donald Driver-type flyer -- of course, it's the exception when they turn out to be as good as Driver, but that's often what teams are trying to do, find a guy at any position who has a trait that stands out to you and that you think at least has a shot at developing into something. But I do wonder if there wasn't an offensive lineman they could have taken with one or both those picks who had some potential. Now, Nelson's getting older, and if Adams gets a big pay day then they might have to part ways with Cobb next year, so there will be future needs at WR. But I thought they'd take an OL or an OLB with one of those picks they used on a receiver.
    Pete, if Bakhtiari is out and Bulaga comes back does Bulaga go to LT with Murphy at RT?
    It doesn't look like that's going to happen, looks like Bakhtiari took part in practice today, and Bulaga still is sick, so more likely Bakhtiari plays and Bulaga doesn't. But your question is a good one, and one they haven't given indication of. It could be they'd move Bulaga, or it could be they'd play Spriggs at LT. Spriggs did play better in the preseason finale than the games before that, so going with him might at least be on the table. But as you suggest, they might be better off playing Bulaga over there and Murphy at RT. I really don't know which they'd do, and they probably won't offer that answer until they have to.
    What should I make of the OLine injuries to date? Time to worry that this will be a lengthy issue? Baktiari? Just a sore hammy, or have you heard it's something more serious? I'm worried that the ATL rush is going to give ARod problems.
    Haven't heard anything about the severity of Bakhtiari, but from what I can tell on my Twitter feed, Bakhtiari practiced in pads today, so that pretty strongly suggests he'll be available unless he aggravates the injury.
    Did you guys as Aaron if he felt he was holding on to the ball too long, and why? My guess is that he needs to get it out really quick this weekend, with the issues of the OLine health. Would you agree with that?
    I don't think anyone asked him that. I agree, getting the ball out fast is important and will help. But he also likes to hold it and make plays outside the pocket, so it's always going to be kind of a fine line between holding it too long and making something out of nothing. But I agree, they seem to be at their best when they go with a quick rhythm passing game, at least early, and even use the short pass as essentially an offshoot of the running game.
    Can you give a shout out to my man, Quis? He just moved to SD, and he's a huge Packers fan.
    last year, it was the secondary that was decimated. This year, it looks like the offensive line. It goes without saying that the priority in next years draft is the oline. And 75 is a china doll
    It will be a priority, at least for a backup. I'd say WR will be priority also, for the reason mentioned earlier, most notably that Nelson's career is winding down. And the highest priority, without doubt in my mind, is outside linebacker.
    How would you rate the Packers coaching staff in relation to decision making in big games? Do they give you as much confidence to make the right decision as let's say a Belichick led team? Is it a different level? What led me to this question was that decision vs. the Seahawks to call timeouts before halftime, even though Seattle could kill the clock anyway. It essentially gave the Seahawks two free plays and had no upside for the Packers. I was very confused.
    Yeah, that one was a head scratcher, and what I don't know is whether that was strictly McCarthy's call or if one of his analytics guys was advising him in the moment. Their analytics clearly tell them that, in general, calling those timeouts at the end of the half to get the ball back is the percentage play. But I'm not sure they always take into account the quality of their own defense when they make that decision, in general. In this instance, though, that's besides the point. They only had two timeouts, so Seattle still would have been able to run out the clock even if it hadn't made the first down. Instead, it got the first down, called timeout, and had enough time to get downfield for a field goal. That was clearly a mistake on McCarthy's part, the math just didn't add up. And if he did it thinking he had a couple plays at forcing a fumble, that just seems like an incredibly low percentage play too. So yeah, big mistake there. Overall game management, I can't say that he seems any better or worse than most of the head coaches in the league. But I'm not a big advocate of calling those timeouts at the end of the half in general unless you have a defense you can really count on, and in this instance it was just a plain mistake in calculating the clock. As I said, I don't know if McCarthy made that decision on his own, or on advice of the analytics guy he keeps near his side on game day.
    Hey Pete,Any chance Quentin Dial,gets some snaps on D line vs Falcons ? Russ Meyers Morro Bay Ca.UWGB alumni.
    Yeah, with Ricky Jean Francois cut -- and that one surprised me -- I'd think there's a very good chance Dial plays this week.
    are the packers going to allow Bennett to continue his protests and loose fans or stop the b.s.??
    Sorry that took so long, had to find the Packers' response. Here's what we had in our story after the game about the Packers' reaction to Martellus Bennett raising his fist during the national anthem:

    The Packers had no issue with Martellus Bennett's protest. Coach Mike McCarthy said he supports his tight end's right to "stand up in a positive manner" for a cause that's important to him. (Aaron) Rodgers also backed his teammate.

    "I support Marty 100 percent in just about anything he does," Rodgers said, "and he backed me up today on that scramble. Marty and I have become fast friends, and I respect him a lot. He is, as you guys know, a very interesting, creative person who has opinions that aren't just based on something he read on Twitter, or a cliche that he's seen in a book.

    "It's things that he cares about, he researches, he feels strongly about, and I'll back him in whatever he wants to do."

    Will Brooks play in the nitro defense as a pass rusher?
    Don't think he practiced today, he's still in the concussion protocol so don't know if he'll play at all. He's generally not in the Nitro unless he's giving Matthews or Perry a rest. Last week he did play in the dime as a pass rusher with Matthews, Perry and Daniels as the other rushers.
    Hey Pete, are you surprised that King and Jones got no time on the field in Game 1 ?
    Yeah, a little. King played a few snaps but I thought they might rotate him in -- I think he only played when another CB was out with a temporary injury. It looks like they're working Jones in slowly, so don't know if he'll play this week, either, except on special teams. The Packers likely are thinking those guys will get their chances soon enough when there are injuries, but I'd think they'd want to work them in some just to see how they do. Maybe they'll start doing that after these first two games against NFC contenders.
    What are your thoughts on the RJF release? I didn't think he was that bad (compared to other DLs of the past.)
    Yeah, I kinda liked him as a player, just a real, solid vet, showed some ability to penetrate a little bit. Not sure why him instead of one of the backup G-Cs. Montravius Adams appears to be getting closer to being ready to play, but I wouldn't think he'd play this week.
    How many reps do guys like Pankey get when they aren't part of the plan (until the emergency comes up and they become part of the plan)
    Not many at all under most circumstances. They get a lot of reps with scout team, but not many with the regular offense unless one of the starters is sitting out practice. So if Bakhtiari is taking only some team snaps, then maybe Pankey is getting some, though I'd think Spriggs would be too.
    Pete- I watched the Raiders game and Tony Romo was calling it. He did a good job but what shocked me was how he was calling plays in advance of the play before the snap. He knew where the pass was going or if the back was going to the right or left. Is the NFL just completely predictable. He was calling these plays prior to the plays looking through binoculars and not being able to here everything snap count wise. I'm like holy cow. At this level and the play is pretty well known to everyone on the field. Conversely, if everyone on defense knows the play (romo did) then how does anyone score, and if thats the case then the Packer defense was beyond pathetic. If they knew the plays in Atlanta and this still Or is Romo the smartest man on the planet and only he can predict the upcoming play
    I didn't see it but heard that about him. I don't have a great answer for you. I'm sure part of it is that he's a quarterback, so he spent his career studying this stuff more intently than players at other positions, because he had to know everything that was going on. So to some degree, and probably a large degree, it's a quarterback thing. But you'd think a former coach who coordinated either side of the ball would be able to do something similar, especially an offensive coordinator. I'm going to have to watch one of his games on game pass to hear for myself. But it's a good question, because while I don't doubt he's a really smart guy, I find it hard to be believe he's the only one who can do that. Maybe he did more game prep in that area than most guys do, he had a lot of pressure on him to be good, so maybe he really studied both offenses in depth in the weeks leading up to the game. I'd be curious if he's able to do it week to week. Good question and I'll have to ask around about that.
    How does Capers scheme to cover Julio Jones this week?
    Lots of double teams. I'm sure we'll see a safety leaning his way almost all the time. This is a guy who can beat you by himself.
    worst case if both Buluga and Bakhtiari out, if Pankey and Murphy had to start at the tackles, and one gets hurt, who plays tackle next ?
    Depends if they have an eight OL active, they usually activate only seven. If they have an eighth, that eighth guy probably is Spriggs (or Pankey if Spriggs is the first replacement). If it went past that, then it's disaster. They might have to play one of their TEs there.
    What do you think the ceiling would be for edge rusher Odom?
    I don't know much about him, but from what I can tell, they liked him before the draft, considered drafting him but didn't. Then they got a shot at him and like his upside more than, for instance, Jayrone Elliott's. At this point I can't tell you more than that.
    Pete- I know McCarthy will defend every decision ever made by him, but why not just say I blew that one. Calling the timeout in the first half against Seattle was just a brain dead idea. You can say Im aggressive all day long (he's not) but even if thats the case there wasn't enough time left to get the ball back under any circumstance. Seattle just runs out the clock. Im an aggressive play caller (again he's not) is stupid ideology. who cares if you are aggressive in the play calling, what does that matter if it is completely impossible to get the ball back. Dom Capers is great coach for 3 quarters or 59 minutes, but he goes to sleep in the booth in the 4th quarter or last minute and Seattle gets 3 points in 3 plays because of the stupidity of the timeout. Those 3 points easily could have been the game. Surely he knows sleepy Don sleeps the part of the 2nd quarter so zipping down the field on him is pretty much a cakewalk anyway. Cant McCarthy just admit to pure dumb game management sometimes instead of defending the stupidity of a decision.
    From my experience, no matter who the head coach is, he doesn't admit mistakes like that until after the season. Must be in part human nature, maybe part of it is keeping everything possible out of the public sphere. Don't know if there's a concern about losing players confidence if they say they made a mistake, or if they tell players in private they did but don't say so publicly. But that's my experience, that after the season they'll admit mistakes, but very rarely during the season.
    Pete. Pick up the pace. One question every 6 or 7 minutes doesn't cut it.
    Just to let you know, sometimes I have to look up just to be sure, so that takes time. Also, I sometimes have co-workers stopping by desk to ask a question or quick talk about something. So my apologies for lag time, but there are interruptions, and I want to make sure I'm right about facts so sometimes have to look things up, and also sometimes need a few seconds to think. So bear with me please.
    Pete- I dont second guess Ted T ever. I think they have a beyond great football staff, but what in the world was the thinking cutting Tayson Hill and Price thinking they could them back to the practice squad. They could have dropped two of the RB's on the roster and no one would have glanced at them. Price and Hill are true talents and they get snapped up. I like Callahan but he is Scott Tolzien all over again. zero chance of winning a single game with him. Hill could develop into something. He had that certain intangible. Price will be a good if not great defensive talent at some point. I just don't get that one.
    OK everybody, I usually like to go at least a little more than 1 1/2 hours but have to cut it off now because locker room is open at 2:45 and I have to be there to talk to some guys. I agree, I feel the same way about Callahan as you do. I know they like him, and he has a lot of moxie and he's made it in the NFL, pretty impressive for a Division III player. But he doesn't have Hill's upside, even considering Hill's advanced age (27). I realize we're talking a No. 3 QB here, but Hill I thought had a chance to be a No. 2 in a year or two, which could save them having to draft a later-round QB. I'm generally not a proponent of keeping 3 QBs, but in this instance I'd have kept Hill and cut Gunter or maybe one of the backup G-Cs or maybe one of the RBs. As far as Price, from what I've heard in talking to a scout from another team, they ended up getting fortunate and upgrading there with Dial. But I doubt they knew that was going to happen when they were making cuts. OK, that does. Again, all apologies if I didn't get to your question (or a similar one), but we'll do it again next week, so try then. Fun as always talking with you, you all pay close attention to your team and know your stuff. Take care and we'll talk again next Thursday.
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