Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Thursday, Oct. 19 transcript

    This figures to be a tough debut for Hundley. The OL is in shambles and the strength of the Saints D seems to be in their ability to pressure the QB. Weather or not the Packers DB's are healthy Brees and the Saints offense figures to put up 35 plus on Sunday. What's it gonna take to pull this out?
    OK, let's get this started. Yeah, really tough circumstances depending on which if any of the three injured starters on the OL (Bakhtiari, Bulaga and Taylor) play Sunday. Just kind of guessing I'd think Bulaga has the best chance of playing, he's out of the concussion protocol and was a limited participant in practice yesterday. Sorry for the delay, was checking Twitter to see about practice today, which is going on right now. Bulaga and Bakhtiari were in pads, so that's a decent sign for both. But if even one of them is missing, that makes things that much tougher for Hundley. It's going to take a lot of things for the Packers to win, including them forcing a couple turnovers.
    Hi Pete,
    How would you rate Hundley's running ability ? I see him fading back on many occasions and finding nobody open. Is he a threat to move the ball on the ground if he needs to ?
    It's one of his strengths. He ran a 4.63 40, that's pretty good for a QB. He's going to have to scramble for some first downs, that will have to be a big part of his game if he's going to succeed.
    If the Packers could have a redo do you think they would have brought Peppers back? He has 6.5 sacks this season!
    They might have upped their offer some. I haven't seen Carolina play, so I don't know if it is using him more as an outside or inside rusher, but either way, yeah, the Packers could use his rush. I couldn't argue with their decision to let him go, it was amazing he played as well as he did at his age. But I assumed that in doing so they'd use a high pick at OLB. They used a fourth-rounder on Biegel.
    Pete,,, wondering if an effective use for Ty Mont would be as a slot receiver to replace Cobb if he is let go in 18?
    Is he quick enough in that position to get open, should be great in RAC.
    That would have to be one of the things they consider, and with the three RBs they drafted this year, they could use Montgomery at both positions. He's a veteran and knows the offense well enough to do both. I also think Nelson can be a really good slot receiver because of his size and route running -- they actually use him in the slot or slot-type alignment fairly often.
    Do they Packers need to get better at Safety? Sure Dix and Burnett aren't bad players but they also don't change the game in anyway. I don't see much of a difference between Dix and someone such as Brice. That's concerning since Ha Ha was a pro bowler last year and was a first round pick. He has looked like just a guy this year and the Packers need more. Thoughts?
    Yeah, Clinton-Dix isn't making any big plays. From what I can tell he plays well most of the time, is in good position, helps quarterback the defense, all that. But he's giving up a couple passes a game and missing more tackles than last year, and just a couple or few bad plays can make a difference in a game. As Eric Baranczyk told me Monday, they need him to be a ball hawk. As far as Burnett, he's been one of their best defensive players, and he plays a lot of snaps at LB/slot in the nitro, so really Brice often is their other safety. I guess what I'm thinking/saying is, they're pretty decent at safety (I like Evans too), and among all their issues, I'd put safety near the bottom of needs. But can't disagree with your assessment that they're not making big plays on the back end, and if that's the strength of the D, they need to start making some.
    Hi Pete, My wife and I will be at the game on Sunday. We heard that this may be the game Bart Starr makes an appearance at. How cool would that be for Starr to be at Hundley's first Packer start. Hopefully it will be a good omen! Go Pack!
    Just posted a story saying Starr's family is in fact bringing him to this game, he'll attend with some of his teammates from the 1967 Super Bowl II championship team.
    With Rodgers' anticipated long absence due to injury, does this put more pressure on the various coaches? Many people believe that it is Rodgers who makes this team successful, making average players appear much better than they are. Do these next 10 weeks determine the coaches' future more than they would if Rodgers were healthy?
    It does put pressure on this staff, and the other side of the coin provide an opportunity, to show what it can do without Rodgers. But it's also true that Rodgers is what makes the team successful. He makes others better, helps cover up other weaknesses. But I don't think this season will determine the coaching staff's future. You take a Hall of Fame QB off any team and it's a huge problem. Look at the Colts the year Manning got hurt (went from 10-6 to 2-14) and in the time since Luck has been out. Even the '08 Patriots prove the point to some degree. That team went undefeated the year before and was a huge favorite to win the SB. Brady blows out ACL in the first game, and while it speaks well of the Belichick and his organization that they went 11-5, four of those five losses were to playoff teams. Without Brady they were still a shell of what they would have been. I don't think Thompson would fire McCarthy for doing poorly without Rodgers, and same for Mark Murphy with Thompson.
    I love what we've seen of Aaron Jones so far. But now that we desperately need production at RB, why not find out what Devante Mays can add to the mix, with his size & speed? Especially if we get way ahead, or way behind in a game, or if 33 stalls, why not find out?
    Agree completely. I'm sure there's some concern about putting in another young RB who hasn't had any game reps and has had fewer practice reps when you're already working with a new QB. But they need all the help on offense they can get, so I agree completely they should start working in Mays some, even if it's for just a few snaps this week, with increasing work as the season goes on. Maybe he can, as you suggest, make a difference. He's a big guy (230 pounds) and in camp looked like he has more wiggle than Jamaal Williams.
    I appreciate all the time you devote to this chat. If and when Hunley displays that he is no better than senaca Wallace or Scott Tolzien on Sunday, will the Packers simply bury their heads in the sand and delude themselves into thinking that a bye week will be a cure all or are proactive and try to save the season by swallowing their pride and sign Colin
    I'd bet very, very strongly that they're going to give Hundley a fairly long look, definitely much longer than one game. I'd think it would take an unmitigated 60-minute disaster for a couple games to convince McCarthy to make a change, and Hundley flashed enough last week to think that's not going to happen IMHO. They traded up in the draft for this guy, have been developing him for 2 1/2 years and stuck with him as the No. 2 when they could have made a change in the offseason. So I think they're going to give him a good, long look. The difficulty with Kaepernick is while he clearly has the talent to be a backup QB in this league, he went 1-10 as a starter last year. Plus, McCarthy doesn't know him like he knows Hundley, which for game-planning and play-calling purposes matters. So bringing him in cold off the street is a recipe for failure. I appreciate your skepticism, it takes a lot to be a good QB in this league, so guilty until proven innocent. But they really need to give Hundley a decent look. Maybe it will turn out as you suggest, but I do think he's better than the two guys you mentioned.
    Isnt it time for Thompson , MM , or Capers to take responsibility for the below average performance of the defense? Of the players starting in game one ; 5 were first round picks and 3 were 2 round. These are TTs guys and some just stink. In addition the defensive scheme seems to be 100 formations long which makes it difficult to just use their athleticism and results in a blown assignment on every play. In my opinion , Capers just has no clue as to how to maximize each players abilities and makes things way to complex and after 10 yrs he will never get it and he should be gone. Also TT has lost whatever touch he had with draft picks and his time has passed also . What say you. Thanks
    This is a big-picture question, not easy to answer in this format. You're undoubtedly right about the missed draft picks on defense that last few years, though Clinton-Dix was a decent pick (especially if he plays more like he did last year), Kenny Clark has been really good on run defense and is looking like an OK pick, and early signs on King and Jones are promising, though we have to remember that it's early (I would have said the same thing, though not quite as strongly, about Randall and Rollins after their rookie years). But yeah, there have been too many misses and not enough difference makers. As you say, contrast that with Thompson's early drafts, most notably Collins, Matthews, Raji, those guys made a difference, and those defenses from '08 through '10 were pretty good. So I still think it's more the players than anything, and that's on Thompson. I could be wrong, maybe Capers has lost a step, and there might be something to the notion that his system still is too complicated for today's NFL, with all the roster turnover every year. But I do know McCarthy has great respect for Capers.
    Pete--I enjoyed your recent article. You are right in suggesting that McCarthy should be expected to win even without Rodgers. If McCarthy can only win when he has a hall of fame quarterback, then the Packers should look for a new coach. I'm thinking that winning 5 of the remaining 10 games is a reasonable expectation for a decent coach. Your thoughts>
    That's reasonable. I've been trying to decide what's most likely, I'm thinking 4-6. I mean, they were 6-10 in Rodgers' first year as starter, and he turned into a Hall of Famer. So some of it also depends on how competitive they are. I think in that '08 season they lost something like seven games by four points or less, so they consistently were in games and gave themselves a chance to win.
    My question has to do with Matthews. I know this will seem like blasphemy ,but I feel other teams run or screen to his side frequently with great success due to constant outside rush with no accountability to contain the run. Seldom does he beat a tackle cleanly for a sack and runs around with no lane responsibility allowing even slow QBs to scramble. Really , how many tackles does the guy have this year maybe 2 or 3 . Consequently, what in the heck does he offer to the team except an occasional sack usually due to a flush by some one else followed by a wonderful little dance.
    I can't disagree at all that Matthews isn't the guy he was a few years ago, he can't just beat tackles on his own with any kind of consistency. I think he's actually played fairly well this season, makes an occasional play in the backfield in the run game, gets some pressure on the rush. So I think he offers more than you're saying. But is he playing like a $12M guy (I think his cap number is in that vicinity)? No. I agree with you there. I'm guessing they'll want to adjust his contract in the offseason, maybe extend it with some guaranteed money but lower the yearly pay. But they don't have much else at outside rusher, and he's still one of their better D players. But your point is one of the reasons why I thought OLB was their greatest need last offseason and will be again next spring.
    I'm wondering if this would be a good week to see more Aaron Ripkowski and 2 back sets. The added protection might help and a lead back in the run game wouldn't hurt either.
    There are a lot of possibilities, and that's definitely one of them. Or maybe they'll want to get three and four receivers out, spread the defense and get the ball out fast. Watching how this unfolds and what kind of player Hundley is will make the next couple of months interesting.
    Everyone is saying run the ball on Sunday against the Saints. Isn't that so obvious that it should open up the play-action passing game? The Saints will be expecting the run so can't we exploit that?
    Yeah, that was the point Eric Baranczyk made this week in the weekly day-after-game column we co-write. Teams probably are going to stack the line and force Hundley to beat them. That's what I'd do.
    I'd guess someone from among Spriggs, Murphy and Barclay. They're so thin on the OL.
    The fact that GB didn't put AR on injured reserve this week tells me that they want to save the 2 return options for players that are already on IR. Who on that list do you think are most likely to come back this year?
    Sorry, previous answer for this question.
    Do we have any plays or formations where Jones and Montgomery could be on the field together? Would that create mismatches or confusion for the defense?
    I'd think so, they could start Montgomery in the backfield and motion him out. That would fit in with a quick-rhythm, short-passing game.
    What happened to Herb Waters?
    He's on IR because of a shoulder injury, happened in camp.
    How will this effect Adams contract?
    Not sure. If he puts up big numbers, that will improve his value a lot. If not, he'll probably still be in line for a fairly big contract because he produces when Rodgers plays, but it will hurt his value some.
    Two questions. (1) if Barr was fined for the hit on Rodgers would we know by now? (2) does the bye week count on the three week period that Biegel can practice?
    The fines come out on Thursday, I've seen a couple reported already but nothing either way on Barr, and that will make news either way, so it probably will come out in the next couple hours. Yeah, as far as I know the bye counts on the three-week window.
    OK, I'll be the first to say this... because I haven't heard it from anyone else: Montgomery will not become a successful running back.

    He runs with a very upright posture -- which means he's exposed to vicious hits and, and more importantly, he can't develop a forward lean to get a couple yards when nothing's there.

    Another ugly, non-RB look is that he comes to a complete standstill during many of his runs, which saps any forward momentum which could provide positive yardage instead of tackles-for-loss.

    I've seen these two qualities in every game -- and this is after his transition to RB, with a full training camp under his belt. He doesn't have "it" and he never will; he's simply not a RB.

    He'll break off a few good runs (and screens), but on many more runs he'll disappoint. He won't be able to run consistently on first or second down, to establish a favorable down/distance scenario.

    The scary part: the Packers outfit will be the last to realize this.
    Seeing both him and Jones on the same field last week was instructive. Jones passes the eye test better, just cuts and reads more like a real running back. Montgomery can do real running back things, he can run on short yardage, he had that 100-and-some yard game against the Bears last year, he's not just a gimmick guy in the backfield. But he's also clearly not as good as Jones, and he might not be better than Mays, either. So he's kind of a 'tweener. He's not a real running back, though he can do real running back things. I thought after last season he might be a real back, but as you say that hasn't happened. We'll see in the next two months whether the Packers agree with us. There's a place for playing him at RB, but I wouldn't have him and Jones splitting time, I'd make it something like 70-30 Jones.
    Pete, what were the things in Hundley’s game that make the Packers trade up to draft him?
    It was in the fifth round, so I'm guessing they might have had as high as a third-round grade on him. He's very athletic, which McCarthy wants in his QBs. He has a decent or better NFL arm. I think he showed toughness in college, and that showed up last week with the way he stood in the pocket and took some shots. He's a fairly big (6-3 1/4, 223), athletic guy who throws the ball pretty well. I think the biggest concern with him is accuracy.
    Isn't Burnett's contract running out?
    Gut feel: the Packers won't re-sign him.
    He's older, more prone to injury (like right now) -- it's a very Ted Thompson thing to do (ie: not re-signing him...)
    Yes, this is the final season of Burnett's contract. Borderline case, he's 28, can play safety and nitro, which is valuable. I'm leaning toward thinking they'll re-sign him, but you might be right. They do have some depth at safety. Probably depends in part on how big a role the nitro is going to be going forward. You don't want to have to scrap it if one guy (ie, Jones) gets hurt.
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