Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's live chat Wednesday at noon CDT.

    Thanks for the chat Pete! NFL pundits and writers talk about rookies hitting the wall their first season. Do you think with Savage missing so much time with the ankle sprain it actually might benefit him later in the season to be fresher?
    OK, let's get right to it. It might, he'll have less mileage on him, that's for sure. But he's also missing valuable snaps. There's no way to replicate what you learn from actually playing the game, so it will set him back that way. But yeah, his body should feel better overall, and he'll probably be less worn out mentally.
    Hi Pete, I see the Vikings cut Marcus Sherels on Tuesday. Given the punt return woes, do you see any chance the Packers will take a look at him? He was not resigned after last season, came back after being released by the Saints, and now released again, so the Vikings must think he's cooked, but maybe he's worth at least a visit.
    I don't. He's 32 years old and was averaging 5.5 yards on punt returns. Punt returns really are less the problem than KOR, KORs need a lot of straight line speed, and Shepherd just isn't explosive enough for that. He has the short-area quickness to return punts.
    Hi Pete, Folks are ripping Clark’s performance, but it seems obvious his production is down since being hurt after dominating in Bears and Vikes game. Any insight into the nature of his injury? Any chance he’ll recover by the playoffs or is it something that will linger?
    They haven't said anything specific, which they're not required to, just calling it calf and back injuries. He left the game the other day with a shin injury but returned. Back injuries have a tendency to linger but it depends what it is.
    How do the Packers fix their leaky run game and their penchant for giving up big pass plays? I didn't see this coming and am concern
    Against Detroit it looked like they played less of a penetrating philosophy on the defensive front and more of a hold-your-ground, which seemed to help, there weren't those big running lanes we'd bee seeing for several weeks. This last game they weren't as good, though I do think Oakland has a good offensive line, and Jacob looks like a really good back to me, he can really change directions and make jump cuts to make guys miss, pretty impressive. Either way, the run D is the weakness of this defense. The big pass plays are harder to figure because their secondary is so much improved. Amos has been such a steadying influence on the back end. The pass rush was not good last week, Oakland's OL kind of dominated the Packers' pass rushers.
    Hey Pete,
    Thanks for the chat! The resurgence of the Packer offense seems similar to what happened in the 90s when Sterling Sharpe went down. Everything back then flowed through Sharpe because he demanded the ball, and the offense blossomed when Favre started distributing the ball. A different situation now where Adams doesn't demand the ball, but he's Rodgers' security blanket. Now that he's distributing the ball better and building trust with his other receivers and RBs, should we worry about him going back to his security blanket when Devante comes back?
    Hard to know but I'd think there's at least as good or probably better chance it could go the other way around, that Rodgers is developing trust in these other guys while Adams is out, so maybe he'll be less reliant on Adams when Adams returns.
    Hi Pete, I doubt there were many (if any) in the building that would have envisioned a 7-1 start halfway into LaFleurs first season and legitimate SB contenders this quickly. If you're in Gutekunst seat and you've identified a player that would significantly increase the SB chances this year, but it's gonna cost (draft assets, cap space, locker room fit questions). He's available. Pull the trigger? All in for this season?
    It's just really hard to answer that in the abstract, because it depends on the cost (draft pick and contract) and the guy's age, years remaining on his deal, etc. For instance, I can't say, for instance, that if I were Gutekunst I'd have paid the price the 49ers did for Emmanuel Sanders. They gave up a three and four for Sanders and a five, so basically they gave up a three-plus for a guy whose contract runs out after this season. Can't say that I'd have done that if Gutekunst. Your question is what we're all wondering, and yes I'd be very open to doing a deal if I'm Gutekunst, but the details matter, so it's just impossible to answer the question in a general way. I'd be very open to looking for somebody (WR, TE, maybe ILB) if the guy were a real upgrade, put it that way.
    I thought Rodgers may have been decending over the last couple of years. Seeing him this year, I believe that isn't true. The last game solidified that for me. Do you agree? Is he still a blue chip?
    It's looked like it the last few games, I thought he's played really well for several weeks, it's just that it showed up more on the stat sheet this last game. He's definitely been playing like a blue chipper for several weeks now.
    Hi Pete!
    I love my team, and I’m excited about the future, but aren’t we a little premature on the whole “they’ve arrived” narrative?
    It seems to me that the WR core is still up in the air. The kicking side of special teams looks good, but the return game is atrocious. And of course the huge chunk plays the defense is allowing are concerning.
    Maybe we should wait until we get through the next 5 games before we start talking about “best team in the NFC”.
    Agreed. Nobody has arrived at the halfway point of the season. There have been 6-1 teams that have missed the playoffs. Now, this team appears to be better than that, it has a high-end quarterback who's playing well, and it's defense, warts included, is still pretty decent. But there are ebbs and flows in seasons, and there's bound to be some hard times at some point. The run defense still looks like an issue. There have been positive developments at receiver in the last couple weeks but still more to prove for Lazard, Allison, even Valdes-Scantling, though Valdes-Scantling looks like a bona fide big-play threat. But yeah, at this point I'd still think New Orleans is the team to beat. San Francisco's defense sure looks good, but it's schedule has been on the weak side.
    Hi Pete, thanks for the chat. I'm 50 years old and have watched football my whole life. But I still dont understand all the complexities of an offense or a defense Can you explain why the Packers defense struggles so much covering tight ends?
    They've had that problem for years. I'm sure there is a lot to go into it, but the simplest explanation probably is the best. They just haven't had the speed at ILB and the ability at safety to cover good tight ends. The Savage injury has hurt them in that regard, with him and Amos they were better equipped to cover TEs. But they still are on the slower side at ILB with Martinez and Goodson. Burks probably will get more playing time as he gets healthier. They drafted him to help cover tight ends, now he needs to play to see if he can do it.
    Hi Pete - do you think that Rodgers' success with his motley crew of receivers this week against the Raiders will have Gute rethinking the team's need to trade?
    Wouldn't be surprised if it did. Lazard had a really bad drop but also made a tough leaping catch downfield. Allison and Valdes-Scantling gutted through injuries. If those guys make their share of plays again this week that might seal it. The trade deadline is next Tuesday.
    With the Packer defense giving up a lot of yardage but somehow makes a stop will they pay a big price with that kind of play when they face the better teams later on?
    That's a legit concern. The best QBs in the league (Brady, Brees, etc.) are going to be much, much tougher to turn over, and you'll have to beat a couple guys like that to win a Super Bowl. The one thing I'll say, though, is the Packers play pretty good pass defense, which gives them a decent chance of getting off the field on third downs. But yeah, Brady or Brees isn't going to give them shots at INTs like Carr or Flacco or even Prescott.
    Hi Pete
    Thanks for the chat and the great articles this week on Packer offense and QB play etc.
    Just curious where you are at with the state of the Packer Heirarchy of Murphy overseeing Gutekunst and Lefluer. I remember you originally not being to keen on the structure last winter...
    I'm still not keen on the structure. I much prefer the clear delineation of having a GM in charge of all of football, and everyone in football reports to him. It's a cleaner hierarchy for accountability and eliminates some of the internal politics and in-fighting that can crop up (either because of failure or success) when you have three people (the GM, coach and VP/cap guy) reporting to the CEO. I'd much prefer having the coach and cap guy reporting to the GM. That said, there are other ways to do it, and the early returns on Murphy hiring LaFleur are good. Now, one-half-a-season doesn't make a coaching career. One season doesn't, either -- remember, Ray Rhodes was coach of the year in his first season as a head coach, with Philly, and that thing went downhill from there. But if LaFleur succeeds then Murphy will deserve a lot of credit for hiring him.
    Been watching the Packers for a long time and the only times I remember seeing the level of joy and celebration has come in December and January wins. Don't know if you're in the locker room when MLF does his postgame and hands out the gameball but excitement seems wild and genuine. If you're in there how does it feel in person and are you at all surprised to see this less than halfway into the season? Thanks Pete
    Reporters aren't in the locker room when LaFleur talks to the team after games, but the vibe around the team definitely is different. I'm sure a lot of that is LaFleur -- his age and his personality. He seems more than OK with guys being themselves as long as it doesn't disrupt the team. I think a lot of it is the new players, especially Za'Darius Smith, but Preston Smith and Amos and Turner too. They've brought some personality and looseness to the locker room. It helps that everything is new and fresh with the new coaching staff. All that wouldn't count for a lot if they weren't winning, so it also helps a lot to have a QB playing great football. I'm sure Rodgers finds it all new and refreshing too.
    I've been watching the NFL for more than 50 years. The officiating is without a doubt the worst I've ever seen. Bad calls. missed calls, phantom calls and the PI replay is a total joke. Ticki-tac phantom PI call, upheld, WR gets mugged, no call, upheld. Clear and obvious, doesn't matter. What's obvious is the NFL and Al Riverton had no intension of fixing anything with PI review and Godells not interested in fixing bad officiating as long as ratings don't fall. The NFL invests more money the ever in officials and training but it keeps going downhill it seems every week. Why aren't Riverton and his refs held accountable? I'm sleepless in Leavenworth and I need your sage wisdom.
    Yeah, where do you start? I just read something this week where the league actually has only two full-time people on staff to train officials, apparently it used to be more. They've lost a lot of experienced referees in the last couple years, I'm sure that's a factor. Riveron is just not up to his job, though it seems a given that the league (probably the commissioner) instructed him after Week 2 that only the most egregiously egregious of the egregiously wrong PI calls should be overturned. I think the league realizes it has a big problem, sounds like it was on the agenda at the owners meetings last week. But what it actually will do about, who knows? I think they need to make officials full time and pay them like it. Too much is riding on these games to not have that, for starters. I have to think Riveron will not survive this. But they need to overhaul things (training, staffing, etc.) in the offseason, because right now it's pretty much a disaster.
    There has been a lot of talk about the Packers needing to add a WR or TE but what about their D line, they seem to he getting run over. Does Geno Atkins have anything left in the tank?
    He's 31, so I'm sure he's starting to decline, but it seems like he's still a good player. The rest of this season isn't so bad -- he's due a little more than $4 million for the rest of the year. But next year he's due $11.6M,and remember they need to extend Kenny Clark's contract on the DL also, while paying the Smiths huge salaries too (I realize they're OLBs, but really, they're glorified DL). So you'd be acquiring a descending, expensive player. I don't know what it would take to get him, but I'd think a fairly high pick. If you could get him for a fifth-rounder I might do it, but I doubt Cincinnati would give him up for that.
    Hi Pete, thanks for the chat...
    Thinking of Clay Mathews, any comment about how he's doing before he got hurt? 5 games, 6 sacks etc. Do you think he would have stayed for same money to play ILB next to Martinez and would he have been an improvement?
    That's an interesting question and I haven't thought about it for a couple weeks. I still have serious doubts whether he would have re-signed to play ILB -- if the Rams and Packers offered the same deal, I have to think he'd prefered returning home (to LA) and playing as outside rusher over playing ILB in GB. Yes, he would have been an improvement over what they have at ILB. I just don't think he would have done it with LAR's offer on the table. His stats are good and I'm sure he's playing OK, although when I watched the Rams I think it was the week before he got hurt, I saw him get a sack where he was unblocked while three OL blocked Aaron Donald. Not an exaggeration there, three OL blocked Donald and nobody touched Matthews -- I think Matthews did a stunt and looped to the inside. So I suspect he's benefited a lot from having Donald on his team.
    Pete, this teams defense is definitely concerning and frustrating with huge runs allowed and guys wide open. They remind me of the Packers from a decade ago. It seems whenever they played an elite qb, he tore them up. ( See Warner in playoff loss that year ). Is it not being prepared or blowing assignments or lack of talent because guys are hurt. . Redmond sure seems to be a culprit in many of pass plays in which guys from opposing teams are ridiculously open. It’s gotten old, but seems like the acceptable form of Packers defense for a long time now. Thoughts?
    There's definitely a big drop-off from Savage to Redmond, no getting around that. I still think their defense is better than it's been since 2010, but the run game definitely is a problem, and they did get beaten by the best QB they've faced (Wentz, and yes, I know Philly is struggling). Still I don't get the feeling this defense is the same ol' same ol'. Maybe the rest of the season will prove me wrong, but they've had some really good defensive games too. If a team gets good play from both tackles then it's in a lot better shape against the Packers because that neutralizes the Smiths' impact. The Eagles and Raiders both did that. Clark hasn't been as dominant against the run as in past years, and maybe the back and calf injuries are affecting his ability to hold up in there down after down. But they do play good pass defense as long as Alexander and King are on the field, and Savage's return should help them. Their weak spot is ILB, where Martinez is smart and runs the D but has limitations, and Goodson is one-dimensional (run defender only). They could use another run stopper -- a guy like Howard Green, who they picked up on waivers in 2010. He was a run-stopper only, but he really helped them down the stretch that year.
    It looks like Sternberger and Campbell might be returning to the 53 in the next few weeks. Any reason to believe either could be difference makers after the bye? Besides Savage and Adams who else of the MIAs might bolster the roster in the next month or two? Also I'm still not sold on Burks, am I missing something?
    I could see Campbell helping some. His return would allow Amos to stay at safety instead of bumping up to ILB in those nickel and dime packages -- Amos definitely is better when he plays deep. I doubt Sternberger will do much. Rookie TEs have a tough enough time contributing much, and he's missed a lot of football. I just have no idea on Burks. In camp before he got hurt he had some plays where showed some coverage ability, but it's not like he just jumped off the field, either.
    Other teams have identified the kickoff return team as a weakness for the Packers and until the Packers make them pay they'll kick high and short to force a return. Other than praying the kick goes into the end zone what possible solutions would you recommend?
    Promote Tremon Smith from the practice squad. Wouldn't be surprised if they do that.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for chatting with us! Who is #2 WR now? Do we need it or we can go to SB with ARod & RBs? Thanks!
    Valdes-Scantling is the No. 2. Lazard might be making a push on Allison for the No. 3 job. It still looks pretty close among those two and Kumerow. I'm sure all will play in the rotation.
    Thanks for the chat Pete. Seven weeks in to the season and if I had to be critical about one area on defense beside the run game, I would say the inability to cover tight ends concerns me the most.

    However, this seems to be an issue league wide, with TE’s devouring the middle of the field on play action. Is this a result of more athleticism at the position, more doubling of wideouts, or just a matter of having to give up something in any defensive system?
    Good tight ends are tough to match up with. That's why we're seeing these smaller, faster ILBs, guys such as Roquan Smith, Devin Smith and Devin Bush in the league, guys who can run with those TEs. Problem is, guys like that are hard find.
    Any chance savage comes back before the bye week? Seems like we need him
    OK, this will have to be the last question. We might have set a record for questions today, I didn't even get to half of them. I think those high-ankle sprains are usually at least four-week injuries. This will be the third game Savage misses, so I'd guess he misses at least one more. They have three games before the bye, so if I had to be, I'd bet he's back before the bye, but if he were to miss six games (which would get them to the bye) it wouldn't be a shock. And with that we'll call it another chat. Thanks again to everyone for coming by, the number of questions was astounding, and it's good to know what's on your minds, so much appreciated that you took the time. And thanks especially to our subscribers, you make a huge contribution to our ability to do good, independent journalistic work. Remember, you can get all our Packers news with the Packers News app for $4.99 a month, it's a great deal. And with that, will put this chat in the books and talk again next week. Until then, take care everybody.
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