Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Aug. 29 transcript

    ESPN reported that "the Packers plan to keep both Kizer and rookie Tim Boyle, an undrafted free agent, on their 53-man roster, barring something unforeseen between now and Saturday's final cuts, a source said." Most fans I talked to that closely watched the preseason games saw Boyle throw through to the 2nd window to receivers. His talent looked obvious. Why do you think everyone reports that Boyle was destined for the practice squad, despite doing things that we have not seen Hundley do.
    OK, let's get this started. I'm sure a lot of people assumed Boyle was going to the practice squad because he was undrafted. But we saw last year what a mistake that can be, the Packers tried to get Taysom Hill through to the practice squad and New Orleans picked him up. I thought Boyle's talent looked obvious too. In the first few days of camp I remember thinking he'd played as well as Kizer and Hundley, though he had fewer snaps. Look, I could be all wet here, but I'm thinking he has a real chance to be their No. 2 next year. He's got a lot to work with. Now, maybe once he plays more he'll start throwing INTs, maybe when he goes against better players he just won't be able to play fast enough, there's so much that goes into playing quarterback. But I see some tools to work with there even though he bounced around a couple colleges and didn't do much at UConn and threw 11 TDs to 13 INTs at Eastern Kentucky last year. That's not the background of a QB who plays in the NFL. But on the practice field and in the preseason games, especially the first one, he looked like a real NFL backup prospect. I'm sure it's his undrafted status and his undistinguished college career that made many assume he's practice squad. We'll see this weekend what the Packers think. Sounds/looks like he'll be getting his share of snaps tomorrow night.
    Has the 6th round pick for Hundley been confirmed? Is that more or less than you would have expected for him?
    I haven't seen it confirmed but I was in a meeting much of the morning. I was thinking they'd be doing OK to get a 7, so a 6 is a notch better than that if in fact the report is true. I don't know if the pick is conditional on him still being on the roster by a certain date, maybe in October for instance.
    Are there any alternatives to adding a pass rusher, besides Khalil Mack? Anyone else in the league who could be available via trade?
    You never know, trades like that often come out of the blue, like when New England traded Chandler Jones a couple years ago. But teams generally aren't out there shopping good pass rushers, they're so valuable. So the chances of them bringing somebody in who actually makes a difference aren't very good. But never say never, you just never know what might crop up.
    What is Oren Burks' status for week 1?
    No word on that, they don't have to give injury reports in the preseason, so they don't.
    If Randall Cobb could be traded, would Ty Montgomery be able to fill his role in the slot? Would another receiver on the roster be a better fit? Would Williams, Jones, Mays, and maybe one more back be enough?
    I'd think Montgomery would be the choice in that scenario, but I'm having trouble seeing the Packers moving Cobb. For one thing, nobody's going to want to take on his contract. For another, that was a decision for the offseason, when you can plan accordingly to replace him, and have a guy like Montgomery practice slot instead of RB. They could easily go with three halfbacks, they've done it before. But they've been planning their offense all offseason with Cobb being their primary slot guy, and Montgomery having that niche role that's growing in the league of kind of an RB/slot hybrid. Hard to think Cobb is going anywhere.
    Will the Packers have enough money to keep the lights on after paying out $80M by St. Patty's Day?
    Yes. They will get big national TV contract payments I believe starting in September. Plus they have $300M in their rainy day fund -- not that they want to dip into that. But yes, they have the money.
    Hearing Pettine talk about the defense and his preferences to how the defense is run, if I was an offensive game planer, I might have a number of gadget plays drawn up to use in a game. That logic comes from Pettine saying he has decreased the amount of alignments and will go with a shorter list in order to play a defense that is more solid because of the simplicity. Will that work?
    I don't know if it's gadget stuff he's talking about just as much as multiple alignments and personnel groupings and all that. I think he's definitely right about less is more. With so many players on NFL rosters being young (on their first contract), you can only get so complex and have so much volume before you overload guys and leave them  indecisive or thinking too much. There are ways to cover all the contingencies with most of their calls. It's just that it might not be the ideal call against that play. But you can't always have the ideal call/defense for every possible play. If I understand Pettine right, he's talking about having 25 or 30 calls installed and practiced for a game, rather than 50.
    Any idea of how the new Rodgers contract will affect the salary cap & possible trade & signing of a special player from Oak?
    The true numbers and details come out, which could be tonight or tomorrow. But I basically asked Gutekunst that question in a Q&A I did with him last week. He can't talk about Mack specifically because that's tampering, but I asked if they could have the highest-paid QB and highest-paid (or close to it) defensive player, and he basically said yes.
    Lots going on today. I'm seeing Rodgers $134 million dollar extension and thinking the packers got him on a pretty good contract again. Obviously a lot more specifics to come out yet but that deal tacked onto his final 2 years on the current deal and that's less than $30/yr which is a good deal for him.
    Just based on the initial reports, that's my thinking too. If James Jones is right, or at least close, that the full guarantee is $100M, that's a little less than I would have guessed. I was thinking $110M to $115M for the full guarantee. If the real average (his total money over the six years) is even a sliver under $30M, I'd say that's a good deal for the Packers too. If all that's true, Rodgers obviously got himself an excellent, excellent contract, but he didn't squeeze every penny out of them that he could have.
    Pete, if this question somehow still gets answered, I'll be impressed, seeing as how Aaron Rodgers news broke today and you will be super slammed with that. With Rodgers now locked up for next 6 years, do you see the Packers going "all-in" moving forward? Reason I ask, this deal seems to signal his final contract of his career and he will be a Packer for life.
    Interesting question. They've never taken that all-in approach before, it's more of try to be a true contender every year and hope you can win a couple SBs that way, whether than more of a really go for it approach for a year or two. This doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing thing though, so maybe they'll be willing to skew a little more toward going for it over the next few years, we'll just have to see on that. I'm sure they won't do what Tampa Bay or Baltimore did when they won the SB in the early 2000s, but maybe the approach will shift a little. As far as this being his final contract, that might or might not be the case. It's starting to look like the best QBs can play into their early 40s now (maybe 42 or so?) because they just don't take the physical punishment they used to. So Rodgers might go beyond this. And you never know what might happen over the next four or five or six years? Did anybody think Brett Favre would play for anyone else? Or Peyton Manning with anyone besides the Colts?  Joe Montana? Johnny U? You get the point.
    Hi Pete,
    I keep reading everywhere that Ha Ha is the same player he was last year. Do you think this doesn't bode well for the defense because they couldn't upgrade the talent at this position ?
    I thought it was far more important to upgrade at CB and the pass rush. It sure looks like they've upgraded at CB, maybe even a lot, with the two draft picks and signing Williams. The pass rush? Not so much. They're OK at safety, that's probably the most you can say there.
    HI Pete, in the case of players that are put on IR to start the season ( maybe Kumerow ) or suspended for first 2 games ( Aaron Jones ) , must they be first put on the 53 for a set time such as a day , or some hours , and then not count on the 53 after officially put on IR or suspended list ?? How does that work in case there are two other players we hope to put on the 53 in "their place" in hopes they are not claimed by another team ??
    This is a good technical question, and to keep things moving I'm not going to look it up. With the case of Jones, no they don't have to keep him on the 53. With someone such as Kumerow, I think if they have to cut him on final cuts and expose him to the waiver wire before putting him on IR. If they don't want to expose him to the waiver wire, then they have to keep him on the 53 for at least a day and then put him on IR. These rules get really arcane, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works (for players with fewer than four years NFL service).
    Pete, am I wrong for believing the stability Hundley provides for this season outweighs a sixth rounder in 2019? If Rodgers had to miss time in 2018 I believe Hundley would be able to weather the storm better than Kizer.
    I'd say, if they could get something for him or Kizer, they should have done it. I just didn't see any reason to keep both, there's just not that much difference between them. Kizer has more physical talent, Hundley probably is a little better if one or the other had to finish a game today. But if I'm the Packers and somebody's offering a sixth-round pick for Hundley, I'm jumping all over that.
    Any word on Khalil Mack becoming a Packer?
    Just to expound on this because obviously a lot of questions about Mack now that Rodgers is finished. Last week in the chat I wrote about the reports that one of the issues with the Raiders is they might have to stretch themselves in cash expenditures to fund Mack's full guarantee (NFL rules mandate teams put into escrow whatever portion of a full guarantee that isn't paid in the first year). A report on yesterday said that isn't an issue for the Raiders, but it also said that the Raiders are open to dealing Mack, though they consider him one of the top three defensive players in the league, so they want a lot for him. As I said earlier, when I asked Gutekunst if the Packers can afford the highest-paid QB and one of the highest-paid D players in the league, he essentially said yes. Will Mack actually get traded? Impossible to know, you don't see elite players change teams in their prime very often in this league. But things could start getting interesting if he sits out multiple regular-season games. At some point Gruden might decide to cut bait and try to get as much as he can for Mack. We'll see.
    Over the entirety of Capers regime, he never had two (book-end) quality OLBs -- as would be ideal in a true 3-4 defense.

    Initially, I wondered if there was a dearth of these types of bodies.

    Later, I came to realize that the quality of offensive tackles went off the chart during this period -- the better tackles could easily neutralize an athletic OLB that weighed ~50 pounds less.

    Just as the league has adopted five defensive backs, I hope it gets rid of the notion that two LBs can pretend they're linemen. IMO, they can't contain or effectively rush the passer (game in, game out). GB has seen flashes, but these guys are injured every. single. year.

    I don't see it much in print, but I think a "4-2-5" is the way of the future.
    I still think it's more that they didn't put a lot of resources into OLB. I get your point, big-time pass rushers are rare and a real commodity in this league. But in the eight years after drafting Matthews in R1, Thompson selected an OLB in the first two rounds only once (Perry), and I think only one other one in the third round (Fackrell). Compare that to Pittsburgh, which runs the same D as Capers. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think it works out to almost every-other year they've drafted an OLB in one of the first two or three rounds.
    Pete, have you changed your mind about me thinking Josh Jackson should start on the outside sooner than later in some packages? Not even Dime looks?
    I'm getting there. I'd play him ahead of House as the No. 4. I still don't know if I'd play him ahead of King, Alexander and Williams. But at this point I'd rotate him in. I'm guessing they'll give Williams a series off here and there, so I'd play Jackson then. Who knows? Maybe you're right and Jackson should be in the top three. Maybe he is or will be the best of the bunch.
    When practices are closed to the public, does that include the media?
    Yeah. The camp practices that have been closed to the public this summer also were closed to media. During the season, practice is open for reporters to take attendance and watch individual drills, but once they start doing 11 on 11, they get the boot.
    How much does Rodgers' new deal free up in cap space? I read they have to dig into reserves to put the money in escrow. Economically, could they even double up this amount of money in escrow for Mack?
    We don't know the details of Rodgers' deal, such as the signing bonus, his base salary this year, all that stuff that determines the cap hits. The Packers don't necessarily have to dig into the reserve fund of $300M to pay for this. I'm sure they also have an account to cover their operating funds, and they've had a couple years to plan for this, so I have to assume they've been putting money aside so they wouldn't have to dip into their reserve fund.
    I feel the Packers might put Kumerow on the PUP. This would allow the Packers to keep him while they continue to evaluate their three draft picks at WR. If one doesn't pan out, you still have the ability to put Kumerow on the roster after six weeks.
    They can't put him on PUP. PUP is only for players who don't pass their physical at the start of camp. They go on PUP, and come off when they can pass a physical. Kumerow wasn't on PUP to start camp so he can't go there.
    first though on Rodgers’ new deal, how much does it shake up the team’s salary cap?
    A lot of people asking about this so I'll expand a little. The Packers had a lot of flexibility in structuring Rodgers' deal, so they very well might have picked up a little cap space this year. They can do that depending on the size of the signing bonus, which for cap purposes is prorated over the six years of the contract (two remaining on his original deal plus four added). So let's say they gave him a $60M bonus. Then $10M of that counts on this year's cap. They then could make his salary this year $8M, and he'd count $18M on this year's cap, which actually would be less than $20.5M he had been counting, even though he'd now be making $68M this year. So they have some flexibility in how to spread the money over their cap this year and future years while still giving him a huge amount of money over the next six or seven months -- if the reports are right, about $80M between now and next March.
    Sure, a team would have been happy to draft Mack and get his performance for 4 years -- but would you really think he was so cool as to pay him 80-100 million?

    Especially, with two first-round picks next year??
    (I'm OK if they stay away from Mack, esp after the new 12 contract)
    Look, it's easy to spend other people's money. But if they could Mack for two first-rounders, and pay him maybe $50M guaranteed and an average of $20M a year, I'd do it. Great players win games.
    Your best guess - how many receivers do they keep? Who are they?
    I'm still thinking seven. If that's right, then my best guess is final two spots come down to Davis, St. Brown and Kumerow. (That means Adams, Cobb, Allison, Moore, Valdes-Scantling make it). Probably a decent chance Davis makes it as a return guy. If I absolutely had to bet, i'd guess St. Brown makes it over Kumerow based on upsid and chance that another team might claim St. Brown. But it wouldn't be a shock to see it go the other way.
    With Jackson's ball skills and upward development in training camp, it will be hard to keep him off the field. With King, Alexander and Williams penciled in as the starters, how can he see the field besides in the Dime?
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