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Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Submit your questions for Pete's weekly chat at noon Thursday.

    When he's played he's played well. He's a willing tackler and has made his share of plays on the ball -- he's also given up some passes, but all CBs do. When King and Alexander played together last season, the defense was pretty good and got stops. The problem is, they played together in only a couple games, either one or both were injured the rest of the time. But when King has played he's done fairly well, and his length is a great asset for matching up with these tall, talented receivers that are becoming more common. It's just that it's looking like his body might not hold up to the rigors of the NFL.
    Pete, is Murphy keeping his nose out of assistant coaching hires ? Sure hope so. I am okay with Gute being a bit involved if the coach asks for input..
    I find it almost impossible to think he's involved in that at all. With some teams the GM has a big say in hiring assistants, or at least some of them. From what I've been told, Gutekunst is helping LaFleur when asked/needed but the staff is LaFleur's call.
    If LaFleur added "Assistant Head Coach" to a staff title would that not require another team to allow one of their assistants to interview with the Packers? For example, LaFleur's brother and the running game coach from the 49ers.
    No, that rule changed a few years ago. If an assistant coach is under contract, a team doesn't have to allow him to leave except for a head coaching job. So those titles don't matter for hiring anymore. If a QB coach is under contract and another team wants to hire him as OC or even assistant head coach, the original team can block the move.
    How did the edge guys we passed on in last years draft do? Davenport, Landry, not sure who else. I still like the pick of Alexander, just curious. Thaks
    I don't know about Landry, but I think Davenport flashed ability. He missed three games because of an injury (a foot injury, I think maybe a broken foot) and had only 4 1/2 sacks, so his stats weren't great. But I think he's shown a fair amount of promise.
    Pete, I think we may be seeing one of the stupidest off seasons for coaching hires ever. The LA Rams struggle and pick high for several years getting Todd Gurley, aaron Donald, Jarod Goff etc and the cupboard is being stocked while Steve Fisher wastes time. The Rams finally switch coaches and hire a protege who seems brilliant and has a host of talent to scheme around. The Rams succeed with their new young brilliant coach who know how to utilize talent. But now everyone thinks hiring a 30 something OC with 6 games of play calling with mediocre player talent will be the Rams? All these young guys may be flops and gone in 2 years. Am I to critical.
    It's a legit question. You just never know how any coach is going to turn out when he becomes a head coach. He can have the greatest looking resume and bomb -- look at all the Patriots assistants who have failed as head coaches. He can look like a shaky hire -- remember the criticism on the Doug Pederson hire -- and it can turn out well. The truth is most of these guys fail. Not all that many coaches make it beyond four years.
    Pete- is there any thing happening that would let you know as a reporter who sees and hears things we don't that gives you confidence that Matt LeFleur is not in way over his head. From the press conference my honest take is this is a guy I sincerely want to succeed because he seems genuine and a good person, but commanding a team is a far bigger cry than being a coordinator. When it gets rough or some real toughness is needed to let people know who is in charge, can he do it? Leadership matters no matter what anyone things. What is your view so far?
    Yeah, that's basically the question on LaFleur. Does he have the internal toughness and outward leadership skills to be successful? He's going to have to deal with so many things, including disciplining guys, coaching Rodgers, dealing with a strong personality or two among the other players, manage a 20-person coaching staff. It's a huge job. And I just don't have an answer for you. I saw the same thing you did at the press conference (plus about 10 writers had a session with him shortly after): A personable, decent relatively young man who's toward the reserved end of the spectrum. I just don't know much beyond that. A couple of people I've talked to in the league who know of him liked his offensive acumen and everything but wondered the same thing. The only thing I can say, we should keep an open mind. Some coaches can come in and win that first press conference and be really impressive -- I'm sure Buddy Ryan got everybody all excited in Arizona with his first press conference -- and then bomb. I suspect McVay was impressive in his first press conference, and he's done great. I think I heard Pederson's first press conference in Philly wasn't particular impressive, and that's worked out pretty well so far. I wish I could give you more insight, but I'm not sure anybody can. We''ll just have to see how he handles things, how the team performs, and how quickly he does or doesn't grow in the job.
    If LaFleur decides to not hire a QB coach, do you believe it will be a mistake?
    Not necessarily. Since he's calling plays, that should leave time for Hackett to coach QBs if he wants to go that route. From what I read today, LaFleur went on the Wilde and Tausch radio show today and said he expects to be very involved in coaching the QBs himself, regardless of title. Can't say I blame him there. So much is riding on getting Rodgers back playing like an MVP. It all starts there.
    Is the slot receiver needed for LaFleur's offense currently on the roster?
    I'd assume it's a pretty important job in any offense. If they let Cobb walk, they won't have a natural slot guy on the roster. They have guys who could do it, but not a natural one, a smaller, quick guy. So that would become a need in the draft or free agency.
    Your thoughts on 18 & 75 coming back at a reduced rate?
    Unless it's really cheap I'd just move on. It's a young man's game. Both guys have had injury issues, so even if they're inexpensive it doesn't do any good if they're not on the field when you need them. I'm guessing somebody out there will give them decent contracts.
    I find something about this coaching transition disturbing. When interviewing head coaching prospects, only two African American prospects were considered, and both seemed cursory. At the same time, the first two members of McCarthy's staff to be fired were Winston Moss (who held the title of assistant head coach but didn't appear to receive any consideration as interim head coach) and Joe Whitt, Jr. Everyone who's surfaced for the coordinator positions has been white. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the league (and I'd guess the Packers) is African American. I'm not saying this is a case of overt racism, but it does feel like a pronounced blind spot within the organization. Particularly when you consider that offensive coordinator is the fast track to head coaching opportunities and there seems to be almost no room for minorities around the league in that role. Thoughts?
    It's a huge problem. I read a good article by Robert Klemko of this week, and he made a really good point about the new coaching hires. Teams are leaning heavily to the guys with backgrounds coaching QBs, and almost all of those guys are white, in part because so many quarterbacks are white because of the socioeconomic advantages they have growing up (a preponderance of two parent homes, the money to get top quarterback coaching starting as youths, etc.). So it really is a big problem. As for the Packers, the Caldwell interview struck me as cursory, not so much for the Rooney Rule but as a practice run for Murphy and Gutekunst to see what a guy who's been a head coach in the league is like in an interview. I thought the Flores interview was legit. I heard some really good things about him, that he's smart and tough, would bring an edge to a team.
    Hi Pete-
    Why do you think the fans are so, so "negative" on the whole new structure and are almost universally waiting to start pointing fingers at Mark Murphy IF it doesn't pan out? I really don't understand all the constant negativism. It seems similar to the rhetoric when they first starting talking about Coach McCarthy getting let we were NEVER going to find a better coach and that Mac would immediately be hired by someone else.
    Why in the world can't this new "set-up" be BETTER than what they had in the past? Other successful teams have the same structure. It wasn't like winning ONE lonely SB since 1997 was the model of success. Push the envelope like the current playoff teams have.
    I personally still like the GM-as-football-czar setup better. It has a clean line of authority, and there's less opportunity for back stabbing and political maneuvering than when three people (coach, GM and cap guy) all report to the boss and have the chance to lobby him individually. I would go back to that now. Maybe two SB wins in 25 years doesn't impress, but since the Packers went to that setup in 1992 they have the NFL's third-best winning percentage. That's pretty tough to argue with. That said, sure, a lot of teams have a setup like Murphy has now, and sure it can work. I just think it opens the door to problems down the road. But no system is foolproof, they all have weaknesses. It still depends on the people.
    Saftey listed as a packers need. Is that with or without Josh Jackson moving to safety. If he does, does that fill the safety need or do they need two?
    I'd think it's still a need, because even if they move him they can't be sure he's going to be a starter, he hasn't played there before. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they signed one in free agency. Landon Collins is schedule to be a FA but you have to think the Giants will re-sign or franchise him. This is the kind of position where they could go for a mid-level guy, maybe in the $2.5M to $4M range, something like that.
    Regarding who I would keep or let walk: I also favor retaining Matthews and Williams. But I'm more in favor of keeping Graham than some others. Also, Spriggs seems to have as much to do with Bulaga's fate as anyone. Has he improved enough in your eyes?
    I have a lot of trouble seeing Spriggs being the answer. I guess you never know with a new coach and system, but that seems unlikely to me. He's improved a little but not nearly enough to be starter.
    It seems like under MM that a lot of disfunction was going on between players and coaches and it just got stale. It seems MM had his way of doing things and wasn't flexible enough to change with the way the game is being played today. How much was lack of creativity and how much was the players just tuning out? The player interaction that they talked about when they were in the process of hiring a coach was very revealing. Your thoughts
    It sounds like McCarthy might have lost his edge the last couple years, and that's all it takes. So my guess is it was more that than players tuning him out.
    Is there still such thing as a true 3-4 or 4-3 OLB? Or has the position changed to pass rush specialist, or a LB with the ability to cover
    A lot of truth in that, but there are still subtle differences. In most 3-4 defenses, even in nickel the outside rushers stand up as opposed to having their hands down. You might be asking with Barr in mind. If so, it sounded to me like he'd be an ILB in the Packers' 3-4, and I don't think at that position it would be worth the kind of contract he'd get from a 4-3 team.
    Are they going to re-sign Breeland?
    I don't know but would guess so. He probably won't be very expensive -- he had that offseason foot injury that voided his big FA contract with Carolina, then missed some games this year. So he might be in for one of those one-year, prove he can stay healthy deals with a lot of incentives.
    The new coach talked about unpredictability of the offense. Lombardi's offense was predictable. They just ran the plays well and said stop us.
    I'm sure Lombardi would be a great coach today, but he'd have to do some things differently. It seems like unpredictability is more important now than 50 years ago.
    Also, unpredictability played a bigger role in Lombardi's offense than many are aware. Though Paul Hornung's passing stats don't jump out at all, the halfback option pass was actually a big  part of the offense. It would produce a big play every game or two, and just the threat of it made it harder for teams to defend the sweeps, because they had to honor the possibility of the halfback pass.
    In 2017, Thompson drafted 3 rb's on the 3rd day of the draft, 2 of them made contributions on the field. In 2018, Gute drafted 3 wr's on the 3rd day of the draft, & 2 of the 3 made contributions on the field as rookies. Is this a new draft strategy to strengthen a position group? Or did GB get lucky w/ those draft moves?
    It's a strategy, at least to some degree. Wolf did it when he drafted CBs with his first three picks in 1999, the year after Randy Moss took the NFC North by storm. And he hit on only one (Mike McKenzie) of the three (Fred Vinson and Antwan Edwards were the others).
    have you heard any rumblings about what happened in McDaniels interview? It seems strange there haven't been any reports and that he did not come in 2nd as he was the presumed favorite.
    OK, we've gone a long time, this will have to do it, other duties to get to. But as always thanks for coming by to share your thoughts and questions. Great to find out what's on your minds. I haven't heard much about it, though I've gotten the sense that if LaFleur didn't blow them away that McDaniel would have been among the two or three guys they would have brought back for second interviews. I think the concerns with him for any team considering him was his time in Denver. Not so much that he failed, but that he showed an unwillingness to listen to others and thought he had all the answers himself. So the question with him was, did he learn from that and change? Or is that just who he is? And with that, we'll call it a wrap. Thanks again everyone, always enjoyable chatting with you. If I didn't get to you, try again next week. Until then, take care.
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