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Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Pete - the Packer offense during the Aaron Rodgers years has been most successful when it had guys like Ryan Grant, Eddie Lacy and James Starks performing at a high level. What are your thoughts on Green Bay targeting Josh Jacobs to complement Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams? Pick #12 would be too rich to pick there but trade up with Seattle who needs extra draft picks this year. That way you could maneuver ahead of teams like Baltimore, Philadelphia and Oakland who might have interest in Jacobs. Not much tread off the tire with Jacobs.
    OK everybody, let's get started. Just to let you know usually I don't have to write on chat days but today I do so we're going for only an hour today. As for the question, count me among those who think RB is toward the higher end of the priority list because of Jones' lack of durability. Williams is a good all-around FB player but not a good enough pure runner for a team that values the run as much as LaFleur says he does. Yeah, 12 is way too rich for Jacobs but I have to think he's at least a possibility at 30. I don't know how Gutekunst has him rated but it sounds like Jacobs is a late 1/early 2 kind of guy. I kinda doubt Gutekunst would trade up for a running back from 30, that draft capital is valuable and he has a lot of needs. The other factor is whether Gutekunst thinks he can get a guy almost as good in, say, the third round. Then at 30 there might be another position he likes better. But yeah, I'm thinking RB is a real priority and that Jacobs would be in play if available at 30.
    Greetings from Sunny St Louis Pete !
    It’s time to pin you down on your picks for the upcoming Draft . Who do you want to see them select at 12? No more dodging it . TE over DL or LB ? If Oliver or White are available at 12 don’t we have to take one ? Let’s not reach for a TE too early ? What say you ???
    Not ready to get definitive yet, you're going to have to wait until the week of the draft for that, The Doctor. Sounds like there is zero chance White is there at 12. I talked to one scout who thinks he's the best defensive player in the draft. The strength of the draft at the top is DE/OLB and DL. So those are the positions most likely but you never know how the QBs are going to fall, which can push guys down the board a couple spots. If Oliver were there they'd have to really seriously consider taking him unless they don't think he's a good fit in their scheme -- Oliver is a one-gap penetrating guy, the Packers' defense is more two-gap for the linemen -- though watching Pettine last season it looks like he's willing to tweak and adjust his defense based on personnel. Odds are Oliver won't be there.
    Hey Pete..thanks for doing the a lot of drama and news this week with the Bleacher report article....Like any other article of that nature there is some real truth and some things that are skeptical..each reader needs to determine what they believe. Of course Rodgers is an amazing QB and of course he went on a Radio show hosted by one of his former teammates and golfing buddy(Tausch) and a reporter who may be Rodgers biggest fan(Wilde) was a well orchestrated rebuttal and clearly damage control....
    I dont think Rodgers is a ho
    rrible leader and I also dont think he is as pristine and genuine as he portrayed in the rebuttal. Its quite clear that he had had it with McCarthy and AFTER signing his big contract, he had all the leverage in the world to marginalize his coach. Thats why I though the part of the interview that went on and on about how fans should thank MCarthy was a bit disingenuous....

    Everybody in leadership(Murphy, TT, McC, Rodgers) will marginalize the article as they all can benefit from doing so...

    As a fan, I am glad it was written for this simple reason. It will clearly put Rodgers in a position to partner and buy into his new coach and the new regime("there is no grace period")...that can only help this team to get better quicker

    As a professional journalist, what is your overall take? Thanks very much
    I'm sure there was plenty of truth in the article, along with some exaggeration and some things that were wrong. I highly doubt, for instance, that Murphy told Rodgers not to be part of the problem, that just doesn't sound like Murphy to me, I don't think he'd be that confrontational with a player. One of the things that stood out to me was the variety of opinions, they were all over the map, which is the nature of these things. A lot of it really does depend on who you talk to. And if you're inclined to think McCarthy got complacent and his offense didn't evolve, there were voices in the story to back that up and justify Rodgers disliking the offense the last couple years. If you think Rodgers isn't a good leader and can be hard to get along with, there were plenty of voices in the story to back that up. I don't doubt there's some truth in both points of view, I think all that was out there for the world to see last season. No matter how you look at it, the Packers had to make the coaching change, it was irreperable by last season, and it was stagnant and both the Packers and McCarthy needed to move on. Rodgers had the leverage, the Packers had made their commitment to him in August, so McCarthy had to go. I agree, Rodgers has a lot at stake in the next couple seasons. He got the change he was looking for. I would think he'd be highly motivated to play well and win.
    Pete, thanks again for the chat! Question for you on your opinion of sticking with our picks vs. trading up. Unless we would have a shot at the top 5 I don't see an impact enough player to trade up for do you? I honestly think that trading up wont happen because of the number of needs we have. We are better off making the two first round picks and hoping they both are good players who improve our team asap. Do you agree?
    That's basically my thinking and my best guess, too. The only thing I'd say is, you never know. You just don't know what the Packers' board looks like near the top, how they have those guys rated, and how big the separation is between some of the top guys. Different scouts and different teams can see players quite differently. So maybe there's a guy available at No. 8 that Gutekunst thinks is one of the three or four best guys in the draft. Maybe he'd go up and get him. But like you, I'm guessing he just stays put and picks at 12, because they do have so many needs, and trading up costs draft capital.
    Greetings Pete.

    If you had to guess, whom do you think Gute is really zeroing in on at 12 and 30, assuming he stays put?
    Right now I'm kinda thinking one of the pass rushers -- Sweat if he's there, Gary, Burns -- but that's subject to change in the next two weeks, as I talk to more scouts maybe somebody else will look more likely.
    How are ya Pete? I was at last night's Bucks-Thunder game, and saw a certain MVP caliber QB (hint: his name is Aaron Rodgers...) in attendance. When they announced him to the Fiserv Forum crowd, I'd say the reaction was very positive. I didn't hear any boos or jeers from those in attendance, which surprised me a little, considering all the negative feedback regarding Rodgers in the mainstream media stemming from that B/R article. Does this report truly have any negative impact or suggest bad things to come for he and the Packers, or is this all just being overblown in the media and by those who are bitter from their past encounters with the Packers and Rodgers (See Finley, Jermichael, Jennings, Greg), seeking attention? I even saw a local radio station pose the question of whether the Packers should trade Rodgers if things fall through again with LaFleur. I mean, the simple fact that some in the media are already suggesting something bad could happen, already sets up a negative atmosphere and intention for the Packers to fail. Just wondering your thoughts and how you see this situation?
    In the end it still comes down to what happens on the field, Chemistry matters, don't get me wrong, it can affect how teams play. But the players do get a new start with a new coach, the whole vibe around the team is different because of a new staff, new schedule, new offense, new way of doing a lot of things. What matters most still is whether Rodgers returns to MVP-caliber form. Can LaFleur do things to help, like really commit to the run game (with enough good backs to make it work) and have a quicker-hit, rhythm passing game, with the boots and waggles and scrambles mixed in, rather than being the core of the offense? How open is Rodgers to playing that way? How much did Rodgers' knee injury -- he said he broke the tibial plateau of his leg when he injured his knee last season -- affect his play? Those are still what matters most. Look, bad things could happen. They also could be in the Super Bowl in two years. I wouldn't confidently bet against or on either. Would you?
    Hi Pete. Thanks for doing this chats. Any idea how LaFleur's first time in front of the team went? He seems like a smart coach and has surrounded himself with high energy guys like Hackett and Pettine. I'm just curious how his mild manners will be received from the team. Is Tony Dungy a prime example of how a mild coach can lead?
    Haven't heard how it went. As you suggest, there are a lot of ways to lead for head coaches. There's energy and unbridled enthusiasm like Sean McVay and Pete Carroll. But plenty of coaches have won without being such overtly dynamic forces, guys like Dungy, Landry, Shula. What matters most is competence. If players think you really know what you're doing, they'll follow. As a couple assistant coaches I asked this very question to said a month or so ago, if players think the coach is doing everything he can to make them better and help lengthen their careers, they'll follow him.
    What are teams allowed to do during the offseason program?
    The offseason program is nine weeks long and divided into three phases. Phase 1 is for the first two weeks and is for strength and conditioning, so only the strength staff can work with the players and players can be on the field for only 90 mins. Phase 2 is for three weeks and is for individual position workouts, where coaches can be on the field but there is no offense vs. defense drills (one-on-one, 11-on-11, whatever). Phase 3 is three weeks of organized team workouts, which is basically unpadded practices. Every team also gets a mandatory minicamp, and teams with a new head coach (such as the Packers) get a second, voluntary minicamp.
    I imagine the Gute with sit tight and pick at 12 but maybe move up or down with the 30th pick. Maybe go up and grab a guy he likes in the middle of the first round or trade back and get an extra pick. How do you view their options?
    I really don't know, these things are usually impossible to predict. I mean, it's pretty easy to predict Seattle will move back, I think they're at 21 or 22, because they've traded most of their picks and want to add more picks. But the Packers? Ten is a lot of picks, but they have a lot of needs. Trading up costs picks. But sure, if there's a guy he loves still on the board at 23 or 24 or whatever, and he's sitting there at 30, he could move up. He moved twice in the first round last year, way back and then up. Your guess for this draft is as good as mine.
    The JS has repeatedly and strongly condemned Mark Murphy for inserting himself into the football operations. In light of the dysfunction between Rodgers and McCarthy (and likely Ted Thompson), how could Murphy not do that? It wasn't a nefarious power grab, it was grabbing the wheel before the car careened off the road.
    I'm sure that's how Murphy sees it. It's become clear now, though nobody in the organization would let on at the time, that Thompson's health was hurting his performance his last couple years. Among other things, he was in position to try to mediate with Rodgers and McCarthy, and didn't. So that's on Murphy, he was in the building yet was way late seeing that Thompson's performance was waning. I can't look into Murphy's mind and heart, so I can't say for certain whether he made a power grab with the new structure because maybe he secretly all along wanted to be more involved in football. But I get why someone would think that looking from the outside, it's a perfectly fair viewpoint. To be perfectly honest, I don't have a high degree of confidence on that either way, I'm just not sure. Maybe he was embarrassed/bothered that he didn't recognize the need to replace Thompson sooner, and the new setup was one way to help keep him more involved so it wouldn't happen again. That's possible also, along with his stated desire to rid the franchise of the silos (which I personally think was a direct result of Thompson's health). But I'm on record as saying I'm not a fan of the new structure because it opens the door for in-fighting and back-stabbing when things go poorly -- the coach, the GM and the cap guy all report to Murphy so are in position to lobby with him and cast blame on the others. When you have the GM-football czar, the coach and cap guy report to him, and the GM reports to the president. If the GM doesn't like what's going on, he can make any change in football he wants (fire the coach, the cap guy, whoever). If the president doesn't like the way things are heading, he replaces the GM. It's streamlined and there's a clear delineation of authority. That setup helped rescue this franchise from 25 years of losing, and it had served it well since. But Murphy has made the call, so we'll have to see where it leads.
    Hi Pete, It seems to be that one of the under-the-radar reasons for the recent end of the McCarthy era involved somewhat questionable hires (or shifting duties) at the assistant coach level. My question is a system where the head coach hires the assistants, is there ever a possibility of a GM or team President (in the current structure) stepping in and saying that this particular assistant needs to be replaced? While the press makes a big deal about the Rodgers/McCarthy relationship, don't great assistants actually impact the on-the-field performances of the actual players more? Any views on the new hires in this area from what you've seen?
    Yeah, I think that happens at a lot of places, a GM or owner will insist on the coach making staff changes to keep his job. I personally have some trouble with that, I think the coach has to be able to pick his own assistants, people he's comfortable working with. From what I can tell, that's the way the Packers have been doing it going back to Wolf. Now, I'm sure there are times when the Packers' GM has gone to the coach and said, I think you have a real problem with this coach, or I feel pretty strongly you need to make a change at this coordinator. But in the end, as far as I can tell, it ultimately was the coach's call. And yeah, good assistants are really important for building a winning program.
    Hello from Mexico City!
    My question is about the TE position in GB specially from this new offensive scheme perspective, Which TE currently on the team best fit LaFleur/Hackett scheme and which one of the Iowa TE would fit best in this scheme.
    Thanks for this chat!
    OK, this is going to have to be the last question, have a column to write. My apologies, so many questions I didn't have time to even glance at, but we'll do a long one next week, so try again then. As for Luis' question, I'm sure LaFleur can find a way to work in any kind of TE, but the starting point of their offense is the outside zone, which benefits from having a good blocking tight end, because that's where the run often is going, just outside or inside him. So I'd guess a complete tight end like Hockenson would appeal more to the Packers than Fant. Hockenson is the better blocker of the two, and though he's not as dynamic a receiver, he's still a good receiver, so him being on the field wouldn't be a tip-off of the play call, and if it's a run he's a pretty decent blocker. That's just my best guess. The Packers might think that Fant's upside is so great that it trumps Hockenson's blocking. And with that, we've put another chat in the books. Thanks again everyone, way too many questions to get to, but try again next week. The draft is closing in, lots to talk about. Until next Thursday, take care.
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