OK, let's start right up. Yes, Burks was drafted to cover TEs and RBs, and I'm not sure what's going on there. He was healthy enough to practice as a full participant every day last week. So perhaps there's some issues with him being assignment sure or maybe he's not practicing well. But he didn't play a snap on defense last week, and there should be playing time available as an inside linebacker in the nickel.
Jenkins is very much looking like a good pick. He's already their best run blocker, and he's been fine as a pass blocker too. He's a big reason the interior of the OL is better than last year. He should do nothing but improve by the end of the season. Both he and Savage are looking like good picks.
It's tough to parse out those factors, they're all interconnected. But my guess is the biggest factor is they're guys in their prime playing up to their potential. Free agency is a risky market, a lot of teams have blown a lot of money, but Gutekunst mitigated the risk some by signing guys who were 25, 26, so their best couple seasons still should be ahead of them, and they had good injury histories. It doesn't guarantee anything, but it does reduce the risk. You sign a really good player at age 28, he already could be starting to decline a little.
I still think McCarthy will have a good shot at getting a job. Andy Reid's last two seasons in Phlly were 8-8 and 4-12, and then Kelly came in and went 10-6 in '13. KC hired Reid in '13, before the season so no one knew Philly would go 10-6, but still, those last two seasons in Philly didn't make him a bad coach. Things just disintegrated here with McCarthy, but there's probably a lot to be said for the old Al Davis-Bill Walsh saying that a coach shouldn't stay with a team for more than about 10 years. Belichick is the exception, not the rule. I wouldn't be surprised at all if some team out there wants an experienced head coach who has won a lot of games. The year off and change to a new team very well could be good for McCarthy. It obviously was for Reid.
I can't tell you much about why none of those guys is signed. Perry was coming off a knee injury, I think it was, so he very well might be having trouble with it still. Wilkerson was coming off a broken ankle, so it could be similar for him. Has Bryant been reinstated from his suspension? I don't know if he has, but he's been suspended three times already so teams might be very leery that they'd sign him only to lose him to another suspension. But again, not sure if he's been reinstated.
His rookie contract runs through next season.
I can't remember who it was as ESPN.com who made that prediction, but when I saw it I thought it was a little crazy. So much for that. If I were the Packers I'd be most concerned about the run defense. It's been vulnerable more often than not all season, and that could be an especially big problem if/when they play a team with a decent run game and a good QB (New Orleans immediately comes to mind). Sounds like you'll be surrounded by a lot of Packers fans. Our Rich Ryman had a story this week that one of the online ticket brokers is estimating about 70 percent of the crowd will be Packers fans.
I don't think what LaFleur is doing is new to the league -- Shanahan and McVay run basically the same stuff, with tweaks for their personnel, that LaFleur does. LaFleur has the best QB of the group, so that's a big advantage. Defenses surely will learn from the game video, so it's up to LaFleur to stay a step ahead. Remember how we all wondered if he was having trouble with in-game adjustments early in the season after they'd start a game fast then kind of limp home in the second half? Haven't noticed those issues for several weeks. A lot of it probably was him getting to know what his players are good at it and not so good at.
Not sure. Jaire Alexander did it in college but I wouldn't expose him to it if I were them. Tramon Williams was a good punt returner earlier in his career and even returned some last year, so he might be the most likely guy, but he's 36, so as impressive as it is that he's still a starting slot CB in this league, he's not going to be much of a threat, he'd just be back there to make smart decisions and catch the ball. I think I remember Josh Jackson returning a couple punts in the 2018 preseason. Chandon Sullivan? I just looked up Ryan Grant, doesn't appear he's done any punt returning. If I had to guess, I'd go with Williams, but that's just a guess.
No, I have to think they've had back-to-back games like that before, but three? I'd bet it's a first. Didn't hurt them that Mahomes couldn't play, that's a pretty big break. It's the old Bud Grant saying, it's not who you play, it's when you play'em.
Yeah, I was surprised they didn't get more pressure on him against the left side of the Chiefs' OL, which were both backups. I thought the Packers would be all over Moore. But they didn't blitz much and didn't get home much with their four-man rush. Andy Reid really does appear to be an excellent, innovative game planner and play caller. That play when Kelce went uncovered for a 29-yard TD was pretty slick, watch LeRoy Butler's X's and O's video with our Tom Silverstein on PackersNews.com for a great breakdown of that play. The Chiefs also have some impressive weapons even without the QB -- Hill and Hardman about as elusive and explosive as they come in this league. But they ran out of ammo, seemed like Reid kind of emptied out his playbook. Pettine was clearly guarding against the big play. The run defense still would concern me most if I were the Packers. Even though the run stats didn't look that bad, it just felt like the Chiefs were pretty successful running it, and that's happened a lot this year. But I still think despite the points allowed to a backup QB, and the rough patches the Packers have had this season, their defense is still much improved. They can get off the field on third and medium now because they play pretty decent pass defense, that used to be a big problem for them. Getting Savage back should help some as he gets healthier and back into playing form.
Yeah, it's starting to look that way. Kamara was a huge addition to the Saints, a real difference maker. These RBs who can run routes and catch really well are worth their weight in gold. They make it tough on D coordinators, who have to decide whether to go with run or pass-coverage personnel, and the offense can change the play call accordingly. That's one reason Gurley was such a huge factor for the Rams before his knee issues cropped up late last season. Jones is starting to look like that kind of player. We knew he was a good runner -- he showed that his rookie year. But who knew he was this good a receiver? Kudos to LaFleur for getting this out of him. The big thing now is keeping him healthy so he's still playing in January.
I predicted 8-8, so feel free to include me in that group too. I just assumed the transition to a new coach would take time, and that a young rookie coach would makes some mistakes that would cost some games, don't think that would have been uncommon at all. But the transition has gone fast because LaFleur has created an environment where Rodgers is thriving. And Gutekunst hit on all three of those big-money signings on defense. That's rare. If he'd gone 2-for-3 it would have been a smashing success in my mind. To hit on all three has been huge and transformed the defense.
I don't doubt that he's still less than full strength from the ankle and knee injuries two weeks ago. But to some degree this is probably how it's going to be, especially when Adams isn't playing. You just don't know who the guy or guys are going to be in any given week. Depends on game plan and matchups, and then on who's open or got it going during the game. So I'm thinking it's more the latter.
There's room for improvement primarily because of Savage. He looks like a good and talented player, but as a rookie he figures to be a better player in December and January than he is now. Health will be huge too. The Smiths need to stay healthy, as do Alexander and King. I realize King gets beaten some, and he was really giving up big cushions to Hill the other night, but he also makes his share of plays that helps the defense get off the field, and this defense is clearly better when both he and Alexander are healthy, that's just obvious, at least to me, by the eyeball test. It's not a great defense, but it's a pretty decent one, better than they've had since 2010.
They don't practice today until late in the afternoon, so we won't know whether he participated. But it sounds like this (broken finger) is something he should be able to play through. will affect him some I'm sure because OLinemen use their hands a lot, but sounds like he'll be able to play through it.
Yeah, I was thinking about that on Monday myself. It seems kind of fluid, but I basically see it like you do. Valdes-Scantling is the No. 2 in part because of those big plays, they win games. I'm not so sure Lazard hasn't worked his way into the No. 3 spot, or at least is knocking on the door. Doesn't look like things are too big for him. Kumerow is making some plays, he deserves to be part of the rotation. The surprising thing with Allison has been the drops, I don't remember that being an issue in camp or games until this season. I guess I'd put him and Kumerow as co-No. 4s. But it's still probably fluid for now.
I don't know a lot about the 49ers, only that it sounds like their D-line is legit, and they run the ball well. That running game could make them a tough matchup for the Packers because of the Packers' issues stopping the run. Without knowing that much about the 49ers, though, I'd think the Saints might be the tougher matchup because they have a good back (Kamara) and a top QB. If the Packers and Saints were to play in a playoff game, home field would count for a lot -- indoor vs outdoor.
I think Greene is done for the year, the recovery from a broken ankle was too long for him to return this season
I would think Jones would be becoming a priority. But I'd first make sure he gets through the season healthy -- he didn't his first two years. He's not someone they need to move on now, they can extend him in the offseason or in camp (or even the regular season) next year. The earlier they do it the cheaper, but they also take on more of the injury risk, and that's especially big consider his history and position. Look at the Rams and Gurley.
I'm thinking the ankle injury is the big thing, he's practicing but still not playing yet, right? A lot of risk there. He's 31, and while he's a freakish athlete -- I think he's nearly as talented as Julio Jones -- that's a little bit of a worry too. I'd have been tempted to offer a third-rounder if I'm the Packers, but I'd only have offered a second-rounder if I felt really good about his recovery from the injury. Don't know if the Bengals would have traded him for a 2 anyway. And like I said, that's a big if about his injury.
Bulaga's playing well, so well that I wonder if -- assuming he makes it through the season without missing time -- another team will pay him a lot in free agency. Crosby is 35 that's getting up there, but he is having a good season. I guess to be honest, I don't have a good guess. They can make those decisions in February, so while I'm sure they have thoughts on both, they're subject to change as well. Just look how perceptions on some of the players have changed in the first eight games. There are still eight more to go. It's a tough call on both. Bulaga has really rebounded, and his market might end up being more than the Packers are willing to pay. Crosby has been really dependable but Gutekunst has been proactive about replacing some older guys, and Crosby is at a point where he could decline at any time (or keep going until 40, you never know). In other words, I don't have a prediction worth hearing.
I remember some games in the McCarthy era when they did that. I can't remember the specific games off the top of my head, but I know I remember some good four-minute offenses over the years. But I have to say, they did close out that game Sunday night. They needed a stop and then run out the clock. They got the stop and ran out the last five minutes, and they did it on the road. They just ran it down KC's throat. One thing I didn't realize until reading the news this week was that on that third-and-2 with somewhere around 3 minutes left in the game, Rodgers called an audible to a run off right guard, and Jones blasted through for a big first down.
I'm assuming it will be either Campbell or Sternberger. When Campbell is ready for regular playing time, he might be the replacement for Greene at that ILB/S spot that Amos is playing right now. It seems like their defense is better when Amos plays as a true safety rather than as an ILB with Redmond or Sullivan at safety in his place. If Campbell is good enough to hold that job, that could help their defense a little. They did cut Baylis, so they're down to three tight ends until Sternberger is activated. But Tonyan (hip injury) should have a decent shot at returning this week -- he practiced a couple days last week -- so they might not need Sternberger as a third tight end.
OK, this will have to be the final question, other duties to attend to. Too many questions to get to them all, but remember we're doing this every week, so if I didn't get to your question try again next Wednesday. I wonder that too, that trade kinda came out of the blue and was a little bit of a head scratcher. I realize Davis was hurt a lot, so maybe Gutekunst thought it was inevitable he'd get hurt again this year. But he was a pretty decent return guy, and he had some speed from the slot position (even if he wasn't what you'd call a pure slot guy) and was a good threat in the jet-sweep motion they run a lot. So that was a surprise when they dealt him. Tremon Smith looks like a decent KOR, so they'll probably be OK there, but punt return remains an issue. And with that, this week's chat is in the books. Thanks to all for taking the time to share your questions, thoughts and opinions. Sorry we didn't have time to get to them all, but as I said, try again next week. And thanks especially to our subscribers, who make our exhaustive coverage possible, it takes a lot of resources to cover the team as we do, and you make it possible. And remember, if you don't have a subscription, you can get the Packers News app for $4.99 a month, which really is a good deal for all our Packers news. With that, time to go. So until next week, take care everybody.