Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Hi Pete, thanks as always for the chat. Wasn't Burks drafted to help cover TEs with his speed? Yet he didn't get one snap on defense against KC. What's going on there?
    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.
    Hey Pete
    Loved the interview you did with Bill Michaels this week.
    Dont you think Elgton Jenkins has been a great draft choice so far? And it seems to me the offense has been different since he has been starting. I think he has been the best pick by Gutey so far!
    Mark
    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.
    Thanks for the chat Pete.
    Both of the Smiths are looking at career highs in sacks, and we are only half way through the season. Is this a by product of new scheme, new team, new energy, or do you think it is a matter of guys in their prime finally realizing their potential?
    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.
    2 questions: 1)Given the success of the new offense - will Mike McCarthy ever get another Head Coaching job?
    2) Will they have to renegotiate Aaron Jones before next season?
    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.
    Thanks for the chat, I think it was the right move not giving up draft picks for short term help this year. Any reason available FAs such as Nick Perry, Muhammad Wilkerson, Jay Ajayi, Zach Brown, or Martavis Bryant haven’t signed yet,
    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.
    What's the status of Aaron Jones' contract. Is next season the last on his rookie deal?
    His rookie contract runs through next season.
    Hi Pete! Well another week and another Packers win ho hum...Before the season started ESPN predicted Green Bay to start the season 7-0 with their 1st loss coming at Kansas City! How ironic and prophetic huh? They also predicted them to finish the season at 13-3. At this rate a "Baker's Dozen" worth of wins seems possible, but probably not, but then again if Aaron Rodgers continues his magic and the defense continues it's "Bend but don't break" mindset anything is possible. But still their are concerns with the defense giving up way to many big plays and big yards and since the Packers didn't make any trades yesterday where another LB or DT could have helped, what concerns you most about this team at the half-way point of the season? And YES I'll be at the game here Sunday with sunscreen in hand as temps are expected in the low 80s! Thank you.
    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.
    Do you think more tape on Packers O will lead to defenses figuring them out? Are the concepts that LaFleur is using new to the league or just new to the Packers with the execution of Rodgers to back it up? Have we started to see LaFleur do in game adjustments to offensive strategy?
    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.
    Who will be returning punts? Can the defense be tightened up sufficiently to be of playoff caliber?
    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.
    Hey Pete, Can you remember a time when the Packers faced three straight opponents coming off of byes (or, in the case of KC, their mini-bye), let alone beat all three opponents? That has to be some sort of crazy-rare scheduling anomaly. To sweep the series against three pro-teams with bonus time to prepare is very impressive.
    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.
    Winning trumps all. However I was pretty disappointed in the defensive coverage Pettine used in KC. Facing a QB who had been retired for more than a year (he wasn't that great when he was playing) and an OL that was missing several key parts Pettine elected to play zone (much of it soft zone) and no blitzes' I thought he made it way to easy on Moore to get in rhythm and make easy completions. Although Pettine tightened it up in the 4th the 1st three quarters were way too easy for KCs offense. Your thoughts?
    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.
    Hi Pete! Loved the column with Eric. Had me thinking about comments made earlier this year about how the Saints suddenly became good with the addition of Alvin Kamara; are we seeing a similar kind of thing happening with the Packers with the ascending Aaron Jones?
    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.
    It's gotten real. Lot of people jumpin on the bandwagon. I've noticed a lot of pundits and talking heads who from January through September weren't saying anything good about the Packers and the Rogers-LaFleur relationship and were predicting gloom and doom are suddenly jumping on board. Would it be bad form to name names and what they were predicting (Silverstein 7-9). I thought Murphy and Gute made the right moves but the early results do surprise me. You?
    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.
    Hey Pete, thanks for the chat. I missed the KC game (blackouts here Northern California) I noticed MVS wasn't targeted much. Was he hurt, or simply the game played out without him getting the call all that much?
    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.
    Pete, thanks for the chat. Do you think our defense has what it takes to make a deep run into the playoffs? They are opportunistic, and the addition of the Smiths and Savage is certainly an upgrade, but good quarterbacks will shred them, it seems to me. Room for improvement there or is what we see what we're going to get?
    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.
    Pete, Is there a record for shortest in-air TD pass? If so, the pass from AR to AJ of about two feet would have to be it. Also, what is Bulaga's status?
    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.
    Hopefully Adams returns Sunday, I'm thinking of the order behind him. Allison seems to be playing himself out of the rotation, Kumerow has great hands but struggles with separation, MVS has the best tools doesn't get many targets (puzzling, injury's?) and Lazard keeps getting better. At this point how do you see the WR 2,3,4 order?
    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.
    Hi Pete. Love these chats Halfway through and 7-1. 3 teams to contend with, Vikings, Saints and 49's. Out of the 3 which team in your opinion represents the biggest stumbling block in the Packers road to the Super Bowl?
    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.
    Hi Pete, When might we expect Raven Greene back? It seems his loss and Kenny Clark's leg injury really set the D back from its week 1 and 2 dominance.
    I think Greene is done for the year, the recovery from a broken ankle was too long for him to return this season
    Hi Pete, thanks for the chat. With the trade deadline now past, do the Packers start looking at some key contract extensions? Kenny Clark seems like a must, but I wonder if Aaron Jones isn't accelerating past him in terms of priority. Your thoughts?
    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.
    Pete, living in "Bengal country", the local media is hyper-critical that the Bengals didn't work out a deal with either the Packers or the Saints for A. J. Green. From the Packers' perspective, I have to believe they had limited interest in a guy who would be a $5MM salary cap hit for the balance of the year, in addition to the injury issues. Your thoughts?
    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.
    What is your prediction on Bulaga and Crosby returning in 2020. Both have had a good start to 2019.
    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.
    Pete, the Packers were able to close out the game against the Chiefs by running the ball the last five minutes for the most part. During the mike McCarthy era, that never seemed to work. Why was it successful in this new offense on Sunday?
    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.
    With one open spot on the roster, will this be filled by Campbell (my bet), Sternberger or Greene? Or will they free up another roster spot to maybe activate both Campbell and Sternberger?
    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.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! Does Gure regret a trade of TDvavis to Raiders for 6th pick? If we have him, our SP problems should have much better, Right?
    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.
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