Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Hey Pete, tell me there’s no way they extend Martinez?! Seems like the DL is a big disappointment this year and that’s contributing to OL getting to him. But he has a hard time shedding blocks, isn’t good in space, and can’t cover anyone. Is there any chance they try Summers a few snaps a game or is he just too undisciplined right now?
    OK everybody, let's get started, lots of questions already submitted. I don't know their plans but I have trouble seeing them extending his contract. He's a good guy to have in the locker room, a pro, is assignment-sure and a good communicator/quarterback for the defense, but as a starter he just lacks the explosiveness to make a lot of plays, and inside linebackers have so many cover responsibilities against athletic tight ends and fast RBs, and he doesn't have the speed/explosiveness you need in a starter in there. I'm sure ILB will be a huge priority next offseason. No idea on Summers. He is fast, not doubt about, but does he have much of a clue what he's doing now that we're in the regular season and things are getting more complicated?
    Hi Pete,, tough to be positive but there's always hope.
    Wondering about something off the wall.
    Is it possible to move Fackrell to ILB next to Martinez to spy on a run up the middle? Fackrell is a big body run stuffer and experienced in coverage, plus fast enough to cover most TEs.
    Certainly can't be any worse than what's happening in the middle of the field now!!
    2nd. Is Burks a bust now?
    3rd. Where do you see Campbell mostly playing Sunday?
    Not sure about Fackrell. He's a long body type and has trained all his football career (college and NFL) as a pass rusher so I'm just not sure how he'd do in there, and he did run only 4.72, which for an ILB is slow, and I'd question whether his change of direction would be good enough. So my thinking is it would be a really tough transition. It's not looking promising with Burks as of now, that's true. He missed so much of camp because of the pec injury, so I'd be hesitant to call it a lost cause at this point, but with their need for a second ILB his inability to get much playing time is a bad sign. Campbell has been out so long (ACL recovery) I'd think if he's active he'd only play special teams, that's my best guess.
    After a performance like the Packers had against the Chargers do you find yourself thinking as you open the inbox to start the chat this isn't going to be much fun?
    Haha, no, but it says something that there were already submitted more questions than I'll probably be able to get to. The hard part about analyzing this league is to make perceptive judgments that have staying power and that time proves right, and to not be a prisoner of what happened most recently. It's not easy, because you want to be good at identifying real problems and not just overlooking something, but also not going up and down with whatever just happened.
    How could so much go so wrong in all three phases?
    This is kind of a follow up to your last question. Hard to explain this one, they had so much going for them. The unusual feeling of being on the road yet having the crowd very much on their side, that should have given them a huge lift. I'm sure we'll get to this later with more specific questions, but the thing that surprised me was the pass defense. Up to this game it had given up too many big plays, and it was really struggling against the run. But the thing it had going for it was on third and 5 or more, it had a decent chance of getting off the field. Not in this game.
    Heard a lot of noise on Kenny Clark before the season, pro bowl or all pro noise. Haven't seen much so far, he seems to be getting pushed around quite a bit inside. Has the loss of Daniels had an impact? The addition of the Smiths? Scheme? What's up?
    Seemed like he got off to a really good start but as the season has gone on he's been less and less visible. Seems like his pass rushing has been OK, but he hasn't been as good against the run as he was last year and really early this season. Early on the loss of Daniels didn't hurt this defense as all, but as the run issues continue maybe they could use him. Although, he has been hurt in Detroit, so maybe he's hit that point in his career (which surely was one of the reasons Gutekunst released him, concerns about his health holding up). Za'Darius Smith plays the run pretty well, and Preston Smith seems OK. I've written this already, but an OL coach in the league told me that a weakness of the Rex Ryan/Pettine scheme is stopping the run, they want to be disruptive and don't emphasize and teach being gap conscious as much as other defensive systems/coaches in the league.
    Hi Pete, here is a team that is at the top of the NFC with a healthy team and a shot at going to the superbowl; however, they have an obvious weakness in the middle of their defense against the run. Why didn't they make a move before the trade deadline? They have some cap room. You can say they can address it next year but Rodgers will be a year older and chances are they won't be as healthy.
    I did hear from someone in the league that they were asking around about ILBs -- didn't hear a specific name -- so it sounds like it was on their radar. Obviously they didn't pull the trigger, so Gutekunst thought the price was too high on any guys he inquired about. I was mildly surprised they didn't do a deal and thought ILB or TE were maybe the two most likely positions they would have traded for.
    Hi Pete------thanks much for taking my question. Based on playing time this year, it looks like the Packers have only 1 keeper out of their first 4 draft picks in 2017 (and he is hurt all the time) and the same 1 out of the 4 top picks in 2018. Do you think #52 will be another top pick bust?
    I'm not predicting Gary will be a good NFL player, bute ven first-round picks can have quiet rookie years and then blossom. I still think he's going to end up being an inside player. He's a power-oriented guy and he's already so big -- 272 if I remember right -- he could add just a little more weight and be an explosive player for an inside rusher/player. We should have a decent idea by next year at this time.
    As bad as the first half was, the Packers to start second half and could make it a one score game, even with a FG. The failure of the coaching staff to make adjustments and get a successful drive after the half is concerning, no?
    Seemed like LaFleur had made some really good adjustments the previous two or three weeks, but not in this game. The offensive line has a young and relatively speaking inexperienced coach in Stenavich, and it seemed like they didn't adjust well to the Chargers' rush. Also, that deep shot on third-and-8 on the first possession of the second half was kind of a head scratcher, though it probably was a catchable ball, it did go off Kumerow's fingertips. But still, in that situation, keep the chains moving, get some rhythm going instead of taking a shot. Don't know if that was the ball call or Rodgers' decision, but it was a strange time to take a shot.
    Pete, have you ever seen false start penalties knock a team off their game like we saw on Sunday. I went to the game, and it was like I'm still waiting for the game to start... and it was half time already. This game had a strange vibe - all the way through to the end. Your thoughts?
    I have, watching other games I'm sure I have but couldn't point them out. But you're right, that was really bad, took them out of the game early. It was a strange game, they really didn't wake up until the fourth quarter. They've had their share of really bad games over the 25 years I've covered them, and this one ranks right up there. Just a total dud.
    Thanks for the chat Pete. There probably isn’t an answer to this, but why is it that the Packers so infrequently have good special teams? They can’t cover kicks. They can’t return kicks. If they do get a good return there is a block in the back. And on and on. It seems most teams are pretty good at covering punts or at least getting 7-8 yard returns. It almost like we should just fair catch everything. I couldn’t find any rankings for ST for the last 20 years but my guess is that we have had a top 10 ST 3 maybe 5 times since then.
    This comes up a lot. My guess, and it is just a guess, is that the main reason their special teams have been shaky to bad is that they haven't had a really good return guy for a long, long. That's a huge part of it. I also get the feeling that the fans in most NFL cities are unhappy with their special teams. I remember getting letters in the mail (yes, this is before email) about how bad Nolan Cromwell was in the early-mid '90s, and the complaints haven't stopped since then. There probably are a couple special teams coaches in the league who are better than the rest, and then there's everyone else, and the Packers haven't had one of those upper-echelon guys (like Dave Toub).
    I just have a comment. After reading a lot of posts in FB or wherever, I read quite a few from people who went to the game. I live only 4 hours from GB and when I go to a game I still spend at least $400 dollars and usually at least one vacation day to go watch some good entertainment. I feel bad for all the people who spent 100s if not 1000s of dollars, not to mention vacation days, to go to that disaster. The fans deserve a lot better. I get it... we can’t win every game, and I know there will be a couple of bad games most years but they almost seemed like they didn’t care. It doesn’t make it better to tell us they weren’t focused or prepared. WTH? That was obvious. Even the least paid player on an NFL team will make more money in 3 years than most of us will make in a lifetime. They owe us focus and preparation.
    I can't disagree with you. My usual take is, you take your chances when you buy a ticket. That's how sports work, there are no guarantees, and teams have bad days. But I remember thinking in the fourth quarter of that game what a disappointment it must have been for these fans, they'd taken over the stadium, their team was looking good coming in, the vibe in the stadium was festive and pro-Packers, and then the Packers absolutely didn't show up. These things happen in sports at all levels, good teams can have horrendous days, bad teams can play out of their minds, etc, etc. And nobody forced anyone to buy a ticket. But that was an uncommonly uninspired and dreadful performance, and if it doesn't serve as a wakeup call to everyone on that team, then nothing will.
    Hi Pete! The middle of the defense is a bit of a mess. I have always thought they should have drafted Devin Bush instead of Rashan Gary at one. I'm no expert, but am a Michigan grad who watched them both closely. Bush was an anchor and a terror, maybe a bit small, but played big and fast. Gary ate up a few blockers at times, and....um....I'm sure I'll think of something else. Anyway, your thoughts?
    The only thing you're missing is that Bush was drafted before the Packers picked, the Steelers traded up to No. 10 overall to get him, Gary went at No. 12. Bush was the guy I went on record predicting they'd draft but he didn't make it to them, and they didn't trade up for him. I don't know that they would have taken Bush if both were on the board, but my guess is they would have.
    Hey Pete, Is there a comparison to be made between Terrell Buckley and Jaire Alexander? I was just a boy when T-Buck was playing so my memory may not be 100% clear, but he seemed like a little guy who liked running his mouth but lost as many battles as he won. He was an all-star in his own mind but struggled...
    No, Alexander has been a much better player in his first 1 1/2 seasons than Buckley was. Alexander has made a lot of plays on the ball, he's highly competitive and battles to the end of the play always trying to rip the ball out, and he's way, way, way  more physical in coverage and as a run defender than Buckley ever was. Alexander has given up too many big plays -- he had two more last week -- and he gambles more than he should. I think he's a good cornerback who's had a couple notably bad games this season (Dallas and LAC). It's a hard position, and almost all of them get beaten. Maybe the rest of the season will prove me wrong, but I still think he's a good, talented player.
    Pete, the Packers are just a few turnovers away from being 4-5 or even worse. Their tiresome defense ( again ) almost let the Cowboys back from 31-3 down. It's the same old story with the Packers. They've had 2 above average defenses in the last decade along with awful ones. What is it? Players? Scheme? Out dated D coordinators? It seems they may have a tailspin coming playing playing against good teams while hopefully garnering a few wins against bad teams in Washington and the Giants. Hardly a powerhouse playoff team.
    So, I've thought they were quite a bit better on defense this year than they'd been, even though they'd given up big plays and allowing a lot of yards in several games. Their pass rush was improved, and they were getting pressure rushing four, which is something they had done for years. They weren't a top defense and struggled stopping the run, but they were improved, and they were good enough. As I said early in this chat, the thing that stood out to me was their ability to get off the field on third and 5 or more. They were capable of getting stops that they often didn't get in the past. This last game, though, they didn't get those third downs and they also didn't get any turnovers, which they'd been doing almost weekly before then. But it was the third and longs that stood out to me, they gave up a few first downs in those situations. I don't know if that was an anomaly, but it's not good. I did notice Kevin King played only about half the game, he might be having trouble with that groin injury he had earlier in the season, and one of the keys to the pass defense is having him and Alexander on the field at the same time. But if I'm the Packers, that's what would have bothered me most, was not only was the run defense bad, but so was the pass defense.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chat! Will Campbell be a good addition to secondary? If so, why? run or pass D? Make others better? Thanks!
    I'll be interested to see. If he can play that ILB/safety position as well as Greene did, then it will have a domino effect on the secondary, because Amos can stay at safety all game, and he and Savage will be the safeties, rather than having Redmond or Sullivan getting a lot of snaps. But Campbell is just back from a long ACL rehab and will need time to get into any kind of playing form.
    Hi Pete, Gutekundst has added allot of talent at both OLB's, both Safety's, & guard, to help make the next step for them this year, I wasn't expecting 7-2. Yet the Packers still seem to need 2 more playmakers on offense (at WR and TE) and also 2 run stopping DL and a ILB, leaving them a handful of players short of a SB. Are the other top teams like NE, SF, Balt. more complete or do they also have 3-5 holes they are trying to cover up to get to the SB ?
    They do need all those things, but I have to point, nobody in the league has everything, that just doesn't happen anymore because of FA and the cap. The chances of there being a team like the Cowboys of the early-mid-90s, or 49ers before that, or Steelers in the '70s, are really, really, really slim. Really, is anybody in the league that good? New England was unbeaten and shutting down everybody but had played a soft schedule, then got beat last week by Baltimore, the first contender they've played. San Francisco is unbeaten, but are the 49ers really that good? Its schedule hasn't been that tough -- Tampa Bay, Cincy, Cleveland, Arizona and Washington among their wins. I don't know those teams' rosters well enough, but I suspect they have some big holes. They also have some great strengths -- it sounds like the 49ers' DL, with five former first-round picks (high first-rounders), has been dominant. The 49ers and Patriots are thin at receiver. Maybe the Patriots don't have any glaring weaknesses on defense, that might be one of their strengths.
    Hi Pete! There's an old saying that you're not as good as you look when you win big, nor as bad as you look when you get crushed. The Packers were crushed on Sunday; are they closer to the top or bottom, from your viewpoint?
    That's the question, and it gets to the point we were discussing earlier about seeing things clear-eyed while also not being a prisoner of what happened most recently. Look, maybe they'll really level off and not be nearly as good in the second half of the season. That's a possibility. This is not a great team. But their schedule isn't a killer, and it will take more than one horrendous game to convince me, after what we'd seen up to last week, that they're not a contender. They're not the top contender -- SF and NO are the top NFC contenders -- but who knows how things are going to go? Did anyone at this point 2010 think they'd win the SB? Or in '11 think the Giants would? Or '12 think the Ravens? Or in '17, with Wentz injured, think the Eagles? It's a long season with many ups and downs. They have some persistent issues (run defense, allowing big plays) that bear watching closely. That's about all I can offer up.
    Pete, compared to other teams it is so obvious we are hurting at tight end. Jimmy Graham runs like Frankenstein and couldn't fight through a wet paper sack. Is Sternberger our answer and can he possibly help much this year? I read once he had Travis Kelce potential - true? A good dynamic tight end would help our O immensely!
    I would bet against Sternberger doing much this year -- not that he can't, but odds are against it, he missed a lot of camp and the first half of the season, and it wasn't like he was making a lot of plays before he got hurt. I still think their best bet at TE is Tonyan. Maybe he'll be back from his hip injury this week. Sounds like he was fairly close last week.
    I watched the Cardinals game last week, and RB Kenyan Drake just leapt out of the screen. No surprise since he had a 4.5 ypc avg with MIA. He’s 25, ran a 4.45 40 coming out of college, and has a good pro resume and AZ got him for a conditional 6th...which means BG could have gotten him for a 5th. The guy’s talent is obvious. So, please explain to me like I’m a 7th grader why BG wouldn’t have gotten him?
    I'm not saying RB isn't a need, I think it is because of Jones' injury history, and you really need two of them in any given game, so if Jones is hurt they're down to one. Earlier in the year I would have been strongly in your boat, and I still get the point because there's still almost half a season to go, and Jones could get hurt. But Williams has played well, there's no denying that. So if they'd traded for Drake, he might hardly play. He looked good, but I'd take Jones over him in a heartbeat, so it's not like he'd come in and be the starter. The reason he played for Arizona was because David Johnson was hurt. I guess that's a long way of saying, I'd have looked harder for an ILB or TE than RB if I were the Packers. I get your point, it could be Jones will get hurt and they'll have wished they had Drake. But a lot of these decisions are really gray area.
    Pete, I'm glad the Packers didn't jump into the trading deadline. This team is still six or seven players away from being a Super Bowl contender. Your thoughts.
    As I said earlier, I was mildly surprised they didn't make a deal, especially for an ILB, TE or maybe WR. I really thought they would. I don't think they're six or seven players away from being a contender. Everything that's happened so far this season suggests they're a contender now. Not a top contender, but legitimately in the conversation. Now, maybe things go dowhnill down the stretch, that's a possibility. But as we were talking about earlier, every team has plenty of holes. They need to upgrade a couple positions for sure (ILB, TE, maybe/probably WR). But they have a decent amount of talent, too.
    Is there anything you see that would make the casual observer/fan of the Pack more encouraged about the development of their young TE's (Tonyan) and WR's (MVS, Lazard) ? It's pretty worrisome in a game like last week that MVS is held without a catch and only had 2 targets...
    OK, this will have to be the last question, other duties to get to. But thanks everyone for coming by and sharing your opinions and questions. Way too many questions to get to them all, but hopefully in answering someone else's question I addressed what you might have been thinking about. I do think Tonyan's return can help a little, he's their most athletic TE by far, and Lazard looks pretty decent -- he's not a blazer or anything but has great size and seems to have some football instincts. Valdes-Scantling has been mostly a boom or bust guy so far this year, a legit big-play threat for sure but not producing a lot of short- and medium-range plays. He still has half a season to keep improving, but the this seasons' clock is ticking, and they need the help. He is a talented guy, and it seems like he wants to be good, which is important because it suggests he'll work at it. But they could use a lot more consistency out of him, and I thought he'd be showing more by this point. With that, we'll have to put this chat in the books. Thanks again everyone, and thanks especially to our subscribers, you help make possible our extensive coverage of this team, it takes a lot of resources and you help provide them. And remember you can get the Packers News app for $4.95 a month, it's a great deal for all the Packers news fit to print. Thanks again everyone, and until next week, take care.
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