Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Thanks for the chat Pete! Well we made a good run this year far and above what was expected. So what kind of changes do you expect to see in the offseason in terms of both coaches and players?
    OK everybody, let's get right to it. I really don't know what kind of changes, if any, there will be on the coaching staff. We have no history with LaFleur to base anything on. He was asked about retaining Pettine this morning and gave an ambiguous answer, "still working through everything." With no history with him to go off, it's hard to know whether that's just a stock answer or whether he is considering replacing Pettine. He could have said Pettine will be back, and he didn't say that, but there's just not much to base an interpretation of his answer on. As for the roster, there's always a decent amount of turnover, and I have to think they'll make their share of moves to upgrade several positions. Last season strongly suggests Gutekunst is going to be pretty aggressive about acquiring players. I'm sure as this chat goes on we'll get into specific positions.
    Hi Pete : Considering all the money invested in defensive players and after that defensive fiasco, do you think that management will be seriously considering whether they have the right defensive coordinator for the job?
    I don't know what role Gutekunst and Murphy will have in this. For all the time I've been covering this team, the coaching staff has been the head coach's call, though the GM offered his recommendations/observations. I'm guessing that's still the case. All signs last year pointed to Gutekunst and Murphy liking the job Pettine did a lot and recommending LaFleur keep them. I don't know if the spotty defensive performance overall and disastrous last game have done anything to change their thinking and what either or both will recommend. I have to think a change is at least on the table -- LaFleur retained Pettine last year but didn't bring him in, and he might have someone he's worked with in the past he wants to hire, his own guy, so to speak.
    Health issues aside, who do you consider to be the better CB....Alexander or King? How do their skills match up with those required by the defensive schemes used by the Packers this year. Finally, how you rank the remaining CB s on the roster at the end of the season?
    I think Alexader is pretty clearly the best CB on on the team and remains an ascending player, a talented guy who also competes very hard. It's good to have someone with King's length on the field, can help with tough match-ups, though it was interesting they didn't match him with Metcalf against Seattle, which I was sure they would. Tramon Williams had a solid season as the nickel, very impressive for a 36-year-old guy. Normally at that age you'd just assume he's done, but I don't think it's out of the realm that he's back next year. After that they were OK but there's room to get better. Sullivan was OK, Redmond was OK. Hollman was a rookie and late-round pick, so this was basically a redshirt season for him. Jackson was obviously a big disappointment, couldn't get on the field even in the dime. I realize he missed a fair amount of camp, but still, he had all season to move up the depth chart and didn't. That's a high pick (second round), they need a lot more than that from him.
    Overlooked in the Gutekunst accolades is how bad his first draft in 2018 has turned out, directly affecting the WR and inside LB positions. He used 9 picks on offense/defense (two more for punter and long snapper) and only ONE player (Alexander) started our contributed on offense/defense this past season. His three picks on WRs and one pick at LB were failures. Your opinion, and why isn't there critical coverage on this in the media?
    There has been some critical coverage on that and I'm sure there will be more this offseason. The Jackson and Burks picks really hurt because they were in the top three rounds and contributed nothing. Once you get in the later rounds it's really hit-or-miss, and St. Brown didn't play because of injury so you never know how he might turn out. But Valdes-Scantling failed to blossom, I thought he was going to be a pretty decent player this year, and instead he went from playing a lot to hardly playing at all. I think he might have had only one snap in the NFC championship game. I'm sure there will be a lot more about that class in the offseason.
    One other draft question--has Gutekunst explained why he drafted Gary after signing the Smiths in free agency at the same position. That pick at # 12 was desperately needed elsewhere, like WR or inside LB.
    I don't argue with drafting at that position, you can't have enough good rushers in this game, look at what it's done for SF. There's always a way to get them on the field. The question is whether Gutekunst picked a good player with the pick, and that's very much an open issue after Gary's rookie season.
    Raheem Mostert gained 142 of his 220 yards before contact. What does that say about the defensive coaching and scheme?
    I'm still trying to figure out how much of it was scheme and how much was really poor play. I've said it on this chat before, very early in the season an OL coach in the league told me that from his experience (and from what he's been told by guys who knows who have worked on the staffs) the Rex Ryan/Pettine scheme isn't as detailed on teaching gap control and assignments as other defenses because it emphasizes getting the DL upfield and disrupting. So that's probably part of the issue, and very well could be the main issue. It didn't seem like Pettine tried much as far as a lot of different fronts -- he tried different personnel, but for instance didn't do much of the six-man front that New England used against the Rams' run in the SB last year. But re-watching the game this week, the Smiths were surprisingly bad on the ends, and even today at his press conference LaFleur said the defense didn't set the edge like it had during the regular season. He didn't say the Smiths by name, by they were the guys out there, so that's who he's talking about.
    Hi Pete
    Since not many NFL teams utilize the fullback position shouldn't the Packers have been able to find a guy better at blocking than using a tight end this season? We saw the difference a good FB makes on Sunday.
    I'm not sure college football produces many of these guys, they have to be able to catch and block to be worth playing very much. Juszczyk averages $5.25M a year, that's off the charts for a fullback. Even though not many teams use fullbacks much, there just aren't many of them out there from what I can tell.
    There has to be some real concern as GM about Rodgers overall body of work last 3 seasons. I mean I know hes really stuck with him due to the contract but is he really ‘The Man’ anymore? Some ‘greatness’ in between but at highest level of games he has not been good, and hes only getting older with heftiest of contracts. Seems like a hard formula to win it all with. If the measure of a great QB is making those around him better can we say thats been the case?
    I guess I'm not convinced he's any different than Favre was at the same age, or Elway at the same stage in his career. Favre had a couple more really good seasons (one in GB, one in Minnesota). Elway won two Super Bowls with an offense built around a Hall of Fame running back (Terrell Davis). Obviously Rodgers doesn't make the players around him better in the way he used to -- he isn't as good scrambling and turning nothing into something; not that he can't do it, but he can't do it as routinely. He definitely needs more help. But there are other ways he can make a difference, with his knowledge of defenses, and he still has great arm talent. He's also been in the offense for a year, so that should help next season. He just needs a little more around him than he used to, just as Favre and Elway did. Rodgers' cap number next year is $21.1M, that's low for the position.
    Pete,
    There was a lot of concern over the hiring of the offensive line coach due to his lack of experience last year. What's your take on the job he did? Obviously we can see why MLF wanted a guy from the SF system. Will he be the guy that can get the outside zone working next year?
    The offensive line had a good season overall, so I have to think Stenavich did a pretty good job. I think as the season went on they ran more outside zone and got better at it. Year 2 in a scheme is when you'd expect to see a real jump.
    Off season for the Packers, obviously the Packers run defense needs work Is the Packers defensive line a subject of where new talent is needed or not? So do they packers work on the OL or DL or try for a playmaker WR or TE?
    I definitely think the DL is a possibility for, say, a high draft pick. They don't have a lot to go with Clark. Again, look at what all that DL talent does for SF. I think they need to do all the things you talk about. Now, obviously they have only so many high picks -- they don't have multiple first-rounders this year. But there's also free agency. Maybe they can find a really good run stuffer, for instance, and play him situationally. Those guys aren't as expensive as pass rushers.
    The Packers will unload a Brinks truck to pay Kenny Clark, have spent ten of millions on the Smith Brothers, supposedly have two great young corners, and good safeties. So their two DTs and ILBs are the worst in the league??? Or should Mike Pettit be fired??? How in professional football can a back average 10 yards a carry when you know they are going to run the ball?
    That game was mind-boggling, I just don't remember seeing a Packers defense so utterly unable to stop the run in all my time covering the team (since '93). I do think ILB was a big hole in their defense. With the way the game is now, you need a talented, multi-dimensional guy in there, and Martinez just doesn't have the speed and explosiveness to be that guy. SF has three ILBs who are better. But it'snot like you can put the whole thing on him. That defense just wasn't ready to play and never found an adjustment that worked, and that's on Pettine. Whether it will cost him his job, I'm not sure. We don't know everything that goes on inside the building, and how his chemistry is with LaFleur, etc. But I have to think all options are on the table. LaFleur said he's conducted exit interviews with the players and needs to finish with his coaching staff. I'd think he'd get that done in the next day or two.
    I heard a comment the other day about the reasons why Philip Rivers never made it to the Super Bowl despite the talent. The reasons were named Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Packers could upgrade talent in the off season and still finish with a worse record or earlier exit from the playoffs. I think you have some ascending teams and players that have and will continue to close the window for Rodgers regardless of Father Time.
    That could happen, no question, there are no guarantees. But they have a lot of resources. No reason to think that with some good moves in FA and a good draft pick or two they can't be a lot better next season.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! There are some huge holes on our roaster, but we cannot fill in all in this offseason. Right? If we have one FA and 2 top pics, which positions will you fill in? WR, ILB and DL? We need speed on both the sides. Right?
    They won't be able to fill them all with higher-end players, that's true but they can upgrade them all if they sign and pick the right guys.In free agency, maybe Gutekunst goes for one or two expensive guys, or maybe he brings in more players at mid-level prices, for instance. You can add TE and T to that list, depending on whether they re-sign Bulaga at T. They clearly need to upgrade at WR, I'd say that and ILB are the highest priorities. But, and I realize this isn't likely but still, what if a QB they really like is there in the first or second round. How do pass that up if you're them? Anyway, I'd put WR/TE and ILB as the highest of several high priorities. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't take a DL in R1 if there's, say, a Kenny Clark there, or a T.
    Hello Pete, Well the Packers season ended with a loud thud and big grimace on Sunday, but not terribly surprising! Like your other readers today, there's many questions, comments and concerns about the Packers in going forward although the future looks good compared to coming off the 2017 and 2018 seasons! If you were a betting man does Mike Pettine keep his job? And if you had to bet who won't be on the roster next year will it be Bulaga and/or Martinez? Safe bet Graham will be gone and how many "good years" does our aging, ex-superstar QB have left? Thank you.
    I'm just not sure on Pettine, didn't get a great read from LaFleur's press conference today. I'm not sure what the right move is, either, because a new DC means starting over with a new scheme, and all that entails, including whether the players added last season fit the new scheme. Maybe the biggest factor is whether LaFleur has someone in mind he really likes, maybe someone he would have hired had Pettine not impressed the Packers' front-office with his good showing last year. If LaFleur has someone he really liked, then there's probably a good chance he'll make the change. As for players, it's a given Graham is gone, right? I have to think Martinez is gone, too. Bulaga is the tough call because he had such a good season, but there's his age and injury. I'm leaning toward thinking he'll be too expensive, but I need to talk to some people around the league and think it through some more.
    Thanks for doing the chat Pete--------questions for the future of the Pack. Do you think the HC will improve enough in year 2 to be able to coach against the top coaches in the league? How do the Packers adjust their game plans now that #12 has proven he is nothing more than an average QB? can we believe the GM will find the team an immediate starter at number 30 in the draft after completely blowing the tenth pick in the draft this year? Thank you.
    LaFleur definitely needs a steep growth curve. He did a lot better in his first year than I predicted, I figured his inexperience would cost them several games at minimum. The difference between him and Shanahan was pretty big, Shanahan is so much more experienced even though they're essentially the same age. But coaches can improve just like players. I have to disagree with your assessment of Rodgers. I think he's much, much better than an average QB. He's not as good as he was, but he's still really good, just has some physical limitations as a runner he didn't have, and he's not as consistent as he was. Elway went 7-7 and then 8-8 as a starter at ages 34 and 35, then went 45-8 and won two Super Bowls. Favre led the league in interceptions at age 36 and went 8-8 at 37, then went to two more NFC title games. Rodgers will have to adjust the way he plays as his mobility decreases, but he still has the arm talent. And yeah, Gutekunst really needs to find a guy at 30 who contributes a lot more than Gary did this year, I don't think the GM will be able to spend as heavily in free agency as he did last year, so he'll need to hit on a pick or two -- doesn't have to be the first rounder (look at Jenkins this season), but that's the most likely place to find one.
    Just curious as to your opinion...biggest off season re-signing: Bulaga, Martinez or Crosby? Or do you extend Clark now? Thanks!
    I'd probably work hard to extend Clark now, he's only going to get more expensive if you wait until next year. I'm thinking Bulaga might end up costing too much for a team with so many needs. Martinez walks, IMHO. I'd re-sign Crosby despite his age, kickers put points on the board and he had an excellent season.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! I understand this is NFL, so a small difference can make a big difference in scores or games. Given that, GB beat SEA while SEA was quite competitive to SF. Does this mean GB was simply outcoached by SF or RWilson was simply key or it means nothing?
    Wilson's mobility makes a huge difference, he's just so elusive he can single-handedly neutralize the pass rush. But with the way the Packers' run D played, I don't think it would have made a difference. Shanahan outcoached Pettine in that game, I think that's a really safe conclusion.
    Hi Pete. Any chance the Packers could bulk up Rashaun Gary a little then move him inside ?
    I asked LaFleur that this morning, and he essentially said that while Gary is versatile enough to move around, he doesn't think he'd be good playing interior DL down-in and down-out. So it looks like they have no plans to do what you're asking.
    Hi Pete - what would you expect with some of the players who failed to 'make the leap' this year, but didn't. Burks, MVS, Montravius Adams, Josh Jackson, and maybe Tonyan come to mind. Do you expect any of them will still make an impact, would you expect to see them released, or do you think they will have to fight for jobs in camp? Thanks!
    I'd say things don't look good for M Adams, he's played three seasons now and hasn't shown much. He could have a tough time making the roster next season. Burks, Valdes-Scantlng and Jackson are all in similar spots -- two seasons in and still struggling. Burks at least was a core special teams player, I think he might have led them in ST snaps, so that alone could keep him on the roster next year. There's no reason not to bring back Valdes-Scantling and Jackson for camp, they're on rookie contracts. But they will be fighting for their lives to make the roster.
    Do you feel that the Packers will be able to attract free agent talent with Rogers salary being so much of the total cap....
    As I said earlier, his cap number is only $21.2M for '20, which is only about 10.6 percent of the cap, that's really low. His cap number balloons to $36.4M in '21, though they can adjust his deal if they need to create more room. But there will be a new CBA in place then, so the team's cap number could go up more than usual (if the players get a larger share of the pie in the next negotiations).
    Aside from the upgrades needed on the defense, it seems clear that the Packers need to add a speedy wide receiver or two and a tight end. But they also need another running back who can complement Jones or step in when he's injured. How do you rank these two priorities: running back v. receivers?
    Agree on that, that's something that's easy to overlook. Running backs get hurt, and Jones has had more than his share of injuries. You can't have the offense go down the tubes if he gets hurt. They need a more dynamic backup. Williams is a really good guy to have around, but with how LaFleur wants to run the ball, you need multiple backs, like the 49ers. Look what happened to the Rams (who run the same offense) when Gurley's knee got bad. They didn't have enough depth at that position.
    Hey Pete, thanks for the chat and a good season. 2 things we should do to make a splash this season: release bulaga, sign jack Conklin, also clean up our TE mess and sign Austin hooper. Your thoughts??
    I have to think Conklin will be way too expensive, they have so many other needs too. I'm wondering about Hooper myself. He's not a top TE, but he's not bad. I have no idea what his price will be though.
    If La Fleur decides to make a change at defensive coordinator do you have any possibilities for a replacement based on his connections or history?
    I don't, not yet. Obviously Wade Phillips comes to mind, but I don't know why McVay let him go. LaFleur and McVay are friends, so I'm sure LaFleur can find out what the deal was there, and if there's a red flag that would keep him from hiring Phillips.
    I se the Packers needing to take a fast WR and a MLB, as well as backup RT and TE in the draft. But they need to be thinking about their next starting QB after Rodgers' contract is completed. What are your thoughts about Marcus Marriott - M Lafleur should be familiar with him. If the price is too high, do you thing Josh Rosen could be acquired and coached up?
    Both of those guys have had multiple chances as a starter and failed, so I doubt either is much of a candidate to be a keeper at QB.
    Is Kenny Clark worth BIG money? At times he seems dominant. But there are games where he doesn't seem to do much.
    by Is Kenny Clark worth BIG money? There are times 1/22/2020 7:49:26 PM
    Yeah. Good interior DLs who can play both run and pass are hard to find, and he's only 24.
    Should the Pack have drafted D Lawrence or M Sweat over R Gary? Was D Savage a reach since we gave up our 4th rounders and could have drafted Thornhill late in the 1st ? Your thoughts
    Probably need to let that play out for one more year. I wondered about Brian Burns, he's the outside rusher who had 7 1/2 sacks for Carolina this season. Simmons the interior DL Tennessee took looks pretty good too, and if I remember right the Packers liked him but he was an injury risk -- I think he tore his ACL training for the scouting combine. Savage looks pretty talented to me and he has something you can't coach, speed.
    Being the Niners were going to run the ball heavily is there a reason why Raven Green wasn't activated for the game. I'm sure he would of helped in stuffing the run
    He hadn't played in a game for four months, I just wonder if there was too much rust.
    Hi Pete. I hear this draft is heavy on offensive tackles and light on ILB. The Packers would be wise to draft a stud offensive tackle to replace Bulaga instead of trying to draft for need which will get them nowhere (remember Damarious Randall and Quinton Rollins, Antuan Edwards and Fred Vinson all "need" picks who were busts).
    That's a possibility, take a T in the first round, sign someone inexpensive such as Veldheer, and whoever plays better in camp opens the season as starter. The only thing with ILB is, I have my doubts they can find a talented one on the open market, so they still will probably need to use a high pick to get someone with real ability there. There are many possibilities with that first-round pick.
    Hi Pete - what do you think the Packers have in Sternberger? Despite missing most of camp and the season, and despite rookie TEs rarely contributing, I thought it was telling that he was on the field so much the last few weeks. He looked better than expected as a blocker, and was thought of as an athletic TE in the receiving game. Do you think the Packers view him as a starter next year, or will they look for someone else?
    OK, this has to be the last question, other duties to get to. So many questions, the time just blew by. But the chats will continue throughout the offseason so if I didn't get to your question try again next week. It's hard to get much of a handle on Sternberger, though maybe he gave just the smallest of glimpses the last couple weeks, had three receptions including the TD on a scramble play against the 49ers. The surprising thing with him was he blocked decently, and that wasn't part of his MO coming out of college, he was pegged as more of a pure receiver. He's tough to get a handle on because he missed the first half of the season with the ankle injury, but he played more as the season went on, not less like some other guys, so that's a sign he has some promise. I don't know if they see him as a starter next year, that has to be at least a possibility, he seems to have passed up Tonyan late in the season. But he needs to make that big second-year jump to be a bona fide starter. Graham is gone, and while Lewis filled a niche, he'll be 36 next year, just not sure it's smart to bring him back at that age, they need to get younger and faster (of course, I thought the same thing last year). So the starting job is wide open. With that, we'll call it a chat. Thanks again to everyone for coming by, and I just want to say how much I've enjoyed the chats all season, very much enjoy all the varied questions and insights you take the time to share, I hope you know how much I appreciate it. You know your team, that is for sure. And a special thanks as always for our subscribers, who make our thorough coverage of this team possible. Remember, if you aren't a subscriber you can get the Packers News app for $4.99 a month, it's a great deal for all our Packers coverage, and there's a lot of it in the offseason. With that, we'll call it a day, but we'll talk again next week. Take care everybody!
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