Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Hey Pete. Thanks so much for doing these chats! Packers need difference makers on both sides of the ball. If you could find one on Offense and one on Defense, what positions would you take for this team? I'm leaning toward WR and D-Line. But O-Line and LB was a very close second!
    Hope everybody is staying safe and healthy. Let's get right to it. If you're talking real difference makers, then the position almost doesn't matter. If you're talking adding a good player, I'd probably say receiver (or tight end for that matter) on offense, and probably inside linebacker on defense, though D-line would be a close second for me. That's the opposite of what you had on defense, but it's a close call either way.
    Really appreciate your chats especially now. The Packer’s offense severely lacked any kind of quick threats. So now they have signed another pedestrian WR and I guess a semi warm body as a tight end. How is this team going to be any better than last years?
    I'll be curious to find out Funchess' contract. He is another big but slowish receiver -- he ran 4.71 at the scouting combine before his draft. I don't know if they see him as a guy who's definitely going to be the rotation, or just added competition there. His contract should give some indication of their thinking. The way they can get better is from improvement from within -- one or more from the group of Sternberger, St. Brown, Lazard, and Valdes-Scantling on offense, Gary, Savage, Burks, Keke on defense). They also can get better by hitting on a draft pick or two. And free agency isn't finished, you never know who they might end up signing, what opportunities might pop up on the trade market. I'm not saying any or all of those things will happen, but at least some of them certainly could.
    Given struggles of Josh Jackson, have Chandon Sullivan and Ka'dar Holman shown they can be adequate backups so that drafting a CB in the early rounds is not a necessity?
    Drafting a CB in the first two or three rounds isn't a necessity but would not be a surprise. Sullivan played OK last year, he's a viable backup but I don't think you'd want to go into the season with him as your No. 3. Hollman is still very much an unknown. Maybe they're waiting until after the draft to decide whether to re-sign Tramon Williams.
    Hi Pete, let’s get to the important stuff. There is no possible way there will be an NFL season this year. None. There needs to be a vaccine before players and fans can safely play and attend NFL games and we’re at least a year away from that happening.
    Anything and everything is in play, including canceling the season. But I really don't know what the odds are, seems almost impossible to even guess. We just don't know how things are going to look a month from now let alone in four or five months.
    Pete, your associate wrote an article earlier this week explaining how Guteys being frugal in FA this year can pay off for the Packers when it comes time to extending guys like Clark and Bakhtiari. What would lead anybody to believe GB is going to extend Bakhtiari? He will turn 29 this year. In the past few seasons we've seen them unceremoniously cut Josh Sitton for nothing in return, not even a compensatory pick, coming off a pro-bowl season at age 29, let T.J. Lang leave in FA after a pro-bowl season at age 29, and now let Bulaga leave after a very good season at age 29. Even if they do break from form and wish to extend him, why in the world would he want to sign an extension here when he could be unceremoniously cut at any moment like his buddy Sitton? Because God forbid we have a starting o-lineman on the roster that is 30 or above, even if it is an all-pro like Bakhtiari.
    For starters, Bakhtiari has a better injury profile than Lang and Sitton, both of whom had chronic back issues. Also, the reason they cut Sitton was that he became a locker-room cancer after the Packers told him they weren't going to do an contract extension with him during training camp. And finally, left tackle is a premium position, good ones are really hard to find, and he's one of the best. I'm sure he'd be happy to sign an extension that has a lot of guaranteed money. And if he signs an extension this offseason or early in the season, then he'll transfer the injury risk for 2020 from himself to the Packers.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! Given a very salary cap with
    "must done" extensions with Clark and Bakhtiari (AJones?), I understood Gutey's limited moves in FA. We need drafts to assess a roaster improvement, but I'm curious what you think so far, good or bad?
    OK. As I'd said in these chats leading up to free agency, I thought he'd sign backstop guys at ILB and T, which he did -- he spent a tad more on them than I might have guessed, but not much. Now when he drafts at those positions the rookies won't have to come in and start unless they're ready to. But I did think he'd sign a TE or maybe WR in the $6M to $11M range too, which he hasn't done. That would have put some stress on the team's budget/cap but would have been doable even with Clark, Bakhtiari and maybe Jones looming. He signed Funchess but the contract's value hasn't been reported yet, so it's probably on the cheap side. I still wonder if he'll sign a bargain DL to help play the run before it's all said and done.
    Hi Pete Love the chats! Thanks for doing these. With the Funchess signing, and ESB back, I believe that 30th pick will now be a tackle, or if one of the ILB's like Murray or Queen drop to them. Still would like to see them sign a D-Lineman if any are out there. Gutey needs an impactful draft. Tackle, ILB, WR, DL, and RB! We need to find 1 or 2 more difference makers on both sides of the ball.
    I would think most positions will at least be on the table at No. 30, though my best guess is it will be a WR, ILB, T or DL. I'm not sure I'd say any one of them is more likely than the others. Maybe Gutekunst will move back into the early second round, like he did in '08, when he moved from No. 30 to No. 38, picked up a fourth-round pick and selected Nelson. Then he could use that fourth-rounder to move up in either the second or third rounds for a guy he really likes, or exercise the pick.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! We need explosiveness in offense, right? Does Funchess have one? Why did some players record quite different 40-records between combines and prodays? surface, familiarity or condition? Which one do you trust? Is good on tape enough for them?
    Funchess reportedly ran 4.50 on his Pro Day after running 4.71 at the combine. That's a really big difference. I don't know the surface they run on at Michigan, but the thing with the combine is the surface is the same for everyone. So I'd put more stock in the combine myself. Yeah, guys can have a bad day for whatever reason, but they get to run it twice. The game tape matters more, though. I think Jerry Rice ran like 4.67, something like that, but he's the best receiver ever.
    Pete… Don’t you think that the talk of Roger’s demise is greatly skewed because of the change in playcalling from McCarthy to laFleur ? If you look at the extremely large almost record making touchdown numbers from jones and switch many of those to pass plays resulting in touchdown passes the change in quarterback rating would be incredibly significant. I haven’t done the math but it would certainly put him back into the top five or six in the NFL. My eyes tell me he still among the best quarterbacks in the league and the national commentators that are looking at numbers don’t get the full picture. What are your thoughts Pete?
    He had 26 touchdown passes last year and 25 the year before, so I think there's more to it than that. He's had two of his lowest completion percentages the last two years. And he's clearly not as mobile as he was a few years, that was pretty obvious last year. All that said, yeah, he's still capable of playing great football, he still has exceptional arm talent. He can't carry a team like he did in say '16, but he's still an upper-echelon QB, just needs a little more help than he used to.
    Hey Pete, I’m sure you’re getting a lot of comments/questions about the Funchess signing. At best would he be in competition against EQ? Lazard sure seems to be the better player but doesn’t have as much experience. What do you think?
    That's what I'm thinking. Again, Funchess' contract (especially the amount guaranteed) will tell us a lot about what the Packers are thinking, whether they see him as a likely starter or more as a rotational guy. His production has been a little erratic and he's had big drop issues, but he did have 63 catches and eight TDs in '17.
    Hi Pete
    I am glad these chats are continuing! For all the talk about free agents, are the Packers getting better, faster, etc...I feel Aaron Rodgers has play better and get his completion percentage up ...2011-68% between 2012-16 64-67%...the last few yrs 62%. This is why the Packers were in third and long situations all yr..4-6% difference in accuracy is a lot! Your thoughts?
    Mark
    An earlier question asked how the Packers can get better, another way is that Rodgers and the rest of the offense improve in his second year in LaFleur's system.
    Pete, thanks for the chat. A lot could happen between now and the fall, but I'd feel pretty good if I were the Packers. Patricia might be coaching his last season with an of-injured Matt Stafford, Chicago has an underperforming defense and a quarterback mess that Nick Foles won't fix and the Vikings are shedding talent. Second consecutive NFC North title?
    There's still the draft too, which we won't know how much that helps any of these teams until they're playing games. On paper the moves by everyone in the division have been underwhelming. I'm sure the Bears are thinking that Foles can help them being reunited with DeFillipo, who was QB coach in Philly when they won the SB. But I'm not even positive he'll be the starter. The Vikings have shed talent but have a lot of draft capital. If I were them I'd be most concerned about the defense, because some of those key guys are get older, they could start declining on that side of the ball unless they draft well. I don't know what to make of Detroit. Maybe the Lions will surprise, though outside looking in it doesn't look great. But the Packers have plenty of questions too.
    There's talk the Packers should sign Jameis Winston to back up Aaron Rodgers. A great talent who could learn from Rodgers about cutting down on his interceptions. He'd need to accept being a backup, but there aren't really any openings to be a starter. And he'd have to agree to whatever the Packers could pay him. But he'd be great insurance if Aaron were to get injured. What say you?
    I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty lukewarm on the idea. Guess it depends in part on what they think of Boyle, also on whether they use a pick in the first three or four rounds on a QB. Not sure what kind of deal it would take, if he'd just accept the minimum.
    Hi Pete, any merit to the thought that Lane Taylor could compete for the RT spot? He filled in admirably, albeit briefly, at LT for a game or two if I recall correctly.
    I guess it's a possibility, I'm surprised they haven't released him to pick up the cap room (I think it's like $4.6M they'd gain), but they don't owe him a roster bonus this spring, and if he gets hurt in the offseason working out on his own, they're not on the hook financially. So it's not like they have to make a move now. They signed Wagner to be the fallback at RT, so Taylor would be more of a backup to their backup plan. Though maybe they're holding on to Taylor in case they don't draft a tackle. I still have to think he's eventually going to get released, but I don't know that.
    Hi Pete, hope you're well. With everything going on with Covid-19, at what point do you think the league would have to start making decisions on delaying/postponing the start of the season? And in the worst case scenario for the league that the season were cancelled, any idea what happens to contracts? Do players under contract get paid? Would next year start with the 2021 year of their contracts, or would it all just be pushed forward/extended a year?
    Those are a lot of big questions that the league has to be checking into. I don't have any good answers. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is a former attorney and very good on matters like that, he's written that the players can make a pretty decent argument they should get paid, though of course none of knows how that would go. I don't know when the league would have to make a call on postponing or canceling the season. I just don't have a good guess for you.
    Jerry Rice better than Don Hutson? or Randy Moss?
    Yeah, IMHO. Doesn't Rice usually finish highest amongst all the receivers on those list of best players of all-time?
    Hearing a lot of people saying Gutey will trade back. With 10 picks, wouldn't he be better served moving up to grab one of the ILBs like Murray or Queen, or a WR like Higgins?
    I don't know, it's always an advantage to have extra picks, there's such an element of luck in the draft, so the more picks you have the more chances you get at hitting on a good player. He can also use some of those extra picks to move up in the second or third rounds, too.
    Hi Pete,

    I know WR is a strength of this draft, but there very well could be 5 or 6 WRs off the board before the 30th pick. If D’Andre Swift or another top back is available, I think it would be better for the Packers to go with a RB and improve their offense by using the running game to set up play action and control the clock. What do you think - am I on to something here or should I be on something?
    A lot of people have asked about J Taylor on previous chats, too. It's not a crazy idea, though I still wonder if it's a little too much a luxury with their other more acute needs. There is a good logic to the argument, though. First, the run game is so important to LaFleur's offense that you don't want everything to go downhill if Jones gets hurt, which as the backfield is currently constructed is a real possibility. And between Jones' injury history his first two years and the injury risk at that position, that's important. Also, if they're really concerned about paying Jones a second contract -- recent history isn't very good concerning second contract with RBs -- a first-round RB would protect against having to re-sign next year. I still think other positions (ILB, WR, DL, T) are more likely at 30 (or if they trade back) but Gutekunst might agree with you, especially if he thinks one of those backs is special.
    Hi Pete, how much do you think a lack of OTAs or minicamps will impact the development of this year's rookie class?
    I would think it will make a difference. It will be hardest for teams with new head coach, a new coordinator or a new QB.
    Hi Pete. I have no question just keep up the great work... I am working in a hospital in north nj and this is something to get my mind off work.
    A big thanks from all of us to you, Lou, and everyone working in health care during this dangerous time. We're lucky to have all of you.
    Hi Pete, have you heard anything about the Pack kicking the tires on FA defensive linemen? I think Snacks Harrison would be a good one year plug-in against the run. Thoughts?
    There are so many of those guys available, you never know who they might like. Harrison and Suh jump out as guys who used to be high-end players but might be had at a bargain price to fill a niche role at this stage in their careers.
    My feeling was that Anderson would have been the perfect two wr to complement Adams !0 million doesn't appear to be a bank breaker However I have never seen Anderson play so all I can do is read his stats. I do know that the Jets have been pretty poor so that might account for his stats. That is to say he was the only real target. Your comments please
    Going into free agency I would have guessed he'd get more like $12M, but it seems like the deep draft at WR has depressed the WR free-agent market. I thought Hooper was a more plausible target than Anderson, because Hooper is a pretty good blocker and thus a good fit for the offense even if he's not a top receiver at TE. I can't say I ever heard enough about Anderson to think he'd be worth $10M per year. It seems like teams make more mistakes paying WRs in free agency than any other position.
    I have heard talk of whether or not it would be wise to sign Aaron Jones to a long term contract or let him go after his contract expires I believe after this year. Knowing how Coach Lafleur's scheme is run heavy I believe it would be wise to stick with Aaron knowing that he obviously fits the scheme well but is in my opinion an above average running back. What do you think about this?
    This will have to be the final question, have some phone calls to make. But thanks to all for coming by and sharing your thoughts and questions, hope it provided at least a little respite during these strange and isolated times. As for your question, the risks of signing RBs to second contracts are real, as we've seen with Gurley and David Johnson, among others. I come down in the camp of extending him, mainly because if they do it this offseason or in camp I'm thinking they can get him at a very palatable price -- maybe $7M in real average (not new years, which would be higher). Do that and look to get two or maybe three more good years out of him. The risk with RBs is real, so there's a decent argument for not doing it. But he's such a good player, especially for this offense because of his receiving skills, that I'd take the chance at that price if he'll take it. With that, we'll call it another chat. Just want to say thanks again to all for coming by, far too many questions to get to them all, so if I didn't get to yours please try again next week. A special thanks as always to our subscribers, you make our work possible. And best wishes to you all during these difficult times, do everything you can to be safe and healthy. Until next week, take care everybody!
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