Hi everybody, let's dive right in. Yes, I do, and that was the topic of my column that's on our website right now. They need a good backup because of Rodgers' recent injury history, and if his body doesn't hold out they'll need a successor in two or three years. If he's still going great, then they can trade the backup like the Patriots did Garoppolo. But they need the insurance, and i'd start looking in the first round if I were them.
Yeah, the King injury has to be a big concern, he's a pretty talented player at a really important position. His injury is one big red flag. I'm thinking they probably won't even mess with trying to play or maybe even practice him in the preseason. They really need him healthy and on the field, though whether he'll hold up physically is very much in doubt. I looked this up a week or so ago, it's in a column that will be running in our season preview section. But King and Alexander played in only two full games together last season, and most of the first half in two others. Otherwise, at least one (usually King) and was injured. The two full games were the opener and the Rams. The Rams scored 29 points in that game, but that was actually their season low until Gurley's knee acted up the last month. And Hekker punted seven times, which was his season high, and converted a fourth down on a pass off a fake punt. So that was eight times the defense got a stop on third down against what was the league's best offense at that time. Point being, the Packers' D was noticeably better when both those guys were on the field. We'll have to see how King's health holds up, but his history is not good. As for Josh Jones, he has some mystery illness that the team won't reveal, and he hasn't been in the locker room to talk about. He's been out about a week now.
He's had a fairly quiet camp as far as catches go, but he's been working pretty regularly in the rotation, behind Adams, Allison and Valdes-Scantling but ahead of pretty much everybody else. Just this week Rodgers unsolicited named him as a guy quietly having a solid camp, which suggests the QB is gaining confidence in his route running, etc.
I'd think Moore's chances are pretty slim, just way too many drops. Josh Jones tougher call. I'd have bet against him until Burks' injury. It's not clear how long Burks is going to be out, but if he's going to miss a stretch of regular season games, then Jones is a possibility to take up some of those snaps at ILB, though Raven Greene is ahead of him in that package where a safety plays ILB. Jones was good on special teams last year, so he has that going for him. But he hurt himself by not showing up for offseason work because he wanted a trade -- he just didn't have the leverage to do something like that, and he needed the practice time -- and now there's this illness that has sidelined him for about a week. A lot of it will come down to whether the Packers think he'll be a malcontent in the locker room if he's not playing a lot.
This is just my opinion, but I'd think that it probably would affect the offense in the first game but not after that. Not saying I'm positive that's right, but that's my gut feel.
Yeah, teams don't have to reveal any injury information during camp, that doesn't start until the regular season official injury reports. So they usually just give the bare bones in camp. Besdies Burks, I guess King (hamstring) is the biggest one, he's missed most of camp though I'm still guessing (it's only a guess) he'll be back for at least part-time play in the opener. Maybe the same for Jamaal Williams (hamstring). It was looking like FB Danny Vitale was going to play a decent amount, he hurt his calf, those usually keep guys out several weeks. I think he's been out a couple so he's probably a little shaky for the opener. That's all that's coming to mind immediately.
I'm still thinking 8-8, mainly because they've changed coaches three times previously in the years I've been covering, and each time the new coach went 8-8 even with an HOF QB. There are a lot of adjustments that first year, a whole new scheme and way of doing things, a coach learning the ropes, etc. The one thing that's different this year is all the resources they put into the D plus the D-coordinator is back, so the scheme on that side of the ball isn't new. I'm still guessing 8-8.
Yeah, I easily could see both getting re-signed. Depends on the price, of course, and performance this season. The biggest thing with Kumerow is health, that's why he never made it with the Bengals, he did well there too but kept getting hurt. Then had the injury diving into the end zone in the preseason last year. I don't think either will be all that expensive, though maybe Allison breaks out and has a fairly big season. Lazard is interesting, has that great size. Shepherd has had a really nice camp though I still wonder about his size and that he's runs in the upper 4.5s, which isn't fast for a smaller guy.
I talked with him about that yesterday, had a one-on-one with him for a column I'm working on, and he said he likes practicing against another team because it can be a substitute for playing the starters in the preseason, and while you're right that those two guys (Sternberger and Davis got hurt) it's still a lot safer than playing in a preseason game. He wants to do it against two different teams if possible. Several teams did that this year, including NE and I think the LA Rams. Rodgers' objection wasn't about injuries, it was that he thinks he gets a lot better quality work going against Pettine's defense in a regular practice, because in those team drills Pettine is practicing all the sophisticated stuff he's going to do during the season, and Rodgers prefers getting those more challenging looks, which is more like what teams are going to do in the regular season. LaFleur agreed with that but thinks it's better for pretty much everybody else to practice against another team, and he sees it as a way to give all the starters, including Rodgers, a lot of snaps against another team while reducing the chances of an injury in a controlled practice setting.
There's no way SF would do that.
I don't know of anyone in the media who described him as a future Pro Bowler -- not saying nobody did, but I don't think anyone who regularly covers the team has. I think everyone has described him as a guy who has an uncommon combination of size and explosiveness, which he does, and which makes him a potentially really good player. But the lack of sacks at Michigan was a red flag of sorts and legitimate question about him. The handful of scouts I talked liked him as a prospect, saw him as going any from around 10 to upper teens. But to varying degrees they too had questions about just how good he'd be. He's flashed ability in camp -- hasn't dominated or anything, but he has flashed. But he hasn't done much of anything in the games, has a lot to learn, including about giving better effort on a consistent basis. I do wonder if he'll eventually end up being an inside player, he's big enough to do it.
Yes, I thought they were thin at RB all offseason and considered it a draft priority, though they waited until the sixth round to draft Dexter Williams. I thought they'd do it in the first three rounds. A big part of the concern is Jones' health, he's been hurt a lot in his two-plus seasons, so that's always going to be a concern. Agree on Williams, he's a good football player, a tough inside runner and good in the passing game as a protector and receiver, but he's only OK as a runner -- solid, will get what's there, but not nearly in Jones' class with the ball in his hands.
Yeah, that's interesting. I forgot Perry hadn't signed with anyone. Spriggs still might be hurt, I'm guessing someone will eventually pick him up. But your point is a good one.
I don't think so. I just don't think he has the lateral movement. He's got good straight-line speed, but those guys have to cover TEs and RBs, he'd have a lot of trouble with that. They're more likely to go small with a safety as an ILB than go big.
I still think MVS and ESB have a fair amount of talent, especially MVS, he really has a rare combo of size and speed, and from what I can tell really wants to be good, which suggests he's going to work at it. Allison isn't fast but he's a big guy who runs good routes. I could end up being way off here, but I really think there's some ability there. Agreed, it's not as good as when they had Jennings and Nelson at the same time, but there's ability there. Let's see how the season goes. I'm assuming the offense is going to bumpy the first six weeks or so as it learns the new scheme and LaFleur figures out his players.
Cutting Taylor would save almost $3M in cap space. He did have a rough year last season, he says mainly because of the ankle surgery that sidelined him all that offseason. He's in a legitimate competition with Jenkins for the starting job. I guess if I had to pick a guy for a possible surprise cut it would be him, but I don't think it's going to happen. I still think he'll likely be the starter early in the year, he has all that experience, and do you really want to go into Chicago for that opener with a rookie starting when you have him? Maybe, but I doubt it. That is one to keep an eye on, but in the end I'm still betting he's on the roster and starting in that opener. Crosby didn't have a great year last year, missed a few kicks, including that one at the end against Arizona. He's also at an age (35 next month) when kickers can start declining. And he's responded well to competition in the past. I'm guessing that was the thinking behind bringing him Ficken.
Yeah, a lot of that responsibility falls on Thompson, he didn't draft many QBs after taking Brohm and Flynn in '08 (when they still weren't sure what they had in Rodgers), usually went the college FA route for developmental guys once Rodgers established himself. One correction, Wolf drafted Detmer in his first year as GM. But I agree, Thompson bares a lot of that responsibility. If I'm Gutekunst, I'm drafting one next year, the higher the better, and then after that drafting one in the later rounds at least every-other year.
I'd have to say overall the Packers have had a good camp as far as their health goes, at least so far. Only one potentially serious injury, Burks, and even that one doesn't look as bad as first feared. All indication from the Packers have been it's not a season-ender, and Gutekunst said he thinks Burks will be back soon (though he didn't define soon).
Probably him, at least so far, though I wonder if Valdes-Scantling still might end up making the biggest jump before the season is finished.
Not much chance you're right. They paid him a $5M roster bonus in March, so the decision to keep him was made then. It wouldn't be unprecedented for a team to cut a guy after paying that kind of roster bonus, but it's pretty rare..
As I said earlier, he considered the two practices against Houston as valuable as a preseason game for working against another team. It's not quite the same, because there's no tackling, but he thinks it's a good and safer substitute. Agreed it could make for a rough opener if Rodgers doesn't play at all, considering the offense is new for him and his teammates. I don't think LaFleur had anything to do with the horn.
I know he was a second-round pick, but I just don't see another team giving up anything for him, unless it's a guy they know they're going to cut.