Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

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

    Pete------thank you for taking our comments, especially after a draft that I believe very few fans are pleased with. I think that the purpose of the draft is to improve your football team. The Packers' top two picks are going to be reserves in 2020 and maybe their third pick too. It appears they drafted no one who will start in 2020 How does that improve the team and create more wins in 2020? In fact, after FA and the draft, I believe the Packers are not as good as they were last year. Gutey is fortunate that the Packers strange organizational structure has no one scrutinizng his work. I'll bet the under.
    So much to talk about, let's get right to it. You're right that fans seem to be especially upset about this draft but I'm going to disagree with you on a couple points. One, even though Dillon won't be a starter he could be a very important player. Did you see that stat ESPN.com had that I used in my column a couple times over the weekend? With Aaron Jones on the field, Rodgers' QBR (that's ESPN's version of a passer rating, but I think it's on a 1 to 100 scale) was about 68, which if that was his season-long rating would have been about seventh in the league. When Jones wasn't on the field, Rodgers' QBR was 28, which was out of the top 30 in the league. Jones can't play 80 percent or 90 percent of the snaps, he's too injury prone. If they want him on the field in January they have to manage his snaps (he played 61 percent of the snaps last year). So clearly, an upgrade at RB could make a really big difference for their offense. Rookie RBs can play a lot, it's one of the easier positions for the first-year transition; WR is one of the hardest. So Dillon could be really important. And the third-rounder could play a lot too, I'm guessing 35 percent to maybe as high as 50 percent of the snaps, in that Juszczyk role. So he could have a significant role too. The question is whether Gutekunst picked good players with those selections. If he did, he helped his offense, maybe a lot, for 2019. Now, I thought our Tom Silverstein made a good point when he asked Gutekunst if not taking a WR this year could show up two or three years from now. That's a legit point. But if you're talking improving the team for this year, RB was a viable way to try to do that in the draft.
    Which one of the wide eceivers, outside of Adams do you foresee stepping up and haveing a big year.
    I really don't know. Valdes-Scantling's playing time was down to almost nothing by the end of last year, that was a bad sign. I guess the best candidates for having, if not a big year, a pretty good one are Funchess, St. Brown and Lazard. You can include Sternberger at TE also.
    Ok, people. Take a deep breath. We didn't draft a receiver. It's not the end of the world. We have one very good receiver. Some teams have none (including NFC champ San Francisco, at least based on 2019 production). The off season isn't over. Please, Pete, I'm begging.....we don't need 90 minutes of questions about the lack of a receiver in the draft. This subject has been beat to death.
    Not making any promises, it's going to come up. I really liked that rookie the 49ers had last year, Samuel, he looks really promising. But he also benefited from having the game's best TE (Kittle) and a really good run game. The point you make about the offseason not being over is a big one. I don't know Gutekunst's plans or what he might be working on, but if it's me I'm trying to sign a run-stopper for the DL, they should be able to find a 15 to 20 snap a game guy for a fairly cheap price. I'd look into re-signing Tramon Williams, because they don't have a nickel CB right now. And I'd be looking to make a trade for an ILB and/or WR (and No. 3 CB) who's better than what they've got right now. They would have to make some cap moves too to do two or three of those things, but I'd be aggressive about doing it. I completely understand the Love pick, but in doing that there was an immediate need not addressed, and I'd try to upgrade those positions at least a little if at all possible if I'm Gutekunst.
    Hi Peter, since this is no longer Aaron Rodgers team do you think now is the right time to trade him and get what we can for him? Our salary cap will no longer be an issue and we can build with say 2 firsts and a second rounder for him.
    I think a trade this year is probably prohibitive because of cap hits -- conceivably that could do it after June 1 and spread the hit over this year and next. The dead money this year would be $19.5, but by removing his salary they'd actually save $2M. Then next year, they'd have a dead money hit of $31M but save $4.8M on cap. But besides that being an enormous dead-money hit, they don't want to play Love this year. He's a first-rounder but he's still very much a project. At minimum he needs a year to learn, and it very well could be two years. So I'd say a trade this year is a non-starter.
    Hi Pete, with 37 wide receivers taken in this year draft would lead me to believe there will be a lot of unemployed veteran receivers available between now and the start of the season. Do you see the packers spending some money on one of these receivers? Or are the packers truly content with their current group?
    That could shake loose a receiver who would be an upgrade for him. The name I saw earlier this week was Carolina's Curtis Samuel, he's a former first-rounder who ran in the 4.3s, and he's reportedly available. Not sure what it what Carolina is looking for, and he is on the last year of his contract so it would be a one-year rental, but I'd think he'd be worth a fifth-rounder, maybe a fourth depending on what the Packers see on tape. You never know who might be available for a trade after the draft, or what veterans Gutekunst thinks will get cut over the coming weeks as teams fail to trade them.
    Rodgers is a once in a lifetime QB (OK throw in Farve). He is healthy and his skill
    set has not eroded (some disagree). Sitting a #1 pick-Love behind Rodgers for 4-6
    years is just plain stupid. Rodgers is NOT going away in 2 years.
    This was a terrible,terrible move. Grade F. Comments??
    There's no way Love is sitting four years. Even Rodgers sat only three, and that's unheard of. That's the absolute longest I could see Love sitting, and more likely it will be two years or maybe just one. One of the two is going to get traded somewhere in that time frame, and it's far more likely Rodgers though you never know for sure how these things will work out. Rodgers is still a great QB but he's not as good as he was a few years ago, he's not as good outside the pocket as he was then -- he still can make great plays that way, but not as consistently as he used to, and he's getting caught more by chase defenders now. So yeah, he'll still be a winning NFL QB in two years, I don't doubt that unless he has another bad injury.
    Him Pete, do you think Rogers will finish out his contract as a packer? I personally hated the pick for Love, but I also hated the trade for Farve and the drafting of Rogers at the time. So I’m a little conflicted at the moment.
    There are a lot of ways this could work out. The most likely is that Rodgers is the QB for one or two more years, and then the Packers trade him and make Love their guy. Could it stretch to three years? Sure, If Rodgers plays great and everyone is working together well enough and the team has a really good shot at the SB, it could extend to three years. And there's always the possibility of the Patriots-Garoppolo thing repeating itself here, you can't rule that out. It seems really unlikely, but if Rodgers plays lights out and the team wins big, and they're lukewarm on Love after a couple years, who knows? And what happens that if Gutekunst and LaFleur conclude in two years that it just ain't happening with Love, that he's not good enough? Then Rodgers could even finish his contract and they could try to deal Love. That also seems unlikely because they're going to give the guy every chance to succeed. But you never know. The most likely scenario is that Rodgers is the QB for the next year or two, and then is traded. But things can change quickly and drastically in this league, so I wouldn't put any predictions in stone.
    Pete, my dad always told me there are 3 types of people in the world.
    1. Those that make things happen.
    2. Those that watch things happen.
    3. That that say "What the hell just happened?"
    Why do I have this sinking feeling that Gutey falls into the third type?
    Did he panic when the player he wanted was gone? Do the Packers scouts struggle to grade players? I get that we can't truly evaluate the draft for another 3 years but we can evaluate their reaching on picks #2 & #3. There's enough info out there from scouts telling everyone these picks were reaches. And they did NOTHING to fix the defense. Should we be concerned?
    I wasn't with Gutekunst or talk to anyone who was in contact with him throughout the first round, so I don't know if he panicked. But I seriously doubt he did. They had to have gone over a scenario something like this in their draft prep, because even if they thought it wasn't likely, they had to know there was a chance Love would make it to the mid-20s. So they had to go over what they would do if he got there, depending on who else was on the board. There are plenty of draft pundits and I'm sure scouts in the league who think the Packers reached in Rounds 2 and 3. I'm sure the Packers thought other people reached on some of their picks, every team's board is different based on scheme, needs and the way different evaluators see the same player differently. I just got off the phone before this chat with a scout who said they probably had to pick Deguara at the bottom of the third if they really wanted him because he would have gone in the fourth round. Yes, some teams saw him as 6 or even UDFA, but others saw a player they really liked. I'm not saying he's going to be good or worth the pick. Same for Dillon. But the Packers valued these guys, and just because they weren't expected to be taken that high means they'll be bad picks. Let's see where it two years from now, and if they're not good players than it's fair to blast away. As for the defense, if I'm the Packers I'm pretty concerned about nickel CB and ILB. Nickel CB is a starting job basically, and they don't have a clear No. 3-quality guy right now. Sullivan, Jackson, even moving Savage to nickel, are possibilities, but that all looks really shaky to me. Then you also have to weather injuries. If you can't cover in this league you've got big problems. And ILB, if Kirksey gets hurt -- and he's played only something like nine or 11 games over the past two seasons -- then they've got real problems. That's why I'm thinking they still have a couple meaningful moves to make.
    Pete, no doubt this will be an interesting forum for you today. Much like everyone else I feel the Packers reached for almost every pick and some by 2-3 rounds it seems. I am fearful that Gute is using the TT philosophy in that he and scouts know more than any other team about players they draft...Justin Harrell, Jamaal Reynolds, Jason Spriggs all high draft picks come to mind. Thoughts?
    You could just as easily put Nick Collins, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Clay Matthews on that list.
    Pete, With the way the draft unfolded and picks Gute made, I just don’t see how front office can say we are trying to get back to the NFC Champ and are a better squad as we did not improve in our two weakest areas of WR and LB. Meanwhile, some of the top teams in conference as well as division vastly improved with their signings and draft picks. Agree?
    I've already been through the potential big impact Dillon (and to a lesser degree Deguara) could make in the run game, and how that could make a big difference for the offense as a whole. Not saying it will happen, but it's realistic to think it could with the resources spent. SF did a lot on paper, that's true. They lost Staley but picked up Williams at LT (traded an D5 this year and D3 next year, I think), drafted some well-known and regarded prospects early in Kinlaw and Aiyuk. But they also lost Buckner in FA, he was a really really good and important player on that DL, and E. Sanders. They also traded Breida, not a huge thing but one of their great strengths was depth at RB. So did they get better? Depends on how much Kinlaw and Aiyuk contribute, and how much the team improves from within. I don't think it's a given they're better, rookies, even high picks, often don't do all that much. Now, if they hit on the Aiyuk pick? Then yeah, they got more explosive on offense. But I doubt Kinlaw will be as good this year as Buckner was last season. Let me know if I'm forgetting anyone else they added.
    Hey Pete, thanks as always for the chat! Having read the article about jersey numbers assigned to players, any idea on HOW jersey numbers are chosen and assigned for new players? If a rookie had a preference would they honor it? This is something I've wondered for years.
    I'm not positive this is correct, but I think they give the draft picks their choice of the available numbers at their positions. Not sure about everybody else. I think they might assign numbers to UDFAs.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! A simple question? Do you think one of 3 OL rookies will be a starter in the next couple of years? Hopefully 2! Is your evaluation or bet the same as draft order? Is anyone dark horse?
    That's a really tough call on the OL, because all three were taken late enough where there's more of a crapshoot element to it then the early rounds. I'm guessing part of the thinking with that is, take three of them and hope one is ready to be a starter a year or two down the road.
    Hi Pete, Thanks for the chats! Based on the draft results, which players would be your choice on Rd#1 and 2? Can you play for that or already did? Will Love truly picked by Colts before #30? Would it be better to trade up to pick a WR on Rd2 with 4th Rd pick or lower instead of Love on Rd#1? Which one would you do if you were GM?
    Sorry the question failed to post before the answer on that last one.
    Hi Pete, thanks for the chat. Does the drafting of J Love mean LaFleur will put more pressure on Rodgers to play within the system, make earlier throws and stop hanging on to the ball for the big play?
    It definitely suggests LaFleur wants to run it more, and yeah, there are some implications that he wants Rodgers to stick more to the system, especially when it comes to changing calls at the LOS.
    Pete, Gutey's approach to moving up in the draft is bad business. For two reasons: 1) he's using two (or more) picks on one player and 2) the players he's picking are not hitting. That's the double whammy.
    What happened to the trade down and take more bites at the apple approach?
    Two years ago he traded back and picked up an extra first-rounder, so I disagree with the blanket statement that all he's been doing is trading up. That helped him get Savage -- yes, he did trade up for Savage last year, but without that first-rounder he wouldn't have had the chance. As an overall draft philosophy, agreed that trading back and getting more picks is preferable to moving up, and the double-whammy risk is a big one.
    John Dorsey has helped build quality personnel for three franchises including Green Bay. Did KC and Cleveland owners have short leashes? Is he still a viable GM candidate? Would he ever consider returning to Green Bay in some capacity?
    In Kansas City is sounds like there were issues between Dorsey and the team president, and Reid of course could have stopped the Dorsey firing but didn't. Cleveland ownership is such a disaster it really doesn't say much of anything that he was fired from there. He's 59, so he's still a viable GM candidate, though as an older guy he won't be for everybody -- many teams are looking for young, rising guys for GM. Right now it doesn't look like a return to GB in an advisory capacity is likely, but you never know.
    Pete,

    Milt Hendrickson was known as a OL specialist when he was a Scout for the Ravens-was his influence involved with the late three interior draft picks taken and how do you see the oline shaking out come week one of the season?
    I have to think his influence on those picks was significant. I"m thinking the starting OL left to right will be: Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Linsley, Turner, Wagner.
    In the draft chat TS implied that Mike Daniels would never be welcomed back to GB despite a need for a vet run-stuffing DT. Can you amplify that?
    I haven't talked to Tom Silverstein about that, but I know the Packers like the leadership the Smiths have brought to the locker room and might not want Daniels' brand of leadership thrown into that mix. I don't know that's the case, but I could see that being part of their thinking. You've also got Daniels' injury issues -- he's had a lot of injury problems the last couple years and could be close to done.
    Pete thanks for chat. I get the impression that maybe the Packers think the coaching job by Whitted made the WR corps look worse than it is. His departure after one season and not much movement at the position suggests they think it’s not as bad as last year looked. Anything to that possibly?
    They must to some degree think that, and that the WR position isn't as bad as outsiders think. But they still have to know they lack explosiveness at WR, that's obvious to anybody who's watched them.
    Pete I don’t get the comparisons of the Love selection to what NE did with Garappolo. Garapollo was 62 overall not 26 and didn’t require a 4th rounder as well. Best case scenario for future trade value of a backup QB is a 2nd. GB will never get the draft capital back for Love that he cost if AR sticks around. Am I missing something or is Gute spinning it by mentioning future trade value? Seems to me the only thing that makes sense is they’re planning that AR is gone in 2 years and Love takes over
    Trading Love falls on the least likely end of the spectrum of outcomes, agree completely there. They have to think this guy has a really good chance of being a winner in this league, or why trade up for him? You don't use a first-rounder on a guy you think is going to be a backup his whole time with you. Can you completely rule out that they'd trade Love in two or three years if Rodgers is playing like Brady did after the Patriots drafted Garoppolo? No. Plans can change. But yeah, they drafted Love thinking he's going to succeed to Rodgers.
    Hi Pete! Thanks for hosting this. What will the draft do to GB's percentage of snaps with 2 TEs and/or 2 backs? How often will we actually see a third WR on the field, anyway?
    Yeah, something to watch. They might be playing a fair amount of 1 RB, 2TE/H-back, 2 WR sets. I'm sure we'll still see a good share of 3 WRs, because they H-back can replace the TE. But I think you're right in suggesting there will be more 2 WR groupings. LaFleur appears to really like Deguara, and drafting him that high, you have to think they're going to play him a decent amount. You don't draft a project at that niche position that high in the draft.
    Who is available on the veteran free agent DL market as a run stopper ?
    Am I right in thinking Snacks Harrison is still available? I think there are plenty of guys available for that kind of role, stop-gap vets.
    Pete, there's nothing about the Packers draft choices that can make Rodgers happy. If you are him, and you believe you have at least a couple of good years ahead, are you telliing your agent to get you out of GB ?
    That's one of the huge questions in this, what's he thinking? He very well might want out, but doing it this year seems highly unlikely to me. Maybe he wants to see how things go this year, and take it from there. Maybe he knows getting traded this year isn't in the cards, so he'll try to play as well as he can and then force a trade next year. It's hard to know at this point what he's thinking. I'm sure he's very upset by it, who wouldn't be in his position? I'm sure he thinks he has at least four good years left, maybe more.
    I couldn't help but feel Rodgers quarterback play has fallen off in the last 3 years. But at the same time, I wouldn't want to face him on another team. Do you think other coaches and players still think he is a huge challenge to go up against?
    I do. He keeps finishing first or tied for first in Mike Sando's rankings based on a poll of 50-plus GMs and coaches every year. Curious to see where Rodgers finishes this year. Mahomes obviously will be No. 1, but I'm sure Rodgers will still be in the top five.
    Pete -- On balance I disagree with the pick but I understand the selection from a roster standpoint.

    What I disagree more with is why would Gutey want to place a big target on his back this early into his GM career and risk alienating ANTOTHER HOF QB?? If he passed on Love and failed at another draft pick, no one would remember it.

    There has to be a lessons learned sequence here about being personable with your stars. That's why so many of Belichick's assistants turned head coaches fail... they try and act like him when there's no equity there.

    Gutey is acting like he's done this before but hasn't. Now he has a target on his head already...
    Gutekunst obviously has the Thompson experience to work from, the drafting of Rodgers and how that worked out had to make a profound impression him. But I still think it was very much an act of having the courage of his convictions, because as you point out he's very much put his neck on the line. If this doesn't work out he will either have failed as GM or had to do something else big to find another QB, and that's only if he were to get the chance. So he didn't do the safe and easily forgettable thing by drafting someone else. He knows he's very much putting his neck on the line here. As for the Belichick point, I don't think it's his equity that his proteges lack. It's his acumen, no one else has Belichick's all-around skills.
    Pete, you seem to be every bit the apologist for this joke of a draft. Why are you afraid to criticize it? The players picked don't fix any of our GLARING issues and the great majority of them were picked too early. You can hide behind it takes 3 years to grade a draft but the fact remains, for the 2nd year in a row, our top pick has no chance to be a starter in year 1 unless someone gets hurt. This is going to catch up to us eventually. It's TT all over again.
    OK everybody, this will have to be the final question. But thanks to all for coming by and sharing your thoughts and questions, so much going on with this team right now after that unusual Packers draft. This could be the last chat for a while, depending on what happens in the coming weeks with the pandemic, the football offseason, furloughs, vacation, etc. We'll just have to play this by ear, like everyone is doing with most everything. Now to your question Tom, I'm sure you're far from alone in viewing me as an apologist for this draft. I just think it's incredibly short-sighted to pan this draft -- or praise it or anyone else's draft -- before giving it two seasons to play out. As I said earlier in this chat, I think it's more than plausible that Dillon could have a bigger impact on the offense than a rookie WR would have, so if you're talking about addressing the 2020 season, that could be a big pick. He doesn't have to be a starter to be a really important addition. Now, it wholly depends on whether Gutekunst evaluated well, if Dillon is just an average back then it doesn't do much. But RBs have a much easier time making an impact than rookie WRs, and those QBR numbers with and without Jones on the field last year (referred to earlier in an earlier question) jump out at me and confirm what anyone watching the games should have seen -- that having a really good RB on the field made Rodgers and the offense a lot better. I'm not afraid to criticize the draft, I just see the logic to what they were doing and think it's stupid to pan a class before giving it a couple years. In this league teams get praised all the time for having a great draft because they filled positions of perceived need with well-known draft prospects in the early rounds, and then those guys end up being average players and the teams really didn't help themselves at all. So let's see how things look in two years. Agreed that not taking a WR anywhere could catch up to them in a couple years, because that's when someone from this class would be starting to blossom if he's good. But I get what they were thinking with the early picks in this draft. I have no clue whether it will be a good class, a bad one, or something in-between. Neither do you. Nor does anyone, including scouts around the league, and they have much more informed opinions than any of us outside observers. Gutekunst's first draft is not looking good because Jackson and Burks haven't panned out and there might not be any later gems (unless St. Brown or Valdes-Scantling takes off this year). It's fair to criticize that drafter. I'd argue that we should give this class two years. And with that, we'll call it another chat. Can't thank everyone enough for taking the time to share your thoughts, there was a deluge of questions so only got to a fraction of them but hopefully I answered the bulk of what was on your minds. Can't tell you how much I enjoy the back and forth with all of you. Thanks especially to our subscribers, as always, you foot much of the bill that makes our extensive coverage possible. If you're not a subscriber, the Packers News app is a great deal, 99 cents for the first month, then $4.99 a month thereafter for all our Packers news. Not sure when the chat will be back, so for now everyone, stay safe and healthy. Until next time, take care!
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