Packer Report publisher Bill Huber chatted with subscribers on Tuesday afternoon. Here are the highlights of that chat. Want to join us next time? The next one is planned for 7 p.m. (Central) on Monday, Feb. 9.
Q: What are your thoughts on new safeties coach Darren Perry?
Bill: Without actually knowing the guy, it seems like a good hire. Has coached in Pittsburgh, which continues the theme of hiring Dom Capers and Kevin Greene. Then he did pretty well in Oakland the last two seasons. He's spent most of his career in 3-4 defenses, too, so that won't hurt.
Q: From reading about him, he coached the Steelers' Troy Polamalu and the Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha.
Bill: Yeah, so the track record is good. They were a couple of first-round picks, so maybe they'd be stars regardless, but it certainly speaks well to his coaching skills.
Q: I just hope Thompson does well in the draft this year.
Bill: You're right. You could have a coaching staff of Shula, Lombardi, Holmgren, Noll and so on, and they'd fail if they didn't have the talent.
Q: I heard that hiring Kevin Greene was to help Aaron Kampmann out and maintain his great level of play. What are your thoughts on the hire of Kevin Greene?
Bill: I'm intrigued by Kevin Greene. He was such a lunatic on the field, then with pro wrestling. I know LeRoy Butler thought he could coach and he couldn't hack it. Hopefully, Greene is prepared for the grind. As for Kampman, obviously, rushing the passer won't be an issue. But can he do the other things, like drop into coverage? I wouldn't put it past him but it's not a sure thing, either. He's such a proud player that I'm sure he'll be as ready as possible. Part of him has to be looking forwrad to the challenge.
Q: In a 3-4 how do you see Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar doing?
Bill: That's the big quesstion with the 3-4. Assuming Kampman in fact does move to OLB, it likely will be Poppinga vs. Chillar on the other side. Then again, there are a lot of OLB prospects in the draft, and that guy could wind up starting over both of them. I was disappointed in Poppinga last season. He played so well in 2007 and he's such a high-motor guy that I thought he'd really blossom in 2008. That didn't happen, obviously.
Q: Do you see Dom Capers slowly switching over to 3-4 this year?
Bill: I think he'd rather dive head-first right into it. It will depend on what he thinks of the personnel once he sees what he's got, then gets some draft picks and maybe a free agent or two Greene was hired to coach the OLBs. Perry is a 3-4 guy, too. Just based on that, I think he's going to go right into it, then slow the transition only if he needs to.
Q: In a 3-4 defense, how does it effect how the secondary plays?
Bill: I asked Capers about that but he kind of skirted the question. No need to tip off anyone on his plans. He cited Pittsburgh, which plays a lot of zone, and Baltimore, which plays a lot of aggressive man-to-man. So, in theory, it might not affect anyone too much. Capers did say no team can afford to line up just one way and play that way, which is what Bob Sanders did with his aggressive man coverage. So, I presume they will play more zone but still rely on playing man.
Q: For this upcoming season, with Aaron Rodgers coming into his second season as a starter, do you think Coach McCarthy will give him more freedom to audible?
Bill: I sure hope so. I think Rodgers proved quite a bit this season. He only threw 13 INTs. That's practially unheard of for a young guy who threw the ball a ton. So, that shows his decision-making skills are really good. Will he be given a green light like Favre? Probably not, but some middle ground seems good.
Q: With Ryan Grant having a full offseason in Green bay, do you think he will be ready to play a full season? Also do you think that DeShawn Wynn could get more playing time?
Bill: I was just thinking about Grant while doing some free agent previews for the magazine. There's no way of knowing, but you wouldn't think his hamstring would tightend up early in training camp if he had been carrying the ball during the offseason practices. So, yeah, I think Grant will be fine. I know he has his limitations as a receiver, but I think he's plenty good enough to win with. I'm not a Wynn fan. There was a reason why he didn't make the roster this summer. Maybe the lightbulb went on when he was released, but I'm not sold.
Q: I think teams have Green Bay's number when playing the run now ... and mainly I think it's simply the difference between having to respect Favre in 2007 verses having to respect Rodgers in 2008. I know some teams stated openly that they wanted to stop the run and force Rodgers to beat them.
Bill: You're right about that. That's the one (and only) area that I will concede in the quarterback debate.
Q: I think this year the Packers can break away from the distractions of Favre and a poor season.
Bill: I agree on that, too. I've heard that from so many people this year, from Ron Jaworski to scouts to a couple of coaches. They said the whole Favre-Rodgers thing, while maybe not a distraction, was a factor in everything. Lambeau didn't seem as alive. Ditto for training camp. 2009 will be a clean slate with a lot of excitement over Capers' defense and a more experienced Rodgers. Throw a top-10 pick into the mix, too.
Q: Have you heard which free agents the Packers will be going after?
Bill: They're so tight-lipped, and really, there's no advantage in them telling us who they're interested in or if they're even interested in signing anyone. Though like I've said, I'd be floored if Thompson didn't add a couple of starting-caliber pieces. But I've doing free agent stuff now for the magazine, and it's not an impressive group at all. The guys that stand out are at fullback, linebacker and a little at defensive end. Otherwise, it's not too impressive.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.
Transcript from our Tuesday chat
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