Q: So, what are your thoughts on the Packers opening up on Sunday night?
Bill: It's nice to be talking about football again! It's a pretty exciting opener and it shows the NFL thinks highly of the Packers. For a 6-10 team to get Sunday night in prime time shows the league thinks the Packers will bounce back, in my opinion.
Q: Heard any word on their interest in maybe Shaun Rogers or maybe Levi Jones?
Bill: The Levi Jones thing, I don't understand. I'm guessing if the Bengals, who have a horrible offensive line, are thinking about letting him go, then maybe he's highly overrated. I can't say I've watched him so I don't have an informed opinion. Shaun Rogers, that's an interesting rumor. That I think has some legs to it.
Q: Which player whose contract is up after this season do you see getting their contract done and signed first?
Bill: I think they have to get Greg Jennings signed. Big-play receivers get big money. If he hits free agency, he's going to get $8 million a year, at least. They'd be wise to not let that happen.
Q: Say we do wind up getting Shaun Rogers and we sign Duke Preston. You see us using our No. 9 pick offensively or defensively?
Bill: The Preston interest surprises me. They've got Scott Wells already and they're thinking about moving Jason Spitz. And it's a really deep class of centers. Regardless, I think it's going to be a lot of defense in this draft. Offensive tackle is the only position on offense that they really need to add someone. I'm assuming B.J. Raji won't be there at No. 9, so adding Rogers to the mix certainly takes care of nose tackle. And then you're free to use the earlier picks on offensive tackles and outside linebackers and defensive ends, then pick one of the lower-rung nose tackles later.
Q: Is my understanding correct about Nick Collins situation this he is at home waiting for the birth of his son but him and his agent are upset that the Packers have not talked to him yet because they want to get Greg's contract done first and then Nick's after that?
Bill: That's how I read it, but I honestly think way too much is being made of this. Come on, it's midway through March. Nothing on the field is going to be happening until May. There's nothing Nick Collins can't pick up by looking at the playbook and watching film (the coaches will send film to him if he's not here).
Q: Why did Aaron Kampman decide not to speak to the fans and media at Fan Fest?
Bill: For the positive spin, maybe Kampman is keeping quiet until he actually experiences the defense. If you want a negative spin, he's ticked. Frankly, I'm guessing the first one. If I'm Kampman, I'm pretty excited about this.
Q: I think if B.J. Raji, Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith, Aaron Curry and Everette Brown are off the board at No. 9 you trade down. Can't picture anyone else that I'd really want to pay top-10 money to.
Bill: I really think the Packers are going to trade down. Top-10 picks are so expensive, and in this draft, once you get past the guys you just named, it's a bit of a drop-off. But there's a lot of depth after that. I'm sick of Thompson trading back, but in this case, with some key holes to fill, adding picks early in the draft isn't a bad idea.
Q: I think Aaron Kampman will transition just fine at OLB. Played OLB in college and studies a lot of film. That's what surprises me about everyone saying trade Kampman for Peppers straight up. Why? In my opinion, Kampman has a better shot at making the transition than Peppers.
Bill: Yeah, and he's a lot better athlete than people give him credit for. OLB is such a marquee position, and he'll find it a lot easier to get 12 sacks in this defense than to get get nine in the 4-3. I don't think there's anyone in the NFL who thinks that trade is possible. I'd take Kampman over Peppers every day of the week and twice on Sunday in this new defense.
Q: How do you see A.J. Hawk doing in the 3-4 defense?
Bill: I have a hunch Hawk is going to have a big year. He's a proud guy and I'm sure he's well aware of all the negative talk surrounding him. There was a lot of negative stuff about Collins when camp opened last summer, and he obviously had a huge year. I think Hawk is going to be hungry. With that said, they better find another nose tackle, or none of what I said matters.
Q: Only way I want Peppers here is if he's able to be here on the opposite side of Kampman. Ah, man, just dreaming of Shaun Rogers at NT and Kampman/Peppers lining up on the outside. Scary thought for a lot of offenses
Bill: It's OK to dream in March. I'm pretty excited about Kampman and Everette Brown, if that's how it turns out.
Q: I think Everette Brown will be a stud in the NFL, and he's so humble too. He's "Packer People."
Bill: I agree with that. He seems like a solid kid, and people who make the comparisons to Jamal Reynolds just haven't put much thought into it. Two totally different people playing different positions. He's a kid who, during the summer, lined up at linebacker so he could work on his pass drops, just in case he goes to linebacker in the NFL. I like that.
Q: Which player on the defense do you see will have a hard time adjusting to the 3-4 defense?
Bill: For now, Mike Montgomery. Defensive ends ideally should be around 300. He's 275. In the long run, he might be OK, but he's going to have it tough right away, I think.
Q: Bill, how do you see each team from the NFC North doing this year?
Bill: Tough question before the draft, but the Vikings are nuts if they think Sage Rosenfels is the answer at quarterback. And the Bears don't seem to have much idea what they're doing either. I like what the Lions are doing. I'm amazed they've attracted some players after going 0-16. I'd say the Packers, followed by Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit.
Q: Do you think Tramon Williams will get his contract renegotiated before the start of the season?
Bill: Yeah, I think so. If Jarrett Bush is getting $1 million in base and a $1 million bonus, how can they justify paying Williams $500,000 or whatever he's supposed to get.
Q: Seems like an opportunity for the Packers to make a statement along the lines of "If you exceed your contract, we will take care of you sooner rather than later." Seems like that would be a good reputation to have.
Bill: That's a terrific point. Conventional wisdom says the Packers shouldn't cave in, because it's bad precedent after caving into Grant last year. But like you said, it's a great reputation to impress players from around the league.
Q: Do you see Mark Tauscher coming back to the Packers?
Bill: I wish I had some insight on that. Tauscher's agent has stopped talking to anyone from the media, so it's hard to say what's going on. The silence, I presume, means there's nothing happening here or with any other team. I still think he's coming back, but at the same time, if some team knocks on Tauscher's door after the draft and throws a strong offer at him, the Packers might let him go, considering his age and the knee injury.
Q: When is the earliest Tauscher is expected to be ready to play?
Bill: The last time Tauscher's agent talked, he figured Tauscher would be ready for training camp. Now, was that just agent-speak? Could be. It's an eight- to 10-month injury, so on the long side of that, he might not be ready until October.
Q: Do you think Kampman is on a "we'll see how he does in the 3-4 before we try to re-sign him" gig. If he doesn't look like he can make the transition, I can see the Packers franchising him and then trading him next season (2010). But how does the uncapped year affect franchising players, etc. if there is no new agreement between the owners and the union?
Bill: I think both sides want to see how this works out before doing something. Kind of like Aaron Rodgers last fall. By midseason, the Packers were comfortable with Rodgers and pulled the trigger. I can see the same thing with Kampman. I don't think franchising players is affected. The big difference is for the younger guys. Players like Nick Collins and Greg Jennings, who would be unrestricted free agents because they've completed four seasons, would be restricted if the CBA goes away. It's part of the "poison pills" stuck into the CBA. Owners are scared that the cap will go away. Players are scared that the riches of unrestricted free agency will be put on hold for two years.
Q: I know we've all had talks about the Packers possibly and more likely than not trading back. However, we do have the ammunition to also move up. Do you think it's possible the Packers look into moving up? <p> Bill: I don't think there's any chance of trading up, just because of the cost. Top-10 picks cost a lot of money. Top-five picks really cost a lot of money. But if they had one guy in mind, I'd guess it's Raji. I can't find anyone in the league who will say a bad thing about him. Beyond him, I'm not sure there's any reason to move up. Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown, I think you'd be thrilled with either. And if both are gone, there are a ton of pass rushers you can get later, from Clay Matthews to Larry English to Connor Barwin and so on down the line. Unless you really want one of the top offensive tackles.
Q: If Ted don't pull the trigger pretty soon, like picking up the DT from Detroit, we're screwed because Raji will be gone.
Bill: Shaun Cody? If the Lions don't want him ....
Q: Why didn't the Lions want Shaun Cody?
Bill: Because he stinks. The Packers had eight games of film on Cody. That they weren't the least bit interested tells me all I need to know. Not only did they have eight games of film, but they have all the other film they studied when prepping for the Lions. They've seen a ton of Cody over the years.
Q: Do we have a shot with Raji or not?
Bill: I'd say no. He really erased any doubts during his pro day, from what I've heard. Unless some sort of red flag pops up in the next month or so. Problem is, he's just so much better than the next-best nose tackle, that even if he's not a top-10-caliber player, he'd go high just because teams that need a NT feel they have to get him.
Q: If Brett would of been allowed to come back and be the qb last season, do you think Aaron Rodgers would of asked for a trade?
Bill: Yes, I think he would have. Putting myself in his shoes, I would have been ticked.
Q: If we need Raji, why don't we move up?
Bill: Moving up costs a lot in terms of picks and money. I know people don't want to hear about the money, but in this economy, they are one of several teams that are really going to be reluctant to shell out that kind of money.
Q: You snooze, you lose ...
Bill: The Packers' financial situation isn't going to look too good when they release that in a couple of months. They had a lot of money socked away in case the CBA disappeared and the cap vanished with it. Well, with the market downturn, those investments took a hit. Pro Shop revenue is down. There are questions about advertisers.
Q: Rex Grossman never had receivers to throw to in Chicago. What would we get for Brohm and maybe bring in Grossman?
Bill: I agree on the Grossman assessment. He had you, me and Joe Blow to throw passes to. Unfortunately, I don't think Brohm has any trade value. Teams will turn on that preseason film and cringe.
Q: I heard somewhere some "expert" said if Brohm was in this year's draft, he would be behind Sanchez but ahead of Freeman. That might give us some idea of his value as Freeman is slotted to go at around 17 to 20 right now.
Bill: That "expert" didn't watch Brohm then and is still looking at his college numbers. I watched every single one of Brohm's passes in practice during training camp. No way he's a first-round talent this year.
Q: If Brohm is that bad, then we need a veteran backup. I don't think Rodgers can go two years without an injury.
Bill: I would assume the Packers are monitoring that and will add someone in July if Flynn and Brohm struggle through the offseason and minicamp. Maybe Brohm makes a huge jump this year. But he was horrible last summer. For right now, though, there's no reason to add anyone. They'd just be taking reps away from the others. I like Flynn. He's a winner who gets the job done in a way that defies some of the things that the scouts like.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport