The fullback Quinn Johnson, do you see him beating out John Kuhn and Korey Hall?
Bill: I wouldn't be surprised, if not right away but maybe later in the season. He's someone I've really liked since watching him a few times during the season. He can really get after some people. There seems to be more of a focus being put on power running, and Johnson goes with that.
Talked to my USC fanatic fan last night about Clay Matthews. He says Clay was a great pick for the Packers. This friend eats sleeps and breathes SC football has even scouted for them in the past. Says Clay will be a great fit in GB
Bill: I have my doubts (not big ones) only because it took him until a few games into his senior year to become a starter. I know they have a lot of talent out there, but still ... With that said, he's a heck of an athlete and he loves football, and you can't say that about eveyone.
I hope with this new infusion of talent on the O-line, McCarthy will not be playing musical chairs with everyone and get a good starting lineup in place.
Bill: That's the idea. McCarthy's said it several times this offseason that he'd like more of a steady offensive line. With that said, that means Clifton has to stay healthy and practice more often. Otherwise, you're moving a starting guard (Colledge) to tackle all the time. And then it's hard to get that continuity. It's not the games so much — though that's a big deal, obviously — but it was having Clifton out for a day or two. So, Colledge moves and then you have someone in Colledge's place. So, you're spending half of your practice week with only three of your linemen in their regular spots.
With the additions of the two new draft picks, does it signal the end of Mark Tauscher?
Bill: Sure seems that way. Just from sheer numbers. They have a lot of tackles. With that said, maybe Tauscher is healthy sooner and later and they aren't thrilled with one of the rookies. So, I'm not going to rule it out, but I wrote on Sunday night that I think that's all for Mark. Too bad. Horrible timing to get injured. And he's a heck of a good guy.
Does it look like Raji is the right answer or to soon to tell?
Bill: From what I heard throughout the draft process, he's the answer. I didn't hear a bad thing about him, other than him not playing hard all the time. But you hear that about a lot of college guys who are dominant performers. He really can do it all.
Sounds like they are not as high on some of the players that we had last year.
Bill: Well, I think they concluded that Tony Moll will never be an answer at tackle. And who knows about Giacomini and Barbre. Never hurts to just add bodies to the mix up front.
Tell me about our two tackles we drafted (Lang, Meredith) do you see any of them winning the RT job this year?
Bill: Lang I'm not sure about. Lower level of competition but he did well against Larry English, and he was a fist-round pick. That's got to count for something. Meredith I really liked and am surprised he slipped so far. He blames it on a coach on the former staff spreading bad things against him because he had a key penalty in a big game. I guess he's not the most passionate guy on the field. If you're at left tackle, though, I'm not sure that's a big issue. if you can move your feet, you can get the job done. So, I'd say Meredith if he shows some fire.
Anyone you would have rather had, like Crabtree over Raji?
Bill: Raji was the perfect pick. They really needed him. With that said, having Crabtree means you've got the No. 1 receiver for when Driver finally retires. I would have been tempted, but nose tackles are harder to find than receivers.
Yeah, but if Jolly is back you have him and Pickett at nose tackle.
Bill: Jolly and Jenkins are the ends. Raji and Pickett are the NTs, with Raji able to play end. Harrell, cough cough, will be in the mix at end too.
I think he gets cut (Harrell).
Bill: If Harrell shows anything, he'll make the team. They've already paid him the bonus money. The rest of it is peanuts, so there's no harm in waiting if he's healthy.
This Underwood kid we drafted, how do you see him helping this team?
Bill: He's got a lot of upside, having only started one season. He's tall, got long arms and can run. He's hungry too considering he had to pay his way through college after losing his scholarship at Ohio State. Still, he's a sixth-rounder for a reason. But, he played safety and corner last year, which is good as he gets his feet wet. I like that he's hungry. He needs to make it.
I thought Ted was going to sign a punter for competition but he didn't bring in anyone after the draft.
Bill: They've got two punters, Kapinos who did OK last year and Durant Brooks, who was the top-ranked punter in the 2008 draft but was cut by Washington at midseason. So, they've got two young guys. You can always pick up an older guy later. I'm sure Frost is available!!
What's your opinion of Jones, the OLB from the 7th round? I know he brings a 3-4 experience
Bill: I hadn't looked into Jones before the draft, so my knowledge is limited. Did some checking last night though and he sounds like a great fit. Really excited to be coming here with some diverse skills and athleticism. I'm not sure how he slipped under the radar, other than him being pretty light.
Does anyone see Kregg Lumpkin have a better year two? I know he was coming on strong during training camp last year before the injury.
Bill: I really liked Lumpkin. To me, he was the second-best runner on the team last year. Looked like he was on his way to supplanting Brandon Jackson with how he played (and how he was used) at Detroit. Problem is, Lumpkin's injury history through college and his first year in the NFL makes Justin Harrell look like Mr. Unbreakable.
Why did Javon Ringer last so long before he was taken?
Bill: Who knows. Me and my colleague Keith Roerdink kept asking the same thing. The one thing I can think of is Ringer got the ball a ton in college. Maybe too much. But, boy, he's a good runner and receiver.
With the draft over and teams relesing players, is there a spot you think the Packers need to address?
Bill: I think they need a defensive end yet. Some guy named Vonnie Holliday is out there yet. There were guys that Thompson could have drafted but he didn't. Either he really, honest-to-goodness thinks Jolly/Jenkins/Harrell/Malone are good enough for end or there wasn't anyone worth drafting and he's going to add someone. There's also Kevin Carter from Tampa. He's about 100 but he can still play and he's a good leader. Other than that, that's it. There weren't any 3-4 ends other than Canty in free agency to begin with.
In your opinion, what is our front 7 starting lineup?
Bill: Jolly and Jenkins at ends. Raji/Pickett at NT. Kampman and Matthews at OLB, Barnett (or Bishop, if Barnett's not ready) and Hawk on the inside.
Why did the defense play so bad?
Bill: Cullen Jenkins was a big loss, and losing Barnett obviously isn't a good thing. And they had no pass rushers other than Kampman. Offenses mostly stopped Kampman. So, they tried to blitz more often, but Hawk and Poppinga are horrible blitzers.
Do you sense a different air about the team do to the fact they had a good draft?
Bill: There seemed to be a lot of smiles. I ran into d-line coach Mike Trgovac on Saturday and he was wearing a wide smile after getting Raji. Between that and the new defense, there's a lot of optimism. But I'm guessing there are smiling faces with all of the teams this time of year.
How big of an impact do you think Capers will have not just on defense but as being there as a whole?
Bill: Playing psychologist, I think it would be easier to lose confidence in the scheme when playing for a guy like Sanders instead of for a proven pro like Capers. Not saying they didn't play hard for Sanders and didn't respect him. But Capers is one of the few assistant coaches who has been a success at every stop.
Did Thompson break from BPA and draft based on need?
Bill: I thought about that question. Picking Raji made sense based on BPA and need. Clearly, Thompson wanted Matthews. Allegedly, Lang is the guy they wanted in the fourth and were hoping he'd fall. Meredith was a higher-ranked prospect who fell into their laps in the fifth. Johnson is regarded as the best blocker, and he fell to them in the fifth. I think things just fell the right way.
Granted, we will just have to wait until training camp for a lot of answers, but on paper it looks to me like they got what they needed.
Bill: Sure looks like it. I would have liked a corner earlier, but there's only so many picks and a lot of the good corners this year were 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-10, and the Packers have been burned by short corners in the past.
Who do you see benefitting the most from this scheme and who do you think will have a breakout year?
Bill: Jeremy Thompson. There's my out-of-left-field guess. At Wake Forest, he played a lot of coverage.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine 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 Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.