Packer Report's pre-camp chat

You had questions and publisher Bill Huber had at least a few good answers as we talked on Wednesday night. Come back on Wednesday night, Aug. 5, as we talk about the first few days of training camp.

Favre will be back with Minnesota, he wont go through training camp. If not, any chance we take him back if Rodgers falls???

Bill: My wife asked me that at lunch today. It's an interesting question considering most NFL quarterbacks don't get through the season. I can't help but wonder if some team, whether it's Green Bay or Minnesota or whoever, needs a quarterback in Week 5 if Favre won't offer his services. He's going to keep throwing, after all. I guess I won't believe Favre is really retired until ... heck, I can't even answer that. If he's going to keep opening that door a crack, it's hard to believe he won't reconsider and play again.

I think he would come back to the Pack if Rodgers got hurt who else do we have?

Bill: No kidding. I think Flynn might be OK. People who have read my stuff in the past know that I don't think Brohm can play. Maybe he'll prove me wrong, and he did look better this offseason, but I'm not a fan of Brohm.

b>I think he would come in to play for a team in a pinch

Bill: I still think he's going to play if it's the right team. If he can play without going through training camp? I think he'd say yes, as long as it's not for some crappy team.

I don't think I would want him back though.

Bill: Really? Why's that?

Well, I just think he's too brittle, he might lose the desire to work out if he doesn't have the motivation of his teammates, and I don't think he really has the desire overall. if he did I think he would've signed with Minni.

Bill: That could be, unless his desire is to play is strong but his desire to practice is weak.

It was his best opportunity to play, and where he wanted to be. I can't see him passing on that unless he is in real bad.

Bill: Well that makes sense. I can totally buy that. I just wonder how this will impact the Vikings. To me, to have your coach courting a player tells me that my team isn't quite good enough.

Well of course it does. Would you want T-Jack or Sage too be our QB? I don't think so

Bill: I really don't know much about Sage Rosenfels. I think Tarvaris Jackson is horrible. He's got some skill but I think he's scared to death. After seeing what the whole circus did in Green Bay last year, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings only win seven or eight games. They've got a hell of a defense obviously but it's hard to buy into the offense after all of this. I wonder if the Vikings could say no to him if he wanted to come back on Sept. 1.

I don't blame the Favre watch for the reason the Packers fell last year. I think it was mostly the injuries suffered. if you compare the 08 and 07 seasons we had no one of any significant importance get injured in 07.

Bill: You're right about that, but it's hard to quantity what the whole circus did to the psyche or mojo or whatever you want to call. Maybe it was nothing, who knows.

I mean, if you really think about I can't see it "distracting" all the players. So what, you see Brett on the news a few times. Most players don't even watch the news. I see no way of how it would affect anyone

Bill: You could be right. It's impossible to say, though I had more than one GM/coach at the Combine tell me they thought it hurt the team.

So what is going on with Tauscher?

Bill: I don't know. Tauscher's agent was very forthcoming several months ago but hasn't responded to e-mails or phone calls since. I feel bad for him. It's bad enough to get injured but to be injured in December when you're going to be a free agent, that's a tough blow. He's a class act and I'd hate to see him go out this way when he can probably still play. I suppose he could be a good fallback plan if Barbre and Lang and Giacomini all fall on their face. (Update: General manager Ted Thompson seemed to leave the door open for Tauscher's return during the shareholders meeting when he said Tauscher's not on the team "at this present time.")

What do you expect to take place during the first week of camp Bill?

Bill: I can't wait to see the defense during the first week. All we got to see was three-quarters speed stuff with no contact during OTAs and minicamp. I want to see the defense unleashed. I want to see if Allen Barbre is for real. I want to see T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton too. I think Lang is going to be a really good player.

I don't think Allen Barbre will be all that. if he was handling Kampman and B.J. in practices so much then he would've been starting in previous seasons

Bill: The one thing I will say about Barbre is things happen really quick at guard. Lots of stunts and blitzes and things happen really quick. At right tackle, it's a lot easier mentally. It's not as complicated. He's probably the strongest guy on the team and he's a heck of a good athlete. You probably remember reading that he was a gunner on the punt team in college.

Do you think Capers can turn this around??

Bill: Sure, I think so. Someone asked in the Forum ... in Jacksonville, the defense went from 25th to fourth in his first year. In Miami, it went from 18th to fourth. He's got a history of working his magic without needing a couple years of personnel changes. Every situation is different, but if Raji is as good as we think and Matthews plays like a first-rounder, add that to some of the players they've got, and you've got a good group.

Bill: Problem with Barbre is he started about 10 fights in camp last year. Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but he's got a temper. He needs to get over that.

Mean streak or just silly, Bill?

Bill: Well it's a mean streak, but he doesn't know where to draw the line. Or he's unable to control it. I just remember that every scuffle last year had him in the middle. Sitton, he's got a mean streak too but he doesn't seem to have a problem walking that fine line.

Fights always start with the person who's constantly getting beat and letting the other person get in his head.

Bill: Yeah, he certainly got beat at guard last year. He was supposed to challenge Colledge and that never got close to happening.

My question for the year is A.J. Hawk!!!!!!!!!!!!


What's up with A.J. Hawk?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Bill: I don't know what to make out of Hawk. Top-five picks have to be really good starters. He's just OK.

He is close to bust status!!

Bill: Maybe he was hurt more than he let on last year. I hope so. Teams that blow top-five picks wind up being like the Raiders and Bengals and Browns and Lions.

What is it with Hawk? I never expected this out of college.

Bill: No doubt about that. I was doing my inside linebackers preview and I'm trying to think of something to write about him and I was drawing a blank. Seriously, what has he done? He had a couple sacks at Detroit last year. But beyond that ....

Hawk's pass coverage is the problem. Well man coverage actually he was constantly getting burnt. With Capers running a more zone-oriented D, I see Hawk becoming more of a playmaker.

Bill: He was horrible in coverage last year. Part of it was a groin injury maybe. For the Packers' sake, I hope that's the case. You're right though that the scheme will help. I don't recall seeing the linebackers in any man coverage schemes. Still, in a zone, you're responsible for that receiver in your area.

If Cullen plays like he played two years ago and Raji can play, the D will be more improved with the push up front. With the offense, there is no reason we don't win 10-plus games.

Bill: Totally agree with that. Jenkins was destroying people last year until he got hurt. Raji, with that mix of size and athleticism, should be a stud too.

Hey, Bill, don't go to far. That's what people were saying about Harrell.

Bill: Ugh, Harrell. At least he got through the offseason in one piece.

Is he just injury prone? Does he WANT to play?

Bill: I don't think he's injury prone, I really don't. It wasn't an issue in college until that torn biceps as a senior. And even with that, he played the next week before deciding to have surgery. Now, does he want to play? He says all the right things, but then he showed up for OTAs and minicamp at 320 when they wanted him at 310. With that said, I know D-line coach Mike Trgovac really likes Harrell, and Capers liked Harrell when scouting him while with the Dolphins.

I like Desmond Bishop. I think he can be a real beast.

Bill: I'm a big Bishop fan. I hope they can get him on the field. Three forced fumbles last year in part-time duty. Barnett and Hawk in their combined careers: four.

I'd like to see Desmond get some more playing time. It seems as if he's the only player on the Packers roster that can actually force a fumble

Bill: He got killed a couple times last year in coverage. But with more playing time, I would think he'd get better and more sure of himself.

Seems like the Packers are not strippers...yet you see some teams that you better carry with both arms every play. Like the Bears and the Bucs.

Bill: I agree with that. Even in 2007, they weren't getting a lot of fumbles. Last year was horrible in that regard.

Why can't that be coached??

Bill: It can be coached and should be coached. I know they work on it. They worked on it a lot last year so I can't pin that on the old staff totally. They need to get better stripping the ball because I'm not sure you can count on getting that many interceptions again.

I think we could get the same number of pics again with the run D hopefully shutting down RBs that will force opponents to throw more. And with all this new fancy pressure packages it might work.

Bill: That could be, but Nick Collins and Tramon Williams had unprecedented seasons for them. Were they one-year wonders in that regard? They both could play good again this year but only combine for eight interceptions instead of 12.

Do you think the coaching staff is keeping Jeremy Thompson atop Clay Matthews on the depth chart to make him work harder or is JT really doing that well?

Bill: Thompson didn't do anything to lose the job during the offseason. He really played well. He seems to have a good feel for the coverage game. He did a lot of that at Wake Forest. That's another reason to look forward to camp. When it comes time to rush the passer, which one can get past Clifton?

Do you think Matthews will be starting Week 1?

Bill: I really didn't get to see Matthews enough during the offseason to give you a good answer. He missed three weeks with that hamstring. Just based on money and draft status and sheer athleticism, I think Matthews will win the job. I think his football IQ is just through the roof. He's a good athlete and you can tell being good really means something to him. He's not riding on his dad's coattails.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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