Packer Report Chat Transcript

You had a bunch of good questions and Bill had at least a few good answers as we talked on Tuesday. The major focuses, not surprisingly, are the problems brewing on a team that hit the bye at 2-2. Don't forget to join us for our live chat during Sunday's Packers-Lions game at Lambeau.

Did you happen to notice how effective the short throws and the screens were against the Vikes and why don't we do more of that?

Bill: Hopefully it's an adjustment. For better or worse, McCarthy has faith in his guys. Even before the Vikings game, he was saying that they had been helping the linemen too much, rather than not helping them enough. Faith is one thing though, blind faith is something else.

I just think given the play of the o-line a more traditional West Coast approach would be wise.

Bill: Part of the "going away" from the West Coast is that Jennings and Driver are so good on deep routes and Rodgers is so good throwing them. And then to run the West Coast, you need a RB who can catch. Without Brandon Jackson, they haven't had that.

Signing Levi Jones and Warrick Dunn would be wise.

Bill: With Levi Jones, the way I figure it, is if a lineman is unemployed at this time of year, that makes you wonder if he's got anything to offer. Packers aren't the only team to lose an LT, yet Jones is still unemployed. Big Warrick Dunn fan. Even last year, the guy produced. Still surprised he's unemployed, but that might be more of him not wanting to uproot his family. He's been a Florida guy for a long, long time. Sort of the same thing with Kevin Carter. At the end, Kevin didn't want to leave home.

I just can't watch more of the same. Changes are necessary.

Bill: I like the changes in the Vikings game, which you mentioned. If they don't fumble away at least three points and throw away at least three points and then drop a touchdown, who knows what happens.

Tauscher is weeks away no?

Bill: Tauscher certainly is a week away. He looked pretty gassed at times at practice, but he's an old vet. I think he'll get back in the swing of things pretty quick. Fortunately, it's Detroit this week and Cleveland the next.

If Grant doesn't pick it up we have to go in another direction, whether it be Kregg Lumpkin or Dunn.

Bill: I thought Grant was one of the bright spots vs. Minnesota. Really ran hard and actually did something in the pass game for a change. He is what he is though. He'll break a tackle here and there and might get you an extra yard or two but he's not a real dynamic player. I think you can win with him though, especially if you block for him a little.

I question giving a team which leads the NFL in penalties a week off. Da Bears worked last week.

Bill: Good point on the penalties. If the Packers hadn't played a real physical game on Monday night, they might have practiced. Good thing about not practicing is the coaches can spend more time watching film from the games rather than reviewing film of what just happened at practice. So, that's a positive.

If the Vikings game showed anything, it's just how bad of an evaluator of o-line talent TT is. The depth is horrible.

Bill: It's either Thompon evaluating or James Campen coaching them. I can't say that I'm smart enough to give a good opinion either way. I was a little surprised Campen survived the coaching purge in January though. What bothers me is Wells, Colledge and Spitz looked like real up-and-comers down the stretch in 2007. They haven't gotten any better. That makes me think there's some talent that's not being cultivated.

Has MM really actually called anyone on the carpet for poor play or raised his voice in his time here?

Bill: He pretty much called the whole team out after a game late last season, when he insisted execution was the problem. Otherwise, not much in front of us, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Just seems he lacks fire. Even restrained fire would work for me. Looking disappointed all the time is getting old.

Bill: Yeah, but how many coaches do you see ranting and raving these days? They're all sort of clones of Belichick now. Once Cowher retired, the real fiery coaches were pretty much gone. Singletary certainly is, but the jury is out on whether he's going to be a good coach. Anyone ever see Tony Dungy having a meltdown on a sideline?

Do we have anyone who could run the Wildcat?

Bill: They don't have anyone to run it. Driver probably would be pretty good at it but you don't need to get a veteran receiver beat up. Tyrell Sutton might have been good at it but he's in Carolina.

We really got beat by 2 very good teams maybe were not as bad as we think, but we have to beat those teams to be better than them.

Bill: That's true. Cincinnati has beaten Pittsburgh at home and won at Baltimore. Pittsburgh and Baltimore played for the AFC title last year and Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl. The only loss was to 5-0 Denver. Who would have thought the Bengals were any good? The Packers have lost to two teams with a combined 9-1 record.

I read on another site there was a rumor of trading Kampman and picks for Joe Thomas, the left tackle from Cleveland, any chance?

Bill: Zero chance. Less than zero, if that's possible. I had heard that rumor and did some digging, even though it seemed ludicrous. For one, Aaron Kampman is going to be a free agent. The Browns would need to sign him. As bad as Cleveland is, what allure would the Browns have for Kampman? Second, Thomas is arguably the best left tackle in the game and he's under contract for the next few years. Great left tackles like Thomas are a lot harder to find than good pass rushers like Kampman. Plus, the Browns run a 3-4, and at least the early review says Kampman has struggled in that scheme.

What are we doing at safety? The new guy looks lost.

Bill: We'll see ... McCarthy thought Atari Bigby might be back for practice on Wednesday. He'd be a big plus. They've won with him, they've lost a bunch without him.

Bigby is always hurt.

Bill: He's been hurt a lot, that's for sure. He started all 16 in 2007, and they went 13-3. They had a winning record last year in games that he started and played most of the snaps.

What about what Charles Woodson said about Anthony Smith?

Bill: I wasn't a big Smith fan. He gambled. A lot. That's one reason why the Cardinals threw for a million yards in that preseason game. He sure made some plays, and he'd be better than what they had at Minnesota. I would have canned Rouse long ago and kept Smith, but thinking Smith would have been a big asset for this team right now, I don't see that.

Any rumors of trades before the deadline?

Bill: No rumors I'm hearing. The NFL's trade deadline is usually a snooze-fest, since teams have to match contracts with the salary cap. Plus, most teams are usually in the hunt with such an early deadline.

Trading Aaron Kampman would be smart, for a starting safety or LT.

Bill: I'm not ready to give up on Kampman. We'll see. Of course, I'd trade almost anyone for a LT, but those guys don't grow on trees. But it's a long season. Kampman's a heck of a good player. Who's to say he won't end up with 10 sacks and all of this talk about him being unable to play linebacker turns out to be pure nonsense?

What about trading Hawk?

Bill: What would you get for him, especially with his contract? He's made a few good plays but you hardly notice him most of the time.

Hawk plays very reserved.

Bill: That's a good analysis. I remember thinking that during training camp. While Bishop or Chillar would just throw themselves into a hole with a vengeance, Hawk was willing to wait and take things on. At 245 or whatever, that's not going to cut it against 310-pound blockers.

Raji has been invisible so far. Is that holdout related?

Bill: Yeah, I'd say holdout related. He's going to be a really good player but he's sort of feeling his way through things yet, technique-wise. He had a couple plays against Minnesota where he just destroyed whoever was put in front of him. Other plays, he got his tail kicked.

I say give Bishop a chance. It's not like Hawk or Barnett are doing much.

Bill: Hawk barely played against Minnesota. Chillar took most of the snaps. I guess I'm willing to wait on Barnett. He's been a good player ... sometimes very good. But it's hard to argue that, at the end of training camp, the team's best inside linebackers were Bishop and Chillar.

Is Finley going to get more plays? I hope so.

Bill: I sure hope so. Part of that is getting the blocking straightened out so the offense is facing second-and-6 or third-and-4 rather than second- and third-and-long all the time. Tight ends are at their best when you can go play-action and get them on a linebacker. Against Minnesota, they were in good down-and-distance situations for a lot of the game.

Seems we have trouble.

Bill: Seems we do have trouble, but there's still a long way to go and it's not like they've been losing by 20. Like I said, their losses have come against teams who are a combined 9-1.

Is Ted getting the playmakers Mike needs to win with? Whose fault is this?

Bill: McCarthy's got the playmakers. They've got a talented bunch of skill players. Nothing works if the quarterback is on his back or running for his life. If you want blame, it's either Thompson for not getting better linemen or Campen for not developing what they've got.

What are your thoughts on MM version of the zone blocking scheme?

Bill: So far, I'd say the zone has been a failure. It's worked elsewhere, so it's not like it doesn't work. That first year, they had Jeff Jagodzinski to teach it, and he learned it first-hand from zone guru Alex Gibbs, but then he went to Boston College. So then it's Joe Philbin, who is a really good coach, teaching the zone but having learned it from Jags for one year. And then Philbin went to offensive coordinator, so now it's Campen. You're just so many branches removed from the zone tree, so to speak.

So far removed we can prune and start over?

Bill: With all the smallish linemen on the roster, going full-time to power is probably going to fail. So, I think they're sort of up a creek. And now they're doing some zone and some power. I'm not sure that doing anything halfway is a recipe for success.

Mike also has to call a game with shorter passes instead of having Rodgers throw it 50 yards. I don't know how many times we needed 8 yards for a first down and we throw it 20 yards.

Bill: That's true, but at the same time, it's not that McCarthy is calling a play for a 20-yard pass. There are several guys out on routes, some short, some medium, some deep. Rodgers is choosing what he feels is his best option. Getting Jackson back hopefully will help. I wrote about it last week that a couple of the sacks, Rodgers could have dumped to Wynn. One of those was third-and-long, which was set up when Wynn dropped a pass on first down. Hard to feel good about throwing it to someone who just had a drop.

I'm thinking 8-8 what do you'all think...

Bill: I think they can still win 10. I have my glass-is-half-full glasses on. They've lost to two teams who are a combined 9-1. Capers' defense, you'd think, will get better with time. And the o-line can't get worse. Sitton seems to be getting better every week, so that's a positive. Getting Clifton back after 2.5 games is huge.

I just hope Cliff is sound...

Bill: No kidding. When I did my player rankings way back in the summer, I had Clifton No. 2 just because he's irreplaceable. He's like every left tackle. You can't lose one if you've got one. There are as many good LTs as there are good QBs.

Rodgers does need to get rid of the ball quicker too.

Bill: Yes he does, no doubt. It's a fine line of trying to make a play. The TDs to Finley and Nelson last week came with Rodgers buying a split second. So, sometimes you get a big play. Sometimes you get sacked. Having a back to check it down to would be a huge help. Just no trust in Wynn and Grant in the passing game.

Very true. No third-down back is a killer. Look hat Kevin Faulk does for Tom Brady on third downs.

Bill: Great point on Kevin Faulk. Not a real talented guy at this point in his career, but he's as reliable as the sunrise.

I miss Sutton and his ability, or the prospect of it any way.

Bill: I was all over Sutton back before the draft. So you're preaching to the choir. He left Northwestern as college football's active leader in receptions, so you'd have to think he could have contributed in that role. They gambled and lost by releasing him, no doubt. With Jackson back, hopefully the problem is solved. We'll see. I'm not a big fan of Jackson so I'm not counting on him being a savior. He caught 30 passes last year. That has to be his role on this team. They need that checkdown guy. Those are such easy yards. Kevin Faulk, Joseph Addai (never mind someone like Darren Sproles) those kind of guys are basically getting free yards every time they get the ball.


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