Chat with Kevin Seifert
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert will drop in to chat about the NFL.
Seifert joined ESPN.com in 2008 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for eight years. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and daughter.
Send your questions now and join Seifert Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Kevin Seifert (1:00 PM)
Hi everyone. We've had a busy morning here in the NFC North. I'll welcome any and all topics, including this weekend's preseason action and the reappearance of Hewhoshallnotbenamed. Let's get to it.
Ed (The ATL)
Do you see Cutler's shaky performance on Saturday as any kind of indication that he has not developed the proper relationship with his receivers, or was this just simply a preseason game that shouldn't be read into all that much?
Kevin Seifert (1:02 PM)
I think he's still working on it with Devin Hester. They don't seem to be entirely on the same page yet. But these things take time.
Hey Kevin, Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel termed Hawk's continued status as a starter ahead of Desmond Bishop a "joke" in a recent chat. Bedard isn't the only one who has noticed that Bishop is just a better player than Hawk, and frankly, it's not close. Bishop may make some mistakes, but he also makes plays. Hawk just gets pushed around all the time. Your thoughts?
Kevin Seifert (1:03 PM)
That's pretty strong. I know Bishop flashed early in camp and had a good game the other night. I haven't seen every practice like Greg has, so I can't say for sure that Bishop has outplayed Hawk. What I can tell you is that the Packers have a lot invested in Hawk and I don't think they're looking to replace him. They have a lot of sub packages on this defense, so if Bishop is as good as they say, he'll get on the field at some point.
Kevin, In your opinion, what are the odds of Favre being a Viking this season? I thought Jackson looked terrible. Sage looked good, but can he do it on a consistent basis? Childress has to be at least thinking about making another phone call!
Kevin Seifert (1:04 PM)
Yeah, even Rosenfels admitted he was better in the game than he has been in practice. I'd say this is a fluid situation. There's no way you can rule it out, knowing the history of Favre. And if neither Jackson nor Rosenfels grabs on to the job, Favre might be the Vikings' best option.
bob...new jersey [via mobile]
heyy buddy brohm looks like an complete bust betwwn him and harrell..ted thompson is lookin kinda suspect wit sum draft choices..ur thoughts...
Kevin Seifert (1:05 PM)
I'm stunned with how bad Brohm has been, dating back to last year. Not everything was his fault the other night, including at least one of the interceptions. But when I heard him talking about how he was going to wear a glove on his throwing hand to absorb sweat, I started thinking he was grasping at straws.
You're part of the problem, not the solution. Stop covering Brett Favre. Its not a story no matter what Bald Blazer says.
Kevin Seifert (1:07 PM)
Personally, I love being part of the problem.Seriously, as I wrote on the blog this morning, it's very tempting to suggest this story is being kept alive only by the media. And I know it blew up pretty good on TV this morning, based only on analysis. But I would say this: Why are you so convinced the story is dead when Favre has reconsidered every retirement decision he's ever made, without question or fail?
Ricky Ruff (Plainfield,IL)
Will the excellent reports from offseason workouts translate into productivity during the season for Earl Bennett, someone with zero career catches?
Kevin Seifert (1:08 PM)
He definitely looked like an NFL receiver to me when I was at camp last week. And don't underestimate his relationship with Jay Cutler. It's a huge thing to have a quarterback's trust.
Jake Dobson (Mankato, MN)
What was the deal with Percy Harvin last Friday? Is he actually hurt, or is Childress just trying to hide him during the preseason? I got to see him in camp a little bit (very impressive), but not everybody did. Showing him off could go a long way in getting Vikes fans excited about this year, as well as striking some fear in our opponents. What do you think?
Kevin Seifert (1:09 PM)
I would be it's a little bit of both. They've definitely been working on some things with Harvin that you haven't seen before in the Vikings' offense, including the Wildcat. But ultimately he's got to get some decent playing time in the preseason and I think that will start Friday against the Chiefs.
Sean (Saint Paul)
Is it just me, or does Jay Cutler remind you of a surly Rex Grossman?
Kevin Seifert (1:10 PM)
No. The ball comes out of Cutler's hand in a rare way. It just zips to the receiver. Rex had a strong arm but nothing like this. And I don't think Cutler has any of the confidence issues Rex displayed.
Mauricio J. Escalante (Hawthorne,CA)
How many weeks will it take for new head coach Jim Schwartz to switch from Daunte Culpepper and hand the team to top-pick Matthew Stafford?
Kevin Seifert (1:11 PM)
Might not take any. From what I saw of the preseason game the other night, Stafford might be ready to start in week 1. I'll know more once I get to Detroit this week.
Mauricio J. Escalante (Hawthorne,CA)
Can Calvin Johnson's ability overcome double-teaming defenses, his team's dedication to the running game, and questionable ability at quarterback
Kevin Seifert (1:11 PM)
He did last year.
Hey, Kevin, great job covering a huge week. OK, 1) - Nick Collins, what's the contract status? 2) - Sutton... how about his performance as RB? And 3) - Please tell me this Favre thing is just another rumor stirring.
Kevin Seifert (1:13 PM)
Thanks Matt... Nothing substantive to report on Nick Collins. But now that B.J. Raji's deal is done, maybe the Packers can shift their focus. As for Sutton, it's one game but he certainly will give Brandon Jackson and Kregg Lumpkin something to think about. As for Favre, we never rule anything out with him.
Packer fan living in Viking country here. Got a chance to see the Pack play on Saturday night. I know it's just the first preseason game, but I love the way the defense played. I don't remember the last time I saw the Packers blitz that much, and better yet, the pressure caused turnovers. Can I expect more of this when it counts, in your opinion?
Kevin Seifert (1:15 PM)
Absolutely, and then some. The blitz and unexpected pressure is the cornerstone of Capers' philosophy. But also keep in mind they were playing a Browns team that seems to be in a bit of disarray.
Will Ferrell (Los Angeles)
Bus Cook just called and said Brett Favre wants to star in Land of the Lost 2
Kevin Seifert (1:15 PM)
Actually, he just called back and said Favre changed his mind. Oh wait, there he is on the phone again....
hey Kevin read your post daily and love it... what is your best guess for the lions this year i think 6-10 but could see an 8-8 what's your thought
Kevin Seifert (1:16 PM)
They're going to have to get healthy in a hurry for that to happen. One of the Lions beat writers, Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com, is predicting 3-13.
Matt (St. Paul, MN)
If TJack is going to be the Vikings' starting QB, he HAS to show something this Friday against KC, right?
Kevin Seifert (1:17 PM)
Agreed. I think he's playing that game for his career. If he isn't much better, no way he starts the third game. And then he's left to try to salvage things with the second-team offense.
What is Detroit going to do about its d_line? It looked terrible in the opener.
Kevin Seifert (1:18 PM)
Yeah, I thought that was arguably their weakest link last year. They just got pushed all over the place, and offensive linemen were getting free shots on the Lions' linebackers all game long. And other than Grady Jackson, and more recently Shaun Smith, they really haven't addressed the issue from a personnel standpoint. Jackson will make a difference, but I don't know if he can be a 16-game world-beater.
Augie (Madison, WI)
What was scarier: the costumes at Gencon or the Vikings getting 3 sacks on the normally unsackable Manning?
Kevin Seifert (1:19 PM)
Gen Con, easy. I was walking downtown and saw three guys in trenchcoats carrying rifles. It took me a second to realize they were plastic rifles for some kind of game.
What do you think about the kid Aaron Brown in Detroit? He showed good speed and used it to make some pretty impressive plays on Saturday, although it was against 3rd teamers.
Kevin Seifert (1:20 PM)
Definitely opened my eyes. Speed is speed, and he has it. I'm sure he has some rough edges, but if he keeps it up, I would think the Lions would have to find a way to get him on the field.
Kye (West Des Moines)
Regardless of what Jeff from Alabama thinks, I want to know whether you had similar experiences while at Vikings camp. Were the players as confident about it as Glazer stated? What did you see while there? Dunno, I just find it highly suspicious that you wouldn't have reported this had you seen it. You are always on top of things like this and it simply makes me think that perhaps Glazer has overblown this story.
Kevin Seifert (1:23 PM)
Thanks for the kind words. I was there at the beginning of camp and everyone was in the mode of putting Favre behind them. But from what I've heard since, I do think Glazer accurately depicted the mindset of some players and other people in the organization. But as I pointed out on the blog, those people don't have any role in the decision. Only Zygi Wilf and Brad Childress have a say in that. So there isn't really news value at this point. The relevant point in my opinion is that Favre will continue to hang over them, at least publicly, until either Rosenfels or Jackson grabs hold of the job.
Kevin, how close to you think Nathan Vasher is to playing himself out of a job? If by the start of the season Bowman and Tillman are healthy and Graham or Manning in the slot where does he fit?
Kevin Seifert (1:25 PM)
It's certainly not out of the question, Sean. But we have to wait for Bowman and Tillman to get healthy before that can happen.
I keep reading that the Packers players are saying this is the most high-tempo, physical camp that McCarthy has ever run. Have you noticed a difference in urgency in Packers camp, and in your opinion, who runs the "toughest" camp in the NFC North?
Kevin Seifert (1:26 PM)
Yeah, it was pretty intense when I was there, especially as it relates to the defense. That typically happens when you bring in a new coordinator. From what I've heard, Jim Schwartz is running the toughest camp in the NFC North. That's also typical for a new head coach who is setting boundaries for his program. It's always easier to lighten up than bear down.
What's your opinion on what Cutler said about Hester? I think he was putting some blame on himself when he said "you learn from it", meaning he probably isn't going to send a prayer his way anytime soon. I think it's a little overblown when Cutler speaks because people analyze every word he says...
Kevin Seifert (1:28 PM)
Probably true, but I think Cutler played a role in it coming to this. He cast himself as a malcontent by the way he reacted to everything in Denver. So everyone is now looking for signs of whether that's going to show up in Chicago.
Todd (Green Bay)
Kevin, why were the Packers entertaining the thought of benching Scott Wells? KC Joyner said he had the 3rd best POA % of all centers.
Kevin Seifert (1:29 PM)
Not entirely sure what POA means, but I think Wells has had some physical problems recently and the Packers want to get bigger and younger on the line.
Does Jermichael Finley have the potential to become a top 10 TE over the next couple of years?
Kevin Seifert (1:29 PM)
Yes. Possibly this year.
Christian (High Point, NC)
Hey Kevin, with all the starters that Thompson has gotten out of the later rounds, can you please not let criticism of his draft picks into the chat? Most of the GMs in this league would kill to have Thompson's draft history.
Kevin Seifert (1:30 PM)
Fair enough. I think he's had some high profile whiffs, but it's true. The core of this team all came from Thompson's drafts and/or waiver-wire moves.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Will Al Afalava win the starting safety job? He looked very impressive Saturday and he's getting a lot of talk from camp.
Kevin Seifert (1:31 PM)
I'm not sure. He's definitely getting a lot of talk, but I think the Bears want Manning and Payne to start if everyone is healthy. Manning's hamstring injury, however, could end that possibility.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
The Sun-Times says that it doesn't expect Rashied Davis to make the final roster, what does that say about the Bears' receiving depth?
Kevin Seifert (1:31 PM)
That a lot of guys you've hardly heard of are going to make the team.
Kevin (Brookfield, WI)
Hey Kevin, Glazer commented that the Packers personnel fits the 3-4 better thatn the 4-3. I agree. Last year, they struggled with DL depth and were constantly looking for ways to get Chillar on the field. With the emergence of Bishop, the drafting of matthews, it certainly seems that the switch makes it easier on the Packers from a substitution perspective. Your thoughts?
Kevin Seifert (1:32 PM)
Not totally convinced. Kampman and Jeremy Thompson can be competent as OLBs, but they're probably better as 4-3 ends. I'm not sure B.J. Raji is best suited to be an end. He might be better as a 4-3 tackle. We'll see.
GG Allin (Littleton, NH)
Do you guys ever do your own reporting, or do you rip and read everything?
Kevin Seifert (1:34 PM)
Fair question, even though you meant it as a shot. The fact is that we can only be in one place at a time. So it's impossible to single-handedly collect information on all four teams on our own. So there is no doubt we lean on local coverage to an extent, and when we do, we always link and credit. The idea is to provide a blend of what is happening in the division with our own, original posts on certain areas of interest.
kevin Rosenberg (chicago)
Seif, what did you think of the bears defense against the bills, specifically their pass defense? I know they lets bills qbs go 23-26 but I thought I found plenty of things to be upbeat about with bowman tillman and manning out (especially the emergence of afalava who could be their mike brown)
Kevin Seifert (1:35 PM)
Well, one of the problems is that they're not going to have the four starters on the field together for most of the summer. That is an area of concern. We don't know how the secondary will look with Tillman, Bowman and Manning in it together because we haven't seen it and they haven't played together.
Hey Kevin, am I the only one who thinks Donald Driver looks like he's lost a step. Regardless of his touchdown on saturday, he looks slower than last year. Is his career winding down?
Kevin Seifert (1:36 PM)
There's no doubt he's in the twilight of his career. But I think the Packers would be looking at Jennings downfield more than Driver, anyway. He can still be a contributing member of a top-flight offense.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Kevin we both know that even a bad performance from T-Jax won't end his Vikings' career. He's had plenty of chances already to lose it and for some reason Chilly keeps bringing him back. Why would it be different this time unless Brad's job is on the line?
Kevin Seifert (1:37 PM)
Functionally, I think it would. Unless there is an injury, I can't see Childress handing the job to Rosenfels and then switching to Jackson on a permanent basis. His rookie contract will be up after this year and it will be time to move on.
Don't forget the Lions do have Grady Jackson and Sammie Lee Hill hopefully playing at least a competent interior D-line.
Kevin Seifert (1:37 PM)
I'm not sure if Sammie Lee Hill is ready to be an everydown NFL player yet.
Seen the movie Hangover yet? Hilarious!!! Love the pics during closing credits... never laughed so hard in a movie.
Kevin Seifert (1:38 PM)
No. Hopefully one day. I hear it's great.
Kevin, I didn't know you were in town brother. We could have teamed up to wreak havoc on the geeks. I had Chaz with me at the game. We were in the suite eating meatloaf.
Kevin Seifert (1:38 PM)
Kurt Volkman (Chicago, IL)
Can someone tell Marinelli that Ogunleye stands straight up on Running Plays and Anderson just rushes straight and towards the QB? I thought he was going to help? Its the same darn thing again.
Kevin Seifert (1:39 PM)
I'll have more on Marinelli this week, but I would give him some time.
Dan (Eau Claie, WI)
Great blog Kevin, I follow it daily. The Packers dominated a weak Browns team on Sat. Everything I read pre-training camp doubts the new 3-4 scheme, almost always using the term "growing pains." Everything during camp says that the D is flying around and looks great. Even with the injuries at LB and no B.J. on sat they caused QB pressure and turnovers. Is it too early to tell if that defense will continue to be productive this year?
Kevin Seifert (1:40 PM)
Thanks. Yes, it is too early to tell. Let's be fair. But as we've noted on the blog, players are being aggressive and have a sense of urgency, which is what you're seeing right now. The rest is a schematic thing that won't come into play until the regular season starts and teams start gameplanning to see the blitz.
After Saturday's game, I think we can all agree that Kampman needs help in coverage. While I don't see this as a big deal because teams work together to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses, others argue that we shouldn't put our best defensive player in a position where he needs help. After all, "who's there to help the helpers?" they say. What do you think?
Kevin Seifert (1:41 PM)
Yeah, I think it's a real gray area. There's no way they're not going to give Kampman safety help. That's fine. To me, if the move ends up being a mistake, it will be because he doesn't get the same pass rush from the outside linebacker position than he did as a defensive end.
Kevin Seifert (1:42 PM)
OK guys and gals, I'm going to have to cut this a bit short so I can get to Minnesota's practice and then make my flight to Detroit. One or two more questions...
Devin (Green Bay)
Which of the NFC North teams do you see as have the least amount of question marks so far going into the season?
Kevin Seifert (1:43 PM)
Probably Minnesota, but the Vikings also have the biggest question mark at the most important position. It's still not totally clear if they have a starting-caliber quarterback.
Marc Hooks (woodridge, il)
I know the Lions are the most injured in the NFC North but don't you think the Bears are injured at the most important positions? Forte, Olsen, Tillman, etc Do you think this is a sign of things to come this season?
Kevin Seifert (1:44 PM)
Forte and Olsen have very mild injuries. The defense has a few of concern, including Tommie Harris and Charles Tillman, but still not nearly as many as the Lions.
Kevin Seifert (1:45 PM)
OK everyone, thanks so much. Sorry about cutting it short.