Chat with Kevin Seifert
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Kevin Seifert (2:00 PM)
Hi everyone. Let's get this started.
Rich (New Jersey)
Which will the Packers biggest problems - the Giants pass receivers Cruz, Hicks and Manningham or runners Bradshaw and Jacobs?
Kevin Seifert (2:01 PM)
I guess the popular take would be the WRs. The RBs are good also. I think the Giants are going to get their passing yards. The biggest issue is whether they can intercept Manning and/or force turnovers. That's how they've gotten by this season.
TWEET!!!Oops...My bad, I did it again.
Kevin Seifert (2:02 PM)
Not one of your best showings. Only takes one.
Mike (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Why is everyone who is pointing out the fact the Giants have a great D line, forgetting how healthy the Packers are starting to get back there? Sitton is now back, Bulaga is back, Clifton is coming back.
Kevin Seifert (2:03 PM)
It's a fair point. But I would have to consider Clifton a little bit of an unknown. He hasn't played a full game in a long time. In his career, though, he has done well against elite pass rushers.
The Bears organization finally seen Angelo for what he is and got rid of him. Don't the Bears HAVE to Give Les Snead whatever he wants to be our Next GM? After Snead I feel the quality of the canidates drops dramatically!
Kevin Seifert (2:04 PM)
Snead is well-regarded in the NFL, but I'm not sure he's been as pursued as, say, DeCosta from Baltimore. I'm not sure they'll have to blow his door down to get him to accept the job, if that's in fact who the want.
Do you think the Vikes will look to add some LB's via free agency or the draft?
Kevin Seifert (2:05 PM)
They're going to have to figure out what they want to do at middle linebacker. E.J. Henderson is a free agent. That will determine if they need a new starter or not. I'm guessing Erin Henderson gets another year, but that could depend on the next defensive coordinator.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Kevin, as people are being interviewed for the Vikings' defensive coordinator position, what is going on with Fred Pagac? Have they not fired him because they want a fall-back plan in case none of the defensive coordinator candidates accept/are offered the job?
Kevin Seifert (2:07 PM)
No. Last year, they did the same thing. They interviewed OC candidates before making any announcements on Darrell Bevell. But as we later learned, Bevell and had been told he should find another job. It was a low-key way to let Bevell deal with a job change on his own terms. I would presume they've done the same with Pagac.
Roger (Green Bay)
Who is likely to take over the offensive coordinator duties? Clements...?
Kevin Seifert (2:08 PM)
Assuming Philbin doesn't coach this week? I would guess the entire offensive staff would collaborate on that. Obviously, McCarthy will continue to call the plays.
John (Cedar Rapids, IA)
I haven't seen the replay of the game earlier in the season but how did the offensive line hold up against the Giants defensive line?
Kevin Seifert (2:09 PM)
Off the top of my head, there were a bunch of knocked-down passes. I think I have the game right.
Chuck (Mt. Morris, MI)
Does the injury to Backus mean that the Lions will be targeting Oline the most in the offseason? I know it needs to be rebuilt, but they didn't give up 900 yards in the air the last two weeks. Don't they have to make the secondary the #1 priority?
Kevin Seifert (2:10 PM)
They're neck-and-neck. I'm not sure if this injury will dramatically change their plans at LT. You would think Backus will heal over the next seven months. That should be enough time. The real question is whether they want to pick this year to start the succession plan at that position or if they want to squeeze a few more years from him. Backus turns 35 in September.
Based on his comments the other day, Forte seems pretty confident that a new contract is going to get done. Is this just optimism on his part, or do you think Ted Phillips has assured him that this will be on the new GM's "to do" list?
Kevin Seifert (2:11 PM)
I'm not sure. Maybe he personally blamed Jerry Angelo. But it's hard to know for sure that it will get done. What if the new GM has a hard-line stance against paying a running back a premium second contact? Impossible to know.
Roger (Green Bay)
Let's keep this chat: 75 percent regarding Packers and 25 percent other teams not in the playoffs from the division....and let's all keep OC Philbin and family in our prayers
Kevin Seifert (2:12 PM)
All in on the latter. Not sure on the former.
Packers -9 seems a bit high, doesnt it?
Kevin Seifert (2:14 PM)
I don't think so. They were 15-1 this year and have won 21 of their past 22. If anything, people are groping for reasons to favor the Giants.
I'm hearing that the Raiders are looking to bring in several Packers assistant coaches to replace Hue Jackson...is McKenzie allowed to do that or can McCarthy veto the potential departure of his staff?
Kevin Seifert (2:15 PM)
McKenzie would have to wait until the end of the Packers season to hire anyone officially, but the Packers can't block someone if they are going to be the head coach.
Moonchicken (The moon, where else?)
Kevin. Now that Hue is out in Oakland, which Packers assistant is most likely to become the new head coach? Winston Moss?
Kevin Seifert (2:17 PM)
He and Darren Perry are getting a lot of mention over the past half hour. Both have Raiders ties. My understanding is that McKenzie likes both of them and also has a great amount of respect for Joe Philbin. How the Philbin family tragedy plays into that, I have no idea.
Brian (Baltimore, MD)
If Winston Moss leaves for Oakland, how many other Packers assistants follow him?
Kevin Seifert (2:18 PM)
The Packers can block any assistant who is under contract from joining the Raiders as an assistant. That's what happened a few years ago when the Bears wanted to interview Tom Clements for OC.
Cole (Winnipeg, Canada)
What moves do you see the Lions making in the offseason to help get under the salary cap? With Willie Young and Cliff Avril emerging, could Vanden Bosch be a casualty?
Kevin Seifert (2:20 PM)
I doubt that, but they are definitely going to be tight. The Calvin Johnson situation is going to come to a head soon, if not this winter. That's why I question whether they'll be able to sign Avril. He's not going to be cheap.
Why is Calvin Johnson's base salary for next year so ridiculously high? Did the Lions intentionally structure it that way, and if so, why? Seems weird to ask, but--will they have to cut him?
Kevin Seifert (2:21 PM)
Often teams and players agree to put huge base salaries at the end of a contract for cap reasons. They get an extra year to pro-rate bonuses, but they know at the outset the deal will have to be renegotiated because the base salary is too high. So yes, it was probably intentional. Amazingly, it's not that far off from Johnson's market value.
i read that forte wants to play in the probowl. he must really need money. i cant see the bears taking the risk of allowing him to play. if im his agent forte is fully aware of how much money he will lose by hurting himself over the probowl bonus
Kevin Seifert (2:22 PM)
It's not up to the Bears. They can't prevent him. Forte might want to think it through, though. What's the point?
Rick Spielman (Winter Park)
I don't think it makes sense to draft Blackmon #3 when there will be quality free agent WR's available. I should be taking Kalil, Claiborne (maybe?), or trade down. That said: What should be the first WR I target in free agency??
Kevin Seifert (2:23 PM)
I don't have an answer for you on FA receivers. But I do agree that No. 3 is high for a receiver unless you're positive he's the next Calvin Johnson. Kalil would probably be the ideal pick.
Is all this "Giants have a good chance to upset the Pack" talk just a way to boost the ratings? Never in my memory has a 15-1 team (or team with near that record) been so disrespected.
Kevin Seifert (2:25 PM)
"Disrespected" might be strong, but I agree that there has been a lot of people tripping over each other to predict an upset. To me, there is one issue the Packers face: If Eli gets hot, piles up a bunch of yards and doesn't throw interceptions like he usually does.
Kevin, James Starks, perhaps because of injuries has not looked as strong heading into the playoffs this time around.Because of this, do you think we'll see more Grant than Starks?
Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)
I do think Grant has emerged a bit late in the season. And McCarthy has shown he trusts veterans, as evidenced by the Clifton situation. Grant is going to get his share of opportunities, and if he's hot, McCarthy will ride him the same way he rode Starks last year.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
Read an article you posted in the BBAO that sort of defends Tim Ruskell. Any chance he could actually get the Bears GM job? Would that be a bad move by the Bears?
Kevin Seifert (2:28 PM)
It would confirm that Lovie Smith is still yielding lots of power. Continuity is always best for incumbent coaches.
Darth Ditka (Sunny Florida)
Did the Bears really make Mike Tice Offensive Coordinator (for the first time in his career)? Is Lovie trying to get fired??? Just a tip from fans, we want wins more than loyalty to friends. Thanks Bears. /facepalm
Kevin Seifert (2:29 PM)
I thought it was a decent move. There is a value in not starting over. Tice will maintain a lot of the good things the Bears were doing at midseason. The play-calling thing could be interesting, but it was also interesting with Martz, too.
I agree with Roger. Thought it was going to mostly Packers this week per your blog post. Not living up to it thus far.
Kevin Seifert (2:30 PM)
Didn't say mostly. Said more. Big difference.
Lots of talk on local radio about Gunther needing to go in Detroit. It's not all the scheme's fault the D played bad down the stretch, right Kev?
Kevin Seifert (2:32 PM)
I think it's fair for the Lions to take a deep review of the coordinator of any defense that collapsed the way the Lions' did. Schwartz said Monday that he expected all of the coordinators back and clearly values continuity.
David (San Jose)
Where do you see Matt Flynn playing next year? If he is a free agent he has his choice, where should he WANT to go of teams that need a QB?
Kevin Seifert (2:34 PM)
How about the Raiders, who could turn out to be Packers West?
Chuck (New Milford, CT)
With Suh's lackluster year done, how much stock would you put in to him not focusing on football enough and focusing on his 'Brand' too much? Seems like everywhere you turned there was another story about him doing something outside of football. Was it all the extra line attention he got this year or does he need to re-focus a bit on his job?
Kevin Seifert (2:38 PM)
I'm not sure if it was focusing on his brand or simply not adjusting well to the kind of attention he got on the field. Double-digit sacks for defensive tackles don't happen every year. But I would agree that he just didn't make the kind of game-changing plays. Like any elite defensive tackle, he needs to win all of his single matchups and beat a fair amount of double teams. Otheriwse, he's not elite.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Would you be comfortable with Sanford and Raymond starting at safety next season depending on if Abdullah is re-signed or can play because of concussions?
Kevin Seifert (2:39 PM)
No. I'm not sure the Vikings ended the season with a starting-caliber safety. I suppose Raymond deserves a chance as a young player. But they really need to overhaul the position.
Is Jermichael Finley going to show us why he deserves a big contract this weekend? Giants linebackers not great in coverage.
Kevin Seifert (2:41 PM)
He didn't have a great game against them in the regular season, mostly because of drops. I'm sure he will be highly, highly motivated.
Lester Bagley (Vikings stadium czar)
Based on your stadium blog post earlier today, it seems as if the stadium debate is coming full circle back to the Metrodome site. Is Minneapolis planning on using existing revenue streams to fund their share of the project?
Kevin Seifert (2:43 PM)
I'm not sure if Minneapolis leaders know for sure how that will work. The proposal as I understand it is to tap into funds dedicated to the convention center once it is paid off. But they're going to have to figure out where the money is going to come from until that point.
Hi Kevin, big fan and lifelong Packers fan... Do you think Jennings will be 100% by Sunday? Also, a lot of people i know are making assumptions about this game after the NFC Championship in '08, are there any glaring differences in your opinion?
Kevin Seifert (2:44 PM)
All indications that Jennings' knee has healed. The big difference between the last NFC Championship Game is that four years have gone by. Two different teams.
Darth Ditka (Sunny Florida)
When Ruskell gets the Bears GM job....will the collective moan in Chicago register on the richter scale?
Kevin Seifert (2:45 PM)
I'm not sure. When the Bears announced that Lovie was coming back, I got the sense that Bears fans realized a major overhaul wasn't coming.
Scott (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
So who do you think the front runner is for MN's Defensive Coordinator Position and why?
Kevin Seifert (2:47 PM)
I've thought it would be Mike Singletary, considering his friendship with Leslie Frazier. But obviously they're looking at other options as well. I wonder if that's the Rick Spielman influence, at least pushing Frazier to consider outside voices.
So if Eli gets hot and doesn't throw ints, the Giants will win? How exactly are they going to stop the Packers? If I remember correctly, Aaron Rodgers has lit them up the last two games. I'll take the Pack in a shootout over Eli anyday.
Kevin Seifert (2:48 PM)
Well, it was 38-35 in the last game. Packers had 7 points on an INT return from Clay Matthews. So its not out of the question.
BuildingWithC1ay (Milwaukee Wi)
The difference between last year's packers defense and this year's can be summed up as no nick collins and no cullen jenkinsI realize that he isn't guaranteed to return, but if he does, are the packers a pass rushing DT away from being a top 5 defense again? If not, what other pieces are they missing?
Kevin Seifert (2:49 PM)
The base pass rush hasn't been good at all. Is that all because of Cullen Jenkins? I'm not sure about that. Raji hasn't made nearly the impact he made last year.
Kevin Seifert (2:50 PM)
Ok, a couple more here. Then I need to get back to the blog.
So the Bears are going from all passing with Martz to all running with Tice? They better fix that O-line and hope Forte is healthy.
Kevin Seifert (2:51 PM)
No. Tice likes to throw the ball downfield. He's got the quarterback that can do it. He needs more receivers, though. But what he doesn't like doing is using the passing game to substitute for the run with 3-4 yard throws. He wants his linemen run-blocking as much as possible.
Brian (St. Louis, MO)
Kevin, I know the actual injury report doesn't come out just yet but whats the word you're hearing on the health of the Packers, specifically Jennings and Bulaga?
Kevin Seifert (2:51 PM)
All indications are that both are good to go.
Aaron (The Nation's Capital)
If Spielman has another lack luster draft and free agency period, and Ponder continue's with his struggle's next year, do you think we could see a clean sweep of the randomness that is Rick and Christian?
Kevin Seifert (2:52 PM)
For better or worse, I think the structure change probably bought Spielman two years, at least, especially if there is a coaching change after next year.
I am just tired of the comparison of the up coming giants and packers game with the 2007 season nfc championship, aren't both the teams completely different now and what about the rout of the giants last visit to lambeau field everyone has conveniently forgotten that!!!
Kevin Seifert (2:53 PM)
Agreed. And it won't be nearly as cold. And the Packers' starting quarterback won't be nearly as adverse to playing in the cold.
Woodson, Matthews and Rodgers havent played game speed for 3 weeks. Any worries for early game rust?
Kevin Seifert (2:54 PM)
No. If anything, especially with Woodson and Matthews, they should be spry and energetic. I wouldn't worry about Rodgers being off-target because he's had a few weeks off, either.
If a rapist dies, do we mourn that person? What if that person was the son of a Packers Coach? Does that change anything?
Kevin Seifert (2:55 PM)
I understand the question. Michael Philbin had some legal trouble involving unconsensual sex when he was 18. But in this case, and not to disrespect his memory, it seems as though most of the public mourning has centered around the sadness of the Packers' OC, who lost his son. There's a difference there.
Kevin Seifert (2:56 PM)
And regardless, I think it's only on rare occasions in this world when we don't mourn the death of someone. Death is so rarely deserved.
I am shocked with Davids statement. And sad
Kevin Seifert (2:57 PM)
It's on me for picking the question. I'm all for everyone having the right to express diverse opinions.
If there were to be bad weather in Green Bay would that benefit the Giants? They do have a revamped running game and a strong D-line.
Kevin Seifert (2:58 PM)
Bad weather usually favors the offense. It's easier to run patterns than to chase people running patterns in the snow, ice, etc. It also slows down pass rushers.
What is the Lions RB situation looking like for next year? Best is coming off concussions, Leshoure off an achilles and Smith a FA. Do they address this in the draft or will go with who they have?
Kevin Seifert (2:59 PM)
It sounds like they're confident Leshoure will be ready. That alone means they probably won't go for another high draft choice.
Kevin Seifert (2:59 PM)
OK everyone. Thanks so much. Chat with you next week!