Chat with Rob Demovsky
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN NFL Nation Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky drops by to chat and answer all of your Packers questions.
Following 16 years covering the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Demovsky joined ESPN in 2013 as the Packers beat reporter. He is a two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Send your questions now and join Demovsky Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Rob Demovsky (3:59 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining in. I see there's lots of questions already, so let's get started.
Jermichael looks to make a full comeback, yet he had the exact same injury and surgery as Nick Collins. If the packers make a play at trying to sign Jermichael, wouldn't this be a slap in the face to Collins. I know its impossible for any of the media to know the full extent of Collin's injury, but if he wants to play let him play
Rob Demovsky (4:03 PM)
Nate: Each medical case is different, and there's also a bit of a difference between playing safety and tight end. At safety, you're going to hit someone on almost every play. At tight end, you might get hit 8 or 10 times a game. As for letting someone play, it's not that simple. In talking to Mike McCarthy about Collins over the last couple of years, there's genuine emotion involved. Let's say they decide to let Collins play and he takes a hit that leaves him paralyzed. If you were McCarthy, Ted Thompson or Dr. McKenzie, could you live with that? I think it would be difficult.
Stevie (the Bay)
Will you be covering the scouting combine for us?
Rob Demovsky (4:04 PM)
Stevie: Yes, I will be heading to Indianapolis tomorrow evening and will hit the ground running at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday morning. Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson will speak to reporters on Friday.
Tundra Tuff (Earth)
What are your top (3) positions of need to fill in the draft?
Rob Demovsky (4:05 PM)
I've been working on a series of posts about that exact topic. I've written two of them so far: Safety and defensive line. The third, linebacker, will appear tomorrow, and the fourth, tight end, will appear Thursday.
What are the odds that AJ Hawk and Brad Jones are both back starting for the Packers? Do you think they will try to upgrade ILB in the offseason?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Justin: I don't see any way Hawk isn't back. He had what the coaches considered his best season in 2013. Plus, he's dependable, reliable, accountable -- all the things coaches love, even if he has limitations. As for Jones, they have to upgrade that spot. Either he needs to play much better or they need to find a replacement.
Brandon (wi) [via mobile]
The panthers have 3 free agents that would be nice to go after - Hardy, Mitchell, and Ginn. Hardy is the most unrealistic but then again Reggie White probably seemed like an unrealistic signing. Ginn seems like a perfect fit if Jones leaves. Elite return man and showed this year he is capable of playing as the 3rd wr. Do you think any of those three might be targets?
Rob Demovsky (4:10 PM)
Brandon: At this point, we don't know exactly who will hit the market. Hardy wants/deserves big money, but it sounds like the Panthers will make a strong bid to keep him, even if they have to tag him. As a receiver, Ginn probably isn't in Jones' class, but he's a good return man. I don't have a good feel for whether Mike Mitchell will hit the market but he's probably the kind of mid-level free agent the Packers could go after.
Adam, Clinton, IN [via mobile]
who do u think the main competition for the packers will be in the NFC north in 2014
Rob Demovsky (4:12 PM)
Adam: I still think it's the Bears. They'll be in the second year of their program with coach Marc Trestman, so there should be some significant growth there. The other two teams in the division will be in their first years with their new coaches - the Lions with Jim Caldwell and the Vikings with Mike Zimmer. The Lions are much closer to competing than the Vikings, who still need a QB. I'll be interested to see if Caldwell can get the Lions going because there is talent there. But changing the culture usually takes time.
Do you see Sam Sheilds getting a long term deal ?
Rob Demovsky (4:13 PM)
Kimberly: I've been pretty consistent in my thinking that the Packers will get a deal done with Shields, but time is ticking. The Packers want him back; they just have to decide if he's worth around $8 million per year. By now, they've likely set a top price and they'll see if they can get him for that number.
Jeff (Madison, WI)
Do the Packers draft a TE as insurance for Finley? What side of the ball do you think Thomson focuses on with the first pick? Or is it best guy available regardless of whether or not he's an offensive or defensive player?
Rob Demovsky (4:14 PM)
Jeff: I don't see how he doesn't go defense, unless there are no more players with first-round grades left when he picks at No. 21.
Jersey Al (NJ)
Hi Rob, thanks for all the good content you've been providing here. I've been making the argument that with James Jones probably gone and Cobb and Nelson contracts up next year, Green Bay should be looking now for the next wide receiver weapon for their All-Pro quarterback. Many have said a wide receiver pick in the first few rounds would be a waste, with the Packers' needs on defense. What's your take?
Rob Demovsky (4:16 PM)
Thanks, Al. There's something to be said for making one of your strengths even stronger. In this case, the passing game is clearly their strength so the theory of being great at what you do best could fit. Few saw them drafting Nelson in 2008 with Donald Driver still in his prime and Greg Jennings and James Jones still early their careers, but it worked, so I could see it happening again.
Tim (St. Louis, MO)
Do you think that the pool of available free agents should play a major role in a team's focus in scouting? For instance, the Packers are projected to focus their offseason moves on the safety and defensive tackle positions (and, secondarily, the linebacker position). However, even though Calvin Pryor is a very popular mock pick, it would seem that there is more a likelihood of picking up a quality free agent safety than picking up a quality free agent defensive tackle.In short, should defensive tackle be seen as a priority given the possibility Green Bay could sign a free agent safety like Louis Delmas, Donte Whitner, or Chris Clemons?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Tim: The problem is this defensive tackle class appears to be weak.
Eric F. (D.C.)
Rob, what direction do you see the Packers going in to address the nose tackle position? Much has been made of the Packers wanting to improve team speed on defense, but what does that mean for the NT?
Rob Demovsky (4:18 PM)
Eric: If they want to get quicker (and smaller at their end positions), they could re-sign Johnny Jolly for a moderate price and play him at nose in their base defense. At least one scout I talked to believed he could move to nose.
Erik (Brookings, SD)
Louis Delmas seems to be a great fit for the Packers' needs, is there any possibility they consider bringing him in?
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
Erik: There doesn't seem to be any interest at this point. Delmas has knee problems that prevented him from practicing much last season. That's not exactly the kind of player the Packers probably want to be bring in.
I read where the Packers came out in support of the stance Michael Sam took. Goon on them. Do you think Sam could actually be a potential draft pick as an outside rusher to help out Clay Matthews? Perhaps 4th or 5th round?
Rob Demovsky (4:21 PM)
Bill: It all depends on whether they think he can transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. The reports out of the Senior Bowl were that he struggled in that regard.
Fond du Lac Wi [via mobile]
I was hearing that the Packers were gonna be award compensation picks. Which did they get..if any
Rob Demovsky (4:23 PM)
Those are usually announced at the NFL owners meetings in late March. They're based on the free agents they lost and the free agents they signed last year. They should be in line for a fairly high pick for losing WR Greg Jennings and could get another one for losing OLB Erik Walden, but it will be another month or so before we know for sure.
Jim S. (Baraboo, WI)
I'm concerned about Casey Hayward. Is his double hamstring problem of last season possibly career threating?
Rob Demovsky (4:25 PM)
Jim: He actually injured three times, so of course there's a concern. Aside from the initial injury, it's likely that the recurrences were the cause of coming back too soon. As long as he approaches it correctly this offseason and gets completely healed, there's reason to think it was an isolated incident, although Clay Matthews has had recurring problems with his hamstring.
Rob, Do you think Ha Ha Clinton Dix will be available when the packers pick?
Rob Demovsky (4:27 PM)
Brad: The way things project at this point, it seems unlikely.
Ed (Queens Village)
How many more years is Packers window to win Super Bowl?
Rob Demovsky (4:28 PM)
Ed: Probably depends on how many more years Aaron Rodgers can perform at an elite level. He's only 30, so you would think he'd have at least five more All Pro-type seasons left in him -- if not more.
Daniel (Flint, tx)
If Zach Mettenberger falls to the late rounds in the draft, would he be a good fit in Green Bay?
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
Zach: That's a tough call because of his ACL injury. He probably wouldn't be ready to play by the start of the season -- not that the Packers would need him to be ready. He would obviously be a guy they would develop into a backup QB. Chances are good that Thompson will pick a QB in the mid-to-late rounds this year.
Evert Geerlings - Kentwood Michigan [via mobile]
Hey Rob, I'm going to get straight to the point here. All this talk about spending big FA money and who and what and blah, blah, blah. IF we spend it, who do we spend it on? I want your take! Thanks for doing this for all the fans, it is very much appreciated. Evert
Rob Demovsky (4:32 PM)
Evert: I don't see Ted Thompson making a blockbuster signing -- as in someone who would require an $8 to $10 million signing bonus -- so that would rule out players like Orakpo, Hardy, Byrd, etc. With all their potentials holes on the defensive line, I could see perhaps a few mid-level signings there. Like I said earlier, let's wait to see who hits the market.
Daniel E Smith (Orlando)
Ive done some simulated drafts where CJ Mosley falls all the way to the packers, since nobody is looking for inside linebackers what do you think chances of that happening are?
Rob Demovsky (4:33 PM)
Daniel: Both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have Mosley going into the top 12. Certainly things could change between now and May, but that would be a pretty big fall. But if he's there, I don't see how Thompson wouldn't strongly consider him.
Andy (London UK) [via mobile]
I always wonder about veterans who are overpaid and aren't playing to their contracts. It seems so often they are offered a pay cut and turn it down, only to get cut and almost NEVER making anywhere as close somewhere else. It appears to never benefit players to be cut because you were overpaid. This is a major pattern, so why do so many go the cut route?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
Andy: It's interesting that you say that because A.J. Hawk talked about that very thing last season after he took a pay cut. He made the comment that it doesn't work out too well for most guys who refuse it. In the end, usually the team will offer something in return -- like more up front money or an extra year -- in exchange for a reduction in pay. Or in Mason Crosby's case last year, they gave him the opportunity to earn it back through incentives and he did just that.
What are the chances the Packers will franchise anyone? Sam Shields perhaps?
Rob Demovsky (4:38 PM)
Bill: Only if they think they're close to a deal and think they can get something worked out, but they probably don't want to have an $11 million charge on their salary cap for him this year. If they do tag him, a long term deal would surely follow soon after.
Rob, Sam Shields has been discussed frequently in chats and on the blog, but do you have any new insights on his potential return?
Rob Demovsky (4:38 PM)
Fox: I know there's been an open dialogue between his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Packers. That's a good sign. They'll meet again this week at the combine, and perhaps some progress could be made.
Do you ever foresee the league swapping dates with the draft and the start of FA so teams know what they got in the draft and would then have all the cards on the table when evaluating the current roster? Not sure the NFLPA would agree to it, but isn't it really up to the league? I would think it would make a GM job a bit easier, no?
Rob Demovsky (4:40 PM)
Michael: There was some discussion of that a few years back but the guess here is that the players wouldn't go for it. It happened -- not by design -- in 2011 when the lockout pushed free agency until after the draft.
Tim (Beaver Dam, WI)
When will the Packers make extension offers to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb?
Rob Demovsky (4:41 PM)
Tim: I would imagine those talks would start this summer and if they're going to get deals done, it would be sometime before the season. Cobb is a no-brainer because of his age and potential. Nelson is a more interesting case. He took a below-market deal early in the process last time, so it's worth wondering if he'll drive a harder bargain this time because it'll probably be his last big contract.
Lots of discussion about potential contracts for Shields and Raji but what is the plan for Center? The switch from Wells to Saturday, and Saurday to EDS, made perfectly clear how important the position is to the Packers O. PFF had EDS as the 8th highest graded center, and the 3rd highest rated FA center. The highest rated draft prospects are all 2-3rd rounders and that seems like a hard position for a rookie to play on GB. Shouldn't EDS be priority #1?
Rob Demovsky (4:44 PM)
Mark: This is just a gut feeling, but there doesn't seem to be a strong push within the organization that Evan Dietrich-Smith is a must re-sign player. He performed well but was it well enough to warrant a sizable contract? Teams don't like to pay centers because they've already invested so much money in their other offensive line positions. They also don't feel like they need to draft centers very high. EDS was undrafted. Scott Wells was a seventh-round pick.
Andy (London UK) [via mobile]
I liked your article looking at where the players that played in the SB are. I've suggested when you were back at GBPG to do an article looking at past FA (or players TT traded) and were they good ideas. Was it best to let them go (Nick Barnett, Cullen Jenkins, Corey Williams, Aaron Kampman). Did they have success, did they fail, how many teams did they bounce around with. Who did he get to replace (including picks he got) and was it a success or mistake overall. Not every player but just the majors ones. You can look at players he kept and players that he almost signed or traded for but passed over as a follow up article. This would be a terrific analysis of TT free agency ability and quiet the critics or supporters once and for all!
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
Thanks, Andy. That's an interesting story idea. I will give it some thought.
Jeff (Madison, WI)
How would you rate Nick Perry's performance thus far in a Packers uniform?
Rob Demovsky (4:46 PM)
Jeff: Not good enough, that's for sure. What's hard to tell is whether his injuries have slowed him or that he's just not a good fit for OLB.
The packers look to be getting smaller and quicker on the d-line. Does that mean that the packers need to look for fast inside linebackers or do they need run stopping inside linebackers. Both would be nice, but I don't really see any that have both. Also, do you think Sam Barrington has a chance to push for the starting job next to Hawk?
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Zack: I don't think Hawk's job is in jeopardy. But Barrington could get a shot at Jones' job. So could Lattimore.
Piero (Lima, Perú)
Hi Rob, like any other Packer fan I have concerns about the defense, so DC know what kind of players he have, if GB do not offer any contrac to BJ Raji, Pickett, Wilson it must somthing to do with what DC thinks of those players, but he can also identfy some free agents that he wants to play with and if TT do not offer him other alternative than the draft, how can he (DC) put some pressure to be heard about his needs?. Sorry for my EnglishSaludos
Rob Demovsky (4:49 PM)
Piero: Thompson certainly listens to his coaches and gets input on the types of players they think best fit their scheme. It's why Thompson drafted Raji and Matthews the first year they went to a 3-4. Capers has said two of the most important positions in his scheme are the nose tackle and the outside linebackers.
We saw a lot from Lacy, Bakhtiari & Hyde this past season but nothing amazing from 1st round pick Datone Jones. Do you think we will see him more next season before declaring him a 1st round bust?
Rob Demovsky (4:51 PM)
Stephen: I still go back to the way Jones looked in training last year and think he'll eventually be a player. Of all the rookies I've seen in my 16 years of covering the team, I thought Jones had maybe the best training camp I've seen. Then again, it's perhaps why reporters shouldn't pretend to be scouts. But my point is that Jones is a talented guy, who seems to have potential, so I wouldn't write him off just yet.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Rob, what's the status of Jerel Worthy? Is he still injured, and can he come back to make an impact for the team in 2014?
Rob Demovsky (4:53 PM)
Al: Worthy was healthy enough to be activated off the PUP list and be put on the 53-man roster in Week 12 of last season, but he played in only two games and had almost no impact. Maybe he was still feeling his way back from his ACL injury but at this point, two years into his career, he doesn't look like someone to build a defensive line around. He was a questionable fit for this defense to begin with.
Kevin (Wisconsin) [via mobile]
Would signing a player like Louis Delmas or Malcolm Jenkins make more sense then going after a more talented high priced safety if not tagged or spending a 1st round pick on one?
Rob Demovsky (4:55 PM)
Kevin: Thompson probably thinks the draft is still the best way, but certainly the mid-level free agent game is more appealing to him than spending big money on one player. It's a much bigger risk and we know how conservative Thompson likes to play things.
Given the precedence with Collins, do you see the Packers doctors releasing Finley back to football since he has the same fusion? What does your gut say? Mine says no.
Rob Demovsky (4:56 PM)
Michael: Gut feeling is no but like I said earlier, every medical case is different, so I'm not willing to rule it out.
Harry (West Allis)
The best backup quarterback option for the Packers in 2014 is ???
Rob Demovsky (4:58 PM)
Harry: Oh boy, that's a tough one. For 2014, I'm going to say Matt Flynn. Here's why: If they draft a QB to be a backup, it's hard to believe he would be ready to fill in if something happened to Rodgers. They like Tolzien's potential, but even a full year in the offseason program might not be enough. It takes probably three years to fully learn this system and be comfortable in it. However, if you re-sign Flynn are you just retarding the progress of Tolzien or someone else?
Rob Demovsky (5:01 PM)
Thanks for all the questions again this week. You all make this fun. It's my fastest hour of the week. I've got a few things to work on before I head to Indy tomorrow evening for the combine. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RobDemovsky and read the latest on the Packers here: http://espn.go.com/blog/green-bay-packersAppreciate everyone's interest. Have a great week. See you next Tuesday.