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 (3:58 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. We're 18 days -- or two more chats after this one -- from the start of Packers' training camp. Let's get started.
Matt (Pittsburgh PA)
Hey Rob, your prediction on starting 11 on d week1?
Rob Demovsky (4:00 PM)
Matt: I'll give it a shotDL: Daniels, Raji, D. JonesOLB: Peppers, MatthewsILB: B. Jones, HawkS: Clinton-Dix, BurnettCB: Shields, WilliamsNickel DB: HaywardDime DB: Hyde
Andrew (Portland, ME)
Rob:Thanks as always for the chat. Love your coverage. My question is focused on the center position. Considering the Pack has turned over the position for the 4th time in as many years, is it possible they don't consider it as important as traditionally thought? Is it possible that veteran leaders on the line (Sitton, Lang) take up more of the slack than most of us know? The traditional thinking on that position is that its essential for offensive cohesion, is it possible we just overate the necessity of continuity?
Rob Demovsky (4:02 PM)
Andrew: By the way, I love your city. Portland, Maine is what every mid-sized city should strive to be. ... Anyway, I think you're right on. The Packers, like many teams, don't value center. Most of their offensive linemen make adjustment calls, not just the center, although it does start with the center.
Ed (Queens Village)
Packers have never played a regular season game in London. If they ever did would you say most fans find there way to London?
Rob Demovsky (4:03 PM)
Ed: Having never been to an NFL game in London, I'm not sure whether the majority of fans are local or come from the stats. My guess is at least half are from the UK.
Cornhead(green bay) [via mobile]
Do you think the bears are the biggest threat to the packers this year or will it be the lions or Vikings?
Rob Demovsky (4:04 PM)
Any team with a new coach is going to have an adjustment period. That automatically puts the Bears ahead of the Lions and Vikings. But they were there anyway. If their defense is improved (and Cutler stays healthy), they could be a real threat.
I've seen in other chats here on ESPN that there's been talk that only one team from the North will make it. A historically bad defense is the only reason why the Bears didn't make it, and Rodgers missed half of the season. As well as Detroit having a crazy man as coach. I'm a Bears fan, but I don't see how two teams don't make it, even if the Bears aren't one of them.
Rob Demovsky (4:05 PM)
Brad: I think most people view the NFC West as having two playoff teams for sure (SF, SEA) with the potential for a third (Arizona). Then there's the NFC South (with NO, CAR and ATL), which could be why people think the East and the North are one-bid divisions.
Mark Claeys (Bettendorf)
How did Derek Sherrod look at OTA's? Is there any chance he could start in 2014? After the injury does he even run like a first round pick?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Mark: The thing with Sherrod is they have to see him do it in game situations. The coaches raved about him in OTAs but we need to see him with the pads on. Physically, at 6-6, 320 pounds he's still impressive.
Peter Binnie (Plymouth, MN)
Rob, Thanks for your great coverage of the Packers. I look forward to reading your posts every day. I'm curious to know if you have any impressions on the new additions to the coaching staff and whether any in particular are making significant impacts. Thanks!
Rob Demovsky (4:07 PM)
Peter: Sam Gash seems like a no-nonsense kind of guy. Reminds me a lot of Joe Whitt. I think the RB group will take on his personality.
Tim from upstate New York [via mobile]
What changes to the packers need to do with there "D" to be championship team and do you think the rookie inside linebacker Hubbard from Alabama could start this year and solve the inside backer problems ?
Rob Demovsky (4:08 PM)
Tim: Hubbard is an outside linebacker. They need to play the run like they did the first seven weeks of last season, and they need to create more turnovers (which starts with a better pass rush combined with better play from the safeties).
Eli (Mountaintop PA)
I found it funny in the ESPN most memorable plays for NFL teams, that about a third of the teams boasted famous plays that did not go in their favor. Who was in charge of picking these plays as the final ones to vote on? The bloggers?
Rob Demovsky (4:10 PM)
Eli: Many teams don't have the positive history that the Packers do, so I could see why, say, among the Vikings' plays would be Favre's 2009 playoff INT and Gary Anderson's missed FG. We asked followers on Twitter for suggestions, but ultimately it was up to each writer to pick the three for the team he or she covers.
Rob Parrott (Green Bay)
Is this the best offense the Packers have started the season with since Rodgers got here?
Rob Demovsky (4:11 PM)
Rob: Not sure it can stand up to the 2011 offense. That group had four proven WRs (Nelson, Jennings, Jones and Driver) plus an up-and-comer in Cobb. It had Finley back from injury to lead the TE position, and Ryan Grant was still a RB threat.
Sergio (Huntington Park, CA) [via mobile]
What's up Rob...as we get closer to the season I'm starting to get those butterflies in my stomach that I get every year...but as I was looking at the replay of the niner Packers game in the playoffs the last season, I stop and wonder if we have really added enough pieces to get over that hump? Because honestly I'm getting tired of these niners beating us...Let me know what u think...thanks
Rob Demovsky (4:12 PM)
Sergio: I've long maintained they to compete with the 49ers, they need to get faster on defense. I'm not so sure they've done that yet.
If you were the NFL commissioner in a dictatorship, what kinds of things would you like to do?
Kenny G (Madtown, Wisconsin )
I wish the NFL would bump up the 53 player limit to 55. Last years injuries made it hard to come up with 46 some games. Your thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:13 PM)
I posted Sam and Kenny's questions back to back because I think Kenny has a good idea. There's a good reason for the 46 man game day roster, but it might be wise to expand the in-season rosters or at least make it easier for players to go back and forth between the roster and the practice squad.
Martin (New York, NY)
How do you think Ben McAdoo will fare as the NYG Offensive Coordinator?
Rob Demovsky (4:14 PM)
Martin: Ben's a solid teacher and a good communicator, but he's never called plays before. That will be a huge adjustment.
Hi Rob, how do you see the packers secondary shaking out this season? Any chance somebody like Jarrett Bush doesn't make the roster?
Rob Demovsky (4:16 PM)
Miles: I was trying to do a roster prediction today and the secondary is a tough group to pick because there's so much potential talent there, but I still don't think Bush is in danger of not making it. The coaches trust him both on defense and ST.
Brad Jones was bad (and injured last year) - but TT thought enough of him to give him that deal. If he's healthy this year, do you think there's any chance he surprises some people this season?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Dan: Even in 2012, I didn't think he played that well, so it would be a surprise if he all of a sudden became a big impact player.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Over/under 8 sacks for Julius Peppers this season?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Tony: I'll say over, but not by much.
What kinda sack totals are you expecting from Datone Jones, and Julius Peppers?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Bunny: I'll say 9 for Peppers and 7 for Jones.
Hi Rob,Are you able to explain how Jermichael Finley's insurance policy would work? It's my understanding that if injury prevents him from playing, he nets $10 million. This means he would need almost $20 million in NFL contracts (before taxes) to make the same amount which definitely won't happen this year. Even if a team signs him for say 4 years, $20+ million after this year, it seems unlikely that he would play out the contract given the wear and tear of the NFL in which case talent, and not injury would be the reason for his release, thus negating an injury insurance policy. It seems like retirement should be a no-brainer.
Rob Demovsky (4:18 PM)
Rob: Kevin Seifert wrote an excellent piece on this a while back. Check it out:http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/129167/inside-slant-jermichael-finleys-choice
Any early favorite for punt returner yet? I better not see Cobb back there any more. Foolish to risk an injury to him.
Rob Demovsky (4:19 PM)
Bill: If it's not the reliable Micah Hyde, then it'll probably be Abbrederis (if he's good enough at WR to make the team).
SteveV (L'Anse MI)
Seems like the Pack is switching to a more versatile, smaller more agile line. Do you think that will hurt them against a power running team like SF in the playoffs?
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
Steve: Like I said earlier, they needed to get faster to play someone like SF. Still not sure they've done that, even by moving on from Pickett and Jolly.
Chris L. (Stevens Point, WI)
The Packers' WR corps looks to be one of the most interesting stories of the offseason. Between James Jones 2.0 (Adams), the physical gifts of Janis, and the accomplished career (against NFL caliber DBs in the B1G) and return skills of Abbredaris, this could be the story of the offseason. Any initial predictions, and/or other positions to watch this offseason/preseason?
Rob Demovsky (4:22 PM)
Chris: Let me play devil's advocate here for a minute. Jones had drop problems, no 7th round receiver has made an impact on the Packers since Driver in 99, and Abbrederis is probably just a slot WR in the NFL. ... Very curious to see how the TE group shakes out. Rodgers looked good in OTAs, but Lyerla didn't stand out.
Rah-Steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
Do you expect Eddie Lacy to eclipse his performance of last season? Or do you think teams will be prepared for him and thus limit his overall #'s?
Rob Demovsky (4:23 PM)
I asked Rodgers how he thinks teams will defend the Packers now that Lacy is a legit threat, and he still thought teams would play a lot of two-deep safety, at least early in the year until Lacy proved he can duplicate his rookie success. That means he could have the chance to get off to a fast start.
Andy (Almond, WI)
If Lacy is the real deal and Rodgers says healthy, could the offense be good enough that the D doesn't have to improve that much to make this an elite team?
Rob Demovsky (4:23 PM)
Andy: Perhaps, but you still need defense to win in the playoffs. Ask the Broncos.
Looking into your crystal ball, who are the receivers on the 2015 Packers roster? My picks: Nelson, Boykin, Adams, Abberderis, Harper and a 2015 draft pick.
Rob Demovsky (4:24 PM)
Paul: What about Cobb? You don't think the Packers are going to re-sign him? I disagree. If it came down to a choice between Nelson and Cobb (and I don't think it will), I can't seem them signing Nelson instead.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Colt Lyerla can put his troubled past behind him and become the impact player on offense his tremendous talent warrants he should be?
Rob Demovsky (4:25 PM)
Tony: The only thing his troubled past did was prevent him from getting drafted. Now, he's got the same chance as anyone else.
How would you rank the following in terms of importance to the D (we know a healthy Matthews would easily be #1). A. Getting good/great play from Peppers.B. Return to health for HaywardC. Improved safety play.D. Improved play from any/all of Perry, Worthy, D. Jones, B. JonesE. Capers' changes to the scheme
Rob Demovsky (4:27 PM)
Kevin:1. Improved play from Perry,Worthy, Joneses2. Improved safety play3. Peppers4. Hayward5. Scheme changes
Now that you've ranked the importance of these - which do you see as the most likely things to happen?How would you rank the following in terms of importance to the D (we know a healthy Matthews would easily be #1). A. Getting good/great play from Peppers.B. Return to health for HaywardC. Improved safety play.D. Improved play from any/all of Perry, Worthy, D. Jones, B. JonesE. Capers' changes to the scheme
Rob Demovsky (4:28 PM)
Most likely to happen:1. Hayward staying healthy2. Decent play from Peppers3. Improved safety play4. Scheme changes5. Improved play from Perry, Worthy, Joneses
Brian Sykes - Packer fan in MN (Eden Prairie, MN )
Recently ESPN did a break down of most over paid and underpaid players in the NFL. (not counting Lacy) who would you say is the most under paid and over paid Packer.
Rob Demovsky (4:29 PM)
Brian: I don't think you can consider any one on their rookie deal when you ask this question because those are simply slotted based on where a player was picked. But it's fair to look at players on their second, third (etc) contracts. And at this point, you have to base it on last year's pay. Most overpaid has to be Morgan Burnett. Most underpaid has to be Jordy Nelson.
Jeff (Fairfax, VA)
Clinton-Dix is the best safety prospect to arrive in Green Bay since ______?
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
Nick Collins. Packers were very high on him when they picked him in R2 in 2005.
Andy (Los Angeles)
Is this the year a Packers WR cracks 100 catches?
Rob Demovsky (4:31 PM)
Andy: It could be, although Rodgers has shown he will move the ball around. However, given the fact that Nelson and Cobb are so far and away above the rest of the WRs (at least as things appear now) that it's possible.
Rosco (not my real name) (Oshkosh)
Roster talent ebbs and flows. We've been on a great run since Ted Thompson has taken control of the roster. Please speculate, on one of his biggest regrets in a key free agent loss? My pick... Cullin Jenkins... one more year might have meant another Lombardi Trophy! Woulda, coulda, shoulda?
Rob Demovsky (4:32 PM)
Rosco: If it's not Cullen Jenkins, then perhaps it's Mike Wahle. The Packers struggled to find guards for a couple of years after Wahle and Marco Rivera left.
Chris L. (Stevens Point, WI)
I was extremely excited about the re-signing of Mike Neal. Despite some obvious shortcomings, it seemed like he showed flashes of brilliance @ OLB. Early on, I thought he might push Perry for a starting job...and even if he lost, he could end up starting 7-8 games based solely on the injury history of CM3 and Perry. I realize the Peppers signing could complicate matters, but what are your thoughts on Neal's potential impact, and is it possible he's been mis-cast as a DL throughout his career?
Rob Demovsky (4:33 PM)
Chris: I found it interesting that McCarthy said this offseason he felt Neal's best position was still on as a D-end. They certainly didn't intend to play him so many snaps at OLB last season, but the injuries to Perry and Matthews made that necessary.
shane (lansing) [via mobile]
Harper and White don't have high ceilings but it seems like everyone is on the bandwagon for one to make the team over Janis who has a higher ceiling and involved as a returner explain why Janis to the practice squad make sense especially when there are teams who need receivers out there I.e. panthers
Rob Demovsky (4:34 PM)
Shane: If those players can help the Packers now and Janis can't, then there's a reason.
Randy (Phoenix) [via mobile]
What are the odds Derek Sherrod outplays Bahktari? With both Sherrod and Bulaga in contract years it is just an illusion of being a surplus of tackles. One of them is likely to be gone. Or maybe traded at the end of camp?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
Randy: I'd be surprised, but Sherrod was a first-round pick for a reason. Let's see him play first.
Lets say the team has just suffered a tough loss - who are the couple players you know you can rely on to no only speak after the game, but give you some good information?
Rob Demovsky (4:37 PM)
Adam: Ryan Pickett was high on the list, so he will be missed. There's no better, more honest guy in the locker room than Tramon Williams. He faces the questions no matter what.
Do you think Heyward has the skill set and size to eventually move outside and replace Williams after this year, or are they holding out hope House steps up to fill that role because he has the more prototypical size?
Rob Demovsky (4:38 PM)
Bryant: I think they would like House to become that outside guy. There are plenty of people in the organization who are very high on him. It's time for him to perform.
Rob, I think saying Ted should have resigned Jenkins is the easy way out. He hasn't really done much since he left. Just because nobody else stepped up doesn't mean they should have kept him at that price tag.
Rob Demovsky (4:39 PM)
Aaron: That doesn't mean he wouldn't have played better had he stayed here.
Zoel, Austin Texas [via mobile]
During the offseason it seems like every website has the same article posted, they just might change a few words here and there...as a sports writer do you find it difficult to write about the Pack during the slow season, especially now that NFL is nonstop and fans always want more. Sorry I know it's off topic. Just curious.
Rob Demovsky (4:40 PM)
Zoel: Hopefully you find something different when you read our coverage here at ESPN.com. My goal is to give you things you can't find anywhere else. Now, that doesn't mean if there's an obvious, important story that other outlets are doing that I will ignore it.
Who is more likely to live up to their salary this season, Burnett or Shields?
Rob Demovsky (4:43 PM)
Jack: Burnett's 2014 pay is actually "only" $3.25 million, while Shields will get $15 million this season. That's the result of Burnett getting his signing bonus last year and Shields this year, so it's skewed. But let's use average per year as the measure. Shields' average is $9.75 million and Burnett's is $6.2 million. I'd still bet the Packers get more out of Shields than Burnett, even though the cost is higher.
Any chance the Packers run 5-10 plays this upcoming season with Cobb in the wildcat?
Rob Demovsky (4:44 PM)
No. Why take your best player (Rodgers) off the field at all?
How long does it take in camp before you're willing to concede a young player is emerging vs. just having a good week or so?
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
Shanz: Great question. I should have learned a lesson last year about Datone Jones. If you would've asked me two weeks into camp how many sacks he would have as a rookie, I would've said 10. He ended up with 3.5. We've even seen rookies play well in all four preseason games (Vic So'oto) and then have done nothing. Tough call.
Hayward or House? My pick would be Hayward. Showed he can make plays. House feels ho-hum
Rob Demovsky (4:46 PM)
Roger: They're different types of players -- Hayward as a slot DB and House an outside CB. But yes, I agree with Hayward.
Nemo (Brown Deer)
What are some restaurant recommendations for when I'm in the GB area?
Rob Demovsky (4:49 PM)
Nemo: I loathe chain restaurants for the most part, so avoid Oneida Street (near the stadium). If you're looking for bar/pub food, The Bar has great wings. So does Legend Larry's. Downtown, Hagemeister Park and Fox Harbor are good casual atmospheres. Republic is a nice steakhouse, but the best steak in town is at the Union Hotel in De Pere. If you're into something a little more modern, Rustique is great. They make awesome brick-oven pizzas.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Have Green Bay and Bret Favre really kissed and made up? Or is the retiring of his number nothing more than the proper show of respect for his contributions as a Packer?
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
Derrin: Well, Favre still hasn't been back to Green Bay yet, so I don't think you can say they've totally reconciled. Also, I bet Favre still doesn't like the way things went down in 2008, and you could probably say the same for McCarthy/Thompson/Murphy. But that will never change. We'll just keep getting further away from it.
Eddie (Escanaba, MI)
Noticed all your "need to step up" players are on defense. Can they?
Rob Demovsky (4:51 PM)
Eddie: There will be a few offensive players, I assure you. But that just goes to show you where the Packers need help. Even if only a few of them step up, it should help.
Tiger Tony (Lakeview)
Do you think Cobb or Nelson will have the more dominant season? Something tells me Cobb is gonna have a huge year.
Rob Demovsky (4:52 PM)
Tony: I look at it this way. I could see Cobb having more catches, but Nelson having more yards.
Robbie (sunny san diego) [via mobile]
Hello sir! I was wondering who you see as having the best breakout year on defense? Also if our defense fails to step up could we be looking for a new defensive coordinator next season? Thank you for your time!
Rob Demovsky (4:53 PM)
Robbie: I'm very curious to see if Datone Jones can be an impact player. ... As for the coordinator, I get the sense that McCarthy trusts Capers.
Do you think NFL teams guarding injury info is justified or paranoid?
Rob Demovsky (4:54 PM)
Jen: Paranoia. They keep things a secret because they can, not because it helps.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which Packer rookie do you think has the most impact in 2014?
Rob Demovsky (4:55 PM)
Tony: Based on OTAs, I'd say Richard Rodgers.
Bill (Port Washington)
Do you follow other sports or does all your work on the Packers make you want to avoid the rest of the sports world as much as possible? If you do watch - what players/teams do you follow?
Rob Demovsky (4:58 PM)
Bill: I grew up on college basketball. Specifically, DePaul in the 1980s. When they declined in the 1990s, I realized that it's somewhat foolish to root for a team based on what it says on the front of their jersey. Now, I root for people I like to have success regardless of what teams they are on. Maybe that's why I like golf. It's the ultimate individual sport.I had been to only one NFL game (the one where Walter Payton broke the career rushing record) before I started covering the Packers in 1997.During the season, I think about football six days a week. The one day I don't is usually on Saturday, which is why I don't watch much college football at all.
Rob Demovsky (4:59 PM)
Thanks for all the questions this week. We'll be back next Tuesday at the same time for more fun.