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 (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. Lots to talk about, so let's get started.
Louie ( Boston ,Mass)
Do you think the Packers have a realistic shot at drafting Safeties Calvin Pryor or HA HA Clinton Dix with the 21st pick ? If not them LB CJ Mosely. What do you think of DE Brent Urban U Virginia a 5 technique guy ? How about ND DL Stephon Tuitt and Auburn LB Dee Ford ? Do the Packers like them in the draft ?
Rob Demovsky (4:03 PM)
Hi Louie: As I'm sure you know, Ted Thompson doesn't let too much info get out about who he likes/dislikes in the weeks leading up to the draft. My gut tells me one of the two safeties has a chance to be there for the Packers at No. 21. Not likely both will be. Mosley seems too athletic to be around at that point, but inside linebackers tend to slip a little bit. With the addition of Peppers and re-signing Raji, they seem fairly deep on the DL, so I'm not sure Tuitt or Urban would interest them.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Rob - The Packers have 4 picks in the first 3 rounds, 9 overall. Of those first four will the draft choices be mostly on the offensive or defensive side of the ball ?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Rich: Even though most of the work the Packers have done in free agency has been on defense -- Peppers, Guion, Raji, Neal, Shields -- it still looks like it could be a defense-heavy draft. Maybe not like two years ago when the Packers' first six picks were on defensive players, but I'd expect the balance to swing that way again.
Do you think casey heyward has any chance of starting outside and moving tramon to the slot. If casey recovers I think tramon would be great in the slot
Rob Demovsky (4:08 PM)
Josh: I asked CB coach Joe Whitt specifically about Hayward/playing outside, and he was emphatic in saying that he knows Hayward could do it. However, they still might be hesitant to move Tramon Williams inside. Remember they did it for a time in the middle of last season before moving him back outside, where he played much better.
Jordan Maracara (Oklahoma City)
I have been quietly hoping that the Packers would sign Ryan Clark He's a solid veteran performer from a system similar to the one used by Dom Capers, and they don't have a single FS on the roster, besides maybe a converted corner. Now he's off the market. Why don't the Packers seem to place any value on having a veteran presence on the team (especially defense) to at least guide all these young guys along. I think they were at least a few games better than their record last year, had they just had veteran type plays (gap discipline, communication in the secondary, keeping contain) in crucial moments of close games.
Rob Demovsky (4:09 PM)
Jordan: A few people I talked to about Ryan Clark said they didn't think he played very well last season.
Hardy (New Richmond, WI)
In the recent past, Mason Crosby had his contract restructured to be more "incentive based". Mason responded with a solid year. Why are ther not more incentive based contracts in the NFL. Especially for Kickers and punters?
Rob Demovsky (4:11 PM)
Hardy: Because players, and their agents, are hesitant to agree to them. Crosby had little bargaining power after the 2012 season he had, so it made sense for him to accept it. But how many players really would be forced to accept such a deal?
Two questions in one; first, wouldn't a guy like TE Niklas from Notre Dame be a perfect second round choice for us? With our new emphasis on running more, it just seems like drafting a TE that can block would be nice. Second, a large part of the problems with our defense stem from having younger players; that being the case, would it be realistic for a first round safety to make an impact? Inside linebacker in the first round I could see, the assignments for an ILB are simpler and they have guys behind them if they screw up.
Rob Demovsky (4:12 PM)
You make a good point, Irving, about the safety spot. That's a position where a rookie could struggle. However, I watched Eric Reid step in and play well last season for SF as a rookie. As for the TE from Notre Dame, he's definitely a different type than the Ebron's and Amaro's, but I could see the Packers going with a more traditional tight end at some point in this draft.
Micah Hyde had the same amount of interception as the packers starting safeties last year. Zero. Explain to me why fans should be excited about his move. With that said, who will be the 2 starting safeties come week one?
Rob Demovsky (4:14 PM)
Aaron: Yes, interceptions are important. I know I've written about them -- or the lack of them -- from the safeties, but there's more to playing safety than just that. Hyde is a good tackler, possibly a great tackler. He's also shown an ability to blitz from the slot. I'd be Hyde starts at safety in the base and then moves up to a slot corner position in the sub packages.
Michael (Atlanta, GA)
I understand that most people view the Packers defense as poor and there has been alot of blame being put on the secondary for missed assignments and poor coverage, but I feel what it comes down to is that if you can't put pressure on the quaterback everything breaks down. What are your thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:15 PM)
Michael: I bet Dom Capers would agree with you. And all the things we've talked about the Packers changing defensively this offseason have been about their front players, which tells you they know they have to improve in that area. Let's face it, they didn't sign Julius Peppers to stop the run. They signed him to get after the quarterback.
Steve (Door County)
Hey Rob,Been interesting reading about the elephant end. How do you see Daniels fitting into that package? Is it a straight 4/3 with Raji at NT and Daniels at DT?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Steve: My guess is you'll see Daniels as a DT in the sub packages. I don't have a good feel yet for what their base alignments will be like. Very curious to see that during the offseason practices in May.
Do you feel Mike McCarthy is too loyal to his coaches and/or Ted Thompson is too loyal to his draft picks?
Rob Demovsky (4:19 PM)
Joe: Too loyal? I'm not sure what that means. You're either loyal or you're not. McCarthy obviously believes in his coaches, but he also hasn't been afraid to make changes. He dumped the defensive staff after the 2008 season and brought in Capers, who he clearly trusts. Thompson believes in the draft and develop philosophy, but he has cut draft picks when necessary. Go back to that 2012 draft and tell me who's left.
What's the question you're getting sick of answering?
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
Ken: Probably the Nick Collins question. I get it every week. He's not coming back, at least not to the Packers.
Does Sherrod have a realistic shot to unseat bulaga or bahktiari at the tackles he was a first round pick and is mammoth if he is fully recovered wouldn't he have a good chance of unseating someone .
Rob Demovsky (4:21 PM)
Josh: As a pure talent, yes. There's a reason he was a first-round pick. It sounds like they're going to give him a shot at competing with Bakhtiari for the left tackle job, but he'd have to be exceptional to win the job. It might be a better to ease him back in as the swing tackle and then let him play if one of the starters gets hurt.
Rob, Who is going to be the packers backup QB next year Will they a sign a free agent or will they draft a QB in the 3rd or 4th round? Do you think they will draft AJ McCarron?
Rob Demovsky (4:22 PM)
Brad: Without knowing if they'll draft one, it's hard to say. But if they don't -- or if they draft one in the sixth or seventh round -- then the guess is Flynn and Tolzien are the backups and there's a fourth QB on the practice squad. I'd bet they keep three on the roster this year.
Shay Z (Cresco, IA)
Thanks for taking the time to do this chat Rob! Considering how thin the Packers are at the center and safety positions, what do you think the chances are of TT signing another FA? Do you believe there is anyone still available that could contribute at the right price?
Rob Demovsky (4:24 PM)
Shay: Unlikely. They might re-sign a few more of their own free agents, but I would bet they're mostly done doing anything else.
If the packers had the first pick in this year's draft, who do you think they would take?
Rob Demovsky (4:26 PM)
Steve: Wow. I hadn't thought about that. If they did have the first pick, there'd obviously be a reason for it. Maybe it would be because something catastrophic happened to Aaron Rodgers. But assuming it's not, I wouldn't think they'd take a QB, so perhaps Clowney? Or Mack?
Rob,Why didn't green bay get a compensatory draft pick for Tom Crabtree?
Rob Demovsky (4:27 PM)
Wesley: Because Crabtree was not an unrestricted free agent. He was a restricted free agent that the Packers decided not to tender, so he doesn't count in the formula. It will be the same thing with M.D. Jennings next year.
Scott (Sparta, NJ)
Which Packer assistant is the most likely to become the 1st one to be named a head coach?
Rob Demovsky (4:29 PM)
Scott: Winston Moss has already interviewed for a head coaching job (Oakland), and there's a chance he'll do so again. There are some other very sharp, young coaches, including Joe Whitt and Darren Perry on the defensive side. On the offensive side, you have Alex Van Pelt, Jerry Fontenot, James Campen and Edgar Bennett, who all are young enough to someday develop into that.
It's nice that the Packers are a team of interchangeable parts. But the offensive line coach wants them to play up to 3 different positions. It seems like a jack of all trades and master of none.
Rob Demovsky (4:30 PM)
Ken: The offensive line coaches trains his players the way Mike McCarthy wants him to, so I'm not sure it's accurate to say that the OL coach wants them to play three different positions. The reality of it, though, is that with a 46-man game day roster, you can't have more than 2 or 3 backup linemen available on game day, so they have to be somewhat interchangeable.
Dom Capers defense has been sub par since 2011, yet he still has a job. James Campens offensive lines have given up more sacks than the VAST majority of lines in the league, yet he still has a job. Shawn Slocums special teams have been incredibly sub par, yet he has a job. That's how McCarthy is too loyal. As for Thompson, he won't overspend for FAs, but he'll overpay his own guys. Brad Jones, AJ Hawk, BJ Raji, Mike Neal, Sam Shield, Morgan Burnett, Clay Matthews, etc. There is being loyal, and being loyal to a fault.
Rob Demovsky (4:34 PM)
Joe: In 2012, the Packers ranked 11th in the NFL in total defense. Now, if you want to argue that they were bad in the playoff loss to the SF that season, I won't debate you. But to say they sub par since 2011 I don't think is exactly right. This past season, the Packers ranked 21st in sacks per pass play, and they did it with a rookie 4th round pick at left tackle and a former undrafted guy at right tackle. Plus, the run blocking improved. My point is that I'm not sure it's as bad as you think it is.
Rob: I'm not sold on our WR's after Boykin. And at one point last year it looked like we were going to be down both Cobb and Jones(lucky jones came back quick). That could easily happen again with any combo of injuries to cobb, nelson, boykin. And I wouldn't feel great with Miles White and Alex Gillett out there. Like you said Thompson doesn't say much, but do you feel/know of any WR's they have interviewed or followed that they might target in the 2nd/3rd round?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
Eli: You have a valid concern. But one guy I'm curious to see is Chris Harper. Don't forget he was a fourth-round pick last year and for whatever reason things didn't work out for him in Seattle. Then San Fran tried to turn him into a tight end. He's going to get a long look this offseason from the Packers. But yes, I could see Thompson adding some depth at WR through the draft.
I submitted a question about the WR position at least three times. I'm done with you.
Rob Demovsky (4:37 PM)
Justin: I'm sorry, there are several hundred questions, I'm doing my best to get to as many different ones as I can.
Timo (Sun Prairie, WI)
Is it me, or is OT a big need that nobody is talking about? Bulaga and Sherrod and both FAs next year, and I would hesitate to give them a long-term deal given their injury history. Also, Barclay is a great #6 swing guy, but he's not a starter on the outside. So in one year, it could be Bakhtiari and nobody else....
Rob Demovsky (4:38 PM)
Timo: You're right in the sense that this is a big year for Bulaga and Sherrod. But let's say one or both of them plays all 16 games this year and performs well, then what do you do? Do you start over? I'm not sure I would.
Rob, Why do NFL teams not have their own planes to transport the team to away games? Seems that would be more efficient than chartering a plane.
Rob Demovsky (4:42 PM)
Mike: A couple of reasons, I would think: One, there's probably some sort of advertising trade out with the airlines. For example, the Packers charter a Delta flight, so I'm betting somewhere Delta calls themselves the official airline of the Packers. Second, if there is cost involved, this way, the Packers aren't on the hook for maintenance. If there's something wrong with a plane, Delta handles it. Third, as little as they use a plane (10 trips a year counting preseason and regular season), it's probably not worth it. Also, depending on how far the trip is and how many players they take (like in the preseason) they use different sized planes for different trips.
Lavont (avondale az)
Is this the year we finally beat the NFC West in the playoffs? Or even just the 49ers?
Rob Demovsky (4:43 PM)
Lavont: Let's see what happens when they play the Seahawks in the regular season this year. That's one of the reasons a lot of people would like to see that as the NFL opener.
Tom (Fond Du Lac)
In your GB free agent update article you missed one free agent loss to another team. I believe that CB Jennings signed with the bears. That would make five lost in free agency and he was the first loss.
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
Tom: You mean M.D. Jennings? I didn't include him because he was a restricted free agent. The Packers could've kept him by giving him a tender offer but they didn't.
justin, ms [via mobile]
Hi rob, who makes a makes a bigger impact this year Hyde or Boykin, and who is missed more Jones or Smith?
Rob Demovsky (4:46 PM)
Justin: A crystal-ball question ... OK, I'll give it a shot. I'll say Hyde, if only because McCarthy keeps talking about him this offseason. I wrote when James Jones signed with Oakland that he was one of the more under-appreciated Packers players in recent times, so I'll say him. He was a tough guy who usually answered the ball.
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Eric: Are you quoting my own story back to me? HA. ... I've thought a lot about their injuries issues and to be honest with you, I'm not sure what to think. How many times can you keep saying bad luck. I'm not a big believer in luck but maybe I'm wrong.
eric (Narragansett) [via mobile]
Rob, the main focus of the last off-season was figuring out how to limit injuries. It worked. Adjusted games lost fell by 3.6 games, and the packers were 30th instead of 32nd. In all seriousness though, what are some of the things green bay is trying or may try to do? Half the problem may just be dumb luck
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Whoops. I may have posted by answer to Eric's question before the actually question, so there it is.
Scott (Sparta, NJ)
When does the schedule come out for next season?
Rob Demovsky (4:49 PM)
It usually comes out on a Tuesday in mid-to-late April, so I'd bet either April 15 or April 22.
Do you expect TT to draft a center in the draft? It might not be a bad idea to draft a prospect in rounds 2-4 to develop or perhaps become the starter?
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
Bill: He always, always, always drafts at least one offensive lineman, and my guess is it will be someone who they will at least try at center.
Matt pittsburgh pa [via mobile]
Rob any chance #4 and the packers finally retire his jersey and celebrate his time there?
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
Matt: It will happen. Might even be this year, but there's nothing definitive to report yet.
Do you think Kuhn will get re-signed? I know he's a hero for us but it seems like if Lacy could instead learn to be a true 3-down player who could block on 3rd and long then the no-huddle could be even more effective. Thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:51 PM)
Michael: When McCarthy talked about wanting his running backs to be three-down players, my first thought was that meant the end for John Kuhn. However, it sounds like they're still interested in bringing him back at the right price. At this point, Kuhn might be trying to see if he can get a better deal with another team.
Saber, New Orleans [via mobile]
Any chance the Packers make a move on Daniel Manning if he is still available within the next couple of weeks?
Rob Demovsky (4:53 PM)
Saber: As of late yesterday, they had not called Manning, and I saw where he was scheduled to visit Cincinnati.
paul (superior) [via mobile]
Do you think incorporating d-line and lb's to everyday meetings and practice timse gonna make a big difference in improving the def (more of a family/team) atmosphere?
Rob Demovsky (4:53 PM)
Paul: It's an interesting move. I know everyone has said there was nothing wrong with the setup the way it was before, but if that's the case, then why make such a dramatic change?
Ed (Gladstone, MI)
When Mike McCarthy said he was willing to give up play-calling...but did feel "we are there yet." Was that a dig at Tom Clements?
Rob Demovsky (4:55 PM)
Ed: If it was a dig at Clements then it was also a dig at previous coordinators, including Joe Philbin and Jeff Jagodzinski, because he has given the same answer before.
The Pack is hoping Tretter is the next Matt Birk, and let's hope he is, but as of right now, he's a guy that's never played a snap at C in the NFL. With Barclay (a so-so T last year) being dangled as the potential backup, this feels a lot like "We'll be fine with Seneca Wallace and Matt Tolzien as our backup QBs," to me. What's with the reticence to make a move to bring in a competent, experienced C?
Rob Demovsky (4:55 PM)
Scott: They definitely overvalued some of their own players last season, and it cost them.
Man, why is everyone so down on the packers? The last time I checked, we have a superstar quarterback, a superbowl winning head coach and gm, an offense that looks to be among the best in the league next year, and a defense that i don't think is quite as bad as alot of people think it is. Sure, our safety play leaves a lot to be desired, but what team doesn't have weaknesses? That's what the draft is for, which has yet to happen this year. I say we've got a chance for another superbowl this season. go packers!!
Rob Demovsky (4:56 PM)
Cameron: Probably because the standard, whether realistic or not, is high around this team.
Steve (Door County)
I find it very interesting that there was very little interest in Raji the first week of FA and now there appears to be very little interest at all in Picket. Guess TT's assessment isn't unique to these Packer FA's!
Rob Demovsky (4:59 PM)
Steve: That's usually a good barometer -- or as Kramer would say, "it's pronounced thermometer" -- as to what other teams think of those players.
Matt (New Jersey)
Hey Rob! Would you like to see Micah Hyde permanently moved to Safety giving the fact that we have a lot of talent at CB (tramon, shields, hayward, house)? Why not solidify the safety spot with one of our better ballhawks and keep him on the field every down?
Rob Demovsky (5:02 PM)
Matt: I think that's exactly what McCarthy is thinking. If you consider the top three CBs to be Shields, Williams and Hayward, then it makes sense to get Hyde on the field in other ways. I just wonder how that will impact how they view the safety position in the draft.
Justin (Little, Rock) [via mobile]
You mentioned that the Packers overvalued some of their players. Given the fact that we didn't let that many people walk and some that we did (Newhouse and Wilson) were considered backups, who would you say were/are the most overvalued? Brad Jones? Morgan Burnett?
Rob Demovsky (5:02 PM)
Justin: Jones for sure. Burnett, I'm willing to give him a little more time. The other safety spot, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, they badly overrated.
Rob Demovsky (5:03 PM)
Thanks for the all the questions. Once again, there were hundreds. I'm sorry if I didn't get to yours, but we'll try again next week. Have a great week.