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Scouts want to see domination

Is Clay Matthews on his way to the Hall of Fame?


Andy from Walpole, MA

We've all been waiting for Jordy to come off the PUP and when he does doesn't cover it. I understand you guys work for the team and are not in a position to break that kind of story, but I guess I did expect you to do same day coverage. Now that Vic is in Edisto, who makes those kinds of editorial decisions around your shop?

As noted many times before in this space, is bound by the team policy of roster moves being officially announced when the team issues a press release. There was no press release issued, but certainly the news from the league transaction wire regarding Nelson appears to be good news for the Packers.

Paul from Birmingham, AL

Thirty-seven players on the roster will be cut. What a cruel truth. It pains me this year more than most because of the depth of talent I see across the board, and we will only be able to sign 10 to the practice squad should they not be signed by another NFL team (which I expect many will). I am sure that a lot of teams wish they had our problem this year. Nevertheless it still pains me. So excited to see how it plays out this year, more so than usual. Do you recall a preseason with the depth of talent that this year possesses? Or is it just my excitement and anticipation that's getting the better of me?

Everyone gets excited about who's going to make the final 53, but it's important to be somewhat grounded in your assumptions. I remember thinking that Paul Thompson was going to be the next great quarterback back in 2007. Let's just say that didn't work out. The hard truth is there are only 53 jobs available on the Packers' roster. For some undrafted rookies, this will be the closest they ever come to the NFL. That's why you always hear Ted Thompson talk about cut-down day being the most difficult part of his job. Green Bay's personnel department does a great job of bringing in college free agents every year who can compete, so I don't know if this year stands out to me any more than those previous.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Say that Janis is out for the rest of camp, is there any rule that says the Packers cannot place him on season-ending IR?

The Packers have a few options if they choose to place Janis on injured reserve. They can do so immediately to open up a spot on the 90-man roster, but Janis would have to pass through waivers first. The more likely scenario is placing him on IR during the first cut to 75 players on Aug. 30. Once Janis is healthy, the Packers could use their one injury exemption to return him to the active roster. He can practice again after six weeks on IR and play after eight.

Pedro from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

About that question of running backs being overrated. You better have a solid running game to control the clock or you'll need a top defense to hold the score down. Right?

Mike McCarthy echoed that opinion this past week with the emphasis the team is placing on establishing the run on offense and stopping it on defense. The big plays are nice, but the run game is so critical for keeping defenses honest and establishing normal down-and-distance, particularly late in the season. I appreciate everyone who submitted a response. There's no right or wrong answers. I put it out there because I truly couldn't think of an overrated spot.

Andy from Oregon, IL

Do you think there will ever come a time where we won't have running backs in the offensive backfield? I feel teams want to pass now and abandon the run. That may just be me but it's what has seemed to happen a lot.

I don't think so. We may see the pass-run ratio continue to skew toward the passing game, but it's hard to see running backs go extinct. Running back actually seems to be regaining its popularity based on how free agency played out this past offseason. The 2013 Packers provided a good example of how valuable a Pro Bowl running back can be, especially when you lose your MVP quarterback. Green Bay doesn't make the playoffs if not for Eddie Lacy carrying the load in those seven games without Rodgers. It's not 2003 anymore, but running backs still win games.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

With the limits on padded practices, the coaching staff relies much more on the preseason games for talent evaluation of younger players. However, how much does a staff learn about a player's ability to play in the NFL when it is a third-stringer playing against another team's third-stringer?

There's a phrase I've heard personnel people use when describing how they scout players from the CFL, arena leagues and low college ranks (FCS, Division II and Division III) – they want to see them dominate the competition. I think the same rules apply in the preseason. You're right in your assertion that these undrafted free agents aren't facing starters, but there's still a great deal of information that can be gleaned from their performances.

Tom from Chesterfield, VA

I've noticed that some fans have been dissed for questioning McCarthy's playoff record. How many reading this thought that post-2010 we'd have zero Super Bowl wins? Or Super Bowl berths? McCarthy's playoff, home and overtime records are abysmal. I'm all for cheering the team – but also for keeping it real.

All I'm saying is you can't pick and choose your statistics. You have to look at the whole picture. It's like if I said I batted 1.000 on asking girls out in high school…given you take out the 30 who turned me down. Big difference. Belichick and John Harbaugh are the only current NFL head coaches who are more than five games above .500 in the playoffs. I'm not saying your viewpoint is wrong. I just think you have to hold off on that argument until the Thompson-McCarthy-Rodgers era is over. You can swing away once the Packers enter a season without a chance of taking home the Lombardi.

Tony from River Falls, WI

Clay Matthews has an impressive NFL resume so far. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he has gone to the Pro Bowl every year he has been in the league, except for 2013. Is he a likely candidate for the NFL Hall of Fame or is it still too early?

It's probably too soon to use the word "likely," but Kevin Greene definitely sold Matthews' candidacy during the enshrinement weekend in Canton. Matthews has been selected to six Pro Bowls and made three appearances on NFL all-pro teams in seven NFL seasons. He's only 30 and probably needs more on his resume, but it's a good start.

Bob from West Des Moines, IA

Please explain why Coach McCarthy would not play Aaron much in preseason when last year timing and route running of receivers was such a big issue. Isn't preseason the time to work on these things? To get on the same page? I hope Coach isn't taking Aaron for granted that he will just turn it on whenever he wants.

Rodgers has been as sharp as I've ever seen him in training camp. So I don't know if there's anything Rodgers will gain out of a preseason game that he won't get at practice. For everything that ailed the offense last year, Rodgers actually performed pretty well after playing sparingly in the preseason. How soon do we forget the MVP buzz around Rodgers during that first month when he had 11 touchdowns and no interceptions through four games? His top target in the first half of the season (James Jones) wasn't even on the Packers' roster in camp. So I guess I'm not too concerned about it.

Ronald from Tama, IA

Do you think Aaron Rodgers will get more than two series of plays this whole preseason?

If he doesn't play against Oakland, I could see him getting two series in San Francisco. So yes.

Robert from West Hartford, CT

I have a feeling letting John Kuhn go was as mistake. Can anyone make a good case for why it was not? I would like to know if I'm missing something. Thanks.

Kuhn was an important part of what the Packers built over the last nine years, but it's tough to fit two fullbacks on an active roster in 2016. Too many positions need the added depth. Aaron Ripkowski looks like he can play and the Packers want him to be a bigger part of the offense this year. Since Kuhn doesn't really play much special teams anymore, there just wasn't enough room.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

Does the commissioner actually have the power to suspend players based solely on what I'm assuming is hearsay? Why do the players named have to go to him and plead their innocence?

The NFL wants the commissioner to have the power to impose discipline in matters of player conduct. It's a product of the ruling in the Brady case. In the situation involving Matthews and Peppers, the league is threatening to suspend the players connected with the report for not cooperating with its investigation. It doesn't have anything to do about the allegations in the now-recanted report.

Mike from Niceville, FL

The situation with Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers has me concerned about the next CBA. The animosity between the NFL and NFLPA is at unprecedented levels and is only increasing. I see a real possibility of a lost season the next time around. Am I overreacting or is this a real possibility given the current status of the relationship between the NFL and NFLPA?

I could see the commissioner's power becoming a popular topic in the next negotiations. How high will it end up on the agenda? We'll have to see what happens over the next few seasons. There's fixing to be a lot of things on the negotiating table. Still, it seems far-fetched that an entire season would be lost to negotiations.

John from Eagan, MN

I gotta say I love the Ted Thompson media interviews. He is extremely humble but obviously fiercely intelligent, and he is a master at keeping internal information out of the mainstream.

Don't let Thompson fool you. He's self-deprecating, but he knows what he's doing.

Jeff from West Salem, WI

It seems to me Jake Ryan does not have the size to be a consistent run stopper or the speed to cover tight ends and backs, kind of a tweener. Am I wrong?

Ryan has the kind of size (6-2, 240) that you look for in an inside 'backer. Sure, there's questions about coverage, but that's the same with most young linebackers. Ryan did a lot of positive things last year after he moved past Nate Palmer on the depth chart. With Sam Barrington back, it'll be interesting to see where the Packers slot Ryan once he returns from the hamstring injury.

Nick from Charlotte, NC

If we finished with a below-average defense despite the talent we have on that side of the ball, would I be crazy to support cutting Dom Capers for new blood? Sometimes you just need a new voice, you know?

Is it the regular season yet?

Norm from Janesville, WI

With Adele declining the invitation to perform the Super Bowl halftime show, who would you like to see?

If you asked me a month ago, I would have said Lee Greenwood. But since I was fortunate enough to see Lee in Canton, let's go with Drake then.

Stephen from Toronto, ON

Wes doesn't seem to have the same strengths at sarcasm as Mike. Do you attribute this to Mike's time with Vic, Wes being an all-around nicer person, or Mike's increasing age making him more curmudgeonly?

I guess you'd have to blame my parents…or credit them depending on your perspective.

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