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Chris Havel's latest chat transcript

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by IndiPack, Aug 3, 2006.

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    For those who haven't yet read it. If this or a link has already been posted, pardon.

    Chat with Chris Havel


    Award-winning sports columnist Chris Havel chatted live with PackersNews.com members Monday, July 31.

    Hi PackersNews readers, Let's get started with today's chat. ... Thanks in advance for all the great questions, Chris Havel

    Patrick Fuller, Edmond, OK: Havs - read your column on Tunisia Koonce, have a couple of questions. First, has there been a fund established yet for us to contribute to? Second, am I correct in assuming the boy's middle name is a tribute to Bryce Paup? Take care..
    ch: No fund has been established that I am aware of. Yes, the little guy's middle name is a tribute to George's former teammate. I had no idea they were that close.

    gene, chicago: Thanks for taking my question, Chris. Does the signing of Siitupe Peko (sp?) mean that Colledge and Spitz are not necessarily the day one starters? How do you see Todd williams fitting in at tackle?
    ch: I think the Peko signing was a chance for them to check out a player they've been interested in up close and personal. I wouldn't read too much into it as far as the Packers losing faith in either Spitz or Colledge. It's way too soon for that. As for Williams, he's a big man, but he's got a long way to go before he can be expected to contribute.

    Larry, Ashland: Hi Chris, With what appears to be a good amount of young talent on the defensive line, is this the year the KGB becomes a situational pass rusher, possibly replaced on early downs by Michael Montgomery?
    ch: Right now Michael Mongtomery is working behind Aaron Kampman, rather than KGB, with the second unit. That's a bit surprising to me. KGB is going to get a chance to prove he's an every down player this year, but I don't think he's going to be plugged in because of his salary, which is what they've done in the past. It might be that KGB isn't nearly the liability against the run if there is an actual NFL linebacking corps behind him. Last year, it was more like a linebacker corpse. As for Montgomery, he's still a bit raw, but he lost about 10 pounds in the offseason to get quicker. So far, I haven't noticed the difference, but it's early.

    Nik, Eden Prairie, MN: Apparently A.J. Hawk got knocked flat on his back by Vonta Leach, our backup fullback in training camp yesterday. Reason for concern in regards to Hawk? Reason for optimism regarding Leach? Not a big deal? Also, what do you make of Hodge pummelling Beach? Thanks.
    ch: Leach is no lightweight, and those things happen. I would say it's encouraging because it'll hasten the learning process for Hawk. He's a big, athletic dude, but he's also a rookie. He's going to get knocked down more than once before this camp is over, and don't think the linemen and fullbacks' eyes light up when he's across from them. Look at the attention Leach received from this. I doubt that will discourage him from attempting to do it again. In short, Leach is a hitter (he can't catch worth a damn, though) and Hawk is going to be OK. As for Abdul Hodge, the guy has great explosion through tackles, and it seems to come easy to him. I can see why so many people liked this linebacker coming out of Iowa. Without question, he is one rookie that is flashing early and often.

    Nik, Eden Prairie, MN: Does Brett Favre have a chance at breaking Marino's all-time TD record if Driver and Jennings are the starters this season? If not, who would need to be our #2 guy to make that happen?
    ch: Favre has a chance to get 24 TD passes with Driver and Jennings, if it shakes out that way, because he's also going to use Bubba Franks in the red zone, and I've got to believe Rod Gardner or Marc Boerigter is going to step up. I think Gardner has the inside track to start opposite Driver, with Jennings the No. 3 receiver and Robert Ferguson very unhappy with it.

    Jack, Chippewa Falls, WI: Early in the offseason we heard a lot of enthusiatic talk about Ben Brown. The talk subsided in the OTA,s and now he is not even mentionned when talking about the running backs competing for a job. What has happened?
    ch: Who is Ben Brown?

    Steve, West Des Moines, IA: Chris, The article on our special teams mentions Woodson as a potential #1 punt returner, and doesn't mention Blackmon in the kick returner mix. Do you see Woodson in the PR role? And assuming Blackmon heals in a reasonable amount of time, will he be in the mix? The guy was like 20 yards shy of being the all-time NCAA KR career yardage leader.
    ch: Right now Woodson is the punt returner. Blackmon is still recovering and I think he has a chance to be in the mix as a kick returner. The trouble is there's no guarantee he'll win a roster spot as a defensive back. I feel like they won't cut him but stranger things have happened.

    T. Niebuhr, Simi Valley, CA: Do you think the Packers will make any trades or acquisitions before the start of the season? Also why was Roman released and not traded to San Fran for a low draft pick or at the very least for some brats and a 6 pack?
    ch: Roman was an easy decision for the Packers. They benefited because it reinforced the notion that Ted Thompson isn't going to keep you around if you're disgruntled (that's especially easy to do with a marginal talent such as Roman). It also gives Roman a chance to catch on with another team, and by cutting him at the start of training camp, Roman didn't take any reps away from a player that will make the team. There also is the fact that Roman and Al Harris were very good friends, but I don't think that was a significant factor. More like an added bonus.

    Joe, York, PA: Chris, I listen to the afternoon blitz on Sirius Satellite Radio everyday and Adam Schein continuously says the Packers are the worst team in the NFL. First off I think he is full of crap as far as his assessment. Secondly, I think the NFC North is wide open and the Packers have as good of a chance as anyone....Your thoughts?
    ch: Adam Schein, to the best of my knowledge, has never attended a single Packers practice. Given that, I wouldn't let his comments get to you. But I also wouldn't keep listening to it. If Schein is that wrong about the Packers, I wonder what other folly he is propogating about the 31 other teams in the league. The NFC North is up for grabs. The Bears are the favorites, and for good reason because they return 22 starters and because Lovie Smith is the best coach in the division until someone proves otherwise. But the Packers just might be in the wild-card mix at or near the end. If the Browns aren't the worst team in the NFL, then the Lions are the worst.

    Troy C., Green Bay, WI: Which side of the ball do you believe the Packers will stronger on this season?
    ch: Defense. They added two quality free agents in Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, they added two rookie linebackers that should contribute in AJ Hawk and Abdul Hodge, safety Nick Collins is a year older, safety Marquand Manuel can't be worse than Mark Roman (can he?) and defensive tackle Kenderick Allen has tremendous potential. Yeah, I'd say the defense is the stronger of the two units.

    Ben H., Appleton: Last I checked, Grady Jackson is without a contract or a team. Could the Packers possibly pull him away from the buffet line to return for another year?
    ch: Why in the name of sweet corn, candied yams, roast beef, pork chops and dessert would the Packers want to do that? I believe they have grown weary of seeing him waddle around with a towel stretched across the back of his neck during training camp. He acted like a UN observer, as in UNinterested.

    STEVE, PENSACOLA, FL.: What is your biggest hope for this season? Also what is the one thing you will not be surprised to see by the end of the season?
    ch: My biggest hope? Meeting a beauty on South Beach the Saturday night before the Packers' game. My biggest "non" surprise? A carousel at punter and-or placekicker, Greg Jennings being viewed as one of the NFC's top rookies and Bubba Franks catching 60 passes.

    Richard , Oshkosh, WI: Coach McCarthy seems pretty happy with our Running Backs. Is there any chance they might pickup a back if Green is not able to start the season?
    ch: It appears they're going to go with Green, Davenport, Gado and Herron unless Arliss Beach somehow asserts himself. If Green can't go, I don't see them making a play for any so-called "big name" back.

    Max M., Mpls., MN: HI Chris, So just how bad our the receivers other than Driver? Do I need to come out of retirement? Thanks Max
    ch: The Packers' receivers have the talent, but they aren't maximizing it. They got off to a slow start, although in their defense they looked much better both on Sunday morning and again Sunday night. But there still are way too many drops. If it happens when there isn't a pass rush, what's going to happen when the Bears come to town? I would welcome your return from retirement, so long as you can also bring along Paul H, Fuzzy T, Jerry and Ron K, Willie D, Willie W, Herb A, and all the rest.

    Sam, Dallas, Texas: Chris, Now that you have had a chance to see the rookies in uniform and actually playing a little football, do any really stand out as "quality" NFL talent? In particular how does Hawk look and what is the story on Bourke who McCarthy has mentioned several times? Thanks for your insight. It's a relief to read about the Packers; the Dallas papers now seem only to be interested in the latest T.O. non-event.
    ch: I like Hodge, Jennings and Hawk, and Colledge and Spitz are in there working but it's going to take some time to see if they're going to be able to start as rookies. Roy Manning has been very impressive, at least to me.

    leonard, north palm beach, florida: If the packers have no major injuries to key players like last year; do you think they will win their division?
    ch: Probably, but only if the Bears have a lot of major injuries.

    Sam, Tomahawk,Wi: What's with the 12/21 Thurs night game with the Vikes?Schedule says it will be televised on NFLN--does that mean those of us who do not have access to NFLN don't get to see the game or will it be "picked up" by another station?
    ch: I believe local networks or cable providers have the chance to make the game available. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I would suggest you check your local listings. I don't know. It seems the NFL Network is positioning itself to one day be THE network on the NFL.

    Nik, Eden Prairie, MN: Thanks for the chat, Mr. Havel. I've been hearing that Woodson got beat deep multiple times during the first few practices. Should we be concerned? Also, have you seen Woodson returning punts, and if so, how does he look? Thanks again.
    ch: Woodson will be OK. Several receivers have gotten behind him, but I don't think it's anything to be concerned about. Woodson appears healthy, quick and ready to go. My guess is that he's pacing himself a bit, sort of like Sean Jones used to do when he played here. As for Woodson on punt returns, I've seen him catch a bunch of them, but they're not doing anything close to live action on the punt returns, so it's difficult to say anything definitive.

    Troy, Phoenix Arizona: The new zone blocking scheme is a big change I think. I think the biggest question in camp (even bigger then the guards) is how the best pair of the tackles in the NFL will adopt. Neither one fits the profile of a zone blocker from what I've read about it.
    ch: The interior linemen are the greater concern as far as fitting the prototypical zone blocking scheme. Clifton and Tauscher would be fine in any scheme, and they look good thus far.

    Kimberly, Sheboygan, Wi: How are AJ Hawk and Nick Barnett doing in working together at training camp?
    ch: Hawk and Barnett should be a strong tandem as the season unfolds. So far, Barnett looks comfortable in the middle, and while Hawk has made some mistakes, especially in coverage, he also is a big, strong athlete that is going to make a difference. It's not Batman and Robin, but give it some time.

    Sister Sean Marie, Manitowoc, WI: Who do you think will be on the roster for kicking and punting?
    ch: I've got to think Billy Cundiff will be the kicker. He's looked good so far. The punter is going to be interesting, but I've got to think it'll be Jon Ryan depending upon two things: Can he be consistent enough on each and every punt? And can he get the punts away quickly enough to avoid the potential for having one blocked? If Ryan can do that he'll be the punter.

    Nik, Eden Prairie, MN: Since Najeh Davenport has looked so impressive since he's been back, should we be as concerned about our running game as we were in the past?
    ch: Remember, Davenport and Samkon Gado each have had multiple 100-yard plus games in the NFL. That shows they can do it if given the chance. Can they do it for the entire season? I don't know. Davenport hasn't been able to stay healthy, and Gado was injured in his first go-round. But Davenport's health has been a pleasant surprise for coach Mike McCarthy and his staff. I'm sure they don't want to sing his praises too much, though, and jinx it. It's only been five practices. Durability isn't talked about a great deal but it sure is important and probably underrated.

    Tony , Green Bay: Hey Chris, do you think the packers will have to add a veteran qb before the season begins? nor much expierience lsft if favre goes down
    ch: I believe Rodgers is the No. 2 man until further notice. He has shown marked improvement over last season, and I'm curious to see what he does in the exhibition games. Now, if Rodgers struggles, and I don't expect him to, then the Packers may look at a veteran off waivers. But right now I'd think it's Rodgers as the No. 2, and if something should happen to Brett Favre he'll be the guy until Favre returns.

    Ed Hanner, Safety Harbor, FL: Have the Packers gone backwards to where the attitude and passion for success has become more of the country club atmosphere ? Do we have any players on defense that will and can play physical? We have become a team of arm tacklers. It would be hard to put a highlight film on great hits the last couple years. I think Brett is the Greatest. Do you think he is a better player when a coach is on his tail all the time with his performance vs not ? I have heard that Donnie Anderson was much better player under Lombardi than after.
    ch: I think McCarthy's offensive philosophy and the addition of several potential playmakers on defense, plus a desire to be more aggressive on special teams might lend the toughness that you're looking for and haven't seen. There is something punishing and physical about an offense that plays ball control and moves the chains. There is something punishing about a defensive back having to tackle a William Henderson or a Bubba Franks. The Packers are going to try to be in more of an attack mode this season. Now that's easier said than done, but the attempt is going to be made.

    Steve, West Des Moines, IA: Chris, I spent last week in Denver and Javon Walker is all the talk there.....the Broncos brass are bragging about how they literally stole him from GB. I personally think TT did all he could given the situation, but what I found interesting was that Walker himself identified another GB traitor Darren Sharper as his best friend in football. Do you think Sharper helped influence Walker out of Titletown?
    ch: The Broncos have to live with Javon Walker and it's still early in the honeymoon period. I can't say whether Sharper influenced Walker. Just don't know. Never heard that, though. Walker is a terrific athlete, and he has the potential to be an outstanding receiver in Denver. I'm still not sure what his problem was here in Green Bay. The fans adored and embraced him, and his contract demands were outrageous and premature.

    Thanks for all the great questions. I've got to get to my column for tomorrow's editions, but I look forward to picking it up again next Monday. Take care and have a great week, Chris Havel

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