ASK THE EXPERT
Packers beat writer Michael Cohen answered questions from readers Monday, a day after Green Bay’s win over Houston. Read the complete transcript at jsonline.com/packers.
Q: Hello Michael! Can the Pack overcome the injuries and defeat the Seahawks at OUR house in your opinion?
A: Hey guys, thanks for joining me today. I think Sunday’s game is going to be a tough one for the Packers. The Seahawks might be the second-best team in the NFC after Dallas, and they look to be rolling right now. Did anybody watch them last night? Quite a display. Seattle’s secondary took a big hit when safety Earl Thomas broke a bone in his leg. He’s one of the best in the league, so that’s a huge loss. Might allow the Packers to have some success in the passing game. Seattle opened as 21⁄ 2- point favorites, and I think that’s about right.
Q: Do you think MM will eventually let Montgomery become our featured back? I feel he has the tangibles to be a great back for this offense, especially if he adds a couple extra pounds next season. The guy is pure muscle, kinda Marcus Allen-ish, not to compare, just the size.
A: I’m not sure if Montgomery will ever be a featured back in the traditional sense of 15 or 20 carries per game. But I do think he can be a featured player in terms of the number of touches he gets each week. I’ve watched Ohio State play a few times this year, and they have a do-it-all player named Curtis Samuel who is something between a running back and receiver. The Buckeyes use him all over the field and he averaged better than 9 yards per touch this season. I think that could be Montgomery’s ceiling, a guy who touches the ball fairly often from a lot of different spots on the field.
Q: What has happened to Cobb? Yes he had a touchdown but he has been very average for almost two years now. Should the Packers think about asking for a pay cut in the offseason?
A: Randall Cobb: 57 catches, 577 yards, 4 touchdowns with contract totaling $40 million. Adam Thielen of the Minnesota Vikings: 52 catches, 657 yards, 3 touchdowns with a salary of $600,000 this season. Cobb’s production does not match his contract, in my opinion.
Q: Michael, my question is about LaDarius Gunter. He had a couple of acrobatic passes defensed yesterday. He seems to have the swag needed to play CB. Is he fast enough to ever be a top-tier CB?
A: I was very impressed with Gunter’s performance yesterday, especially his ability to break up passes as you mentioned. Gunter is actually pretty slow by cornerback standards, and that’s why he didn’t get drafted coming out of Miami. But he plays very aggressively and very physically and he’s found a way to have success against faster receivers. He did a tremendous job on Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this year and limited Julio Jones as well. (Granted, Julio Jones hurt his ankle and wasn’t as explosive as normal, but still.) He had another solid game yesterday. Not sure if he will ever be a No. 1 corner the way Sam Shields was, but he’s proving himself worthy of significant playing time.
Q: Christine Michael looks like a better runner than James Starks (hits the holes faster and has more speed). Do you think Michael will become the starting back by week 16?
A: I agree that Michael showed more burst and explosiveness than Starks has this season. However, Michael carried nine times and averaged about 2 yards per carry, which is actually a little worse than Starks’ average of 2.3 yards per carry this season. I think the coaches will try to involve Michael a bit more this week and take advantage of his athleticism if they can.