Could coaching move affect Murphy?
Packers beat writer Ryan Wood answered questions from readers Monday. Read the complete transcript at jsonline.com/packers.
Q: Hi Ryan, if Murphy makes the wrong hire here, when would he be replaced? I see a complete mess and he caused ALL of it!
A: Good question, and it’s hard to answer because there’s a lot of possibilities. If it is a bad hire, we probably won’t know for two years at the earliest, maybe three. Remember, the Packers are an organization known for valuing patience, so they’re going to give this hire every possible chance to succeed. That said, if it becomes clear, I could see two possible outcomes. The first, of course, is to fire Mark Murphy. The second is for Murphy to reorganize the internal structure, so that he’s again head of the business side, and places the GM as head of football. That would not surprise me at all, as Murphy has been very good for the Packers business operations, and this really isn’t Gutekunst’s hire.
Q: Ryan, a clip came out about McCarthy’s offense not being suited well for TEs (Martellus and Mercedes Lewis spoke about it). I remember offense in 2010 being tailored around Jermichael Finley before he got injured. Don’t really remember a large amount of production from the position after that (correct me if I’m wrong). Thoughts on TE position in GB? I think Graham should have another year with Rodgers in new system.
A: I saw that clip too, and I thought it was very interesting. The reason it caught my interest is it reminded me of this Aaron Rodgers quote from his final in-season interview late in December: “We haven’t, really since J-Mike – and I’ve said this before – we haven’t had an offense that gave the tight ends a ton to do. We’ve always been scheming up plays for Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings and Randall Cobb and Davante. So I think that’s something we need to look at this offseason, how we can utilize the talent we have at the tight end position, and give them more opportunities to be that No. 1 read on certain plays so we can see what we’ve got.” Seems to be saying the same thing, no?
Q: Do you have any information on Cole Madison and whether he will be available this year for the team? Thanks.
A: I think it’s safe to assume Cole Madison does not factor into the Packers’ long-term plans after being away from the team his entire rookie season, but that’s yet to be confirmed. As a fifth-round pick, the Packers don’t have much invested in him, in terms of football assets. So it would be easy to move on.
Q: Ryan, how do you explain the significant drop in production from Clay? His first few years he was feared — nearly Mack-like. It doesn’t seem his speed and quickness have diminished yet he should also be more savvy. And he’s been relatively healthy as of late. Can he be coached back to the player he was?
A: Clay Matthews is 32, turns 33 in May. It’s likely his days as a double-digit sacker are over. It’s certainly logical that he needs to play fewer snaps than he has the past couple years. He was over 70 percent this past season, most of which were as an edge rusher. Contrary to your observation, his speed and quickness have deteriorated, as will happen with age. In Matthews case, his long history of injuries can accelerate the aging process. That said, he’s a good player. Not the dominant force he once was, but still could be one of the Packers better defenders in the right role. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s back next season as a hybrid defender, someone who can drop down the line of scrimmage at times but also plays a lot off the ball. I haven’t inquired much on what his market might be.