The Seattle Seahawks (4-5) and Green Bay Packers (4-4-1) meet on Thursday night, both teams desperately needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’s an earlier “do or die” situation than either franchise expected but here we are. The Seahawks and Packers have developed a bit of a rivalry over the years and Thursday has a high probability of bringing more drama and intrigue to the lore of connections like John Schneider, Jimmy Graham, and “the Fail Mary.”
To learn more about the current iteration of the Packers, I sent 5 Qs to Jason B Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company and in kind he sent me back 5 corresponding As.
Jason also joined the Seaside Chats podcast this week, where we discussed a host of topic not covered in this Q and A, including more on the statistical decline of Aaron Rodgers, the future of Mike McCarthy if Green Bay continues to lose, and a whole lot more.
Q: Mike McCarthy seems to have a pretty dang good track record as far as developing wide receivers goes, and this year Green Bay drafted three of them: J’Mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown; my condolences on having to write those names out over and over again. What can you tell me about these three players individually, your expectations of their long term futures, and how much they might play on Thursday?
A: Of the trio, Marquez Valdes-Scantling has shown by far the most promise. A fifth-round pick out of South Florida, Valdes-Scantling ranks third on the team in receiving (402 yards) and No. 1 in yards per reception (17.5). He offers a vertical dimension to the Packers offense not seen since Jordy Nelson’s prime and figures to contribute in greater capacity moving forward with Geronimo Allison on injured reserve and Randall Cobb battling hamstring issues. Given what he has shown as a rookie, Valdes-Scantling looks like a long-term starter for Green Bay with star upside.
The other two rookie wideouts have seen significantly less action. Equanimeous St. Brown has played more of late due to the aforementioned injuries to the receiving corps, but his performance level has fluctuated. While his size and speed allow him to make field-tilting plays such as his 19-yard sideline grab against the 49ers, he also drops too many passes makes critical errors such as an illegal crackback block this past Sunday. J’Mon Moore has barely seen the field and will essentially use 2018 as a redshirt year. Regardless of how much either plays the rest of the way, both need to show significant improvement to factor into Green Bay’s future.
Q: A lot of Huskies fans, and Seahawks fans who wished Seattle would have drafted him, want to know how Kevin King is doing. He was not as highly touted as teammate Sidney Jones, but had size unlike Jones that would fit in with a Pete Carroll corner. After missing half of 2017, how’s King adjusted in year two?
A: Injuries continue to define Kevin King’s career. The cornerback has already missed two games this season and might sit out Thursday night as well. King has looked solid when he has played this season and has done a better job using his massive frame and athleticism to his advantage than he did as a rookie. Still, rookie Jaire Alexander has moved ahead of him as the Packers’ top cornerback, and fellow first-year cover man Josh Jackson has played ahead of King at times as well. King will play a prominent role against the Seahawks if medically cleared, but he remains difficult to evaluate.
Q: When Joe Philbin last OC’d the Packers, they were first in yards per pass attempt but 26th in yards per carry. After 6 years away from that job and returning in 2018, Green Bay is 1st in yards per carry but sliding out of the top 10 in yards per pass. How has Philbin’s return been received by fans? Who is the most disliked coach on the team?
A: Joe Philbin didn’t serve as the offensive architect during his first run with the Packers, nor does he now. In either stint, those responsibilities fell on Mike McCarthy, which partially explain why the Green Bay’s offensive issues this season appear likely to cost him his job as head coach. Philbin has a strong relationship with Aaron Rodgers and, at least during his first run with Green Bay, had the ear of McCarthy. However, that hasn’t translated into the offensive renaissance the team hoped for when Philbin returned this offseason.
As for how the fans have received Philbin or view the coaching staff, perhaps you can find your answer in the comment section of this McCarthy replacement-candidate piece from late October.
Q: What do you think is something that outsiders don’t know about Aaron Rodgers? From my perspective, I think that he’s seen as quite cocky and arrogant and that’s likely due to some bad press, including by his own brother when he was on The Bachelor, painting him as a bad brother and son who didn’t talk to his family much anymore. From your side, now that Rodgers has been with the Packers for 14 years, how would you describe him as a person? Does he get a bad rep? Or does he need that kind of attitude to be one of the greatest of all-time?
A: I don’t know Rodgers personally and don’t pretend to. He has always answered my questions fully when I’ve had the opportunity to talk to him at press conferences, which is about all we as reporters can ask from athletes. I’ll leave the pop psychology to others.
Q: Have you heard of Michael Dickson?
A: Indeed. He’s a top-2 Dickson on the Seahawks’ roster.