Our guest for this week’s installment of the Thursday Q & A is Rob Demovsky from the Green Bay Press-Gazette.  Rob is one of the beat writers which covers the Packers with the Press-Gazette, as well as covering other sports most recently the PGA Championship…which I totally forgot to ask him anything about.   With that, off we go.

Give us a history lesson, what was your path to Green Bay and working for the Press-Gazette covering the Packers?

I grew up in Arlington Heights, IL and was a freshman in high school when the Bears won the Super Bowl, so yeah, I was a Bears fan growing up. I went to school at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and then stayed there for two more years to work for The Athens Messenger, covering Ohio U. football and basketball. Then, I worked for two years in Corning, NY, where I covered prep sports plus LPGA and PGA Tour events that were nearby and NASCAR racing at nearby Watkins Glen International. In 1997, I applied for a job at the Press-Gazette — and got it! I liked the idea of being only 3 hours from Chicago.

You’ve seen Matt Flynn throw a lot more than most fans. In games, he seems to be able to make the throws across the middle with some zip, but does he have the arm to make the deep throw, hit the corners or out patterns?

In short, no he doesn’t. At least not in the same manner Rodgers can. Although, I will say this, Flynn’s arm strength is improving, and after a slow start to camp, he has played well in the last two preseason games against Seattle and Indy.

Is it wise for GB to insert Bulaga at LG when LT is likely his future position? Would it aid his development if he just focused on being Clifton’s back up and learning LT rather than competing to start at LG or is it the wisest thing for the team to play their best five OLs regardless of where they are slotted?

I’m very much torn on that subject. I’m a big believer in not moving guys around. I think it stunted Daryn Colledge’s growth big time. So if Bulaga is indeed your left tackle of the future, then leave him there and let him learn behind Clifton. However, if he’s a better left guard than Colledge, don’t you have to play him there, too. See, I’m trying to convince myself that one way is better than the other. Can you tell? I’m just having a hard time deciding on that. 

Based on the games, the punting battle seems to be a dead heat. Does your observation of practice suggest either of the punters has an advantage and how much of a factor does holding for placements factor into the equation?

My gut tells me Bryan has the advantage only because the Packers love the fact that he’s been a professional athlete before, having played Australian Rules Football. Also, I’m sure they’d love to keep a pipeline open to Australia and if they dump the first guy that Nathan Chapman sends them, then maybe he’d be reluctant to send any more players here. That said, Masthay might be the better punter, so it’s a hard, hard call. 

The conventional wisdom that GB will keep two FBs and four TEs – do you agree? If so, who appears to be the two and the four?

I agree. Korey Hall and John Kuhn will be the FBs. As for the tight ends, I think it will be Finley, Quarless, Havner and Lee. I just don’t see how they can dump Donald Lee. He’s too dependable and reliable. But maybe, just maybe, they will go with Crabtree.

Who is the biggest surprise and disappointment of preseason camp?

Zombo has to be the biggest surprise. A scout told me back in May that he was the best of the undrafted rookie OLBs the Packers signed, but I still didn’t think he’d be a guy who had this kind of impact. I expected this from Sam Shields but not from Zombo. I don’t know why I say this, but Justin Harrell has to be a disappointment. Maybe I was foolish enough to think that somehow he would change his stripes and become the player that he was drafted to be, but it hasn’t happened, and looks like it isn’t going to happen.

After the last few seasons of Mike McCarthy as head coach, what are the two or three signature characteristics of a “Mike McCarthy coached team”, and how does that compare to the two previous head coaches?

McCarthy used to preach about being a team that was committed to the run and pounding the ball on the ground, but he doesn’t he pretend to say that anymore. He’s a QB coach at heart, so his teams reflect that. He wants his QB to be smart and safe with the ball, and that, more than anything is the ID of this team and all of his teams. On the flip side, penalties — mostly on special teams — have also become an identity of his teams. He’s a tougher taskmaster than Mike Sherman and Ray Rhodes. Sherman tried, but ultimately he gave in to Favre. McCarthy didn’t do that with Favre and won’t do that with Rodgers. That’s what makes the penalty thing so weird — it doesn’t seem to fit McCarthy’s identity and philosophy.

What should most worry Packer fans heading into the regular season, and what should they feel most comfortable about?

The defense should worry Packers fans. I still don’t see enough pass rush.

What are your thoughts on the opener at Philadelphia? Something of a trap game in Week 1?

I haven’t seen one second of any Eagles preseason game, so I can’t say much about Philly, However, it would seem to be good timing that they’re playing a new starting quarterback in Week 1.

I’ve asked this question to our other MSM guests, Greg Bedard & Paige Pearson, and would lke to have your take as well.  Will there or won’t there be a new CBA in place in time to have a 2011 NFL season?

That depends on what your definition of “in time” is. I believe there will be a 2011 season. It just may not start “on time.” My guess is there will a new CBA but it might not get done until July or August, which would push back the start of training camp and ultimately the start of the regular season. That means in March, there will be a lockout, which means that free agency and OTAs and minicamps will not take place in the spring. But they’re not dumb enough to skip an entire season. There will be NFL games in 2011.

…and now for the lighting round.

Your all-time favorite professional athlete is:

Honestly, I don’t really have one. I like the games, the competition, etc., more than the people. That’s probably why I don’t really root for any teams any more. I root for the story.

Your favorite Packers site to read that is not PackerNews.com:

I read all the competing newspapers/websites every day: JSOnline , ESPNMilwaukee.com , Madison.com . Also read ProFootballTalk regularly and also follow NFL writers and bloggers on Twitter.
 
If there were no sports to report, you would be doing:  

Probably caddying on the PGA Tour.

If you were a professional athlete, your sport & position would be:

Professional golfer on the PGA Tour.

Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a ______________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

Guinness

Thank you to Rob for taking the time during his busy schedule to join us this week and answer our questions.  You can catch all of Rob’s work in the Packers section of the Press-Gazette and also give him a follow on Twitter for more instant info on the Packers as the season gets into swing.

Would you like to be the guest for a PocketDoppler.com Thursday Q & A? Let us know!

 

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  • Nik

    Guinness… good man. Cool interview Walley, thanks!