Bill from St. Paul, MN
A few readers made the comment that the 2010 Packers were a fluke team by winning the Super Bowl. I would like to offer the point that their 15-1 record is all the proof one needs that shows the Super Bowl win was no fluke at all. I believe many of these people are only bitter about how they lost in the playoffs this year. My advice to them would be to just get over it; no one wins the big prize every year. It just doesn't work that way.
I think you’ve got a good handle on the situation. Nineteen wins in a row isn’t a fluke. You might say that one playoff loss is a fluke, but I think it’s more than that. As I’ve said repeatedly, I just think the Packers ran into a very good team that happened to match up very well with them.
Todd from Fitchburg, WI
So out of all the players you have seen so far at the Senior Bowl, which one has impressed you the most?
Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn. He’s 6-5, 348, and when he gets on people, he stays on people. He was used at left tackle in pass-blocking drills on Wednesday and I was stunned at how light his feet are. He’s a road-grader at right tackle or left guard, and he’s a guy who offers the distinct potential to play the premier left tackle position. If there’s a can’t-miss guy in this draft, he might be it.
John from Grand Forks, ND
What is a tweener?
He’s a player who’s between positions. The term is usually used to describe a player who’s not big enough to play defensive end in a 4-3, and might not be athletic enough to play linebacker in a 3-4.
Chris from Medford, WI
Your piece about Courtney Upshaw had me drooling, but let's be honest, he's going to end up a top 10 pick. Can you see Ted Thompson trading up that far for one player?
I don’t see Upshaw as a top 10 pick. He’s a one-dimensional player, and even though that’s the one dimension every team is looking for in a defensive player, it nonetheless limits what you can do with him, and it also introduces a high element of risk. I see him fitting in the second 10, with the possibility that he could slide if he doesn’t run well. Thompson has shown that if he wants a guy, he’ll go get him. He might have the ammunition to do it.
Stephanie from Dallas, TX
I just read that Russell Wilson has been mentioned with Drew Brees’ name quite a bit during his practices. Now, I am a big Wisconsin fan so I like the sound of this. I want to get your thoughts on this and also on what you saw in Wilson the last few days?
I can see some of Brees in him. He has that same flair for the game and, of course, both men are on the shorter side and neither has an Aaron Rodgers-type arm. They each have what I call short-area arm strength. Wilson tried to show off his deep arm on Wednesday by holding the ball on a double-move pass, but I think it worked against him because the ball got up in the air and died. With that throw, the field shrunk. I think that’s a bigger problem than his lack of height. Safeties are going to settle at a shorter depth.
Erik from Salt Lake City, UT
When Lombardi stated that football would always be a run game, I interpreted it as football will always be based on strength. Why would you say speed when in the trenches it requires more strength than speed to be successful?
This isn’t a trenches game now. This is an open spaces game and speed wins in space.
Allen from Brodhead, WI
Just for giggles, give us your opinion how far up the draft order the Packers have to get to draft a player, any position, that will greatly improve their defense as a rookie starter.
They can find that guy at No. 28. This draft is loaded with cornerbacks and tweener pass rushers. It’s tailor-made for the Packers’ needs. There’s a strong chance need and best available player might meet.
Zach from Woodstock, IL
Does Chris Rainey remind you of Darren Sproles at all? Both are not every-down backs, but are very dangerous as receivers out of the backfield.
I don’t see a comparison. Sproles is a more solidly built back and can drop his pads. Rainey is strictly a play-in-space guy. The real difference is that Sproles is more sudden. He succeeds with quickness and explosion. Rainey doesn’t have that same quickness and explosion. He’s more of a build-to-speed guy and can sustain his speed better. Rainey impresses me as someone that, when you get him out in space with the ball, he’s gone. He stretches a defense. He’s a smaller version of Percy Harvin.
Bob from Green Cove Springs, FL
Looks like Brandon from Austin never tried to tackle Earl Campbell. Tackling (or trying to tackle) Campbell was human confrontation at its best.
Just for the heck of it, I asked a coach on Wednesday if players feel fear. He said they absolutely do, and that’s why they have to be courageous, he explained, because courage is about overcoming fear.
Susie from Two Rivers, WI
After an upsetting loss, everyone wants to throw someone under the bus or get a quick fix. There were signs along the way it might not be easy. The free agency talk is scary because Packers do not need high-profile players coming in the locker room. BAP, draft and develop has worked well for them and they need to stick with it. People need to calm down, stop acting like this was their only chance to be in the playoffs. This is a young team. Do they not get it?
The draft is the lifeblood of a team. If you don’t draft well, you’re doomed; free agency can’t help you, only hurt you, because the expense of building a team in free agency will crush your salary cap and your whole payroll structure. That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t use free agency to supplement their roster. If you don’t use free agency, you’re not using all of the resources for talent acquisition available to you. I think free agency is a great vehicle for patching a roster until those needs can be more fully addressed in the draft.
Aaron from Washington, DC
Vic, last week you wrote an article on Joe Philbin being hired by the Dolphins and how the McCarthy tree now has a branch. Which NFL coaches have been the best at producing head coaches in the NFL?
Paul Brown immediately comes to mind. Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, Ara Parseghian, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bill Walsh all came off the Brown tree. That’s a lot of championships.
Michael from Syracuse, NY
My dad uses too much hindsight when he watches football. During the 49ers-Giants game he said the 49ers should run the ball at one point in the game, and then after they did run it and it failed, he said they should've passed it and made vulgar comments about Jim Harbaugh. Do you know anyway I could deal with this?
That’s why I prefer to watch football games alone or in a press box. I like to watch; that’s all, just watch. I went into a sports bar on a bye week a few years ago, to see a particular game I couldn’t get on my TV at home. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I finished my beer quickly and left.
Mark from Mississauga, ON
Can you tell me who the most electrifying player is you have watched?
The two guys that come to mind are from college football: Tony Dorsett and Rocket Ismail. I have never seen a man rip off so many long runs, especially at dramatic moments in big games, as Dorsett did in college. I’ll never forget his first carry of the 1976 season. It was in an opener at Notre Dame, which scored on its opening possession. The crowd was howling, which resulted in a false-start penalty, and then on the next play, gone! Game over! Ismail had that same talent for making big plays at big moments. The worst penalty I have ever seen is the holding or clipping or block-in-the-back call in Notre Dame’s Orange Bowl game against Colorado. The game came down to a punt return by Ismail. He had to take it back for a touchdown for Notre Dame to win, and he did, except an official called a penalty, and it was ticky-tacky. That call robbed college football of possibly the greatest play in its history.
Jim from State College, PA
I was wondering if you ever had any interactions with Joe Paterno? If so, any story you could share?
There’s just one in particular. I was working on the desk on a slow-news Friday night in late winter. I was looking for something to spice up the sports page when I heard the bells on the AP ticker. There was a code back then; it was something like five bells for state, 10 bells for national, 15 bells for international. The bells alerted editors to breaking news. For example, the most bells I ever heard were for when Nixon retired. Anyhow, I hear the bells and I go to the wire machine and I see a bulletin that Joey Cappelletti had died. He was John Cappelletti’s brother and Cappelletti had brought a room to tears at his Heisman presentation by dedicating his acceptance of the award to his dying brother. Hmmm, I thought. This might be a good time to test that baloney about Joe Paterno having an unlisted phone number. I called information and asked for his number and they gave it to me. Then I called the number expecting, of course, to get a machine, but the voice that answered was unmistakably Paterno’s. He spent a half hour on the phone with me talking about that Heisman Trophy presentation, and I had my lead story on a slow news night.
Andrew from Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Please explain what a “three-technique tackle” is. I think I saw Paul-Pierre described as a five technique.
The numbers denote positions along the line. On the center’s nose is zero, between the center and guard is one, on the guard’s nose is two, between the guard and tackle is three, on the tackle’s nose is four and on the tackle’s outside shoulder is five. Jason Pierre-Paul plays on the tackle’s outside shoulder, therefore, he is a five-technique end, which is common in a 4-3 alignment. A four-technique end is a two-gapper, as you would expect of a 3-4, hold-the-point defensive end. A three-technique tackle refers to a tackle in a 4-3 defense. He’s an in-the-gap, gap-control tackle that needs to be quick enough to penetrate the line of scrimmage and disrupt the flow of the play.
David from Minneapolis, MN
How does Mike Martin from Michigan look?
He flashed on Tuesday and then kind of blended in on Wednesday. He’ll attract a 3-4 team looking for a tough, tenacious nose tackle, or zero-technique tackle, as some would call it.
Albert from Port Washington, WI
I was wondering what some of the advantages and disadvantages were to a 4-3 and a 3-4 defense?
The main advantage of a 4-3 is it has a lot of beef on the field to stop the run. The main disadvantage, as I see it, is it puts a tremendous premium on finding every-downs, pass-rushing ends, and if you can’t find those guys, you’re going to have to use pass-rush specialists, and that means you can get caught with the wrong personnel on the field, depending on what the offense does to retaliate. The main advantage of the 3-4 is that it puts speed and mobility on the field, and that offers a lot creativity in what you can do in rushing and covering. The main disadvantage of a 3-4 is that you’re light in the pants up front, and that’s an invitation to the offense to run the ball.
Yash from Jacksonville, FL
Do you still believe in BAP?
I absolutely do, but I also believe that the impatience for winning that dominates the game nowadays requires teams to fit themselves to picks that address need. It’s a way of staying BAP but address need. For example, I need a running back, but one doesn’t fit where I’m picking. The BAP philosophy demands that I trade to where that running back fits. If I trade back, I move to where the back fits and I recoup the value of the pick from which I moved. That’s exactly what Ted Thompson did in trading back to draft Jordy Nelson. It’s called targeting. He targeted Nelson and then moved to where he fit. That’s BAP drafting because you’re moving to where the player is the best available, and maintaining the value of your original position.
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