Bill from Asheville, NC

So Borland retires due to potential health issues. I salute him for stepping back and doing what he feels is best for his health, however, all jobs have safety concerns. When will the NFL be able to convince the players and the general public the game is safer now and will continue to get safer?

The popularity of football wasn’t built on safe, it was built on danger. This is a problem.

Chris from Farnham, UK

Vic, although it’s still early in free agency and the draft is a month away, what is your opinion on the work done by our rivals for the North crown so far this offseason? Which would you consider to be the best acquisition and biggest loss by our divisional rivals to date?

Ndamukong Suh is the biggest loss and Haloti Ngata is the best acquisition. It appears the Lions had a plan, doesn’t it?

Balint from Budapest, Hungary

Vic, how do you like Casey Hayward as a full-time starter at outside cornerback?

Hayward was sensational as a rookie, then sidelined by a severe hamstring injury in year two of his career. Last season, he made a comeback, and my expectation for him is he’ll continue that comeback and raise his game another level this year. I have an image of him intercepting a pass down the sideline in Houston in 2012. I see no reason to believe he can’t play on the outside.

Kasper from Copenhagen, Denmark

Why would you want to sign the leftover free agents no other team wants? Because talent is everywhere and not every team can see it. We can see it. Do you agree?

You sign the leftovers because they have a talent for doing a particular thing and you have a plan for fitting that talent into your scheme. Every team needs affordable role players.

Paul from Kilrush, Ireland

Vic, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Emerald Isle; may you stay forever green. Which player has the most potential to raise their game to a higher level?

All young players are expected to raise their game, but I think Richard Rodgers has an especially high ceiling. He came out of Cal as a big wide receiver, and I think that explains some of the inline blocking problems he experienced last season. I expect him to be a better blocker in 2015, and I have no doubt he will deepen his role as a pass receiver.

Dan from San Diego, CA

Twenty years from now, who do you think will go down as the best NFL quarterback to don the number 12?

There have been a lot of great ones: Namath, Staubach, Bradshaw, Griese, Rodgers, Brady, etc. I think Tom Brady is in the process of pushing his accomplishments out of the reach of any quarterback in this era. I think he’s “Mr. 12”.

Roger from Auburn, CA

Vic, what do you think is the biggest story of free agency so far? The mega contracts, the big-name trades or the sudden retirements?

The Eagles.

John from Whitewater, WI

Just how can the Packers make up for the losses in the defensive backfield this offseason? I thought the defense was a weak link last year and I don’t see how it will get better with the losses through free agency. Thoughts?

It’s a game of replacement and that’s the constant challenge Ted Thompson and the personnel department face. They’ll find players where they find players. I think we need to acknowledge the Packers probably have a plan. Clearly, they weren’t caught off guard by the losses of Davon House and Tramon Williams. I get every sense they expected to lose both guys. Micah Hyde and Ha Ha can play the slot. My guess is Hyde and Ha Ha fit prominently into the Packers’ plans for pass defense. I would also expect the Packers to draft for cornerback. Maybe they’ve targeted a cornerback in free agency and they’re waiting for the market to come to his price point. We’ll see.

Simon from Mountain View, CA

I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t draft Borland after all.

I remember Tony Pauline being concerned about a shoulder injury Chris Borland had from college. Borland is a hitter. He’s also an undersized hitter, and that combination might’ve caused him to play too big for his body. I covered a safety, Thomas Everett, who played too big for his body. In this game, big is good.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

With us losing House and now Williams, and signing Cobb and Bulaga, do you see this as another defense-heavy draft for us?

The needs are on defense. Yeah, I would expect the Packers to attempt to address those needs.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

In a way, not signing Williams or House could be a brilliant move by Ted Thompson. If both perform well, we could be looking at two high compensatory picks. Ted loves draft picks.

Let’s consider the value Tramon Williams will return to the Packers. They signed him off the waiver wire, he gave them nine seasons of service and was one of the stars of the Packers’ run to the 2010 Super Bowl title. After all of that, they lose him in expensive free agency, which guarantees he will return a significant compensatory draft pick. Instead of who gets the blame for losing Williams, maybe we should be talking about who gets the credit for the value the Packers acquired. Williams is the kind of personnel success story teams must achieve to win championships. You can’t pick all of your players from the top of the deck. The cap won’t allow it. You’ve got to find affordable replacements, and you’ve got to be willing to let good players go; that’s a fact of the salary cap era.

Tim from Wausau, WI

Is the difference in skill set for perimeter and slot cornerbacks as big as we make it out to be?

The inside guy is covered by other defenders; the outside guy is alone on the boundary. You want a guy out there that can flip his hips and run. That’s the skill set.

Nick from Evergreen, CO

Vic, I imagine you’re getting slammed with Borland questions. You don’t have to answer mine, but please tell us your thoughts.

Maybe as much as 80 percent of my inbox is about Chris Borland. My first thought is that for big news items such as this, it might be a good idea to consider the possibility somebody else will ask the question. My second thought is if Borland is genuinely afraid of a permanent injury, he absolutely did the right thing in retiring. You can’t play this game scared.

Weston from Lake Geneva, WI

What three players would you pick to start your franchise now? Mine are Luck, Watt and Donald.

I like those picks.

Neil from Allentown, PA

Do you think the best option for the empty spots in the Packers defense is to fill them with young players from the draft, or to start signing free agents?

The draft will provide a better yield.

Tim from Hammond, WI

What do you make of Chris Borland’s retirement? Is this the start of something big or just an anomaly?

Could this become an epidemic? Yes, I think it could, especially when it involves players who’ve gotten big paydays and have enough money to live a nice life. Jason Worilds, for example, was coming off a franchise tag year.


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