Dustin from Onalaska, WI

Vic, your column from Labor Day was one of your best. Honest, insightful answers and bold predictions and observations. No doubt you are in peak form heading into the season. Can you feel it when you know you are going to have a great day as a journalist?

It was a terrible column. It might’ve been the worst column in the history of the world. I should’ve been taken out back and fired for that column. I got up at five in the morning to write that column, and all I found were James Jones questions. You would’ve thought Brett Favre was coming out of retirement to play for the Bears. My problem was the Packers hadn’t officially announced the signing, so I had an inbox full of questions I couldn’t address. I cobbled together what I could and decided to observe the Labor Day holiday.

Adam from Charlotte, NC

What does the acquisition of James Jones say about Ted Thompson’s confidence in our young wide receivers?

I don’t sense a statement in this signing, beyond the need for depth at wide receiver. Let’s not forget, Ty Montgomery missed the final preseason game due to hamstring soreness, and we’re still awaiting word on Randall Cobb’s shoulder injury and his status heading into Sunday’s game. We were all expecting this signing, going back to the day Jordy Nelson injured his knee, right? It was a matter of whether the Giants would release Jones. He gives the Packers immediate depth. He knows the offense and the quarterback knows him. This is a no-brainer signing. It doesn’t say anything about the young receivers, the cap, the future or anything else except what the Packers are facing right now. Sometimes you need to patch with a veteran player, but the commitment to the development of young talent never wavers. The young guys will play as their development demands it.

Vincent from Seattle, WA

Vic, I was looking at our coaching roster. What is the difference between an Associate Head Coach/Offense, and the Offensive Coordinator?

One should be a head coach, and the other one is on his way to becoming a head coach. Again, don’t get caught up in positions (or titles). It’s about function. Tom Clements is the Packers’ play-caller. Edgar Bennett coordinates the offense, which largely means he does the organizational work through the practice week. The titles are a means of distinguishing each man’s position and place in the Packers’ coaching hierarchy.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

Was there really not anyone else we could’ve released besides Myles White?

We have to wait to see how this pans out. Did the Packers release White because they believe he’ll clear waivers?

Ann Marie from Granger, IN

What are your thoughts on signing James Jones? The man is a quality player. I do not disagree. I just question what it says to young guys who are the future. Jordy was a huge loss but as you have said repeatedly, draft and grow. What am I missing?

Again, you are missing the immediate need, and you’re not alone in missing it. What if Cobb’s shoulder isn’t ready for opening day? The Packers could’ve found themselves going to Chicago with a group of wide receivers totaling two accrued NFL seasons. Jones’ availability is a godsend for the Packers.

Jeff from Farmington, UT

Winning trumps talent. I would take Tebow.

Thirty-two teams in the NFL disagree with you. Sometimes we have to step back from our love of a team or a player and judge them objectively. It gives us a deeper appreciation of the inner workings of the game and how it’s managed by the men responsible for winning.

Jeremy from Williston, WI

Vic, how many carries will Lacy have in Week 1? Over or under 20?

Twenty carries on opening day are a lot for a big back. I expect James Starks to share the load.

Jabez from Iselin, NJ

Is the James Jones signing another indication Mike McCarthy is serious about starting fast?

Coach McCarthy wants to start fast, regardless of who his wide receivers are. We are way over the top in our scrutiny of the Jones signing. Let’s all count to 10 or whatever it is everybody does when they begin to hyperventilate.

Brett from Marietta, GA

Vic, is a waiver claim that’s signed to the 53 a lock for that season, or can he still be cut? If the latter, what about the money owed/cap hit?

James Harrison was cut more times than a Thanksgiving turkey. At one point, he had decided if he was cut one more time he was going to quit football to become either a veterinarian or a truck driver. There are rules pertaining to vested veterans that determine what’s owed a player and charged to the cap.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Every year, some Packers fans think other teams will feast upon our released players. This year, as far as I know, only two (Thornton, Henry) have been claimed. Seattle has five claimed.

This is an outrage! When is the rest of the league going to realize we are better than everybody else?

Jake from Blue Springs, MO

Vic, with John Fox stepping in as the new head coach in Chicago, I was wondering what film the Packers are studying. Do they only study film from Denver last year or does film of the Bears from last year have some value in this situation as well?

You’d study tape of last year’s Bears team to get a feel for personnel you’ll be facing. You’d also study tape of the Bears from this preseason. As for Coach Fox, Peyton Manning was his quarterback in Denver, so I don’t know if there’s much value in doing a breakdown of the Broncos offense. You might have your quality control guys look for trick plays and down-and-distance tendencies, but with all of that Omaha going on in Denver, I don’t know what value information on the Broncos offense would be for the Packers. The Packers know Coach Fox’s base football personality. He wants to run the ball and play defense, which is the opposite of what he had in Denver. The Packers know Vic Fangio, the Bears’ defensive coordinator, and the Packers know Matt Forte, the Bears’ star running back. I don’t think the Packers are going to lack for knowledge or feel for what the Bears will try to do on Sunday.

Trailson from Harker Heights, TX

Vic, I know this question has been asked before. What does a player make on the practice squad? Other teams can scoop up your practice-squad players at any time, correct?

Practice-squad players are free agents. They may sign with any team in the league at any time, but any team signing a player from another team’s practice squad must put that player on the signing team’s active roster. Practice-squad players are paid a minimum of $6,600 per week, which is $112,000 over a 17-week regular season.

Matt from Bremerton, WA

So James Jones was signed (I’m very pleased), and they released Myles White. If White made the cut before Jones was signed, why didn’t White go to the practice squad?

He would have to go through the waiver process before he can be signed to the practice squad. You can go from the practice squad to the active roster without clearing waivers, but you can’t go from the active roster to the practice squad without clearing waivers. As I said, let’s wait and see how this all works out. It’ll answer our questions.

Gerald from Karlsruhe, Deutschland

How about a run set up with Ripkowski, Kuhn and Harris? If we are talking about imposing our will on the opponents’ defense, there might be no stronger way to do it.

That’s a powerful backfield, for sure. Your question reminds me of a favorite story. It involves the late Ron Erhardt, a legendary coach who possessed a great mind for offense. Merrill Hoge went to Erhardt to complain about not getting enough carries. Erhardt listened and then he said to Hoge: “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. When I want to get 3.3 yards, I’ll give you the ball. When I want to get 4.6 yards, I’ll give it to Barry Foster.” Gerald, Eddie Lacy’s pretty good, and he’s a big back, too.

 

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