Lee from New York, NY
This time last year the only thing I was excited about was fantasy football. After a year of your column, fantasy couldn’t be further from my mind. Instead, I’m enjoying watching not only the Packers but all teams getting ready for opening day. I’ve never enjoyed an offseason more. Thank you.
There’s nothing wrong with fantasy football, as long as it’s treated as a complement to your enjoyment of football. The problem I see with fantasy football is it has a tendency to consume those that play it. It becomes the whole cookie, instead of just one of the raisins in the cookie. It’s a big mistake to let that happen because you deny yourself so much more the game has to offer. Fantasy football offers only a very narrow view of football, which is to say a few players and their stats. What about everything else in the game? There’s so much in a year’s cycle about football to enjoy. Enjoy it all.
John from Chippewa Falls, WI
Vic, what are the rules for another team taking one of our talented prospects from our practice squad? There must be something that prevents them from taking one of our guys just to keep us from having that talent.
The practice squad continues to be one of the most misunderstood facets of the NFL. Technically speaking, you don’t have a practice squad; you just have some free agents that practice and shower with your team. All practice squad players are free agents free to sign with any team in the league at any time. You don’t own any part of them.
Thaddeus from Chattanooga, TN
What did you see from the Seahawks on Friday? The offense looked pretty good.
They’re powerful. That’s still plain to see. They have not gotten fat celebrating their Super Bowl win. I saw a team that continues to play with great energy. I saw a team that still wants to hit you. You gotta buckle up if you’re going to Seattle.
David from Charlotte, NC
Any possibility Coach McCarthy would limit the first team’s time in the third game since they seem ready to go now?
I would expect the ones to play at least half of Friday’s game. It’s about conditioning. Starters need to get the feel for playing a full half of football. That’s particularly true if you’re opening the season in Florida or some other hot-weather destination. I remember seeing cold-climate teams come to Jacksonville for the opener and fail to answer the second-half bell. Opening at night in Seattle won’t pose that problem for the Packers, but it’s still important to get the feel for what it takes to play through fatigue.
Jordan from Long Beach, CA
Can you please explain what you mean by vanilla?
It refers to a lack of schemes. In other words, you’re operating from the first few pages of your playbook, so to speak. The touchdown pass to Jeff Janis had a little misdirection flavor to it. Otherwise, the Packers were pretty basic in what they did against the Rams, especially on defense.
Bill from Wilmington, DE
Have you ever interviewed or spoken with Joe Paterno? What did you think of him as a coach/person? Do you feel he was treated unfairly?
Yeah, I interviewed him. Until he got burned by a reporter on that Barry Switzer/Jackie Sherrill comment, Paterno was a good interview. He was never the same after that. He was a great coach. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his innovations. As a person, he donated millions of dollars to Penn State, but he’ll only be remembered for one thing: He didn’t do enough. Those are his words and they will be the defining words of his life. Fair treatment? How do you fix what happened? What’s fair?
Eddie from Dublin, Ireland
Has any backup quarterback ever won a Super Bowl other than Tom Brady?
Jeff Hostetler, for sure. Do Trent Dilfer and Kurt Warner qualify as backups? Jim Plunkett came off the bench early in the season to replace an injured Dan Pastorini for the Raiders in 1980.
Ryan from La Crosse, WI
Is this actually the best offensive line we have had since Aaron Rodgers has been our quarterback?
It probably is and there’s a reason for it: The Packers have accumulated a lot of offensive linemen in the draft. Here’s the conundrum general managers face: There aren’t enough rounds of the draft to build quickly through the draft, but patience is not one of the trademarks of owners and fans in today’s game. You can use free agency to fill in the gaps, but then you run the risk of damaging your salary cap. Patience is the key. You need an owner with the patience to remain committed to his coach and general manager. That’s where a waiting list for tickets really helps. It tends to promote patience.
Jon from Bath, England
Vic, a couple of years back you selected Aaron Rodgers, Jason Pierre-Paul and Darrelle Revis as the three players to build a new franchise around. Which three current players would you pick now?
Andrew Luck, Patrick Peterson and Matt Kalil.
Neil from St. Andrews, UK
I’ve noticed the Packers have trailed opponents in time of possession in the first two preseason games. Is this a downside to a more up-tempo offense, that defense will be forced onto the field more?
Yes, of course. Chuck Noll liked to joke, “We scored too fast,” but there’s some truth to that.
Will from Bowdoin, ME
Vic, you want your best players on the field. Could we see both Hyde and Ha Ha playing together?
It’s wide open at safety heading into the final two weeks of the preseason.
Travis from Green Bay, WI
So, with the new rule emphasis, you think sacks per pass play will be down. Isn’t that what the league wants, fewer hits on the QB?
Yes, of course. It’s all about the quarterback. The answer to all questions is the quarterback.
Tom from Waukesha, WI
Obviously, with the three-sack game against St. Louis, Jayrone Elliott got everyone’s attention. Do you think that performance will get him more playing time and more opportunities to make a roster spot?
It might get him less playing time.
Scott from Norton Shores, MI
The league is talking about increasing the allowable number of players on the practice squad to 10 this season. Why do you think this plan is coming together at this late hour instead of ratifying it in the offseason? The timing seems odd to me.
Maybe we’re seeing the carrot beginning to be dangled. The preseason is too long. This has to change.
Mike from St. John, Virgin Islands
Vic, I love the column. I can’t believe the voice in my head was nowhere near your real one on video. I imagined a slight, gravely tone. Say it ain’t so and the person on video was a stand in. You have the voice for typing, but not speaking. I still love the column. What position did you play?
Thank you for those kind words, Mike. Sitting is my best position.
James from Chicago, IL
Vic, I recently came to the realization my Boundary Waters Back Country camping permit is going to put me in the middle of the BWCA during the Seattle game. My wife said we could change the date of our trip. I told her, “I’ve never been to the Boundary Waters, but I’ve lived through hundreds of Packers games and whether I was able to watch the game or not, there was a final score. So, the score will be there for us to check when we return to civilization.”
As a person whose idea of roughing it is one-and-a-half baths, I promise to do an extra-special reporting job on the Seattle game just for you. I want you to enjoy yourself camping, come home, take a long, hot shower, and then sit down and enjoy packers.com’s coverage of the Packers’ game in Seattle. I’ll even provide you with a prediction.
Nick from Kansas City, MO
What’s a good way to tell if a reporter is doing well and is on the up and up?
It takes time for a reporter to build trust with his readers. You need to read him day in and day out. If he’s earned your trust, a habit will have been built. You won’t leave him. Trustworthiness is too valuable to all of us to abandon.
C.J. from Edinboro, PA
Vic, I recall you writing how the NFL wants more points and less defense to appease the casual fan. After watching that thing they called a football game last night, I’m left wondering if they’ve completely missed the mark. Do you really see 20-plus flags a game, or should we expect things to return to normal once the season starts?
This is the game’s new normal. Flags will continue to fly until the league’s 32 defensive coordinators take the oath: I will play zone.
Ryan from Hustisford, WI
How do the Packers keep from having smart quarterbacks from constantly audibling into a play that forces Julius Peppers into coverage, instead of rushing the passer?
Pre-snap for defense is all about disguising coverage and rush schemes. You beat audibles by successfully disguising what you want to do.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Vic, we’ve heard how good the team looks and I realize that’s what a lot of fans want to hear, but I’m more of a philosopher. I like to see the big picture. Are there any specific areas you’d like to see the Packers improve in before the real football begins?
I’d like to see one of their safeties intercept a pass in what’s left of the preseason, to get that monkey off their back. I’d like to see Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien play so well the Packers have no choice but to keep three quarterbacks, instead of tempting fate with two; I guess that’s my superstition. I’d like to see Datone Jones have a big game on Friday night, so he might gain the confidence of the fans; it’s difficult for a defensive lineman to do that in a two-gapping system. I’m reaching here, Steve, because it’s difficult to find bad things about this football team, which is what you’re asking me to do. What’s not to like?
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