Shawn from Madison, WI
What can we expect to see this preseason, roster building or preparation for the regular season?
You have to do both. One addresses the present, the other addresses the future. If you don’t take care of the future, you won’t have a present.
Danny from Corte Madera, CA
Vic, when training camp rosters were unlimited, how many players would teams typically take to camp?
The Cowboys always took the most to camp. They’d cut 30 the first day. Most teams would take between 100-150 players to camp. Think back to the days of 40-man rosters, which is what it was as late as 1973, when there were only 26 teams in the league. Think of how intense the competition was to make the team, at a time when the draft was 17 rounds. Training camp was nine weeks long and two-a-days were every day and all practices were in full pads. The preseason was six games long. Say all you want about bigger, stronger, faster, but don’t ever accuse those old guys of not being tough. There were several cutdown dates during training camp, and I can remember a player telling me he literally hid from the “Turk” at cutdown time. “He can’t cut me if he can’t find me,” the player said. Having cut my teeth covering the league during those times explains why I am the way I am. There was drama behind every door.
Eduardo from Los Angeles, CA
At the end of the season, do you think the secondary will be better or worse than last year?
It’ll be better because it’ll be younger. The arrow favors youth.
Max from Neenah, WI
If it comes down to Janis or Abbrederis, who has the edge?
The time for these kinds of questions has expired. The hunt begins today. All we have to do is watch.
Jesse from Mandan, ND
What a great article Cliff Christl wrote about the “Five men who saved the Packers.” I had never heard of Andrew Turnbull or Lee Joannes. To me, it’s stories like this that make the tradition of the Packers organization.
Cliff is a treasure. Packers.com is blessed to have him on our team. Before Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi could save the team on the field, somebody had to save it by paying the bills. On Tuesday, as the shareholders meeting progressed from Ted Thompson’s football report to the financial stuff later in the meeting, the crowd began to leave, which gave me a chuckle. I thought to myself, “Now we’re getting to the stuff that really matters and everybody is leaving.”
Sam from Saratoga Springs, NY
Vic, how does a coach recognize a player might be a good fit at a different position? I was marveling at a highlight reel of Julius Peppers’ past season and couldn’t help but think it was a night-and-day difference to his performance as a DE in Chicago. It seems crazy to me to take such an established vet and put him in a new position. Who the heck thought to do that, and can we give him a medal or something?
Dom Capers gets the credit for that. I think Peppers was out of position for 12 years. It’s all about the skill set required to play a position. For example, pad level is important for a defensive lineman, quick feet are important for an offensive lineman. I can remember Carlton Haselrig dominating the Oklahoma drill as a rookie defensive lineman, but Chuck Noll saw something that told him Haselrig should be an offensive lineman. Chuck switched Haselrig and a few years later Haselrig was one of the best guards in the game. I remember asking Chuck what he saw. “His feet,” he said.
Dustin from Lake Odessa, MI
Training camp has commenced. Today is the start of the year for me. With a strong camp, can Jake Ryan have a chance at starting ILB come Sept.?
Pete from Saint Germaine, WI
I know “Ask Vic” is popular, but I would like to know what the data says. According to the stats, how many people read it daily?
“Ask Vic” is not publicly owned. Its books are not open. Let’s just say I sleep well at night.
Mark from Stewartville, MN
Vic, remember the blocking sleds from the Lombardi era? When were they phased out?
The rules changes of 1978 slowly ended the blocking sled era, which was fine with offensive linemen; they hated the sled. A few years ago, when Jack Del Rio was the coach of the Jaguars, his team turned in a poor performance in a preseason game, especially up front. When the players took the field for their next practice, they were greeted by the sight of a seven-man (maybe it was a five-man) sled sitting in the middle of the field. I asked Jack where he found the sled, the Smithsonian? They played much better in the next game.
Andrew from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, what one player in NFL history doesn’t get his due respect?
Red Grange immediately comes to mind. He had impact on the game that went beyond his performance on the field. He was the first big-money player. He changed the game.
Nick from Seattle, WA
Vic, do you think the Packers’ biggest weakness is their defensive line?
I don’t see a weakness on this team. I see depth concerns at inside linebacker and cornerback, but if the young prospects at those positions address those depth concerns, the Packers’ roster will be strong across the board.
Bob from Forest Center, MN
Vic, I just discovered your column. Have I missed anything?
No, it recycles every five years or so.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Vic, do you have any way of giving us a heads up on what day they will do half-line drills?
If you want to see a half-line drill, come to training camp on a full-pads day. A day halfway between preseason games is probably a good time. I have to believe there will be a couple of half-line days next week.
Greg from Catonsville, MD
How has the NFL been able to achieve such a strong leaguethink mentality without losing or hurting the fans’ dedication to the individual teams?
The unselfish resolve of the old-guard owners to make professional football successful is what made this league great, along with Pete Rozelle’s powers of persuasion. The old guard believed in Pete, and he never let them down. What’s good for the league is good for each of the league’s members. It’s a philosophy that still works today.
Eric from New Berlin, WI
Vic, how do you view “Deflategate” now, in light of the suspensions being upheld? With all the bluster and articles being written, it seems hard to remember what this whole thing was about to begin with.
My views haven’t changed. It’s about the integrity of the game. I don’t know who’s right and I don’t know who’s wrong, but if the ball was violated, justice must be served or the game will have been irreparably harmed. The truth is the pure defense. We must have the truth.
Josh from Saint Cloud, MN
I couldn’t make it to “Ask Vic Day.” When will the next one be?
It was wonderful. My last memory of last night’s event was the sight of looking down on Lambeau Field at dusk from the south end zone Champions Club. The view was magnificent. I wish we didn’t have to wait another year to do it again.
Eric from Tenvik, WI
Vic, the shoes with the glass high heels with goldfish in them indicate Frenchy Fuqua had quite the personality. Have you any fun stories to tell of this man?
I remember coming back from the cafeteria at training camp one day, and as I approached the dormitory, Frenchy stuck his head out the window and said, “Hey, Vic, let’s do a story.” There were a lot of undrafted running backs in camp back then. It never hurt to get a little pub and remind everyone what you’ve done and can still do.
Ken from Wauwatosa, WI
Vic, there are police reports of a real lion roaming the streets of Milwaukee.
Don’t worry, it’s in Wisconsin.
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