Douglas from Cambridge, MA
Vic, I get it. Big-letter challenge: Win the one-on-ones. Why didn’t coach issue that dictum during last season?
He did. He preached it day after day, press conference after press conference. The better question is: Why wasn’t he heard? The answer is: Because everybody was consumed by the play-calling issue. Coach McCarthy had to take back the play-calling, in my opinion, to quiet the wolves and eliminate the distraction the play-calling harangue had caused. His recent promise his players will win their one-on-ones, in my opinion, wasn’t intended for his players as much as it was intended for the fans. I’ve considered the possibility he’s trying to re-focus the fans so the team doesn’t have to endure the play-calling distraction again.
Randy from Coleyville, TX
Vic, please give us the lowdown on the new Packers TE Jared Cook and your expectations of how he will be used.
He’s a true, in-line tight end. He can block and he can catch. I see Richard Rodgers as more of a motion tight end, a kind of TE/WR hybrid. Cook might allow the Packers to deepen Rodgers’ package as a receiver. Any team committed to running the ball needs a true tight end. If he can catch, and Cook can, he can be more than a blocker, he can be a weapon. I think Cook can be a weapon in the passing game. That’s what I saw back before free agency began, when he was released by the Rams.
John from Miami, FL
Can the Cook/Rodgers double-TE package create the necessary mismatches to beat linebackers with the pass and cornerbacks with the run?
Gronkowski and Bennett? A motion tight end – if he’s not tight to the formation is he really a tight end? – and a true tight end? I get the comparison, but I think you’re living a little bit in a Madden world of matchup mania. Gronkowski is a special player. He’s one of the stars of the league. He’d match up well against anybody. You don’t have to create matchups for him. Just put him on the field.
Owen from Tampa, FL
First, Guion, now, Cook. You clearly have a good understanding of the team you cover. I’m excited to see what Cook can do for us.
I thought it was a no-brainer. It was just a matter of Cook getting through the early rush of spending.
Kevin from Westport, WA
Vic, I feel like I know what your inbox is full of today.
I haven’t seen such joy since the Packers beat the Seahawks in Week 2. What is it about free agency that causes such fervor? I don’t get it.
Ginger from Superior, WI
Vic, Coach McCarthy stated that after reviewing film of the receivers’ performance last year, the reason for not winning their one-on-ones was not due to lack of talent, but rather a failure with technique and fundamentals. If that was the case, why did the coaches not recognize and correct the situation last year, since they review game film each week?
It’s not that easy, Ginger. Some things take time. It wasn’t for a lack of effort or expertise. The young receivers just needed more time. I think Coach McCarthy addressed the issue as it pertained to Jeff Janis. Football is not science. You can fix a machine by plugging in a new part, but these are men, not machines. We all have weaknesses and we work around those weaknesses all of our lives. Terry Bradshaw couldn’t throw dinks and dunks. Chuck Noll worked at it with Bradshaw his entire career, but he could never do it, so Bradshaw just kept throwing long, and he was very good at it. When Jordy Nelson was injured, the Packers were left with a young cast of wide receivers whose talents had to be groomed and whose skills had to be fit into the offense. By season’s end, it was happening.
Chase from Morton, IL
Vic, we’re all excited about the Jared Cook signing, but we are a BAP team in the draft and, say, Hunter Henry is available, do the Packers take him?
The Cook signing isn’t going to change the Packers’ approach to the draft. The Cook signing is for now. It addresses an immediate need. The draft is about the long-term future of your football team.
David from Santee, CA
Vic, I have not heard much from the Packers coaching staff as to what happened to the team in the last 10 games with the offense hitting the skids. We know the results of the problem, receivers not getting separation, pressure on Rodgers, giving up big plays, but not the cause. Has to be more than poor execution. Yes, two offensive position coaches are gone, but I feel it’s higher up.
So you want to blow it up and fire everybody? A month before the draft? What bothers me is even when the coach crafts a message just for you, it’s not good enough. Here’s something else that bothers me: Despite all of what you mentioned, the Packers were one play away from the NFC title game. When is it ever good enough? If the answer is when they win the Super Bowl, then you’ve got a lifetime of disappointment ahead of you.
Samuel from Altoona, WI
Why do you think the Packers haven’t gone after a linebacker in free agency?
Why haven’t they signed a linebacker? Maybe value has yet to meet availability. It’s also my opinion the Packers can get what they need at inside linebacker in the draft. I’ve stated that opinion several times, just as I maintained from the time Cook was released by the Rams he would be a worthy target for the Packers.
Martin from Grafton, WI
Vic, please list your top five defensive tackles in this year’s draft.
I asked Tony to give me his top five two-gappers at defensive tackle. In my mind, three-technique tackles don’t fit in a 3-4 scheme, unless they can also two-gap. Aaron Donald can do both, but he’s a rare guy. I’ll publish Tony’s top two-gappers in tomorrow’s column, I hope.
Shane from Bozeman, MT
In your column yesterday, you agreed Lawrence Taylor was the greatest defender of all time. Since he was before my time, I decided to look up his stats, which led me to the 1981 NFL draft. I was shocked to see nine running backs were taken in the first 34 picks, to only two quarterbacks. I know RBs were valued much more back then compared to now, but do you ever see this many (or even half as many) RBs coming off the board that quickly again?
That was in the day of pads-down football. This is pads-up football. In my opinion, the golden age of the running back (as a runner) is over and unlikely to return.
Ron from Mesquite, NV
Vic, I understand your frustration with people and their lack of proper grammar and spelling. You would think that in today’s age of emailing, instant messaging, texting, twitter, etc., that people would be better writers than ever before. I think you should just start posting fans’ questions exactly the way they were typed and let them be embarrassed.
I’ve posted your submission as you wrote it because it is a wonderful example of how I’d like every question to appear, although I’d recommend getting rid of the two “that’s”, and Twitter should probably be capitalized. Seriously, I’m not looking for the next Steinbeck, but I shouldn’t have to look up the spelling of hometowns. You should at least be able to spell the name of the place where you live.
Marc from Hartford, VT
Vic, do you think the signing of Jared Cook will shut the people up that have been crying about signing a free agent?
When my alarm went off this morning, Sonny and Cher weren’t singing.
Mark from Stewartville, MN
Vic, my wife, who thought I was becoming overly enthusiastic about your column, suggested that I give up “Ask Vic” as a Lenten sacrifice. I just wanted to let you know that it was good to be back on Monday morning.
Next year, tell her you’re going to give up “that” for Lent.
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