Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, you cannot replace a Pro-Bowl caliber player like Jordy Nelson. I think what fans have to remember is Ted Thompson built this team with young talent to withstand colossal injuries as such. What are your thoughts?

I’m not sure what you’re saying. This is my opinion: It’s a game of replacement. Eventually, everybody must be replaced, and we never know when that day will arrive. Greg Jennings, James Jones and Donald Driver were all replaced, just as they once replaced others. Attention now turns to Davante Adams to replace Nelson. Who will replace Adams? That’s the big question as I see it. Who will become the Packers’ No. 3 wide receiver? Jeff Janis? Ty Montgomery? Myles White? Somebody else? What remains of training camp and the regular season will be largely dedicated to finding that No. 3 receiver.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Given the rough day Don Barclay had, if next week was the regular season and David Bakhtiari was still out, would you be more comfortable moving Bryan Bulaga to LT and moving Barclay to RT where he has had success before, or would you hope Barclay can turn it around so you don’t have to worry about two positions?

I wouldn’t worry about either position, regardless of how I deployed Barclay and Bulaga. Barclay is in an ACL comeback season. If you felt Barclay needed help, you could chip with the tight end or the fullback. That’s the kind of stuff you do when winning the game is the only goal. Evaluation is the main goal in the preseason. You don’t chip with the tight end or the fullback because you want to put your left tackle on an island so you can expose where he is in his recovery. Again, please don’t make the mistake of using the preseason to predict the regular season. The goals are completely different.

Patrick from Fort Dodge, IA

I am guessing you have been getting a lot of do-away-with-the-preseason questions in your inbox with the injury to Nelson. If that is the case, then how would coaches evaluate talent with an already limited practice schedule?

We get a few fights in combined practices, and the fans want to do away with combined practices. We get a few injuries in the preseason, and fans want to do away with the preseason. What if somebody gets hurt in a fight in practice? I mean, how much more can we soften the product without abandoning the game? If we reduce the preseason to two games, which two games do we eliminate, the first two or the last two? You know what I mean? How do you predict in which game an injury will occur?

Kevin from Sun Prairie, WI

Vic, Richard Rodgers continues to impress me throughout preseason. Do you think he could grow to become an elite TE with Aaron Rodgers as his QB?

Yes, I do. Maybe he’ll effectively become the Packers’ No. 3 receiver. Injuries are part of the natural ordering of the game. With injuries, a team changes; it grows and evolves. Don’t fear change.

Sam from Skokie, IL

Nelson’s injury was non-contact. It could have happened in practice. My question is with all the money invested in players, and safety being a concern, why not regulate the surfaces that are played on? I’m not sure it was the surface that caused the injury, but there are many teams with poor fields that do contribute to injury. Lambeau has a unique surface that holds up in all kinds of weather, yet, doesn’t seem harsh on footing. What do you think about uniform-field standards (even with climate difference and domes)?

I think you made a great point – Nelson’s injury could’ve happened in practice – and then you went off the deep end. Lambeau Field is Mecca for Packers fans, but it’s not the only place in the league where they grow grass. Bryan Bulaga was lost for the 2013 season to what appeared to be a harmless tweak of his knee during Family Night at Lambeau Field.

Bob from Duluth, MN

Vic, my wife will experience her first Packers game at Lambeau Field this Saturday. What suggestions would you provide to make it an evening to remember?

I don’t have that list in front of me, Bob, if you know what I mean.

Todd from Austin, TX

Players, not plays, right, Vic? If it was about plays, no one would be worried.

Great plays are easy to replace. Great players aren’t.

Ryan from Madison, WI

I felt while watching the middle linebackers play on Sunday that it left a good bit to be desired. Who do you see taking starting snaps in Chicago out of this group?

Right now, I see Clay Matthews joining Sam Barrington. I’m waiting for a young lion to emerge.

Barry from Kenosha, WI

Instead of freaking out on the day after Jordy’s injury, I waited until day two to ask my question. Do you think the Packers should wait until rosters get down to 53 and then see who’s available at WR and bring them in? Or should they go with what they have to start the season and then pick someone up at midseason if needed?

They’re on it now. They’re evaluating what’s on the street vs. the development of the young receivers on their roster, and they’re creating a plan. It’s exactly what I would do. You bring in guys off the street and work them out, and then you compare them to what you already have and decide what to do. First and foremost, it’s about your evaluation of what you already have on the roster. You’ve drafted for this day. Are they ready to step up?

Jesus from El Paso, TX

How is it so many people diagnosed Jordy Nelson before the release of an official statement? Who initiates the rumor and do they run any risks promoting it?

Back in my newspaper days, it was common for beat guys to have relationships with agents. The agent would give the beat guy a scoop about the agent’s client, with the idea one day the agent would use the beat guy to negotiate a contract in the newspaper; that’s what it was called. Nowadays, the website reporters offer a much larger and more immediate audience than the newspaper beat guys did. This business is about a lot more than see story, write story. Risk? That’s why reporters don’t reveal their sources.

Jesse from Bellingham, WA

Vic, what have you thought of Ty Montgomery’s return skills so far? Do you still think he’ll be a difference-maker this season?

I need to see more. I need to see him run through the smoke.

David from Los Angeles, CA

Even Coach McCarthy looked hot down on the sidelines on Sunday. What was it with the long sleeves?

A lot of coaches cover up to protect themselves from the sun. I was on the field late in the game and it was hot. The Packers sideline was staring into the sun all day long and when the players came onto the plane for the ride home, they looked like they had spent the day in a tanning bed.

Andy from Walpole, MA

Vic, what was the condition of the field like on Sunday and could it have had anything to do with Jordy’s injury? It did look like the plant foot slipped on the turf, just like it looked like Lacy slipped on the turf entering the end zone and Richard Rodgers also appeared to slip on his touchdown. You were there.

Heinz Field will never get over that punt sticking in the mud. As I stood on the field late in the game on Sunday, I had a burning desire to pinch a 3-iron into the Allegheny. The turf was dry and tight. Oakmont would’ve been proud to call it fairway.

 

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