Mike from McFarland, WI
Vic, what’s the one sport we’d be most surprised to find out you’ve tried playing? How did it go?
I tried playing cross-country skiing. It didn’t go well. I won’t try playing it again.
Kyle from Sioux Falls, SD
Vic, I noticed while looking through some photos that David Bakhtiari, Eddie Lacy and a few others have a helmet design that looks as though it has a removable plate in the front. What is it and what is the benefit of it? Is it a prototype by the NFL for a safer helmet?
That’s one theory. There’s another theory that involves players suddenly disappearing and then magically reappearing a few hours later with that design on the top of their helmet, a blank look on their face and no recollection of where they had been during the time they were missing.
Ian from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, in your opinion, what is the most important position on defense and why?
The most important position has been either premier pass rusher or shut-down corner. This year, I have a feeling the new major point of emphasis will make premier pass rusher the most important position on defense. Why? Because shut-down corners are the target of the new major point of emphasis.
Mark from Iowa City, IA
Vic, apparently the most recent practice for the Packers was intense and heated. When is this a good thing and when does it cross the line?
I think it’s always a good thing. I don’t see a line. Football is a combative game and I think it’s important to know you have combative players. Good players can flip the switch. They can turn it on and they can turn it off, and it’s important that they always know where the switch is; that’s why you need these kind of practices. When they go onto the field, the switch goes on. When they leave the field, the switch goes off. I’m not into that feel-good stuff. This team is going to open the season against the Seahawks, the roughest, toughest team in the league, and in the most hostile environment in the league. You don’t beat the Seahawks in Seattle with feel good.
Ryan from Minneapolis, MN
Coaches separated after practice. Players juiced up in the meeting room. The most physical practice to date. Reading these quotes around the web made me grin ear to ear. This Packers team is not going to be bullied this season. I think this team is ready for the physicality of the Seahawks and the Niners. It’s become apparent from the top down. I can’t wait for Week 1.
The Packers don’t play the 49ers this year. It’s time for everybody to get that out of their head. That’s carryover from other seasons. This is this, and it starts with the Seahawks. Yesterday’s practice wasn’t the way it was by mistake. It was preparation for what’s ahead, and I’m not talking about the Rams.
Augustus from Eureka, CA
How do you feel about the new tablets on the sideline to review pre- and post-snap looks? Are we reaching the point of bringing too much technology into the game?
I don’t think it’s excess technology. It’s antiseptic, but it’s not excessive. Why is it antiseptic? Because another quirky, romantic sidelight of pro football has been eliminated. I’m talking about the “pictures runner.” Usually, he would be a young intern selected by the video department or football ops. It was his responsibility to get the pictures from the video booth to the sideline as quickly as possible, which meant having to navigate his way through a stadium that was foreign to him. There are stories about young interns having panic attacks. It was always fun to listen to some wild story about the kid’s first shot at the job. He got lost. He stopped to buy a hot dog at the concession stand. He went to the wrong sideline. Well, the kid’s gone now. He’s been replaced by technology. Very efficient. Very boring.
Don from Torrington, CT
Ted answered your question about the effect of reducing the number of preseason games on talent assessment by stating he would be able to make a case that two games would be enough, if it came to that, with a straight face. But he was grinning when he said it. Do you believe his answer?
I think he was saying a reduction in preseason games would make teams’ jobs more difficult, but they’d find a way to make the right decisions. I think they’d have to ramp up training camp practices a little bit, and preseason games would have to be played with greater intensity. Ask yourself this: Do you think teams could reduce their rosters to 53 and make the right decisions after this week’s games? I think they could, especially if more flexibility was built into the injured reserve rules.
Frank from Waukesha, WI
Why is it top high school and college wrestlers turn out to be excellent NFL linemen? Scottie Wells and Kevin Zeitler come to mind.
Offensive line play is all about leverage and so is wrestling. One of the most natural offensive linemen I’ve ever covered, Carlton Haselrig, is a legendary college wrestler that didn’t play football in college. Within a few years of being drafted, he was one of the best guards in the game, which says everything about the link between wrestling and football. If I were a personnel guy, I would always take a look at the heavyweights in college wrestling.
Justin from Winnipeg, Manitoba
Vic, in a recent “Ask Vic” you mentioned that one way of addressing the amount of injuries in the NFL would be to make the game smaller. How would they go about this? Positional weight limits?
Outlaw three- and four-point stances.
Andy from Clive, IA
How was practice yesterday? Was it a kid-in-a-candy-store moment?
It took me back to the days of Oklahoma drills and endless nine-on-sevens. Yeah, I liked it. It’s nice to know that despite the league’s efforts to soften the game, it remains a tough game for tough guys.
Lance from Chicago, IL
Has anything about this team surprised you up to this point?
No surprises. I was asked a few months ago what position on the Packers was deepest, and I said it was the offensive line. Apparently, Coach McCarthy agrees with me. I expected to see the best roster I’ve covered in the four years I’ve been here, and that’s what I’m seeing. Everything is on pace and up to speed, but you still have to win the games. Soon, evaluations and expectations will be meaningless. Soon, it’ll be all about the scoreboard. Just win, baby.
Noah from Omro, WI
Vic, you said earlier in the offseason we wouldn’t know the Packers’ plan for ILB until we had seen the team in action. We’ve been through half of camp and one preseason game. Have any insights, yet, or do you think we need to wait to see how Peppers is used in the opener to truly grasp the plan for that position?
We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Mike from North Aurora, IL
Vic, if you didn’t have to worry about salary cap implications and could add any current NFL player to the Packers roster, who would you add and why? I love the depth throughout the roster, including TE, but I think Jimmy Graham would be an incredible addition. Look forward to your answer.
Get the big guys, Mike.
Andrew from Onalaska, WI
I’ve read a few articles on how disappointing the Packers’ 2012 draft class has been, especially since Jerel Worthy was traded. Isn’t that train of thought a little premature? Yes, most of that class has left the team, but what about the players who are still with the team? Hayward and Daniels are in prime positions to make an impact for years to come. Plus, I don’t think it’s too late for Perry to establish himself.
You’re gonna hit and you’re gonna miss. That’s true of all teams. If we separate the drafts, instead of judging the full body of work, we have to acknowledge that the Packers’ 2013 draft class, in a draft that was considered to be weak overall, is more than a home run, it’s a grand slam. I don’t understand what the big deal is here. This isn’t a good roster? It wasn’t built through the draft?
Ryan from Platteville, WI
Vic, I just wanted to say I was in the tour group when you were going into Ted Thompson’s press conference. I saw you and, as a huge fan of your work, got excited. I didn’t look too closely at the man you were with, but he looked like Johnathan Franklin. Was that who it was? It’s been killing me all day.
It was Johnathan. He’s working as an intern with the Packers, learning about the business of professional football. Yesterday was his day to shadow me and learn about website reporting. I was worried all night he’d take a job in a sintering plant, so I was relieved to find out he returned to work at Lambeau Field this morning.
Travis from Portsmouth, NH
Who do you think will be the most successful QB from this past draft?
I haven’t spent a lot of time on the top quarterback prospects in recent drafts, for the obvious reason. Blake Bortles is the top quarterback pick this year, he turned in a strong performance in his preseason debut, and I’m looking forward to seeing him play against the Bears tonight. With all due respect to the notion that he won’t play this season – yeah, sure – I’ll pick Bortles.
Pete from Park City, UT
It appears Scott Tolzein has changed his throwing motion a little bit this year. Last year, he looked like he was throwing darts in a bar. Was it just my imagination?
I’ve also noticed a change. His motion is more fluid, less punchy. Hey, his head coach is a quarterback guru.
Connor from Islip, NY
Vic, my hometown just broke the New York state record for rainfall over 24 hours. We got 13 inches. What’s the craziest weather you’ve witnessed in your travels?
You got 13 inches of rain? Are you sure Islip is still in New York? My all-time favorite weather game is the 1976 snow bowl in Cincinnati. The first snowflake fell as the last helmet disappeared in the tunnel as the teams left the field for halftime. Then the skies opened up and Riverfront Stadium turned white. I’ve never seen snow fall and accumulate as quickly as it did over the next 10 minutes. When the teams came out of the tunnel for the second half, you could see them stop and look around, wondering if they were in the right place. What followed was one of the most entertaining and dramatic halves of football I have ever covered.
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