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Ask Vic

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It's a young man's game and the Packers have young 'lions'

Posted Aug 25, 2014

How does the preseason help a team in December?

Tim from Clear Lake, WI

Vic, what’s more important, a third-string QB or a sixth WR that can also play special teams?

That’s the wrong perspective. You don’t shape a roster by asking that kind of question. You shape a roster by determining who your best 53 players are, and then doing what’s necessary to retain those players. It almost always means using the practice squad as a reservoir of talent, and early in the season the practice squad is a secure place to store talent because all teams are trying to do the same and it’s not until late in the season that the teams out of playoff contention begin moving veterans to injured reserve and signing players off other teams’ practice squad, as a means of getting a head start on next season. If it comes down to a third quarterback or a sixth wide receiver, you keep the better player, but you also have to consider what player would be more likely to not be signed off your practice squad. The league is full of wide receivers, but quarterbacks are always at a premium. If you have a good one, keep him.

John from South Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I was watching a game recently and the tight end was called for an illegal formation. Could you please explain what makes a formation illegal?

He was probably covered by a wide receiver, which means one of the two players was supposed to line up behind the line of scrimmage and didn’t get the memo. Only the player at the end (or outside) of the formation is an eligible pass receiver. If the tight end is covered, then he’s a tackle, so to speak, but he’s not wearing a tackle’s number.

Jeff from Las Vegas, NM

Vic, how much does the round in which a rookie is drafted affect his ability to make the team?

It matters. It has to matter. You don’t invest high picks in guys on the basis of a one-month tryout. Franco Harris and Fred Taylor are the best running backs I’ve ever covered. Based on their rookie training camps, they each should’ve been cut. They were terrible and there were whispers. They weren’t cut and they went on to rush for 24,000 yards combined.

Tim from Normal, IL

Is Seattle that good or did the Bears lay an egg?

The Seahawks are good and they play hard. That is a proud football team.

Martin from Tisovec, Slovakia

How do we stop the run?

By using the young talent this team has drafted to stop the run. Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Josh Boyd … come on down. It’s a young man’s game and these are the young “lions” to which I have referred.

Taylor from Fort Dodge, IA

Vic, I need your help to settle a debate. For any Green Bay fan we are the 13-time world champions. I have had the debate multiple times that the championships are equal to but not the same as a Super Bowl championship. What is your opinion on this matter?

Each league title was won when winning that title was the best a team could achieve. Were the other teams in the league trying to win the title that year? Yes. End of debate.

Kenneth from Ballerup, Denmark

Vic, with Tretter and Raji out, I know the fans are hurting. How badly hurt is the Packers team?

 It doesn’t help. Losing JC Tretter and B.J. Raji isn’t a good thing. I look at it this way: This team’s arrow was pointing straight up. Then came these injuries and the arrow dropped a little from due north. If Corey Linsley and Josh Boyd pick up the slack, and I believe in time they will, the arrow will turn due north again. It’s that way for every team. No team’s arrow is always pointing straight up. The arrow flutters a little as adversity dictates. The good teams are the ones that always correct their course. This is the first course correction of the season. There will be more.

Nate from Fort Collins, CO

Vic, do you think the NFL would be OK with hardcore football fans becoming casual fans as the points head upward and the hard hitting lessens? Can the sport survive from a base of only casual fans?

Great question. Great, great question. Here’s my answer: No. I hope somebody on the competition committee reads your question and my answer.

Jake from Oakland, CA

Is it perverse of me to feel excited about my own team’s players getting injured because I get to see if the next man up can really step up?

That’s the right attitude to have. If Linsley steps up and becomes a dependable center, then the Packers will have an excess of talent at the position when Tretter returns to health.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, with Tretter’s injury, do you think Rodgers will play more on Thursday than he would have, to get some game reps with Linsley?

Brett, you did it again. On the first day back from a one-week ban, you ask the best question of the day – no gas card this time. Here’s another way to ask it: Do you want to go to Seattle with Rodgers never having taken a snap in a game from Corey Linsley? You da man, Brett.

Shay from Hattiesburg, MS

The Packers defense is ranked third throughout the preseason so far. Should we be excited?

I can’t imagine a stat more meaningless than a preseason ranking, but the defense has played well and that’s encouraging. Hold the excitement until the regular season, but be encouraged.

Michael from Stillwater, OK

Vic, I wasn’t nervous. I swear I wasn’t. I have trained this summer under your tutelage to be a better fan. This was going to be a great season, with all the right pieces in place. Now, again, we seem to be losing important guys at important positions for long periods of time, and right before the season opener, no less. What can you tell me now that will stop the shaking and cold sweat?

Football should never be the cause of bad times. Worry should be reserved for life. This is a chance for you to impress yourself with your calm.

Alex from Acworth, GA

Vic, which is the bigger blow, Raji or Tretter?

I think everyone’s immediate worry is for the relationship between the center and quarterback, and that’s why the loss of Tretter is more unsettling. You want your quarterback to focus on the defense, not the snap of the ball.

Nick from Cedar Rapids, IA

The injuries are a shame, but 12 is still upright. Enough said.

The Packers won a Super Bowl with a significant chunk of the team on injured reserve, but couldn’t win a game last November without Aaron Rodgers. There are those that believe you’re not hurt until your quarterback is hurt. I tend to be one of those.

James from New Brunswick, NJ

If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now that the preseason should be shortened.

I’m strongly anti-preseason. It bothers me that players are being lost for the season to injuries in games for which they don’t even get a game check. If I was a coach, I would strongly consider not playing my starters until the final preseason game, and then only for a quarter. For me, the season is all about December. Just get to December in playoff contention and with a healthy team whose arrow is pointing due north. I fail to see how the preseason helps a team in December.

Franklin from La Crosse, WI

If anybody asks or suggests the Packers place Tretter on the PUP list, would you please ban them?

Yes, I will.

Erik from Madison, WI

It seems almost karmic after a lot of articles came out last week regarding the new training methods, for the Packers to get hit with a brigade of injuries. Do you believe taking away hitting and practices contributes?

In other words, the more they don’t hit, the more they get hurt. Illogical, right? I’m lost for an explanation.

Colin from Milwaukee, WI

Did you happen to see Starks lower his head and deliver a blow with the crown of the helmet? No flag was thrown. I guess they are too busy enforcing illegal contact. I’m glad they didn’t throw a flag. I very much dislike that rule.

I hate that rule. It’s the worst rule in the history of the world. Maybe that’s why they don’t call it.

Yancey from Richlands, VA

Kurt Warner used “we” when addressing the situation with Sam Bradford. He said we don’t know what we are going to do yet.

He’s only hurting himself. The viewer hears it. You heard it and it obviously bothered you.

Brian from Gurnee, IL

Vic, well looks like injuries are a problem again. At what point will you agree something isn’t working and someone needs to be held accountable?

Brian, you’re making yourself look foolish with that kind of attitude. Who do you want to blame for major injuries? These aren’t turf toe injuries that you could blame on the turf being too hard, or muscle strains you could blame on a lack of scientific research. It’s football, you WILL get hurt. It’s not if, it’s when. That’s why I’m so anti-preseason. It’s impossible to play four football games of any kind without injuries occurring. It’s just a roll of the dice as to what player or players will sustain injury.


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