Tim from Lino Lakes, MN
I recently toured the U.S. Olympic training facilities in Colorado Springs. One of the stops was the wrestling room and it was noticeably hot. The tour guide specifically pointed out the temperature was set higher to help prevent injuries to the athletes. That got me thinking about the Packers and the hamstring injuries. Do you have any information that points to cold-weather teams having more flesh-type injuries (tears, pulls, etc.), especially later in the season?
When I was in Jacksonville, the concern was the heat would dehydrate players and that would cause hamstring pulls. This hunt we’re on for the cause of hamstring pulls has been going on for years without result. Back in the ’70s, they were blaming hamstring pulls and cramps on platform shoes causing the muscles in the back of the leg to shorten. I’m ashamed to say I actually wrote that. Too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too tight, too loose, too much stretching, not enough stretching, too much sleep, not enough sleep, bad hips, bad diet. I even covered a team that did downhill running to lengthen the muscles in the backs of their legs. Hamstring pulls aren’t something new. They’ve been shortening careers for years. A persistent hamstring injury shortened Lynn Swann’s career; the same with Louis Lipps. In my opinion, hamstring injuries are unavoidable. In my opinion, a hamstring injury is the hamstring’s way of saying, “That’s all.”
Aaron from Boise, ID
Will you be doing “Afternoon Vic” this year?
I’ll begin doing “Ask Vic Extra” at or near the end of training camp.
Jeremy from Anaheim, CA
I was struck today by a comment at the end of Ted Thompson’s press conference in which he addressed the sacrifices made by the people that make this sport what it is, a sport I love, a sport that brings joy, happiness and even a little bit of sorrow into my life. He was talking about the young men that play this game, the coaches that teach these young men how to play it to the best of their abilities, the members of the media that spend months dedicated to writing articles for me to read on my lunch hour and whenever I manage to squeeze some time away from the grind of everyday life. I love this team and I love this game. Thank you, football.
Don’t ever change.
What do you think are the biggest differences between the Packers of today and the Packers during the summer of 2011?
The Packers of 2011 forced themselves to run the ball. The Packers of today want to run the ball.
Adam from Muskego, WI
Vic, you can only watch one regular season game at Lambeau this year. Which one do you attend and why?
The Detroit game. Remember the last game of last season? You bet you do. You’ll never forget it and neither will I.
Dan from Star Prairie, WI
Vic, sounds like the Packers are going to have the same old trouble on defense. It says no one can knock off course or tackle Lacy at practice. What is your take on this?
My take is the Packers have something special in
Vic, I love B.J Raji, but I can’t get over his production last year of 17 unassisted tackles in 16 games. I feel like someone will accidentally trip over you and fall down 17 times in a season. Is his switch back to nose tackle really going to make that much difference in his production?
I’m not going to tell you Raji had his best year last season, but what I am going to tell you is you don’t evaluate two-gappers, especially nose tackles, by tackles and sacks. You evaluate them on their ability to defeat blocks and hold the point of attack. Two-gappers eat blocks so the linebackers can make the tackles. The Packers were doing a pretty good job of that last year until the middle of the season.
Matt from Oshkosh, WI
With our backfield and receiver corps loaded like they are, do you think we’ll see the Packers use Cobb in the backfield as a runner or passer this year?
You usually tell some inspirational story about an undrafted free agent each summer. I remember your writing about Shaky Smithson and last year about the older player who had cared for his parents and delayed his college career. Who are you going to tell us about this year?
David from Sarasota, FL
Vic, love your blog. It has always interested me how you can be a reporter first and fan second. I guess it’s not in my blood or never will be. I just finished watching the Packers/Seahawks highlights from last year’s game and I still get a gut-wrenching feeling from the terrible last call (as well as other bad calls in the game) that led to the Packers’ loss. Do you get those feelings at all, or do you just feel a good story? Do you feel for the players after a loss like that?
I feel for the fans. They take it the hardest.
Craig from Temperance, MI
How is Bradford making out so far? I was real pleased when we drafted him. It’s like with his build he could play inside linebacker for us for a long time. Your thoughts?
He likes to hit. Guys that like to hit have to play somewhere. I don’t care where they play him. If he continues to hit people, they’ll find a place for him to play.
Chris from Chicago, IL
A friend and I are heading to Cincy next week. Where for BBQ?
The ribs at the Montgomery Inn.
Ben from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, I was waiting to watch the live Mike McCarthy press conference on Thursday and because the microphones were left on, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with a fellow journalist. The coach entered and interrupted the end of your story. So, please, I’m on the edge of my seat: Why was there a hose under the door of some guy’s office?
It wasn’t an office, it was his dorm room. I was telling Mike Spofford about the Jaguars’ first-ever training camp, in 1995 in Stevens Point, Wisc. The Jaguars went there to beat the heat, but the Midwest experienced record-setting heat that summer. The dorms we were in had no air-conditioning and a lot of guys were really struggling to sleep. We had all just arrived in Jacksonville and didn’t know each other very well, and I didn’t know who was in the room next to me, but I noticed a hum coming from his room and every time I walked past that room I felt cold air coming from under the door. One day I stopped and knocked on the door. “Come in,” a voice said. I opened the door and was hit with a blast of cold air, and I saw a hose on the floor that ran into a huge trash basket in the middle of the room. Next to it was an air-conditioner you would expect to see on the roof of Lambeau Field. I’m talking industrial strength now. I said, “Wow, that’s some air-conditioner you got there.” He said, “Yeah, I rented it.” I asked him if he was cold. He said he was, a little, and I offered the opinion that if he left his door open he might cool off the whole floor. The two of us became best of friends. We had something in common: He was from Mississippi and I was from Pittsburgh, which meant neither one of us could understand what the other one was saying, but we’ve never had a problem communicating. He’s moved on a couple of times and is now at the league office in New York, riding the train to work every day. All these years later, it still brings a smile to my face when the phone rings and I see “NFL” on the display. “Hey, boy, I’m doin’ the Packers’ game this week.” The fraternity of football is a wonderful thing.
Mary from Virginia Beach, VA
Why are there referees at training camp?
They’re here to explain that playing defense will not be permitted this year. The Seahawks caused that.
Alice from Roseville, MN
Candlestick Park will be going under the wrecking ball soon. The Metrodome is no more. Yet, Lambeau Field is 57 years old and still standing. Are we just lucky in getting a better built stadium, or have the Packers taken better care of their facilities than other teams?
It doesn’t hurt that Lambeau Field has had more facelifts than Joan Rivers. This team has taken great care to preserve this building, and that’s how you do it. They require constant care and upgrading.
Greg from Bellevue, WA
Vic, I heard once that John Madden liked linemen who were “heavy in the bottom,” or words to that effect. Meanwhile, you mention the key to offensive line play is in the hands. Have the rules changes made Madden’s assessment less relevant?
No, it’s still relevant. You can’t stop the run if you’re light in the pants up front. That’s my way of saying it. You gotta get the big guys.
Ben from La Crosse, WI
Vic, I used to be one of the people that, when the offseason started, I ignored what was going on. I’ve been reading this column for a majority of the summer and it has gotten me more involved in the offseason than I ever have been. I’m more excited for the season to begin than I have been in a while. I’m actually considering watching the preseason, which I have never done before. With that said, what should I watch for during the games? I know this is where the players are fighting for their jobs, so are you looking for different things in the preseason than you usually do when watching the regular-season games?
I’ll be watching the one-on-ones. You don’t want to win with schemes in the preseason because you don’t evaluate talent by using schemes. You evaluate talent by whether or not it wins its one-on-ones.
Brett from Green Bay, WI
Vic, what would you like to see in tomorrow’s “Family Night” practice?
What would “Ask Vic” be without a question from Brett? Hey, I don’t even look at the names until after I’ve selected the questions. I can’t help it he asks great questions. Brett, I’d like to see the defense shine on Saturday night. I think that would give those in attendance a good feeling as they leave Lambeau Field. We know what the offense can do. What we all want to know is what the defense can do. By the way, folks, I’ll be blogging the “Family Night” practice with a live chat on packers.com, beginning at 7:45 CT. Please join me.