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It's the memories that make you smile

Posted Jul 12, 2017

Developing a steady pass-rush will be paramount for Packers' defense


Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Wes, what's your farewell message for Vic?

Enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’ve earned it. I do miss the impromptu chats we’d have before assistant coaches’ availability on Thursdays (especially during his last year when he was trying to get his car brought to South Carolina). I don’t know how much he’ll remember those conversations, but I found them fascinating. He’s an encyclopedia who always had something interesting to say.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

I hope Vic accepts if you suggest Scott from Greensburg's idea of having Vic ask you two a weekly question. Having been such an addicted “Ask Vic” reader, it's been bad enough going from his daily hit to once-a-week, but once-a-week to nothing is too big a drop. His sage, weekly question would not only enrich the Inbox, but let us get used to his absence with a gentler step down.

The locks haven’t changed. Vic is welcome to stop by as often as he likes, but there’s also a big world beyond the computer screen. I wouldn’t fault him for wanting to explore it.

Noah from New Richmond, WI

Vic, I've read your column for the past six-plus years. I've never submitted a question to you before, and realizing that now was my last chance to do so, I felt it was important to reach out to you to simply say, "Thank you." From all of us Packers fans, thanks for the memories.

These were some of the neatest comments we’ve received since Vic’s announcement. It’s cool to see the anonymous readers whose lives were impacted by this space. That’s quite a legacy.

Donovan from Baldwin Park, CA

Vic, allow me to share what this column means to me: As a soldier coming back from Iraq in 2010, I felt very out of sorts. The one thing that kept me on any semblance of a schedule was watching every Packers game that year and we all know how it turned out. After the Super Bowl, I didn't want the ride to end. I wanted the feeling of inclusion to continue and then I stumbled upon the first days of "Ask Vic" and I haven't missed one in six years. This column was the company I sorely needed when I was alone and most vulnerable. A lot of life has happened in the last six years – marriage, three children (one of whom diagnosed with autism), another deployment to the Middle East, knee surgery, and a career change to name a few. The one constant has been the love and memories shared through “Ask Vic” and the community. This column has brought perspective and shown me the humanity present at all levels; from talks about participation trophies to the desperate stories of the supermen who take the field each Sunday. The openness with which you share your mistakes and regrets gives everyone an opportunity to learn. Voicing your regret of being too hard on your son was one of those times which impacted my temperament with my son. Vic, I am proud of you and, although I selfishly don't want "Ask Vic" to end, you deserve the comforts of a full retirement. I know the concept will continue through the Insider Inbox but nobody can jam more sarcasm into a two letter "OK" than you. I'm fortunate to have met you in person and I'm more fortunate to consider you a friend. I love you and I love every member of this community. Now respond with an "OK" and move to the next comment.

Like Spoff said, Vic will be handling most of those questions next Monday, but I think I can speak for Vic when I say “OK.” Thanks for sharing, Donovan.

Kelly from Merrill, WI

Aaron Rodgers sees the field as well as or better than any QB, but that doesn't mean he sees it all. There are 6-6, 320-pound guys in his way, blocking guys not much smaller but very fast, who would like to crush him, all moving in chaos. He excels at seeing things open up, but at times misses open players. Vic said AR's accuracy isn't his biggest benefit to a low interception rate, and part of it is in his unwillingness to throw picks, even taking a sack before throwing a bad pass. But, on the other hand, have you ever seen someone thread the needle with perfect passes as often as you've seen Rodgers do it?

I don’t know of anyone who does it as consistently as Rodgers. It seems like even in the rare instances where he throws a pick, there are other factors in play. Power plus accuracy equals performance and Rodgers’ engine runs as efficiently as any quarterback’s in the league.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

You have already mentioned the defensive backfield and running backs. What is another position of interest? Punter?

Receiver. A lot of young guys will be battling for reps in camp.

Matt from Hartford, WI

Top five underrated Packers all-time: LT Ken Ruettgers, DT Santana Dotson, DB Herb Adderley, FB/G Clarke Hinkle and QB Tobin Rote. What is your list?

I’m with you on Hinkle. I’ll also mention Jerry Kramer, Bob Skoronski, Bobby Dillon, Adam Timmerman, Craig Hentrich, Lynn Dickey and Cecil Isbell (a personal favorite).

Jeff from Sydney, New South Wales

As a longtime Packers fan, do you think we did enough to fix our defense, and which young players are under most pressure to step up?

The offseason is about options. The Packers added them with Davon House, Kevin King, Josh Jones, and others. There’s pressure on those outside linebackers to step up without Julius Peppers, but that’s not news to anyone. Developing a steady pass-rush will be paramount.

Paul from De Pere, WI

If a GM had access to all the players across the NFL, how hard would it be to set a 53-man roster?

Probably as hard as picking a fantasy football team.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Have the Packers ever taken someone in the supplemental draft? Has there ever been a player of importance taken in the supplemental draft? How are supplemental draft rounds established?

The Packers drafted Mike Wahle with a second-round supplemental pick in 1998. Each team has seven rounds to pick players. If a team drafts a player, it forfeits a pick in the corresponding round of next year’s draft. If undrafted, he becomes a free agent.

Stephen from York, PA

With us drafting three running backs, which one do you see doing great for us?

That’s what training camp is for.

Matt from Hartford, WI

Is eliminating the ineligible receiver rules too progressive?

Yes.

James from Ottawa, Ontario

I had a question about Johnathan Franklin. I was a big fan of the Packers drafting him and thought the sky would have been the limit for what he and Lacy could have done together. I read not long after his injury, the Packers had given him an internship position in their front office. I have not heard anything since on this and was wondering if he is still around as a member of the organization?

Franklin’s story resonated with a lot of people, which is why we get this question at least once every few months. Franklin is now working in the Los Angeles Rams’ community and external relations department. I couldn’t think of a better job for the L.A. native.

.Jeff from Eveleth, MN

I just watched the YouTube video of the “Fail Mary.” Why did I do that? The scab was ripped open again. What a call.

It’s tough not to pick the scab. Strangely, Vic’s retirement seems to have opened that wound for many. I remember staying up until 3 a.m. answering questions in our postgame chat at the Press-Gazette that night. I slept for a few hours and then reopened it the following morning. Engagement and anger were through the roof. Nothing else comes even close to this day.

Joel from Geneseo, IL

The biggest story I thought coming out of the "Fail Mary” game was all about class. McCarthy didn’t complain a lot. He moved on. But Pete lost the following week and made remarks to the effect of "we had some questionable calls go against us that changed the outcome of the game" and my jaw literally hit the floor. Now that is a perfect definition of class, and lack thereof.

McCarthy doesn’t overreact. For me, that’s the best trait you could want in a leader. He set the tone that night. The Packers bounced back from the 1-2 start and won six of their next seven games.

David from Hilliard, OH

Loved the link to the “Ask Vic” column after the "Fail Mary" game. For the record, who were the officials in that game, the one who made the call, and are they still NFL officials?

The officials were Wayne Elliott, Marc Harrod, Mike Peek, Tommy Keeling, Richard Simmons, Derrick Rhone-Dunn, Howard Slavin and Lance Easley. None currently are on the NFL’s roster of officials.

Logan from Lino Lakes, MN

When we talk about memorable plays, good or bad, I never see any recollection of the fumble that was not ruled a fumble in the '98 playoffs against the 49ers, which led to the 49ers winning on a pass to Terrell Owens at the end of the game. This was worse in my opinion than the “Fail Mary.” Coming off of two consecutive Super Bowl appearances and being ousted in the wild-card round on a blatant missed call. Do you remember this game?

I blocked it out for a long time. It wasn’t until a few years ago I started to remember the 1998 season was actually Reggie White’s last year in Green Bay, not 1997. To this day, that call is all I remember about that game. The rest is just a chaotic blur.

Tim from Foley, AL

Yesterday my father-in-law passed away at the age of 92. One of my best memories was watching the Bears game with him a few years ago when Rodgers came back from his injury and threw the winning touchdown to Cobb. Memories do make us rich.

You and your father-in-law are eternally rich because of those experiences. I’m grateful for every football memory I made with my grandfather before he passed away in 2015. It’s just unfortunate sometimes you don’t realize it until they’re gone. Yet, when you’re sitting on your porch on a Friday night, it’s those memories that make you smile.

Cameron from Augusta, GA

As always, thanks for all you guys do. I live in Georgia where it is very hot. Currently, I am in Jacksonville for a mission trip and golly blazes it is hot. Thinking back to the opening game last year, is it harder for north teams to play in the early heat or south teams to play in the late cold?

I’d say south teams coming up to play in the cold. It’s hot everywhere during the summertime and a lot of players will train in Florida, Arizona or California. On the other hand, there aren’t many places in the U.S. colder than Green Bay in January. You can’t prepare for that.

Michael from Wausau, WI

Plain and simple, is there a way to make the NFL Pro Bowl matter? Right now, the MLB All-Star Game seems to be the only all-star game worth paying attention to.

The MLB All-Star Game is worth paying attention to because there’s nothing else going on.

Jay from Minneapolis, MN

If a team 100 percent knows they've just been caught with 12 men on the field, what's to stop that 12th man (or a bunch of others) from running back on the field to defend the bomb we all know is coming?

Nothing, but it’s usually too late. The play is already behind them by the time the flag is thrown.

Scott from Little Rock, AR

I'm a Razorback fan and our true rival was always Texas when we were in the Southwest Conference. I was thinking about the Big Ten and everyone knows about the Ohio St/Michigan rivalry, also Michigan/Michigan State, but I couldn't tell you who Wisconsin’s rival is. Please enlighten us Southerners.

I’d argue Wisconsin’s biggest rival is Minnesota, though that series hasn’t been very competitive lately. Whenever Iowa and Ohio State come up on the schedule, there always seems to be a little more intrigue.

Maury from Minnetonka, MN

Who gets a chance to play first: Kaepernick or Johnny Football?

Kaepernick.

Jared from Philadelphia, PA

If you could play for the Packers, what number would you be and what position would you play? For example (RB, No. 88) :)

*Stares blankly at the screen, slowly dying inside*

Ryan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I was hoping to get a picture of Vic, Mike and Wes styled after the Starr/Favre/Rodgers pic. When will this be available through the Pro Shop?

We’re working on it. Details are still getting wrinkled out.

Salvador from Metepec, Mexico

Hi Mike or Wes, do you have any favorite “Ask Vic” column? If so, can you share it?

That recent one about the overabundance of bad questions was pretty amazing. That’s how I feel some days.

Mike from Cranford, NJ

Thank you, Vic. Reading “Ask Vic” changed my life. I'd like to officially express a desire for a book now. What say you? Hah! I said it and shall remain unbanned. Life is good. Thanks again.

Has anyone ever written a book in Q&A format? It could be groundbreaking.

Jonathan from Saint Joseph, MO

Hello Wes! While I stand by my opinions, apologizing is not beneath me and I have no problem being corrected by a stern rebuke. You were right. There was no room in Monday's discussions to bash anyone. Going forward I will try to keep meaningless opinions to myself. One suggestion, though. Sentences not paragraphs. Truce?

I, too, stand by my opinions, but hey, if I can change and you can change, everybody can change.

Tim from Madison, WI

Ban me for eternity, Vic. Because there's nothing worse than having my questions answered by Wes.

See you in the next life, Timothy.


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