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Are there spies among us?

Lambeau Field drives Family Night popularity


Aaron from Seymour, IN

How does a team keep out spies if it doesn't charge admission? I mean, I doubt they dress up like men in black.

It's called honor; the teams in the league depend on each other's honor to live according to the rules. Also, if a team was to get caught violating the rule that forbids scouting a practice for which attendance is not charged, they would likely suffer a grievous penalty. On the heels of Spygate and Deflategate, the commissioner might take as much as a first-round pick from the offending team. Spies are not among us. The risk isn't worth it. If it's new and needs to be hidden, it's likely being practiced behind closed doors in the Hutson Center.

David from Ellicott City, MD

Mike McCarthy insinuated the Packers would only keep five or six receivers, but that seems uncharacteristically candid. I don't believe he's determined how many receivers he'll keep, but I think he said that wanting every receiver on the team to hear it. Your thoughts?

Maybe he wanted the fans to hear it.


Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Besides no injuries, what is the coaching staff most looking to get out of a preseason game?

Preseason games are 99 percent talent evaluation. The other one percent might be sideline practice. I'm serious. Preseason games are good practice for chain-of-command stuff, such as getting players and plays into the game. More in the way of game preparation is accomplished in practice, and I think that'll be especially true this year, as the Packers prepare for a hot opener in Jacksonville. No-huddle offense is the best conditioner for that game. I think we'll start to hear more about play-count in practice as camp wears on.

Abram from Bloomer, WI

I think Jared Abbrederis has a ton of potential but he didn't get a lot of playing time last season until everybody else got injured. What does he have to do to climb the depth chart?

He needs to stay healthy and catch passes. He was a dependable go-to receiver at Wisconsin. That's why he was drafted.

Dale from Kettering, OH

When I was young and foolish, I used to want my least-favorite teams to lose every game; now I want them to go 8-8 so they never get a good draft pick or a playoff berth. Time changes everything, doesn't it?

He who is first shall be last and he who is last shall be first, but 8-8 just stays 8-8.

Ben from Ozark, MO

Where is the biggest competition this year at camp and what will be our biggest gain from that competition?

Wide receiver would seem to be that position right now, but I'd like to see it become the defensive line. That's where the Packers need to build depth heading into the season. They'll be depleted in Jacksonville, and the heat will demand a rotation of big guys to keep them fresh.

Barry from Hayward, WI

What team would you say right now is closest to the Lombardi standard of running their signature play and the other teams being unable to stop it?

The Patriots' drag-route pass to Rob Gronkowski might be that play. The Steelers' wide receiver screen to Antonio Brown is another candidate.

Aaron from Dallas, TX

We have a deep, talented group of wide receivers competing for a place on the team. We have a deep, talented secondary competing to get regular playing time. In your experience, what will those two layers of competition do for the players and the team?

It should allow the Packers to pursue big guys in the draft.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Vic, how's it feel to not be at training camp?

It bothered me a little on day one. This is the first training camp I won't attend since 1971. The blow is softened, however, by the fact training camp kind of stopped being training camp for me as we lost two-a-days and the Oklahoma drill. It's about player safety and I get it; it needs to be this way. The blood-and-guts training camps of the past are little more than a romantic memory for me now. Today's training camp practices aren't much different from an OTAs practice. By day two, I was over it. Be that as it may, I'll miss the half-lines. They were my link to the past.

The Green Bay Packers held the annual event at Lambeau Field. Photos by Matt Becker, Ryan Hartwig and Andrew Temperly,

Thew from St. Paul, MN

Say all seven wide receivers are kept. Is there a formation that could make legitimate, creative use of all of them?

Not unless at least one of them can play an offensive line position and another one can throw the ball. You have the worst wide receiver fever in the history of the world, and it's spreading. I'm sad.

Chris from Dallas, WI

How's the depth chart starting to shape up? Or is it that too much to ask for in this column?

It's not too much to ask, but I don't think it's being given much thought right now by the coaches. We know what the top layer of the depth chart looks like. The cap tells us that. What we don't know are the names that'll creep into the bottom of the depth chart. In terms of personnel, it's the No. 1 issue of training camp, identifying the players who will define roster change. It's way too early for that. What player is going to come out of nowhere? Someone will.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Gentlemen, it seems like Ted Thompson drafted Trevor Davis to do what he had hoped Myles White would do. What do you think?

I don't agree with you. White is a possession-type receiver. Their supply is ample. Davis has the speed to take the top off a defense. The supply of that type of receiver is limited.

Ben from Chicago, IL

Vic, do you think poor turf contributes to more injuries? Or is it wishful thinking the randomness of injuries can be explained?

It's football. You will get hurt.

Don from Nekoosa, WI

When Rodgers hands off to a running back, why not hide the ball a little more?

If you're referring to the Packers' stretch play, there's no reason to hide the ball. The entire offensive line is moving laterally to one side, and that movement immediately tells the defense what the play is. The quarterback reaches to hand off the ball because the purpose of the play is to get as wide and as quickly as possible.

Graham from Green Bay, WI

Is Philip Rivers this generation's Dan Marino?

If Rivers finishes his career without winning a Super Bowl, the comparison will be made. I like Rivers; I always have. He's a hardnosed competitor and a quarterback teams respect and fear, but let's not forget what Marino was. He was a passing machine and a first-ballot Hall of Fame lock.

Sean from Oshkosh, WI

Does any other NFL team put on an event like the Packers with Family Night? We have been doing it for years now and I really have not heard about any other team having the outcome we do. Or are Packers fans just in that elite of a class?


Mike from Pickerington, OH

Vic, Saturday afternoon, when my wife, the kids and I got about two hours from Hilton Head Island, the AC went out on our van. I see why you keep the backup AC units on hand! One week here will not be long enough to experience acclimatization.

I saw temperatures were moving into the low 70s as fans were arriving for Family Night last night. I could sense a kind of fall-in-the-air feel. At the same time, the heat index here was 106.

Adam from Wausau, WI

When a team is a consistent contender like the Packers, is there a shift in draft philosophy to players that can contribute immediately vs. players that may take 2-3 years to develop?

If you do that, you run the risk of not being true to your board, and if you're not true to your board, why even do one? Teams that draft well have an etched-in-stone philosophy. The Packers have a deep roster of talent. There's a reason for it. The Packers are disciplined drafters. Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present.

Jon from Kingsford, MI

Do other teams' marketing people visit to learn how the Packers do it?

I'm sure they do, but no other team in the league possesses the Packers' dynamics. This is a unique situation. The Packers' greatest weakness, lack of market size, is its charm and attraction. Lambeau Field punctuates that charm and attraction and is, in my opinion, the real drawing card for Family Night. A trip to Lambeau Field is considered to be special. That's the feeling that drives Family Night. I don't think that feeling exists for any other stadium in the league.

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