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Be smart now, be tough later


Ben from Gundrum, IL

Hey, Vic, while I was reading your in-game chat, I was wondering what you mean by Nick Perry learning technique?

Linemen are taught to use their hands and arms to ward off blockers. I'm talking about technique such as "swim" and "club." Perry was taught technique in college, and now he's being taught new and more sophisticated technique. He's being taught how to rush the passer by one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL history. Every play can't be run fast and push hard. Even the most dominant pass rushers have to blend technique with their speed and power to be successful. Every day Perry practices, he becomes a better player.

Scott from Norton Shores, MI

Vic, congratulations on being a typical American sports journalist. If it's not football, baseball or basketball, it's not a sport, right? You admit to not watching the Olympics and then you naively bash badminton. Do yourself a favor and watch some Olympic badminton and then try to tell me with a straight face they aren't amazing athletes. You will witness one of the fastest, most intricate games in the world. It requires speed, stamina, crazy-fast reflexes, touch and power, all often in the same point. Americans couldn't dream of coming close to a gold medal in badminton. We can buy superior training facilities, coaches, trainers and equipment, but we can't buy what it takes to master a sport as complex as badminton. Man up, watch some badminton, and then come back and apologize for that unintelligent and uneducated comment.

Man up? Badminton? OK, I watched the link you sent. It did nothing for me. I don't like the way the thing they hit flutters as it falls. That doesn't mean, however, that nine million people in Norton Shores shouldn't like badminton and watch it on TV 24 hours a day. It's just not for me and I'm OK with the United States not winning gold in badminton. By the way, I liked the tank-it game; I thought that was funny.

Jerome from Midland, MI

Vic, with the amount of players out with concussions this training camp, where is the emphasis on player safety and tackling. Aiming at one's head is not proper tackling technique. Where's the coaching staff to promote competition but also smart football? Taking out players to risk your season before it even starts? What are your thoughts?

I've seen one of what I would call a legitimate football collision in all of training camp: James Starks and Jarrett Bush meeting at the pylon in the front-left corner of the end zone. It was right in front of me and I felt the vibrations from their collision. I don't think it's possible for a head coach to be more protective of his football team in training camp than Mike McCarthy has in this camp, and still prepare them to play football. I don't know where you got this notion that anyone in training camp has aimed for another player's head. I have attended every practice and I haven't seen one helmet-to-helmet collision. Why so many concussions? I don't know, but as I explained yesterday, I think the medical people throughout the league are being especially sensitive to head injuries, and it wouldn't surprise me if some of the concussion diagnoses were the result of erring on the side of caution.

Wayne from West Bend, WI

What are you seeing from Andrew Datko, as you watch him practice from day to day?

I'm seeing a player who is being challenged. I'll bet Datko has taken more reps at more positions and faced more defensive linemen of varying degrees of performance than any other offensive linemen on the team. When camp began, I winced as Perry overwhelmed Datko. Now I'm starting to see some development in Datko. His wins are happening more often and they are of a higher quality. There's no doubt he's a developmental player, but there's also no doubting that somebody sees something they like in him because coaches don't give extra reps to guys they don't think can play.

Mike from Socorro, NM

Vic, in the situation where a player, Bishop, for instance, is injured in the preseason and then out for the season, what happens with his salary? Is he paid weekly as though he was playing, paid a percentage or what?

A player on injured reserve is paid his full salary, unless he has what's known as a "split contract," which pays only a portion of that player's contract. Undrafted players commonly have split contracts.

Nick from De Pere, WI

All this talk about the stadium experience versus the TV experience has got me thinking: My dad is a dedicated Packers fan, watches the game every week on TV, yet, wouldn't be particularly interested in seeing a game live. On the other hand, my mom isn't so dedicated of a fan, and usually only watches a few TV games each season, but if a friend with extra tickets invites her to a game, she loves going for the game-day atmosphere. It's an interesting dichotomy, don't you agree?

People talk about the quality of the telecasts keeping people at home. It's been my experience that the refrigerator is what keeps people at home.

Eddy from Rio Rancho, NM

Which preseason game do you usually enjoy the most?

The third preseason game is usually the best. The starters play the longest in the third preseason game, and there's some actual game-plan preparation put into the third game. I guess I enjoy it the most, but there's something about the final preseason game that I've always enjoyed. I guess it's the fact that it's the last one, which means another preseason has mercifully passed and now we can dive into the excitement for the start of the regular season. I love the inevitable opening question at the head coach's press conference following the final preseason game: Is your team ready to start the season, coach? I also enjoy the closure we're about to get on the roster. I like watching the desperate rookies and journeymen making one more desperate pitch to make the team.

Matt from Kula, HI

When is Sherrod expected to return to practice? Is he a candidate for PUP?

Not much in the way of a prognosis for his return has been offered. All I can tell you is that logic would dictate that the longer he stays on PUP, the more likely it is he'll stay on PUP for the start of the regular season.

C.J. from Edinboro, PA

If last week's game was the NFC Championship game or another big game, would as many players have been out as there were?

Probably not. The preseason is a time for being smart. This isn't a time for pushing a sore muscle to its limit and risking further damage to it. The big, late-season games are the reason players and coaches have to be smart now. When the big games get here, the time for being tough will have arrived.

Alex from Hammond, IN

Vic, regarding your stance on games "being for tough guys and girls," you are wrong. You are part of the problem that leads to players being killed from heat exhaustion during the summer and sustaining life-altering brain injuries when they continue to play through an injury. When Roger Goodell talks about changing the culture, he means we need to get rid of people that just don't get it. You, Vic, just don't get it and need to go. Go away quickly, please.

Soft game for soft guys? I'll be interested to read the readers' thoughts on your comments.

Erik from Malmo, Sweden

The sport you saw on TV is called handball and has been in existence longer than NFL football. We are pretty dominant in that sport and I played it when I was younger. Unfortunately, I would have to blame U.S. ignorance for not seeing it until now. I don't want to call you specifically ignorant but I believe that in the U.S. they simply don't show you anything outside of the country. The sport has been a part of the Olympics since 1972.

I gotta tell you, sometimes I get the feeling the rest of the world invents sports we don't play, just so they can win a gold medal.

Daniel from Sugar Land, TX

Vic, I know a lot of people are worried about the injury situation right now, but I would say the Packers are probably one of the most conservative teams in the NFL when it comes to injuries. It always seems the nagging injuries seem to pile up on us around this time of year and I think other teams might not rest players for the reasons the Packers might rest players. I'm guessing their theory is to be conservative with injuries now and reap the benefits late in the year. Is there any truth to my fact-less theory?

The Packers are doing what every other team in the league is doing right now, which is to say being cautious. Each one of these players represents a portion of his team's salary cap. Every time you lose a player to injury, you lose a portion of your salary cap for the time that player is unable to play. To a large degree, it's a battle of caps.

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