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Could new touchback rule backfire?

Get ready for more of everything


Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Will the team get comp picks for losing Tolzien and Hayward?

The loss of those players in free agency will qualify the Packers for compensatory pick consideration. It's a funny formula. It doesn't always translate into a pick for a player. Sometimes two players will be packaged into one pick.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Vic, do you think the new touchback rule will have the effect the NFL is looking for?

I do. As far as I'm concerned, the kickoff-return play is dead man walking. I wouldn't even bother scouting kickoff returners.

Donavon from Beaumont, TX

Real fans of the Packers are the people who came on board in the early '70s and stuck through the hard times. Will the fans of the '90s and up stay on board if we go 10-20 years without "The Man"? Will Lambeau still be the shrine and destination it is now? With the new Titletown District development, we are sticking a lot of eggs into the future revenue basket to keep up with the rest of the NFL.

The Packers are expressing firm belief Packers fans won't abandon their team. They won't. I'm sure of it.

Brian from Haverford, PA

Why does the NFL pretend it isn't a violent sport? Everything done on the field glorifies violence, yet, everything they officially say condemns it.

The yin and yang of the player-safety movement is the thing that made the game as popular as it is, is the thing that must be eliminated before it causes the game's demise. The NFL has to change the fans' culture, too, and I believe that's a more daunting challenge than it is to change the players' culture. It's going to take time, and the change must be subtle and incremental.

Don from Weaverville, CA

Don't the Packers have the best strategy for defeating the inverse-order draft? Draft and develop, in which the second and third-year players make large leaps can propel teams. See Carolina Panthers.

I see the Packers' strategy based on accumulating extra draft picks from losing players in free agency. It's a revolving door of replacing an older pick with a younger pick. The wheel just keeps on turning, but the key to its success is hitting on the picks, and that means finding talent and committing to its development. Ultimately, you have to believe in your ability to make a player better than he was when you got him.

Brett from Clermont, FL

Vic, owners meetings are where major decisions about the game are made every year. The Packers send Mark Murphy. Is he the only "owner" to have played in the league? If so, does this give him a unique perspective on topics involving player safety, the new personal foul rule, kicking changes, etc.? Seems he could be a huge asset to those meetings if he's used properly.

Jerry Richardson is also a former player. Mark is a huge asset to the league and he is used properly. His role with the league includes being a member of the competition committee. I think the shared perspective of being administration and being a former player is something the league should consider when the time comes to select a new commissioner. I'm not a fan of the you-never-played-the-game harangue, but having played the game provides a feel for the game those who didn't play the game can never have.

Chris from Lexington, KY

Vic, in mock drafts there are five WRs listed in the first round. Treadwell, Coleman, Doctson, Fuller and Boyd. Do these guys really have first-round grades or are they just a product of WR fever?

Everybody's saying this is a bad crop of wide receivers. I disagree. I watch a lot of college football and I see a field tilted to favor the passing game and big-play receivers. In today's game, I don't think it's possible to have a bad crop of wide receivers. I saw Tyler Boyd do things Larry Fitzgerald didn't do. Speed is important, but fast enough is good enough, and I see a lot of receivers in this draft as falling into the "fast enough" category. Didn't Fitzgerald fit into that category? He looked fast enough to me on that overtime play.

Scott from Martinez, GA

If a coach has to be a leader of men, your words, what does a scout need to be?

A finder of men? That was pretty easy, Scott.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Vic, can a senior coming out of college not declare for the draft, sit out of football a year and then gain free-agent status to sign with whomever he wants?

Nope. Everybody must pass through the draft before entering the NFL, and you don't have to declare for it. Like it or not, everybody is in the draft once in their life.

Les from Las Vegas, NV

"Giants form committee to curb late-game stumbles." Well that's enough to make Tom Coughlin stop hanging around their weight room.

Committee? I hate that word. It's so stiff. It makes football sound like politics. I would've preferred Ben McAdoo have said something like: "Write it down, in big letters, we will be better late in games in 2016." I fear we're losing the personality Lombardi gave the game. It's built on his power.

Christopher from Cudahy, WI

"You have to be good. You have to be lucky. You have to be healthy. You have to be hot." A local sports radio host stated that is the recipe to make it through the postseason to the Super Bowl. I think that is an accurate statement and I think you would agree.

I couldn't have said it better myself. Healthy went out the window in the preseason. Hot came at the wrong time of the season. The 2015 Packers had luck on their side on those Hail Mary passes, and I think they were closing on becoming the team we wanted them to be, but in the final analysis, they were fighting an uphill battle all year and never got over the top.

Kody from Layton, UT

Do you think the new rule on touchbacks being at the 25 will cause teams to kick it short so they can stop their opponent short of the 25? I thought the point of moving the kickoff up five yards was to cause touchbacks. Now the kicking team has less incentive to kick out of the back of the end zone.

Unintended consequence? It's possible, but the league is going to do whatever it takes to eliminate the kickoff return; you can count on that. There are all kinds of rules that can be implemented to achieve the goal. The coverage team can be forbidden to penetrate a certain yard line. Listen to what Mark Murphy says in the video. Bye, bye, kickoff return.

Austin from Bismarck, ND

With Tolzien out, is Hundley our No. 2 guy?

That's the way I read it, unless the Packers trade him to Cleveland for two ones and Jim Brown.

Jeff from Crystal Lake, IL

With the blocking rule change and thinking this will lead to a rushing decline, is it reasonable to predict scoring could decline. The goal emphasized in this column has been to stop the run and make a team one-dimensional.

I think the league just did it. That means there will be more passes, which means more plays in the game, which means more completions, more interceptions, more sacks, more fumbles, more big plays, more yards, probably more scoring, certainly more reviews and more controversy, all of which means more casual fans and more money.

John from Jefferson, WI

Vic, the difference between pine pollen and snow is no one's allergic to snow.

I'm allergic to snow. It makes my eyes water. Has it stopped yet?

Dave from Green Bay, WI

Vic, I'm writing a course entitled "The Essence of Professionalism" for some of my clients. As a professional journalist, do you study others in your profession and try to learn from the greats? Can you give an example of a time when you admired professional behavior in your field?

Yeah, Will McDonough, when he knocked Raymond Clayborn into a laundry cart.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Which teams in the NFL were heavy back-side cutters?

Anywhere Alex Gibbs coached – Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Colts, Chiefs, Falcons, Texans, Seahawks (very briefly) – they were back-side cutters. The list of thousand-yard rushers he produced is stunning.

Jeff from Miami, FL

Vic, I find it interesting the "Prospect Primer" finds players that are not frequently mentioned in all the first-round mock drafts. It helps make the point we don't know in what round of the draft the Packers will find a future starter. Perhaps the player has to first experience the confrontation of NFL football in order to find out what talent is inside.

We painstakingly strategize our plan for shooting the primers at the combine. It's according to a very tight script. It goes like this: Interview anybody who walks into the room wearing Spandex.

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