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Creative tackling drill warmed my heart

Young players take center stage on Thursday


Karl from Aberdeen, SD

How has Ripkowski looked in practice? Do you think he will be a special teams contributor?

He's done well and that gives him an opportunity to pursue a roster spot in the preseason games. How does he do that? By getting it done on special teams. This is it. This is why low-round draft picks and undrafted guys lift all those weights. This is how you make the team, by distinguishing yourself on special teams in the preseason. Aaron Ripkowski knows it. All we have to do is watch.

Ian from Oak Ridge, NJ

Vic, what will be the identity of the 2015 Packers?

I expect offense to continue to be this team's calling card, but whatever this team's identity is, it'll be determined in December and January. Those are the months that define a team's season. If they don't, then you've had a bad season.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

What is the benefit of releasing Cody Mandell before preseason begins? I thought a little competition for Masthay would be healthy.

The Packers made a decision. What's the benefit of keeping a player on whom you've made a decision?

Julian from Las Cruces, NM

I had a long (very long) discussion about whether Tom Flores belongs in the Hall of Fame. What are your thoughts on that?

He won two Super Bowls, and that makes him a legitimate candidate. Flores' problem is his body of work; 97-87 is a tough sell.

Nicholas from Seattle, WA

Vic, what is with all these scuffles and fights in training camps around the league?

There's a difference between a scuffle on the field and what happened to Geno Smith. Training camp has always featured scuffles. What happened to Smith was a vicious attack. The two should be not compared. Scuffles are about men competing for jobs. The other one is about senseless violence.

Jon from Bath, England

How would Defensive Coordinator Vic set up his defense?

In a perfect world, 3-4 attack with zone behind it, but you have to have the run-stuffers and pass rushers to play it.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, will "Final thoughts" and "Ask Vic Halftime" be returning this season?

"Final Thoughts" returns today and "Ask Vic Halftime" returns tomorrow.

Jon from Green Bay, WI

How are players paid their regular salary, 16 equal payments?


Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, what's a good example of Coach McCarthy's training camp player evaluation creativity?

I saw it yesterday. It was the tackling drill that employs a pad on which the two players fall. I never saw that drill until I came to Green Bay. I affectionately call it the pillow drill, but there was nothing soft about it yesterday. Two players got my attention. Running back Alonzo Harris and linebacker Josh Francis charged at each other without hesitation. They arrived with a lot of force. It doesn't mean I'm putting them on the final roster; it just means I have taken note of them and I'm going to find them and watch them tomorrow night, because that kind of physical aggressiveness is what's required of special teams players. As a footnote, a week ago I noted Francis had his helmet knocked off in a kickoff coverage drill. I will be watching very closely for him tomorrow night.

Tyler from Rockford, IL

If the Packers secondary takes a step back after losing Williams and House, can the Packers still make a Super Bowl run with a leaky pass defense?

Yeah, but the leaks better get plugged before December arrives. Hey, the Giants won the Super Bowl in the 2011 season with the No. 32 running game, but they didn't run the ball like a No. 32 rushing team in the postseason.

Kellan from Madison, WI

Vic, can you tell us a little about your patented 0-0-11 defense?

It's the ultimate prevent. Let the quarterback stand back there and pat the ball; the clock is running. If 11 can't cover five, scheme isn't the problem.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Vic, what is the biggest improvement in Scott Tolzien's game.

I'm going to guess it's seeing the field but, again, we're going to find out in the preseason games, beginning tomorrow night. It's why we watch these games.

Curt from Portland, OR

Vic, I am a sensible, realistic Packers fan. I buy into wise salary cap management and draft-and-develop; honestly I do. So why is it when you joked about it being your first thought that Ted Thompson was clearing space for Aldon Smith my first reaction was excitement?

Because deep down inside our first instinct is to win at all cost. Then, we stop and think.

Mike from Stevens Point, WI

Does Geno Smith's broken jaw impact your appreciation of camp scuffles?

I knew somebody would put this kind of spin on a lighthearted comment about scuffles. Here's your answer: I like harmless scuffles because they give training camp the edge it needs. I have no regard for senseless violence.

Dave from Nashville, TN

Could you envision a day when each NFL team has its own farm team to develop players?

I can see the day when practice squad rosters are increased. That's your farm team. As the size of practice squads are increased, I believe the rules that govern them will need to be changed.

Curt from Oronoco, MN

I must have missed something. Where did you go?

I was in Canton covering Ron Wolf's induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I will forever be able to say I covered the enshrinement of the man who saved the franchise. That means something to me.

Jeff from Miami, FL

Do you think the Packers will carry three quarterbacks on the active roster, or will one be on the practice squad?

Again, we'll begin finding out tomorrow. If the third guy plays lights out in the preseason, the practice squad might not be a safe place for him. All we have to do is watch.

Kyle from Virginia Beach, VA

Which young guys will you be watching closest throughout the preseason?

The young guys on defense. Dom Capers and his staff are facing a daunting task. They've got to get these kids ready to play, and that means being ready to stop Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles in the first three weeks of the season.

Shane from Carlsbad, CA

What do you think of the new throwback jerseys the Packers will be wearing this year?

I like them better than the old ones because I like bright colors.

James from Wausau, WI

So AFC opponents in September? Sounds good to me.

I favor the idea of playing inter-conference games in September, but I don't think TV would go for it.

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