Scott from Madison, WI
Three offseasons since the CBA further encouraged a shift to young talent and shortened the time to teach young players the playbook, do you think this year's adjustment on defensive volume may be an ongoing adaptation to the realities of the CBA world?
Sure it is. Practices have been reduced by a third. More than 10 practices are gone from training camp, and the ones that remain have been limited in what can be done. While we're on the subject of accountability, the league gave the game to the players in 2011 and they must be accountable for its quality because, clearly, they are in control.
Dan from Twin Lakes, WI
Vic, I don't understand the angst some fans have toward the thought of Julius Peppers dropping back into coverage. The voices in my head say if a linebacker is going to drop back, it might as well be the one that's 6-7 and runs like a gazelle. What do the voices in your head say?
Love is the answer.
Thomas from Park Falls, WI
Vic, what if you eliminated the predetermined role of having two safety players on the field and instead drafted and placed true cornerbacks on the field, wouldn't it make things much tougher on the offense to identify people and find mismatches?
That's the trend. A lot of safeties are slow corners. You need guys that can stay on the field and cover the slot receiver when an offense gets a defense in no-huddle. You need safeties nowadays that can flip their hips and cover because today's game is a passing game. The days of the stiff-hipped, knockout hitter in the middle of the field, the Jack Tatums, are over.
Brad from Sarasota, FL
"What say you?" is the worst. Just so we're all clear, can you ban it, please?
Yes, it must be banned. My inbox is screaming with people who want it banned and, as a member of the media, I am committed to giving the reader what he and she want.
Peter from Mount Horeb, WI
Vic, do you think coaching a college team before rejoining the NFL gave Pete Carroll some new tricks or ideas he was able to apply?
Maybe it did, but mostly it gave Coach Carroll a contract so big that it guaranteed more patience than the Jets or Patriots showed. Patience and commitment are critical to success, but I see less of each now than ever before.
Anthony from Gilbert, AZ
Thank you so much for addressing the "What say you?" question. I can't stand that either. I've trained my brain to not recognize or read that phrase. Is that a Midwest saying or something?
I don't think it's a Midwest thing because I've got a lot of people from the Midwest in my inbox begging me to ban it. I think it's for people that imagine themselves wearing a suit of armor and sitting atop a white steed. What sayest thouest? Wait, I hear a trumpet.
Chris from Green Bay, WI
In response to your Perry comment, could you see Peppers move up and put his hand down and have Perry, Neal or Bradford come in and replace an ILB? That could be an interesting 4-3 type of formation. Best players on the field, right?
I thought we were all convinced that too many schemes were the problem.
Andy from Tokyo, Japan
I think I read somewhere that there might be packages or situations where the Packers might use three safeties. Is that something teams really do?
It's what a team would do when it plays nickel or dime and three safeties are part of the team's five best or six best defensive backs. Three, four or five wide receivers will cause defenses to go nickel or dime. Don't think in terms of the depth chart. The depth chart refers to the Packers' 3-4 base defense, which they use less and less every season. The depth chart is just a means for identifying the pecking order of players. Casey Hayward became a star as a rookie nickel defender. There will be plenty of opportunity for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to show what he can do.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, when I think about the excitement I get from watching a Packers game and how much I'm missing it in the offseason, I immediately thought about you in the press box staying composed. It made me think, is there a team you're a fan of that makes you excited like a fan? Or are you a bigger fan of the journalism aspect of it?
It's the Steelers. Last December, when they played in Lambeau Field, I went nuts in the press box and started cheering for them. I couldn't restrain myself any longer. I started taunting Spofford. "There's your payback for XLV, Spofford." He didn't like it. Then the PA guy read the no-cheering-in-the-press-box warning and I let out with a "Here we go Steelers, here we go." That's when they threw me out, but I didn't care. I needed to show my love.
Jeffrey from Seattle, WA
Vic, how important was the re-signing of Sam Shields to this defense and do you think his quality of play will continue to improve?
Cornerback is such a premium position in today's game and this team is really stocked with young cornerback talent, provided they can stay healthy. Davon House is making another run at Underwear League MVP. He was the defensive star of yesterday's practice, intercepting a back-shoulder throw and nearly making a diving interception. I really hope he can put it all together this year because he is a talent. Hayward is healthy – knock on wood – and we know what he can do when he's healthy. You want a corner that can get up in the air and defend against the tall receivers? Demetri Goodson can do it. Tramon Williams was the Packers' best corner when last season ended, but Shields is the future at the position. His contract says that. Will he continue to improve? He must, or the contract was a mistake.
Ryan from Platteville, WI
What exactly was your most viewed "Ask Vic"?
I think it's the recent one about the top 10 quarterbacks.
Jeff from Pleasant Grove, UT
To all the winsome Packers fans, it's truly astounding and quite comical, frankly, to hear you constantly ask another individual to tell you what to think, how to feel and how to act. What a sad society we live in when we can't even form our own opinion. And another thing, enough with the "What say you?" line. It's too bad this will never get posted, Vic.
Yeah, it's a darn shame.
Joe from West Bend, WI
You recently wrote that although you enjoyed the Packers playoff/Super Bowl contention last year, you did not delude yourself into thinking the Packers were headed to the Super Bowl. From my perspective, this mirrors an attitude of the national press that San Francisco and Seattle are far superior than Green Bay. Despite Green Bay's injuries, they were separated by just a walk-off field goal. If Hyde makes the interception, the game's outcome is probably different. San Francisco almost beat Seattle, despite playing in front of Seattle's great home crowd. It seems the Packers' chances were much better than 2010, when they were the last seed in the NFC.
I disagree about 2010. Once the Seahawks upset the Saints, the table was set for the Packers to run it. The Eagles, Falcons and Bears were all over-seeded teams and the Packers had already played in those cities that year. Your comment about Hyde and the 49ers playoff game this past season is spot on, but I will not minimize what the 49ers did. They came to Lambeau Field and played in the Packers' weather and drained the final five minutes off the clock on the way to victory. That says a lot about that team's talent and resolve.
John from Denver, CO
I have been wanting to write in and ask, no beg you to justify the overuse of the "What say you?" line. I am so glad we see eye to eye on this one, Vic. It honestly made me cringe every time I saw a question end with that.
I've been getting requests for months, ever since the insane use of that inane question became an epidemic. Finally, it got to me, too. There will be no more of this. People that use that imbecilic question will have their email immediately deleted.
Jon from Excelsior, MN
Vic, I disagree with your assessment that Packers fans are like the fans of every other team in the league and they want it and they want it now. Packers fans are deeply rooted in history and the pride of 13 NFL championships. Because the team is community owned, Packers fans take personal ownership in that accomplishment and are driven to make sure their team never falls to second place. They measure success in one way and one way only, the number of NFL championships earned. We are patient but resolute.
And humble, too.
Patrick from Plymouth, MN
Vic, can you explain a bit why offensive linemen aren't changed up during a game as defensive linemen are?
Continuity is a big thing in line play. They feed off each other. They know each other's tendencies and that allows them to help each other by shading a defender to one side or the other. The same goes for the relationship between linemen and running backs. Pace is a big deal. The back needs to know how quickly a linemen gets into his block and where and when the cutback lane might emerge. Quarterbacks need to feel the rush, not see the rush, and knowing the tendencies of the guys blocking for you aids a quarterback's internal clock.
Devin from Anaheim, CA
Vic, I'm going to have to disagree with you and it's your fault that I do. I haven't been greedy with expectations. I have only found myself seriously angry a few times. My thinking has caused me to hurt my hand after said games and destroy walls. But now I don't get so angry and don't wish doom on other teams. I thank you for that.
I'm very glad for you. Please don't hurt your hand, damage walls or wish doom on others. It's just a game.
Blake from Marion, IA
Thank you for putting an end to "What say you?" I never have understood it and don't like it.
This is an important day in "Ask Vic" history. We have identified a grave problem and we have eliminated it. Let us speak no more of this.