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Defense certainly doesn't win Pro Bowls


Dan from Bowling Green, OH

My idea to improve the Pro Bowl is to get rid of the pseudo game we have now and make it more like the NHL All-Star game. Have the fans vote for two captains for each conference, who then draft a fantasy team of whoever they want from their conference to play on their team. These teams will play two playoff games of flag football, maybe with a running clock, and the winners advance to a championship game. And where are the NFL equivalents to the slam dunk contest, home run derby or celebrity game? Do you have any ideas?

Yes, I do, and I'm going to share them with readers in tomorrow's point-counterpoint feature.

Franklin from Birch Run, MI

What's more important for scouting players; game tapes, all-star games (like the Senior Bowl), or the combine?

What a player did in his most recent college season is No. 1. It offers a scout a snapshot of how a player will perform in intense competition, and that's what you really wanna know. His performance in Senior Bowl practices has always been important because it's a chance to see him against other draft-eligible players and in NFL-like drills conducted by NFL coaches. The intent of the combine has always been to gather medical information on prospects and get a look inside them in one-on-one interviews. In recent years, the combine "skills competition" has become more important because the game itself has become more of a "skills competition." Plus, the combine offers a look at far more prospects than the Senior Bowl offers.

Moshe from Mexico City, Mexico

When was the last time the league was a running game? I hate the super-massive passing and high-scoring league. The game is becoming boring. How can people like that? I miss the defensive, running and low-scoring games; that was football.

The game has changed and I've accepted that fact. Football is a game of offense and that trend is not only going to continue, it's going to increase. If I, Tyrannosaurus Vic, can learn to like this new version of football, anybody can.

Brent from Roseville, MN

Vic, I watched a couple of minutes of the Pro Bowl and saw they had a Twitter circle. Would that work for you instead of a celebration circle?

Obviously, they stole my idea.

Hans from Front Royal, VA

I don't know if you have said it, but I'm sure you would agree that the Packers need both an impact OLB opposite Matthews and a legitimate rush lineman. My question is: Is it realistic to think they can get both of these via the draft and if not, are there any mid-level free agents at either position that Ted should look at?

A scout at the Senior Bowl told me it wasn't a great year for pass-rushers, but I saw several long, lean, quick-twitch types such as Vinny Curry and Jake Bequette that are perfect fits to play rush-backer in a 3-4, and I saw defensive tackles such as Brandon Thompson of Clemson that are prospects to play defensive end in a 3-4. I came away thinking it might not be a good year for 4-3 pass-rushers, but I think it might be an excellent year for 3-4 pass-rushers and defensive ends.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Let me know if I am understanding you correctly. If you are drafting BAP, and elect to move up or back based on your draft board, is the premise that your board is right and matches the boards for your competitors? If you trade up or back to make certain your need and BAP match, that works only as long as you have called it correctly. It would not be enough to know only your board, you need to know all boards, or at least those boards with a pick between the position you are in and the one you expect to move to, right?

More information is better than less information, but drafting is not a science. It's a game just as football is a game and it helps to have a feel for what the competition is going to do, but it's impossible to know how the competition has ranked the prospects, so there's always an element of risk that the guy you've targeted won't be there. The bigger risk is that another team will trade up or back and allow a team to move ahead of you to take the player you've targeted. I saw that happen in 2007 with Darrelle Revis. The Jaguars had targeted him. He was their guy all the way and the Jags were rumored to have worked a deal to move up and get him, but that information got out and the Jets moved up to one spot ahead of the team with which the Jaguars were rumored to be interested in trading, and the Jets then drafted Revis. There are no guarantees. You've got to be flexible and that's one of the advantages BAP drafting offers. Regardless of where you are, just pick the best guy.

Jeff from Albion, MI

Any chance the Packers will go for Courtney Upshaw? All I keep hearing is how good he is.

We've got a long way to go; the process has just started and it's impossible to know what the Packers will do with the 28th pick of the draft. Frankly, I like Vinny Curry better than Upshaw because Upshaw impresses me as a one-trick pony. Power is his game and I don't think a 6-2, 265-pound guy is going to overpower blockers in the NFL. Quickness is Curry's game and I think that'll play better on the next level.

Harley from Stockholm, Sweden

Your thoughts on the Packers fans that sold their playoff tickets to Giants fans? My lasting memory from that game is hearing "Cruuuuuuuz" about 50 times, it seemed like. Home-field advantage? Not so much.

I think you're exaggerating the number of Giants fans at the game and their impact, but I saw more people wearing Giants jerseys than I expected. As I've said, I walk from one side of the stadium to the other side to participate in a pregame radio segment, and I always use that walk to gauge the crowd's mood. I could easily determine that the crowd was in a playoff mood, but I was also surprised to see as many Giants jerseys as I saw.

Lou from Syracuse, NY

What do you expect/foresee for the Packers next season?

I expect next season to result in another playoff berth. The Packers have a good roster and a great quarterback. It's going to be that way for a long time. The formula for winning Super Bowls begins with making it into the playoffs. The good franchises do that year after year after year. Every so often, they get hot going into the playoffs and it carries them to a Super Bowl title.

Jon from Anaheim, CA

After watching the Pro Bowl, it's official: Dom Capers has got to go. Giving up 59 points with the best defensive players in the league? Come on, now. He's obviously lost all ability to coach defense.

Are you being serious? The Pro Bowl? A hundred points in a football game? Are you even allowed to play defense in the Pro Bowl? I can tell you this, if a coach even suggested to his players in the Pro Bowl that they need to hit harder, the whole team would break into laughter. How could you send this e-mail? Please, tell me you're joking. If you're not joking, then you need to step away from football for a while because it's beginning to consume you; you're taking it too seriously.

Evan from Eau Claire, WI

Have you seen the Cincinnati RB Isaiah Pead?

I saw him at the Senior Bowl last week and he impressed me as a guy that has some wiggle, but I don't remember him having caught my eye in the receiving game. For a guy his size to be effective in the NFL, he almost has to become a LeSean McCoy type of back, and that means he'll have to catch a lot of passes. I remember seeing Pead catching punts at the Senior Bowl and he seemed natural at it, which probably means he can be an effective pass receiver.

Mark from Lake Mills, WI

Which player impressed you most in the Senior Bowl who the Packers should consider drafting?

The player that impressed me the most is Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn, but that's not what you wanna hear, is it? Glenn is for teams that wanna run the ball. All those short-yardage downs? Done!

Chuck from Appleton, WI

Teams routinely turn over 15-20 percent of their roster, always trying to improve the talent on their team, build depth, etc. It doesn't seem that applies to coaches unless the whole staff is fired. Should teams be more diligent in trying to upgrade their coaching staffs like they do their players?

Only if you don't have good coaches, and the Packers have good coaches. Why would you want to change this staff? It coached the Packers to 19 consecutive wins. You know why turnover on coaching staffs isn't a good thing? It's not a good thing for several reasons, but here's the big one: Every time you fire a coach and offer him to the rest of the league, information about your system and your players goes with him. Wanna trade a guy for a draft pick? Well, that may not be as easy now because that coach you've fired knows something about that player that you don't want other teams to know, and any team thinking about trading for that player is gonna call that coach and get his opinion on the guy. If fans ran football teams, coaches would be fired on a weekly basis. The buyouts would be so many that every team would be in the red.

Joe from Cannon Falls, MN

Why is it that when punt returners call off the rest of the team and decide not to catch the ball, they seem to hover around the ball as it bounces? What do they think they're going to accomplish?

They're waiting to see if the ball touches a member of the punting team without the punting team controlling the ball. If that should occur, the punt returner can rush in, scoop up the ball and advance it without any risk of losing it in a fumble.

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