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DuJuan Harris in role I envisioned for Johnathan Franklin

If they all stay healthy on defense, look out


Marty from Winona, MN

How can I convince my wife that attending the "Ask Vic Day" festivities would be better than dinner at Favre's or a night at the casino?

You can do that anytime, but "Ask Vic Day" is a once-a-year chance to unite and reunite with your brothers and sisters in the fraternity of football, on the eve of a start to another season. You can register here.

Matt from Round Rock, TX

Vic, I know you don't like soccer, but did you watch any of the U.S. vs Ghana match? Even just for national pride?

I did not watch any of it, even when I went into the break room to get coffee and some of my co-workers were watching it on TV. I heard it. Does that count? I congratulate the U.S. on its victory over Ghana. When do they play Luxembourg?

Kerry from Atlantic City, NJ

Vic, did you see Clint Dempsey of the U.S. get kicked in the head in the World Cup? He played the rest of the game with a broken nose, blood streaming down his cheek. I'm not a soccer fan but I've gained a lot of respect for it after that game. How about you?

I did not see it. I'm sorry to hear about his head.

Garrett from Remigny, Quebec

Vic, I thought you would be happy to hear I am safe in the woods and bagged a large bruin. What is your view on hunting my friend?

You should not hunt your friend.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

Vic, Coach Capers said, "We're hoping Josh Boyd can make the same type of improvement Mike Daniels made." No mention of Datone Jones. Seems there is more expected from Boyd than Jones. Do they not expect Datone to make the same type of improvement, or am I reading too much into this?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I did a silent "Hmmm" as I wrote those words in my notebook. Subtle messages often speak loudest, and require no explanation.

Don from Roscoe, IL

Rabbit update: You and my wife convinced me. I put away the pellet gun and bought a humane trap. Monday night, a storm knocked down the fence, blew off some shingles, ripped up the garage door and blew away the trap. I'll not risk another frontal assault.

Meanwhile, the rabbits were in the woodpile laughing at you. Love is the answer.

Colin from Lansdale, PA

Vic, can you shed some light on DuJuan Harris' role this year?

I've seen him catch quite a few passes in the flat during spring practices. It was the role I envisioned for Johnathan Franklin.

Wolfgang from Finstermuhle, Germany

Vic, should the Washington Redskins change their name?

It has to happen because this is not going away. In my opinion, there are two main issues: the political incorrectness of the name, and its value as a brand. If I were Daniel Snyder, I would agree to change the name to the Redshirts, if the NFL would exempt my team from ever having to wear anything but a red jersey. That would be my solution. I would beg the fans' forgiveness, reward my loyal season ticket holders in some meaningful way, and hope the uniqueness of being the only one-jersey team in the league would create a new and more valuable brand.

Henrik from Uppsala, Sweden

I read on nfl.com that Johnathan Franklin's injury might be career threatening. Do you think (or know) if there's any truth to that or should I take it with a grain of salt for now?

The Packers do not provide medical information during the offseason and I have no knowledge of the specifics to Franklin's injury, other than it involves his neck, and I think we all know about the Packers' track record with neck injuries. I was surprised to find that when OTAs began Franklin was not practicing. When he wasn't practicing in the second week of OTAs, I began to have suspicions that his injury is of concern. He's a talented back. I hope he isn't lost to this team. Once again, it's a lesson about depth: It changes rapidly.

Andrew from Renner, SD

Vic, do you think the Packers defense this year will be one that rushes or covers?

If, indeed, the arrow of Sam Shields' career is pointing up, and if the manner with which Tramon Williams ended last season means he's all the way back, and if Casey Hayward is back and if Micah Hyde is the player I think he is, and if the defensive backfield can stay relatively injury free, I think the Packers are going to have the best secondary, by far, in the four years I will have covered them. Be that as it may, I still think this is going to be more of a rush than a cover defense, depending on the recoveries of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. If this team can get all of its defensive players on the field at the same time, and keep them healthy, look out.

Ryan from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I have scoliosis, so I could never play football in high school. I did, however, run cross-country. That had to be the sport that taught me my life lessons. There were moments when I was alone and I had to push myself to be better than the person ahead of me, and when I was in the final stretch with a couple of other guys, all eyes were on us, and we were giving it all we had. It was a gut check at that point, and I had to again be faster than the other guys.

I'm a major advocate of cross-country as a teaching sport. There are two things about it I absolutely love: 1) It's the ultimate self-starter sport. 2) Often, it's the last-place finisher that decides the outcome; how's that for a team sport? Different sports teach us different lessons because they challenge us in different ways, but when we meet those challenges, all sports reward us the same: with satisfaction.

Patricia from Portland, OR

I'm wondering if you think the Packers' injuries are more so than other NFL teams'. I get concerned when I watch them stretch in pre-game. Their stretching doesn't look very precise. What are your thoughts about their preventive routines?

My thoughts are that the training staff and the strength and conditioning people are experts in their fields. They know what they're doing and we perseverate on this topic when we should leave it to the experts and fate to decide. I agree with Coach Capers that injuries run in cycles, and they will usually occur at positions where you can least afford for them to happen. When they happen in bunches, we want to blame someone or change something. When they don't happen, we seldom acknowledge the same people we would blame. Injury is inevitable. It's football; you will get hurt. That's why it's a game of replacement.

Ryan from Columbus, OH

Vic, did you see how bored those fans looked behind the plate during that umpire review during the Pitt-Cincy game? Not only that, but the replay only resulted in more confusion about the call.

There's no turning back now. They've crossed the Rubicon.

Rick from Appleton, WI

Vic, often you write about changes in the game of football. Do you view change as a constant, maybe in life, as well as in the game, or as something that will ultimately kill this sport that we grew up watching and playing and learning to love?

Change is good. Usually, things we don't want are ultimately good for us. The changes being forced on football by the player-safety movement are going to create forward momentum that will force the game to evolve in exciting ways. I think we're going to see a return of the Paul Hornung kind of player. Coaches want quarterbacks that can run as well as pass. They want the Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick types, but there's fear for the threat of injury running with the ball invites, especially as it pertains to the team's salary cap. What I think we're going to see in the future are running backs that can throw the football. They'll become the dual-threat player teams can't afford their quarterback to be. I'm talking about college quarterbacks that are more runner than passer. Michael Robinson is a perfect example. He may have been ahead of his time. All of a sudden, the halfback option pass is back in the playbook, and it's an exciting play. That's how rules changes can change the game, and change is good.

Kyle from Dubuque, IA

"Ask Vic Day" is on my wedding anniversary. I brought it up to my wife and she said it sounds like fun, but in a tone that politely told me we will not be celebrating in Green Bay. I often share your words with my wife, but on July 23rd she'll have me all to herself. I hope "Ask Vic Day" becomes an annual celebration so I can hopefully attend one day.

I understand completely. Happy wife, happy life. Maybe she'll let you come next year.

Craig from River Falls, WI

I'm going to miss crotchety old Johnny Miller.

The U.S. Open will not be the same for me without Johnny Miller. I love it when he takes a shot, and his all-time shot was during the broadcast of a women's event. They kept hitting into the same sand trap on a par three, which caused Miller to say, "If they put the pin in the sand trap, they'd hit it on the green." There was a pregnant pause in the booth. You could almost hear the director say, "Oh, no." Miller missed the memo on political correctness. He even took a parting shot – and several more subtle shots along the way – at venerable old Pinehurst on Sunday, even though NBC's weekend-long telecast of the Open was a Pinehurst love fest. We need credible people in our industry who aren't afraid to express their opinion.

Matt from Plainfield, IL

I recently read an article about an incident at the Seattle Seahawks mini-camp that involved a physical altercation between several Seahawks players. They weren't rookies. It included Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin, among others. Is it normal for tempers to be rising at mini-camp, of all places, and between guys who have been in the league a number of years?

You don't see a lot of it in mini-camp, but physical teams fight. I've always found that to be true. The Steelers teams of the '70s that I covered had fights in nearly every practice. You want gentle warriors? That's nonsensical. The Packers had lots of fights in training camp last summer. Is it just a coincidence that they became a more physical running team? I don't think it's a coincidence. Playing with an edge is about attitude. It sounds as though the Seahawks have kept their edge. I do not take great offense.

Tim from Madison, WI

Vic, what do you think of Mike Daniels' temperament and personality?

I think George Young would've loved him. I do.

James from Ilkley, UK

I am curious to know where the term "Elephant" came from. Why Elephant?

Coaches put catchy names on their creations: Elephant, Leo, Otto, Mike, Mo, Wil, Sam. I wish I knew the specific origin of the term Elephant; I'm going to assume it's intended to describe an oversized linebacker. Since an Elephant is a cross between a defensive end and an outside linebacker, I would've been tempted to name it "Endbacker."

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