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Eagles major test for Packers defense

No. 3 QB job might be on the line


Tony from Burbank, CA

Vic, what are you hoping to see in game three of the preseason against the Eagles?

Most of all, I want to see the young receivers give us reason to believe they are the answer to depth at the position. I also want to see the defense make a statement against a high-tempo offense. I have other interests, but those two are the top of my list.

Dan from Madison, WI

Did you know only four starting players for the Packers have suffered a season-ending injury in an exhibition game since 1986? Did you also know three have come in the last four years? Based on that stat, there definitely seems to be a bit of bad luck going through this team.

I didn't know that and I consider that information to be meaningless for any practical pursuit other than whining and crying.

Matt from Verona, WI

You're watching an NFL game 10 years from now. What do you see?

Players wearing bigger helmets.

Pat from San Francisco, CA

To patch or not to patch? Four rings for the Pats would seem to argue for some more patching when needed.

Patchers, not patching.

Melissa from Green Bay, WI

What's going on with Scott Tolzien? Will he play in this Saturday's game?

He's had a great camp and a solid preseason, and has nailed down the backup quarterback job. He was evaluated for concussion symptoms following the game in Pittsburgh and has not practiced this week. I don't expect him to play on Saturday. In my opinion, Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard are the feature attractions at quarterback on Saturday. They're battling for a possible No. 3 spot.

Vic from Sheboygan, WI

Vic, if ever there was a tree out back to go shake, it would seem wide receivers would be the one with the most fruit falling out of it.

I would agree. Wide receiver would seem to be the most talent-rich position in football.

John from Allie, VA

Vic, I have heard you mention Mike Pennel a number of times. What are his position strengths and potential contribution if he makes the team?

I think he has big upside. He's got the kind of size, strength and quickness you find in a first-round defensive lineman. He transferred from Arizona State to Colorado-Pueblo, and that might've set him back in his development. As he learns technique and develops feel for his talent and the pro game, I think he's going to become the Packers' next Mike Daniels.

Dustin from West Bend, WI

Do you think Jayrone Elliott has earned a chance to play with the starters this Saturday?

I think he has put himself in position to become a major player on the Packers defense this season. The Packers need some young lions to emerge at linebacker, both inside and outside. I'm counting on Elliott being one of those young lions.

Dan from Plymouth, WI

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a main story on about Aaron Rodgers getting such a high rating on Madden. How did you let that happen? Or, are you secretly a Madden addict and you anonymously wrote the article?

I don't decide what's news. You do.

Shawn from Troy, NY

Do you believe the Packers will keep three quarterbacks on the roster this year?

That'll be decided over the last two preseason games. Brett Hundley or Matt Blanchard will have to play awfully well for the Packers to keep a third quarterback on their roster, in my opinion.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

Vic, did Jordy Nelson do anything wrong? I mean warm-ups, nutrition, etc. Or is it just that simple: non-contact ACL tears happen?

Yes, non-contact injuries happen. Fred Taylor missed nearly an entire season when he tore his groin off the bone. He burst through a hole in the line and appeared to be in the clear when, all of a sudden, he dropped to the ground. The injury was so traumatic Fred dropped the ball as he fell to the ground. He told me it was the worst pain he had ever experienced. It was a non-contact injury. With this, I think we need to move on from this subject. My inbox has become a mind-numbing debate on the preseason and injuries. Is the NFL doing research to prevent non-contact injuries? Should starters play in the preseason? Should there be a preseason? Did the turf cause the injury? Did jumping to catch the pass cause the injury? Was it the spikes Nelson was wearing? Here's what I can tell everybody: It's football. You WILL get hurt. Every great player I've ever covered sustained an injury. Terry Bradshaw missed most of the 1976 season after nearly breaking his neck. Joe Greene sustained a pinched nerve that made him a one-armed player. Jack Lambert's career was ended by a toe injury. Tony Boselli's career was cut short by shoulder injuries. Mark Brunell sustained a knee injury in a preseason game and was never the same again. Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews have lost significant time to injuries. There's no avoiding it. That's why I continue to write that it's a game of replacement. You must accept that fact or you'll never develop a real feel for what this game is, which is to say a physical confrontation. This game wasn't built on safe. Injuries are unavoidable.

Tim from Reno, NV

The smell of musty autumn leaves always takes me right back to football practice. What smell takes you right to football?

The unmistakable scent of a high school locker room is what I remember. There was nobody to wash your sweaty socks, t-shirt, towel, etc. after practice. You took them home and washed them – nobody did that – or you hung them up and let them dry for tomorrow, and sometimes they didn't dry fully. The blend that greeted you the next day when you entered the locker room had its own identity. It said, "This locker is mine." You held your breath as you pulled your t-shirt over your head, but there was no escaping the delicious scent of your own half-dried sweat. That's what you missed if you never played the game.

Nathan from Phoenix, AZ

Vic, what advantages/disadvantages come with having Dom Capers in the box during games? If you were a defensive coordinator, would you be on the field or in the box?

I'd be in the box. I'm one of those that would prefer to be alone with my thoughts, instead of being in the swirl of activity down on the sideline.

Warren from Lutz, FL

Vic, the Eagles so far this preseason have been scoring a lot of points. Do you give any importance to how our starting defense plays in this game?

It's not just about the starting defense. This is a big test on a lot of fronts. We're going to find out how quickly those young cornerbacks can think on their feet. The whole idea of an up-tempo offense is to confuse the defense and to move faster than it can think and react. Conditioning will be at the test, too. The Packers were handed an outstanding preseason schedule. The Patriots are Super Bowl champs. The game in Pittsburgh prepared the Packers for a hot day and a sunlight game. The Eagles game will be the ultimate test for the Packers defense.

Eric from Skokie, IL

I know this may be premature to ask now but do you think Jordy Nelson will stay with Green Bay in 2016 or do you think they will let him go?

Congratulations, Eric, you are in the "Ask Vic Hall of Fame."

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