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Expectations high for Packers defense

Clay Matthews' move back outside would define the outcome


Jordan from Medford, NJ

If a player is drafted by a team, but not yet signed, and gets injured before he is signed, what does the team do?

The team and the player generally sign an agreement to negotiate in good faith (as if the player is healthy) if the player becomes injured.

Bryce from Ames, IA

We've all heard what a great pass rush does for a secondary, but what does a great secondary do for a front seven? I would consider the Packers secondary to be the strength of their defense. Lots of talented young guys back there.

It works both ways. A strong pass rush limits the time the pass defense needs to hold its coverage, and a strong pass defense holds its coverage long enough to allow the pass rush to get home. I think the Packers have that kind of pass defense. It was No. 6 in the league last year, and I think it can be even better this season.

Jake from Chippewa Falls, WI

Vic, what would you say if I told you I haven't fertilized, weeded, aerated or washed my mower once since I moved into my house? Also, I haven't sharpened my blade in about three years, I mow as fast as the mower will go, and I drive over every stick, rock and dog toy I can find.

I would say I'm glad I don't live next to you, and that you are a lawn care cretin who has no doubt angered the grass gods and will one day regret it.

Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI

Vic, what position group has the best competition this camp?

The battle for playing time at cornerback is the kind of competition you want at every position on your team, except quarterback. You don't want competition at that position.

John from Eden Prairie, MN

Has the "Ask Vic" reader claiming to have written songs for Barney provided proof of his claim?

A man claiming to be Lory Lazarus, a man whose songs have nurtured millions of children, has returned to my inbox, offering evidence of his existence. I am considering the information I've been provided. If, indeed, this man is who he claims to be, he would qualify as one of "Ask Vic's" most esteemed readers.

Daniel from Tucson, AZ

My dad and I are big fans of your column and I was wondering what you think would have happened had the Packers won the infamous 2007 NFC title game? Would the Packers have won the Super Bowl? Would Favre have stayed another year, and would that have caused us to lose Rodgers?

I'm big on fate as it pertains to sports. It's just a romantic notion I have that allows me to explain why something happened without driving myself nuts with analysis. In my mind, the '07 Giants were a team of destiny. Didn't we all get that feeling after they nearly upset the Patriots in the season finale? In some ways, I think the Packers' loss to the Giants in the NFC title game was a step in the Packers' destiny. It may have launched a changing of the guard at quarterback. Had the Packers beaten the Giants and won the Super Bowl, or even had they beaten the Giants and lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, would the Packers have won Super Bowl XLV? Change one thing and you might change everything? I believe in fate.

Michael from Princeton Junction, NJ

Vic, what are your thoughts on college football programs offering scholarships to boys not even in high school yet? I read that a 13-year-old has been scouted by 10 or more programs.

I'm OK with it, but I'm not OK with college football programs withdrawing scholarship offers. I don't like the practice of playing one kid against another. College football is in need of recruiting reform.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Vic, which Packers receiver, tight end and running back formation do you like best? I still like Lacy and a fullback, with two tight ends and Jordy split out wide.

One wide receiver? In today's game? Chuck Noll would say the players who can run the fastest, jump the highest, catch the best and do the most after they make the catch are on the bench, and I would agree with him. I like one back, one tight end and three wide receivers. I consider that to be the offensive formation that defines today's game.

Marty from Mesa, AZ

During this and every hockey season's playoffs since you shared the story, I still giggle and say out loud, "They got the puck, we got the puck." Thank you for that and many other stories I keep with me. Do turtles nest near your home?

They got it, now we got it, now they got it again. Watching hockey is like staring at a ceiling fan. It's not for me. Yes, the beach on the other side of my tidal creek has several loggerhead sea turtle nests. They have been carefully marked by good people who care about our good Earth. If you go near one of those nests, women with very thick ankles and wearing camper shorts will run out onto the beach yelling at you.

Cássio from Porto Alegre, Brazil

Vic, it always makes me sad when I see some topic about a team moving away from its town. How can they do that? I chose the Packers first of all because the owners are the fans. The Packers will never leave Green Bay. Please tell me I am right.

The Packers will never leave Green Bay. The Dodgers left Brooklyn, the Browns left Cleveland and the Colts left Baltimore, but the Packers will never leave Green Bay. Being left by the one you love is a sadness Packers fans will never experience. This love is forever.

Michael from Dover, WI

You have inspired the perfect Fathers' Day Gift: the family depth chart.

I love it. Every big family needs a depth chart. Get good grades, you climb the depth chart. Pee on the carpet – dogs are family, too – and down you go. Life is a performance. There is no such thing as entitlement.

Dan from Woodland, WI

I read that Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty" fame was the starting QB ahead of Terry Bradshaw at La. Tech until he quit football. The comment I read said that if Robertson hadn't have quit, Bradshaw may never have started in college, never been drafted and there would have been no Steelers dynasty in the '70s. Do you think the Steelers would have been one of the best teams without Bradshaw? How important was "The Man" in that era?

It was fate. Bradshaw got the rings and Robertson got the hit TV show. As great as the Steelers' defense was, that team wouldn't have won a Super Bowl without Bradshaw. If you don't believe me, ask Joe Greene. He was Bradshaw's biggest supporter. I always went to Joe's locker first after a game, and I can remember Joe fondly asking, "How'd you like our quarterback today?" "The Man" was every bit as important back then as he is today, but for different reasons.

Erik from Sanford, FL

Vic, have you seen players who can't perform with pads on as they perform in underwear? In other words, are there underwear league MVPs who can't do it with pads?

I covered a rookie receiver who put on a show in OTAs the likes of which I haven't seen since. He will forever be the greatest OTAs player I have ever seen. Even the coaches were speaking of him as though he would be a star in the fall. Then the season arrived and the punts he caught with ease in OTAs bounced from his grasp. He couldn't catch anything. Nerves got him. The game was too big for him.

Matt from Lincoln City, OR

If the Packers defense is elite next season, how far do you see them going?

It was No. 15 last season, and that was with the No. 21 run defense. We talked about this yesterday. I think the Packers addressed their run defense with the selections of Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez, and I think the return of Sam Barrington and the development of Jake Ryan will also contribute to a better run defense in 2016. The Packers were in a rebuild at inside linebacker last season, and in the first quarter of the first game they lost their No. 1 guy. Did we forget? I don't like the word expectations, but I don't know another word that would describe my thoughts on this year's defense. I have high expectations for it, and a strong defense would certainly help take the Packers toward their goal, but isn't the offense more at issue going into this season? That wasn't Packers offense last season.

Mark from Brookfield, WI

Vic, it's starting to warm up in the Midwest and summer is approaching. What's your rule of thumb for when to ditch the socks?

I haven't worn socks since Jan. 24. It's wonderful. Go ahead, rush the season. Take them off. Let your toes breathe.

Barry from Skokie, IL

Vic, I'm curious why you left the newspaper business?

A lot of my friends in the business were being forced to accept buyouts. The newspaper business was dying.

Julian from Las Cruces, NM

Dom Capers should have fun this year, don't you think?

If Clay Matthews' move back to the outside results in him being the Matthews of old, look out.

Kevin from Houston, TX

What do they most need to improve to make it back to the Super Bowl, besides health and luck?

The passing game needs to be the Packers' calling card. It needs to be feared.

Brian from North Fond du Lac, WI

What was it like before hydration science?

People were thinner. I didn't know water has so many calories in it.

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