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Fast start or don't get injured?

He's going out back to the veteran WR tree


Vincent from Seattle, WA

Vic you stated, "That's what you missed if you never played the game." Indeed! When I went to my 40-year high school reunion, I was able to walk into the old locker room, and that unique football smell overtook my nostrils. It flooded me with great memories.

Sometimes I get a brief whiff of it, but I think it's just my memory playing tricks on me.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, is conditioning one of the issues we see in the quality of September football? Does it take a little time for starters to fully transition from playing one quarter to four at full speed?

Yeah, but it's a different kind of conditioning than the aerobic kind we see at training camp. I remember coaches referring to it as "getting into hitting shape." I haven't heard those words used in a long time, but I still believe in them. It's not just about getting accustomed to hitting and being hit by others, it's also about hitting the ground. Players are encouraged to stay off the ground in practices, so when they begin hitting the ground in real games, and doing it for four quarters, they develop a new kind of fatigue and soreness. I don't know why that goes away later in the season, but it does.

Giles from Isleworth, UK

Vic, as a Steelers fan, what is your view on Michael Vick joining the Steelers? Would the Packers have signed him if they had the same issue? Would it reveal any differences between the two teams?

I don't like what I think you might be suggesting, not because it offends the Steelers, but because it offends Vick and the Packers.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

I understand you are not a fan, but do you look at Madden ratings for comparison purposes or any other reason, or are they completely irrelevant to you?

I wouldn't know where to buy Madden or where to put it in. In fact, that picture of Aaron Rodgers on two days ago made me laugh. Was that from the Madden wax museum?

John from East Meadow, NY

How has Christian Ringo looked in this camp? I thought he had potential to be the next Mike Daniels but haven't heard much about him.

I like him. I like his grit and pad level. Ringo reminds me of a guy I covered named Garry "Stumpy" Howe. He was 6-1, 298, and he played low and hard. Ringo is also 6-1, 298, and I think he's going to play low and hard, too.

Pete from Perham, MN

Preseason game three is typically a game in which the starters play the entire first half. There is also a very strong need for more playing time and cohesion between Aaron Rodgers and his receivers, with the only exception being Randall Cobb. Why, then, would Rodgers possibly not play this weekend? How does that help to grow a bond and trust between these receivers and their QB? I don't buy into the notion he isn't playing so he can avoid injury. It could just as easily happen in practice.

I don't know if he's going to play or not. What I know is this: Everybody in this league lives in mortal fear of preseason injuries. Here's the part that really drives me nuts: It's OK to get injured in practice, but not in a preseason game. Aren't preseason games practice?

Kevin from Neptune, NJ

I understand the Packers want to evaluate the young quarterbacks, but wouldn't it make sense to have a more consistent quarterback in the game, like Rodgers or Tolzien, in order to effectively evaluate the young receivers? Evaluating those receivers appears to be more important at this point than evaluating the third and fourth quarterbacks.

Here's what I think is important: Get the preseason over with as soon as possible. Let's move on to the regular season and stop obsessing on playing time for starters. I just want this to end so we can talk about players playing, instead of talking about players not playing.

Hank from Chula Vista, CA

"The delicious scent of your own half-dried sweat." Priceless.

I'm a romantic.

Paul from Middleton, WI

Vic, with the possibility of Aaron not playing the last two preseason games, will practice be enough for the young receivers to gain his trust?

Coach, there's only one practice left in training camp. It is what it is. It's almost time to play.

Warren from Charlotte, NC

Vic, what contractual responsibilities does a player have when he's injured for the season? Is it a rehab/vacation, or does he still have team duties?

A player on injured reserve is still on a team's roster, so a team can require him to stay with the team. The only real difference between an active player and an IR player is the IR player cannot participate in practices or games.

Tom from River Falls, WI

Let's get back to the Buckets Goldenberg era. With leather helmets, players would no longer lead with their helmets. The worst injuries would be broken noses, split lips, black eyes and a toothless smile.

I'll betcha Buckets didn't know what an ACL is.

Andrew from Iowa City, IA

Do you hold Eddie Lacy out the rest of the preseason since he is now more important than ever?

It's a thought. Here's the yin and yang of it: If you don't play your top players, they don't get hurt, but do they get ready for the start of the season? The same people who would blame the coach for playing a starter in the preseason if the player got hurt, will blame the coach for getting off to a slow start if not playing the player in the preseason left him unprepared to begin the season.

Kevin from Glasgow, Scotland

Vic, I have read very little about B.J Raji's comeback from injury during the preseason. Do you expect B.J. to be the starting nose tackle following Letroy Guion's three-game suspension? Does Mike Pennel have a bigger role to play now?

I would expect Raji to be the Packers' starting nose tackle on opening day, and I suspect Pennel and Josh Boyd will each have to play bigger roles in the Packers defense on opening day, what with Guion and Datone Jones each not available for the game in Chicago. This is not a little thing. Matt Forte awaits.

Brandon from Racine, WI

Vic, I couldn't care less about the Atrium, the Packers Hall of Fame, the new district. What I care about is the product on the field. I understand a better infrastructure and brand means more revenue, but at what point do we say the Packers have enough money to start spending on free agency? This tight wallet approach is getting ridiculous. We have one of the best QBs ever and he's in his prime and his number one receiver just went down for the year before a single meaningful game was played. It's time we patch someone in and take a hit to the bank.

I want you to go out back to the veteran wide receiver tree and pick one. Tell me who you've picked. In fact, announce your selection in the comments section at the bottom of the column. Only give us one name; you can only sign one. We'll follow his progress throughout the season. This is your chance to show the Packers how to do it.

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