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Forget about preseason; the big game is here

League needs to protect the game's honor


Kyle from Spooner, WI

Vic, do you believe the signing of Robertson Daniel to our practice squad means there might still be a need for depth at cornerback? Or does Ted just want to give him a look?

He's probably a player they liked coming out of college. I believe the Packers have young depth at cornerback, but you're always looking for guys at that position.

Graham from Green Bay, WI

What do you think the Packers' identity will be for the first few games of the season?

It'll be for stopping the run, or for not stopping the run.

Raymond from Marquette, MI

I just finished reading some of the posts on the Bears webpage. Looks like someone is trying to make a big deal out of Mike McCarthy's comments at the chamber of commerce dinner. Your thoughts?

It's helping the fans get energized for this game, and that's a good thing because I'm not getting a sense of Packers-Bears excitement this week. I feel as though we're still stuck in the preseason, with all of this focus on the 53rd spot on the roster. Hey, everybody, it's Bears week! This is the big rivalry game, right?

Alex from Pocatello, ID

Vic, how does the waiver process work?

If a team wants to claim a player who's been waived, it submits a claim for him to the league. When the 24-hour waiting period has ended, the team highest in the claim order that submitted a claim for the player is awarded the player.

Austin from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, if a player on the practice squad is offered a contract from another team, does the team that currently has the player on their practice squad have the opportunity to match the offer?

Repeat after me: All practice-squad players are free agents free to sign with any team in the league. They belong to no one. You can match, offer more, offer less and promise to make him a starter in the future, etc.

John from Sun Prairie, WI

What player evaluation happens during the regular season? Does Ted Thompson's team work on this throughout the year?

Every practice is recorded on tape and players are evaluated for their performance in that practice. Evaluation is ongoing.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, why is it you completely agree with signing a veteran wide receiver in James Jones, citing an immediate need, but then you scoff at the idea of signing a veteran inside linebacker in the offseason. I don't think it's a stretch to say ILB was a bigger need for depth than WR is now. I realize who is signing your checks, but that just makes no sense to me. We have our best pass rusher playing out of position. You do the math.

OK, tell me what inside linebacker the Packers should've signed in free agency. I'll find out what his cap hit is and we'll keep a watch on his performance this year to see if he's worth the money he was paid. Put your answer in the comments section at the bottom of this column, if you'd like.

Ben from Northbrook, IL

Help me out, Vic. The Packers thought White was good enough to make the squad of 53, but when Jones was signed, he wasn't even good enough to make the practice squad, the 10th spot going to Ed Williams. What do you think the reasoning was?

You're assuming that's what happened. We don't know what happened, but it's my strong belief that if it was explained to us, we'd all say, "Oh, I get it now." A lot of factors are involved in personnel moves. Teams have a pretty good idea of who will and who won't clear waivers. If they believe a player will clear waivers, then they can always re-sign that player. Do you remember what I said about teams having a "street free agent roster"? The goal is to protect your access to as many players as possible. I wish teams explained their personnel moves, but that's never going to happen, so we have to trust the people making the moves have a plan and know what they're doing, and I think we all have that trust in the Packers' personnel department.

Roxanne from Helena, MT

What does it mean to clear waivers?

It means no team has claimed you and you are what's known as a street free agent, free to sign with any team.

Wes from Chippewa Falls, WI

Why don't the Packers get more free agents?

Because they want to sustain winning.

Beau from Lancaster, PA

Vic, from consistently reading your column, you have helped many Packers fans gain perspective … on how last season ended, free agency, the draft, the preseason, injuries, etc. But with the new season upon us, what many of us will still always struggle with is how much the results on Sunday impact our lives. You say to enjoy the drama as it unfolds, but most of us don't want the drama, we just want a win. Can you bring us some perspective?

Ask yourself what's more important, your health or a Packers win. As long as your health is the answer, everything is fine.

Ron from Tama, IA

With the signing of James Jones, do you think he will give us that deep threat that Jordy gave us?

The Packers lost a great boundary receiver when Jordy Nelson injured his knee. Jones was a very good boundary receiver during his years with the Packers. My hope is the field widened, again, when the Packers signed Jones.

Seth from Olathe, KS

The recently published ESPN article detailing the history of taping signals, etc., in New England is very disheartening. Will this turn off the casual fan?

It's just the opposite. The casual fan loves this kind of intrigue. The casual fan only cares about his or her entertainment, and these accusations of cheating have become a dirty little soap opera. It's the loyal, diehard football fan that gets turned off by these kinds of accusations. The diehard football fan loves and reveres the game, and it troubles him or her when the game's honor is smudged. The league owes its diehard fans a full effort to protect the honor of the game.

Jordan from Lino Lakes, MN

Throwing stats out the window and judging strictly by the eye test, who is the greatest quarterback you have seen play?

I think everybody knows how I feel about Johnny Unitas. Joe Montana is another quarterback I believe fits in the best-ever conversation. Aaron Rodgers said he probably needs another title to join that conversation, but I'll say this: I have never seen a quarterback move the ball more naturally and with greater ease than Rodgers does.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Mike McCarthy suggested Packers-Bears may be the best rivalry in the NFL. What would you say is the best non-divisional rivalry in the NFL? There was a time when Raiders-Steelers was an epic run of football drama. More recently, my Packers fan goggles draw me to Packers-Seahawks, or Packers-Cowboys and Packers-49ers in the Favre era. Patriots-Colts? Giants-Jets? 49ers-Seahawks?

Raiders-Steelers is the most intense and violent rivalry I have ever seen. It got to the point Pete Rozelle sent each team a letter, admonishing them and referring to their games as pure violence. Raiders-Steelers stepped outside the lines of a football rivalry. It was pure hate. Sometimes I wonder how I'd be different if I hadn't covered those games. They forced me to step back away from those games, for fear of getting too close and becoming too emotionally involved. I saw things that angered me. They took me places I didn't want to go. Packers-Bears is a wonderful rivalry, built on a long history of big games. Raiders-Steelers was short-lived and built on big hits. I've never seen anything else like it, and I don't want to ever see anything else like it.

Matt from Houghton, MI

Vic, I thought you should know. I am trying to get some of my research published and I got a comment on the manuscript saying I should "be mindful of your use of that." Just another of the many lessons you learn from reading "Ask Vic" each day.

That's great.

Carrie from San Jose, CA

What would Coach Vic's priorities be in practice this week, in order to prepare to face the Bears?

Forget about Coach Vic. Editor Vic has some advice for Packers fans: Leave the preseason and final cuts behind, and come into the regular season and one of the biggest games of the year, the Packers vs. the Bears in Chicago.

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