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Go ahead, feel good for a couple of weeks


Nick from Water Mill, NY

Your thoughts please on two things, Rodgers being rushed constantly with the pocket collapsing, and your updated feelings on Harrell as our backup QB.

Nick, from an evening filled with positives, you have focused on the only two negatives. Both need to improve.

Peggy from Bloomer, WI

Now, that's more like it. Wouldn't you agree, Vic? For me, the uneasiness has been eased.

Peggy, I think you and all of the Packers fans who spend the season consumed by fear and worry should take this opportunity to feel good, distance yourselves from your anxieties for at least the next two weeks, and prepare yourselves for the five-month endurance test ahead. Consider it a last fling of summer, a chance to be happy and carefree before subjecting yourself to the self-imposed stress and angst everyone so willingly accepts.

Randy from Washington, DC

If we keep 6-7 wide receivers, does that mean there will be more catches per game? More balls for the receivers? And how will that help if a safety gets hurt? Why can't we assume that if we cut talented receivers and then need some more in a year of two, Ted Thompson can't find more?

You can always find wide receivers. They are in great supply. The big guys, however, are tough to find. If you're going to go heavy at a position, go heavy with big guys, on the roster and on the practice squad.

Blake from Lake Charles, LA

In light of Cedric Benson's performance against the Bengals, what do you think his role will be in this offense?

I think he can be the Packers' feature running back. I think he can be the power back this team lacked last season. I keep hearing concern about how Benson will fit in the Packers offense. Who doesn't need a power running back? Nobody threw the ball more than the "Air Coryell" Chargers, but Chuck Muncie was a power back and he fit just fine with Fouts, Winslow, Joiner and company, as did Roger Craig with Montana, Rice and Taylor. Even the old "Run and Shoot" teams had power backs; "Ironhead" Heyward with the June Jones Falcons immediately comes to mind. The Cedric Benson I saw last night fits just fine with what the Packers want to do. Frankly, I think he can be a difference-maker for this team.

Mitch from Lodi, NJ

Vic, going along with the idea of buying time for the young players, do you think Erik Walden might allow the Packers to use Nick Perry in the same way the 49ers used Aldon Smith last year?

Smith was used as a pass-rush specialist because he was a little light in the pants to play against the run. Perry isn't light in the pants. He's got the anchor to hold the point against the run. Walden might be the best thing to happen to the Packers this summer because he's providing depth and competition at the feature position in Dom Capers' 3-4 defensive scheme. You can never have too many run-and-hit guys in Capers' 3-4. They are the playmakers and Walden made plays last night; frankly, he's been making plays all through camp but I think his difficulties last season cast a shadow on his career, and I salute his dedication and mental toughness in stepping out of that shadow.

Paul from De Pere, WI

If patience is a problem in the NFL, good teams should be able to take advantage of it. Have you seen players or coaches in their fifth year thrown on the junk heap, only to be discovered by the patient franchises?

You mean like Bill Belichick?

Dominic from Wausau, WI

Hey, Vic, with the new injury guidelines and the plethora of injuries, is there any chance the league will increase the team sizes?

You know what you get with big rosters? Bad preseason football, that's what. The same fans that want larger rosters are the same fans that complain about the quality of preseason football. Frankly, I think the size of rosters, when you include the eight-man practice squads, are too big.

James from Wausau, WI

That's right, you run that damn ball! Love it!

You can get help for this problem. I got help in 2004, when the NFL announced its "major point of emphasis" on the five-yard chuck rule, and it changed my life. It helped me stop writing and saying, "Run the ball and stop the run." I don't say that or write that anymore. It freed me from an outdated way of thinking and allowed me to enjoy the game. It's also making me a kinder, gentler person.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

I like what I saw. Too soon?

Too soon to heighten the expectations for the defense? Probably. But it's never too soon to identify talent, and the Packers have talent on defense, especially in the secondary, that's going to make this a better defense. Offensively, it's not too soon to expect the Packers to score a lot of points.

Greg from New Britain, CT

I think you misunderstand what regression to the mean is. Ashton isn't talking about the NFL mean. Rodgers has his own mean production. The question is whether you think Rodgers exceeded even his own mean last year.

I don't care what it means because I resist the paralysis stats will create. Here's my advice: Find the stat that says you're going to have a bad day, then go have a good day.

Rowan from Melbourne, Australia

Hey, Vic, would you agree that as good as Aaron Rodgers is, the key to the Packers winning another title is heavily dependent on establishing a consistent running game and returning to a top-15 defense?

I think an improved defense and running game would certainly help the Packers' cause, but I'm absolutely sure the Packers would have no chance of winning another title without Rodgers. What did Mike McCarthy say after last night's game? "It all starts with Aaron."

Brittany from Wilmington, DE

Vic, my husband is a diehard Packers fan and I need some advice. He gets very hyped up and angry when games don't go good, especially after the playoffs last year. With the season coming, is there anything I can do to calm him down, for his sake and mine?


Rodney from Portage, WI

If the backup quarterback position doesn't get any better, will the Packers go out and sign another quarterback?

If Ted Thompson can find a way to upgrade the roster, he'll do it. He'll do it at any position and at any time, but not at the expense of the team's future. I think he upgraded the running back position with the addition of Cedric Benson, and he did so at an acceptable cost. What if the Packers had to trade a fourth-round draft pick to acquire Benson? That's where the hesitation begins, especially for a team with a draft-and-develop philosophy. You can't develop draft picks if you're trading those picks away. I think we all need to remember that. You are what you are. You can't be that and something else, too.

Chris from Sioux Falls, SD

Vic, my friend seems to think Darrelle Revis is a better cover corner than Deion Sanders. I completely disagree. What do you think?

Revis is not only an accomplished cover corner, he's also a good tackler. Sanders couldn't tackle the water boy.

Wesley from Andover, KS

Vic, I understand and like the idea of drafting and developing players, but with players like Jones-Drew and possibly Colt McCoy up for grabs, wouldn't it make sense for the Packers to trade away injury-prone players that have natural talent for one of those more durable players? Maybe add a draft pick with the trade for added incentive?

OK, so you want to trade away an injury-prone player and a draft pick for a running back that will devastate your salary cap, at a time when you're trying to find enough cap room to keep the core of your team together? Think about that. Here's my short answer: Players, not plays, and picks, not players.

Jason from San Jose, CA

Vic, you mentioned quarterbacks coming from pro-style offenses are in high demand, such as Andrew Luck. Can you name some other colleges besides Stanford that run pro-style offenses and maybe a couple of prospects from those schools to keep an eye on in the future?

How about one? Matt Barkley from USC.

Paul from College Station, TX

With the decision of the NFLPA concerning the IR list, what can the Packers do with Bishop and House?

Desmond Bishop is likely to be placed on the injured reserve list, which means he would remain there for the year. Davon House's injury is still in the heal-and-evaluate stage. If there is an expectation that he can return to action without missing a significant portion of the season, I would expect him to stay on the active roster. It's all about how many games he would be expected to miss.

L.J. from Chicago, IL

When a player comes off the PUP list near the middle of the season, can the team still put him on IR for the remainder?

When a PUP player reaches that window in the season when a decision must be made on him, the options are for him to be placed on the active roster, injured reserve or released.

Josh from Fargo, ND

I know Anthony Hargrove, Mike Neal and Erik Walden will not count against the 53-man roster during their suspensions, but when do those suspensions technically begin?

They begin with Week 1 of the regular season, which means they begin the week leading up to the opener. Suspended players that don't count against the 53 are, in my opinion, the equivalent of an extra roster.

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