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Green's record could last a long while


The regular writer of "Ask Vic," Editor Vic Ketchman, is on vacation. Staff Writer Mike Spofford is temporarily filling in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions. Vic will resume writing his daily column on Monday, July 9.

Logan from De Pere, WI

Mike/Vic, am I the youngest one who reads your column daily? At 15, I feel like I might be.

If you told me during the school year you were reading it on your phone while simultaneously taking a biology exam and texting to get a date, then I'd be impressed.

Jeremy from Savannah, GA

Living in Georgia and wearing all the Packer gear I do, I often get mistaken for a Georgia fan (apparently they don't know the difference between green/gold and red/black). Is there any history between the two sharing the "G" that they do? I'd love to be able to have some information to share with them.

You can tell all your color-challenged neighbors that the Packers had the logo first, but they probably already knew that. It was on the Green Bay helmets in 1961, and I read once that when Vince Dooley became the head coach at Georgia in 1964, he liked the Packers helmet and wanted to incorporate the logo for Georgia with different colors. So the Packers won two NFL titles (1961-62) before the Bulldogs even had the logo, if you want to use that.

Brandon from Yucca Valley, CA

Hey Mike, is Charles Woodson the only player in NFL history to receive Defensive Player of the Year, the Heisman Trophy, a Super Bowl ring, and make Pro Bowl appearances?

To my knowledge, Woodson is the only player to win the Heisman and DPOY, so he stands alone right there. Anything else you add to the list is gravy.

Austen from Toronto, Ontario

Football used to have great nicknames, not just for players, but for lines and groups, like "The Million-Dollar Backfield." This tradition is virtually extinct, apart from the worn-out "Steel Curtain" in Pittsburgh. While my "Swiss Cheese D" never caught on for the 2011-12 season, are there any inside nicknames for groups and, if not, do you have any of your own that are hopefully less cheesy then mine? Pun intended.

I think the nickname thing has died out because, frankly, people try too hard. Everyone is so hell-bent on coming up with something clever that nothing ever catches on. Often, simpler is better. Remember those Redskins receivers who used to gather in the end zone and do a group high-five? They were called "The Fun Bunch." Or those Cincinnati Reds relievers on their 1990 World Series team, "The Nasty Boys." Those were pretty simple, and they worked. They stuck.

Rob from Fhampciang, IL

I still laugh at the story Favre told about Gado. He saw a new face in the huddle and kept trying to explain plays to him until he found out he was studying to be a doctor. Then Favre realized that Gado was probably the smartest guy on the field.

It's not often you can type a city name into Google and come up absolutely empty, so assuming you're from Champaign, maybe Gado could give you a spelling and/or typing lesson. There was never any doubt Gado was on to bigger and better things once he was done with football.

Marc from Palmer, AK

I was reading Mr. Zeller's article on Samkon Gado and it reminded me of Ahman Green's career in Green Bay. During a stretch of a few years I believe he was the most productive back in the league. How good do you think he was? Was he unfairly overshadowed by Favre as the team's quarterback and by other running backs in the league like Marshall Faulk?

I do think Green was overshadowed a bit by players like Favre and Faulk, but there were other factors, too. I hate to say it, but I think you can't discount the damage done by the fumbling issue early in his career. Fair or unfair, that always seemed to be part of the league-wide discussion with him, even when it wasn't an issue anymore (and here I am bringing it up again). Also, when he rushed for 1,883 yards in 2003, Baltimore's Jamal Lewis ran for 2,066. Green's was and still is the highest single-season rushing total ever for a player not to win the rushing title, and only Chris Johnson in 2009 (2,006 yards) has rushed for more since. Over the five-year stretch from 2000-04, Green had more rushing yards (6,848) and yards from scrimmage (9,036) than any other player in the NFL. That says plenty. Getting back to '03 and considering the state of the game almost a full decade later, the most interesting question I think with Green is how long that 1,883 yards will stand as the Packers' single-season record. When he got it, it broke Jim Taylor's 41-year-old mark of 1,474 in 1962. Green's total might last longer than 41 years. Much longer.

Simon from Mountain View, CA

Thanks Mike for expressing that opinion on fantasy football. I had the same experience a few years ago. I stopped because I didn't like how it changed my experience watching football. I couldn't imagine anything worse than hoping a Packer wouldn't score.

For me it wasn't about watching any particular team. It's when I found myself staying up to watch the last five minutes of a Monday night game when one team was ahead by four touchdowns that I realized I wasn't watching the game the way I used to enjoy.

Jeremiah from Two Rivers, WI

The Packers went heavy in offense in past drafts, and many say it caught up to them last year. This year they went heavy in defense. What do you think … will there be any decline in offense a few years from now?

Sorry, but I don't buy your premise. I realize the Packers only drafted one defensive player among their first six picks in 2011, but what "caught up" to the Packers were the significant draft investments made on defense in prior years that didn't pan out. In 2007, the Packers spent first- and third-round picks on DL Justin Harrell and S Aaron Rouse. In 2008 and 2010, second-rounders were used on CB Pat Lee and DL Mike Neal. The jury is still out on Neal, of course, as he recovers from his injuries and deals with a current four-game suspension. But none of the other three became the type of core defensive players teams hope for when they invest those types of picks. Looking at the first three rounds over that same time span, the Packers drafted NT B.J. Raji, LB Clay Matthews and S Morgan Burnett on defense. All of them have become core players. When you're a draft-and-develop team, it's the high picks that don't develop that catch up to you.

Patrick from Sandston, VA

Hey Mike, you are doing a great job filling in for Vic. I have a question about last year's defense. We missed a ton of tackles that sent me into part depression and part hilarious stupor. What is the coach's approach to correcting our tackling? (Fundamentals anyone.)

Your question has been asked a lot, and there's no way to provide even a partial answer until we get to training camp and see if the coaches are running any different types of drills. With the limitations on contact and padded workouts, practicing tackling is very difficult, but every team is in the same boat in that regard. Mike McCarthy has gone on the record, repeatedly, calling the 2011 Packers a poor tackling team. How he goes about fixing that, given the rules and limitations, will be one of the key storylines of 2012.

Patrick from Minneapolis, MN

Reggie White is said to be one of the greatest free agent signings in NFL history, but I was very young when the Packers acquired him. What can you say about fans' feelings for the signing of Reggie White for those of us who don't remember it?

White's arrival energized the fan base, for sure. He brought instant credibility to a defense that had done nothing noteworthy since the Lombardi years, and he brought immediately legitimacy to Ron Wolf's young tenure as GM. To that point, Wolf's only significant player acquisitions were drafting CB Terrell Buckley in the first round and trading another first-round pick for QB Brett Favre. Buckley was struggling under the weight of high expectations that come with being the No. 5 overall pick, and Favre had just 13 starts under his belt. White also put the franchise on the free-agent map for players who might otherwise never have considered coming to Green Bay, which in the minds of many was akin to Siberia. I seriously doubt Sean Jones and Santana Dotson sign with the Packers to fill out that vaunted front four if White's not here, and maybe Desmond Howard doesn't sign here either. White undeniably changed the landscape.

Barry from Glasgow, Scotland

Hi Mike. Have not heard much about Nick Collins. Is he still looking for a team or is he closer to hanging up his pads? I would love him to mentor our young DB's if he chooses the latter. You can't buy experience.

I have not heard a word on Collins, so I can't say whether any teams have shown interest in signing him or not, or if he's actively pursuing a contract. As for mentoring, I'm sure Collins would have plenty to offer if that's what he'd like to do, but being an assistant coach requires a major commitment, and it's not a decision any player, recently or long retired, makes on a whim. Collins has four kids, all ages 8 and younger. Knowing him, I'm sure any decision he makes will be with his entire family in mind.

Matthew from Omaha, NE

Hi Vic! Pardon if this has already been answered previously unbeknownst to me, but why only one Monday night game this year? What gives?

Because the Packers are scheduled for four Sunday night games this year, and the league has limits on how many times a single team can be on prime time in a given season. I'm not sure if the league limit is five or six, but I can tell you this: If the Packers don't get flexed out of their last two scheduled Sunday nighters in 2012 (Week 12 at N.Y. Giants and Week 14 vs. Detroit), the five prime-time games will be the most in franchise history in one year. The Packers had four each of the last two years.

Victor from Mexico City

I enjoyed your commenting about your attachment to baseball cards. I started collecting in the '50s and my prized possessions are two Sandy Koufax rookie cards in mint condition. Also I must tell you that Rodgers does rhyme with Dodgers.

I always wished my father had collected baseball cards rather than coins. He grew up in New Jersey and was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the 1950s, so I might have gotten a Koufax rookie at some point. Then again, the wrong person might have found that box in the garage, too. Any package of 1980s rookie cards of HOFers I can put together to trade for one of those Koufaxes? Didn't think so.

George from Hutchinson, MN

So Mike, you still have one more week as the mini-me of that mad scientist of the gridiron known as Dr. Vic. You've done an admirable job as the de-facto interim of this stellar column and must know that your columns are also well-received. So hold your head up, get your raise and you too can afford a house where the gators roam.

In the interest of full disclosure, I paid George to say that. But I'll pass on the gator-neighbor idea, thanks.

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