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How good can Randall Cobb be?


Charles from Statham, GA

In your opinion, what is it that makes a stadium or city an intimidating place to play?

Two ingredients are necessary to make a place intimidating: enthusiastic fans and a stadium that amplifies noise. The Packers certainly have enthusiastic fans, but Lambeau Field doesn't amplify noise as other stadiums in the league do. The reason is that Lambeau is an open-air bowl in which the noise goes up and out. There's nothing to hold the noise in. Upper decks will do that; noise will get caught underneath them. Partial roofs on upper decks provide the same noise lid. Lambeau has no lid, but the new south end zone seating structure will create a couple of lids at that end of the field and it'll also provide a wall to stop noise from going out of that end of the stadium. High and tight; that's the configuration that promotes noise and the new seating in the south end zone is going to be high and tight.

Kevin from Jacksonville, FL

Vic, did I spot you at the airport in Chicago wearing your khakis and Chuck Taylors?

You did. I never leave home without them. You should've stopped and said hello.

Lee from Niland, CA

You were kidding about 5-2 and 109 pounds, weren't you? My wife has you by 50 pounds and she's only 4-10.

Can she pull and trap?

Josh from Los Angeles, CA

What are the chances Ted Thompson trades up in this year's draft since they received those four compensatory picks?

Compensatory picks may not be traded, but compensatory picks provide ammunition for teams to trade their own picks, and I fully expect "Trader Ted" to work the phones in this draft. Those two fours are the key picks. Fours are great trade picks. They're high enough for teams to want them, but low enough not to create significant numerical value angst.

Jesse from Anoka, MN

Given the fact you believe we were one pass rusher short last year, do you believe not drafting Brooks Reed could be perceived as a mistake?

It's never a mistake, in my opinion, to draft the best available player, which I have no doubt Derek Sherrod was on the Packers' board when they selected him with the 32nd overall pick. Could the Packers have used Reed last year? Absolutely. Discipline, however, must be maintained. Obviously, had they picked Reed instead of Sherrod, the Packers would've been picking for need, not value, and that's just not their philosophy. That doesn't mean Reed won't turn out to be the better player, it just means BAP teams must discipline themselves to trust their evaluations and their rankings if they truly believe in the philosophy of drafting the best available player.

Keith from St. Louis Park, MN

Vic, of the drafts Ted has headed since his arrival, which round has provided us with the most talent?

You are what you draft in the first two rounds; that's the way it is for all teams because the first two rounds are the money rounds. If you strike out in those rounds, your roster and your salary cap are going to be full of dead wood and dead money. Ted Thompson has selected Aaron Rodgers, Nick Collins, A.J. Hawk, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews, Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb in the first two rounds. They've all gone on to become stars, starters or stars of the future. You're always going to have misses, but they have to be kept to a minimum in the first two rounds, and you better draft some star players in those rounds because in many cases you're going to be paying them at the star level. Thompson has drafted stars.

Chadd from Antigo, WI

I've been reading some stuff on a few draft prospects and Kendall Reyes from Connecticut has caught my eye. Did you happen to see much of him at the Senior Bowl practices? He apparently looked really good there.

He was sensational at the Senior Bowl. I thought he was the dominant defensive lineman at the Senior Bowl. He clearly outplayed Quinton Coples. Reyes is thought to be more of a three-technique tackle in a 4-3, not a 3-4 defensive end.

Tim from Denver, CO

Angst is a funny emotion for fans to deal with. I feel a lot of angst with our fans feeling the Packers are blowing their chances if they don't make a move. At what phase of building a championship team do the fans feel the most angst? Rebuilding? At their peak? The back slide?

Rebuilding usually introduces a kind of resignation or calm. It's understood that returning the team to playoff contention is going to take some time, therefore, expectations are lowered. The back slide introduces a degree of panic and, ultimately, resignation that the run is over. The peak years are the anxiety years because this is the time to win titles and every postseason loss represents a season lost.

Ryan from Cottage Grove, WI

How much value do the two seventh-round compensatory picks offer?

They give a team a head start on undrafted free agency. Instead of having to compete with another team for a player in undrafted free agency, all you have to do is pick him and he's yours. Dave Tollefson was a seventh-round compensatory pick.

Justin from Milltown, WI

Vic, this is the NFL. All the players are big, fast and strong. Why is there such a large fluctuation in success between two seemingly identical players?

It can be that one player has a stronger will, but I also believe all NFL players are serious about their careers.  Usually, it's that one-step advantage one player has over the other that makes the difference. It might be that one player is just a step faster, or it might be that one player has a better sense of anticipation for what's going to happen and that makes him a step faster. Instincts are critical to success on the football field. Great players have great instincts; they can feel what's going to happen.

Brian from Sparta, WI

There has been no accountability on the defensive side of the ball. Why should there be any improvement if there are no consequences?

This isn't crime and punishment, it's a game. This new-age corporate attitude that success must be achieved or else really turns me off. I don't like that kind of attitude in fans. I think those fans have lost their feel for the game. True appreciation of football goes way beyond hanging championship banners on a stadium wall. A true appreciation of the game includes an appreciation for the game's human confrontation. That's where the joy, the fulfillment is. You get knocked down, you get back up and try again. Has that been replaced by you get knocked down, you get fired?

Jimmy from Milwaukee, WI

If the Packers sign Hargrove and Tollefson, along with the already added Muir, does this shift the focus of the draft and free up the possibility of trading up for someone like Peter Konz? Or are these signings more of a security blanket and do they just proceed with drafting those positions, even though they will seem to be stabilized?

I've had more than a couple of scouts and draftniks tell me it's not a good year for defensive ends, 4-3 or 3-4 ends. It's a good year for tweeners, but not ends, I've been told. Maybe that's the reason the Packers have turned their attention toward the defensive line in free agency. What we must accept about defensive ends in a 3-4 scheme is that they are not featured players; they do the heavy lifting so the linebackers can rush the passer. You can find heavy lifters in second-tier free agency.

Wally from Madison, WI

I've never understood why it's called a 3-4 defense. It's more like a 5-2 to me. There are five players on the line of scrimmage and whether or not the player has his hand in the dirt doesn't change things to me.

A pro 34 is a college 52 except that the outside linebackers are usually a step off the line in the 34, as opposed to the ends in a 52 being on the line and, possibly, with a hand on the ground. In terms of design, I think the two defenses are nearly identical. Hugh Green and Rickey Jackson were bookend, stand up ends in a college 52. They went on to play outside linebacker in the NFL. The transition is seamless. A 52 has a nose guard, two tackles and two ends. The next time you look at the Packers when they're in their 34 base, consider the nose tackle to be a nose guard, the two ends to be tackles and the two outside linebackers to be ends and you'll be looking at a college 52.

Kelsey from Peebles, OH

I see how you always say good players would be good players in any era, but I disagree. Today the rules are geared towards offense and the effect has been the proliferation of spread attacks and the disappearance of running games and defense. I can't imagine a receiver like DeSean Jackson, despite his tremendous talent and speed, being able to last long playing against the Mel Blounts and Ronnie Lotts of the world. Engaging receivers and no protecting of defenseless receivers would make life a lot harder for him, wouldn't it?

I think I said great players would be great players in any era; at least, that's what I should've said. Blount is the proof of it. He was a great player in the bump-and-run era, and he was still a great player in the final years of his career, after the rules changes of 1978 ended the bump-and-run era and put us into the chuck-rule era.

Jamie from Dresden, ME

I have visions of Randle Cobb becoming the Packers' Wes Welker. Do you think this is in the making?

I think he can be better than Welker.

Robert from Harvel, IL

If you were a football coach, would you be an offensive or defensive-minded coach?


Grant from Darlington, WI

If Bert Sugar was a romantic in the world of boxing, who would you consider to be romantics of football?

I loved Will McDonough's work. He had a great feel for the heart of the game. He had a good right hand, too. Ask Raymond Clayborn.

Keith from Jacksonville, FL

I remember that game back in 2004. Donovin Darius will never be hated more by a Packer. How much would he be fined today?

He was ejected from the game and fined $75,000 for his clothesline hit on Robert Ferguson. I was stunned by the severity of the fine. That's when I began to realize the game was changing. In the 1970s, there may not have even been a penalty.

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