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How many pass-catchers can the Packers keep?


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.

Lee from Pickering, Ontario

Are you surprised by the volume of questions you are reading? Vic says he reads every one, and are you keeping up?

I'm not surprised, but since my assignment was to carry on this column in Vic's spirit, yes, I have been reading every one. I appreciate all the feedback, and as I said last week, I wish I could answer more questions than I do.

Jake from West Hollywood, CA

Hey Mike, I asked Vic this question and got no response. About a month ago there was a lot of hoopla about the Packers possibly having 11 receivers between wide receivers and tight ends, etc. Is this possibility really that far-fetched seeing as the league has become a passing league and the Packers have the most dominant offense in the NFL? In my mind it seems that adding more receiving personal would be beneficial, making it more difficult for the opposing team to defend against.

It's not out of the question. The Packers had 10 last year (five WR, five TE), and I could see a 7-4 combination this year, particularly if Andrew Quarless has to begin the season on PUP. How many of those 11 you could afford to have active on gameday is another question. But, barring injuries making the decisions, I don't think the final calls will have as much to do with league trends as the quality of the football players that would have to be exposed to waivers, regardless of position.

Rick from Appleton, WI

Hi Mike, I was lucky enough to live in the Phoenix area the year we played the Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs. I went to the playoff game as well as the last game of the year. Although I was happy to witness the regular season last game win, I have to say the playoff game was the best football game I ever attended. By the beginning of the fourth quarter the crowd had a collective 'Oh my gosh' look on their faces standing there witnessing two of the greatest QBs ever make unbelievable throw after unbelievable throw. I don't think there was a defense that could have changed the outcome of that game. Were you wearing that same 'Oh my gosh' look?

I don't know what kind of look I had on my face because I was furiously updating the website with every score. I disagree with your contention about a defense not changing the outcome, because I recall a ton of missed tackles by both teams. It was great offense, but it was poor defense, too. I knew as it was unfolding that I was watching a game that would go down as one of the most memorable playoff contests in history. More important, the way Rodgers bounced back from that first interception and rallied his team on the road like that, I knew I was watching the development of a championship quarterback, as gut-wrenching as the ending was. Maybe because of how gut-wrenching the ending was.

Joe from Minneapolis, MN

In every decade, there has been a repeat champion. What are the 2-3 teams you see having a chance from 2010-2020?

The way this game goes, I think the odds are far greater that there won't be a repeat champion in the next decade. The Packers won the Super Bowl and then went 15-1 and didn't repeat, and five years ago the Giants won it and went 14-2 (correction, 12-4; thanks Eric87 in the comments below) and didn't repeat, so that's pretty good evidence. If you're going to make me pick some candidates, I will go with teams whose quarterbacks are heading into or in the middle of their prime years, and the Packers, Lions and Ravens are the first three that come to mind. All those teams have holes, of course. If Alex Smith continues to develop, maybe the 49ers are added to that short list. But it's hard enough to win one championship, let alone go back-to-back, and there's no guarantee any of those teams I mentioned will win one in the next decade to even give themselves a chance to repeat.

Ron from Flushing, NY

Hi Vic, someone once told me that Jim Brown never rushed for more than 100 yards in a game against Vince Lombardi's Packers. Would you know if this is true?

Yes, it is true. According to Brown's game logs on (a great statistical site), he played against Lombardi's Packers three times and never hit 100 yards. In 1961, he had 16 carries for 72 yards in a 49-17 Packers win in Cleveland. In 1964, he had 20 carries for 74 yards in a 28-21 Packers win in Milwaukee. And in the 1965 NFL Championship, he had 12 carries for 50 yards in a 23-12 Packers win at Lambeau Field. Altogether, that's 48 carries for 196 yards, or 4.1 per carry. Pretty good over three games against a guy who averaged 5.2 yards per carry for his career.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Mike, you have recently been talking about the "Mount Rushmore" of quarterbacks. Don't you think it should be called "Mount Passmore" instead?

I'm not sure whether to give you a rim shot or just groan (maybe both), but no way Vic would even print that, so you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

Ron from Rockford, IL

It is interesting to me that the defensive players the Packers drafted are more 4-3 type guys. Perry, Worthy, Daniels, Manning. Could it be that Capers is looking to run a hybrid defense that sometimes uses 4-3 concepts or is that just how their draft board worked out? Is the fact that the Pack didn't pick up a 330-pound run stuffer a statement about the league becoming so pass-oriented?

Considering the Packers use their base 3-4 alignment far less than they use their 4-2 nickel front, I think too much is made of 3-4, 4-3, etc. with this team. Perry looks the part at outside linebacker in this scheme – he's athletic enough to rush the passer off the edge and stout enough to stop the run. Same goes for Worthy and Daniels, except they're rushing from the inside in the nickel, just like they did in college. That's why the Packers picked them. As for the run stuffer, your point is well-taken, and the Packers already have B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett on the roster, plus they signed Daniel Muir before the draft as a potential backup nose. Remember, though, that Raji wasn't drafted as just a run stuffer, and he's got 9 ½ sacks over the last two years.

Drew from Dubuque, IA

Mike, what's this nonsense about divided allegiance? I, too, attended Bears camp in Platteville as a lad, but had the good taste to do so with the appropriate level of contempt. Youthful indiscretion is one thing, but this type of miscegenation is more than a little troubling to me.

It was timing, both Chicago's and mine. The first summer the Bears came to P-ville was 1984. I was 11 and they went to the NFC Championship. The next year, they won the Super Bowl, and P-ville was over-run by ESPN cameras and the like the following year. Like I said before, I was young and impressionable. Chasing down Jim McMahon on his moped and Mike Ditka on his golf cart for autographs, and having them look at you impressed with a pre-teen's diligence and enthusiasm for the pursuit, what can I say? Don't worry, my wife will vouch for me that I've outgrown the allegiance.

Travis from Plymouth, MN

About a month ago, I was listening to some local Green Bay sports talk and they were discussing Aaron Rodgers' contract status. The guest was asked how the Packers can afford the contract they will need to give Rodgers, and the guest said no team can afford it, but they have to get the contract done at some point. I understand that the Packers can't afford not to sign Rodgers no matter what the price, but it made me think (scary I know). If a team has to pay such a large contract to the quarterback, does it concentrate the window for success to the years a quarterback is on the rise (with a smaller contract) allowing other players to be paid? It just made me think about how critical cap management and the business side of football is to the success of the organization over time. Your thoughts?

You just explained why Ted Thompson and Russ Ball are way above my pay grade. Their job is to keep that window of success open as often and for as long as possible, but no way is that easy. You also just explained why a popular pastime is called "fantasy" football.

Jake from Tucson, AZ

Hey Mike, great job on the column. Being from a younger generation than Vic, do ever play Madden? Also, how do you feel about how the video game has affected the real game?

No, I don't play Madden. Tried it a long time ago and it seemed fun, but it never became one of my hobbies, so I don't know enough about it to speak on its larger impact. To fend off the follow-up question, no, I don't play fantasy football either. Again, I tried it a long time ago for a few years and had my share of success, but it started to affect how I watched and enjoyed the game, so I gave it up. When I felt myself getting too tied up in which player was going to score from the 1-yard line, and whether or not a QB was going to throw a late, garbage-time touchdown when his team was down by 20, I got out, and I'm glad I did. That's not what I wanted to care about while watching the game, but that's just me.

Tim from Albuquerque, NM

Did the Patriots break an unwritten rule when they picked up Jake Ballard from the Giants the way they did or did the Giants miscalculate the situation? Could there be a message from the hooded one in that move?

I think the Giants miscalculated, and I'm not sure what they were really gaining by exposing Ballard to waivers if they wanted him back (which apparently they said they did). His contract isn't big, it was one roster spot out of 90, and all they needed to do was keep him on the 90-man until they could put him on PUP at the start of training camp. He never would have had to count on the final 53-man roster if his knee injury wasn't going to allow him to play this year. If there was a message from Belichick, it's that he loves the offense he's got with multiple tight ends on almost every snap, and if Ballard comes back healthy in 2013, then the Patriots have a third proven tight end to guard against losing Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski to injury or free agency.

Jacob from Green Bay, WI

Do you know if the Packers will be doing anything for their 100th anniversary coming up in a couple years? A new alternate jersey or at least a patch would be cool. Also, is there an "Ask Mike" hall of fame? Just wondering!

I have no knowledge of anything specific for the 100th anniversary of the team, but the Packers wore a patch to commemorate their 75th season in 1993 and a Lambeau Field 50th anniversary patch in 2007, so I'm sure the organization won't let the centennial go unrecognized. As for a hall of fame, I'll have to ask Vic (pun intended) how many columns it takes before I'm officially allowed to establish one. If it takes a player five years of retirement to be eligible for Canton, I don't think I should be able to establish my own hall in two weeks, do you?

Jason from Summerville, SC

How do you feel about playbooks being transferred from paper to iPads? What about the potential of hackers accessing them?

Trust me, a security breach around here should be the least of your concerns. I couldn't even access the inbox with these questions from my home computer without typing at least three different passcodes. I think the iPad playbooks make all the sense in the world. If a player loses one, it can be erased remotely. You couldn't do that with the big binders of paper, as hard as they would be to lose. So the info is probably more secure now, in all reality.

Sam from La Crosse, WI

So I noticed as soon as Editor Ketchman leaves, the site went through a redesign. Was that in fact by design? Vic leaves prior to any bugs with the new site? Just a thought (haha). Keep up the good work, Mike.

We were thinking of rearranging Vic's office while he was gone, but we decided it would be more fun to rearrange the home page instead. Keep him guessing. Actually, the funny thing is we were going to launch the redesign before Vic left, but we hit some snags. When Vic disappeared, the snags magically did, too. We're pretty sure that's not a coincidence.

Eric from Sylvania, OH

I remember that season with Gado very clearly. I remember liking him for his name, then his gritty performances. I will always consider him a part of the Packers family!

My first season here was in 2006, and throughout that summer Samkon Gado couldn't have been nicer to a new guy hanging around the locker room. Then I realized he treated everybody around here the same way, as a friend and in a first-class manner. He's a special guy, and I'll never forget him, even though I only knew him for about four months before he was traded. In case you missed it, here's the “Where are they now?” story from over the weekend on Gado.

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