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I'll be cheering for the Packers to win

The big day is here; who will the Packers pick?


Chris from Voorhout, Netherlands

Do you think the Packers will trade up at all this year?

This draft has more big-name players who are said to have fallen than any draft I can remember. If that is indeed the case, then I think the possibility exists that teams will want to trade back into a round to grab a guy before he goes off the board. Damontre Moore, for example, is a player who, before the combine, was being talked about for the second overall pick. Now, it's thought that he's fallen to the bottom of the first round. If he has, I could see a team trying to get back into the first round to nab Moore. Ted Thompson did that when he drafted Clay Matthews.

Jimmy from New Richmond, WI

I think the media hypes up the draft way too much. I believe I read something not too long ago about how few draftees stay in the NFL beyond a couple of years. Do you think that it gets hyped more than it should be just for ratings?

The media gives its audience what it wants. Questions at press conference about players' injuries bore me to tears because I know coaches do everything they can not to answer the question, but the questions keep coming. Why? Because the fans want to hear coaches not answer the question. It's the fantasy football thing, I guess. When ESPN, a new network at that time, announced that it was going to televise the draft live, we laughed. We couldn't imagine how they would fill the time and who would watch, but fill the time they did and look at the ratings. It's impossible to overhype the draft. I'm already getting questions about next year's draft. Don't blame it on the media.

Ryan from Two Rivers, WI

Vic, could you please provide some insight on why the Packers decided to release D.J. Smith?

I had heard last season that his injury was career-threatening. It was obviously a severe injury and it pains me that such a promising career has taken such a hit. Smith is my kind of player, a hell for leather guy who came to work with dents in his lunchbox and a smile on his face. It's a game of replacement, folks.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

I just watched the ESPN "30 for 30" film, "Elway to Marino," about the 1983 NFL draft and the drama surrounding the quarterbacks. What do you remember about that draft?

I remember the team I was covering passing on the local kid, Dan Marino, and I remember looking around the press room at faces whose expressions seemed to agree with what I was thinking: That's a mistake they'll regret for 10 years.

Jacob from Eyota, MN

After you questioned the greatness of the Lombardi-era Packers, can we put to bed the belief that you're just a mouthpiece for the franchise?

I wasn't attempting to question their greatness. I was attempting to create an appreciation for what's happening in this era. The Lombardi Packers are one of the greatest crunch-time football teams in pro football history. When the postseason light went on, they got it done, and that's my kind of team. The "Ice Bowl" helped form my football personality. I love everything about that Packers team, but I don't like the idea of this Packers team being held to imaginary standards.

Calvin from Seattle, WA

What's the max roster size that teams can have after the NFL draft? Do you suppose that is contributing to the decision to release Saine and Smith?

When offseason rosters were at 80, draft picks didn't count against the roster until they signed a contract. When offseason rosters were expanded to 90, draft picks began to count against the roster. So, the roster at this time of the year is 90 and draft picks count against it.

Patrick from New York, NY

Long-time reader; love your column. I don't have a question today, I just wanted to thank you for your honesty and fascinating historical insight in the final answer of (yesterday's) column.

We are living through one of the great eras in Packers history. It's happening right now, folks, and I suspect it's going to continue for several years. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Treasure it, because too often you don't know what you got 'til it's gone.

Brandon from Morris, IL

Vic, when you talk about the value of your pick, are you referring to the amount of money the player is going to make?

No, I'm talking about where the player you've picked fit on your board. If you always pick from the top of your board, then you have achieved maximum value in the draft. When you trade back and acquire an extra pick or picks, you recoup the value of your original pick and then add more value, hopefully, with the extra pick or picks you received in the trade. Value, value, value; in my opinion, the draft is all about value. When you trade up, you usually lose numeric table value, so you better make sure you hit a home run with the player you pick, because it's the only way of adding value with that kind of trade. With Clay Matthews, Ted Thompson hit a home run. I love the draft because it's full of suspense. It's a crystal ball business.

Jim from Iberia, MO

While I agree that today's NFL is very different than the days of old, I would caution against disrespecting the '60s Packers. You know how us fans are and I'm sure you are used to making us angry, but that one could cost you your job. I hope Jacksonville will take you back because I have a feeling your days are numbered in Green Bay.

The truth isn't the pure defense?

Collin from Radford, VA

Vic, if you could select one player in history that epitomizes the Packers organization, who would it be?

It's Bart Starr. In my opinion, he's "Mr. Packer." In my opinion, the fan base has literally taken on his personality, and that's a good personality to have because everything about Bart Starr is admirable.

Chris from Marathon, WI

What you said about the Lombardi Packers reminded me of the old joke. How many Packers fans does it take to change a light bulb? Eleven. One to get a new bulb and 10 to talk about how much better the old one was.

And I love that about Packers fans. I love an appreciation for the past, but that doesn't mean we have to make it out to be more than what it was. The 1960s were a tumultuous time in pro football history. One league was trying to crush the other and a lot of teams went into survival mode. The Bears were one of them. George Halas was a frugal man and he saw the dangers the emergence of the AFL was creating. Halas, Rooney, Mara, Brown and the Bidwills didn't have the kind of financial resources young Lamar Hunt did. Hunt lost a million dollars in his first year as owner of the Dallas Texans. When reporters questioned Hunt's father about his son's losses, the father said that at that rate his son would only be able to own the team for a hundred years. The AFL had some deep-pocket owners, and that was scary to the hard-scrabble owners of the NFL. Through all of that turmoil, Lombardi's Packers gave the NFL consistency. They were the glue that held the NFL together in its war with the AFL. That's why the Super Bowl trophy bears Lombardi's name. If you wanna talk about that, fine, but I don't live in fantasyland.

Dustin from Muncie, IN

ESPN did a mock draft where the sportswriters from each city picked the players. Packers selected S Matt Elam from Florida. What are your thoughts on him and if you were the one making the pick, who would you take?

He's a tough, hard-hitting safety. He's a sure tackler who is said to be more of an in-the-box player than a downfield defender. He reminds me a lot of Jerron McMillian. I'm leaning more toward a big-guy pick.

Jakob from Memphis, TN

Vic, when you leave Green Bay for retirement, a new job or whatever causes you to leave, will you be a Green Bay fan? You tell it like it is, which I love, but we all move on sooner or later. On Sundays, who will be that team you secretly cheer to win?

Absolutely, I'll be cheering for the Packers to win. I don't understand why fans struggle with this so much. I'm going to cheer for the Packers and the Jaguars and the Steelers. You don't cover a team without developing a fondness for them. I came to Green Bay because it was a great opportunity to cover big games, and that's exactly what I've been covering for two years; big game after big game after big game. I wanted that one more time in my career, and I love the Packers for giving it to me. I love the big-game atmosphere Packers fans create in Lambeau Field. One day, I wanna sit in the grill room after a round of golf and watch a Packers game and tell my friends stories about covering the Packers, and I wanna do the same when the Jaguars are on TV and when the Steelers are on TV. What am I missing that is creating this disconnect? Do I lie awake at nights asking myself, "Who do I love?" No, I don't do that. I like my perspective. It allows me to enjoy what I do. I don't plan any changes.

Scott from Orwell, OH

Vic, I have enjoyed reading your articles for the last two years, but the all-time bonehead opinion of your career has to be what you said about the '60s Packers. It shows you still just don't get what it means to be a Packer and a Packers fan, but I forgot, you're not a fan, you're a reporter. Do you need the doctor to adjust your medication? Are you in the process of packing up things in your office?

I understand that what you've written is meant to hurt me, but it doesn't. Why not? Because I'm a reporter.

Matt from Lisle, IL

Vic, it's draft day. Are you wearing your lucky khakis? Who do you realistically hope is still on the board at No. 26?

Yes, I'm wearing khakis. Don't believe me? Come to the draft party tonight and find out. Jarvis Jones.

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