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I'm back, I think; did something happen?

Young players on defense take the stage in New England


Tim from Peshtigo, WI

Watching camp videos, it appears there is very little real football being played. How much harder is it today for the personnel department to pick out the real players? It looks harder to stand out and make a name for yourself today.

Ted Thompson says it's no more difficult today than it was when he played for the Oilers, when training camps were nine weeks long and there were two-a-days in full pads every day and nine-on-seven was the definitive training camp drill. I think what Ted is saying is talent emerges on any stage. Be that as it may, coaches have to be creative to simulate real football in practices nowadays. How do you protect your players from injury but still expose their ability to play the game? Mike McCarthy is especially creative.

Kaitlyn from Wellington, CO

Since the Raiders and Rams left Los Angeles in the past, what makes the NFL think a team would last there now?

A stadium with a press box that isn't condemned and a parking lot where fans may tailgate without having high-tension wires crackling overhead.

Taylor from Temecula, CA

I'm most excited to see what Hundley can do in the preseason opener. What are you most excited about?

To see how the young players on defense perform.

Ethan from Newport, RI

Will Aaron Rodgers play this Thursday against the Patriots?

If he does, I better make sure it's not when I go back to get one of those giant pretzels, or I'll miss it. Scott Tolzien will be "The Man" on Thursday.

Maximillian from Sydney, Australia

Vic, would you agree in saying the North is the hardest division in the NFC this upcoming season?

If the Rams make the move up I expect them to make, I think the NFC West will be the best division in football. If the Vikings make the move up I expect them to make, the NFC North will challenge the NFC West.

Stephen from Cedar Falls, IA

Do you think Eddie Lacy can improve to force eight men into the box to stop the run?

He's already done that. Lacy's impact on opposing defenses has been even greater than I expected.

James from Madison, WI

How do you think the 2011 Packers season ends up if we had the running game we do now?

The Packers would've won it all.

Spencer from Cleveland, OH

Vic, given your liking of having division games late in the year, how would you feel about having all six in the last 6-8 weeks of the season?

The problem with that concept is an injury to a key player in that stretch of schedule could be too much to overcome. I'd like to see division games spread out evenly from October until the end of the season. I'd like to see them kept out of September.

Caleb from Anamosa, IA

Which defensive lineman do you think will break out this year?

Breaking out is too dramatic. Josh Boyd is the young defensive lineman who appears ready to make a significant move.

Devin from Woodland Hills, CA

After Lacy and Starks, how is the group of running backs shaping up?

Rajion Neal flashed for me in a practice last week. He has between-the-tackles quickness. He's a guy to watch in this preseason.

Aaron from Waterloo, WI

I was recently watching the Super Bowl highlights from this year and noticed the Patriots were able to break through the Seattle defense by isolating their faster running backs against Wagner on pass plays. Do the Packers watch that film and do you think Mike plans on using a package taking advantage of our receiver depth and using four-wide sets with either Cobb or Montgomery in the backfield to do the same?

You play Madden, don't you?

Jason from Fort Collins, CO

The Packers and Cowboys both brag about being "America's Team." While looking at Monday's "Ask Vic" article, I noticed that at 5 p.m. there were over 1,100 comments. After looking at the Cowboys' last seven articles, there were 0, 11, 12, 48, 30, 33 and 181 comments respectively. As comments are only a small segment to measure total traffic and engagement, all I can say is I have goosebumps.

My inbox was a very different kind of place this morning. It had more anger than usual, and it was very quirky. Did something happen while I was gone? Did I land in a parallel universe Green Bay?

Kenny from LaMoure, ND

My apologies on behalf of farmer Packers fans everywhere. I enjoy your writing and columns immensely.

I love farmers.

Justin from Milwaukee, WI

Did Ted release Mandell to make room for Aldon Smith?

That was my first thought.

Ryan from Milwaukee, WI

Are you going to watch the full 60 minutes of the Packers preseason game vs. the Patriots?

I'll probably step away to get a giant pretzel a few times.

Nate from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, with the recent scuffles in practice, is the leadership from the coaches or players themselves lacking?

I love scuffles. I'm sorry I missed them. The best teams I ever covered scuffled.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I think Adrian Peterson forgot to check his ego at the door when he said he could hang them up now and be in the Hall of Fame. I'd put Shaun Alexander ahead of him.

I agree with Peterson.

Yancey from Richlands, VA

Vic, I am sometimes blown away by fans writing in to let you have it. It seems so personal. Where does this anger come from?


Mike from Biloxi, MS

Who do you recall becoming a better player after being cut from another team?

Johnny Unitas.

Tyler from Parkersburg, WV

How many questions does it take before you finally answer one?

How many did you submit?

Paul from Nevada City, CA

Loved the Ham/Taylor analogy. Are you saying beast vs. monster as to playing style?

Drop or rush.

Jon from Warsaw, Poland

Vic, can we get a picture of you in a Steelers bumblebee throwback jersey?

It's the best beach shirt I've ever seen.

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