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In the Aaron Rodgers era, the time is now

What did you think of the U.S. Open?


Weston from Lake Geneva, WI

How would you define what a casual fan is?

It's someone without a strong rooting interest. You can be a fan of football without being a fan of a team. I watched the golf on Sunday without rooting for a player. I'm just a fan of golf.

Jacob from Madison, WI

It's a shame the course conditions overshadowed the U.S. Open, cheating the viewers of a decisive playoff on Monday. The course became a distraction, as putts veered and literally jumped off course. Do such shoddy conditions diminish the game or challenge true greatness to overcome adversity?

The player who won the first major of the year just won the second major of the year. In my mind, that says the best players will find a way to win.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Do half-line drills make it easier to evaluate players?

Of course they do. Half-line drills are real football. It's the reason I believe the Senior Bowl is a better venue for evaluating talent than the combine. The combine is gym class; the Senior Bowl is real football.

Rob from Elkhorn, WI

What did you think of this year's U.S. Open?

The golf was fantastic; everything else wasn't fantastic. My complaint with the course is I couldn't see the ball or the hole. In the USGA's quest to play golf on fast, dry courses, it's neglected the visual impact on TV viewers. Chambers Bay was a visual disaster. As for the telecast, I missed Johnny Miller terribly. He would not have held back on his opinion of the course and the condition of the greens. What bothered me most about the coverage is the hatchet job they did on Bill Horschel. He's an opinionated guy and, for that reason, they did a post-round interview with him. They almost predicted he would be hard on the greens. So, they interview him and he goes off. After the interview, they go off on Horschel. I didn't like that. In my mind, when you ask a guy for his opinion and he honors your request by giving you a truthful answer, not spin, you owe him; you should have his back. The truth is the pure defense and Horschel's comments were spot on.

Tony from Lancaster, PA

Being a man with a healthy distrust for statistics, what do you feel about the passer rating stat? To me, it is one of the few stats I put any faith in; I find it consistently agrees with what my eyes tell me.

It's a good indicator of a quarterback's performance. The one thing I don't like about it is it tends to overweight interceptions, and that bothers me as it would apply to an end-of-the-half, inconsequential "Hail Mary" interception.

Stein from Fairmont, NC

I just read an article in which Dr. John York said it could be a real possibility the NFL could stop using helmets. He also said the first step would be to eliminate the three-point stance. I'm 49. Is this possible in my lifetime? I hope not.

I can see the day when three- and four-point stances are forbidden, but the helmet isn't going away. It's a protection device when used properly, and protection is a big part of player safety. The NFL's challenge is to teach players to use the helmet properly. That'll be accomplished over a long period of time, as young players who've been taught to play the game safely replace older players from football's culture of violence.

Isaac from Carrboro, NC

Vic, you wrote recently the screen pass is intended to beat attacking defenses. Is that true of wide receiver screens on the boundary, as well, or do they have a different function?

Wide receiver screens are intended to tighten the coverage. Hit them short to bring them up, and then double-move them to hit them deep.

Mark from Lafayette, CO

Vic, if you were going to use one word as a motto for this team in this season, what would it be? Mine is urgency.

Mine is now. I think we're seeing the Packers at the peak of the Aaron Rodgers era. The time is now.

John from Kirkland, WA

With an emphasis on starting fast, do you risk peaking too soon?

There's nothing wrong with starting fast, as long as you don't compromise player evaluation. It's the most important function of training camp and the preseason, especially for a draft-and-develop football team. The personnel decisions that'll be made this summer will have a long-term impact on the future of this franchise.

Dave from Santa Maria, CA

I would prefer to see two of the preseason games deleted and have them replaced with two or more practice sessions against other teams. Not to mention the ticket prices are high for what is delivered.

How are you going to replace that ticket revenue? Forget about it. Money always wins.

Scott from Watertown, SD

Vic, I've always thought one of the best measures of a good roster is how many players you can't keep make it with another team. Your thoughts?

I don't think that's true in today's game. You start with 90 players and you finish with 53 on your final roster and eight on your practice squad. After you put a few players on injured reserve, you've pretty much kept the players you identified as keepers.

Jeff from Superior, WI

Vic, do any of the players stay in Green Bay to work out during the six weeks off, or are the facilities closed to players?

The facilities are open, but most players go home during the "Dead Zone" period. Once upon a time, when draft picks didn't sign contracts until right before the start of training camp, the rookies would stay at the facility right up to the start of training camp, largely because they got free food and lodging. Fans are manic about getting players signed, but I can remember asking, "What's the rush?" You keep them at the facility working out and out of trouble.

Matt from Dixon, IL

What is your opinion of Arena Football?

Football is more than a game, it's an event, when played on a large stage. Arena Football is played on a small stage.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Vic, I enjoy reading your column every day. You have experience, knowledge and you sprinkle in the appropriate amount of humor to help us fans maintain a proper perspective. The NFL is, after all, entertainment. It'll be a long five weeks until camp, but I know your column will help the time pass.

I plan to be here every step of the way. Let's have fun with the questions. Let's push back a little bit and be creative.

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