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It's all part of the puzzle

Controlling the line of scrimmage can be maddening for a defense


Jack from Rhinelander, WI

Concerning Aaron Rodgers' use of the hard count, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Teams must have correct personnel packages against him or he will exploit matchups. Try to change and he will exploit the substitutions. His view of the field is incredible.

He's the conductor, controlling the tempo of every snap. It gives Rodgers and the offense an endless advantage. If a defense deploys nickel or dime personnel to keep up with the passing game, the Packers then have the option to check into a run call against a light box. It can be maddening.

Steve from Wauwatosa, WI

I think Nick is missing the full effect of the Rodgers hard count – quick-snap gambits. The possible penalty that might result is only the icing on the cake. The hard count keeps defenses off balance for maybe a half-second - but enough to give the offense an edge. That slight hesitation can make all the difference. I see Rodgers as maximizing any edge the rules allow. That is how you achieve greatness. No?

My memory bank doesn't go back as far as Vic or Spoff, but I can't recall a quarterback who consistently controls a game with his pre-snap vision like Rodgers. Maybe Peyton Manning. It takes more than one player, though. It's the entire offensive front working in unison. Incredibly, the Packers have consistently achieved that.

Roger from McGrath, AK

There have been discussions about shortening the game. However, after we flew our little Packers colored plane to the closest road and drove down from Alaska to see a game at Lambeau we were shocked at how fast it was over. The game in person is the best experience and needs to remain the best place to see the game. Don't encourage cheapening the experience by making it go by too fast.

The game is as fast as it's ever been in my estimation. I think the folks who get antsy are those at home dealing with commercial breaks after extra points and replay reviews. I've never had an issue with the pacing of a football game, college or pro. I've always felt like you know what you're getting yourself into when you watch a sporting event. You spend time to satisfy your passion.

Zack from Fresno, CA

Do you see the possibility of Jamaal Williams (or any of our rookie running backs) playing a complementary role with Ty where they may have more touches than most of us expect?

Anything is possible. Every season presents quirks you never expect when prognosticating a team's record when the schedule is released in April. The rookie running backs have a terrific opportunity in front of them. Now, who's going to make the most of it?

Dennis from Naples, FL

Every time you go to the four-letter network's site and click on the Packers, it lists all ten Packer draft picks from April's draft. Every time, and I mean every time, I read those picks I get excited. What if in November seven of those picks are playing and five at a high level? Does it matter which seven or which five? Probably not, but it would almost guarantee that nobody will want to play us in December or January. Hey, this is the stuff you talk about in July! Welcome back, Wes!

There's a lot to like about the Packers' draft picks, but I always stress caution when it comes to rookie expectations. It's great to get an immediate return on your investment, but it can take time to develop young players. It's like opening a birthday present, except you don't know which day the package is going to arrive.

Eric from Mequon, WI

One could argue that equally as important as the Favre trade, Ron Wolf needed (and got) a tremendous 1992 draft with Brooks, Chmura and Bennett. He also added Dotson and Howard in later years. Would Favre be a SB winning QB without the success in the 1992 draft? I say no!

Winning a Super Bowl is like putting a puzzle together. You can have a massive piece that fills half the picture, but you still need the small ones, too. It's all part of the puzzle. It's difficult to say whether the Packers would have won the Super Bowl without that 1992 draft class, but it certainly helped expedite the rebuild.

Mike from Stillwater, MN

Not sure how long you want to run with the "mean good guy" comments but don't forget Kentrell Brice and our newly drafted Josh Jones. Both are heavy hitters. And let's throw in Kenny Clark for good measure too! He could be really special. The more the merrier!

Brice had a scary good rookie season. I remember talking with Louisiana Tech safety Xavier Woods about Brice at the NFL Scouting Combine. On film, they could see how nervous Conference USA receivers would be coming across the middle of the field with Brice looming in the secondary. He packs a serious punch.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What would it take for Packer Nation to be satisfied with the defense's performance this season?

I think it comes down to playoff performance more than anything. Don't get me wrong. You have to perform during the regular season. However, I think fans remember the 2010 defense more for Nick Collins' interception and B.J. Raji's touchdown than finishing fifth in total defense. The regular season is where you build your legacy. The playoffs are where you cement it.

Maria from Austin, TX

What are you going to do with Jeff Janis? Are you going to use him at WR or S?

I'm going to use him as a WR. I think the Packers will, too.

Darren from Kingston, Canada

Weston, loved your quick "not sew" comeback. Great reply. Is it Aaron's hair you envy, or Richard's? Given your full set of curls, what is it about his hair you envy?

I was referring to Aaron. I respect how versatile it is. The problem with wavy hair is there is only so much you can do with it. Also, upon further review, I'd like to include Davante Adams as an honorable mention.

Stewart from Ankara, Turkey

Agreed on four-point FG. Are teams going to try and move backwards from the 30 to the 33 to get in place for a 50-yarder? That makes incentives all screwy. Disagree on Daniels somewhat, as he got the personal foul early in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle, making an early TD much harder.

I don't disagree, but nobody is perfect. In grade school, I once shoved a basketball into my friend's stomach because I felt he was guarding me too aggressively. I'd hope anyone who has ever played with me would say I was not a dirty player, but I got caught up in the heat of the moment. People make mistakes. My point was Daniels generally plays to whistle without too much funny stuff.

Monty from Hazen, ND

With all the talk of Favre coaching for the Packers, it got me thinking how few superstars go into coaching. Why is that? Do you think Brett would have the patience and temperament to be a good coach?

I've talked to players in the past who have said they'd never go into the coaching profession after seeing all the hours their position coaches put in. Some guys thrive on that sort of thing, though. Edgar Bennett, Alex Van Pelt, James  Campen, Winston Moss and Darren Perry are all good examples of former NFL players who have thrived in coaching. Favre certainly would have a lot of knowledge to draw from if he ever chooses to go in that direction.

Don from Juneau, WI

Consider this: Ron Wolf drafts Aaron Brooks. He's traded to New Orleans. They think enough of Brooks to not draft Rodgers. The incredible Ron Wolf had a hand in the drafting of Aaron Rodgers, no?

Interesting theory. I never really thought about it like that before. Brooks had a really interesting career. He only played eight seasons and started at least eight games in six of them. That fascinates me.

Ben from Chicago, IL

Reading about Ricky Jean-Francois' doughnut business led me to wonder if you have heard of other interesting lines of business or professions players have entered after their NFL careers.

Samkon Gado is a doctor now. That's pretty cool. I also tip my cap and offer my gratitude to Daryn Colledge, who enlisted in the Army National Guard last year.

Jim from Oakland, CA

With regards to the "best athlete" debate, I think a handful of football players might be contenders. For example, wide receivers and defensive backs. Most football players, however, are essentially specialists, and endurance is a sorely lacking quality. I would argue that the old football players who played both ways would be better overall athletes than their modern counterparts. Sorry, a big lug who's likely to poop out if he had to sprint 100 yards doesn't deserve the honor of "best athlete."

There probably has to be a "pound-for-pound" element to this argument. A lineman isn't going to run a better 40 than a receiver, but he's going to rep more on the bench. What constitutes the better athlete?

Bill from Oskaloosa, IA

I'm tired of all this "which sport has the best athletes" diatribe. However, in the ABC Superstars contest mentioned, a pole vaulter named Bob Seagram won the first three years. Pole vaulting requires speed, strength, agility and fearsomeness.

I have the utmost respect for pole-vaulters. I handled track and field for several years at the Press-Gazette. That event produced some of the finest athletes I've covered.

Matt from La Crosse, WI

When I think about amazing finishes to a game, I always think about Antonio Freeman's gaming-winning catch against the Vikings in OT. It was such a heads-up play on Freeman's part to reel in that ball and score the touchdown. What would you rank as your top game-winning play?

Rodgers to Rodgers or Hasselbeck to Harris. I can't decide.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

Vic has said many times that "if you pay it, you cap it." I need some clarification then. If only the Top 51 count against the cap but there's 53 on the active roster and 10 on the practice squad, how is the money for the 12 not on the active roster accounted for? Pretend it's an accountant's ledger.

*The Top 51 rule only applies to the offseason. Once the regular season begins, all 53 players on the active roster, injured reserve and practice squad count toward the cap. *

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

What ever happened to Justin Perillo? I don't remember that guy ever dropping a pass in a game.

Perillo finished last season on the Bears' practice squad after receiving his release from the Packers, but I believe he's now a free agent.

Abbey from Milwaukee, WI

Would you ever be a Packers quarterback coach?

It wasn't on my list of goals for the upcoming year during my annual self-assessment, but never say never.

Bruce from Cable, WI

I loved Ray Nitchske and he was a great player, but I think the greatest "ski" may have been Bronko Nagurski. Your thoughts?

I stand by my 'ske.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Vic, do you like how Marshawn Lynch plays soccer?

Ten points for Gryffindor. Well done.

Adam from Wausau, WI

You guys don't seem too fond of the Top 100 players list, but how do you think it factors into contract negotiations for a player like Davante Adams?

It doesn't. Sorry. It just doesn't.

Barb from Ridgecrest, CA

Consuming at least 50 feet of hot dogs? Envy is the emotion this very long-time hot dog lover and proud Packer shareholder is feeling. Ah, to have hot dogs at Lambeau. Thanks for the joy in your column! Thanks to "My Boys" on the field!

Brats > Hot dogs

Carrie from San Jose, CA

What's with the obsession with trick plays? I get that they can be exciting, but Rodgers doesn't need tricks to be exciting. Have we already forgotten Rodgers to Cook down the sideline?

Who cares about jaw-dropping, game-changing sideline grabs at the most critical juncture of a playoff game? I want more fumblerooskis, dadgummit!

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