The regular writer of "Ask Vic," packers.com 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.
Steve from Barrie, Ontario
As a lifelong Packer fan who has made the trip to Green Bay a number of times, I'm always searching for more ways to learn the game and about the Packers' inner history. What do you and Vic specifically use as resources aside from first-hand accounts to get the info, stats and history for your columns and game-day preps?
Well, Vic usually picks up his phone, dials a four-digit extension, and listens to a staff writer whose desk is within earshot of his office fill him in about Packers history. Yeah, that's my plug for a raise. On a more serious note, I'm always thumbing through the Packers' annual media guide or the latest NFL Record & Fact Book when I need info. I have a copy of every Packers' media guide dating back to 1990 in my desk cabinet, with access via our PR department's library to many more from the past. There are also a ton of really good statistical websites I tap into, too many to list here. The internet is a wonderful thing that way if you know the sites are updated, accurate and reliable.
Andrew from Milwaukee, WI
With Peyton Manning and, soon enough, Drew Brees setting the market for current top-tier quarterback contracts, would it be wise for the Packers to jump out in front of this and get our QB signed to a new deal sooner than later, or wait and see what they are up against? He is not going anywhere I'm sure, but his contract, along with a lot of our other cornerstones, are up in the next two years. It's impossible to keep them all, I know, but this is a little concerning for the more than casual fan. Also, great job filling in for that old coot Vic, but you need to tell someone off soon, not me, but someone. Thanks.
I'll try to let someone have it, soon, but honestly Andrew it's not in my nature. It would be like that substitute third-grade teacher who would never harm a fly trying to raise her voice to straighten out the troublemaker. The kids all just laugh at the sorry attempt, and the teacher can't help but crack a smile, too. Trust me, the Packers are well aware of Rodgers' contract and the potential benefits of extending him sooner rather than later, just as they did in 2008. But you have to look at it from the perspective of Rodgers and his agent, too. It makes perfect sense for them to let Brees set the market. Rodgers is coming off an MVP season and was just named the top player in the league by his peers. He's in no rush to sign anything, nor should he be. I'm not saying he's being standoffish, and I have no knowledge the two sides have even discussed anything, but it just makes business sense for a player in Rodgers' position to wait and see with a deal like Brees' yet to get done. You're right, I don't think Rodgers is going anywhere, but his next contract will have to be finalized at a time that's right for both sides.
Casey from Bark River, MI
I keep hearing all the talk about how bad our defense was last year statistically, but isn't most of that due to how good we were on offense? Making teams get out of their game plan early by getting out to an early lead makes the opponent throw more than they normally would, thus building up yardage. Thoughts?
Nice try, Casey. (How's that, Andrew? I know, I'm pathetic.) But knowing the other team has to throw the ball should make it easier to stop. It should make it easier to rush the passer because the guys up front don't have to play run. The Packers failed to stop teams when they knew what the opposing offenses were going to do, and that was the most disconcerting thing about the defense. Knowledge should have been power. The players likely would say the same thing.
CJ from Edinboro, PA
What are your thoughts on the new playoff system for college football? Do you think four teams are enough to truly determine a deserving champion? I am glad to see this as I always hoped for a playoff system to be implemented at the college level.
I'm glad to finally see a playoff, but as a big college football fan, I would tell anyone who would listen (you can ask all of my friends) that back when the BCS was just the top four bowl games, they already had what they needed as the start to a playoff system. Those four BCS games were filled by the six major conference champions, plus two at-large bids. That was the quarterfinals! Right there! All they needed to do was take the four winners of the BCS games and add three more games to complete the playoff – two semifinals and a championship. Instead, all we got for over a decade were arguments about length of the season, value of the regular season, integrity of the bowl system, blah, blah, blah. Three more games, that's it, and you had an eight-team playoff all set to go. The BCS was onto something, but they couldn't see the forest for the trees. I'll never understand why it wasn't taken to that simple next step, and why it took this long just to get what we got, which has wrecked that "integrity" of the bowls to a far greater degree.
Andrew from Jacksonville, FL
Mike, heading down to the beach to look for Vic later. I was going to ask him if you both will do the in-game real-time blog like last year. I really enjoyed the short Vic-isms, but also your longer (better typist) and educated descriptions of what was happening when Vic went to do the radio show or find a pretzel.
It really took him a long time to find those pretzels sometimes, didn't it? That's something else I need to start keeping track of when it comes to pay-raise time. Yeah, we're going to keep doing the in-game blog, absolutely. Last year, as Vic was typing away, I was also in his ear whispering my observations. Sometimes there was a chance to get them in, other times not. If we were both chiming in on the blog throughout the game, would that be worthwhile or would it be too much? I can talk to him about it and see what he thinks.
Ryan from Fredericton, New Brunswick
What are your thoughts of Adrian Peterson as a player?
Before his knee injury, if I were given the choice to have any running back in the league on my team, he'd have been my guy and I wouldn't have thought twice. I've seen him live enough times to realize how good he is and how he stands in a class by himself. Now, however, I'd have to wait and see. Everything I read and hear says he'll come back strong from his injury, but I've seen guys try to come back too soon, and it doesn't always go right.
Antonio from Santa Ana, CA
Mike, I ,too, am exhausted by the "Top 100..." show. Do you think that there's a way to maybe suggest a better show for the NFL Network to air besides this current snoozefest? I know that they want to air shows that include fancy stats, controversy and all of that stuff because those are the only types of things that the "casual fan" likes but I think that actual football fans would rather watch a show on, say, the greatest football radio personalities, the history of each team, football becoming America's game, etc. Stats are nothing but a thing(s) to compare yourself to and to find out which snap-back hat you're going to buy next.
I have no idea what that last line means, but all I can say is if the ratings support a show, they'll keep doing it. I think some of your ideas have merit, but would enough people watch? I didn't watch the "Top 100." I paid attention online to where the Packers landed to keep people updated in our blog, but I didn't watch. We'll find out next year if enough people did.
Jason from White Lake, MI
Hey Mike! Glad you're on board! Who do you think is the best "pound-for-pound" player of all time between Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor? I know they played different positions, but taking into account impact on the game, dominance, etc. I figured since we are in the "Dead Zone" with the season that I'd throw you a fun hypothetical question to ponder.
With all due respect to White and his superb career, I'd have to go with Taylor. I'm a fan of really good books on football, and "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis reinforced for me how much Taylor changed the game. If you only saw the movie, read that book, or at least the first few chapters.
Nick from River Falls, WI
Hey Mike, I'm kind of curious as to why you would leave Brett Favre off the list. I understand that is kind of a sensitive issue; however, I do believe his longevity and owning virtually every QB record should have him on the list for best all-time.
It has nothing to do with Favre being a sensitive issue, and I do think Favre is one of the best all-time. In the context of a "Mount Rushmore" of QBs – which I took to mean representative of a larger picture – I went with a modern-day pioneer (Unitas), the best ever in my opinion (Montana), a new-era guy before the new era had arrived (Marino) and then a fourth spot for one of the game's current superstars ushering the game into its latest phase. I think Favre was such a singular talent who had such a unique career that it's hard to find a place for him on a "Mount Rushmore," if that makes any sense. His ability to improvise, his guts, his daring risk-reward play, all the drama associated with his thrilling victories and agonizing defeats – there was no one like him, and there won't be another one like him. In that context, he's not with my group on Mount Rushmore, he's the lone wolf at the top of the hill next to it. And I'm not pandering or hedging, that's my honest opinion.
George from Scranton, PA
The last two seasons have been great, even special. Have you ever caught yourself watching the game and thinking about how lucky you are to be watching Aaron Rodgers and company in person?
Without a doubt. It really hit me for the first time watching that 2009 wild-card game in Arizona that I'd be lucky to be a part of this segment of team history from the beginning.
Matt from Stuttgart, Germany
Hey Mike, McCarthy spoke about the benefits of cross-training coaches, which is why the tight ends coach became quarterbacks coach and so on. However, I don't see that as much on the defensive side. Is it more important to have a coach with positional experience on defense?
Hard to say. I think McCarthy is comfortable with cross-training his offensive coaches because he's an offensive guy, but he's not going to force his defensive coordinator to do the same. He's going to let that defensive coordinator do what he believe is best for the defense. I'll be curious, though, if McCarthy's cross-training catches on, will we see a defensive head coach employ some of the same methods with his defensive staff? It might be too early to tell just yet.
Justin from Bettendorf, IA
I was browsing the web the other day and noticed an article about Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. The title said, "NFL star goes too far in game." I clicked on it, and all that happened is A.J. playfully shoved a friend into a lake during a pick-up game. How often do writers make stories seem like they're something else just to get clicks on a page?
You've drawn the line in the sand, Justin. We're all in this business to get clicks, but there's a difference between writing a headline that's enticing and one that's misleading. I'm not sure where your example falls along that spectrum, but your only recourse is to not return to a site if you ever feel you're being misled. We try to write enticing headlines at packers.com all the time, but we're conscious of making the headline worthy and representative of the story that follows. "Ask Vic" is a little different, because the headline normally refers to one item in the column and not the entire piece, which daily hits on a variety of topics, but yeah, we're trying to get you to click on it. Why wouldn't we?
Chris from Burlington, IA
I have seen a couple of reports about Tramon Williams not close to being over his shoulder injury from last year. What have you heard on this?
I wrotethis storyon Williams back in early May, and he essentially confessed that by continuing to play last year after hurting his shoulder in Week 1, he was putting off recovery until the offseason. The damage done was only going to heal with rest, and Williams gutted it out rather than shut it down. So, no, his shoulder is still not 100 percent – an indication of just how bad the injury was – and he's been candid in saying so. But his shoulder is also much closer to 100 percent now than it was at any time last season, which he also has made clear. For the coming season, he certainly expects to play much more like he did in 2010 than he did last year, and the Packers need that.
Shawn from Madison, WI
So, what are some of your best/most valuable baseball cards? All of mine were tossed. My mother is lucky I love her.
My mom didn't toss mine, thankfully, though she had to keep hearing the story of how my dad's clearly labeled coin collection got left in the garage when he was younger and, surprise, disappeared. So that worked in my favor. The bulk of my collection is from the early and mid-1980s, with a variety of '70s cards thrown in. So I have all the rookie cards of the top guys who started their careers in the '80s – Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg, Roger Clemens, Kirby Puckett, Barry Bonds, etc. My favorite cards are probably the rookie cards of the two guys I watched the most growing up – Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. I wasn't buying packs back then, in the mid-'70s, so I had to work a little harder to get those.