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Lots of tweeners at the Senior Bowl


Ryan from Manchester, WI

Of all of the quarterbacks you have covered or have watched first hand, which ones stand out in your mind as having the strongest arm? How about the most accurate arm? Anybody with the perfect balance of both?

Terry Bradshaw and Aaron Rodgers are the best quarterbacks I've covered. They each have strong and accurate arms and are outstanding athletes that can move the pocket and run for yardage. Rodgers has more finesse to his game than Bradshaw did; Bradshaw's game had more power.

Mark from Mississauga, Ontario

Who's your pick to win the Super Bowl?

I'm leaning toward the Giants. I think they're the better team, but I think Tom Brady has beaten a lot of teams through the years that were better than the Patriots.

Patrick from Columbia, SC

I've been reading your updates on pass rushers and just watched your video of the South pass rushers; however, no mention of Melvin Ingram from my hometown Gamecocks? What are your impressions of him so far?

He caught my eye once yesterday on a pass rush when he made his man whiff. At 6-2, 276, Ingram is an undersized playmaker for whom some team will envision a specific role. He's another one of those tweeners that has potential to be a stand-up player.

Ryan from Fredericton, NB

I am in offseason mode and watching the Senior Bowl practices. You are there in person. What are some of your impressions this year?

The first thing that's jumped out at me is the number of tweeners on both teams. Both rosters are loaded with undersized pass rushers, which confirms to me that the 3-4 is the way to go these days. If you're a 4-3 team looking for an every-downs, pass-rushing end, you're lacking candidates after Quinton Coples. Coples is the star of the 4-3 ends class. He's the Julius Peppers of this draft class, which is to say a feature rusher that can put his hand on the ground from the right side and stay on the field down after down after down. Most of the other guys are either run stuffers or pass-rush specialists. The every-downs ends are so tough to find and there is such a premium on them that they tend to be greatly overdrafted and, therefore, risky. The 3-4 rush-backer prospects are many. Also, I think we're starting to see the effects of the spread offense craze in college football, because the defensive backs crop at the Senior Bowl is really deep and they all look like the same guy. The premium on stopping the pass is causing coaches to put their best athletes on defense, in many cases, which is something new. Coaches had always put their best athletes on offense, but I think that's changing because of the great demand for players that can play in space on defense.

Ben from Syracuse, NY

How hard is it for a 4-3 end to switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker? Is it one of those things some guys have and some guys don't?

It's all a matter of whether or not he has the athletic ability to drop into coverage and play in space. If he can't do that, then either a specific rush-backer role must be developed for him or he'll have to be used as a specialist. Courtney Upshaw has been described to me as a forward-only guy, but my guess is the impact he offers on the other side of the line of scrimmage is so strong that a team will design a specific role within their defense to allow him to do what he does best. That's where scheme enters the picture.

Jonathan from Leeds, England

As the Packers had the best record in the regular season, will they still get the 32nd pick in the draft or will it be either the Patriots or the Giants?

The Packers will draft 28th. The final four draft spots go to the four conference title game teams. The winner of the Super Bowl will draft 32nd and the team that lost to the Super Bowl winner in their conference title game will draft 30th.

Jon from Columbia, TN

Has Eli Manning earned the status of an elite NFL quarterback? Do you think he can ever get out of Peyton's shadow?

Yes, Eli Manning has earned status as an elite quarterback. If he beats Tom Brady in this Super Bowl, which would be a second Super Bowl win against Brady, Eli's brother will be living in Eli's shadow.

Bryce from Milwaukee, WI

Devon Still from Penn State, do you think he could be a difference-maker on defense?

I was looking forward to seeing him play in person because he really impressed me from what I saw of him on TV, but Still is a scratch this week at the Senior Bowl. I got into a discussion about him yesterday with a scout who wonders in what scheme Still would fit best. He penetrates and disrupts as you would expect of a three-technique tackle in a 4-3, but the scout doesn't think he has the lateral movement to chase the ball, which would suggest that he might be better suited to be a 3-4 end. This is a 6-6, 305-pound man and I find him somewhat intriguing for Packers fans, since he tends to fit toward the bottom of the first round. That's a very early projection, however; Still could shoot up or down based on what he does at the combine and his personal workouts.

Michael from Elk Grove, CA

I do not believe the Packers will return to the Super Bowl anytime soon unless they go free agent and address their defense.

There's nothing wrong with finding a guy or two in free agency that would make the defense stronger without breaking the bank, but I don't think the team should or will stray far from its draft-and-develop philosophy and turn hard toward free agency.

Brandon from Austin, TX

Vic, are you saying players on defense should be scared to take a thigh to the head? Being taught to wrap up no matter how big or small the runner is has been taught to me since Pop Warner. I didn't have the talent to make it to the NFL, but I know if I saw the ball-carrier running in front of me, I'm wrapping him up and not letting him move his legs on me. So what do you think of fear of another man on the football field?

I think it happens.

Randy from St. Paul Park, MN

Vic, you had me all year, now you've lost me. You got to be kidding me. You can't teach pro players how to tackle? Wow, you sure are waaaaay off base. Where do you come up with some of your opinions? Maybe you should write for a baseball team.


Rob from Cincinnati, OH

Hey, Vic, do you think the Packers could dramatically improve their defense by drafting a playmaker at the defensive end or linebacker position?


Jake from Billings, MT

Is Joe Philbin's hiring in Miami the exact scenario you were hoping for when you were talking about franchising and trading Flynn?


Aaron from Eau Claire, WI

Dear Vic, you are old, senile and so stubbornly set in your opinions that I don't believe you'd change your mind on any level, even if I did fulfill my dreams of hitting you in the face with a brick. Love you. Long-time annoyed reader.

That's an interesting observation.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

If the Giants were successful against the Packers because they were able to pressure the quarterback with four and cover with seven, what would be the best way for the Packers to counteract that strategy in the future?

Block it and make them send more.

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