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Martians visit Lambeau Field?

Does anybody really know who the top running backs are?


Alex from London, England

Jairus Byrd has undergone back surgery. It's a young man's game.

It's not just about age, it's also about price. An old dinner plate falls and breaks, you sweep it up and throw it away. No big deal; you've got lots of them. A piece of your mother's fine China falls and breaks, she cries. Its value makes it irreplaceable. Byrd is fine China. The money spent on him is irreplaceable.

Jake from New York, NY

Vic, I'm moving back to Wisconsin after three years living in New York City. My goal is to go to at least one Packers game this year at Lambeau. If you could only go to one home game this year, which would it be and why?

I'd go to the Detroit game because it might be for the division title.

Fred from Yreka, CA

Which Packers veterans, barring injury, do you feel are in jeopardy of not making the final roster?

I have too much respect and affection for these men, their careers, the game they play and the entertainment they provide to answer your question. It's insensitive.

Jamie from Ashland, OR

I rarely see an interview with Eddie Lacy where he doesn't mention the weather in Wisconsin. Do you think this will affect his decision to stay in Green Bay beyond the rookie contract?

It's a shock for someone coming from the Deep South. It's a shock for someone coming from just about anywhere south of here. With time, Lacy will acclimate himself to the cold. He'll learn to shape his game according to the conditions, just as Brett Favre did coming from Mississippi. Lacy will do what every Packers player from the Deep South, including Bart Starr, has done. He'll learn to become a cold-weather football player and make the cold his ally. Then, as soon as the season ends, he'll jump on the first plane headed for home. You don't play in Green Bay because you like the weather. You play in Green Bay because that's where the Packers play.

Matt from Castleton, NY

Vic, you want to break attendance records on I dare you to have the headline read: Vic quits

I have a better one than that. If we need one big story to set a readership record, I'll use this headline: Martians visit Lambeau Field. I'm looking for a family named Martian. It's all about the headline, baby. Gotcha!

Greg from La Crosse, WI

Vic, what were your impressions after watching Thursday's practice? Anything catch your eye or surprise you?

Nothing caught my eye or surprised me, but something felt different. I felt a sense of relaxed confidence. Maybe I was sensing my own comfort for having covered this team long enough to really know it, but I experienced an undeniable feeling yesterday that I was watching a very good team that knows it's very good and is in the prime of its current playoff run. Now is the time.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

If you can do one, you can do both. So which are the Packers focusing more effort on this year? I say rush. When you have five first-round picks in your front seven, that's your strength. Now they need to play to it.

I agree. My expectation – and I don't mind using that word in this answer – for this year's defense is that it will trend near the top of the league in sacks. I expect this year's defense to pressure the quarterback.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Vic, like most Packers fans, I am savoring the thought that one day we will see our new "Crimson Connection" dominate a few games from time to time and elevate or inspire the level of play of their teammates on the field. It got me wondering how often any team has seen great simultaneous playmaking from an offensive and defensive player tandem that came from the same college. Have you ever covered such a pair?

Franco Harris and Jack Ham.

Mark from Iowa City, IA

Vic, how dependent are the Packers on Julius Peppers being successful on defense? Does the Packers defense fail if Julius Peppers fails?

It wouldn't help. Peppers is an important person in the Packers' plans on defense this year.

Caleb from Wasilla, AK

I've gotten the impression that you had a unique relationship with Fred Taylor, compared to most other players. Why is that, and have there been any other players like that?

Fred had something to say and he trusted me to deliver the message. There have been a lot of those kinds of player-media relationships through the years. I think fans benefit from them.

Danny from Kenton, MI

Has anyone ever told you that you look like Judge Smails?

Danny, huh? Well, Danny, there's a lot of badness in the world today. I see it in court every day. I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. I didn't want to do it; I felt I owed it to them. The most important decision you can make right now is what you stand for, goodness or badness.

Pete from Crystal Lake, IL

So it was Micah Hyde rather than Clinton-Dix lining up next to Morgan Burnett. You called that one way before the draft. With Hyde's tackling ability, do you see him more as a strong safety near the line of scrimmage? Or perhaps more of a playmaker deeper in coverage?

With Hyde's ball skills, I see him as a free safety in the deep middle of the field in cover two or single-high situations, and his cornerback skills will allow him to cover the slot receiver when the Packers are in nickel.

John from Token Creek, WI

I heard Johnathan Franklin isn't participating in OTAs. I don't suppose you know anything about his status?

The Packers don't provide injury information when not required by the league to do so, but there aren't a lot of these OTA practices, and when I saw Franklin on the sideline yesterday, I thought to myself, "There goes my MVP prediction."

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Vic, good call on Terrance West. I was watching the FCS quarterfinals and noticed this running back completely destroying Eastern Illinois. The Browns have a top offensive line. I see West turning some heads as the unknown commodity out of Towson State.

Finally, somebody noticed. I didn't think anybody was going to mention it. West is one of my favorite picks of the draft. He's my next Alfred Morris. I called that one, didn't I? I threw West's name in the top 10 running backs yesterday because I really like him and I think he's a great fit in Cleveland, and I also wanted to create a little shock factor. Shock factor? Hardly anybody even noticed. If there was ever proof that football is a passing game, this is it. Hardly anyone even knows who the top running backs are anymore. What if I had made Terrance West one of my top 10 quarterbacks for 2014? That says it all.

Richard from Brooklyn, NY

Vic, there must be times that both you and Mike think of covering the same story or desire to cover the same story. How do you guys work that out?

It's real easy. I say, "Mike, cover that story." I'm the editor.

George from Scranton, PA

Mike McCarthy talked about shortening the playbook on defense. What does that even mean?

I think it means that before the Packers can begin adding pages to the playbook, they need to make sure everyone can do what's already in the playbook. Coach McCarthy needs to know his young players have command of one or two things, figuratively speaking, before they can be expected to do three or four things.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Vic, what do you think about Myles White's prospects this year?

If you're going to make this team as a fourth, fifth or even sixth wide receiver, you have to be a major contributor on special teams. I think White knows that.

Jay from Grafenwoehr, Germany

Vic, if the Packers are looking to do fewer schemes on defense, doesn't that make it easier for the opposing offense to predict and have a more effective game plan against us?

Players, not plays.

Justin from Palatine, IL

Who do you think will be the biggest playmaker on the Packers defense this year, or from what position? I think it will be Casey Hayward. What do you think?

I think Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers will compete for the honor. Competition is good.

Tim from Marshall, MI

Vic, I'm assuming the fusion procedure Jermichael Finley had is the same surgery that Nick Collins, Sterling Sharpe and countless others have been permanently sidelined from. Does the fusion of the two vertebrae make a potential injury to the spine more likely if they take a hit? I'm only asking because even after their doctor gives them clearance, no teams seem to want to take the chance.

The level that has been fused is rock solid. The potential for re-injury at that level is far less than at any other level in the cervical area of the spine. The concern is for the levels directly above and below the fused level, because they have taken on a greater burden and they tend to wear out with age, even for people that don't play football. That's why the big issue is the level at which the fusion has been performed; the lower, the better.

Matt from Little Chute, WI

While I agree the media did not buy all of those Manziel jerseys, I would be willing to bet that if the media went on a spree of consistently talking about Blake Bortles and his prowess and ability, his jersey sales would skyrocket.

Blame the media. Blame the coaches. Blame the officials. Blame the doctors. Blame the owners. Blame the commissioner. The fans demand accountability. For what and when are the fans accountable?

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