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Mercein wasn't signaling touchdown


Matt from Grundy, VA

What do you think of the possibility of the Packers drafting running back Ryan Williams out of Virginia Tech in like the third or fourth round?

Vic: I think you've got him too low. Williams didn't run especially well at the combine, so he may have fallen out of first-round consideration, but I don't see him lasting long into the second round. Plus, it's almost a certainty that he'll run a much better time at his pro day; they all do. If he lights it up at his pro day, he'll start climbing the board. He's a talent, he's got size and he's got a young football body.

Chris from New Berlin, WI

Can you please provide some insight to the Packers Board of Directors? How many members are there, how do they get elected, what is their role and who are some of the members of the Board.

Vic: There are 43 directors and they are elected at the annual meeting by the shareholders by proxy vote. Among the 43 directors, there is a seven-member executive committee, which directs corporate management, approves major capital expenditures, establishes broad policy and monitors management's performance in conducting the business and affairs of the corporation. You can view the names of the directors and the executive committee on by going to "Team" and then clicking on "Executive Committee."

Bob from Citrus Heights, CA

A couple of years ago the Steelers only got a fifth-round compensatory pick for Alan Faneca because he was over 30. Does the same rule affect the Packers in a compensatory pick for Aaron Kampman? Cullen Jenkins turned 30 in January. Would the same rule apply to him if signed elsewhere?

Vic: Provided the same compensatory rules will continue, age has nothing to do with it. The rule is for players with 10-plus years experience. Neither Kampman nor Jenkins have achieved 10 years of experience, therefore, the Packers would not be restricted to fifth-round compensation for having lost either player in free agency.

Michael from Rio Rancho, NM

The scouting combine provides the coaches with the tangible things, such as speed, quickness, strength. I know they also participate in interviews and coaches have watched tons of tape, but without knowing what is in a prospect's heart, how does the staff say, "OK, this is our guy."?

Vic: I've always felt and a lot of old-time scouts still believe the best way to get information on a player's personality, practice habits, off-the-field behavior and overall dedication to his craft is by talking to the men who coached him. Of course, these are men with whom you would have to have a trusted relationship, but the coaching fraternity is very tight, for the obvious reason that they respect each other and the jobs they have to do, plus, they lean on each other for jobs when they lose their jobs.

Steve from Peoria, IL

Welcome aboard, Vic. Next year, do you see the Packers as a throw-first team or will the return of Grant with Starks and Jackson have the Packers evening that ratio out a little more?

Vic: It's not about how many times you do something, it's about what you want to do and I think it's obvious the Packers want to throw the ball. To do that effectively and not subject their quarterback to unnecessary risk, however, the Packers know they have to present enough of a threat in the running game to forbid defenses from loading up against the pass and teeing off on the quarterback without fear of getting gashed by the run. Mike McCarthy said it at the combine: "The best thing you can do for a quarterback is run the football. We want to run the football."

Jacob from Cocoa, FL

Now that the quarterbacks have performed in the combine, what do you think of the top prospects (Gabbert, Newton, Mallet, Locker, Ponder, Dalton, etc.)?

Vic: I like them all. I think this is going to turn out to have been a very good year for quarterbacks. I'm not saying this is a year to rival 1983, which produced John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, but I think a lot of quarterbacks out of this year's class are going to play in the NFL for a lot of years. The thing that's knocking these guys down collectively is a particular thing individually: Cam Newton's lack of experience, Jake Locker's bad season, Christian Ponder's arm problems, the run-and-shoot kind of offense in which Andy Dalton played.

Carl from Cleveland Heights, OH

Jerry Kramer's classic book, Instant Replay, describes the "Ice Bowl." With third-and-goal and 16 seconds left, Kramer quotes Bart Starr as telling the huddle, "31 wedge and I'll carry the ball." This contradicts the more widely accepted story, which is that Starr told no one he would pull a QB sneak. Can you resolve these contradictory accounts of the same event by two revered Packer icons?

Vic: I was not in the huddle. All I know, from what I've read and heard, is that Chuck Mercein raised his hands to make sure the officials didn't penalize him for pushing Starr into the end zone or for holding or for anything else, not to signal touchdown. I always thought it qualified as a "Touchdown Jesus" moment and that Mercein could've milked the moment for a little more than he did. Having covered a lot of players from the 1970s, I know a lot of them created stories that played well at speaking engagements and such. Let's not forget that these players didn't make the kind of money today's players do, so they needed a little rub in the offseason. Frenchy Fuqua is one of the smartest football players I've ever covered and it didn't take him long to figure out the value of not divulging whether or not he touched the ball in the "Immaculate Reception." Frenchy created a great gimmick by telling everyone that he sealed the truth in an envelope and the contents of that envelope would not be revealed until his death. Frenchy would then wave that envelope at speaking engagements, to the delight of his audience. I love the old guys.

Wayne from Heritage Springs, FL

Would the Packers consider wearing white pants when they travel? The white top and pants would look great.

Vic: I can't think of anything more horrid.

Mark from Urbandale, IA

I want to apologize for some of our fans testing your loyalty in various ways. You are doing an awesome job. I am not much of a blogger, but I sure check yours every day.

Vic: Just test, baby, test.

Kerry from Margate City, NJ

How did Aaron Kampman fare in his first year in Jacksonville?

Vic: He was their best defensive player until midseason, when he tore his other ACL. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but he'll get over it. The same hard worker you saw as a Packer is what we saw as a Jaguar.

Wayne from Bethel Island, CA

Execution of plays or innovations, which is apt to improve a team's performance and chances of getting to the Super Bowl? Why?

Vic: Players, not plays, because players move, X's and O's don't.

Greg from Seaford, NY

Given the importance of Aaron Rodgers to the Packers, do you agree that a 2011 priority needs to be to put a wall around him (improve the offensive line) to minimize his chances for sacks and concussions?

Vic: It's a priority for every team in the league. Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin talked about just that in the video I did with him on Sunday. You gotta get the big guys. Never pass on one.

Terry from Junction City, WI

To follow up with a question from your 2/25 edition about Sam Shields, you said, "It's a crystal ball business and 32 crystal balls were broken. It happens." Wouldn't it be more accurate to say Shields slipped by everyone but the Packers, who knew what he was and figured they could coach him up just like they did Tramon Williams; it's just that he coached up faster than even the Packers predicted and that's why the Packers' personnel department is the envy of the NFL?

Vic: That's the smug way of looking at it and if you look at it that way long enough, you'll fall in love with yourself and spend too much time admiring yourself and not enough time finding the Sam Shields of the world. I loved Ted Thompson's answer about undrafted players in his press conference at the combine on Friday. "If you sign an undrafted free agent and he does good, you probably were lucky because he probably should've been drafted in the first place. We don't pat ourselves on the back on that stuff," Thompson said.

Patty from Spooner, WI

Vic, my question is: What do you see as our number one draft need for the Packers?

Vic: The Packers need to draft a good football player because who doesn't need a good football player? BAP, please.

Brian from Louisville, KY

If you were a member of the Hall of Fame committee, would you vote yes to Donald Driver being in the Hall and why?

Vic: First, I think we should let him retire before we decide what his place in history is. Who knows? Maybe he's got another gear left in him. If I was a committee member, my main concern would be for not turning the Hall of Fame into the Hall of Fame of Wide Receivers. We're falling too much in love with completions and receptions, as a result of fantasy football's popularity, and we're not demonstrating enough appreciation for the essence of the game, which is to say blocking and tackling. We need to recognize the guys who block and tackle. Wide receivers are beginning to dominate the list of candidates. What are we going to do with all of these wide receivers that are going to become eligible? Do we put them all into the Hall of Fame?

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