Skip to main content
Powered by

NFL has created controversy that's given preseason meaning

I say move it back, move it back, waaaay back


Sean from Saint Paul, MN

Vic, unless I misunderstand something, Lyerla is a hot TE prospect for which we paid virtually nothing. What's the advantage of waiving him as opposed to just putting him on IR?

My inbox has experienced a proverbial avalanche of this question. I answered it in yesterday's "News now!" story. "Because the Packers waived Lyerla instead of assigning him directly to injured reserve, he wouldn't count against the Packers' 90-man roster should he clear waivers and then be assigned to IR." It's a process that's commonly used by teams at this time of the year. It became an issue for me some years ago when the Browns waived injured a cornerback named Don Carey; they did it that way to retain a roster spot, and intended to put Carey on IR when he cleared waivers. The Jaguars, however, claimed Carey, and that caused the Browns to complain that the Jaguars violated some kind of unwritten rule between personnel directors. By the way, Lyerla has captured the fancy of the Packers fan base more than any draft pick, with the exception of Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy and possibly Jared Abbrederis and Ha Ha, in the four years I've covered the team. I hope this works for him.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

Scoring is exciting, unless it becomes too common. I think if the league pushes the scoring envelope too high, it'll take away from the excitement of the game.

You might be right, but here's what it's done so far: The NFL has created a controversy that is driving news and opinion, and that's always good for business. This controversy has literally given the preseason meaning.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Vic, you've said one way to reduce injuries is to bring defensive backs closer to the line of scrimmage. Now you're saying the rule emphasis will lead to shorter passes. Do you think the new emphasis will pull defensive backs closer to the line? If so, it might also reduce injuries.

Crowding the line of scrimmage invites the big play, and defensive coordinators fear the big play too much to invite it. That's my opinion, but I don't know how this is going to turn out. Please, don't take what I write as anything more than one man's opinion of what might happen. I think it's logical to believe an excess of penalties against defensive backs in pass coverage is going to soften coverages. If that happens, I would also expect it to be a logical reaction for receivers to sit down in open spots underneath the coverage, make the catch and move the sticks.

Willie from Superior, WI

Vic, I'm tiring of the "what team does Vic really love?" debate. Is it really that hard to believe a person can be fond of the places/organizations they once called home and still love their current home?

Apparently it is. I've loved every place I've ever lived and every team I've covered. They all have a unique personality that has added something to my life. They've made me rich with difference and variety. Jacksonville made me appreciate a summer cold front. Green Bay has made me appreciate a warm winter sun. Variety is a good thing. It broadens us. When you move around in pursuit of a career, you must love where you are and what you're doing or you'll be miserable.

Matt from San Diego, CA

Vic, I was watching NFL Network, "A Football Life" about Jerry Rice and I was amazed by his greatness and drive to be the best. I think everyone can agree he's the greatest receiver of all time, but who do you think would join him on the all-time Mt. Rushmore of WRs?

Mt. Rushmore isn't big enough for all of the wide receiver heads. You'd need a whole mountain range of Mt. Rushmores. You need at least two Mt. Rushmores alone for Packers wide receiver heads.

Jason from Austin, TX

"I expect to see long drives executed and sustained with short pass completions." You said this in your column and I agree. A change in culture in today's NFL? No kidding. The days of running the ball to set up the pass were replaced with passing the ball to set up the run. Pretty soon, it'll be the short pass setting up the long pass. I think the NFL knows exactly what it's doing.

This isn't new stuff. This is exactly what happened following the rules changes of 1978, which gave us the 5-yard chuck rule and led to the birth of the West Coast offense. Joe Montana completed 130 passes to running backs in leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl title in the 1981 season. The 1978 rules changes were the birth of modern offense. Since then, the game has evolved in cycles that have repeatedly been initiated by rules changes or adaptations to favor offense. This, in my opinion, will likely be the start of a new cycle. What has been the result of those cycles? The game's popularity has exploded. My expectation is this new cycle will be like all of the other cycles.

Colton from Mishawaka, IN

Someone is upset because you're discussing things they don't know about? What's the point of being alive if you're not willing to learn something new?

Do we really want to learn something new (yes, that's redundant), or do we merely want to be reminded of what we already know?

Marc from Dousman, WI

Given the new emphasis by officials on the use of hands by DBs and hands to the face by the offensive line, a strong pass rush is going to be an absolute necessity for any defense. What do you think?

I think it'll have to be sudden, otherwise it won't have time to get home because the ball is going to come out quickly. Scheme will become more important in rushing the quarterback. Rushers will have to come free to get home. Defensive coordinators will have to be very good at picking their spots. I think the 3-4 is made for this new game.

Michael from Wauwatosa, WI

Great news about Jim Kelly. I am so glad for him and his family. Did you ever interview him or have any memories or stories about him?

As a cancer survivor, I felt myself choke up when I saw him on TV at the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. I know that look. I know how it feels behind that look. I thought to myself he's too young and his memories are too rich for him to go now. So the news that Kelly is cancer free brings another kind of feeling to my heart, the kind you experience when the doctor comes through the door and gives you the good news. Mine came over the phone. Yes, I've interviewed Kelly many times. He's my kind of quarterback. He was as tough as they come. He was just unfortunate to have played during the Cowboys, 49ers domination days, and have a field goal attempt sail wide to the right. I have always been especially fond of Kelly because he comes from a town where my grandfather, my father and his brothers built a cottage that became that side of the family's summer retreat. They built it out of junkyard lumber and added onto it through the years until it became a patch quilt of summer comfort. East Brady is a little town on the Allegheny River. For us, it was the Riviera, and Kelly has always reminded me of those days.

Aaron from Denton, TX

I'm liking this "News now!" thing. It makes me excited to read the news. When did you decide to start calling it "News now!"?

We're getting beat up pretty good about it, which is my fault because I named it. It was recent. We had been calling it "Training camp look in" and on other occasions we just a put regular headline on those live-type stories. The stories are the same, we just put the "News now!" brand on them now. I thought it would distinguish those stories from others on the site, give the site some excitement and make it more fun for people to read – you know, raise the blood pressure a little bit – but it's invited ridicule because we were obviously behind in our information on Colt Lyerla. For the umpteenth time, please, this is not the place to go for the latest on personnel moves. We are committed to a policy that involves a process that often makes the Dead Sea Scrolls more timely than Please, go somewhere else for news about signings, waivings, etc. That's called "Honesty now!"

Craig from Green Bay, WI

I don't see diehard fans getting excited about longer extra points, and I don't see people that aren't fans becoming fans because of longer extra points, and I don't see the casual fans enjoying the game more because of longer extra points. If this change does come, who is it for?

I guess it's for me because I want it. I didn't want it at first. I was all for doing away with PAT kicks, but not now. I'm all for moving them back to the 15. I like the action. Based on the misses in the preseason, a PAT kick attempt from the 15 is a real play. I'm looking forward to the day when a team loses a game because its kicker missed a PAT and the team's fans whine and cry about it. You know, maybe this game does need changing. I might be a dinosaur, but I'm an open-minded dinosaur.

Frank from Superior, WI

One of your readers had a comment about an analyst using "we" to describe a past team. Almost all Packers fans use "we" when referring to the Packers and they don't even play football. Perhaps it's just a tough habit to break.

There's nothing wrong with fans referring to the Packers as "we." Fans should feel a connection to the team. Media aren't fans. If I set myself on fire or stand in front of a moving tank to make that point, would it work? I'm supposed to listen to an analysis of a play from a guy who begins his explanation with we? Do you think that might be a one-sided analysis? It's one of the reasons Troy Aikman has risen to the heights he has. He achieved credibility very quickly in his career as a media person because he stopped being a player and became media.

Travis from Superior, WI

Vic, when you see the Cubs fans booing the grounds crew at Wrigley, is it hard to believe Green Bay is that close to Chicago and so culturally different?

Not if you're driving on the Illinois Tollway.

David from Washington, DC

Vic, I find your insight into how offenses will change in response to the rule change prescient and insightful. How do you think defenses will respond?

It's really not insightful; it's just a guess, but I like that kind of stuff and I'm not afraid of being wrong. At some point in the season, probably midway through the year, defensive coordinators will throw up their hands in exasperation and rely on the time-honored way they've always dealt with offenses they can't stop: Make them drive the ball. It's bend-but-don't-break defense and we always seem to get back to it. Do you think the people in the league office know that? Do you think that's what they want?

Joseph from Rock Island, IL

Vic, why does it ask for our email address when we ask you a question?

It's so we can contact you to give you a Cenex gas card. Go on up to Eldridge and get yourself some gas. It'll make you feel good all the way home.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.