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Offense facing challenges

New voices, new messages will bring freshness


Jan from Cologne, Germany

Vic, we have a good defense and we want an elite defense. Moving Clay Matthews back outside is like an offseason addition of an elite pass rusher, right? If so, I guess we are on the right way. Thoughts?

I think we worry too much about the defense. I think it's time to shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, as I was watching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference hockey final, the only thing that made me think of a ceiling fan was all the Pittsburgh fans spinning their towels above their heads.

It's a wonderful sport played by tough guys who hold nothing back. I love that part of it. I hate the penalties for ticky-tacky violations. They tilt the ice too dramatically and weigh too heavily in a game that lacks scoring. The puck is all over the ice, I can barely see it and, when they get all packed in around the goal, I'm just waiting for the crowd's reaction to tell me if a goal has been scored. It's just not for me.

Bryan from Waverly, IA

Sir, I saw your question about last year's offense. With a healthy and productive Nelson, Cobb, offensive line, "The Man," a trim Lacy, the continued development of Montgomery, Janis and Abbrederis, and if Cook is productive, is there really any stopping this offense?

I've come to believe Packers fans favor offense. They treat offense with love and affection, and defense with disdain. I think we need to focus on the challenges the offense is facing. I don't know of anybody on the offense that's coming off a career year. Can Jordy Nelson make it all the way back? We know of the challenge Eddie Lacy faces. David Bakhtiari spoke this week of the challenge he faces with his ankle injury of late last season. Davante Adams has to reinvent, or at least redefine himself. Jeff Janis is being challenged to make production and potential meet. Jared Abbrederis needs to stay healthy. I can't imagine there's a player on the offense who'll tell you 2015 was a good year for him. The Packers were No. 23 in total offense last season. It was the most stunning development of the season. Rose-colored glasses aren't going to get it done. Accepting and defeating the challenges will. My focus is on offense.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

While mowing my lawn, my mower began to sputter and billow out smoke. Now, two-thirds of my lawn looks like a wild jungle since the mower is in the shop. I don't know how much longer I can take it.

You neglected your mower. You didn't clean the deck after mowing, change the oil, clean the air filter and perform other such routine maintenances, and now you're paying the price. Take care of your lawn mower and your lawn mower will take care of your lawn.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

How do today's NFL coaches mentally motivate players in relation to the way Lombardi motivated and got the most out of his players? More specifically, how would Coach Vic motivate?

Nothing motivates better than job competition. How did Lombardi motivate? With the threat of job insecurity. It's still that way. It's how I would motivate because it's what would motivate me. Get 'em good or get 'em gone. Football's coldness is its charm.

Roger from Chicago, IL

I had a tough day, Vic. My wife and I just found out our three-year-old daughter is autistic. Any advice?

Love conquers all. Your love is strong.

Sam from Madison, WI

I was reading more about Jack Vainisi and came across this quote from Red Smith, writing about the Packers' 1-10-1 record in 1958 that led to Vainisi bringing Lombardi to Green Bay: "They overwhelmed one opponent, underwhelmed 10, and whelmed one." I'm sad I missed the days when sportswriters wrote like this.

Now we tweet.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

I personally don't care for sports writers who are overly biased or who mix sports with political views. Are there any other traits you think are negative for sports writers to have?

I like sports writers who are happy people who want to entertain their readers, not shock them.

Cliff from Jacksonville, FL

Sports when I was young meant Dave Anderson, Phil Pepe, Dick Young, Dave Klein and Jerry Izenberg.

I finished second in the 1984 Pro Football Writers of America writing contest. It was announced in the PFWA's members-only newsletter. No trophy, no prize of any kind, but the newsletter is one of my treasured possessions. Why? Because my name appears next to the first place winner's, Dave Anderson. The old guys could really write.

Douglas from Milwaukee, WI

How will the new RB, TE and WR coaches affect the Packers this year?

They'll bring new voices conveying new messages and new approaches to teaching old techniques. They'll bring freshness.

Adam from Adelphi, MD

Monday Night Football began in 1970, launching the decade you said shaped the league the most. Did Monday Night Football change the nature of the game?

It changed how TV would present the game. It launched the entertainment era of professional football.

Weston from Lake Geneva, WI

What will Davante Adams need to work on this OTAs to develop into our next big-play receiver?

I think he needs to work on consistency of technique: the placement of his hands, getting off jams, selling his routes, finding the ball, feeling the quarterback. I also think he needs to continue developing his talent for catching the fade. Adams is a boundary receiver. The fade is the boundary receiver's route du jour.

Jake from Fargo, ND

I just became a father on Monday to a healthy baby boy. Do I let fate decide if he plays football, or do I decide? If I were to decide, the answer would be to talk him into playing.

He'll decide.

John from Aldie, VA

What teams in the AFC do you think will be the most dangerous this coming season?

Watch out for the Raiders. Having said that, I'll also acknowledge I'm usually a year early in my projections.

John from Santa Fe, NM

Vic, I have known Lory Lazarus for about 50 years. I was actually the drummer in his band, Lazoo, which played gigs in New York City. I can confirm he wrote songs for Barney, as he is a prolific songwriter. I actually co-wrote with Lory back in the day. He is still a lifelong Packers fan, as am I, since both of us grew up in Wisconsin.

I'll accept your testimony as proof of Lory's claim, and I am officially pronouncing him one of "Ask Vic's" most esteemed readers. I would've rather heard this testimony from Barney, but you'll do.

Barry from Hayward, WI

Vic, is Lacy skinny enough or does he need to lose more weight?

I don't know what the issues are, but conditioning isn't all about weight. Fred Taylor experienced a conditioning epiphany at about the same stage of his career that Lacy is at, and it changed Fred from "Fragile Fred" to "Full-time Fred." It was a complete lifestyle make-over: eating healthy, going to bed early instead of staying up all night playing video games, paying attention to his finances, etc. He topped the thousand-yard mark in five of the next six seasons. There has to be a commitment to more than just a number on a weight scale.

John from Sacramento, CA

Vic, how about keep our hopes high but our expectations low?

I like that. My hopes are high for the Packers this year.

Kyle from Ottawa, Canada

Vic, this OTAs MVP you speak of, was it Chad Owens? He's had a pretty good career up here in the CFL (four all-star seasons). It really shows how different of a game we have up here, and how the pressure of the NFL can really affect the mental side of the game.

He's the greatest OTAs player I've ever covered. The talent was there. He just needed time and a place to find it. I'm happy for him. He's a good guy.

Nance from Summerfield, NC

Was flying from Charleston Executive to the Beaufort airport and noticed the town of Edisto Beach on the map. Since there were no passengers on board I thought I'd fly around and see if I could notice a man mowing his yard with precision, or fighting lizards off his porch with a pressure washer. However, no such man could be found. Was a nice excuse to take a break from work, though I never would have done it without reading the column. Thanks, Vic.

If you had looked more closely, you would've seen a man in a faded-green Packers hat and yellow Packers t-shirt paddling a green kayak. I'm new, but the colors are the same.

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