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Packers' arrow pointing straight up

Main challenge is dealing with churn


Brian from Ferndale, WA

Everyone wants to draft another receiver. Right now, if you include Jones, we have seven wide receivers. It's too many. What's going to happen?

Decisions are going to be made based on talent evaluations, salary cap implications, projections for the future and how all of that blends with the talent available in this year's draft.

Za from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, what team has had the best offensive line you've ever seen through all your years of covering football?

The Redskins' Hogs.

Jack from Bath, UK

What do you think of Reggie Ragland and what are the chances he falls to the Packers?

Ragland is everything you'd want in an inside linebacker. He can thump and chase, rush and drop. The only issue with him right now is his weight at the Senior Bowl. I suspect he'll get his weight at a target level for the combine. What he does at the combine will likely determine where he goes in the draft. At this point, I would suspect the Packers would have to trade up to get to where Ragland fits.

Dale from Kettering, OH

What is the biggest challenge for this year's playoff teams to keep from becoming non-playoff teams next season?

It's called churn, as it pertains to a team's annual roster changes. In the salary cap era, you're going to have what Chuck Noll referred to as a "graduating class" every year. The members of that graduating class have to be replaced. The challenge teams face is accepting the task of replacing the players they have to allow to leave to maintain a healthy salary cap.

Simon from Mountain View, CA

Here's how to beat the draft. One year, trade your one for a one next year. Next year you have two ones. Take a player with the higher pick, and trade the lower pick for another one the following year. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's easier said than done, but it's the kind of creativity necessary to beat the system. If you don't like what's available to you with your pick and you can trade it for a higher pick the following season, I'm all for doing it because, in my opinion, the draft is all about value and the future. Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present.

Weston from Lake Geneva, WI

In 46 regular season games, Nick Perry has 12.5 sacks and 100 tackles. In only five playoff games, he has six sacks and 21 tackles. Tough to argue against a young pass rusher who plays his best when the lights are the brightest as one of your top priorities this offseason.

Injuries have been the issue in Perry's career, just as they were for Davon House. If health was predictable, the decisions personnel departments face would be much easier to make. House stayed healthy this past season. Maybe Perry will do the same next season.

Richard from Saratoga Springs, NY

Vic, did I miss it or is there no Senior Bowl reporting this year?

I'm not covering the Senior Bowl, but I'm still in contact with Tony Pauline. He's still my man for the draft.

Mike from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, you mentioned that one advantage the Packers have is not having to worry about acquiring players in order to sell tickets. I agree. One disadvantage, however, is many players don't want to play in Green Bay. I think this comes into consideration when deciding which players they try to retain. I think management likes keeping good players who are happy playing in Green Bay, since they can be hard to find. Do you agree?

I agree. The Packers treat their players better than any team I've covered. If I was a player, I would want to play for the Packers.

Marc from Cumming, GA

Vic, am I being too bold in thinking the Packers' secondary will be the best in the NFL next year? Randall and Rollins have a full year of experience and you have Shields, Hyde and two very good safeties. Am I being too optimistic?

No, and I think you're missing a good-looking young cornerback in LaDarius Gunter and, of course, a decision is due on Casey Hayward. I think the secondary is the strength of the team, and that's a very good place to be strong.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, it seems like Larry Fitzgerald is viewed as old at 32 years of age. Jordy Nelson is 30 already. Have you seen a receiver perform at a high level into his thirties, or is there a pretty severe drop-off?

It varies. Lynn Swann played nine years, John Stallworth played 14. Jerry Rice played 20 seasons, John Taylor played nine. Injuries usually determine length of career.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

Do you believe the philosophy you must be a fan of your home state's team? As a kid, Brett Favre was my hero, so the Packers were my first team. I've been a loyal fan ever since.

You don't tell your heart what to love. It tells you.

Drew from Charleston, SC

What direction would you consider the Packers' arrow to be pointing? Many talking heads would believe this team is on the decline and getting older. I see a young defense ready to raise its game and a QB with a huge window.

I see a good roster highlighted by young, ascending players, and I see a team with a healthy salary cap, a full complement of draft picks and more on the way. That's an up arrow.

Jonas from Fort Collins, WI

The names on the Super Bowl 50 Golden Team were mostly familiar to me. One stood out. Do you know anything about S Jake Scott?

He's the MVP of Super Bowl VII, as a member of the Dolphins' No-Name Defense. In those days, defense prevailed and defensive players won three Super Bowl MVPs in an eight-year period.

Andrew from Charlotte, NC

That Super Bowl 50 Golden Team is breathtaking. Who might be one or two of your favorites? Did they miss anybody?

I can't limit it to one or two. The players I covered – Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount – are my favorites. My all-time favorite is the team's coach, Chuck Noll. They didn't miss anybody.

Susan from Saratoga, FL

Vic, I'm still trying to figure out the salary cap. Where exactly do the Packers get their money to pay players and expenses?

The salary cap isn't a stipend; it's a ceiling on how much of its own money a team may spend on its players. The figure is determined by dividing the league's revenue by 32.

Russell from Madison, MS

Vic, why aren't you at the Senior Bowl this year?

I'm transitioning to a new phase in my career, which will be defined this offseason by less travel.

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