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Packers have a flavorful preseason schedule

Names associated with Packers’ first-round pick


Ben from Bear, DE

Vic, if Vince Lombardi, the greatest coach to ever walk the sidelines, was alive and coaching now in this day and age in football, do you think he would still be as great as he was back then?

He'd still be the same great coach, but he likely wouldn't win five titles in nine years. There are more teams in the league, parity dominates and the salary cap would limit the number of great players Lombardi could coach. It would be Hornung or Taylor, not both; Adderley or Wood, not both; Nitschke or Robinson, not both. Plus, the league is so flush with cash these days that even the teams at the bottom of the revenue standings can compete for a title. In the '60s, the strain the AFL was putting on the NFL had half of the league just trying to stay alive financially; they couldn't compete for a title.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, the 2014-15 Kentucky basketball team made it to 38-0, the 2011 Packers made it to 13-0 and the 2007 New England Patriots made it to 18-0 before their dreams of an undefeated season ended. Is there too much stress, too much media scrutiny these days for a team to ever go undefeated again?


Roy from Eagle River, WI

When Sterling Sharpe played for the Packers, he refused to talk to the media. Did he get fined or was the rule different then?

It was in the standard player contract that they had to talk to the media, but I don't know if he got fined. I just thought it was kind of funny when he joined the media.

Ted from Pittsford, NY

I really like Eric Kendricks, but he seems to be a chaser instead of a thumper. If he's available at 30, do you take him, or take a corner with the same grade and wait for the second round for a thumper?

Kendricks can thump and chase. He would offer distinct value at pick 30.

Ted from Pittsford, NY

"It continues to astound me how we struggle with the best available player philosophy." Me, too, Vic. How many teams do you think do BAP drafting?

The majority of teams work hard to stay true to their value line. Atlanta's Thomas Dimitroff is an admitted needs picker, and I suspect other teams are closet needs pickers, but the prevailing philosophy trends toward value. It's a matter of how firmly teams adhere to their board.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

Vic, the Packers have mined considerable value from undrafted free agents. What most often causes these guys to be overlooked by all 32 teams?

Lack of size or speed is usually the reason for a prospect to go undrafted. For a quarterback, it's usually an inability to make all of the throws. In other words, measurables are usually the reason.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

In your article "Prospects emerging at CB and ILB", Tony didn't talk about Benardrick McKinney. Does he not think much of him or that he would be a good fit for the Packers?

Tony considers McKinney to be more of an outside linebacker.

John from Madison, AL

Vic, when evaluating dominant players at D-2 and even D-3 schools, how does a scout determine if that player will be good enough to compete against the competition he will encounter in the NFL?

For a small-college player to overcome the competition factor, he needs to possess measurables that'll project to the NFL, and he needs to dominate the competition at his level. Rashean Mathis was such a player at Bethune-Cookman. Mathis was a second-round pick who had first-round talent.

Mo from Omaha, NE

We know the Packers run out of a 3-4 defense, but why not experiment with the "46 defense"?

The 46 puts your cornerbacks on an island. It's effectively cover zero, and that's not something you want to do too often in a game whose rules favor the passing game. The game just won't allow cornerbacks to jostle wide receivers as they need to do in the 46. You're going to get beat deep.

Ben from Radford, VA

Vic, if Randy Gregory were to fall to the Packers in the first round, do you think they would be able to pass up a top edge rusher with the needs at cornerback and inside linebacker?

I don't know. Where does he fit on their board? It's all about the board for a BAP team, and that's why it's so difficult to answer draft questions when you're covering a BAP team. I would need to know who's been picked, who's at the top of the Packers' board, who the Packers have targeted and what team is willing to trade with them. I'm not trying to avoid the question; I'm just telling the truth.

Ethan from Grand Forks, ND

I've read the Packers coaches want to remain mindful of not overworking Eddie Lacy. Do you see the Packers drafting a RB in the mid to late rounds, and are there any you or Tony like for the Packers in, say, rounds 4-7?

Tony likes Malcolm Brown of Texas, Michael Dyer of Louisville and Corey Grant of Auburn.

Mike from Orlando, FL

What can Green Bay do to obtain the killer instinct and the ability to put teams away? I saw this against Chicago last year, but not in the playoffs. If we can put up 70 points, let's do it and not worry about the other team's feelings. We want the Lombardi Trophy brought home.

Seventy points against Seattle? You're living in a dream world. It's all about crunch time. The team that wins crunch time wins the game. You'll never be a championship team by playing to avoid crunch time. Should the Packers have hung 70 on the Cowboys so Starr didn't have to make that quarterback sneak?

Steven from Madison, WI

Vic, you mention that teams send representatives to turn in the picks in Chicago. Has one of those people ever changed a pick that came in from headquarters or had to make a last minute call? I remember the Vikings lost a pick a couple of years ago because they didn't turn in a pick. Wouldn't it have been better for that representative to just turn in anything rather than forfeiting the choice?

Legend has it a guy once turned in a name other than the one he was told to turn in. He was never seen again. It remains a mystery. As for the Vikings in the 2003 draft, they were working a trade with the Ravens when the clock expired. The Ravens were trying to come up to No. 7, one pick ahead of the Jaguars, to select Byron Leftwich. The Jaguars then took Leftwich and the Ravens took Terrell Suggs with their pick at No. 10. The Vikings also let the clock expire on one more spot because they knew the Panthers were committed to picking Jordan Gross. The Vikings then took Kevin Williams at No. 9, which meant they got him two picks lower than they would've selected him at their original pick at No. 7. Pay grade strategy? I don't know about that. It remains a mystery.

Matt from Naperville, IL

Last year, I had a pretty fair guess the Packers were going to pick Ha Ha. Any ideas who their first pick will be this year?

We've floated a lot of names in this column: Eric Kendricks, Carl Davis, Jordan Phillips, Kevin Johnson, Byron Jones, Marcus Mariota. That's the best I can do.

Darren from Hull, UK

Vic, do all of the Packers coaching staff have input into the draft board and grades, and does Ted make sure there is full agreement with Mike McCarthy prior to the start, or is there any debate or disagreement during the actual draft process itself?

Debate and disagreement are healthy, but the draft is Ted Thompson's baby. He accepts full responsibility for the decisions that are made. Thompson makes the picks; they're his picks. I doubt there is much discord when he goes on the clock.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Vic, can you talk about the proposal to put more cameras in the stadiums? All the worry is it's too expensive. Maybe Roger Goodell needs to take a pay cut. Sure, he runs the league, but he hasn't particularly done the best job. This could be his way of saying, "I've screwed up over the course of the past year. Please accept this as my form of apology to improve games across the league."

That would not be my expectation.

Chip from Denver, CO

I am the offspring of one athletic parent and one non-athletic parent. I strived to have the best work ethic on my team and I still played special teams. What chance does my child have of being an elite athlete?

Not much.

Joe from Fitchburg, WI

I don't like too much specialization in football. I'd be in favor of smaller rosters to force fewer specialists. It's fun seeing two-way players and halfbacks that kick field goals.

Smaller rosters are a way of taming the game, so to speak. If guys have to play more downs, they'll back it off a little bit. Is it going to happen? No way.

The Green Bay Packers' preseason schedule is highlighted by games against two playoff teams from last season, including opening at the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

We've got some different opponents in our preseason schedule than in the past few years. How does the NFL choose who plays who in the preseason?

There's no hard and fast formula, though the league has always tried to respect distance and conference affiliation. That's why you've usually seen the Packers play a lot of nearby AFC teams. This preseason schedule is different. I don't know what caused the change, but I love it because this is one of the most flavorful preseason schedules I will have ever covered.

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