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Packers have look of elite team, elite talent

We have officially entered the "Dead Zone"


Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

Coach McCarthy said the rookies have to go to the symposium. Could you explain what that means?

It's an annual league event at which rookies are taught what it means to be an NFL player. They learn to embrace their new fame, part of which is the media focus that will be trained on them. They learn how to be role models and how to manage and protect the money they're going to earn. The rookies are taught how to live in a world that'll be all new to them.

Dan from Tulsa, OK

How do you know Brett from Green Bay isn't just some guy named Dan from Tulsa, Okla., giving you a fake name and location in a desperate attempt to get his question answered?

If Dan gets his question answered posing as Brett, did Dan get his question answered or was it Brett?

Ed from Jacksonville, FL

You said Del Rio was known for strong running games, defense and toughness. I know his tenure in Jacksonville was tainted with a lack of talent. It's obvious he knows football well. Do you think he's a good head coach?

Yes, I think he's a good head coach. His teams in Jacksonville had talent, but they didn't have "The Man," and that's a very difficult affliction to overcome. What player put Seattle over the top? The Steelers had very good teams for a long time but didn't win a Super Bowl until they drafted Roethlisberger. What have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady meant to their teams? What changed in Indianapolis after Peyton Manning left? The Jaguars got a top performance out of David Garrard in 2007, and I genuinely believe the Jaguars would've beaten the Patriots in the playoffs and gone to the Super Bowl that year had the Jets not traded up for Darrelle Revis and the Jaguars had drafted him. Jack Del Rio believes he has a young quarterback on the rise in Derek Carr. If he does, he'll be a really good head coach.

Tyler from Washburn, WI

You always talk about the courage a quarterback must have to make it in this league. How much courage does a receiver need to become a very productive or elite receiver in the NFL?

Elite receivers are fearless.

Vic from Green Bay, WI

How do I convince my son, Vic Jr., he's not named after you?

DNA test?

Sean from Arlington, VA

As a great admirer of the running backs of the '80s and '90s, Earnest Byner was one of my favorites. I recall the article you wrote on him for fondly. In the interest of setting the record straight, while many fans feel badly for Byner and his association with "The Fumble," it should be noted he was the leading rusher for the Washington Redskins during their 1991 championship season and he scored the first touchdown in their Super Bowl XXVI victory.

Then he went back to Cleveland at the end of his career. When we were in Jacksonville together, I remember asking him why he decided to stomp on a "Terrible Towel" during player introductions for a 1994 playoff game in Pittsburgh. The final score was 29-9, and it wasn't that close. I said, "Earnest, what were you thinking?" He just laughed.

Phil from Tampa, FL

Vic, I know you can't make any sort of real assessment when they're running around in shorts, but after Shields and Hayward, who flips their hips the best of the young crop of cornerbacks?

Quinten Rollins is a human ball bearing.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

You worked Brett's ego up so high, he doesn't know how to ask good questions anymore.

He hasn't been the same since I banned him.

Adam from Wausau, WI

Can a team line up like they're going for two and then audible and kick the extra point from the original position?

I don't know what you mean by original position. I think the bigger question is how many head coaches have a full understanding of the new extra-point rule? Why do I get the feeling somebody's going to get embarrassed?

Jim from Naugatuck, CT

With the long-term success of draft-and-develop teams like the Packers, why do so many teams fall into the free-agent trap?

It's because they didn't draft well or didn't develop well or both. It's not a successful strategy unless you execute it, and to execute it you must make an unwavering commitment to it. You can't quit on a player because he had an unproductive rookie season.

Joe from Hartford, CT

Six long weeks. What do we do now?

We have officially entered the "Dead Zone." It's kind of like re-entry blackout. We'll get creative. We'll talk about football history and philosophy. We'll have fun. We'll laugh a little and cry a little. Most of all, we'll get ready for the return of Brett Favre to Green Bay. It'll be the event of the summer, so we have that going for us, which is nice.

Ben from Columbus, WI

Vic, I'm not trying to sound petty but last year you claimed the Jaguars to be your surprise team on the rise. Tell me why your pick of Oakland this year is going to be any different?

Two years ago, the Chiefs were my pick. That was pretty good. Last year, I missed on the Jaguars. I gave too much respect to free agency; I hate when I do that. I'm picking the Raiders this year because I think they have a better roster than their record would suggest, and I think they'll get better play at the quarterback position.

Aaron from Campbellsport, WI

Vic, there are so many hypothetical questions on What facts can you tell us about the 2015 Packers?

I can tell you that as I stood on the field yesterday, it was easy to see this is an elite team with elite talent. I made the comment to a fellow reporter we are seeing the Packers at the peak of their current run, and I think that peak is going to last for as long as Aaron Rodgers can last. I think the Packers reached that peak last season. I think this is going to be a very good season.

Keith from Lake Forest, IL

Vic, I really liked your All-Vic team and was curious which position was the most difficult for you to lock down? Who was that player you had the hardest time leaving off the team?

Rod Woodson and Ed Reed.

Ben from Plattsmouth, NE

Vic, which player's development will have the greatest impact on the 2015 season, Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?

We talked the other day about framing questions. In my opinion, you've framed your question in a manner that makes it difficult for me to answer it. Why? Because all of those players are expected to have a big impact on this season. I would suggest you frame your question this way: Vic, would you talk about the impact Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Ha Ha will have this season? Here's my answer: Adams is going to give the Packers another weapon. Remember the New England game? Adams is going to be a matchup problem for opponents. Rodgers is the future at tight end. Last season, he gave us a glimpse of what he can do. This season, we're going to get a long look. Ha Ha began making big plays late last season. I expect that trend to continue.

Bryan from Madison, WI

Ham and cabbage? I love both, when properly prepared, but I've never really thought of them together. Is this a regional thing or just something your momma used to make?

I guess it's regional because I've never known anybody to not know what it is. My mother made it with potatoes; it all simmered together so each ingredient shared the taste of the others. Don't feel bad, I didn't know what a curd was.

Jennifer from Centennial, CO

Vic, are you excited for the U.S. Open?

It's my favorite golf tournament. I love spending Father's Day watching the U.S. Open. I spent some time yesterday trying to get a feel for the course. It's different.

Gary from Wausau, WI

Your opinion on teams holding joint practices? Seems like more upside than downside?

I love joint practices. I think they're more entertaining than preseason games. I also think you can learn more about your team in a combined practice than you can in a preseason game. There's no wasted motion in a combined practice. You put your players into controlled, one-on-one situations that are designed for evaluation.

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