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Packers have young, ascending safeties


Nate from Pueblo, CO

Courageous to sit down? Look at what happened to Cutler when he sat down in the championship game? People might not ever forget him sitting down. His heart may forever be questioned. Don't the coaches know who's better between an injured player and a healthy one? I say play until your benched.

That game will forever represent one of the worst days of Jay Cutler's life; that's how central courage is to a football player's image and the perception of his dedication to the game. Only Cutler knows what the truth is. Vince Lombardi said football is first and foremost a running game. I get what he was saying, and it was true back then, but I've always believed football is first and foremost a game of toughness. If you're not tough, don't even think about playing this game.

Jason from Summerville, SC

When Penn State lost all the wins it achieved over the past 15 years, did the teams that lost to them get to update their record books with another win?

I think they do, but does it really matter? What matters are regret, repair and reparation.

Stubs from Chicago, IL

Who is the best tackler of all time?

Jack Ham is the best form tackler I ever covered. He was a classic head up, shoulders square, wrap, lift and drop tackler.

Robert from Maplewood, MN

Mike Holmgren's induction into the Packers Hall of Fame is still fresh in our minds and we've all acknowledged his contribution to the team, but I need to hear from you on one thing: What is your analysis of the loss by the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII? I've always wanted to hear your take on it.

The run beat the pass; Terrell Davis beat Brett Favre. In those days, the run was still a weapon. The Broncos used the run to dominate time of possession, the same strategy the Giants used to beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV. All of the attention given to Holmgren losing track of the downs and allowing the Broncos to score so the Packers could get the ball back is secondary to the 157 yards and three touchdowns rushing by Davis. The game was decided up front in the trenches.

Travis from Lebanon, VA

Do you think the Packers addressed enough of the defensive issues in the offseason to return to the No. 1 defense this upcoming season?

That's a pretty big jump. I'd settle for something between the two extremes and, yes, I think the Packers addressed enough of their needs on defense to make that kind of a jump.

Matt from Spotswood, NJ

How many people in Joe Paterno's position would have done what we say should have been done?

I hope the answer is all of them, but I have doubts.

David from Racine, WI

Vic, I immediately thought of you when I saw this quote: "Complacency, relaxing, any type of comfort and we'll make sure that doesn't exist."--Mike McCarthy

I got a little excited when I heard Coach McCarthy say those words.

Josh from Caledonia, WI

"Who is this RG3 guy you guys keep talking about?" Umenyiora said. "You talking about Bob Griffin? You guys are giving him a cool nickname already and everything. When he does anything in the NFL, we're gonna call him RG3. Right now, he's Bob Griffin." I don't know about you, but I love these kinds of quotes. I wish the media had access like they did decades ago so we could get less prepped fluff and more tough-guy, welcome-to-the-league comments. Good stuff.

Now you got me all fired up.

Kay from Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel

Now that you mentioned "When Pride Still Mattered," I remember being a bit disturbed by the book due to the fact it portrayed Lombardi as somewhat of a psycho. Are any other coaches you have met as "crazy" as Lombardi?

Most of them have something going on. Chuck Noll said he couldn't do that take-the-safety thing at the end of games to help move the ball out of danger. He admitted it was the smart thing to do but he just couldn't force himself to score points for the other team. Bill Cowher loved to show violent movies on the plane on the way to games. We once counted over 200 people killed in one of those movies. Tom Coughlin told me he didn't want his players walking around the building with smiles on their faces. Jack Del Rio shares the same kind of sadistic affection for the Oklahoma drill that I have. I guess I should stop there.

Robert from Harvel, IL

Hey, Vic, are you going to be at the full-pads practice this coming Saturday?

Yes, I like to watch.

Kathy from Temecula, CA

Vic, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your column, especially the great comments from your readers. I live in SoCal and am anxiously awaiting the first preseason game in San Diego. I realize the starters will probably only play for a quarter, but what should I be looking for?

Graham Harrell is the likely headliner in that game. I would guess that Aaron Rodgers and company will play only a series, which means we're getting to get a long, hard look at Harrell in his attempt to secure the backup quarterback job. I think he's a critical figure in this training camp and preseason. The Packers need to know they can hand him the ball.

John from Union Grove, WI

Why cut Charlie Peprah when we need safety help?

The answer is obvious: The team thinks it's the right thing to do. It's moving on with youth at the safety position and, possibly, clearing the way for Charles Woodson to increase his playing time at safety, which means the Packers would likely keep another cornerback. The Packers have youth in their secondary. They have young, ascending defensive backs and young players in ascent are always favored. The Packers drafted a safety and have some young holdovers in M.D. Jennings, who had a strong spring, and Anthony Levine. The team is expressing its faith in its stockpile of young, ascending safeties.

Brett from Saint Cloud, MN

Everyone knows Green Bay is a special spot for football. What makes Packers training camp special compared to other teams you have seen/covered?

The bicycles make it special. Those bicycles are the Packers training camp brand.

Bart from Sanibel, FL

Baseball is almost like international sports in that the minor leagues feed into the main league. What makes football and basketball such big university sports? Why those two?

Their seasons dovetail with the academic calendar.

Jeff from Canton, OH

In the first week of August every year, we celebrate the history of the NFL here in Canton. You should come check it out in honor of this week's "Ask Vic" theme.

I've been there plenty. I've covered Hall of Fame games and I made the short drive from Pittsburgh to Canton several times to visit the Hall of Fame. It has really come a long way. My father took me there in the 1960s, shortly after it opened, and it was a far cry from the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I returned to cover a Hall of Fame game in the early 1980s and the expansion and improvement of the exhibit hall was distinct, and I've been back several times since and every time I return the facility is better than the time before. If I could be one thing, I'd want to be a Hall of Fame football player. The men enshrined in that building never die.

Davy from Chetek, WI

Since 2010, the Packers have accomplished all of the following: Super Bowl victory, 15-1 regular season, 19-game winning streak, nearly an entire calendar year with no losses, the league MVP, a DWTS win, hugely successful stock sale and start to stadium renovation, thousands of new owners and an excellent team going into this season. I'm sure I forgot a few things, but it really is a great time to be a Packers fan.

It would be blasphemy to suggest the 1960s weren't the greatest years in Packers history, but if there's a No. 2, this is it. The franchise is revered in all of professional sports for its accomplishments on the field, the manner in which it conducts itself, and its global fan base. As we begin another football season, I think everyone should take a deep breath of success.

Nate from Tracy, MN

Watching Coach McCarthy's press conference that he did on Wednesday, is it safe to say he had a lot of hidden messages in some of his comments? I guess one thing I took from listening to him was he is ready to have a hard training camp and everyone needs to put in 100 percent or they will be looking for a job. What are some of the things you took from listening to him?

I think the irritation he expressed for rookies thinking this is easy was genuine and unrehearsed. I think Coach McCarthy might've even caught himself off guard a little bit with what he was saying. Coach McCarthy is a football purist. Training camp isn't supposed to be easy and I think it bothers him that it truly has been watered down by the new CBA rules. I think that's what he was expressing. It would seem the coach has found his edge. Football is an edge sport. With that, I am heading down to the field to find out just how difficult this training camp is going to be. I hope you'll enjoy's coverage of training camp and all the rest of the 2012 football season. Football is back. Let's go.

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