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Packers keep getting stronger at cornerback

A likely dime package on defense, plus some replay ridiculousness


The regular writer of "Ask Vic," packers.com editor Vic Ketchman, is out of the office. Staff writer Mike Spofford is temporarily filling in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions.

Scott from Norton Shores, MI

Who are your favorite sports commentators currently and who are your favorites of all time?

Radio? Bob Uecker. TV? Probably Al Michaels. He had me at "Do you believe in miracles?" But I miss John Madden. Not the one who couldn't put down the grease pen and became almost a caricature of himself. When that Madden was in the booth, I missed the former coach who first came on the broadcasting scene when I was young and taught me and my dad about football as we watched games together.

Jens from Duluth, MN

Mike, the Packers defense will be an improved one with everyone getting healthy and the additions via the draft. What position do you feel will be the strongest for the Packers on defense in 2014?

Cornerback, which I thought was their strongest position last year, until Hayward got hurt. Now, it might be even stronger.

Ben from Green Bay, WI

Mike, do you think we will see many defensive snaps this year where Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett, and HaHa are all on the field together?

Definitely. Aside from potential injury adjustments, I envision a dime package with Williams and Shields outside, Hayward and Hyde in the slots, and Burnett and Clinton-Dix at safety. That's why I answered the previous question the way I did, because that's four quality, experienced corners on the field if you need them, with Davon House still at the ready, and your rookie draft pick, Demetri Goodson, watching and learning.

Bob from Washington, DC

Hi, Mike. On Jimmy Graham getting tight end instead of wideout money, doesn't it strike you that bit, pass-catching tight ends are becoming more important, so that at least a few will reach top wideout salaries in the next few years?

The market will decide. If a few do reach that salary level, as you suggest, the franchise tag for tight ends, which averages the top five salaries at a particular position, will go up accordingly.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

"To survive and succeed will be everyone's objective, but not everyone's destiny." Thanks, Mike, for putting it in the simplest terms so eloquently. Could we keep seven wide receivers if two are returning kicks and punts respectively? Special teams can be the deciding factor in close games.

Boy, seven wide receivers would be an awful lot. There's almost no way you could have more than five active on gameday anyhow, and there aren't roster spots strictly for returners, so the return game doesn't really factor into the final number. I don't anticipate seven, but if it enters the discussion, it would have to come at the expense of a tight end or fullback, I would imagine. David from Scottsbluff, NE, asked which receivers I see making the team. As I basically stated in yesterday's feature story, the top four would appear to be Nelson, Cobb, Boykin and Adams. Everyone else is probably fighting for two spots.

BK from San Diego, CA

Vic/Mike: I met a guy a while back who is the son of Jim Weatherwax, a defensive player for the Packers back in the Super Bowl I & II years. He told me his dad made the first-ever tackle in Super Bowl history, but I have been unable to verify that claim through regular Internet searches. Do you have access to such excruciating minutiae?

Sorry to burst that family's bubble, but the official press box play-by-play statistics packet from Super Bowl I does not verify the claim. It indicates that Herb Adderley returned the opening kickoff for the Packers and was tackled by Kansas City's Bobby Bell. The first Super Bowl play from scrimmage was a run by Jim Taylor, tackled by Andrew Rice. The first tackle by a Packers defender in that game was credited to Ron Kostelnik and Henry Jordan. Defensive lineman Jim Weatherwax is listed as having made one tackle in the game, and it came on a third-quarter kickoff return by Kansas City's Bert Coan, right after Willie Wood's 50-yard interception return that set up Elijah Pitts' 5-yard TD run to give the Packers a 21-10 lead.

Jeffrey from West Allis, WI

If players don't enter the Hall of Fame as a member of a team, but rather as a member of the NFL, why do players sign one-day contracts so that they can "go in as a member of the ..."?

Two different issues. The one-day contracts are so players can "retire as a member of the …"

AJ from Corona, CA

Hi, Mike. Now that the NFL's top 20 games of 2013 list is completed, I would like to know which game you found to be the best last season, excluding any Packers games. For me it would be the NFC Championship, partly because of the tough defensive fight throughout the game, partly because I knew that whoever won that game would win the Super Bowl, and partly because San Francisco lost.

I would agree on the NFC title game as the best one I watched. It had an intensity that was almost palpable. But since every Packers gameday is a work day for me, I don't get to watch nearly as many games as fans do, so I would have no selection for a regular-season game that didn't involve Green Bay.

Nick from State College, PA

Hey Mike, Vic has said one his favorite parts of football is the element of human confrontation. What is your favorite part?

As a baseball guy at my core, I'm a strategist, so I guess I like fourth-and-one for a lot of reasons – the decision, the play call, the repercussions, all of it.

Ric from Syracuse, NY

Mike: Looked up the Charles Martin play after reading about it in your post. I noticed that the result of the play was a Packers interception which was NOT overturned by the penalty. Was this because the hit happened so late that it was considered to have happened after the turnover, versus roughing the QB? The Bears fans must have exploded over that call.

The interception stood because Martin slammed McMahon to the turf while the pick was being run back, so yes, the post-turnover foul did not nullify the interception. What sent Bears fans over the edge is the body slam further damaged McMahon's throwing shoulder and forced him to have surgery, which ended his season and, in effect, the Bears' chances of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

Kent from Niagara, WI

Mike, after Nelson/Cobb, who are the top five free agents or RFAs next year you think Ted Thompson will prioritize, and given good health, in what order?

There's no way to answer that, and no reason to, until we see how players like Bryan Bulaga, B.J. Raji, and Jarrett Boykin perform in 2014.

Justin from Rochester, MN

Hey Mike, assuming that Richard Rodgers makes the 53-man roster (I think we're safe to do that), will Aaron Rodgers have to change his jersey to read "A. Rodgers" or does only one player have to have the initial? I think you'd have a LOT of disgruntled jersey owners around the country if they changed it, seeing as he was the ninth-best seller last year.

Funny you should ask, because this came up amongst reporters on the sidelines at OTAs this spring (we discuss some pretty mundane things when the action slows down). I don't expect the QB's jersey nameplate to change. Last year, there were three Joneses on the roster (James, Brad and Datone), and to my knowledge, none of the three had a first initial on the back of his jersey.

Pat from West Bend, WI

Mike, you have to tell me since I know Vic won't. Do you get questions from Paul in De Pere? I maintain it is Vic asking the question he hopes someone would ask. Vic almost always has Paul from De Pere every day and you haven't had him once.

You give Vic way too much credit.

Paul from De Pere, WI

I never understood on a play where both teams get penalized that they offset. Sometimes you can have holding on the offense, a 10-yard penalty, and a personal foul on defense, a 15-yard penalty. Shouldn't whoever's penalty is less get the yardage difference?

If the personal foul is a dead-ball penalty, that's a different story. But multiple fouls have always offset, unless it's a 15-yard penalty versus a 5-yarder. That's the only exception to my knowledge. I think the idea, in your scenario, is to avoid rewarding an offensive team when it's called for holding.

Justin from New York, NY

Replay ridiculousness. Thursday night, I believe the A's game. Bases loaded, ball hit sharply to first. First baseman tags the runner at first on his way to second, but erroneously called safe, throws home, catcher saw he was called safe so he steps on home for the force out. After (hitting) team challenges the tag out, they are successfully granted the out. However, since the call was changed, the play at home changes to a tag out, not force out. So the runner at home was considered safe and the run counted. How is that possible, when the original play was based on the initial call? The catcher clearly saw the safe sign so he knew he could force out the runner at home.

Ridiculous indeed. I guess that falls under the law of unintended consequences. I'm sure no one ever envisioned a manager challenging a call so that it goes against his team, which is what the Blue Jays manager did, asking a runner who was called safe to be called out, so that another runner called out would be safe. It's too bad the A's won the game because now the protest of their game is automatically dropped. I'd like to hear the league respond to that protest.

Dan from Fox Cities, WI

The answer about the Purple People Eaters on Monday made me wonder, have the Packers ever had anyone the caliber of Alan Page go on to something afterward of the level of a state Supreme Court justice?

I couldn't think of anyone, so I ran your question by Cliff Christl, our team historian, and he said Lavvie Dilweg served one term as the 8th District Representative in the United States House, elected in 1942 and defeated in 1944. Dilweg also was beaten in an election by teammate Verne Lewellen in the 1930 race for Brown Co. district attorney. Cliff added that the Packers expressed interest in signing both Gerald Ford and Ted Kennedy, and that U.S. Supreme Court justice Byron "Whizzer" White was Johnny "Blood" McNally's presenter at the first Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1963.

Spencer from North Las Vegas, NV

Mike, a question from Friday reminded me that the Packers couldn't wear their brown helmets with the throwback 1929 uniforms last season. The league cited safety reasons being the justification. Do you have any insight into what those concerns were?

The safest helmet for players to wear is their regular one, so the league doesn't want players wearing different helmets with different uniforms, etc. So when the Packers wore the 1929 throwbacks last season, the players wore their regular helmet with the decals and stripes removed.

John from Green Bay, WI

When is the first practice in pads for the Packers?

The CBA rules don't allow pads to go on until the third workout of training camp, which would be Monday, July 28, at 8:20 a.m.

AJ from Howard, WI

Hey Vic, what are some of the things you are looking forward to once the pads go on?

I'm sure Vic would say the half-line running drills that became a feature of camp last year, and played a part in the offense's improved running game. I'm assuming those will continue, and you never know, there may be a new drill of some kind thrown into the mix this year. Aside from the 11-on-11 work, I've always enjoyed the one-on-one pass rush/pass blocking and receiver vs. defensive back drills. They're all alone. Who's gonna win?

Damien from Melbourne, Australia

How can we get the open practices broadcast on the web for us Packers fans who are not in the U.S.?

You want the scouts for the Lions, Bears, Vikings and all the other teams on the Packers' schedule to watch those practices, too? No offense to the international fan base, but that's not a trade I'd make.

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