The regular writer of "Ask Vic," packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman, has almost finished his vacation. Staff Writer Mike Spofford has temporarily filled in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions the past two weeks, and this is his last day as the pinch-hitter. Vic will resume writing his daily column on Monday, July 9.
Patrick from Sterling, IL
Hi Mike. Is that walk on the Heritage Trail part of your training for the 5k run on the 28th?
No, I was going to have Logan run that for me, and he's going to impress me by sending in all his "Ask Vic" questions from his phone while he runs. I did walk the downtown portion of the Heritage Trail yesterday in that heat, though. Keep an eye out for a story later today.
Justin from Rochester, MN
Hi Vic, er... Mike! I think you touched on an interesting topic regarding who will take over leadership of the O-line with Clifton and Wells both departing. With several established veteran starters on that squad, you'd expect someone like Sitton, Lang, or Bulaga to naturally step into that role, but with bringing in a presence of Saturday's stature, that makes it a unique situation. Obviously this is something that will have to play itself out (and we as fans might never get to know what the true dynamic is like within that group). What insight can you give us into the individual personalities of our current OL guys that might indicate who the natural leaders are?
I don't mean to dodge the question, but I think all three of those guys you mentioned have leadership qualities that could emerge more now. Sitton has been a starter the longest and is the most vocal of the three, so the leadership may fall more naturally to him, but you never know. Saturday is a strong candidate, too, though it wouldn't be fair to "expect" that of him coming to a new team this far into his career. The main thing I've witnessed is those guys are a pretty cohesive group with a lot of respect for one another, and Saturday has fit in well so far. I don't know if you heard or saw this, but one day during the June minicamp, Evan Dietrich-Smith was filling in for Lang at left guard with the first unit, with Saturday and Sitton at their usual center and right guard spots, respectively. Dietrich-Smith had his jersey nameplate changed to "Friday" and Sitton changed his to "Sunday" so the trio read like a three-day weekend when lined up next to one another. Apparently it was Sitton's idea, so maybe that tells us something.
Hey Mike/Vic, in your answer recently you said the Packers "G" logo has been around since 1961. Did the Packers have an "official" logo prior to that year?
Yes, there were three, but the first one didn't appear until 1950, the first year after Curly Lambeau's tenure. It just said "Packers" in green, all caps, with the "P" much bigger than the other letters, and a football and two goalposts in the background. In 1954, when Lisle Blackbourn became coach, a new logo was designed that had a Wisconsin silhouette inside a football with a player cocking his arm to throw a pass. The upper torso of that passer is similar to what you see on the current Lambeau Field logo. Then in 1959, coinciding with the arrival of Vince Lombardi, an overlapping block "G" and "B" was designed for caps, shirts, jackets, etc. The "G" developed in 1961 is the first and only logo to go on the helmet.
Dan from Torrington, CT
Hi Mike. What is the history/origin of the Packer figure in the Heisman pose in front of the silhouette of the great state of Wisconsin? I like it, but I don't remember seeing very much of it when I was a kid in the '60s. Does it date to before the Lombardi era? Thanks.
So last day is logo day, I guess. OK. No, just like the helmet "G", the Wisconsin/Heisman logo also dates back to 1961 and was the team's primary logo on stationery, team publications, etc., through the Lombardi era until 1969. You don't see it as much today, but it is on the equipment bags that players pack up for road trips and such. It's also on the upper tabs of the visors – really small – that some players wear under their facemasks. So it's still around. As you may know, the pose depicted on the actual Heisman Trophy was modeled by Ed Smith, a running back at New York University. Interestingly, Smith played for the Packers in 1937 for Curly Lambeau, and I've heard there may have been a connection between Smith and Lombardi somewhere along the line. But whether the latter is true, or whether either connection had any bearing on the Packers developing that logo, I have no idea.
Mike from Westmont, IL
Hey Mike, I'm not too sure I've seen you or Vic reply to this item: After having read on FoxSports.com awhile back about breakout players for 2012 for all NFL teams, Randall Cobb has been declared the "favorite" Packer to break out. Agree or disagree?
Aaron from Washington, DC
Hey Mike, I just read an article on NFL.com that listed the top receivers in drops. While it was not a complete surprise to see James Jones at No. 2, I was astonished when I saw Donald Driver sitting at 7. Have you noticed that many drops from him? It might just be that I remember those phenomenal one-handed catches he makes. It also could be that Jones drops too often, so I notice that more. By the way Logan, I am also 15.
A couple of readers referenced this statistical chart, courtesy of profootballfocus.com, which ranked receivers based on their percentage of drops of catchable passes over the last three seasons combined. I would say I remember a few more drops from Driver in 2009 and 2010 than last year, but yeah, I also remember a couple of ridiculous one-handed diving catches from him in '09. I think Jones' drops stand out more because they seem to happen on longer throws that look like they could go for touchdowns. It makes the miscues more memorable, and that was certainly the case on a few occasions in 2010 for him. But dropped passes are going to happen. Other guys in the top 12 on that list are No. 1 receivers on their respective teams – DeSean Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall, Michael Crabtree. The key is that I've never seen Aaron Rodgers lose confidence in one of his receivers because of a dropped pass or two, no matter who it is.
Joseph from Colorado Springs, CO
Who do you think is the most underrated player on the Packers?
Sarah from Green Bay, WI
I was just wondering, with the increase in the number of people that will be able to be seated in Lambeau, will that cause issues with the time it takes to get through security?
It shouldn't. A new entrance tower will be open this year in the north end zone for all premium-seat holders, and then when the new south end zone seats are finished for 2013, there will be a new stadium entrance in that end zone as well. Theoretically, in 2013 with 6,700 new seats and two new entrances, it should take less time to get through security.
Fabrizio from Fossano, Italy
Hallo Mike! You're doing a good job! I've a question for you: How are preseason opponents chosen?
I believe each team is able to work out a deal with another team on its own for one preseason game, and the league chooses the other three opponents. The Packers and Chiefs have been working together lately, scheduling one another in the final preseason game for three straight years now (including this year). Before that, the Packers had a regular arrangement with the Titans. Green Bay and Tennessee played each other in their final preseason game eight years in a row (2002-09).
Aric from Newport News, VA
In regards to the information brought up by Rob from Tampa about Barry Sanders' 1997 season, when you're comparing a 16-game season to a 14-game season, you don't take off the first two games of the 16-game season, you take off the last two. That drops him all the way to 1,731.
I think that's splitting hairs a bit. I'm sure Rob's point was that Sanders rolled up 2,000 yards in one consecutive 14-game stretch, which to my knowledge had only been done once previously in league history, when O.J. Simpson rushed for 2,003 yards in the 14-game 1973 season. Sanders also topped 100 yards in all 14 of those games in a row, which is still a league record, by three games.
Patrick from Minneapolis, MN
You gave it away. You're an east-sider. This is good.
Busted, and Patrick doesn't even live here.
Corey from Ottawa, Ontario
Hey Mike, do you think more players will follow Drew Brees and appeal their franchise tag? Or was this a once-in-a-lifetime situation?
Brees' situation was pretty unique. As far as I understand it, Brees wasn't appealing the franchise tag per se. Because he had been franchised once earlier in his career by the Chargers and now a second time by the Saints, Brees was getting a clarification on whether getting franchise tagged again next year by New Orleans – if Brees were to play for the one-year tender this year and not sign a long-term deal – would be his second or third tag. There are percentage-based salary-raise requirements in the CBA for a player receiving multiple franchise tags, and the minimum raise is much higher for a third tag than for a second. The ruling was that next year would be a third tag for Brees.
Chris from Wausau, WI
Hey Mike, am I the only one who cannot stand thinking about that playoff loss to the Cardinals? Yes, the game was exciting, but the ending was all wrong. Rodgers was clearly sacked by his facemask. It should have been a 15-yard penalty and a first down for Green Bay but instead they lost. Doesn't that drive you crazy?! I can't stand it.
Let me give you another way to look at it. Think about how much a rather young team as a whole, and Rodgers in particular, learned about playoff football in that game and what it meant the following year. After such a crushing loss to end 2009, think about how much more resolve the Packers had in 2010 to persevere through all the injuries and pull together when it mattered most. After all that's been revealed about the Saints' bounty scandal, maybe it's not so bad that Rodgers wasn't playing the following week in the Superdome. Does that help?
Randy from Medicine Hat, Alberta
Having Mike as Vic's substitute writer is like having Matt Flynn back up Aaron Rodgers. This kid Spofford could start anywhere else in the league.
Thanks, and with that, my work here is done, though I'm not a free agent and I'm still under contract. I hope I've been at least somewhat informative and entertaining. It's been a fun two weeks, and I appreciate all the thoughtful questions and comments from everyone. Sorry if I never posted one of yours, but trust me, I read it. Vic should be rested and ready for you now. See you around throughout the season.