Peggy from Bloomer, WI
It's only preseason. Thanks to my husband for providing that reality check numerous times last night. Is that really what's going on here?
Your husband's right, and flipping the switch can make all the difference, but last night's performance isn't what you want. It's not what you want and it's not what Mike McCarthy wants. There's a level of efficiency a team needs to achieve that allows it to look beyond the final score of a preseason game. The Packers have not achieved that level of efficiency. They need to reach it in the game in Cincinnati, the third and most valuable of all of the preseason games, because the final preseason game is largely a tryout for the bottom of the roster and the practice squad. I'm not saying Packers fans should curl up into a ball of worry based on last night's preseason game, but I didn't see much that'll warm my weekend. Thirty-two unanswered points, in my opinion, is the issue. That shouldn't happen to a good team in any kind of game.
Rob from Elkhorn, WI
Vic, I'm fine with the desire to get replays correct, but last night's screech-to-a-half pace was ridiculous. Please tell me this is a result of replacement officials, or getting used to new rules.
That has to be it, because the pace improved as the game wore on. I still don't like the new rule because the vast majority of the automatic turnover reviews are going to be unnecessary. If it fixes one big mistake, are all the stoppages of action worth it? No, I don't think they are. This isn't death row. This isn't about making sure we don't wrongly convict someone of a crime. It's just a game and we've developed an unhealthy obsession for correcting mistakes. We all make mistakes. The need to overcome them is a fact of life. If turnovers can't be reviewed quickly and without disrupting the flow of the game, then just play on and chalk up the mistakes to the rub of the green.
Nick from Water Mill, NY
Reflecting on last night's game, what factors do you think contribute to fumbles by a repeat offender and can you think of any players who eventually progressed from butter fingers?
Tiki Barber is the example. He was taught to hold the ball high and tight and the fumbles stopped. The Packers teach the proper technique. It's taught every day in practice, but it's a meaningless drill if it's not executed in games. Ball security begins with a mental focus on its importance and an execution of the proper technique for protecting the ball. I get the feeling the preseason doesn't have the players' attention, and I think the turnovers are proof of that. This is not a team that turns the ball over. It is out of character for this team to turn the ball over, and out of character is exactly how I would describe the Packers' overall play on offense. Is the light regard the players have for the preseason the cause? I think it is. Teams that play well in the preseason are usually teams with a lot of position battles. The Packers offense certainly doesn't have a lot of position battles.
Johnathan from Chesapeake, VA
How much better do you think the offense will come together when Rodgers is in the game the whole time?
It'll make a huge difference, especially if it includes Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley in the lineup, too. Rodgers needs playing time with those two guys. He hasn't had a lot of it in practice, either.
Chris from Fort Worth, TX
Is the offense's ultimate objective to gain yards or score points?
You want to do both. Points are yards. In the preseason, I think yards are even more important than points. You want to achieve a level of efficiency. I'd rather move the ball up and down the field and stall in the red zone and have to kick field goals, than have my defense turn the ball over to me several times at point-blank range and score touchdowns. If I'm a coach, I want to know my players are ready to begin the regular season, and the only way I can know that is by seeing them play in an efficient manner over extended periods of time. The points will come. I'd like to see sustained periods of efficient play.
Bart from Sanibel, FL
Sure, a lousy outing in the second preseason game may make for poor viewing, but it's good to light a fire under the guys and get them going. As a wise man once said, "All is well and will be well in the garden."
OK, I'm ready to see some flames.
Don from Torrington, CT
After watching the Browns game, I need to ask: Are we going to know, from watching preseason games, whether the Packers offense will be as dominant as last year, or does a lack of game-planning make it impossible to know about the offense this year?
You can't know anything for sure until we're deep into the regular season, but the Packers have a demanding first month of the season and I think we need to know this team is ready for the demands of that schedule, and what's left of the preseason is about the only indicator available to us. I will not be offended if the Packers play well in Cincinnati.
Matthew from Baraboo, WI
I think Mike Spofford said something very revealing about these Packers. He said: "McCarthy will take his share of the blame, but there's no game-planning in the preseason. They practice their basic stuff and run their basic stuff." I know you've always said football is about players winning the one-on-one battles, however, I think this team, more so than other teams, has great preparation. They seem to struggle in games when they don't get to prepare and game-plan for a team. Your thoughts?
I think Mike was trying to ease the fans' worry. Yes, scheming can enhance a game plan, but everybody knew the Packers sweep was coming, just as everybody knew the back-shoulder throw was coming last season. The execution of basic stuff is what wins. Players, not plays.
Jeremy from Charlotte, NC
Vic, all the talk about the guys being angry about what happened against the Giants in January and to what end? Guys are still fumbling, our defense is still inept, the coaches and the players still don't get it (judging from their interviews), and you're still towing the company line. What gives?
Feel better now?
Courtney from Butte, MT
He may be playing with the second string, but Harrell has not been as impressive as you would have liked. Are you still waiting or do you now believe it's time to get another QB?
If you do it now, it might cost you a pricey pick. The closer you get to final cuts, the more likely it is you can find help at the position at a reduced cost. What's the rush?
Andrew from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, do you think the Packers are hesitant to put Bishop on IR because they are waiting to see the extent of his injury during surgery?
That's part of it, but the bigger part of it is they don't have to do it now. You don't make moves until you have reason to make moves or have to make moves. Remember Nick Collins.
Nick from Muskego, WI
Was seeing Johnny Unitas in a Chargers uniform worse than seeing Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform?
Yes, because Unitas' black high tops just didn't go with the Chargers' lightning bolts.
David from Honolulu, HI
How did we get an awesome coach like Kevin Greene?
Dom Capers no doubt identified him as an up-and-coming coach. I was in Jacksonville when Greene attended training camp there in a learning capacity. I remember one of the Jaguars scouts telling me, "He's going to be a good coach." It shows. Some guys just have what it takes to communicate and teach.
Travis from Union Grove, WI
Vic, I understand why players might have the same number during the preseason, but if both players make the team, how do they chose who changes numbers?
If you're sharing a number with Jim Brown, you should probably count on wearing another number.
Bubba from Pocatello, ID
Vic, you played golf with Vince Lombardi?
No, I played golf with Gene Hackman. Big hitter, the Hackman. It was about four or five years ago. I was at one of those practice-type places, which included the best six-hole golf course I've ever played. Anyhow, Hackman steps into the spot next to me on the driving range. I know right away who he is and why he's there; he's best friends with Jack Del Rio, so he was probably in Jacksonville to visit Jack. My buddy sees Hackman and immediately asks him if he wants to play golf with us. Hackman relents, and off we go. A few holes into the six-hole round, I'm lining up a putt of 60 feet or more. As I'm standing over the putt, Hackman says, "A hundred bucks if you make it." I look at him and he gives me his best "Hoosiers" look. I regroup, hit the putt and the ball breaks right, then left, rolls right up to the hole and looks down into the cup before stopping. I summoned my best George Costanza and said, "You lucked out on that one Hackman." I thought he was gonna bust a gut. When I got home after golf, my wife asked me what I did after work. I told her I played golf. With whom, she asked? Gene Hackman, I said. Who's Gene Hackman? You know, the guy in the movies, I said, and I walked away. She followed. The next day, Coach Del Rio stopped at my office door and said, "I heard you played golf yesterday."
Greg from Waterloo, Ontario
What do the Packers need to do to make sure that at the end of the game the top two rushers are not quarterbacks?
They need to commit to the run. That's what Aaron Rodgers was saying when he very candidly answered my question about what the Packers need to do in what's left of the preseason to be able to pronounce themselves ready to begin the regular season.