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Seahawks are the standard by which we'll judge the Packers

"Kickoff" game just three days away


Mariano from Buena Park, CA

Really, all 10 practice squad players were with the Packers in camp? I know the Packers are a draft-and-develop team, but do you find that unusual considering your experience?

It's what I expected and I tried to convey that expectation several times. The cut to 53 is greatly overhyped, mostly by the fans. They envision dramatic decisions, but that's exactly what good general managers are skilled at avoiding. They use every means available to them for storing talent, especially young talent. The Packers have invested time in the development of players the team believes have a future in pro football. Why quit on them now? Don't think in terms of 53, or even 63. Think in terms of 90. Everybody begins with 90, and by the time the season has played out and players have been moved to injured reserve, most teams finish at or near 90.

Matt from Bossier City, LA

These stories aren't holding me off anymore. I have a craving for football that only football can satisfy. It's been too long. Thursday can't come fast enough. I need football.

So do I. I'm tired of writing about what will happen. I want to write about what did happen. Join me, please, in my season-opening, pre-kickoff ritual this Thursday night. Just before the kicker begins his run at the ball, I'll turn to the person next to me and say softly, "Well, (name), the baloney stops now," except I won't say baloney. You can say it to yourself. Maybe we can all say it together. It'll give us a sense of fraternity as the thing for which we have spent an offseason waiting finally begins.

Peter from Belleville, WI

Vic, in the conference call, Pete Carroll said the referee "didn't miss what he saw," referencing the "Fail Mary" play. What do you think his answer would be if you could ask him, "Coach, do you think the referee missed what he saw?" Secondly, why didn't anyone press him more on whether he thought the call was right or wrong?

Coach Carroll isn't going to take a win away from his team. No coach is going to do that. You're not going to get what you want, and for us to have pressed him more on whether he thought the call was right or wrong would've been confrontational, and that's not professional. We asked him for his opinion and he gave it to us, which surprised me. I thought he'd play the "stay in the moment" card, but he didn't, and I respect that he thought enough of us to answer our question.

Matthew from Lawrenceville, NJ

Vic, on there was a season preview for every team. Each team's write-up was accompanied by a graphic that showed the Madden ratings for notable players on the team. I used to buy every Madden game the second it came out each year, but I always kept the game separate from the on-field action. This made me sad.

Madden is a popular game and it's helped popularize the real game, but I'm not sure the people that play Madden know where the real game begins and Madden ends. The distinction is critical for appreciating all the real game offers in the way of entertainment and life-long memories.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

What does football do to the soul?

It shapes it. It shaped mine.

Paul from College Station, TX

When a person is put on IR, what are they allowed to do with the team and the team facilities?

They're allowed to use the facilities and attend team meetings, but they are not permitted to practice with the team.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

Vic, you were right, as usual. Between the 53-man roster, the practice squad and IR, the Packers seemed to have kept the 70 or so top players in camp this year. Any surprises for you?

I thought they might keep five safeties, but once they brought Chris Banjo back to the practice squad, they effectively did keep five safeties. There were no surprises for me. I expected the Packers to keep three quarterbacks, and they did.

Michael from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, I have learned to not live or die win or lose over the years, but I can't help but feel some apprehension heading into the game Thursday. I realize as a fan the best I can do is root my heart out, but can you add anything to allay my apprehension?

You want a guarantee? Sorry, there are no guarantees, and that's what makes the game so much fun. You have to decide what it'll take for you to enjoy the game and not allow your emotions to overcome you. That's your personal challenge. All I can tell you is that victory and defeat are out of your control. You have no say in the matter, nor are you in any way accountable for the outcome of that game. You are merely a viewer. I think it helps fans to remind themselves of that fact. I think fans have somehow deluded themselves into believing they have a role in these games, and I think they have to guard against thinking that way because it can trigger emotions that rob them of their ability to enjoy the experience. I acknowledge fans attending the game can impact the game with their energy, but if you're planning on watching the game on TV on Thursday, all you can do is watch. That's what I'll do on Thursday and I am really looking forward to it. Nothing will rob me of my joy for what I'm going to see on Thursday. I hope you can say the same.

Missy from Blue Springs, MO

Will the Packers ever get a cheese mascot? I think the fans would really like that! ;)

That's really sweet, Missy, but we got a lot of angst going on this week and it might be a good idea to revisit the cheese mascot idea at a later date.

Al from Kenosha, WI

It's great the Packers got 10 of their own back. Does it say anything that 31 other teams didn't go out and sign some of these players?

It says that 31 other teams also have a high opinion of themselves and their ability to scout, draft and develop players.

Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, I'm sure there will be some level of chortling or despair in your inbox on Friday morning, but I hope the fans can remember the season is not all about that one game.

Friday's column is either going to be the happiest place in the world, or the saddest. I'm not expecting a lot of measured perspective. A win will produce a "we are better than everybody else" kind of chortling, and a loss would result in a "fire everybody" reaction. The fact of the matter is that every game the Packers play in December will likely have a greater impact on the Packers' fate this season than the outcome of Thursday's game. I heartily encourage Packers fans reading this column to achieve perspective prior to Thursday's kickoff.

Terry from Rib Lake, WI

Vic, how much, if any, will Flynn, being an ex-Seahawk, help Rodgers and the Packers in prepping for the game on Thursday?

He knows things. If I was Dom Capers, I'd want to talk to Matt Flynn.

Braeden from Mitchell, Manitoba

Vic, what key signs this Thursday will tell us what we're in for this season?

You'll know them when you see them. This isn't the preseason anymore. This isn't about evaluation or practice. It's all about the scoreboard now. You are what your record says you are. Remember this: The Seahawks are the Super Bowl champions. They embarrassed Peyton Manning and the Broncos seven months ago. The Seahawks are the roughest, toughest team in the league. That's the standard by which we're going to judge the Packers on Thursday. We'll know.

John from Burr Ridge, IL

Five defensive linemen and 11 linebackers. I don't know what exactly we're going to see on defense, but I am excited to see it.

Nobody knows.

James from Orange Park, FL

We know, we know: "Football players labor on Labor Day." I'm sure Packer nation appreciates you doing so as well.

I can remember it as though it was yesterday, but it was well over 40 years ago. It was Labor Day and it was hot and we had just finished a grueling wind sprints regimen. We were standing with our hands on our knees and one kid was ralphing through his facemask, which brought a sadistic smile to the coach's face and caused him to utter those immortal words, which he did with effective pause between the words: "Football … players … labor … on Labor Day." I remember thinking to myself that this game is nuts and so am I. I'm gonna be here all day, baby. Eat a burger for me, please. By the way, don't forget about "Ask Vic Extra!" It begins this afternoon.

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