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Still worried? Listen to your coach


Jason from Fort Collins, CO

I saw on ESPN that the Giants are giving Osi Umenyiora's agent permission to work out a trade with another team. I know the Packers are pretty stingy with trading for high-profile players, but don't you think Osi could be that dynamic end opposite Mathews?

He wouldn't fit here. Umenyiora is a 4-3 end, not a 3-4, hold-the-point guy. That's not his game and I don't think you experiment with moving him to linebacker. Any 3-4 team interested in Umenyiora would have to have a special plan in mind for using him. Free agency isn't about signing the most big-name players. You don't get points for that. In my opinion, it's about finding a player that fits in your system, addresses a need you have and can be acquired at a price you consider to be commensurate with his value. I don't think Umenyiora would meet any of that criteria for a 3-4 team.

Rob from Oshkosh, WI

I understand why a lot of people are worried about the Eagles. They bulked up their secondary and pass-rush seemingly with stopping the Packers in mind, but it doesn't really look like they have done a whole lot to upgrade their offense. Thoughts?

Their offense was second in the league in yards and third in points last year. How much better does it have to get?

Shawn from New York, NY

Last year, the Packers ran more plays with an empty backfield than any other team in the league. I thought our philosophy was that our third, fourth and fifth receiver is better than your third, fourth and fifth pass-defender. With everyone fearing the Eagles' new cornerback trio, let's not forget that Aaron Rodgers is still our quarterback. He has sniper-like accuracy and a ruthless streak to audible when he sees a matchup he likes. Worry not, Packers fans. Jennings, Finley, Nelson, Jones and Driver, and possibly Cobb later in the season, are by far the most feared corps of receivers in all of football, and for good reason.

Worried? Who's worried?

Gladdys from Arlington Heights, IL

How does placing a player on injured reserve affect a team's salary cap? If a team is near the cap and places a high-priced player on IR, does the team get additional cap space to sign a replacement?


Ben from Roscoe, IL

Is coaches' pay part of the salary cap, too?


Paul from Brooklyn, NY

What does a coach look for in a punt-return specialist vs. a kick-return specialist? McCarthy said he is giving Cobb a longer look at punt-returner than at kickoffs. He is hoping Green emerges to handle the latter. What makes Green a better prospect than Cobb at kickoff-return and vice versa?

Green is a bigger, thicker guy; he's 33 pounds heavier than Cobb and that makes Green a better candidate to return kickoffs. You want a guy returning kicks that can take a lick; you want a move-the-pile type of runner, which is why you see a lot of running backs returning kickoffs. It's a straight-line, hit-it-up-in-there job. Returning punts is more about quickness, which suits Cobb's talents perfectly. He's an instinctive, eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head kind of guy. He feels the coverage without having to see it.

Mark from Byron, IL

Love ya, Vic. Keep stirring the pot. Packers fans need your point of view, whether they agree or not. If I missed this, forgive me, but what is the reasoning behind making signed free agents sit out until 8/4? Seems to me it doesn't benefit anyone.

The free agents won't technically be under contract until the new CBA is ratified. We have been led to believe the CBA will be officially ratified on Thursday.

Joe from Virginia Beach, VA

To all Packer fans worried about Philadelphia: The Eagles got substantially better on defense, but are still missing some linebackers. Green Bay has the best quarterback in the league, plenty of weapons and a good line, a top-flight defense featuring Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Nick Collins, B.J. Raji and Sam Shields, along with a ton of young talent. The Packers are still the envy of the league.

To all Packers fans worried about Philadelphia: Listen to your coach, Mike McCarthy. Don't fall into the weak mindset of being the hunted. Be the hunter.

Tom from Fairborn, OH

Gotta agree with you on two-a-days: Execution under duress (fatigue) is what it's all about. Gotta disagree with you on losing Jenkins: Good big men don't grow on trees and he was a good big man.

I said can we wait until the season is over and then re-visit this situation and decide whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing to do? Why do we have to decide now? It is what it is. A decision had to be made. He's gone.

Travis from Sullivan, WI

If the Eagles don't win the Super Bowl with all this talent, does Andy Reid get fired?

I wouldn't worry about that.

Jeremy from Kenosha, WI

What do you see out of D.J. Williams in terms of potential? Is he the real deal?

I see a guy with soft hands and heavy feet. I like tight ends with soft hands and heavy feet.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

You are very knowledgeable about the history of the NFL, and especially the Packers. This is evident through your writing, of which I have read lots. However, for you to even question the fact that Randy Moss is a Hall of Famer really makes me think less of you and your writing. You can find reasons to keep him out? Really, Vic? Because he wasn't a yes man his entire career. Talent at the highest level transcends the lowest level of attitude all day, every day. Only a racist, homer fan would deny Moss his achievements and greatness on the football field. He is widely regarded as one of the hardest-working NFL players of all time. Please think about what you write about an all-time great before you scribble it down and collect your paycheck. Randy Moss is the greatest physical talent to ever play receiver in the NFL and in the top 25 all-time players in NFL history. Your wavering on the topic is mind-boggling to me. Watch some film sometime on his years in Minnesota and New England. You are either acting as a Packers homer or slightly misinformed about the actual physical skills and talent required to play football. He is the second-best receiver ever, period. Get real and stop jeopardizing the proud history of the greatest professional sports league in the world.


Gustav from Borup, Denmark

Who has been the most revolutionary NFL player ever?

Red Grange, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath and Lawrence Taylor would all get votes. Of course, my vote would go to Randy Moss.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

It seems to me that four preseason games allow coaches to determine if a new player can cut it in the NFL. Can the coaching staff tell if a player has it after a week of practice, or do they need to see the player in games?

A coach can tell after one practice if a guy has the talent to play in the league, but he needs a couple of seasons to know if he has the work ethic and dedication to his craft to be something more than just a guy with talent. What does he do when he hits the "rookie wall" late in his first season? Does he melt or does he dig down for more? What does he do in the offseason? Does he use the offseason for fun and games, or does he dedicate himself to preparing his body? Some guys just don't love football enough to be anything more than their talent will allow. Then there are those guys who so desperately want to be a great football player that they will themselves to exceed their talent. You can't be sure of that until you've at least seen a player go through a full-year cycle, maybe two.

Kyle from Phoenix, AZ

I'm 19 and this season will be the first of my life that Favre isn't playing football. How am I going to cope without seeing someone with that much love for the game?

I'd get a girlfriend.

Jaymin from Jacksonville, FL

If a team goes over the salary cap do they just get fined and continue or do they have to find a way to get under it by cutting players?

The league would start voiding contracts in reverse chronological order until the team was under the cap.

Herb from Claggett, CA

What are the reasons that would keep Randy Moss out of the Hall of Fame? I don't like much about the man, but he had several years where he was head and shoulders above every receiver in the league. He was certainly one of the best players of his time.

He didn't get it done in the postseason, and he certainly had ample opportunity. I don't give much thought to a player's off-the-field record; I don't require them to be model citizens, just great football players. For me, being a Hall of Fame football player means playing your best football when it counts the most. Moss didn't do that. That's my opinion. I don't require validation and I am respectful of differing opinions. In other words, I have my own standards for what constitutes a Hall of Fame football player, and Moss doesn't meet those standards.

Eric from La Crosse, WI

What teams do you think are building toward a Super Bowl the right way, and what teams are going about things the wrong way and are likely to fall apart or continue struggling?

When I accepted this job, one of my first concerns was for the Packers' personnel philosophy. I didn't know what it was and I was concerned that it wouldn't match mine. I worried that Ted Thompson was a needs guy and I had decided that if that was the case, then I was just going to have to come clean with the readers and tell them I was a BAP guy but that I was open to new ways of thinking. When I got here and found out Thompson was a dyed-in-the-wool, BAP, draft-and-develop GM, it was as though a weight had been lifted from my laptop. Everything he espouses is what I grew up in this game learning and embracing as the way to do it. Therefore, I believe teams that do it the same way are doing it the right way, and teams that draft for need and overspend in free agency are doing it the wrong way. I believe in building the core of your team in the draft and patching in free agency. I believe that to be the right way.

Matt from Madison, WI

The Eagles sure are bringing in a bunch of big-name, high-profile players. It seems hard to believe they're under the cap with all of their new acquisitions. How have they done it?

The Eagles are expert salary cap managers. They were the first to use roster bonus to "pre-pay" on their cap. They were the first to move money forward to lock up their young core, and that's why they have room now. Some teams mortgage their future for the sake of their present. The Eagles did it the opposite way. It's a brilliant strategy.

Daniel from Scott Air Force Base, IL

Why is there so much hype about no OTAs? There have been a lot of good football teams that never had OTAs and came to training camp to get in shape. Is it the media or the fans that overreact?

That's a great point, Daniel. The 1960s Packers didn't have OTAs, did they? The '70s Steelers I covered didn't have OTAs, but they had two-a-days in full pads every day in training camp, and training camp lasted nine weeks and the preseason was six games back then, and I don't remember anyone coming into camp so out of shape that they couldn't practice. Thanks for pointing that out, Daniel. By the way, blame the media; always blame the media.

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