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The 2014 Packers will be the best

It takes the right guy to make the right decision


Richard from Indio, CA

Vic, I'm impressed with Bortles and how well he is playing. Besides Roethlisberger, who does he remind you of?

I don't know who else, but here's what I find intriguing about the comparison to Roethlisberger: Almost nobody considers Roethlisberger to be an elite quarterback, yet, everybody is comparing Bortles to Roethlisberger as though Roethlisberger is the standard by which quarterbacks are judged. Roethlisberger might be the most underrated and under-appreciated quarterback in NFL history.

Doug from Pewaukee, WI

Vic, you say the 2014 Packers are the best you've seen since your time here. You missed the great run of 2010, and following a Super Bowl win the Packers went 15-1 in your first year of coverage. An impressive season with the most difficult schedule. In your eyes, what makes this Packers team better than 15-1?

I don't think in terms of records. The 2011 team had a sensational pass offense that produced a fantastic record, but it was a one-trick pony and when the Giants took that trick away, it was over. I see this team as having much greater balance and depth. It's a much more physical team. It can run the ball with the best of them, and it still makes throwing the ball look easy. It's on defense that I'm expecting the greatest gain. If that happens, I believe the 2014 Packers will be the best team in the Packers' current playoff-years run.

Bob from Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA

How do the Packers accommodate the religious needs of the players, coaches and support staff, especially during away games?

The team provides religious services in its hotel.

Duane from Newnan, GA

I'd like your thoughts on keeping both Flynn and Tolzien or just one of them after the final cuts are made.

I favor keeping three quarterbacks, but only if a third quarterback is worthy of a roster spot. I think the position is far too important to release a quarterback who possesses legitimate NFL talent.

Roderick from Gelnhausen, Germany

Vic, I know it's the preseason and the schemes are vanilla, and little game planning on the opponent is done. That said, I was surprised at the ease with which Chad Henne moved the ball up and down the field against the Bears' No. 1 defense. I know the Bears will make adjustments and look better when the season starts. Still, they did not impress at all. Thoughts?

Don't evaluate teams based on how they play in the preseason. Evaluate individuals based on how they play in the preseason. I saw some scheme last night.

Craig from Sheboygan, WI

Players look faster while wearing white shoes. Bring them back. I'm sure you would say no because black looks tougher. Right?

Everybody laughed at Penn State when they wore black shoes during the white-shoes era. Back then, wearing black shoes wasn't a fashion statement, it was one of Joe Paterno's tools for disciplining personal expression. Now, I see players using shoulder pads as though they're an ornament. I don't understand the value of wearing shoulder pads if they don't cover the shoulder. How about that little arm band players were wearing to make their muscles bulge? Fashion was never a big deal in football, but it is now. The NFL has always done a good job policing uniforms, and I salute its attention to knee and thigh pads. Now it's time for the league to turn its attention to shoulder pads, the second most critical protection a player wears. Make them cover the shoulder.

Jeff from Mercer, WI

Vic, why don't you go back to Pitt and go get a job? Most of us Packer fans don't care for you.

Oh, please, like me.

Brandon from Tucson, AZ

It seems like Colt Lyerla will be out for a while. Do you think the Packers might put him on PUP or IR?

He's not eligible to be placed on PUP. A player loses his eligibility for PUP the moment he participates in a practice.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

Vic, don't you think it was a little premature to trade Jerel Worthy?

Ted Thompson made a tough decision, and I don't think the decision he made is being fully appreciated. He didn't make this decision based on what was best for him; he made this decision based on what was best for the Packers. When you have a guy like that, you've got the right guy.

Louis from Coral Springs, FL

Vic, do you look for different things during different preseason games, or are they all about player evaluation?

For veteran, playoff-contending teams such as the Packers, the preseason is all about player evaluation. A young team that needs to learn how to play together and execute its playbook can be forgiven for using the preseason to achieve more than player evaluation. That's how I viewed the Jaguars last night.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Vic, if the preseason schedule was reduced to two games, do you think the NFL and the players would consider a Week 1 roster increase to 60 players and a Week 2 increase to 57 players before using 53 the rest of the season?

That's a good plan, but I would favor greater flexibility in the injured reserve rules. I like the old four-week rule. If you put a guy on IR, you can bring him back after four weeks. Each team would have four such moves a season, and the injuries must be verifiable by the league medical examiner. I don't favor an increase in the size of rosters. I fear the game becoming too big.

Nick from Toronto, ON

Vic, other than Mike Daniels' improved leadership, how has our defensive line progressed from last season? Do you like what you've seen thus far?

I like what I see, which is to say a defensive line with young lions on it. This team has needed young lions. Now it has them.

Salvador from Metepec, Mexico

Vic, after reading you for some time, it's clear to me that to build a team you need patience for at least more than two seasons. What is the fastest transition to go from hopeless team to a title contender you've seen in all the seasons you covered the NFL?

It's the Bill Walsh 49ers. They went from 2-14 in his first season to Super Bowl champions in his third season, and then became a dynasty.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, after writing stories on a typewriter and computer for so long, what was it like for you to give reports with a microphone in your hand and a camera in your face for features such as "Top 3 at TC?" Was it difficult to make that transition? By the way, I really enjoy "Top 3 at TC."

It's different. I learned to think in terms of headlines, because you have to keep it short. Video reporting requires you to say a lot in a few words. Body language, facial expression and voice inflection are important in the process. None of that matters when you write stories.

Mike from West Bend, WI

That's what drives me nuts about your columns, Vic; you aren't objective. For a guy who always claims to have an edge or likes the edge, you sure don't apply it in reporting on the Packers. You only direct it at the fans. The 2012 draft could really hurt the sustained success of that team. Ted Thompson actually traded up for Worthy, who was completely miscast in the Packers' vision. The complete inability to address the safety position since Collins hurt this team for far too long. No GM is perfect, but when mistakes are made and repeated, it would be OK for you to report on that, too. The love fest for everything Ted Thompson does isn't very objective.

I see a strong roster, and it's a roster built through the draft. I see a player that was made expendable by other draft picks at his position, which is what you want to achieve in a draft-and-develop system. I think your criticism is unfair, not of me, of Thompson. I don't care what you think about me because I am completely unimportant when it comes to the performance of the Green Bay Packers. I think you're being unfair to Thompson. He has built a top roster and it's built to last. This isn't a snowman that's going to melt in an offseason. It's going to be there year after year after year, yet, you've elected to focus on one position. If it was quarterback, I could understand the criticism, but safety? Really, safety? I don't think you're being very objective. I think you have an agenda.

Willie from Montreal, QC

Vic, your column has become the joy of my Internet time and certainly has surpassed the writer's take on things. My question to you is if you were managing a car dealership, wouldn't you want only the most knowledgeable and honest salesmen on the floor?

I'd want the guys that sell the most cars. Just sell, baby.

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