Skip to main content
Powered by

There are regular-season goals, and then...

Starting fast would be nice, but it won’t define the Packers’ season


Evan from Rochester, NY

The comment about defining the Packers in one word really applies to last season's team. We haven't seen the team play yet and forge what Vic likes to call an identity. I'm excited to see what one word will define the packers in December.

Me, too. But the identity thing is not Vic's. I got here the same year as McCarthy, in 2006, and he preaches about forging an identity every year, since Day 1.

Travis from St. Johns, FL

Do you think the extra week of practice this year helped the UDFAs set themselves apart and provide management confidence in keeping six of them? It's interesting to speculate how the final roster may have looked if not for this extra week of practice.

Only four who started in Green Bay ended up on the 53 after the last few roster moves, but your point is well-taken. It may indeed have been a factor.

Ed from Fort Bragg, CA

Do this year's Packers have enough depth to withstand an injury onslaught? They seem to have been cursed the past few years by injuries.

It's not the number of injuries, it's to whom. The Packers withstood a slew of injuries in 2010, but the loss of Jermichael Finley was the only one that fundamentally altered how the team functioned on the field. The injuries to Rodgers and Matthews would have sunk the season in 2013 if not for Detroit's December collapse. Last year it was Nelson, and the defense wasn't the same in the games Shields missed. Some players are more replaceable than others.

Henry from Jackson, WY

Say a defensive player does everything right. He aims for and intends to hit the QB between the shoulders and waist, doesn't launch himself and performs a perfect form tackle. But, the QB ducks and winces prior to the hit causing helmet-to-helmet contact. This penalty drives me nuts and appears to be unavoidable. Will we one day see flags, a la flag football, on QBs because they're nearly untouchable?

The safety rules aren't easy to officiate for the reasons you mention. I think eventually the league will have to turn to replay on those types of calls to be fair to defensive players.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

If you were not a sports writer, and could play any position in the NFL, what would it be and why?

Replay official. It's the only job for which I could be totally immersed in the action but virtually guaranteed not to get injured.

Bob from Milwaukee, WI

The roster has Tretter listed as "Tretter, JC" (no periods after initials) and Lang as "Lang, T.J." (periods after initials). Is this just an oversight in consistency on the website or is this the way the players requested to have their names listed?

JC prefers no periods.

Sam from Madison, WI

If I'm T.J. Lang and the Packers and another team both offer me four-year deals of the same amount of money, my first question to TT is, "How do I know you aren't just going to cut me after three?"

C'mon, really? Don't be naïve. Any team can, and does, do that. That's why what matters most to the player is the guaranteed money. After the guaranteed money has been paid, every contract in the NFL is a year-to-year proposition, in part depending on the salary cap consequences. The number of years is just for the pro-ration of the signing bonus.

Jeremy from DeSoto, KS

Mike/Wes, you've completed all stories on the most recent Packers victory and editing is complete. You can finally relax and kick your feet up. What's your beverage?

Whichever variety of beer catches my eye when I open the fridge. I always have a few favorites handy, and a mix of new stuff I'm interested in trying.

Lisa from Killeen, TX

How soon will Kenny Clark come back?

He's been practicing this week and is expected to play Sunday. He is not even on the**injury report**.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

Colin Kaepernick isn't the only player not standing for the national anthem anymore. I don't think we have been spared a dilemma on Sunday just yet.

So glad Vic's doing the Monday column.

Chris from Gainesville, FL

Vic, I've been following your feed for three years now and every year I've seen the phrase, "It comes down to winning the division first, then we'll talk in January." Coach McCarthy recently said on losing the NFC North last year, "Division titles are important, but I didn't lose any sleep over it because we have a bigger goal. We don't hang division title banners around here." Pretty bold statement. Obviously the head coach has his sights past winning the division already.

I was in the group of reporters that heard the statement. Don't misinterpret it. McCarthy always has his sights on a championship. Winning the division is a regular-season goal, because of how it can help accomplish the larger goal (playoff seeding, home field, etc.), but that's all it is, and it's not a requirement. I think Vic has said basically the same thing. You can't win a championship in the regular season, but you might as well have a goal during that time.

Ginger from Maple Grove, MN

How do teams determine when veteran players 'lose a step'? Do they time them every year as they do for players in the draft?

When you've watched a player's practice and game film, year after year, it shows up.

Adam from New Haven, CT

Do you love listening to Michaels and Collinsworth? I do.

They're at the top of my list right now. They were both right on top of the intentional grounding call late in the fourth quarter Thursday night that was going to offset roughing the passer. That kind of alertness and astuteness impresses me, especially in the most intense moments.

Joan from Eau Claire, WI

Hey guys, can you tell me what the sayings that are painted on the fences across from the stadium say? Thanks.

The two fences are right outside my window. One has a welcome to Lambeau Field message for the Wisconsin Badgers and LSU Tigers. The other is solid gold with no message as of yet. Maybe because there's been a lot of rain this week.

John from Superior, WI

Vic always talked about his dislike for hockey because of the power play; it gives too much of an advantage to the awarded team. How about the penalties in football? An illegal use of the hands on fourth-and-21 when both players were clearly jamming each other's facemasks, not to mention the other 50 penalties that were called. Is this game we love so much being over-officiated?

You're just asking this now? Where have you been?

Randy from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Insiders, Day 1 of football, finally, and I'm already tired of the touchdown celebrations. What do you think of them?

I'm an old-fashioned curmudgeon in this arena. Act like you've been there before, unless it's truly spontaneous emotion. I've got no problem with real humanity, but the choreographed, staged stuff is not for me.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Wes, or Mike, can Linsley come off the PUP list after six weeks, or six games played by the Packers?

Six weeks. Generally speaking, roster regulations refer to a number of weeks, while disciplinary actions are about a number of games.

Alex from Hardinsburg, IN

I don't like it, not one bit. Why does everything have to become political? That's what sports are all about, escaping the real world for a couple hours. Now every football game I watch I've got to be reminded of police brutality, social justice, patriotism, and anti-patriotism. It's all political crap. This might be the last straw. My finger inches a little closer to the power button every year.

You're not alone, judging by the Inbox this morning, but I don't believe your last line for one second. Good luck finding an entertainment source that provides you as much joy (and escape, the current climate notwithstanding).'s Wes Hodkiewicz identifies five key matchups in Sunday's Packers-Jaguars game.

Jared from Kenosha, WI

Mike, you need to credit Wes two beers as you missed two Oxford commas in your list of former practice squad players on Thursday.

I was giving him a chance to battle back and he blew it. I give no credit for outside help.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I was hoping to see some color rush uniforms in the opener. Aren't they mandatory for Thursday night games?

Beginning in Week 2.

Keri from Thunder Bay, Canada

How much play is Julius Peppers going to get this year? He is such a great part of the defense and we should use him as much as we can while he is still playing.

The Packers need to get as much impact as they can out of Peppers, and monitoring his snaps in the early portion of games, and the season as a whole, will help maximize that. This defense will be at its best when Peppers is at his best on third downs, in fourth quarters, and in December and January. That's not likely to be the case if he's playing 800 snaps between now and Thanksgiving.

Charlie from Calumet City, IL

Sunday's forecast calls for a high of 93 degrees. What is the Packers' hydration plan and when will it start?

It started last week.

Zach from Billings, MT

What do you think it means regarding Teddy Bridgewater's health or the Vikings organization overall when they traded for Bradford and gave the Eagles a first-round and conditional fourth-round pick? Win now? They've basically used two first-round picks on QBs in three years.

They have a brand new stadium and a Hall of Fame running back who's 31 years old. They weren't going to just wait around for Bridgewater to come back, particularly when there's no way to know exactly when that'll be.

Mitch from Chicago, IL

The story of Flip and Flop is also on there about Vic. Had to look that up and it's right there, and that's awesome and comical at the same time.

I knew someone would add them. They weren't on there before.

Kyle from Spooner, WI

Peppers finally said it recently: "We want to start fast." That's all we heard last offseason from Coach McCarthy. This year, we haven't hardly heard those words at all. Different expectations for Weeks 1 and 2?

Confounding use of the double-negative there. Be that as it may, this is a dead issue for me. Last year, the Packers started 6-0 and finished 10-6. In 2014, they were 1-2 and finished 12-4 and on the cusp of the Super Bowl. In 2012, 1-2 again, then 11-5. In 2010, 3-3 and won the whole thing. Let's not perseverate on this topic.

Matt from Minocqua, WI

I challenged Vic a bit ago to find one characteristic, one flaw in AR's game that he could work on. Vic could not find one. Neither can I. Can either of you?

The only one that people often bring up comes with a huge caveat for me. He takes too many sacks by holding the ball too long, but holding the ball and extending plays also make him such a difference-maker, and dangerous against any defense at any time. You have to take the good with the bad. Therefore, I've never felt the criticism was valid.

Rachel from Minneapolis, MN

Vic texts?

Yeah, and I didn't even have to teach him.

Tyler from Myrtle Beach, SC

I feel like the impact of Sam Barrington's release is being overlooked because of Sitton. I thought the goal was to rebuild the ILB position? Now our starters are first-year and second-year fourth-round draft picks. I thought Sam had a good camp. Why go so thin and inexperienced at a position that has plagued GB for several seasons now?

Lots of folks asking about Barrington. All I can surmise is the Packers didn't see the same player from before the injury when they studied the film, and/or he no longer fit the plan for how this defense wants to play in 2016. It looks to me like they are rebuilding the ILB position, just not exactly the way we might have anticipated. Perhaps they aren't finished, either.

Kenneth from Cuyahoga Falls, OH

I loved watching the new fullback for the Broncos take a handoff 28 yards for TD. It was fun to watch because the FB is a throwback to the older times and it seemed no one on the Carolina defense expected a handoff to the FB on that play. He ran by everyone pretty much completely untouched.

The cornerback for Carolina ran right by him in the hole, believing, presumably, he was avoiding the lead blocker. That was the definition of an early-season "unscouted look."

Matthew from Portland, OR

I found Siemian's performance neither overwhelmingly good nor underwhelming. He thoroughly whelmed me. Others seem impressed with him, whilst others still aren't. What's the read, Insiders?

He will have to perform better for Denver to continue winning bigger games down the line, but for a QB who hadn't thrown a pass in a real NFL game before, to hold his own, on that stage, against a Super Bowl contender, with the reigning league MVP his counterpart, it was a better start than the Broncos could have hoped for.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

I am unsure of Aaron's contract length. In light of Brees getting recognized monetarily, do you see the Packers doing something along those lines with Rodgers?

It would be my expectation the Packers will take care of Rodgers' contract before it becomes any sort of issue.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

With the mic in Rodgers' helmet, is McCarthy ever able to be, like, "Yo dude, Jordy is open"?

There's a league official who shuts off the helmet communicator with, I believe, 15 seconds left on the play clock, or as soon as the offense breaks the huddle, whichever comes first.

Bob from Sydney, Australia

Gents, this week is a massive challenge. New OL grouping, new ILB duo and headset wearer, questions at receiver, new punter, likely new gunners and a new placekick holder, as well as the heat and humidity. I can't wait to watch it unfold and lead into a challenging season. The reward is the unknown.

That's why we watch.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

The top 2016 preseason plays video is a smash hit. It's got my juices flowing. Bring on the regular season!

Amen to that.

Katie from Champaign, IL

Are you guys ready for the game on Sunday afternoon?

I'm already on the plane.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.