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We made it; it's time to celebrate

Rajion Neal can continue his rise tonight


Dave from Saint Michael, MN

Vic, when the Packers cut their roster to 53, are they able to keep 56 knowing three players are suspended?

Two players are facing suspensions. Letroy Guion is suspended for the first three games, and Datone Jones is suspended for the opener. Neither player will count toward the 53-man roster when the roster is reduced.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

On Friday morning, we will wake up and the regular season will be upon us. Is there a more optimistic time of year across the country?

It'll happen before tomorrow morning. At some point in the second half of tonight's game, we'll turn our attention to the opener in Chicago. They'll be playing out the final minutes of the preseason, but our thoughts will be elsewhere. Preseason football is forgettable. Maybe that's its true worth to fans. It's a low-stress, forgettable warmup to what's ahead. It helps us build anticipation for the regular season that awaits. The days of don't count are nearly over. When tonight's game ends, ask yourself this question: Am I ready?

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

What targets would Coach Vic want to hit from an offensive perspective in this final preseason game?

This isn't an offensive-targets game. Coach Vic thinks he has all of the information he needs on offense. All of Coach Vic's targets are on defense and special teams.

Brian from Fond du Lac, WI

"Yeah, they are, but I'd like to see research on another possibility: What are the chances today's players aren't giving their bodies enough time in the offseason to rest and recover from the punishment of the previous season? We've moved rest and recovery into the in-season routine. What about more rest and recovery in the offseason?" Ligaments and cartilage don't get stronger from use, they wear out. There's already a wealth of science to back that up. I believe that has less to do with recovery than it has to do with simple overuse.

That explains why I have such great ligaments and cartilage. I don't use them.

Ryan from Sycamore, IL

What is the feeling you get when the baloney finally stops?

You're talking about that moment on opening day when the kicker raises his right arm before he begins his run up to the ball – do they still raise their right arms? You're talking about that pregnant pause that asks the question: Is everybody ready? I'm at that point that I ask myself, "How many more, Vic?" I am truly blessed to have experienced so many of these moments. I want more.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

Vic, would it be a favorable plan to start the game against a team, such as Philadelphia that runs a really fast offense, with a 3-3-5 defensive alignment, or wouldn't that have been a solution to stop their game plan?

You're inviting the run. I don't know what else you've achieved. Nickel is a rather common defensive formation.

Jeff from Hagerstown, MD

Has Brett Hundley shown enough potential that the Packers would feel they need to keep him on the roster to protect him from going to another team?

If I was the GM of a team with the need for a developmental quarterback, I'd have my eye on Hundley.

Jordan from Detroit, MI

Besides old age, why do you think players' arrows start pointing down?

Their bodies wear out and begin breaking down. The prime years of a player's career, other than for quarterbacks, are generally considered to be years 4-7. This is a young man's game. If a player is still at the top of his game beyond the seventh year of his career, he's special.

Maximillian from Sydney, Australia

Vic, what would Mike McCarthy want to get out of preseason game No. 4?

I think he'd love to leave the field tonight having seen a lot of young players make plays on special teams. Rajion Neal, in my opinion, can close on the kickoff return job tonight. I think he's one of tonight's headliners. I think he has a chance to become this year's Jayrone Elliott. Neal is on the rise. It wouldn't surprise me if he continued his rise with a big game tonight.

Josh from Madison, WI

I just saw a preview for Will Smith's new movie, "Concussion," and noticed it's being tagged as "the movie the NFL does not want you to see." I feel like the NFL has grown to be fairly transparent on the dangers of playing the game we all love, but the promotional material suggests otherwise. Thoughts?

The NFL has acknowledged the dangers that accompany football, and the league is feverishly addressing those dangers. If the league is skittish about the effects of the movie, it's as they might pertain to young people's perception of the game. How will the movie impact that perception? The future of the game is in the hands of its young players and fans. I read the book and I'll watch the movie adaptation of what I read. My interest is of a different nature, since I largely witnessed the events happen over a long period of time. I'll reflect on my experiences. Football is the love of my life. Nothing will ever change that. I hope young people will love the game as I have. The game has so much to offer them.

Giorgio from Monza, Italy

You said Clay Matthews will stay at ILB because he can stuff and cover. I don't think I got it. Is he the only one capable of that?

Once upon a time, the middle linebacker was the star of the defense. Ray Nitschke, Dick Butkus, Tommy Nobis, Willie Lanier, Sam Huff, Jack Lambert were all stars. Chuck Bednarik was the first pick of his draft. The list goes on and on. It goes all the way up to Ray Lewis, but the list began to thin as time went on. Why? Because specialization began to devalue the middle linebacker position. He became a two-down player. He became a run-stuffer only. On third down, he left the game and was replaced by the nickel back. What's happened is the position has become targeted by offensive coordinators and play-callers. When the MLB is on the field, they throw at him. If you replace him with a nickel back, the offense runs at him. This isn't something only the Packers are facing. Go back and look at what Tom Brady did in last season's Super Bowl. The attack by offensive coordinators and play-callers on the inside linebacker position is giving the position new importance. Dom Capers saw that last season, and he addressed it by moving Matthews inside. Matthews is one of those rare talents that can do it all. It's been common to reserve those players for the outside positions. I think that's going to change. I think we're going to see more star-quality players returning to the inside positions.

Alex from Windsor, Ontario

I did some research Vic and it turns out a large portion of injuries happen during the regular season. Do you think we should start holding star players out of games against weak competition to protect them from injury?

I'm sure you're being sarcastic. Junior Galette blew out his Achilles in a practice and everyone is fine with the fact it happened in a practice, but if it happened in a game, the uproar would be deafening. Why are practices important and preseason games aren't? A preseason game is the best kind of practice. I just don't understand this thinking, but the best thing is I won't have to worry about it anymore after tonight, because the preseason will be over. It's a rite of passage. It's four weeks of angst we must endure to get to where we want to go. Please join me in celebrating the end of the preseason.

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