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What about Wisconsin's Konz?


William from Jacksonville, FL

A left-hander has now won five of the last 10 Masters. Is there something in the course set up or simply just great golfers that happen to be lefties peaking at the right time?

The theory was always that Augusta National was a right to left course that favored right handers that could turn the ball over and make it run. So much for that theory. Here's a better theory: Just win, baby.

Bill from Pine Bush, NY

After looking at some scouting reports for the draft, one player jumped out as a great fit for our 3-4 and being a Thompson-type guy. I think the Packers' first pick will be Shea McClellin from Boise State. I wouldn't be surprised if we traded out of the first round to get an extra later-round pick, if we can pick early in the second round. Am I totally off-base here?

Tony Pauline says you are. He says you're going the wrong way. He thinks you'll have to trade up to get McClellin. It surprised me, too, as I hadn't previously considered McClellin to be a first-round prospect. I'll tell you, though, he had a dynamite Senior Bowl and followed that with a strong combine, and that's the one-two punch that wins on draft day. If what Tony says is right and McClellin is moving up boards, then I would expect to see a run on tweeners in this draft. This draft might be remembered as the "tweener draft." It's loaded with them. They are the strength of what otherwise appears to be a weak overall draft class.

Jeffrey from Columbus, OH

I saw that you helped turn around someone's flag football team so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for my softball team that is 0-softball.

Have everybody on the team hit to right. When you do that, you're hitting behind the runner and forcing the long throw from what is probably the worst fielder and weakest arm on the other team.

Andrew from Port Aransas, TX

Would it be difficult for you to cover a team that does not have a best available player or draft and develop philosophy?

No, it wouldn't be difficult to cover a need-drafting team. I understand the concept and know how to represent it. I covered the Jaguars when Tom Coughlin was the coach and general manager and he was an admitted needs drafter. The problem is I'm not going to lie when asked my opinion of taking a lower-ranked player over a higher-ranked player because need dictated it. I don't believe it. I hate the idea of leaving the better player for your competition to draft. What if need and value meet at that player for your competition? Now you really have a problem. BAP drafting requires a big-picture view of the draft. That's the view I think works the best. When you blend it into your total personnel philosophy, you find that you're dealing from a position of strength.

Todd from Fitchburg, WI

I think the Packers should select Vic Ketchman in the first round at pick 28. Give me your thoughts.

Looks like Tarzan's grandfather, plays like Jane's grandmother.

Chadd from Antigo, WI

The NFL is trying to get rid of some of these big hits to increase player safety, yet, they are switching to new uniforms being designed to give less to grab on to (meaning harder to block and tackle). Aren't those two moves a bit counter-productive?

When's the last time you saw a player tackled by his jersey? I think we had achieved sufficient tightness. You know what I think the reason is for making the uniforms lighter and tighter? I think it's so the players can show off their muscles.

Richard from Davis, CA

Lots of people say players would be safer with less padding. If players wore less padding, football might begin to look more like rugby. Do you think that would be a good or a bad thing?

It's difficult to imagine advertisers paying $3.5 million for a 30-second spot on the telecast of a rugby game. Player safety is critical to the future of football, but I sincerely hope that the people who are pushing hardest for player-safety measures understand and appreciate that the success of the game is built on the fundamental principle of Americans' love for physical confrontation. Football's popularity was not built on safety.

Terry from East Peoria, IL

Vic, in your opinion, why didn't Tony Mandarich make it in the NFL?

He wasn't permitted to be the same player in the NFL that he was in college.

Mitch from Sylvania, OH

How do you see Finley bouncing back after a somewhat underwhelming 2011 season riddled with drops? You think the new contract will ease his nerves or exacerbate them?

When I interviewed Jermichael at the combine, where he had just signed a new contract, I was struck by his genuine joy at having secured his financial security and knowing he would continue to play for the Packers. He seemed like a different guy. Some guys are motivated by playing for the contract; some guys play better when their contract anxiety has been eased. I think Finley is the latter. I think we're going to see a new man this season.

Jake from Billings, MT

I'm a young man who is currently trying to improve myself to become the best man, friend and overall person I can be, just like I've heard that Walter Payton was. Can you name some current players on the Packers, as well as the rest of the NFL, who are the type of men I'm trying to become?

I don't think I've ever received a letter of this nature. Good for you. As far as role models, there are plenty of them, but you have to find the ones that espouse the virtues and personality that appeal to you. I'll tell you this: Charles Woodson is the guy in the Packers' locker room that got my attention. He's my Joe Greene. I like the strong, statesman-like types and Woodson knocked me out with his performance at the White House last August. His banter with President Obama will be one of my enduring memories of my years covering the NFL. Woodson was everything I'd want to be in that situation: Playful, respectful, relaxed, humble, dignified. If you, too, are attracted to those virtues, I suggest you study the life and career of Charles Woodson.

Ben from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

What are the chances of the Packers drafting Peter Konz?

According to some draftniks, Konz fits. According to others, he doesn't. The draftniks are all over the place on Konz. Some love him and some don't like him much at all. The one thing on which they seem to all agree is that Konz is the best center in a very weak class of centers.

Dustin from Wisconsin Dells, WI

With Philbin leaving for Miami, do you see our offense changing at all? I know McCarthy calls the plays but will the offense miss Philbin at all? if so, how?

This is Mike McCarthy's offense, so the ways in which the Packers will miss Joe Philbin won't involve the design of the offense or the play-calling. Every coach puts his particular stamp on a unit. It's about personality. Joe has a very calming, disarming personality. Yeah, the Packers will miss it, but they'll replace that personality with the personalities of other coaches who will put their collective stamp on the unit. Tom Clements put his stamp on Packers quarterbacks and now he'll put that same stamp on the offense in general. Ben McAdoo put his stamp on tight ends and now he'll put his stamp on quarterbacks. Jerry Fontenot brings a running back's view of the blocking to the tight ends. Alex Van Pelt introduces a whole new view for the running backs. Coaching staffs evolve; it's constant. This is not a game of maintenance, it's a game of replacement. I love what Mike McCarthy has done in cross-training his coaches.

Chris from Fond du Lac, WI

I remember Ted Thompson being asked about drafting for need. His response was something like we don't know what our needs are. Kind of simple, huh?

Every team has needs and I appreciate the importance of addressing those needs; no GM wants to go into the next season with the same deficiencies with which his team ended the previous season. Every effort needs to be made to address those obvious needs. The Packers have an obvious pass-rush need and I have no doubt they will address it. I also believe they'll address it by fitting themselves to it, because achieving value is their draft priority. In many cases, however, you have to be clairvoyant to know what your needs will be. One injury can change everything.

James from Nesquehoing, PA

Do you think Aaron Rodgers will become a Hall of Fame QB at the end of his career?

Yes, I do. Barring injury, I think he will play at his current level for several more years, and that's a performance that would likely send him to Canton.

Joshua from Medford, OR

Is Bruce Irvin a first-round pick?

If there's a run on tweeners, which I think there will be, Irvin could jump into the first round. Every team wants value and everybody is looking for pass rushers. This is a down year at a couple of positions that traditionally produce first-round picks, offensive tackle and defensive end. Those two positions produced 11 first-round picks last year. That number could be cut in half this year, and I think tweeners will make up the difference.

Ron from Beloit, WI

This year's playoff loss has not made sense to me. I have been trying to understand why our playoff run went so well last year but was cut short this year. Our defense was less talented. Our offense was better but had a subpar game. The throws were less accurate. The ball slipped out of our hands and bounced to the other team. I came up with a story that our poor play was because our team was distracted. Of course, the other team was very talented also. Then I came upon the real reason, the statistical inevitability of regression to the mean.

Why did the man keep banging his head into the wall? Because it felt so good when he stopped. Try it.

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