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What players, positions to watch tonight?

Tension for the opener is beginning to build


Justin from Yuma, AZ

I am a huge Packers fan (born and raised in Mondovi, Wisc.), a newbie home brewer and U.S. Marine. When I get back from deployment, I want to make a beer in honor of the Packers. Any suggestions on a name and style?

Call it the no-huddle, and give it a lot of bite.

Henrik from Uppsala, Sweden

What are your thoughts on Foles?

Peter King might be right.

Zahmontay from Atlanta, GA

Who all playin' in Green Bay Packers preseason three?

Everybody except the injured and, I suspect, Casey Hayward, who isn't among the injured. Earlier this week, Mike McCarthy said the Packers were giving Hayward some time off, due to his medical history, which I assume refers to his hamstring problems of a year ago. Hayward didn't participate in practice on Thursday, which I interpret to mean he won't play tonight.

Matthew from Las Vegas, NV

Though I was born in Green Bay, my parents moved away when I was but a wee lad. Today, FedEx delivered my 40th birthday present to myself, a ticket to the Carolina game and my first trip to Lambeau. No matter what happens this season, I am guaranteed to come away with great memories.

Mike Spofford thinks the Carolina game might be the best home game of the season.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Vic, back in the day, a good defensive outing was holding a team to 17 points. Then it was 24 points. Now, with these new rules, it could be argued a defense did a good job holding a team below 35. Agree or disagree?

I think that might be a little high, but the NFL won't be offended if it isn't. I think we are about to see the start of the most prolific era of offense in pro football history.

Tom from Milwaukee, WI

You've said several times it takes a while for players to covert to an Okie end. I want to know when Datone Jones is either dominating or playing average at best. Help me out, Vic. How does a bad Okie end play? How does an All-Pro Okie end play?

A bad Okie end plays around blocks. An All-Pro Okie end plays through blocks. Aaron Smith is the best Okie end I have ever seen and hardly anybody knows who he is. That's what it means to be a good Okie end.

Alex from Eau Claire, WI

As one of the old school/diehard fans of the Packers and the game, all I have to say is goodbye. This new NFL isn't football and isn't for me.

You'll be back, tonight.

Matt from Green Bay, WI

When you take care of the present you take care of the future. When you take care of the future you take care of the present. And I thought this was just a football forum. I think I tell myself this three or four times a day. Thank you, Vic.

No, when you take care of the present you're not taking care of the future. You might, in fact, be damaging your future. When you take care of the future you take care of the present because the future will become the present.

Mike from Lansing, IL

I'm loving the way the roster has shaped up so far this offseason. What players, positions should we be watching in games three and four?

Watch the top five guys at safety, Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers at tight end, and watch Jake Stoneburner, too, because he's making a move. Watch Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, the bubble wide receivers and, obviously, Jayrone Elliott.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, how does someone who lives outside of the Green Bay area win a gift such as a Cenex gas card?

Cenex doesn't sell gas where you live. You'll have to find other means for getting gas. Beans usually work.

Hank from Muskego, WI

Vic, I like the "Final Thoughts" beginning. That had to be fun.

It was not fun. We got dragged all over Lambeau Field and told to do goofy things. I felt like an idiot. When we finished shooting, there was no doubt in my mind we had wasted our time; they couldn't possibly do anything with that ridiculous footage we shot. Now, the more I see it, the harder I laugh, and laughing is a good thing. When we don't take ourselves too seriously, life becomes more enjoyable.

James from Pocahontas, AR

I've been a fan of moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line as well, but I found Tom Coughlin's idea of moving it to the one instead to be equally intriguing. I think he has a point that if you really want to make the extra point exciting, entice more coaches to go for two.

I agree. The PAT kick has been for all of the years I've watched football the most boring play in the game. Move the ball to the 1-yard line and the conversion play might become the most exciting play in the game.

Monica from Lisbon, ME

Forty-two years covering football? You don't look a day over 40. What's the secret?

Bad living and good football.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, did you see the study by Forbes that concluded the Green Bay Packers have the best fan base in the NFL? What do you think of that?

I think it should be a source of pride, but never hubris.

Mark from Yucaipa, CA

Let's see, if I have kept accurate track over the last four years, you have experienced cancer, heart disease, spinal fusion and shoulder surgery. What goes on in the press box? Maybe the NFL needs to implement some media safety changes. Glad you made it through, though. Over the last four years, I feel I have climbed the football mountain top.

The press box is a tough place for tough guys.

J.Q. from Salem, OR

Vic, I was a fan who perceived that Troy Aikman has a disdain for the Packers, but after watching your interview with him, I now feel I was wrong. I want to thank you for helping restore a portion of my winsomeness.

Aikman cares about two things: His performance as a TV analyst and the direction of his career. When fans understand that, they'll understand the media.

Les from Las Vegas, NV

What does clearing waivers mean exactly?

It means nobody wants you. I've cleared waivers several times.

Jerry from Orlando, FL

Vic, McCarthy has made a big point about having 75 offensive snaps per game this year. I know you're not a big numbers guy but I'm wondering if you have any stats on win percentage for teams with 75 plays. I would think McCarthy has good reason to focus on this number.

I have no such statistical information and, frankly, I think 75 plays are going to turn out to be a low standard. The game is going no-huddle. Everybody is playing faster. The days of breaking the huddle are just about gone.

Josh from La Crosse, WI

Vic, I could really use some gas. Wadda ya say?

You got no chance now.

Darren from Hull, UK

Vic, very informative column. What effect if any will the increased safety emphasis and the move to a more expansive passing game have on college football?

College football is way ahead of the NFL curve. The targeting penalty college football instituted last season might be the most extreme and penal safety measure in football history, and the advent of spread offense took college football into the passing era long ago. It's a trend that won't be reversed.

Preston from Appleton, WI

Vic, T minus two weeks! Can't wait! Just win, baby!

On this morning two weeks from now, I will have returned from Seattle and, hopefully, Packernation will be reading packers.com's coverage of the previous night's game. What will the stories say? Will they tell of a Packers win? Who will have made the big play? What kind of questions will the readers ask in this column? Will you have spent a sleepless night in celebration or despair? The season is nearly upon us and I can't think of a more flavorful opener for the Packers than a game in Seattle against the defending Super Bowl champions. The tension will start to build now. I can already feel it.

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