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What's not to like about Starks?


John from Stevens Point, WI

Love your column. Welcome to Wisconsin. Regarding the question, "Are the Packers the first team to beat the top three seeds en route to the Super Bowl?" Under the current playoff format, only a team that enters the postseason as a number six seed has the opportunity to face the three top seeds. So, the 2007 Giants did not; they were seeded fifth and beat the four seed in their wild-card game. A number six seed that makes it to the Super Bowl must have beaten the three and one seeds in their first two playoff games, but may or may not face the two seed in the conference finals. The 2005 Steelers did so; they beat the number three Bengals, number one Colts and number two Broncos en route to the Super Bowl that year.

I wasn't sure if the Giants were a six seed or five seed. I guess the Packers are the only NFC team to do it, right?

Tony from Atlantic Mine, MI

Have you ever met a more informed fan than a Packer fan? If you don't get your facts right, I'm sure someone will call you out.

It works both ways, you know.

Kyle from Great Bend, KS

Is Aaron Rodgers going to be considered in the same league as the "Big Three" this season?

I think the "Big Three" needs to be redefined. In my opinion, when you talk about the league's best quarterbacks now, you begin with Rodgers.

Guy from Foley, MN

I have really enjoyed reading your section so far. What is the purpose of the combine, really?

The original intent was to acquire medical information on the draft prospects. That was the only intent. Then, someone decided that since they had the players in one place, why not put them through some workouts? As far as I'm concerned, the original intent is still the main intent. The workouts, in my opinion, are the entertainment portion of the combine.

Kamal from Novi, MI

I love seeing this mixture of "Ask Vic" loyalists and new fans loving the exciting feeling of being the reigning Super Bowl champions, however, I noticed that you haven't been as sarcastic and edgy with these folks, yet. Why spare them, Vic? They can take it!

Be patient. I feel an edge developing.

Daniel from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, it's great to have you here in "Cheesehead" country. My question concerns Cullen Jenkins' future. I understand why he would be upset about not getting a deal done before deadline, but does that really equate to his statement that the Packers are obviously going in a different direction and don't have him in their plans for next year?

There is a business side to the NFL and Jenkins is in it. He's in a position that he's all but guaranteed to become an unrestricted free agent when a new CBA is negotiated. It appears he wants to test the free-agent waters and that's understandable. Today's game is a game of replacement, not maintenance. It's almost impossible to avoid losing players and you have to be prepared to replace them. I urge fans not to get emotionally involved in these matters because it's nothing personal, it's just business.

Earl from Winnipeg, Manitoba

I was born in Green Bay; lived the first 30 years of my life there. Do you think you truly understand the relationship between your new employers and the Packers (yes, that is worded correctly).

Gee, Earl, I sure can understand and appreciate your pride in your hometown team. This is a fantastic franchise and I'm proud to be reporting on it, but I've been doing this for 39 years, Earl; this ain't my first roundup. I think I'll figure it out pretty quickly.

Pat from Missoula, MT

With all those players on IR, what's gonna happen in training camp, the draft and especially in free agency? Gotta make room for lots of 'em.

It's not about making room for them. It's about them making room for themselves. Football is an edge sport. It's about competition.

Ken from Buffalo, NY

I'm a big fan of James Starks. What are your thoughts about him and how do you think next season will play out when Ryan Grant returns? Also, can you think of any notable running backs that he can be compared to in terms of his style of running the ball?

When you see a player with Starks' size, speed and ability come out of the sixth round of the draft, you really get an appreciation for the talent available in the draft and why teams have to be as vigilant in evaluating the late-round guys as they are in evaluating the high-round picks. He's 6-2, 220, can run inside with power or outside with a burst of speed. What's not to like, huh? The first time I saw him play, he immediately reminded me of a running back I covered, James Stewart, who was a first-round pick in 1995. Starks has the same angular body-type. He even has the same arms swing. Starks and Grant will compete for playing time, which will make each player the best he can be.

John from Trego, WI

Your take on the best player in the draft?

Who is he? That's the question. Nick Fairley might be that player, but do you want to pay a defensive tackle quarterback money? That's the big problem with the first overall pick these days. It's reserved for a quarterback and if you don't draft a quarterback with the first overall pick, you're paying quarterback money to a guy who isn't a quarterback.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

Vic, are you seeing different kinds of questions in Green Bay? Are you getting many of the annoying "who do you root for?" questions you were inundated with in Jacksonville?

All fans are the same in that regard. They want you to declare for which team you are a fan. They don't understand and are reluctant to accept that, as sportswriters, we don't cheer, we report. I have never covered a team for which I didn't develop a fondness, but cheering is not acceptable. It's unprofessional.

Christopher from Kabul, Afghanistan

It is exciting for me to watch you develop more BAP acolytes.

When I took this job, my number one concern was for whether my draft philosophy would agree with the Packers'. I knew the Packers were a draft-and-develop football team, and I love that about them, but I didn't know exactly where they stood on drafting the best available player or drafting for need. After listening to General Manager Ted Thompson, Head Coach Mike McCarthy and Director of College Scouting John Dorsey speak on the subject, I am relieved and overjoyed to know that the Packers are staunch BAP drafters. Everything I've heard has warmed my heart. I have long believed that BAP is the way to go and I am delighted to know the Super Bowl champions agree. I can't tell you what a relief this is for me.

Grant from Jacksonville, FL

We miss you in Jacksonville and hope you enjoy the frozen tundra of Green Bay. With Paul Spicer retiring as a Jaguar, what is your favorite story about him? I know he was one of the players you respected and connected with.

Paul was always a go-to guy for me in the locker room, because he cared enough to answer questions honestly and in a forthright manner, but Paul could have an edge to him and it seemed as though he was always complaining about something I had written. Well, late in the 2009 season, I got a serious case of heartburn and had to spend a few days in the hospital. So who took time out from his run to the Super Bowl to call me in the hospital and wish me well? Paul Spicer did. Players are good guys. They care about the game and those who belong to this football fraternity, and that very definitely includes the fans. I'm glad Paul got a chance to shut it down the way he wanted to do it.

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