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Who will defeat inverse-order draft?

The pass will save football again


Nermin from Stockholm, Sweden

Vic, does a player getting suspended without pay impact the cap? If so, how?

The portion of his salary he won't receive will be credited back to the team's cap. You don't pay it, you don't cap it.

Jan from Cologne, Germany

Drafting frequently late is great. It means we reach the playoffs every year and our young talents can develop on a bigger stage. Thoughts?

It's what you want, but it eventually becomes a daunting challenge no team has defeated. Some have run from it for a long time – the Patriots have done a great job of it – but the inverse-order draft has always won. It's beaten no less an opponent than the '60s Packers, '70s Steelers, '80s 49ers and '90s Cowboys. Lombardi tried to beat the inverse-order draft by selecting futures picks. It was a great idea. The Steelers tried to catch lightning in a bottle. The 49ers tried to do it with scheme. The Cowboys threw money at it, which only hastened their demise. Who will be the first to defeat the inverse-order draft, and how will they do it?

Seth from Monticello, MN

Vic, who do you see being the Packers' first-round draft pick come April?

I think we're narrowing in on candidates. I love that about this column at this time of the year. We've talked about linebackers Reggie Ragland, Darron Lee, Beniquez Brown and Su'a Cravens, defensive lineman Andrew Billings, tackle Jason Spriggs, tight ends Nick Vannett and Hunter Henry, and more. I think we're getting there.

Brad from Mounds View, MN

Vic, do you see the Packers possibly packaging draft picks to move up in the draft to get an impact player in the first round, or do they feel they can get what they need later where they're positioned to pick?

I don't know what their thoughts are on that subject, but the depth in linebackers and big guys leads me to believe the Packers can stay where they are and get exactly what they need and want.

David from Prophetstown, IL

Ready for the snow, Vic?

We have a different kind of snow down here at this time of the year. It's called pine pollen and every car is covered by it. It's yellow and it stains everything, but you don't have to shovel it and you can pump gas without dying.

Ken from Des Moines, IA

Don't draft-and-develop teams run the risk of falling in love with their own players?

They have to love their players. That's the commitment it takes to be successful in the draft-and-develop system.

Christian from Upland, CA

Vic, has there ever been a time in your career when you might have started questioning the path it was leading you on?

No. I can't imagine doing anything else. I've been living in heaven for 44 years. That's what worries me. Are you allowed to live in heaven here and in heaven there, too?

Jerry from Puyallup, WA

Do you think the cut block rule change will have much of an effect on the Packers' run game?

I never saw the Packers as big back-side cutters, but Coach McCarthy and his staff will have to think on this one. It's a big rule change. It's going to have an impact on both sides of the ball. I think rushing yardage will be down leaguewide next season, and I think teams will turn harder to the pass. Isn't that always what the league wants? Why does the league hate the running game?

Chris from Clam Lake, WI

Vic, why is it I want the Packers to draft every one of the Prospect Primers?

Because hope springs eternal and every draft prospect represents hope for something better. Here's the list of players drafted by the Packers who were featured in Prospect Primers: Datone Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis and Brett Hundley.

Eric from Lansing, MI

Despite all of your tough-guy, cynical-journalist skin, deep down you're really a happy person, aren't you? That's what your singing about people tells me.

I am not happy. I am a cynical, miserable, ink-stained member of the media. There are only a few of us left. Soon, we will be extinct.

Steve from Wauseon, OH

Vic, you stated we are all eligible for the draft once in our lives. I am 54 years old and have not used up my college eligibility. I am getting a little tired of waiting for a scholarship offer. Have I missed my one-time chance to enter the draft?

No. Based on the rules that applied when you would've been of draft age, I suspect you were eligible to be drafted four years after graduation from high school. You are now free to sign with any team in the league.

Will from Arlington, VA

Vic, I love that you don't use Twitter, but why do we as readers deserve journalists like you to express themselves fully? After all, this isn't a subscription-based column.

It's an investment-based column. You've invested your heart in the Packers, and that investment is deserving of respect and reward. Football is a purely emotional game for the fans. When you buy a ticket to a football game, you leave with nothing but a memory. Here's the good news: Memories make us rich.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

Vic, I am even more frustrated by your answer to my question yesterday regarding the Packers' lack of action in acquiring a proven ILB. You stated you studied the 2016 free agents and could not find one that would make the Packers better. Why did you not consider Trevathan or Freeman, both of whom make the Bears better, or especially Karlos Dansby, who is rock solid and wants to play for a contender?

I said I studied the 2015 free-agent inside linebackers and couldn't find a fix. This year's free agents are a projection. We don't know what they're going to do, but we know what last year's did, and I don't think it was much. The same things fans were saying about the need to sign a free-agent inside linebacker last year are the same things fans are saying about this year's free-agent inside linebackers. The Packers are a draft-and-develop football team. That's the way it is and that's the way it'll continue to be. They have never misrepresented their philosophy. They have never misled their fans. I reject your fascination for free agency, and I think this column will continue to feed your frustration because it's highly unlikely I will change my opinion on this subject. I hope this answer satisfies you, because there will be no more.

G.R. from Rockwall, TX

I understand Rory, Day and maybe Lefty, but no Jordan Spieth?

I'm beginning to worry about him.

Nic from Edina, MN

Can you clarify your terminology for me? I can't tell if you are using terms interchangeably. When you refer to the rush backer and chase backer in the 3-4, is that the same as OLB and ILB?

In a 3-4, I consider the chase linebacker to be the weakside inside linebacker and the rush backer to be the premier pass-rushing outside linebacker, which is usually the right outside linebacker. Kevin Greene, however, came from the left side.

Tim from Waterloo, Ontario

Your response about the singular drive for a man to play football was 'the need for human confrontation and to defeat it." It's a good answer but, in my experience, the confrontation is both between men and between man and himself. A big part of the magic of football is found in the internal individual struggle with things like pain, adversity, doubt, etc. A man who plays football knows himself very well.

Whatever the confrontation is … that's what I was implying. When we play football, we're all Henry Fleming in The Red Badge of Courage. When we're challenged, we very quickly find out what's inside us.

Brandon from Tulsa, OK

I read about the league considering the end of the kickoff return. What do you honestly think the game will look like 50 years from now?

In style, I think it'll resemble what we're seeing in high school football. The pass is the future of football. It saved the game once, and it's going to save the game again.

Jeff from Clarksville, TN

Vic, I recently sat down with a (college) coach and had a pleasant conversation about today's game. We concluded if I were to try and play the game today, I'd be considered too violent and a dirty hitter. I never once received a personal foul for my play. I believe football will be as non-contact as possible in the near future. Thoughts?

For most of my life, football was played with innocent malice. That's the culture that's being changed. Malice of any kind is being eliminated.

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