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Will pooch-kickoff become the trend?


Ryan from Fort Collins, CO

How much do you think the loss of Mike Neal will affect the Packers, being that he has not played very much since being drafted?

He was a player on whom the team was counting to replace Cullen Jenkins. We all know that. Not having him available is a loss. The hope is that a new replacement – how about Jarius Wynn or C.J. Wilson? – will emerge. This is their chance to show what they can do, just as James Starks showed what he could do late last season. Look at the injuries around the league. Even in this period of heightened player-safety measures, every week brings another rash of prominent players lost to injury. The Steelers lost their starting right tackle, Willie Colon, for the second year in a row. Former Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman is said to have had a setback in his attempt to return from another ACL surgery. The Chiefs have lost Eric Berry to an ACL. These are prominent players whose absences have created major voids. My perspective has always been: It's football; you will get hurt. It's not an if. Injuries will occur. Plan for them.

Michael from Gainesville, FL

I agree with overanalysis and mind-numbing technical descriptions of every play. I miss Cosell. What did you think of Dennis Miller in the booth?

He was horribly miscast. They cast him as a comedian posing as a football analyst. He should've been cast as a comedian visiting the broadcast booth. The idea of a comedian providing any kind of measured analysis on the game was an insult to the viewing audience. Had he kept a safe distance from the game and used the game only to crack a joke, it might've worked. He just got too close to the game. The thing I loved about Don Meredith's commentary is that he didn't take the game or himself too seriously. He could've wandered in off the street to any game and been just as effective as he was for a game for which he had prepared, because he stayed on the surface of the game, and I like that. His "Turn out the lights" gimmick was genius. Miller should've been able to achieve the same entertainment quality, but he decided he wanted to be a football broadcaster. That's what caused him to fail.

James from St. Michael, MN

To get a final clarification on the touching but not possessing the punt rule: Are you saying that, for example, if on Sunday Carolina punts the ball and it is first touched by the Panthers at the 10-yard line, but not possessed, and Randall Cobb picks up the ball and runs 80 yards and is caught from behind and fumbles the ball and Carolina recovers, it would be Green Bay's ball at the spot of first touching?

Yes, the Packers would have the option of taking the ball at the point of first touching, provided the Packers weren't guilty of a penalty after Carolina recovered Cobb's fumble. That would change everything; the ball would then remain with Carolina. Rule 9, Section 2, Article 2: "First touching is when a player of the kicking team touches a scrimmage kick that is beyond the line of scrimmage before it has been touched by a player of the receiving team beyond the line. If the ball is first touched by a player of the kicking team, it remains in play. First touching is a violation (we all know that, right?), and the receivers shall have the option of taking possession of the ball at the spot of first touching, provided no penalty is accepted on the play, or at the spot where the ball is dead. First touching does not offset a foul by the receivers. Note: If the receiving team regains possession, subsequently loses possession and fouls after the kicking team regains possession, the spot of first touching is disregarded and the kicking team retains possession.

Belto from Canton, NC

You kill me when you name drop and leave me wanting more. What was so special about this guy? If he was a wedge-buster at 6-4, 300, I am very sad I missed that.

He was a creation of Ron Zook, Roye's special teams coach, and Roye was the ultimate wedge-buster. Roye was a big guy that could fly. His mission was to seek and destroy and he was knocking guys out with frightening regularity. He knocked out "Ironhead" Heyward in a horrific collision of big, powerful men. A few weeks later, Roye left a Jaguars lineman out cold on his back, his arms and legs in the air quivering. It was one of the most frightening things I've ever seen on a football field. These are the plays that needed to be removed from the game. As for the new kickoff rule, I gotta tell you, I think the pooch-kickoff is going to become the trend. As kickers get more height on the ball, and they will, the pooch-kickoff receiver will have no choice but to signal for a fair catch. I can see the day when pooch-kickoffs are causing offenses to routinely start at their 15-yard line, and that'll force another change of the kickoff rule. Everyone is focused on the touchback factor of the new kickoff rule. I think the pooch factor is going to become more of an issue.

Greg from Spooner, WI

With your job duties past and present, have you gotten the chance to take in the tailgate atmosphere around the league? Have to think the Lambeau lot is right up there with the best. Your thoughts?

I've never tailgated in my life. How could I do it? I think I have a pretty good idea of what it's like, but I've never done it.

Jordan from Cedar Rapids, IA

So how did you react when you saw Aaron Rodgers took a shot at the media for criticizing the Packers for not practicing longer in the offseason? I couldn't help but chuckle.

I cried all night.

Leonardo from Las Vegas, NV

Has the run after the catch always counted toward a quarterback's passing yardage? Isn't that inflation of numbers misleading? For example, Tom Brady didn't really throw a 99-yard pass to Wes Welker on Monday. He threw it for about 20 and Welker did the rest. I know quarterbacks are the NFL's most marketable players, but is it really necessary to inflate their stats?

That's why you use your eyes, not the stats, to understand and appreciate what has happened on a football field. Stats lie. Your eyes don't.

Liam from Melbourne, Australia

My brother and I are coming over to the U.S. in November and I was lucky enough to get us tickets to the Packers game against the Vikings. I'm extremely excited. What should we do before the game to get the full experience of the city of Green Bay, Lambeau and the Packers? How cold will it be?

I don't think you wanna get caught wearin' your short pants, if you know what I mean. As for ambiance, I'd get in a little tavern time and make sure I visit the Packers Hall of Fame. Of course, any Packers fan will tell you that you need to get yourself invited to a tailgate party. Meeting and bonding with other Packers fans will be the highlight of your experience.

Cody from Griswold, IA

What do you think about fantasy football? Do you think it's a positive or negative thing for the NFL?

It's one of the NFL's best brands and it has, without a doubt, advanced the game's fan base. It's a good thing. My only concern for it is that it can create a mania for stats and depersonalize the game, and that would be a terrible shame because football is a game of human confrontation and I don't think you can ever appreciate or enjoy it fully without getting a feel for the human confrontation factor. Play fantasy football, but watch the game.

Michael from Orlando, FL

I've read every "Ask Vic" you've written for over 10 years and have had the honor of having you answer seven of my questions. I'm about to ask my girlfriend to marry me. Any advice?

Eight is your lucky number, Michael. Go for it. Marriage bringeth man unknown joys. I think everybody should get married as much as possible.

Chad from Thrawl, MO

With Mike Neal now going to miss a bunch of time, do you see the Packers staying put and rolling with the five defensive linemen they have? Or do you see them going out and finding some help?

It wouldn't surprise me if they sign a guy.

Jake from Mooresville, NC

Did you ever think Aaron Rodgers would become the elite player he is today when you were watching him play the Jaguars in the 2008 season?

I can go back to covering a preseason game here in 2007. It was late in the first half and Rodgers was leading a drive down the field. He completed several passes in a row and I wrote in my blog something along the lines of what are they waiting for? He's "The Man." I'm serious, I could see it then. His talent was undeniable. The following year, I gushed about him in my blog as I covered the Jaguars-Packers game in Jacksonville. I remember writing that I was amazed at how mobile he was. He had a feel for the pocket and the open receiver that was distinct. You can't cover football as long as I have and not have seen how special this guy is.

Don from Washington, DC

If one wanted to purchase a Vic Ketchman Packers jersey, what number would be on it? Answer wisely. Three fans at this bar have three different guesses. And this fan wants a free beer.

Twenty-two was always my favorite number. It belonged to my first football hero, Bobby Layne. I loved to watch that guy play. The man could command his nose to bleed at just the right time, as he was leading a drive down the field late in the game. I loved the no-facemask, bloody-right-sleeve look, especially on a white jersey. What a competitor he was. After he was done playing, he coached a team of Texas high school players in an annual all-star game against a team of Pennsylvania high school players. The game is known as the "Big 33" game and it has a great history. No Super Bowl has ever been played without at least one player in the game having been a graduate of the "Big 33" game. It's a tradition that began with Herb Adderley of the Packers in Super Bowl I. Anyhow, the two teams had a no-blitz agreement for the game, and then Layne blitzed on every play. He said he wouldn't do it again, and then he did. Layne always said he wanted to die at the precise moment he spent his last dollar. Those that knew him said that's exactly what happened. He lived large. He was a true sportsman. He was my hero.

Jim from Austin, TX

On the Packers' last drive, they threw a pass to Kuhn and did not get the desired first down, forcing a punt. McCarthy seemed very upset. Do you know why?

He was upset because he had the matchup he wanted, Jermichael Finley on a linebacker, but for one reason or another, the Packers didn't exploit that matchup. Coach McCarthy talked about that play in his inaugural "Tuesdays with McCarthy" column on It's a new feature and I think Packers fans are going to love it. Several topical questions will be posed to Coach McCarthy and they'll be combined with three fan questions that'll be selected and posed to Coach McCarthy. His responses will be recorded and the entire Q&A will be posted on on Tuesday afternoons. Wanna pose a question to Coach McCarthy? You may do so on the Green Bay Packers' official Facebook account every Monday.

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