Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, have the Packers truly upgraded at the tight end position?
From a con man? Yeah, I think they have.
Ross from Newmarket, Ontario
Vic, could you tell us a bit about what Marcedes Lewis was like in the first couple years of his career? Any notable memories from your time covering him with the Jaguars?
In the 2006 draft, Marcedes was known as the athletic tight end from UCLA. Several scouts described him that way to me, so when the Jaguars drafted Marcedes, I expected him to be the next Kellen Winslow, senior not junior. Two years into his career, however, Marcedes was less than I expected as a receiver and a lot more than I expected as a blocker. I remember Jack Del Rio gushing to me about Marcedes' run-blocking. The Packers are getting a strong side edge blocker for their running game. The Green Bay animal rescue community is getting a kind-hearted man who has given his time and money to aid the rescue services. Marcedes is a big, lovable football player who'll block for the running game on Sunday, and then clear a path to safety for abandoned animals on Monday.
Bob from Titusville, FL
Marcedes Lewis was cut by Jacksonville, a running offense, but signed by the Packers to improve their run-blocking line? What am I missing in this story?
The Jaguars signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins in free agency. He's a more explosive receiver than Lewis, and the Jaguars certainly need more pop in their passing game. They couldn't keep both players. The cap is king.
Thomas from Williamsburg, VA
So what do you make of the English Football Association director coming out publicly and saying the Jaguars have made no secret of their ambition to bring the franchise to London? This is the guy who is in charge of the group that is selling the stadium to Shad Khan. Why would he say that if the Jaguars hadn't spoken to them about it? This is contrary to everything the Jaguars have said publicly about the matter.
Jaguars fans deserve better than this. I don't like the Jaguars' flirtation with London. It bothers me, too.
Brandon from Williamstown, NJ
Vic, I disagree with your take on freedom of speech. The NFL is not the government, therefore, the right to free speech doesn’t exist for the players while in uniform on the field. As an employee, I understand I can say what I want and do what I want while at work, but my speech and actions can very well get me in trouble. I couldn’t imagine how hostile some work places would be if there was unfettered and protected speech.
I would agree business is within its rights to deny political statements by its employees while in the workplace, but does business have the right to force its employees to make a political statement of the company's choice? I never worked for a company that began every work day with the national anthem.
Bryant from Shiocton, WI
You had every right to report free agent signings. What you didn't have was the right to a paycheck. Everyone has the right to say and do as they please. What they don't have is the right to say and do with no consequence. I don't see a first amendment issue here, I see an entitlement issue.
Ben from Alameda, CA
Does the new helmet rule hurt the two-gap defensive lineman more than a one-gap rusher?
We don't know, but we're going to find out. The only preconceived notion I have about the new helmet rule, if it's applied and enforced as broadly as the NFL is suggesting, is it will likely change the game. Application and enforcement are the issues. Is the NFL really serious about this new rule, or is this just bluster, as the rule about running backs using their helmets to deliver a blow has been?
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
What a sad week for the NFL. In a matter of a week they took away freedom of speech and with the helmet rule changed what football is forever. Will you be watching on Sundays?
I'm going into this with an open mind. Maybe the new helmet rule will save the game from the litigation that would surely destroy it, without causing the game to suffer a loss of popularity.
Jim from Oakland, CA
Vic, in the discussion over his new contract, you've expressed some concern Rodgers may not be fully recovered from his recent collarbone injury. However, in a recent blog on packers.com, Wes Hodkiewicz asserts he saw Rodgers zing the ball with his usual velocity. As a Packers fan, should I be reassured by this testimony or do you feel this is a question that can only be answered in an NFL game?
I'd prefer to see Aaron Rodgers in game action. Again, what's the rush?
Jack from Chicago, IL
Vic, do you think the league is taking their stance on the whole anthem fiasco in order to secure a bargaining chip in the next CBA? To a common folk such as myself, their decision to take such a stance on this topic looks incredibly stupid, and I can't rationally justify it without the thought process of building ammunition for the next CBA.
It's about fear; that's all. The league is terrified of fan backlash. It's afraid of you and to where you'll direct your eyes on Sunday. It's so afraid of the fans it allowed itself to be bullied into an unnecessary action that's re-stirred the pot and is certain to cause problems the league otherwise wouldn't have to endure. The league could've taken the high road on this one -- we support our players' first amendment rights -- and suffered no more damage than embittering half the country's population. On this issue, we are divided; there is no right way to do it.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, I read up a little on the Baltimore Colts relocation after I read Thursday's blog. Though I agree Irsay wasn't getting what he wanted, and that is at the root of everything that transpired, ultimately he was being threatened with eminent domain by the city and he left town before they could enact legislation that would have taken his football team from him. Was that vengeance or self-preservation? Do you think the city was justified in trying to employ eminent domain to keep the team from moving?
It was a bargaining chip but Irsay wouldn't negotiate. He was heavy-handed and money hungry. He brokered a better deal in Indianapolis, which rolled over and gave him anything he wanted. As far as I'm concerned, he stole the Colts from Baltimore. I believe in people, not businesses. I know what businesses do. They destroy a town's land and air with filthy steel making, and then when the town has come to depend completely on the company for the town's survival, the company leaves town for a new location that guarantees greater profits.
Marty from Grafton, WI
Vic, if the game hadn't changed so drastically, do you think you would still be writing for a team or was it time to leave anyway?
I had set 65 as the age at which I would retire. Hey, I had already overcome cancer and my first heart attack. Did I have to die in the press box? The changes in the game and the way it was being covered made it a clean break. The game had become largely uncooperative with the media and I didn't like it, so I asked my financial guy if I had enough money saved to retire. He said I did. Done.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Vic, there sure seems to be a lot of handwringing over the release of Jordy Nelson. I think anyone who has been watching him over the past couple of seasons has seen a drop in explosiveness and, maybe more troubling, a slight reluctance to go over the middle without his head being on a swivel. I don't blame him. The new GM has shown with this one move he is not going to hang on to high-salaried players past their prime. That's refreshing.
Packers fans wring their hands too much over the release of older players. It's the salary cap era; it's what teams must do to protect their caps. It's a game of replacement.
Morgan from Kaukauna, WI
I'm starting to feel like football died a long time ago. I am seeing that games are not as entertaining as they were when I was growing up. Every year they change so many rules. When will they eliminate linemen?
I think it's a good idea. Why have all those linemen if you don't want football to be a power game? Wanna protect the head? Get rid of four linemen, two on offense and two on defense. It would reduce the number of head injuries, as well as player costs. It would also open the field for offenses, which would mean more yards and points, and fans have always favored offense.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
Who had the strangest running style you've seen? I suggest Benny Malone.
Karl from St. Augustine, FL
Vic, I get the feeling part of the reason you are so solidly pushing this as a free speech issue as opposed to a "rules of the work force" issue is you're still angry with Wayne Weaver for telling you to remove the asterisk and, therefore, with yourself for not taking a stand on your right to speak freely in your power poll. Other than the topic being addressed, how was that situation different?
It was his website; free speech is my belief. A reader asked if I would be taking the same stance in my column if I was still working for packers.com. My answer is yes. Whether the Packers would've published it or not would've been up to them, but I change my beliefs for no one. I think I explained the asterisk situation fully and honestly. It was Wayne's call, not mine.
Nick from Owego, NY
Since it's most important on defense to have a pass rush, which team do you think will have the best pass rush next season?
I think sacks are going to reach record levels leaguewide. The new helmet rule will cause more pass attempts and, therefore, more sacks. Offensive linemen's pad level will get higher, which will result in defensive linemen gaining leverage and, therefore, more sacks. The Rams will have the best pass rush because the new helmet rule is perfect for Aaron Donald's game.
Tyler from Greenfield, WI
What are your thoughts on the 2012 Packers? Going into the San Fran playoff game, how did you think the Packers would fair? Seemed to me like they were evenly matched but were incapable of stopping the read option.
It was the weakest of the five Packers teams I covered. It didn't even have a 500-yard rusher.
Adam from Wausau, WI
Did you have a fairy tale ending to your career?
Yes, I did. I completed the 2015 season and one week later I drove off in the early morning darkness. Coach Noll said "cast no shadows."