Ben from El Paso, TX
Any words for Jacksonville?
What I would say to Jacksonville is I'm sad the stigma of violence will fall on you for a crime you didn't commit. This was the action of a sick person, not a healthy community. I loved the time I spent in Jacksonville and I came to call it my home. It is a good and decent place.
Bret from Hertel, WI
Vic, If you were the Packers, would you trade for a back up tackle, look for a waived player at the roster cut down or keep the struggling tackles?
Always I would look for ways to acquire more talent, but if there's one tree out back that's picked clean, it's the tackle tree. You gotta get the big guys early, because it's not often you're going to find one in the fourth round, as the Packers did when they drafted David Bakhtiari, and you almost never find one on the waiver wire. At this point, I don't think the Packers have much choice but to keep chopping wood.
Don from Weaverville, CA
This year, Brian Urlacher was voted into the Hall of Fame. Prior to Urlacher, the last middle linebacker voted into the Hall of Fame was Mike Singletary. Has the legend of the middle linebacker disappeared?
Yeah, it has because it's become a two-down position. Why? Because football is no longer first and foremost a running game. It's a passing game.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Do you have air conditioning?
For three days after Irma blew through here last September, we were without power. I can't remember feeling as uncomfortable without being sick, injured or recovering from surgery. I drove 25 miles to eat breakfast just to be in a place that had power and air-conditioning. It was impossible to sleep in my bedroom because it's upstairs where the temperature was near 90 degrees, and that doesn't include the humidity. I suspect the heat index in my bedroom was near 100 degrees. One night I slept on the porch, but that was nearly as bad. Adding to my woes, I had no water, since I'm on an RO system that doesn't function without power. Hot and stinky is a bad combination. You can't live where I do without air-conditioning. It's that way from April to November. There is no such thing as a summer cold front. It's seven months of intense heat and humidity, which doesn't bother me as long as I can step into my outdoor shower at the end of the day and enjoy the reinvigorating coolness of my air-conditioned home.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, the Morrison trade is confusing to me. The stats and experience seem to be in the Packers' favor. Why would the Colts give up their team leading tackler for a low-experience Pipkins?
They see something they like and need. It's likely the Colts GM liked Lenzy Pipkins coming out of college; it's common for teams to turn to such players when they come free. I agree, Antonio Morrison's stats favor the Packers in the trade, but Pipkins has nice size and speed for the cornerback position, and I suspect that's what's driving the trade for the Colts. Morrison plays above his 5.1 40 time.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
If you were a coach, how much would you play your starters during the preseason?
I wouldn't play them much, unless I needed to evaluate them. I just don't think there's much to be gained by the way preseason games are played these days. They're terrible. They lack purpose and flow. It's just a series of disconnected plays that somehow manage to expire the clock without much bad having happened. Neither the players nor the coaches want these games, and I suspect the personnel people don't have much need for them either. The fans don't want them and the media has difficulty finding a credible storyline in them. There's only one reason to play them: The owners won't sacrifice the money they make from them. I could say something needs to be done about these terrible games, but the fans' willingness to attend them justifies their existence. I feel sorry for the loyal, ticket-buying fans. They're the backbone of the NFL's success, but they're powerless to do anything about this atrocity.
Nate from Minneapolis, MN
In relation to the Favre/Rodgers question, I don't think Rodgers has ever lost a game for the Packers (by making a reckless play or bad choice), whereas I can remember many games Favre made some pretty bad decisions. Can you remember a time Rodgers made a mistake that cost the team a win?
His last game was one of his worst. He threw three interceptions and posted a 71.5 passer rating. I guess you have to break his collarbone, surgically install 13 screws and cause him to miss several weeks of action for him to play so poorly.
Dustin from Orlando, FL
Vic, a lot of NFL players have come from difficult backgrounds. What player have you met you felt had to overcome the most hurdles in life to make it to the pros?
I covered a wide receiver named Charles Johnson, a first-round pick, who spent time in high school living in a cardboard box. Deon Figures grew up in Compton, Calif., where in a six-month period he lost six family members and friends to gunfire. I remember a player from the '70s who was found to still be living in the dormitory at training camp after having been cut because he had nowhere to go.
Jacob from Chippewa Falls, WI
Vic, you’ve always said Brady has never taken a discount. Can you shed some light on how the Patriots have been able to structure his contracts to allow them to still pay other key players over the years? Also, I don’t think Brady has ever been the highest paid player in the league. How have the Patriots avoided that?
Usually, highest-paid players are regarded to be the highest-salaried players, and that's not going to be Brady because his contracts have consistently been restructured to convert salary into signing bonus and push the money out into future years. For example, Brady has a $4 million salary this year but he's a $22 million cap hit. Hey, $22 million isn't lightweight stuff. That's a pretty nice bite out of any team's cap and restructuring is a big part of the amount. Brady's at the year-to-year stage of his career. He's due to be a $27 million cap hit in 2019, so I suspect he'll be restructured next offseason if he decides to play another season. At this point, the restructurings have him as a $24 million dead money hit. That figure could increase with further restructuring. In 2016, Brady had a salary of $764,705, but so much money had been pushed out he would've been over $40 million in dead money. The Patriots see the end coming and they've begun unwinding his cap liability be eating more room now and pushing less money out. That's one of the reasons I'm not big on the Patriots this year. It should have a damaging effect on their roster. The Patriots have done a wonderful job of capping Brady, and he's been agreeable to the process, but the notion he's been underpaid is ridiculous. Every time he's restructured, he's gotten a little something for the effort, and I'm not talking about the promise of total consciousness when he dies.
Jeff from Alexandria, VA
Is Larry Fitzgerald a Hall of Famer?
He has the body of work and at least two defining postseason moments. Everything about his career says first ballot Hall of Fame selection. He should be a Heisman Trophy winner, too, but the idiots who vote for that award selected a player who wasn't even good enough to be drafted into the NFL.
Ramiro from Mira Loma, CA
Vic, I just (right now) found your blog after months of missing out on it. My girlfriend and I are headed up to Oakland for the Packers at Raiders preseason game. After hearing her best friend's personal horror stories of the Raiders at Rams game, she now refuses to wear anything Packers (jersey, shirt, sweater) to the game. I, of course, can't force her. Should I proudly wear my Clay Matthews jersey to the game or also dress cautiously in neutral colors? Thank you. I'll write you back about our experience (if I'm still alive).
This stuff is no joking matter anymore. Fans who wear team jerseys in hostile environments are inviting trouble. They run the risk of infuriating some sick-minded person, such as the monster who opened fire in Jacksonville on Sunday. There is a low order of fans who view team jerseys to be the equivalent of gang colors. In my opinion, wearing a team jersey in a hostile environment can be construed as being confrontational. Don't try to play the game in the stands. Just watch and enjoy.
Paul from Beaver Dam, WI
Vic, thank you for doing this website. What's the furthest down the depth chart you have seen a team go at QB during a game/season.
I saw a safety, Tony Dungy, forced to play quarterback in a game in 1977. In a season, the Packers were decimated at the position in 2013.
Nate from Sioux City, IA
I know I should have more reasonable expectations for Jimmy Graham this season, but it's hard not to get excited for that big target in the middle of the field drawing all sorts of attention. Is it reasonable to think Jimmy's presence alone will improve the whole offense?
Alone? No, but his presence is expected to make the Packers a better team. If it doesn't, it was a bad signing.
Christopher from Maryland
I understand there is an over-emphasis on penalty calls in the preseason. I understand the devastating effects on the human body the game of football results in. I understand both sides of the kneeling debate. I understand I'm getting older and old school doesn't fly. What I don't understand is how I'm gonna get excited anymore. I'm just a little bummed, Vic.
It's called sanitization. The NFL has sanitized its game to the point it's becoming sterile. It's losing flavor.