"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
Vic, three weeks until it counts. Do you have a new TV, new couch, new perspective?
New TV, new couch, same old perspective.
Dallas from St. Ignace, NB
Apparently, during Aaron Rodgers' tenure as the starter in Green Bay, the Packers have only had a top 10 defense twice (2009, 2010). Do you think this has any significant bearing on the fact Green Bay only has one Lombardi during that time?
Sure it does, although I think the 2014 defense can be exempt from that answer; it was playing at a high level when the cheese went bad in Seattle. Statistically, offense was the problem in that game. The Packers' failure to fix their defense was the main problem in the other years after the defense got old in 2011 and needed to be rebuilt. What could the Packers have done differently? That question is open to debate. The best defensive players went early in the '12 draft, and then there was a big drop off the rest of the way. In '13, Xavier Rhodes was selected one pick ahead of Datone Jones, and then there was another cliff on defense. Look at the '14 draft and tell me who you would've picked over Ha Ha. The '15 draft was bad leaguewide; one of the worst in recent years. Kenny Clark was an outstanding pick in '16. At that point, change was in the wind. All of this is why I say the Packers were the victims of their success. Drafting low year after year was a killer. I guess they needed to move up to where the talent was.
Nate from Pueblo, CO
With all the good reports about the Green Bay WRs, do you think we’re witnessing exactly what you mean when you say WRs are a dime a dozen?
I can't remember a training camp that didn't include good reports about wide receivers.
Sam from Springfield, IL
What was it about Daniel Jones' play you liked?
He stood tall in the pocket, found the open receiver and delivered the ball accurately and on time. Of course, it was a preseason game.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
If you are making final roster decisions, what positions would you try to have maximum depth?
I think most GMs would say the offensive line would be their top depth concern.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, what do you mean when you state Lamar Hunt was an AFL owner with an NFL personality?
Hunt wasn't a renegade. He wasn't a member of the Al Davis crowd. Hunt knew the end game was merger, whereas Davis wanted to keep fighting.
Scott from Sauk City, WI
"Nothing good happens in the preseason." Truer words have never been spoken. But on the flip side, I also agree with your assertion September football is mostly an extension of the preseason. So, what's best for the long-term health of both the league and its players?
Two preseason games and an expanded playoffs. I like 16 teams and no byes.
Ben from Columbus, OH
Datone Jones is really making noise in Jags camp so far. It has to be the Capers connection in what he saw with the Packers. Do you think Jones will succeed with the Jags and why didn't he work out with the Packers?
At Datone Jones' Senior Bowl, Tony Pauline suggested Jones to me as a Packers prospect. In my mind, Jones looked too long and too loose to play in a two-gap system. I also remember Mike Trgovac, at his press conference following the selection of Jones, questioning whether Jones could play the "Okie end" position. I think I knew at that moment Jones was a bad pick. In my mind, he was a 4-3 left defensive end. That's where Coach Capers is playing Jones in Jacksonville. Time will tell.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, in reference to good problems to have and bad problems to have, what good problems do the Packers have, if any?
They have an abundance of pass rushers and young defensive backs.
Dave from Savage, MN
Better name, Jug Earp or Buckets Goldenberg? Your favorite football name?
Fair Hooker? Seriously, Ditka is my idea of the perfect football name. If you're his parents and you know on the day he's born what he'll become, you don't even give him a first name. All his life he will only ever be known as Ditka.
Ben from Chicago, IL
Vic, what happened with the Martellus Bennett arbitration appeal? What is your assessment of what happened that year with Bennett?
The Packers fell into the trap for fools, also known as free agency.
Garrett from Knoxville, TN
Vic, my wife and I attended the Packers vs. Saints game at Lambeau Field in October 2017. We were surprised when the usher in our section was yelling at fans to sit down and be quiet, even during pivotal parts of the game! He went as far as to give out a warning card to a few Saints fans in our row that refused to sit down. With all this talk about creating a better homefield advantage, does anyone at 1265 Lombardi Ave. know this is taking place?
You're asking the wrong guy. I'm not a fan of stand and howl.
Ben from Charlottesville, VA
Vic, I feel like with how well Jake Kumerow performs and having Rodgers gush about him should add up to a starting spot. I'm not taking anything away from MVS (the guy can fly), but it seems the Packers are slotting him in as a starter simply because he was a draft pick. Do teams tend to favor draft picks over undrafted players, even if the latter outperforms the draft pick?
To a point, yes. Draft picks are investments and require patience, but performance always wins out.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, does the NFL need Antonio Brown, or does Antonio Brown need the NFL?
Brown might be the greatest playmaker I have ever seen. What he did on Christmas night two years ago is the thing of legend. Brown's sideline catch in the game-winning drive against the Packers in 2017 boggles the mind, and he made those kinds of plays week in and week out. Tough? He took Vontaze Burfict's most wicked cheap shots and never backed down. I am in awe of his great career. Be that as it may, dime a dozen. Next!
Robert from St. Paul, MN
The Packers never had a joint practice under Mike McCarthy. Any idea why? What are the schools of thought on them?
Some coaches see them as an unnecessary distraction, an event that requires a lot of attention to logistics. Chuck Noll didn't like them at first. He had to be sold on them. I'm not sure he ever came around to liking them, but he agreed to do them, probably because it was a trend and he wanted to make sure he remained current. I'll never forget the combined practice with the Redskins at the Carlisle (Pa.) high school stadium. There were 20,000 people jammed into the ballpark, the Redskins were sending the event back to Washington on TV and the Redskins were wearing game uniforms. Off the bus steps the Steelers in their practice uniforms, which did not include numbers. The TV guys nearly choked. "The Washington Redskins vs. Joe's Bar," wide receiver Weegie Thompson said. Coach McCarthy was big on routine. He had a schedule that would allow him to cover all the bases before the season began. Maybe he didn't want to leave that schedule. Personnel people value the opportunity to evaluate players in a competitive and controlled environment. Unlike preseason games, combined practices offer an opportunity for teams to set the matchups and control the reps. I like combined practices. I think it's more important to set a tone of competition than it is to cover all the bases.
Grant from Wauwatosa, WI
Nothing good happens in the preseason? In the 1996 preseason, Desmond Howard was on the bubble until an electrifying kick return in the fourth preseason game solidified his spot on the roster. The rest, they say, is history.
Let me know when the next good thing happens.
Matt from Georgetown, TX
What do preseason games offer GMs and coaches they can't learn from practice sessions? Or, put another way, who is preseason for?
It's for the owners. It's four more opportunities to make money. In my opinion, the best chance of reducing the preseason to two games is to negotiate an expanded playoffs deal with TV that will replace the money lost in the missing two preseason games.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how do you define a successful outing for a team during a preseason game?
The team made a lot of money and nobody suffered a significant injury. Enjoy the big game tonight, folks.