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I've seen all I need to see; let's play

Posted Aug 18, 2014

Also, Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien, Jeff Janis, Peter King, Aaron Rodgers and more

Kirk from Galesburg, IL

Vic, what’s your take on Flynn vs. Tolzien?

Matt Flynn is a dependable backup quarterback who has almost always delivered a productive performance when he was handed the ball. Scott Tolzien is a young quarterback on the rise who would interest a lot of teams if he was free. I like both guys. One gives me the security of knowing I have a proven backup, and the other one gives me reason to believe I’m addressing the long-term depth of the position.

Brandon from Mililani, HI

With everyone complaining about the flags, why not think about it as holding the players to be more accountable? The emphasis on rules that were already established eliminates the ifs, ands and buts.

The NFL is using the preseason to send a message. The message is: “This is the way it is and this is the way it will continue to be. Deal with it.”

Wayne from Silverdale, WA

Vic, after the last two games, do you and Mike McCarthy think we still have a talented offensive line? If so, then why don’t they play like it?

You weren’t impressed by the performance of the No. 1 offensive line on Saturday? You don’t like no sacks, no hurries and five yards a carry by Eddie Lacy? Yes, I believe the Packers have a deep and talented offensive line. I won’t speak for the coach, but I have a feeling he agrees.

Tyler from McKinney, TX

Vic, this next season will be unlike any of the past 22 for me. I won’t be able to watch it. I won’t be able to read you as I’ve done since you came to Green Bay. I’ve dedicated this next year of my life to doing volunteer work in the Philippines, and I’m heart-torn knowing how good this year’s team is going to be. I hope you have another memorable season writing for us. I look forward to coming home next summer and discovering how our accomplishments happened.

You’re making a tremendous sacrifice. It begs that we all should ask ourselves how we would react to a Packers-less year of our lives.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, who do you think is the frontrunner for the fifth WR spot after the game on Saturday?

Let’s see, would it be Jeff Janis? Weak, Brett; very weak. You need to take a break so I’m banning you for a week. I don’t want to do it. I feel like I owe it to you.

Davy from Chetek, WI

What’s the biggest thing you’re looking for from the first string in the third preseason game? No mistakes? Comfort? Consistency?

I saw all I needed to see in St. Louis. This team is ready to play. In my opinion, two more preseason games are two too many. Coach McCarthy and his staff have used their time well. This is a ready-to-go football team, and we’re only halfway through the preseason.

Matt from Madison, WI

Vic, halfway through preseason, what are you thinking about the TE competition?

Andrew Quarless is this team’s every-down tight end. He’s an accomplished blocker and receiver. Richard Rodgers offers great pass-catching upside. So does Brandon Bostick, but we have to wait on information about the injury he sustained on Saturday. He tweeted that he’s OK. If he is, then I believe tight end is a position of great depth for the Packers, and Coach McCarthy will use all of them.

Casey from Katy, TX

Vic, I’m feeling excitement for football. That makes me happy.

Be happy. The regular season is just around the corner, and with it will come great angst. Enjoy these tension-free days while you can.

Matt from Round Rock, TX

Vic, I thought the first team defense looked strong on Saturday. Strong against the run and still getting pressure on the passer while playing vanilla. How are people stressing about this right now?

When your vanilla beats their vanilla, you have reason to be happy.

Gary from Kinsburg, CA

Preseason against the Rams included a total of 22 penalties. In your opinion, how much impact are the new rules going to play in affecting the games?

I think the impact of this new major point of emphasis will be huge. I think it’s going to change the game, just as it did in 2004. This time, the league is going to make it stick.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

Vic, I heard on the news that Nicolet High School (in Milwaukee) didn’t have enough upperclassmen to field a varsity football team, so they were forfeiting all of their games. Disconcerting?

Tragic. I immediately think of those wonderful days of my youth, when my hometown’s high school football team was the most important thing in my life. All of the memories remain fresh: the lights in the sky and how they beckoned; the big games against the rival from across the river; the schedule in the front windows of all the local businesses, and the final scores that were written in the day after the game; the smell of the hometown newspaper on a cold, crisp Saturday morning, and the rush I always felt to open it up and read about all of the other games that were played on Friday night. We’re losing all of that. I can’t imagine not having those memories.

Erick from Cooper Landing, AK

Every time an official begins to make a call, I feel like I can get up, bake a loaf of bread and wash my car and come back into the room and the ref would still be explaining to the audience what the call was all about. Since when do they feel like they owe us an explanation for every single detail?

When I hear the words, “There are multiple fouls on the play,” I am immediately overcome by a deep sadness. I’m thankful Fred Swearingen only turned, paused and raised his arms. An explanation would’ve ruined the moment.

John from Deerfield, IL

Why don’t position coaches stick with coaching their natural positions? For example, years ago I spoke with Jerry Fontenot about his years as a center in the NFL. He’s very bright and quite knowledgeable. So, wouldn’t it seem logical for him to coach the offensive line, rather than running backs or tight ends?

In the interview I did with Peter King, Peter praised Mike McCarthy’s progressiveness. At one point, Peter said “he’s not some Pittsburgh guy,” which made me smile because what Peter was suggesting is that McCarthy isn’t some run the ball/stop the run Pittsburgh dinosaur. I see that we cut that part out of the interview. Was that a shot at me, Peter?  Instead, Peter said, McCarthy is an open-minded coach who thinks in terms of innovation. Peter praised McCarthy for his research on nutrition and injury prevention. Cross-training coaches is another one of McCarthy’s innovations. When you deploy your coaches at positions other than those at which they played, you deepen their knowledge of the game. You make them become better coaches. You also bring their knowledge of one position to another position group. Alex Van Pelt brought his acumen for the passing game to the running back position, Edgar Bennett brought the toughness of running backs to the wide receiver position, and Fontenot brings his acumen for blocking to tight end and running back. It’s genius.

Davis from Craftsbury Common, VT

Vic, thanks for the column. I get great pleasure (or is it feeding an addiction?) watching the Packers, and usually drive a few hours on gameday to watch with friends. I’m sending you a certificate for cross-country ski lessons. Don’t give up.

Do not send that certificate. My participation in winter sports is complete. I would rather just look out the window at the silent majesty of a winter’s morn and a fool in his bathrobe emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer. I came to Green Bay with an open mind. I tried winter. I don’t like it.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, will the Packers keep three QBs on the roster?

I don’t know, but I would favor keeping three.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Vic, what did we learn?

We learned what we already knew: Aaron Rodgers tilts the field.

Nicholas from Charlotte, NC

Vic, look into your crystal ball and tell me which team in the NFC North has the most to prove this season?

You could make a case for all of them, but my eye is on the Lions. That’s a talented team in its prime. I think they’re being overlooked.

Nial from Jacksonville, FL

Thanks to you, I notice the battle in the trenches more than ever before. JC Tretter held his own against Aaron Donald. What was your opinion of Tretter’s second game? Did Aaron Donald impress you?

On the plays that I focused on Donald, he was working against a guard. On one play, I saw him shoot past the guard and into the backfield, just as he did at the Senior Bowl so many times, but the ball was out before Donald could get close to the quarterback. I turned to Mike Spofford and said something to the effect that defensive linemen won’t have time to get to the quarterback if defensive backs can’t hold their coverage. I think that’s going to be one of the major impacts of the new major point of emphasis. Defensive backs are going to be forced to back off their coverage, and that’s going to allow quarterbacks to get rid of the ball more quickly. I think sacks per pass play are going to decline leaguewide.

Lee from Bismarck, ND

Rodgers seemed to downplay how well Janis has been playing. Does he have a more skeptical view of all rookies, or do you think he has someone else in mind for No. 5 receiver?

Aaron Rodgers is a seasoned interview subject. It would’ve been careless for him to raise expectations for Janis, which is exactly what would’ve happened had Rodgers fanned the flames of the growing Janis lovefest. Rodgers’ skill for answering sensitive questions was on full display a little later during his postgame press conference on Saturday, when he was asked to comment on what’s happening in Ferguson, Mo. “There’s a tough one,” I thought to myself. A no comment would’ve been cowardly. If you favor one side or the other, you invite the wrath of the other side. If you beg off the question because you don’t know the facts, then you’re just another dumb football player. Rodgers was masterful in answering the question. He spoke of healing. I was impressed.


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