Norman from Carmel, CA
When I was growing up in Wisconsin, before Lambeau was built, the Packers played their home games at City Stadium. Is City Stadium still standing? If so, is anybody using it?
Vic: It’s still standing and Green Bay’s East High School plays in it. East High is Curly Lambeau’s alma mater.
Dave from Escanaba, MI
Great addition to packers.com; brings me back every day. Have you visited or heard about the UP, yet? Yoopers are a big part of Packers nation, which is easy when the alternative is the Lions.
Vic: I’m really looking forward to exploring new territory, such as the UP and Wisconsin’s Door County. This is truly an adventure for me.
Matthew from Kidd, OH
I would like to hear your opinion on what player (or type of player) Green Bay should look into recruiting through the draft.
Vic: You wanna draft a player that loves the game, has talent, skill and the ability to sharpen his skills, character and work ethic.
Al from St. Louis, MO
I've been reading your column on packers.com since it began in Feb. and it struck me today, all the different locations of the questions. By my count, of at least the ones that have been posted, you have heard from Packers fans in 40 states and nine other countries. Does that surprise you?
Vic: It doesn’t surprise me. The Packers fan base is worldwide and so is the NFL’s. My goal with “Ask Vic” on packers.com is to turn this into a place where people who love football come for fun and discourse. It’s a place after a loss to get it out of your system, and it’s a place after a win to make the win last a little longer. I want “Ask Vic’s” readership to be a family. I want those who participate in it to develop a personality. We had a lot of fun with it in Jacksonville and I hope we’ll do the same with it in Green Bay.
Seeds from Florence, OR
“Walter Football,” in his mock draft, said the Packers are tough to mock because they don't have any huge holes to fill. With the injured reserve players coming back, it seems to me the Packers have all they need for 2010. Of course, I am old and probably senile, but I would like to hear your thoughts on this.
Vic: I agree with “Walter” that the Packers don’t have any glaring holes to fill, but there’s a reason for that: They stuck to their draft-and-develop philosophy. As a result of their patience and commitment to that philosophy, they have accumulated an abundance of talent roster-wide. That philosophy doesn’t allow you to take years off. It doesn’t permit you to change gears, so to speak. I covered a team in recent years that thought it had arrived; it thought it was the proverbial one player away from the Super Bowl. It then traded away half of its draft picks to move up in the first two rounds to draft that one player they needed. The result was that neither player proved to be that one player, they discovered they were several players away from the Super Bowl and needed the picks they traded away to rebuild the team. It was a catastrophic error in judgment. Never stop accumulating talent. Never think you’re one player away.
Dennis from Coeur d’Alene, ID
In your travels and working with the various teams that you have in the course of your career, have any of the great general managers and/coaches ever divulged how they differentiate in evaluating a player, which one's they feel have the potential to develop into greatness vs. just becoming an average player?
Vic: They’re all looking for talent, but there are different strokes for different folks. I’ve always felt that teams whose personnel departments are guided by the head coach have a tendency to look for players with great technique. Coaches like players they can plug into the action immediately; coaches are present-tense thinkers. Personnel directors and general managers, on the other hand, tend to view prospects for what they’ll become, instead of what they are. They tend to look past poor technique and focus on a player’s raw ability and upside potential. Personnel directors draft talent and pass the responsibility for developing that talent onto the coaching staff. I favor that concept because players with great technique tend to level. Often, that’s as good as they’ll get.
Mike from Milwaukee, WI
Could you publish more letters of people telling you how great you are? You love yourself. We get it.
Vic: I’ll try.
Sue from Mocanaqua, PA
Do the Packers players still have their playbooks from last year or do they have to turn them in?
Vic: They are turned in and locked up.
Bill from Gladstone, OR
I'm curious, is the home NFL team responsible for supplying sideline equipment, for example, heaters, air-conditioner fans, etc., to the visiting teams? What about medical needs; does the visiting locker room have an x-ray machine, etc., or does the visiting team bring their own equipment to each away game?
Vic: Every stadium has an x-ray room and machine that is used by both teams. Otherwise, each team brings its own medical equipment, but it’s not as though any player in need of medical assistance is going to be denied the use of anything that’s on the site. As for sideline equipment, such as heaters, etc., the league rule is that whatever the home team has on its sideline, it must supply to the visiting team. So, if the Packers have heaters on their sideline, they must provide the same for the visiting team. It is the responsibility of the visiting team to obtain any equipment in addition to what the home team has on its sideline.
Grant from Superior, WI
So I know the league wants to expand the season to 18 games. I recently heard a commentator say the best way to do that would be to get rid of two preseason games and add a bye week and one week of playoffs to eight teams in each conference. It gives the TV revenue and promotes player safety. What do you think?
Vic: How do you make up the ticket revenue for 30 lost games? Increase the price of tickets, right? I don’t wanna see the cost passed on to the consumer. I don’t think that’s the solution.
Trevor from Deltona, FL
Not to be rude or anything but, in my opinion, this is for Packers fans or Vic fans only. I see a few random questions that I know couldn’t have come from a Packer fan.
Vic: I appreciate your loyalty, Trevor, but this is a column for all fans, and that includes Bears fans. Yeah, baby, I want some Bears fans. Football is an edge game and I want “Ask Vic” to live on the edge.
Chuck from Bloomingdale, IL
I felt the Bears were handed a lot of wins, especially in the first half of the season, not because they were better, but because teams stepped all over themselves. I think it was pure luck they had the record they did. It’s fun being a Packers fan here in Bears land. What’s your take on them and do you feel they can contend again this year?
Vic: I’m not crazy about their drafts. They’ve got some pieces in place and should they hit the jackpot in the draft, they could get real tough, real fast, so I won’t dismiss what the Bears did last season, as you have. In my opinion, however, they’ll have to draft better to sustain the success they had last season.
Sean from Jacksonville Beach, FL
I finally got my “Ask Vic” mug, in one piece. They're still selling like tiger blood to Charlie Sheen. Hot, baby, hot.
Vic: I use mine to hold pens and pencils.
Brendon from Monterey, CA
The Packers didn't draft Michael Crabtree because B.J. Raji was the BAP. That seemed pretty obvious even then. Receivers are a dime a dozen, to dust off another well-worn Vicism. Big men like Raji are what you spend those top 10 picks on.
Vic: Dime a dozen; you gotta get the big guys early.
Steve from Orange Park, FL
My favorite was the debate over when the television was invented. Glad to see you doing so well with the column and getting a larger national exposure. The nation will soon know and love our Vic as we do. You have me checking Green Bay's weather every day hoping it is miserable. Then you'll just stay in and work on that book.
Vic: There are rumors that it won’t snow today. Seriously, though, why is it people in Florida love to remind people that live in the north that it’s sunny and warm in the winter, but people in the north don’t feel the same need to remind people in Florida from May-September that it’s not 99 degrees with 99 percent humidity, and the greens don’t look like someone spilled acid on them?
Amparo from Sunnyvale, CA
My husband is a die-hard Packers fan and has hooked me, as well. In reading your articles, I agree with what you have written about BAP. Couldn't a player break the tie because he plays more of an impact/need position that has not already been addressed in the draft?
Vic: That’s correct. One general manager I’ve covered, and whose work I greatly admire, talks about groupings on his draft board. For example, the next five players might all bear 6.5 grades, but their full grades are 6.55, 6.56, 6.57, etc. He will ignore the hundredth of a point difference and break the tie by picking the player at a need position or by picking the guy who appears to be a better fit for the team’s scheme or pick the guy for whom he just happens to have a good feeling. The point is that the art of evaluation isn’t scientific enough to allow a hundredth of a point to make the ultimate decision. That’s when other factors become more important.
Chad from San Francisco, CA
These columns have been a nice read while the CBA is holding up free agency. With regards to the draft, what is your experience on how teams package deals to move up or down the draft board? Are they using a value chart and/or do they test the market by taking or making calls to other teams?
Vic: The numeric table was a big thing a few years ago. Each pick has a numeric value and teams trading back were adamant about recouping the numeric value of the pick they were trading. I don’t think teams are as vigilant about guarding numeric value these days as they were then. The big reason is that they’d find it much more difficult to do deals if they stood on numeric value, and more and more teams are desperate to move up or back in the draft, so as to address needs or move to where the player they want fits. Something else has emerged in all of this: the need to get out of the top 10 and avoid the high-risk contracts that live there. Look at what Cleveland did a few years ago when it traded back to allow the Jets to come up and draft Mark Sanchez. The Browns traded the number five overall pick to the Jets for the 17th and 52nd selections and three players: Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff; the latter two are no longer with the Browns. The Browns then traded the 17th pick to Tampa, which the Bucs used to pick Josh Freeman. The Browns, therefore, had two shots at a franchise quarterback in the 2009 draft and find themselves still looking for “The Man.” This is what can happen when you put other needs above the need to draft a good player. As far as making or taking trade calls, personnel people work the phones on draft day like a telemarketer.
Vic Ketchman is a veteran of 39 NFL seasons and has covered the Steelers and Jaguars prior to coming to Green Bay.