John from Viola, WI

What are the regulations regarding pulling, tugging, tackling and hair. Lots of it flowing out of helmets; can defenders grab it for tackles?

Pulling the hair is allowed.

Rob from Elkhorn, WI

Vic, we are all curious on your thoughts of the Jennings conference call. What say you?

As I expected, he said it was all a joke. He said he was just messin’ with his old teammates. He said he loves Packers fans and he even said he loves the Packers media. I feel loved. How about you?

Jakub from Glogow, Poland

I’d love to see more quick kicks. Great idea.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a quick kick. It can be an effective weapon for a team pinned against its own goal line. As skilled as today’s special teams coaches are, they could teach an athletic quarterback the art of making the ball turn over and roll. The game needs more unconventional strategy such as quick kicks. We’ve become too structured. We need creativity.

Nate from Tracy, MN

Vic, what are your thoughts on the Vikings and all this QB mess? Now we hear that Freeman has a concussion and not sure who will start. Is this a ploy?

I don’t think it’s a ploy. I think the Vikings would love to have a stable situation at quarterback, as the Packers do. I have always believed in the philosophy of pick and stick. A team needs to know who its quarterback is.

Tom from Wentzville, MO

Vic, I just read somewhere that the Cowboys salaries are already $30 million over the cap next year, which does not include the new draft class. How in the world does that happen?

It’s what happens when you re-structure contracts for the purpose of creating cap room, as the Cowboys did in the offseason. In a standard re-structure, salary is converted to signing bonus on a new contract, which allows that amount of money to be spread out over the life of the contract. Voila! You’ve made room in the current year. The problem is you’ve pushed much of the room you’ve created onto future caps, as the Cowboys did in the offseason. Now, you’re caught in the contract re-structuring death spiral, and you’ve got to continue re-structuring contracts to get under the cap every year. You hear the whistle, but you keep thinking you can get off the tracks before the train arrives, and then it hits you. Often times, teams will re-structure a few contracts to make room to sign an expensive free agent. In the distance, there is the first faint sound of the train’s whistle.

L.P. from Muskego, WI

Your answer to Tom regarding trading a fifth-rounder for some veteran receiver help was weak and intellectually dishonest. Cherry picking the best fifth-round selections to make your point is absurd.

The point I was trying to make is that you don’t know when the fifth-round pick you’ve traded will have cost you a long-term player. It’s a gamble I don’t advise taking. I don’t like tempting fate. You have to commit. If you’re a draft-and-develop team, you have to keep drafting, unless you’re clairvoyant and you know where the hits and misses will fall.

Tim from Denver, CO

Bum Phillips passed last week. He seemed like a straight forward character. Ever get the chance to interview him?

I never missed a conference call Bum did. He was the best. He was friendly, forthright, honest and entertaining. He was also a great football coach, and a real treasure for reporters. From his trademark cowboy hat to his downhome personality, Bum was a coach who made me smile as I wrote stories about him and his football team. He left me with so many memories of great games and fun stories, and I thank him.

 

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