Randall from New York, NY
You've talked a lot about what you believe to be the best strategy to use in the draft. Thompson seems to use that strategy consistently, which is why, you say, the Packers are so good right now. It makes a lot of sense, but Thompson made a move recently that wasn't so consistent, yet, still proved to be hugely valuable to the team: trading up for Clay Matthews. How does trading up fit into your scheme? When is it appropriate?
Vic: It fits when you believe the guy you’ve targeted is a difference-maker and truly worth the picks you’re going to trade away. You’re right, it was a bold move. The Packers traded away a lot to move up and draft Matthews and he wasn’t a guy who fit that high on a lot of boards, but he fit that high on the Packers’ board and that’s the board from which they were drafting. Be true to your board; it’s an old draft-room adage. Trade-ups are risky. I covered two in 2008 that darn near wrecked the Jaguars franchise. They’re not something I would do often. You have to really believe in the guy you’re getting.
Tom from Raleigh, NC
Since the Packers played all playoff games away from home, did they get any revenue? How is playoff game revenue divided? Always interested in how a small-market team makes money. Thanks.
Vic: All postseason ticket revenue goes to the league. The home team keeps parking and concessions revenue. The league pays expenses.
J.D. from Fairfax, IA
Vic, the Green Bay Packers are one of the deepest and most talented teams in the NFL. We don't have a ton of needs but, instead, want to continue drafting great talent that will, hopefully, contribute down the road. Wouldn't it be wise to trade back, out of the first round, to a team in real need of a certain player and who is willing to give up a lot to get him?
Vic: If there’s a player you’ve targeted and he fits lower than where you are in the order, you should absolutely try to trade back, but trading back merely to accumulate picks serves little purpose for a team as deep in talent as the Packers are. All they’d be doing is trading away from a better player and it’s gonna take a “better” player to make their roster and provide impact. It’s always about value. If a trade-back offers more value than the pick you hold, do it, but don’t do it just to do it. I thought Bill Parcells did some of that when he was the coach of the Cowboys and Bill Belichick has done some of that in recent years, too, and I’m not sure how productive it was for either man. If there’s a purpose to it, I’m for it. For example, if last year you knew you were gonna need a quarterback for your future and that quarterback wasn’t in last year’s draft but the following year’s draft was expected to be a deep quarterback draft, then go ahead and collect an extra pick for next year. It’ll allow you to maneuver to where that quarterback you need might fit. I’m fine with that, but don’t collect picks without a particular use for them in mind.
Patrick from Groton, CT
Why do the players want to negotiate in Minnesota while the owners prefer D.C.?
Vic: The players want to negotiate the settlement of their litigation against the league, which would mean using the court in Minneapolis as the mediator. The owners want to resume collective bargaining, which would mean negotiating out of court and in front of the Federal Mediation Service in Washington.
David from Richmond, IN
When a quarterback throws an interception, does it count as a completion (even though the wrong guy caught it) or is it counted as an incomplete pass?
Vic: It’s counted as a pass attempt and an interception.
Brian from Tampa, FL
What do you think of “Snow Plow” as a defensive nickname?
Vic: I think it’s a perfect name for an offensive line, but not for a defense.
Patrick from Menomonie, WI
It seems to me the Packers have had a lot of injuries in recent seasons, especially in 2010. Is that an accurate perception? Are there problems of conditioning or training? Or is it just bad luck?
Vic: What team hasn’t had injuries? It’s football; you will get hurt. It’s not a matter of if you’ll get hurt, it’s a matter of when you’ll get hurt. When injuries tend to happen in bunches, the first thing we do is look at the conditioning regimen and that’s not fair. I have never detected a link between offseason conditioning techniques and success on the field. In 2005, the Seahawks had the lowest offseason conditioning participation percentage of any team in the league and they went to the Super Bowl. I covered a team that had a strength coach whose philosophy was that the players should do the least conditioning necessary to prepare for the season, so they wouldn’t wear out their bodies. One year, they were injury-free and the strength coach was hailed. The next year, they dropped like flies and the strength coach was fired. I covered a team that won four Super Bowls and had a part-time strength coach it shared with two or three other teams, and I covered a team that had four full-time strength coaches that didn’t make it into the playoffs.
Jason from Grantham, PA
Having spent over nine years as a writer for a team in the same division as Peyton Manning, what do you think of Bill Polian's recent comments about having to draft Peyton Manning's replacement in the next couple of years (or perhaps even this year)? Manning is now 35 and has yet to have sustained a serious injury in his time in the NFL. The Colts have lived and died by Manning. Do you think they're ready to move on?
Vic: It’s a game of replacement. Eventually, everybody must be replaced, even Manning, one of the most durable players in league history. Manning’s contract is also becoming a problem. It’s getting to the point that he won’t be able to return the investment the Colts have made in him. Polian knows he’ll soon have to have a replacement ready to go. I still believe this is a good quarterback draft. He may have been sending a message to Colts fans to begin preparing for life on the other side. I don’t think it’s in the near future, but it has reached the point that it has become a consideration.
Dennis from Brook Park, MN
I recently read Pat Summerall’s book about his days playing with the Giants under assistant coaches Lombardi and Landry. The Mara family thought highly of these two men and seemed to know they had special coaching ability. Why did they let both of them get away?
Vic: That was before the days of coaches in waiting. Why did Paul Brown let Weeb Ewbank and Bill Walsh get away? Why did Don Shula let Chuck Noll get away? Why did Walsh let Mike Holmgren get away? It’s one of the great things about the game; it sustains itself by growing new limbs where limbs have been cut off. One of my favorite trivia questions is: When Lombardi and Landry were coordinators on Jim Lee Howell’s Giants staff, which was the offensive coordinator and which was the defensive coordinator? Most people guess incorrectly. They think of Landry as being offense and Lombardi as being defense, but it was just the opposite. Each man was a genius in his own discipline. Lombardi gave us the genius of the discipline of the Packers sweep and Landry gave us the genius of the creation of the 4-3 and, later, the “Flex Defense.” Each man also was an expert on the other side of the ball. Good coaches can coach either side and any position. They know the game inside and out.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA
Continuing the topic of uniforms, what do you think of the camouflage uniforms Army used last year?
Vic: It works for them, for the obvious reason that Army wears them for their real intent.
Josie from Jacksonville, FL
What did you think of Sunday's round in the Masters?
Vic: It was good. I didn’t think it was great, but it was good and I enjoyed watching it. I thought the commentary was over the top. It was so promotional of everything Masters that it lost its objectivity and lacked the edge I’ve come to enjoy about Johnny Miller’s coverage. The post-round interview with Tiger Woods was far too soft for my taste. It was almost as though the interviewer was afraid of him. You’ve got him on camera; you have to ask better questions than that.
Jen from Las Vegas, NV
Who compiles these lists on packers.com? I love all these extra videos that are provided to us fans in the offseason, but this latest one, well, sucks. How can losing Super Bowl XXXII, or Jerry Rice's non-fumble game be considered great games? Super Bowl XLV was a great game; two legacy teams, game down to the wire. Not to mention Super Bowl XXXI; first Packers Super Bowl win in almost 30 years. Maybe you guys have a different view of what a great game is, but most of us fans prefer a list of games that have more wins than losses. Maybe those games we lost could be in a most memorable list.
Vic: In other words, you don’t want a list of the greatest games in Packers history, you want a list of the greatest wins in Packers history, right? Mike Spofford compiles the lists and I thought he did a fantastic job achieving balance in his list of greatest games. Not all great games were played since Coach Lombardi arrived in Green Bay. The Packers had a team before he arrived and it was a team that won big games and helped establish the foundation of the NFL. Mike acknowledged those games from that era, as he should. He also found the meaning in defeat. The loss to the Eagles in the 1960 championship game was the springboard to everything that happened after it. How could it not be identified as a great game?
John from Duluth, MN
It's heartwarming a Bears/Vikings fan was allowed to compile the list of 10 greatest games in franchise history that included nearly as many losses as wins. Send that hack home now and bring the packers.com staff back, please.
Vic: Huh? That hack is a Wisconsin native and has covered the Packers for packers.com since 2006. He covered them all last season, including their Super Bowl win, and he has commanding knowledge of the Packers’ past. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, but I wouldn’t worry about Mike Spofford being a Bears or Vikings fan. Take a deep breath and count to 10. Everything will be fine.