Jaime from San Cristobal, Mexico

Take a job as a soccer sportswriter or go back to the sintering plant?

Sintering plant.

Jacob from New Bremen, OH

At the mention of the “Immaculate Reception,” I had to go watch the clip. Upon watching this clip it made me sad to think the play wouldn’t have meant as much in today’s game as it did back then. Jack Tatum’s hit would have drawn a flag and even though the play would have been awesome, the flag would have guaranteed the Steelers a first down on the 35-yard line with time left on the clock for more plays. I am only 23, but I can’t help but be sad about where the game is heading. All this being said I still love watching the Packers, so nothing is going to change.

Had the play occurred in today’s game, there would be no controversy because passes are permitted to be tipped from one offensive player to another. Without that suspense, I don’t think the play is as highly regarded as it is because Fred Swearingen wouldn’t have had to go the dugout and nobody would’ve been able to tell the lie about getting a helicopter in there to get the officials out. We liked telling a good story more back then than we do today. They would’ve used review to determine whether the ball touched the ground, but that became more of an issue as the years wore on because nobody at that game that saw the play thought the ball touched the ground; somebody just decided to add that mystique to the play years later. The whole issue was whether it touched Tatum or Fuqua, and that wouldn’t be an issue today. I’m happy the rule was the way it was; it made Frenchy famous and rich.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

You don’t see any good in the new rule? I saw a lot of times running backs in the open field lower their helmet as a battering ram to hit the cornerback or safety and hurt them. Jim Brown may be the greatest player in NFL history and he has no problem with this rule and said to use the shoulder and stiff arm more. He said he never used the helmet. I think players and fans need to forget about it.

I think you’ve got the solution to the problem: Everybody should go out and find another Jim Brown.

David from Chuluota, FL

I think it was Mark Murphy that talked about the need to get back to traditional tackling, using the arms and shoulders, and that the new helmet rule is a step in that direction. Why don’t you think the helmet rule will help bring back what it used to be?

Maybe it will; I don’t know. My concern is for all the “shoe dusters” out there. Shoe dusters? That’s what coaches call smallish defensive backs that dive at the feet and legs of ball carriers because they’re afraid of what’ll happen if they take on a big back high. In my opinion, this rule is going to produce an explosion of shoe dusters … and lower leg injuries.

Kelvin from Warwick, UK

Vic, one of the main problems you highlight with getting players in free agency or via a trade is the fact that most of the time they are a player their current team has decided is replaceable at best or on the downside of their career at worst. However, the Darrelle Revis situation seems to be a little different, in the sense that here is the premier player in the NFL at a position that is in the top four of key positions in the game and he is arguably at an age where he should be playing at his peak for some years. The price is going to be high, of course, but does he qualify as an exception to the rule?

Revis isn’t a free agent; you’d have to trade for him to get him. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. There are those free agents that haven’t been judged by their teams to be in decline, but whose circumstances make it prohibitively expensive for the team to re-sign that player. Mario Williams is such an exception; the franchise tag 120 percent rule caused that to be the case.

Tim from Marshall, MI

Even though we run a 3-4, do you think it would be beneficial next year if they developed some 4-3 or maybe even 5-2 packages?

The Packers employ a lot of defensive packages, as evidenced by the playoff game against the 49ers when they used everything from base to nickel to spy technique. Again, scheme wasn’t the issue; lack of execution was the issue and Mike McCarthy reiterated that fact in his media conference at the owners meetings this week. They got caught in something that required the use of a scheme they hadn’t used or practiced much, and that caused them to not be very good at executing that scheme. New things have a tendency to work, until they become the old. The wildcat was a big hit; then it got old. Will the read option get old? We’ll see.

Jake from New Richmond, WI

Vic, I think much of the reason defensive players tackle running backs low is because if they go high they will take a helmet to the sternum. In the essence of protecting the head, running backs shouldn’t be able to use their head as a weapon, either. Or am I way off base?

Defensive backs go low on a big back because going high would mean getting run over. Everybody went low on Jerome Bettis and his only defense mechanism was to go low in return. He shouldn’t be allowed to do that? This rule, in my opinion, will make all of the Jerome Bettis-type back of the world defenseless in the open field. We’ll see. I might be wrong.

Conor from Milwaukee, WI

So we all know your position on (signing) free agents, but how important was bringing back Brad Jones?

When you re-sign one of your own players, the message is that you approve of his performance and you want to retain him. I think that’s a much more positive message than the one that allows a player to leave in free agency without even attempting to retain him. To me, that message says the team has analyzed that player’s performance and judges him not to be worth the compensation that would be required to keep him. It’s a kind of enigmatic process.

Jeff from Seattle, WA

Passes that don’t reach the line of scrimmage to be considered handoffs …  this has actually got to be one of the most common sense rule changes I’ve heard proposed in the past 20 years. Any chance of this actually happening?

No.

Thad from Chesterfield, VA

On average, how long does it take to get a deal done with an Aaron Rodgers? What goes into the back and forth between each side?

Structure is a big part of the contract because that goes to how the deal will be charged to the team’s cap. Good cap strategists have a long-range plan that will allow the team to retain all of its core players. The team needs the player to agree to a contract structure that will provide room for other players the team needs to sign.

Brian from Rockford, IL

In an alternate universe, where do you see the Packers without the signing of Reggie White in 1993? I say we have no Super Bowl wins in either ’96 or 2010, an unrenovated Lambeau Field and a franchise in serious financial trouble.

You could be right. I was here in 1983 and I was stunned by the condition of Lambeau Field. There was nothing venerable about it that day. I can remember thinking that this franchise might be on its way to Milwaukee, if it was willing to build a new stadium. I didn’t consider the potential for renovating Lambeau. That was a stroke of genius. It not only saved this franchise, it preserved the Packers mystique.

Brett from Denver, CO

Vic, I’m surprised. Normally, I read your column and I’m refreshed that you offer a rational, even-keeled response to all of the irrational, poorly thought out conclusions of the fan majority. But with this new helmet rule, you’re joining the irrational fray by not seeking to understand the rule. Lowering your pads is not becoming illegal. Lowering your head to protect your legs is not becoming illegal. Using the crown of your helmet as a weapon is becoming illegal. The competition committee said this infraction would have been flagged only five times last season. Only five! You're talking as if they are making a rule that would have been violated five times on every drive of every game. Rational Vic, come back.

Only five times the whole season? Then why do it?

Andy from Cologne, Germany

So the Adrian Peterson hit on William Gay is prohibited now? This is ridiculous.

It was the defining play of that weekend. Sportscenter ran the clip of it over and over. We couldn’t get enough of it. Peterson screamed savagely following the play, knowing what he had done and the impact it would have on his reputation among defensive backs throughout the league. The play had a kind of chilling exhilaration to it. Now it’s gone from the game. Safety replaces excitement. Ah, nothing beats a good display of safety. Hooray for safety.


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