Mike from North Aurora, IL

Vic, after reading your article, I’ve been trying to eliminate the word “that” from my communication. It really is a useless word. Your former boss was a visionary. Thanks for making my future communication with people that much better.

It has its place, but not as often as we think.

Rob from Hamilton, Ontario

Given that Tom Clements is going to call the plays, what is the role for Edgar Bennett as the offensive coordinator?

Being an offensive coordinator is mostly about preparation, not play-calling. It’s about schedules and cut-ups and the coordination of practice regimens. Madden is all about play-calling. Real football is all about the preparation necessary to call plays on Sunday. Bill Belichick doesn’t call plays, but I guarantee he knows what plays are going to be called because they were selected as part of the game plan and they were practiced during the week in the situations in which they’ll be used. Coach Bennett is going to assume the preparation responsibilities that go with being an offensive coordinator, and Coach Clements and Coach McCarthy will no doubt be included in the process.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, if the draft was today, and you’re Tampa Bay’s GM, who do you take with the No. 1 pick, Winston or Mariota?

I love Jameis Winston’s skill set, but his off-field problems are a concern. Marcus Mariota is everything you want from a character standpoint, but I’m not sold on him as a pro-style quarterback. I’d trade that pick if I could.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

What do the Broncos do with Manning?

They knew this day would come when they signed him and committed their salary cap to him. I think you have to ride this out to the bitter end, and the end will likely be bitter.

Charlie from Houston, TX

Vic, could you explain the purpose of the scouting organizations BLESTO and National? Why do some teams participate, while others do in-house scouting?

All teams do in-house scouting; BLESTO and National are mainly used to cross-check prospects. BLESTO was the first scouting combine. Its letters stand for Bears, Lions, Eagles, Steelers Talent Organization, and its creation was seen as a means for saving money by combining forces and sharing reports on prospects. That was back in the days when most teams were financially challenged. It’s not that way anymore, so BLESTO and National have become the equivalent of an extra scout in teams’ personnel departments.

Rick from Mequon, WI

Do you think Coach McCarthy promoting Edgar Bennett is getting him ready for the next level as a head coach?

That decision was made in 2011 when Coach Bennett was moved from running backs coach to wide receivers coach. With that move, Coach Bennett’s resume was enhanced by including the passing game as part of his expertise. Obviously, Coach McCarthy was preparing Coach Bennett for the day when he would become an offensive coordinator, which is the next step to becoming a head coach. I’d be surprised if Coach Bennett isn’t a head coach within the next 3-4 years.

Ben from Hudson, WI

Is this a good year for cornerback?

Tony Pauline didn’t like the crop of cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl, but I see several that are fitting near the bottom of the first round.

David from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, I have great respect and appreciation for Mike McCarthy and his abilities. I like that he will be somewhat less tied to one facet of his job. I have noticed that, at pivotal points in a game, Bill Belichick will be on the sideline speaking to specific groups of his team and I look for McCarthy to maybe have a little more player interaction during the games. It seems to convey emphasis and urgency. What are your thoughts?

Nobody gets a player’s attention as the head coach does. When he joins a huddle on the sideline, or speaks to a player one-on-one, urgency peaks. Coach McCarthy will have more time available to join those huddles and initiate those one-on-ones now that he’s not having to call plays. You can’t speak to your defense when your offense is on the field and you’re calling plays.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

Please forgive my impatience, but when can we expect you to convey to us this year’s Letroy Guion of a hidden gem in free agency?

We have to wait until the tag days expire. It’s senseless to begin talking about free agents until we know who they are.

Chris from Waterbury, CT

Vic, any chance you could elaborate a bit more on Ron Zook and the wedge rules?

Coach Zook invented a wedge-buster named Orpheus Roye. He knocked out several players in frightening collisions, and it increased the league’s sensitivity to wedge blocking and the rules that govern it.

Patrick from Murfreesboro, TN

If you could discover a treasure trove of never-before-seen NFL game film from the pre-TV era, which players would you most want to be on it and why?

If I could step back in time and see one player, it would be Jim Thorpe. I would especially like to see video of the game in which he caught his own punt.

Dave from St. Louis, MO

According to ESPN stats, the Broncos have $24.2 million and the Packers have $22.7 million in cap space. How can this be? I thought Denver was headed toward major cap issues?

You can push the money out for a long time by converting salary to signing bonus, but eventually you reach the point that your players’ performances aren’t worthy of their salary cap hit. The whole thing comes to a boil when those players are no longer on your roster but are still on your cap. That’s called dead money and if you have too much of it, you’re dead team walking. Packers fans have no need to worry about that happening with this team. It’s vigilant about protecting its future caps.


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