Nick from Toronto, Ontario
I was just wondering if you could share your all-time favorite interview from your career? What made it so special?
There are so many that are memorable to me. I’ve told the story of a training camp interview with a journeyman receiver named Johnnie Dirden. I did an interview with Terry Bradshaw in his dorm room at the height of his career and his tense relationship with Chuck Noll. As I questioned him about his relationship with Noll, Bradshaw picked up his guitar, winked at me and then broke into loud song. His door was open and his room was directly across the hall from Noll’s. “He likes to sleep in the afternoon,” Bradshaw said with a big smile. I did an interview with Mark Brunell after he had surgery on what was believed to be a torn ACL but turned out not to be torn. I said to him, “You must be relieved you didn’t tear it.” He said, “Oh, it was torn.” I struggled to understand and then he explained that the ACL was torn but it was healed between the time he was injured and the surgery. Mark is deeply religious. I remember Tony Boselli calling me early on a Saturday morning, to tell me he had just been told he would not be protected in the Houston Texans expansion draft. I think I remember every interview I ever did with Fred Taylor. He was wonderful to interview. Now I’m beginning to collect memories of Packers interviews. I remember the interview I did with Shaky Smithson last summer. I remember thinking to myself, “I hope this kid makes it.” I think I’ll always remember Aaron Rodgers taking a shot at the players-only workouts, during his press conference following the win over the Saints. I could go on and on. I have a very good memory.
Rob from Menomonie, WI
After reading the articles awhile back on how Mike McCarthy is cross-training coaches, I was wondering, do you think Mike will be the beginning of a coaching tree, like Bill Walsh, or is it too soon to tell?
The tree is beginning to sprout branches. Do Packers fans realize that Mike McCarthy is only 27 wins away from passing Vince Lombardi for the second-most regular-season wins in Packers history? At 209, Curly Lambeau is way down the road, but McCarthy is a young coach with a young quarterback and I expect the combination to post a lot of wins for a lot of years. I think it’s possible McCarthy could become the winningest coach in Packers history.
Blake from Menasha, WI
Russell Wilson has a strong and accurate arm. Alas, he's 5-11 on a good day. On a recent radio interview between Mel Kiper and Wilson, Kiper told Wilson that if he were 6-2, he'd be mentioned in the same breath as Luck and RG3. Thoughts?
Wilson is a marvelous athlete; I’ve seen evidence of that on several occasions. I’ve also read the draftnik reports of his strong and accurate arm, and Tony Pauline told me the same about Wilson. My problem is that at the Senior Bowl, I didn’t see it. I saw some short-area arm strength and accuracy, but I saw neither on the deep outs or go routes. That’s why I’ve kind of stayed away from the subject. I don’t have enough information.
Nate from Travis AFB, CA
Vic, as a Packers fan, I'm fully aware that Ted Thompson isn’t a guy who likes to build through free agency, but I can’t help but see a tremendous upside in Asante Samuel. He would help in an area that Green Bay is in desperate need of. Thoughts?
So you want to give a draft pick or picks to the competition for it to possibly use against you for a long time, in exchange for a player they don’t want now? That kind of thinking just doesn’t make sense to me. The Eagles are very good personnel managers. Remember, they traded Kevin Kolb.
Brandon from Fairfield, CA
You mentioned James-Michael Johnson out of Nevada. Things I have read on him state that his ability to play nearly every LB position is a plus, and that he is considered a top 10 ILB prospect. What are your thoughts on him?
I liked what I saw of him at the Senior Bowl, but I almost never hear or see his name mentioned. He’s a shorter guy at 6-1 and I think that’s dropping his stock into the middle rounds, and he’s an in-the-box player at a time when everyone is looking for outside guys, but Johnson runs 4.6 and he showed me at the Senior Bowl that he can run to the ball, and I saw some pass rush in him, too.
Jason from Summerville, SC
Vic, what is your favorite thing about the entire draft?
I like the suspense leading up to the pick, and then I get a kick out of the fans’ reaction to the pick. Everybody has a guy they want the team to pick. If the team picks somebody else, then it’s a bad pick. It truly is a fun event.
Mark from Omro, WI
With one minute left on the clock, I trade my pick to you. Do you get a fresh clock to make the pick, or just the remaining minute?
I would only get what’s left on the clock, so if the clock is about to expire, it would be a good idea to have a piece of paper with my pick’s name on it ready to be turned in when the team trading the pick turns in its decision to trade the pick.
Greg from Bellevue, WA
Have you ever seen a draft where everything just went wrong for a team, and even they knew it on draft day?
Yeah, I’ve seen it happen. The Steelers were all set to draft Marcus Allen, and then the Raiders grabbed him. The Jaguars had Darrelle Revis all lined up, and then the Jets traded one spot ahead of the Jaguars’ plans to draft Revis. I’ve seen it work the other way, too. The Jaguars thought they had a trade worked out with the Bears, for the purpose of picking Curtis Enis, but the Bears backed out of the deal and then picked Enis. It left the Jags to draft Fred Taylor. Sometimes the competition saves you from making mistakes.
Peter from Akron, OH
I discovered “Ask Vic” just recently and have been a big fan since. Which stadiums have particularly nasty visitors’ locker rooms?
You’re living about 30 miles south of what was the nastiest locker room in the NFL. I’m talking about the visitors’ locker room at old Cleveland Stadium. It was so bad it was good. From the field, players had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to it. It was about the size of a living room and the showers and bathroom facilities made you think about waiting until you got home. The locker room was so small they parked a trailer inside the concourse area, where reporters would go to interview the visiting team’s coach. It was bizarre. The fans knew what the trailer was for and they would pound on the side of the trailer as they walked past. I miss Cleveland Stadium. It was a yearly reminder of how great I’m not.
Terrence from Austin, TX
Wow! I just read the NY Giants blog that someone posted in the comments and I’m astounded by how much profanity and hate they have for the Packers. They won and are still not happy. Is it bad that makes me happy?
Would this have anything to do with that illegal formation comment? Oh, my, I think I’ve started something.
Thomas from Palm Coast, FL
I think your idea of moving the safeties up within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage is a great idea for two reasons. First, it would give the NFL what they want, less running and more passing. Tell me Rodgers wouldn't lick his chops to see two safeties up with a five-receiver set and a LB having to cover our TE. Second, it would make the game safer, supposedly.
I think it would aid player-safety efforts because defenses would be put into turn-and-run mode, which would make it less likely for safeties to hang back and line a guy up. I agree that it would aid production in the passing game, but I think the draw play would become a staple of every team in the league: Get them running away from the ball and then run the ball at them.
John from Logansport, IN
If a player goes undrafted, when are teams allowed to contact him? As soon as the draft ends?
You can contact prospects any time you want, you just can’t sign them until the draft is over.
George from Hutchinson, MN
In the recent past, when a team finished last in total defensive yards allowed, like the Packers did this past season, did a team finish the following year with a much more respectable ranking?
Denver went from 32 in 2010 to 20 in 2011. Did John Fox, a defensive-minded coach, cause that improvement? Did the selection of Von Miller do it? I think they both helped.
Tony from Monona, WI
Vic, you seem 100 percent sure there will be an NFL team in LA in the near future, but do you think a current team will move there, or do you think the NFL will expand with new teams?
I think a team will move there. Eventually, I think two teams will have moved there.
Wayne from Independence, WI
What is your biggest concern about the upcoming season? What are you the most excited about?
My biggest concern is for doing my job the way it should be done. My greatest excitement is for looking forward to a season after getting a season covering the team under my belt. Last year at this time, I had a lot of anxiety. We were in a lockout and that was preventing me from getting to know the players and the team in general. I was worried about lacking a feel for my subjects, and I think it was an issue for much of the season. I don’t have that anxiety now. As a result, I’m really excited about the upcoming season and I’m looking forward to the start of it.
Joe from Buffalo, NY
Do you think the Redskins made a good choice trading away all of those picks to the Rams to get the No. 2 pick in the draft?
If the player they select becomes the star they envision, then the trade will be hailed as aggressive genius. If he’s a bust, the trade will become an example of what not to do, much as the Herschel Walker trade is. Would I have made the trade? Probably not; I’m a more conservative “drafter.”
Eric from Wausau, WI
Could you elaborate on the positives and negatives of having a writer's perspective on the NFL? What from your profession brings you joy? What makes you question your career choice?
A well-written story brings me joy. I don’t question my career choice. It was right for me, mostly because it has left me with the kind of memories I enjoy. I’m a memory lane guy all the way. I love to kick back and re-live the past. If I had stayed at that sintering plant, I wouldn’t have fond memories to re-live.
Connor from St. Paul, MN
Is there any player in this year’s draft you believe Thompson would trade up for? If so, what would it take to move to where we would need to move?
First of all, I have no idea, none at all, at what Ted Thompson will do in this draft. My comments are representative of my thoughts. As I wrote earlier this week, I think a team looking for a pass rusher can move up to seven and get the best pass rusher in the draft. Moving up this year probably won’t cost as much as it would in other years, but going up to seven from 28 would likely still be very costly. What about Dontari Poe? He lit up the combine, but that was nearly two months ago, and I think the excitement from that workout has cooled a little and moving up to get Poe might not be as big a jump as we previously might’ve thought. Poe has 3-4 nose tackle written all over him, but I can’t help but think he has the speed and athletic ability to play end in a 3-4, too. He was even used at Memphis to drop into coverage. Poe intrigues me.
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