Tom from West Bend, WI
Take a page from John Lennon's book and imagine that an Earl Campbell clone magically appears on the Packers roster. How do you think it would change their approach to offense?
They’d run the ball more. Good coaches use what they have and as much as Mike McCarthy loves to throw the ball, he’s not going to ignore having a talent the likes of Earl Campbell. The Packers would run the ball more and, here’s the big one, they’d be able to sell play-action more effectively, which would probably result in more deep balls being completed and more ease in finding open receivers in the red zone, especially from inside the five-yard line. So, on how many teams does an Earl Campbell clone magically appear? He was a very special player. He would’ve benefited as much from playing in an offense such as the Packers’ as the Packers would benefit from having him in their offense. Why? Because it would’ve lengthened Campbell’s career.
Erik from Moline, IL
Vic, you and your column have helped me understand a lot more about football and a lot more about the Packers while reading it during the football season. During the offseason, it just makes me look forward to the season starting. I was wondering what you look forward to the most this coming season?
There’s a point in every season when I get into the groove of the season. The outside distractions disappear and, as silly as this sounds, I get a feeling of being one with football. It’s as though I begin to live the stories I write. I look forward to that. It’s a feeling that the team is playing well and I’m writing well and the readers are engaged and the press box is home. When it gets like that, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I look forward to that every year. I look forward to getting into that groove as quickly as possible. If a season goes by that I don’t get into that groove, I think I’ll know what that’ll mean.
Justin from Orlando, FL
What exactly is the point of the supplemental draft? Why don't those players just become free agents like every other college player who isn't drafted? Do you need to be just out of college to qualify for that?
The intent of the supplemental draft is to equitably distribute talent coming out of college that has yet to go through the draft process. Everybody must be draft eligible for at least one year in their life. If the players in the supplemental draft were allowed to enter the NFL as undrafted free agents, they would have circumvented the draft process. Players in the supplemental draft are players that missed the regular draft but have since had reason to seek draft eligibility. For example, a player may have since been ruled ineligible for his final college season, due to bad grades, suspension, etc. The supplemental draft provides a portal for him to enter the NFL.
Josh from Delano, MN
I recently read an article saying the Colts wouldn't use the new blackout rules in order to try and sell more tickets. What do you think of this? Personally I think it was smart.
Each team has to apply the new blackout rule to its particular circumstances, since the new 85 percent rule also includes a loss of 16 percent in ticket revenue to the visiting team pool. The numbers might work for a team that has contractual obligations that might, for example, require it to pay a penalty to a naming rights sponsor for every game that’s blacked out. The bottom line always wins, however, I’m with the Colts on this one because when you use the 85 percent figure as your new blackout tolerance, you effectively decrease your seating capacity by 15 percent. In my mind, you can forget about selling those seats; you might as well cover them with bags. If I was an owner, I wouldn’t do it. In my mind, you’re letting your fans know you’re desperate to put the game on TV. It’s a bad message.
Hansen from Waukesha, WI
After a recent report that suggests the legendary Joe Paterno covered up the Jerry Sandusky scandal for about 15 years, does that change your perception of Paterno?
Of course it does. I’d be ashamed of myself if it didn’t. He was supposed to be above the maniacal pursuit of victory, but he wasn’t. He created something he loved so deeply that he was unable to disable it when it turned into a monster, and then the monster turned on him, too. The shame was too great to bear. Pride goeth before a fall.
Greg from Waterloo, Ontario
I saw on an NFL documentary that Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi exchanged their offensive and defensive playbooks respectively when they were hired as head coaches, but Landry didn't use Lombardi's defensive playbook and created his own. Could the Lombardi Trophy have been named the Landry Trophy if Tom Landry had used Lombardi's playbook?
First of all, Landry was a defensive coach and Lombardi was an offensive coach. I haven’t seen the documentary but my guess is that if they exchanged playbooks from their days with the Giants, then Landry provided his defensive playbook in exchange for Lombardi’s offensive playbook. As for the Lombardi Trophy, I don’t think it would’ve been named the Landry Trophy had Landry taken the measure of Lombardi in those epic title games. I doubt it would’ve been named the Lombardi Trophy had Lombardi not died when the Super Bowl was in its infancy and Pete Rozelle was desperately attempting to brand the game. It might’ve been named the Bert Bell Trophy.
Josh from Caledonia, WI
Training camp starts July 27th, the first preseason game is Aug. 9th. Two weeks in pads to prepare for the season? But I suppose it’s closer to six weeks since preseason is all practice, too. Still, it doesn't seem like a lot of time to drill in 700 offensive plays and to work on chemistry. I have to imagine chemistry in pads is a lot different than OTAs, especially with the modern precision passing game. And shaping those defensive rookies into year-one impact players seems impossible in that time frame. Thoughts?
Everybody’s facing the same challenge. Forget about the chemistry thing. Fans worry too much about chemistry. You can’t practice chemistry. You can’t manufacture chemistry. Chemistry is a byproduct of effort. It’ll happen naturally. When an offensive lineman’s jersey is stained by the blood of a defensive lineman from a blocking drill in training camp, you get chemistry. When teammates are struggling against the heat and they look into each other’s eyes and see the pain, you get chemistry. It happens in its own way and on its own time, and there’s no need to rush anything or peak too quickly. It’s a long season and the time to peak is late in the year when you can smell the playoffs in the air. That’s when you want that one heartbeat. In training camp, you want those hearts beating in competition against each other.
Rich from Nashville, TN
Vic, your vision of the couch-filled, TV-equipped stadium of the future sounds absurd, but is it really? You usually don't resort to hyperbole to make your point, so do you actually see stadiums doing or planning the crazy gimmicks you fear, or are you just pulling our leg?
A ticket to Super Bowl I sold for $12. How absurd is that?
Brad from Missoula, MT
I thought I knew how the supplemental draft worked, but I'm just confused now. Can you please enlighten me and the rest of Packers nation?
If you’re interested in selecting a player eligible for the supplemental draft, you inform the league as to what round you would like to draft that player. You must have your own pick or higher in that round in next year’s regular draft to select a player in a particular round of the supplemental draft. The league awards the player to the team that spent the highest pick on the player, according to the current order of teams.
Aaron from Washington, DC
What are your thoughts on the Browns using their 2013 second-round pick on Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft? Is having rookies playing QB, WR and RB a formula for success?
It sounds as though patience has worn thin in Cleveland. If they hit a home run with all three guys, the Browns will be back in the hunt. If they strike out, the situation could worsen. That’s the way it is for all teams. You are what you draft.
Brett from Saint Cloud, MN
Vic, what do you think Lombardi would have thought about McCarthy sitting his healthy players for an entire game, like last year against Detroit?
Lombardi did the same thing. I can remember watching a terrible Steelers team beat the Packers in Lambeau Field on the final day of the 1967 regular season. Lombardi rested his star players for that game. Two weeks later, the Packers won the “Ice Bowl.” We have to be careful about our regard for legends. Our love for them can cause us to distort our recollection of them.
Doug from Union Grove, WI
Vic, just saw the golf video and you picking on poor Bob after he hit the sign on hole No. 3. Why no mention of you driving your cart through the ropes that were blocking off the cart path? Did you think we weren't watching?
That was a true Mr. Magoo moment. They seem to be happening more often these days.
Dan from Waupun, WI
When we go to Lambeau, I enjoy the game, but I need to have the Packers win. Will I ever be able, as a fan, to enjoy the game without the win?
For a fan, defeat should not be enjoyable. I think you should be able to endure it without emotional collapse, but it should hurt a little. If you look back on games you’ve attended and which the Packers lost, however, I think you’ll find that you have pleasant memories of those games. Time eases our pain. It’s human nature for our memories to be selective. That’s why all games are good games, win or lose, because 10 years from now we’ll only have good memories about them.
Matt from Cupar, Scotland
The last time a defensive player won the MVP award was Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Do you think a defensive player could win it again given the current obsession with the offensive side of the game?
The MVP is pretty much a quarterback award these days. In the 1970’s, a defensive tackle and four running backs won the MVP. In the 1980’s, a kicker (Mark Moseley) won the AP MVP in a strike year. Even as late as the 1990’s, four different running backs – Thurman Thomas, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis – won the MVP. Then came the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning era, and everything changed. Quarterbacks have won 10 of the last 12 AP MVP awards, the last five in a row, and I can’t imagine any player but a quarterback winning the award in the foreseeable future.
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