Owen from Portland, OR

Do you think Clay Matthews will be playing some snaps at inside linebacker when the season begins?

I think that’ll depend on what players such as Sam Barrington, Carl Bradford and Jake Ryan do in training camp and in the preseason. I favor Clay Matthews being moved around to help him gain an advantage in pass-rush situations, but I’d rather he not be used inside on run downs. I want him on the field rushing the passer at crunch time, not on the sideline exhausted from having to do grunt work against the run.

Scott from Wasilla, AK

“It is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of inappropriate activities involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.” That is not exactly convincing to me, and anyway, what competitive advantage is there to an under-inflated ball? Why is it such a big deal to you?

It’s a huge deal to me. It’s enormous. It’s the biggest deal in the history of the world. If you’re accepting of cheating, that’s your business. I am not accepting of cheating, especially when it becomes repetitive. I’m tired of covering games with the headsets going down. Jack Del Rio and I once joked about when each of us thought the headsets would go out. I picked third quarter, he picked second. They went out in both.

Corey from Tulsa, OK

So the experts at NFL Network say a kicker was better than Randall Cobb last season? I understand their trying to get ratings but, come on. He should have cracked the top 50 at least.

That stuff doesn’t mean anything to me.

Dylan from Forty Fort, PA

What’s one trait or insight you wish to impart on the younger generation of football writers?

Don’t tweet, write. We’ve got lots of tweeters. We need more writers.

Joseph from Sievers, SD

What’s the number one question you get that you are sick of seeing in your inbox?

It’s the BAP vs. need question. It’s become nauseating, mostly because too many readers want to deny any kind of wiggle room in their application of BAP. It’s as though they’re trying to prove all BAP people are liars, so they create unrealistic scenarios to pin BAP people against their own words. If I was a GM, I wouldn’t answer the question other than to say I’ll pick anybody I want because I’m the boss.

Cheryl from Marathon, WI

I’ve been reading lots of articles from sports journalists about “Deflategate” and the report findings. I’m shocked to see so many people act like it’s not that big of a deal and say everyone is overreacting. Maybe the Patriots win regardless, but in my personal opinion, rules are in place for a reason. If you break them, you should be punished, end of story. Am I being too critical?

No. Spygate was bad enough. Harsh penalties were assigned, but apparently they weren’t harsh enough. There’s the base line for whatever the league decides in the way of punishment.

Matt from Johnston, IA

Vic, what do you think of the league forcing Brady to be suspended for a regular-season game of the Patriots’ choosing as a response to “Deflategate”? That way the Patriots essentially have to tell an opponent we think we can beat you without our best player.

You want to turn something as sensitive as this into a game? I have always regarded football as a noble endeavor. This is far from noble. I’m very concerned about the media and fan reaction to this event. Both must send a clear message to the commissioner that this is intolerable.

Jonathan from Chiavenna, Italy

Vic, could you kindly explain the different attributes needed for a slot receiver vs. an outside receiver?

A slot receiver works the middle of the field. He needs the toughness and quickness to be able to play along the ground. An outside receiver works the boundary. He has to be able to play in the air.

Bill from Manila, Philippines

It has taken me several years to adjust to your opinion comments in “Ask Vic,” primarily because I don’t agree with many of them. That said, your column invites more fan participation than any of the other teams I follow. How long have you been using this very successful format? Did you originate it?

It started in 2000, I think, as a forum for answering cap questions. It quickly grew. It invites fan commentary. I like that a lot. This is a chance to share your views with others. I think it helps us shape our opinions.

Kody from Layton, UT

What do you think about banning Tom Brady from the Hall of Fame? Too harsh of a punishment?

It’s too early to make that kind of call, but he hasn’t cooperated and because of that I think everything and anything has to be on the table.

Rene from La Habra, CA

What’s the difference between an undrafted player and a tryout player?

An undrafted player has been signed to a contract; the tryout player wants to be signed to a contract.

Dustin from Oakdale, MN

Vic, I’ve been curious about how you’ve adapted to Green Bay. If I’m an ESPN executive and I offer you a job in the warmth, what would you say?

I didn’t come here for the weather. I came here to cover a great franchise and a team playing in big games. When I retire, I’ll head for warm weather. Until then, I’ll continue covering big games. It’s why I’m a sports writer.


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