Trevor from Montclair, NJ
I just watched “Concussion,” which left me haunted. The NFL is trying to convince moms it’s safe for their kids to play. Is it? Yesterday, I would’ve said yes. Today, no way. Are we, as fans, part of the problem? Is there anything we can do to help make sure this doesn’t happen to more players?
What I can tell you is this: The changes the league has made for the sake of player safety have been dramatic. When I began covering pro football, training camp was nine weeks long. It was two-a-days every day, full pads and full contact. The Oklahoma drill was a practice staple. Nine-on-seven drills would last an hour or more. They were affectionately called thump drills, and the sound of pads smacking could be heard all over campus. Even into the ’90s, contact was king. Bill Cowher was famous for his goal-line drill, which was a train wreck of colliding bodies. Nothing about today’s training camp brings back memories of the old days. I heard one helmet-to-helmet thwack in last year’s training camp. It was during a half-speed kickoff drill and players were quickly reminded to back it off. Is football safe? It’s safer than it was and the pursuit of safety continues, and I think that’s over-the-top true on the high school level. The days of punishment drills are over. How about a teenager behind the wheel of a car? Is that safe? If my sons were of football-playing age, I would encourage them to play, but everybody has to make their own decision. Football isn’t for everybody.
Maximillian from Sydney, Australia
Vic, do you foresee the Packers trading up in round one of the draft to acquire an ILB?
I don’t think they’ll have to trade up to get their guy. I see a group of top prospects lasting through the second round, or even later.
Bill from Grandville, MI
Looks like Danny Willett is a fan of the white color rush. Amazing final round of the Masters. Your thoughts?
I like white-on-white, but I think he needed to wear a hat of color. As for what happened yesterday, Jordan Spieth had been hitting the ball right and left all weekend, and his putter saved him. It finally caught up to him. He has to fix his full swing or he’ll have no chance of defending his U.S. Open title at Oakmont. He might be the best putter I’ve ever seen, but that won’t be enough to win if he’s hitting out of the Oakmont rough.
Blair from Middleton, WI
Vic, when a sports figure we root for fails, why do we take it personally?
We all want to be players. We imagine ourselves being that player, and that’s when the emotional investment begins.
Ferris from Des Moines, IA
What happens when Ted does not choose an inside linebacker in the first three rounds? I wouldn’t be surprised. Would you?
Dakota from San Diego, CA
Is there any situation where you see the Packers moving up or down in the draft?
Given their extra picks, I’d be surprised if the Packers didn’t package a couple of picks and move up in a round to pick a guy they’ve targeted. The cost for doing that in the first round is greater than it is in the middle rounds. That’s where I would expect Ted Thompson to move up. All teams are trying to move to fit themselves to a player they’ve targeted, without paying a big price.
Braydon from Perth, Australia
Vic, if you were to do a mock draft, who would you have the Packers taking?
I consider mock drafts to be valuable only for identifying team needs. We know the Packers have need at linebacker and defensive line, and we know those two positions have players that fit where the Packers are scheduled to pick, so I would pick for them a player at one of those two positions.
Balaji from Riverbank, CA
Vic, your answer about the Packers preparing to upgrade their ILB position made me think. If the Packers decided to part ways with a player, why would they wait so long? Wouldn’t cutting them earlier make them more marketable to other teams?
You release a player when you’ve made the decision he doesn’t fit into your plans. I think the Packers have distinct plans for upgrading inside linebacker. I think they have an idea who will be available when they pick, and I think they like the selection that appears will be available to them. With the release of Nate Palmer, I think the Packers have sent us a message.
Matt from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, as you say, memories make us rich. As a young man, I grew up watching Brett Favre, but I really started following the Packers after their Super Bowl run, and “Ask Vic” was one of the driving factors in my appreciation and love for the team. Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful years and memorable plays with us. You are an absolute treasure and I sincerely hope we have you here with us for many years to come.
Yours is one of the nicest emails I’ve ever received. Thank you.
Mark from Lomira, WI
In the words of Brett Favre (a guy you never covered as a Packers scribbler), “Take two weeks off and then retire.” Why do you think you know Packers football from a fan’s perspective?
I don’t write this column to tell you what you think. I write this column to tell you what I think.
Don from Albuquerque, NM
All green color rush uniforms on a green football field would seem like a challenge for Aaron, or would it?
That’s an interesting thought. I remember a basketball team that played in an arena that had orange seats. When the seats weren’t full, the orange rim cast on a background of orange seats created a depth perception problem for shooters.
Raym from Harrisburg, PA
Did you see the movie “Concussion” and, if so, what did you think?
I saw it and my opinion is it is an entertaining story about a man’s struggle to defeat his critics and achieve acceptance of his medical discovery. I accept the representation of Mike Webster’s tragic post-football life. I was saddened to know it got so bad. I do not, however, view the movie as a medical documentary. I think that’s where we have to draw the line.
Todd from Wauwatosa, WI
Love the column, Vic. I wish I had found it earlier. When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who spent every Saturday mowing his lawn, sweeping his garage and driveway and washing and detailing his car. He started right after breakfast and didn’t finish until dinner time. We thought he was crazy.
My dad did that on Friday before he went to work, when he left me a note: “Cut the grass. We’ll wash the car tomorrow. Then you can play.”
Greg from Marion, IN
In the famous 1983 draft, Pittsburgh chose need over BAP when it took Gabe Rivera over Dan Marino. In my opinion, I find that to be one of the biggest need-over-BAP mistakes in the history of the NFL. Are there any others that stand out to you to be even more mind-boggling?
Yeah, the first 198 picks of the 2000 NFL draft.
Spurgeon from Butterburn, UK
Glad to hear about your caddying experience. I learned a lot about life as a caddy. As I grew in caddying, my focus changed. It became more about my investment in the golfer and their ability to succeed. My advice wasn’t always correct but my attention to encouragement usually was. I miss those days.
For me, it was three days of humility. It was a chance to get back to my roots: seen not heard; speak only when you’re spoken to; yes, sir; no, sir. I liked it. It was good for the soul. You’re never too old to be humble.
David from Coeur d’Alene, ID
The talk about the best passing attack in football got me to thinking about “Air Coryell” when Dan Fouts averaged over 4,500 yards passing per year from 1979 to 1981. Where do you rank that Chargers team and what are your thoughts on what Dan Fouts and Don Coryell were able to accomplish?
It was a great passing attack on a team that grossly under-achieved in the postseason. How could the Chargers lose at home to an Oilers team playing without Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini? Too many interceptions. By the way, I put the apostrophe in for you, so you have that going for you, which is nice.