Bubba from Pocatello, ID
Vic, did you ever interview or cover Junior Seau? What were your impressions of him as a player?
He turned in one of the greatest performances I have ever witnessed, in the 1994 AFC title game. Junior Seau was one of those players that did everything so naturally that it was obvious that he was born to play football. None of us are getting out of this alive, but it’s a sad fact that Seau left before his time, and it’s an even sadder fact that he apparently didn’t enjoy his achievements nearly as much as a man of his accomplishment should.
Michael from Sheboygan, WI
What does the Anthony Hargrove suspension mean for the Packers?
I don’t see where it impacts the Packers. There is no loss of cap room and the Packers drafted two defensive linemen last week who will help strengthen the team’s defensive line ranks.
Josh from Saint Cloud, MN
All the media coverage of the Saints scandal got me thinking. The NCAA voided the championship of USC when they found out Reggie Bush accepted benefits. Do you think the NFL would ever void a Super Bowl championship for any reason?
I don’t think the league would, nor do I think it should. Attempting to void history is an attempt at fraud. You can’t make what happened go away by denying record of it. We need record of it because we need to learn from our mistakes.
Lucas from Clinton, IA
Are the Saints still required to carry Vilma on their cap, even though he's not getting paid during the suspension?
The salary Jonathan Vilma lost as part of his suspension will not count against the Saints’ cap and it will be credited back to the Saints’ cap, but his bonus amortization remains on the team’s cap.
John from Lake Zurich, IL
When a player is suspended by the league, does he still take up a spot on the 53-man roster?
Weldon from Taylors, SC
I've been looking for undrafted free agents that the Packers signed and haven’t seen any. Did we sign any?
The Packers don’t release the names of the undrafted free agents they’ve signed until those players have passed their physicals, because that is a condition of the contract. The rookies are due in Green Bay late next week, at which time they will undergo physical examinations.
Alex from Centreville, VA
Hey, Vic, just got done watching the Caps-Rangers game, and I was wondering, has there ever been a double overtime football game? What’s the longest game you've attended?
The Dolphins’ playoff win over the Chiefs on Christmas, 1971, is the longest game ever played, 83 minutes. I had never thought about the longest game I’ve ever covered until I read your question, but I guess it has to be the first-ever regular-season overtime game, Steelers at Broncos in 1974. It ended in a tie.
Brian from Sparta, WI
I really love Green Bay’s picks this year. That said, do you really feel they will contribute much the first year?
It would be unfair to heighten expectations for them just because the Packers need them to play to higher-than-usual expectations for rookies. The hope is they’ll all burst onto the scene as Clay Matthews did, but Matthews is a special player. It’ll be a game-changer if just one of those defensive players drafted provides immediate impact.
Mark from Madison, WI
Do you see Dom Capers adding more 4-3 looks to take full advantage of the new additions, allowing more flexibility and maximum usage of personnel.
The Jaguars run a 4-3 and I repeatedly got questions asking me if they would change to a 3-4. Now I’m covering a team that runs a 3-4 and I’m repeatedly getting questions asking me if they’ll run more 4-3. The answer was and still is this: Changing from one to the other isn’t easy. The 3-4 is defined by the nose tackle; the 4-3 is defined by the right defensive end. If you don’t have a B.J. Raji, you can’t run a 3-4, and if you don’t have a true, hand-on-the-ground, every-downs, blindside pass rusher, you can’t run a 4-3 other than to use it as a change of pace. Do you see a true, hand-on-the-ground, every-downs, blindside pass rusher? There’s nothing wrong with Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme. The Packers won a Super Bowl with it in 2010. If you’re seeking flexibility and maximum usage of personnel, it’s the defense you want to run.
Robert from Colorado Springs, CO
Jeff from Northbrook doesn't make the “Ask Vic” Hall of Fame? You're slipping.
How do we know Jeff wasn’t just being glib? Maybe he was using a kind of reverse sarcasm on me.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
Years ago, the Packers were part of a group of teams that pooled scouting resources, similar to BLESTO. Do they still pool their scouting with other teams?
The Packers are a charter member of the “National” scouting combine. Nineteen other teams are members of “National;” six teams belong to BLESTO. Six teams remain independent. Oakland has long been an independent, but I hear the Raiders are joining “National.” If ever there was a sign that the times in Oakland are a-changing, that’s it.
Michael from St. Paul, MN
Vic, do you shake your head or laugh when folks without enough football insight scold you because they don't realize you are being sarcastic?
I enjoy the banter. For me, this column is like waking up to Christmas every day. I come to work, turn on the computer and look at the number of e-mails in my inbox. It’s always a surprise. If it’s a high number, I know it’s going to be a juicy day. If it’s a low number, then I know not much is going on in the football world. I’ve come to rely on those e-mails for daily stimulation. They’re my social life. I’ve wondered from time to time what it’ll be like when I don’t do this anymore. How much golf can you play? The truth is I need this column more than you do, and I owe the people who contribute to it a daily debt of thanks.
Henry from Jacksonville, FL
Do coaches improve? I know you're a believer that great players, especially a great quarterback, make coaches look great. Your favorite example is Bill Belichick. Obviously, they improve as they climb the ranks, but once they become head coaches, have you ever seen one get significantly better?
They probably do, but I can’t say that I’ve noticed it. By the time they become head coaches, they have a pretty good foundation for how they’re going to coach and that’s not likely to change. Because football is a scoreboard business, coaches are judged according to their records, but I think it’s a mistake for a franchise to judge its head coach solely on his record. A good franchise knows a good coach when it sees one, and firing a good one is a mistake for which the team will pay a penalty. Is he stable? Does he command the respect and attention of his players? Is he a leader of men? Does he remain calm and committed in the face of adversity? Are his philosophies and beliefs consistent with his message? Those are some of the questions you need to answer in judging a coach. If the answers are positive, then why fire the guy? You might not find a replacement the equal of the guy you fired. Too often in today’s game, coaches are fired as some kind of peace offering to the fans. When Tom Coughlin was fired in 2002, I thought it was a mistake. I thought he was coming off one of the best coaching jobs I had ever seen. His dismissal was clearly a peace offering. Since then, he’s won two Super Bowls. Teams that don’t have to sell tickets have a huge advantage over teams that have empty seats. The teams with full stadiums never have to make a decision based on anything but football. They can be more patient and more measured in everything they do, and calm decision-making is always a better course than panic.
Nick from Toronto, Ontario
If there was one thing you could change about today’s game, what would it be?
I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave over the game and make all of these concussion problems go away, because the specter of the problem is causing changes that worry me about where the game is headed. The popularity of this game is not built on safe.
Claude from Sergeant Bluff, IA
Do you think Alex Green can make it work for the Packers?
I remember his long run in the preseason last year. He broke several tackles. He ran with power, speed and elusiveness. All of his talents were on display in that run. It was a shining example of what he can do. Yes, he can make it work for the Packers. The rest is up to him.
Craig from El Dorado, CA
During the draft, why do New York fans boo the commissioner, Roger Goodell? I don't think this is respectful.
That bothered me, too. What is with this need by fans to be abusive? Where is the joy in that? I don’t get it. I never heard Pete Rozelle booed. He spoke often about his regret for his decision to play the games the weekend of Kennedy’s assassination, but I don’t ever remember Rozelle being booed for it. I really think we need to check ourselves. Have we become too expressive? We expect the game’s players to be role models, but what about the example we’re setting? Here, kids, this is how you boo.
Gary from Florence, SC
Working for the team, do you have complete editorial freedom in your columns?
I’ve worked for several publications, including newspapers, and I’ve never had complete editorial freedom anywhere I’ve worked. There are always rules and standards, as determined by the people who own the publication. The release of the names of the Packers’ undrafted free agents is an example of that. The contracts are not valid until all of the conditions are met, and one of those conditions is the physical examination. That’s the way it is and I have to abide by it. If you can find those names somewhere else, you should do it, but I think a reasonable person can understand and appreciate the Packers’ position on this matter. What I ask readers to ask themselves about my performance on this site is this: Have you at any time believed I lied to you? If you believe I have, you should never read another thing I write.
Mo from Mountain Top, PA
I haven't kept up with your column as much as I'd like this year; school's been very busy. I just wanted to send my regards. I hope you're still eating healthy.
I don’t know if Mountain Top is a real place or just a metaphor for life, but it sure does sound like a nice place to live, real or imagined.
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