James from Dallas, TX
The Packers have picked a WR in the draft every year in the past five years, except in 2012. Something tells me we’ll probably see a WR come to the Packers in this draft. What do you think?
When you draft a wide receiver, you improve the overall athletic ability of your roster, and you likely add to your special teams. Yeah, I expect the Packers to draft a wide receiver. I think they also need competition at that position. I don’t like the idea of using the last game of the season to pronounce the position fixed. I acknowledge the overall lack of speed in this year’s draft class of wide receivers, but there are big pass-catchers in this class, and Coach McCarthy spoke of the need for a big pass-catcher in the middle of the field.
David from Brooklyn, NY
I’ve picked up a bit of a mid-to-late-round crush on Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew. He had solid numbers in the broad and vertical jumps at the combine and looks eager to line a guy up and drive him backward on game tape. Does Tony have an opinion? Does he have the chance to play LB?
Killebrew is 6-3, 220, so I understand why he’s being touted as a safety/linebacker. Tony thinks Killebrew is best used as a conventional safety. I think we’re getting a little goofy about playing safeties at linebacker. You get too light up front and you won’t have to worry about defending against the pass.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Last year, you seemed to be intrigued by the play of LaDarius Gunter at corner. What do you think his chances are of cracking the starting lineup at some point this season?
We worry too much about players becoming starters. Gunter came out of nowhere early in last summer’s training camp. He made tremendous gains to earn a roster spot. The next step for him is more playing time. He’s one of the players who give the Packers the depth at cornerback that might allow Casey Hayward to leave in free agency.
Joe from Clio, MI
A couple of scouts have been quoted as saying this is one of the weakest offensive draft classes in some time, and pointed to the slow 40 times of the wide receivers as one of the issues. If this is true, do you think it could be a result of coaches at the high school level moving their fastest and most talented players to defense to counter the offensive explosion going on in football for the last 10 years?
That’s not it. If there’s a lack of talent on offense this year, it’s probably because so many underclassmen have left school early for the draft in recent years. In the old days, when a college player had to expire his eligibility before he could become draft eligible, we had a more even flow of talent coming into the draft. We’re at the point now that college players can leave after their true sophomore season, as Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy did. Immediately, their natural draft classes were weakened. High school and college coaches have long put their best players on offense. That hasn’t changed.
Willie from Hayward, WI
Vic, I know it’s all about the greenbacks, but I, for one, am not happy to see sponsored gossip spots at the end of “Ask Vic” and the comments sections. Is there anything that’s not for sale anymore?
The first time I saw it, there was a picture of a woman crying. I didn’t understand what it was. I thought somebody in the office was playing games with my column. I’ve been told they somehow appeared automatically, and now they’re gone. I always wanted to write a juicy gossip column. I kind of liked them.
Tim from Lancaster, PA
What do you think of adding old “Pot Roast” to bolster the run defense? The price shouldn’t be exorbitant for a two-down tackle.
Terrance Knighton has as much run-stuffing ability as any player I’ve ever covered, but he’s been inconsistent. He’d follow a great game with an inexplicably bad game. I could never understand why his motor ran so hot and cold. He’s a great guy. He’s a willing and entertaining interview. I always enjoyed talking to him. Any interest a team would express in him would begin, of course, with his weight and conditioning. If he’s still available after the draft, and if there was a perceived need on the defensive line, I wouldn’t be opposed to kicking his tires. They’re big tires.
Mark from Winfield, IL
Vic, I heard this morning that all of the Ivy League schools voted to remove tackling from practice, following Dartmouth’s lead. Will this trend spread to all of college, and eventually to the NFL?
Spread? The Ivy League obviously didn’t get the memo. The NFL stopped tackling in 2011.
Justin from Wausau, WI
Where do you see the Packers making the most moves, the draft or free agency?
Probably in the draft.
Juan from Coral Gables, FL
Sign Mario Williams. Your thoughts?
Shave Donald Trump’s head. Your thoughts?
David from Washington, DC
Contracts sure are interesting when you know how to look at them. Back when Flacco signed his big deal after winning the Super Bowl, I wrote and asked you about his cap figure for the 2016 season, which would be a ridiculous $28.6 million. You said it was a line in the sand, and they’d probably have to renegotiate. Boom! They just did.
If you know how to read the salary cap, player contracts tell a wonderful story about teams’ opinions of themselves, their long-term strategies and of the player’s talent and future. I consider the Packers’ cap to be an easy read, and that’s because it makes sense. The Packers are Steinbeck. Some teams are Faulkner. I like Steinbeck.
Evan from Ottawa, Canada
Vic, do you think we’ll see a revival of the Bears “46 Defense,” to put more pressure on quarterbacks so they don’t have enough time in the pocket? Or is the “46” a thing of the past?
The “46” naturally invites the big play. Most coordinators don’t want to do that. This is the dink-and-dunk era, and it would seem coaches are willing to play that game.
Pierson from Middlebury, VT
Vic, how do contract extensions affect the salary cap in the current year and in the next year? What would happen to the Packers’ cap this year and next year if they were to give a contract extension to Sitton, Lang or Bakhtiari, all of whom are scheduled to be free agents next year?
If you sign a player to an extension and he has years remaining on his current contract, what’s in the year stays in the year and the new amounts are amortized over the years of the new contract. For example, if you sign a player to a four-year extension with a $4 million signing bonus, $1 million a year would be added to the existing amortization amounts of his previous contract. The old stuff doesn’t go away.
Paul from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, how do the Patriots do it every year? I mean, Moss, Revis, Wilfork; the list goes on and on. They always seem to be able to sign big-name free agents, stay within their cap structure, maintain their draft picks, etc., yet, they are always in the thick of the playoffs, much like the Packers have been. We don’t sign those big-name free agents. Again, if they can do it, why don’t the Packers do it?
OK, let’s do this again. Randy Moss wasn’t a free agent. He was acquired in a trade. Vince Wilfork was a first-round pick by the Patriots in 2004. Darrelle Revis was signed in free agency and played one season for the Patriots. So, among that group, we’re talking about one free agency season. How do the Patriots do it? Tom Brady; that’s how they do it. Without him, they don’t do it. Please, don’t do the Matt Cassel thing. I promise, you don’t want me to do that strength of schedule thing on you, too. The Patriots are misunderstood. They don’t do it with big-name free agents. They do it with everything. They are very good managers of the total personnel game. They traded Deion Branch to Seattle for a first-round pick just two years after Branch was the Super Bowl MVP. The Patriots get what fans don’t seem to get. Branch was a Brady invention. Everything is a Brady invention, including coaching careers he’s launched. Four years later, the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick to get Branch back. Is that beautiful or what? I am in awe of how the Patriots do it. I just wish fans could see it for what it really is.
Stephen from Roswell, GA
I don’t understand compensatory picks. If a team allows a player to leave in free agency, why should it be compensated for it?
It’s because the players agreed to that formula in the current CBA. Maybe they’ll change their minds in the next negotiations. Trading comp picks will give comp picks significantly more value.
Nathan from Oconomowoc, WI
You should ask your IT people if they can make every article of “Ask Vic” ever written available somewhere easy to access. I know I’d read old ones, and then we would know who was right and wrong on past topics. I need more “Ask Vic.”
I didn’t write this; a smart person did: “You need to be on the desktop site to access. If you end up on mobile, you can click on ‘visit desktop’ in the site navigation. Then, from the desktop site it takes you to, you can find ‘Ask Vic’ under news in the site navigation. Use this link: http://www.packers.com/news-and-events/ask-vic.html”
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