Mitch from Sheboygan Falls, WI

Vic, are seven wide receivers too many?

In my mind, yes, that’s too many. I would worry about running short on big guys; those are the guys you have trouble replacing. Wide receiver is probably the most plentiful position in the game. If you keep seven, two or three of them are likely to be inactive on game day. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the game has become so tilted toward passing the football and open spaces that seven wide receivers aren’t too many to keep on the final roster, but I’m old school when it comes to big guys. I don’t like going thin on big guys, especially when it comes to offensive linemen. Your question has filled my inbox this spring. I think Packers fans have a serious case of wide receiver fever.

Alberto from Mexico City, Mexico

What do you think about Coach McCarthy’s comment that tight end and safety are premium positions, along with the ones you’ve mentioned?

I gotta think on that one. Coach McCarthy caught me by surprise with that comment, and I’m not ready to agree with him.

Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, in all your nostalgia for the ’70s, there is one player you haven’t mentioned and he’s a player Packers fans hated/respected: Walter Payton. What are your memories of him?

I only covered a few games in which he played, and I don’t remember him being a factor in any of those games. I just wasn’t exposed to Payton as Packers fans were. I accept his greatness. I just don’t have first-hand memories of it.

Joey from Miami, FL

Do you think Dan Marino would be a top-tier NFL quarterback in today’s pass-happy climate?

He would star in any era. He could dink it, he could drive it. The guys that are specific to their era, in my opinion, are mostly the quarterbacks from this era that don’t have the arm strength to take seven- and nine-step drops and drive the ball 20 yards downfield into a tight window that’s only going to be open for a second or two. I’m talking about beating bump-and-run coverage. The soft throwers couldn’t have done it. I don’t care how good they are at reading coverages and taking what you give them. You had to have the arm strength to beat bump-and-run. In my mind, there are two types of quarterbacks: pre-’78 rules changes and post-’78 rules changes. Aaron Rodgers is an example of a post-’78 quarterback who has the arm strength to have played in the pre-’78 era.

Terry from Elk Mound, WI

What is the longest sentence you have written?

I don’t like long sentences. I can’t remember having written one.

Max from Neenah, WI

Vic, my wife and I are on the last day of our vacation to Mt. Rushmore. Who is on your Mt. Rushmore of sports writers?

There’s only one head. It belongs to Jim Murray.

Jeremy from Appleton, WI

Vic, I live in the Fox River area and I’m wondering what you meant by the cheese sharks.

I love you more than you’ll ever know. Please forgive me.

Dave from St. Peters, MO

Vic, Coach McCarthy stated during his press conference he learned about the four core players (QB, LT, pass rusher and CB) from Coach Schottenheimer. Where did you learn it?

I learned it while covering Coach Coughlin.

Morgan from Little Chute, WI

What about the magnolia tree?

I had one in Florida. I hated it. In late summer it began dropping what appeared to be shrunken pineapples. Hitting them with the lawn mower was like chopping up hockey pucks.

Nick from State College, PA

What are some other selfless acts you’ve seen by players?

Mark Malone nearly ended his career as a quarterback by playing wide receiver and sustaining a severe knee injury.

Danno from Columbus, OH

Who would governor Vic endorse for president?

There’s a guy down here named Willie who’s running as a third-party candidate. He’s looking better and better.

Derek from Owings, MD

Vic, just read an article about doctors trying to identify CTE in living individuals. If they were able to do this and then discover a cure, would you be for the NFL rescinding some of the rules used to protect players?

What if they discover the same CTE percentage exists in people that haven’t played football?

Justin from Athens, GA

Do you think Clay Matthews hurt his chances of making the Hall of Fame, or of attaining all-time stat numbers by moving to ILB?

The Hall of Fame committee rep speaking for Matthews – I have no doubt he’ll be nominated for election some day and will make it to the sales pitch stage – will make a point of mentioning what might’ve been lost in the way of sacks by the move to inside linebacker. Will it work? I don’t know.

Jeff from Miami, FL

Vic, I’m a doctor in Miami and frequently have patients telling me what is wrong with them and what I should do because they read something on the Internet. Isn’t that the same phenomenon as football fans thinking they can be head coaches without any of the inconvenient years and years of study?

Well, doc, you just triggered an awareness in me that demands I issue an apology to all of the play-calling crazies out there. I preach the gospel of leave the play-calling to the coaches, yet, I haven’t left diagnosis to the doctors. I’ve committed the same sin of thinking I know what’s wrong. I am the worst offender. I even diagnosed my own cancer. Yeah, I didn’t go to the hospital until I got out of bed one night, went to the computer and typed “colon cancer symptoms” into the search bar. There it was. I had cancer. I didn’t have acid reflux, as I had previously diagnosed. So, with that admission, I apologize to all of the play-calling crazies. I promise to leave diagnosis to the doctors.

Brandon from Saint Paul, MN

I know from previous posts you are a Steinbeck fan, just as I am. Yesterday you made a Faulkner comment and I just started reading “Absalom Absalom!” yesterday. It is very difficult to stay focused, but after getting used to it I think I’ll continue. What are your thoughts on Faulkner?

He was a very talented writer, and he came from Oxford, Miss., which is ironic because he sure used a lot of Oxford commas, and I read “The Sound and the Fury” and I liked it, but I liked Steinbeck’s writing better because he wrote short sentences, and a lot of times Faulkner’s sentences were so long and joined with ands that by the time I reached the end of the sentence I had forgotten what I had read and I had to go back to the beginning and read the sentence again, I think.

Rick from Charlotte, NC

Vic, your response to the fan asking for the football parallel to the beauty of the symphony of rain immediately took me back to the 2007 NFC Divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, easily the most enjoyable experience I’ve ever had at a football game.

I was thinking of it as I answered the question. I watched the game on TV and couldn’t take my eyes off the snowflakes. I covered one of those types of games in New England, and I remember the fans singing “Let it snow!” I also covered one of those types of games between the Colts and the Steelers back in the late ’70s, and I still see NFL Films clips from that game. It was a terrible game, a blowout, but NFL Films wasn’t shooting the game, they were shooting the snowflakes; they were as a big as a fist and fell like feathers. They made the whole game slow down. Snow and football make for great art.

Julan from Las Cruces, NM

Vic, how great is the difference in selecting a head coach today from the ’70s?

There’s no real difference. They picked mostly from the top of the assistants crop back then, and they do the same now. Style? Probably more from the ranks of offensive coaches now, but Bill Walsh and Don Coryell were offense.

John from Rome, Italy

Vic, what gives NFL players perspective? What is the perspective of a player in his first year, in the peak of his career, and in the twilight of his career?

Make the team, become a star, make it into the Hall of Fame.

Tal from Ascot, UK

Carolina and Minnesota pride themselves on old-school, hard-hitting defenses. What are the advantages of not being an old-school defense?

There are no advantages to being will-o’-the-wisp, which was how Coach Noll affectionately referred to finesse football. Soft and cheesy is only good for Fox River sharks.


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