Pete from Naples, FL
Every play is important. How do you instill in a player to never take a play off?
He’ll get it or football will cease to be a career for him. You can take plays off in college, but you can’t do it in the NFL.
Jeremy from Danville, KY
In your opinion, is it harder to win a Super Bowl in the post-cap or pre-cap era?
Nine teams won Super Bowls in the 23 seasons prior to the creation of the salary cap. Thirteen teams have won Super Bowls in the 23 seasons of the salary cap era. It would seem to be a little easier to win a Super Bowl in the cap era.
Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI
Vic, what are some of the toughest challenges teams must overcome to prepare for the regular season?
In today’s game, a coach is attempting to prepare his team the fullest with the least amount of work or exposure to risk. That’s the No. 1 challenge. How do you prepare by not doing what you’ll need to do? It’s going to be hot and humid in Jacksonville on opening day. Players will have to be at the peak of their conditioning, but most of them won’t have played anything near to a full game during the preseason.
Pam from Fond du Lac, WI
I’m Mike from Fond du Lac’s wife. Thanks!
Happy wife, happy life.
P.B. from Minneapolis, MN
“Ask Vic” Mt. Rushmore: Brett from Green Bay, WI; Justin from Titonka, IA; Margo from Bloomington, IL; and …
The guy from 998 Oaks, CA.
Mac from Shorewood, WI
With all due respect to the Vikings and their rising young quarterback/roster, they do not have Aaron Rodgers in the prime of his career. If the Vikings beat the Packers, it will be because some minor catastrophe came upon the Packers (like Nelson’s ACL), not because the Vikings have a better roster.
Patrick from Fayetteville, NC
Yesterday, you answered a question about what play you would like to see the Packers do on the first play of the year; run, run and run some more. I absolutely loved that answer and completely agree with you.
You do not want to get into a high-tempo, throw-it-around football game at one o’clock in Jacksonville on Sept. 11. You don’t want your linemen pass-blocking in that heat all day. In my mind, the goal should be to win with as few plays as possible.
Mark from Stewartville, MN
Vic, how have press boxes changed since you first started covering football? Do you ever pine for the old days?
There were still a few open-air press boxes left. One of them was in Shea Stadium, where it could get windy and cold late in the season. Smoking was permitted, even in the enclosed press boxes. Some of them served beer. Western Union had a position in the back of the press box for those writers who used the service to file their stories. The press boxes back then weren’t as accommodating, but they were OK. They were quirky, not cookie cutter. I remember carrying a plug adapter in my bag. It was for use in one stadium, RFK, where the outlet strip was mounted too close to the desktop. Elevator access has been greatly improved. In the old days, we often had to walk through the stands to get to the locker rooms. You had to know the route. In Baltimore, you had to go back out into the dugout and walk across the field to get to the buses. That’s how I found out a plane had crashed into the upper deck. Also, we didn’t have interview rooms when I began covering the NFL. We’d interview the coach inside the locker room. Coach Noll would sit on an equipment trunk just inside the door and we’d gather around him. One year, we interviewed him in the lavatory of the visitors’ locker room in Cleveland Stadium. “Appropriate surroundings,” Chuck said as he began answering questions following a loss. Everything nowadays is better. So why doesn’t it feel that way?
Taylor from Story City, IA
Special teams are underrated and overlooked until the outcome of the game depends on it. Who is on your Mt. Rushmore of kickers?
Groza, Baugh, Guy and Vinatieri.
Todd from Carson City, NV
They say the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Still, I hate the Vikings. Is that wrong?
Yeah, I think it’s a little nuts to hate someone for trying to do to you what you’re trying to do to them.
Keith from Lake Elmo, MN
Vic, how arrogant of you to pretend to know how Brexit will turn out. Only time will tell and, perhaps, history will record it as a net positive. Shame on you.
James from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, my wife and I are going to be in Pittsburgh for the Fourth of July. Any recommendations?
Go up to Mt. Washington and watch the fireworks at eye level. It’s different.
Gunars from Ames, IA
I realize Teddy Bridgewater is still developing, but last season I really didn’t see tremendous QB play from him. Am I missing something? What do you see in him?
I think you’re missing development, but that’s a common mistake we make, especially in the fantasy football era. I see a young quarterback on the rise. I wasn’t sold on him at Louisville. I thought he was overrated. I think I was wrong.
Carl from Mansfield, OH
As a boy, I lived in South Georgia, about an hour north of Jacksonville. My dad took me to an exhibition game at the Gator Bowl between Miami and Pittsburgh. It was my first NFL game and it was at night. It poured down rain much of the game. It was a hot rain, even for a lad who lived just an hour away. Packers better be conditioned for Week 1, yes?
They know that. Mike McCarthy’s strength and conditioning team will have a plan in place to prepare the players for that game. I think we’ll see signs of that preparation in training camp. Waycross, Ga., is an hour north of Jacksonville, on the other side of the Okefenokee. I was only in Jacksonville a few months when I made my first trip to Waycross. It was during the love bug season. As I was crossing the Okefenokee, I saw a dark cloud at road level up ahead. When I drove into it, bugs started bouncing off and sticking to my car. I felt as though I had driven into a scene from “Madam Butterfly.” When I got to Waycross, I’d pull up to traffic lights and people in the cars next to me would look at my car and laugh. I never did get the bugs completely off the car.
Ryan from Minneapolis, MN
I grew up in Oshkosh, a hard-working, hard-drinking town, and that story is not out of the ordinary. He was probably mistaken for one of the many drunkards of the city, instead of an injured person. The bike was probably escorted to the next bar by a different drunk. A harmless mistake.
I’m thinking about a book called “The Bike.” It’s a story about a bike fate passes from one owner to another. Think about all of the mini-stories as the book chronicles the travels of “The Bike” and its many owners.
John from Sun Prairie, WI
What do you predict your lede will be on Sept. 11?
Now, get ready for an early-season showdown.
David from Coeur d’ Alene, ID
Hmmm, took the bike home for safe-keeping. What do you say to your son when he’s caught shoplifting a candy bar at the local corner store and he said it just fell into his pocket?
When he was very young, a costume-jewelry ring found its way into my son’s pocket while he was Christmas shopping with his grandparents. He wanted to give it to his mother for Christmas. Guilt got the better of him, however, and that led to a trip to the mall security office, where he returned the ring and apologized for taking it. I’m not soft on crime, but I refuse to belong to the lynch-mob mentality that views everyone as guilty before proven innocent.
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