Craig from Bigfork, MT
We hear a lot about the interview process in the draft but very little explanation. Is this top secret or do you have any info on specifically what the players are asked?
Vic: These are private meetings between the teams’ personnel departments and the players with whom the teams have requested interviews. Some personnel directors put a lot of stock in these interviews; they believe they can get a bead on a guy based on how he acts in that interview. Other personnel directors attach less significance to these interviews because players have been groomed for the questions they’re going to face and their answers are rehearsed.
Curtis from La Crosse, WI
As a Packers fan, my main concern entering the upcoming season is the Super Bowl hangover. I’m still enjoying the big win, so I can't imagine how those involved in the organization still feel. Do you think the Packers have the right approach and leadership in place to regroup and refocus to make another run?
Vic: A hangover can happen and I think it’s all about fatigue: Did a team’s run to the Super Bowl drain it of its emotion and energy? That’s a team-by-team thing and there’s no way of telling it it’ll happen but I got a sense from talking to Mike McCarthy in the interview I did with him this week that his energy is high and it has been my experience that teams take on the personality of their coaches. I don’t think this team will experience a hangover. Another reason has to do with the fact that this is a team that seems to get its energy from its offense and its quarterback, and Coach McCarthy’s creativity coupled with Aaron Rodgers’ rise to prominence would seem to be an unbeatable combination. Trust me on this one: I saw nothing in Coach McCarthy this week that wasn’t high energy, both in the interview I did with him and the smile on his face at the movie premiere.
Frank from Barrington, IL
What would you think of defensive players having a softer helmet and the offensive players using a new more protective helmet? That way the defensive player couldn't use it as a weapon.
Vic: I think being selective in who you choose to protect from injury is a formula for lawsuit. I really don’t see that happening.
Mike from London, ON
As a follow up to the question about sideline equipment, if the home team doesn't use heaters, can the visiting team still use them by bringing their own?
Vic: Yes, but they probably wouldn’t bring their own, they’d rent them from a local distributor.
Bart from Bartlett, IL
In language that an earthling can understand, how does a move like Thompson's from a few drafts back to move up and draft Matthews fit into the BAP deal? I am not questioning if it does. I really appreciate what Thompson has been able to do. It is just a rare thing for him to do and I wonder how that math all works out in his system.
Vic: It’s called targeting. Clay Matthews was their guy. They had him ranked higher on their board than it appeared he would be drafted; obviously, they had him high enough to be worthy of the 26th pick. At that point it becomes a matter of the cost of moving up. Conventional wisdom says you take the points value of the pick you’re receiving and you weigh it against the points value of the picks you’re trading away. I have a little different opinion on that. I believe you should use the points value of the position at which you had the player you’re going to pick ranked on your board. If, for example, the Packers had Matthews ranked as the 15th-best player in the draft, then I believe they should weigh the points value of the 15th pick against the total points value of the picks they traded away. The Patriots, meanwhile, approached the deal by totaling up the numeric value of all the picks they received from the Packers and, knowing the Patriots’ acumen for such trades, the points value they received was probably on the plus side. It was a deal that worked well for both teams. Because of the Packers’ high ranking for Matthews, they got the points value they needed to make the deal, they got exactly the kind of player they thought Matthews would be and they addressed a need. The Patriots got the points value they needed to make the deal, plus, they were able to target and select a player, Darius Butler, at a position of need and at a place in the draft where Butler fit. What we’re talking about is two premier NFL personnel departments executing a trade that is a perfect example of each addressing need without sacrificing value. They helped each other in that quest.
Max from Beloit, WI
So, have you watched the Packers Super Bowl XLV highlights DVD that was released this week? Goosebumps all over, again; the highs, the lows. It was an exceptional season. You agree?
Vic: Frankly, I think the Packers saved the season for the league. The league needed a feel-good story. There were a lot of disappointing performances in 2010; Dallas and Minnesota certainly topped the list. In addition, the Colts weren’t the Colts, the Patriots crumbled at crunch time, the Jets’ shenanigans started to taste bad, the Ravens never really got it done, the Chargers made a mockery of the league rankings for offense and defense, the NFC West gave us a 7-9 playoff team and the defending Super Bowl champions were beaten by that 7-9 team in the first round of the playoffs. Frankly, I didn’t think it was a great season, until the Packers came along.
Tony from Madison, WI
How do you get to become a chain gang sideline marker guy? I think that is the official title.
Vic: You fold towels and shine shoes at 5:30 in the morning during training camp. Both of my sons worked as locker room attendants, during the season and during training camp. They would go to bed late, wake up early and work all day. Oh, did I mention that they had to submit to having their heads shaved and being thrown into the cold pool fully clothed by the players on the hazing committee? I can remember going to the visiting locker room on a Saturday afternoon to see if my oldest son was ready to go home; he was standing next to a mountain of towels. I said, “Are you ready to go?” He said, “No, I gotta fold all of these towels.” It’s a rite of passage in the equipment room. Eventually, you move up to the chain gang.
Ric from Syracuse, NY
Watched the Super Bowl XLV DVD and was very impressed with the sideline audio. There is one clip in which McCarthy is screaming for Rodgers to run it, which got me wondering: When does the quarterback’s communicator cut out during the play?
Vic: Transmission is ended when the play clock reaches 15 seconds; it’s the same for the defense’s communicator.
Brian from Little Rock, AR
How secure are the areas where teams keep their draft boards?
Vic: They are off limits to anybody that isn’t authorized to enter that room. They are often in rooms that require a code to enter. It’s top-secret stuff.
Mitch from Sydney, NSW
I am an Australian who supports the Packers but in truth I follow all sports. My question is, as a sportswriter, do you have much knowledge on other sports around the globe, such as cricket, rugby, soccer, etc? Or is it strictly NFL?
Vic: I like baseball, basketball and golf, too. We didn’t play a lot of cricket in Pittsburgh. I’d rather watch flowers wilt than watch soccer. Rugby’s kind of cool.
Darrell from Bishop, CA
Of the old NFL championship teams that are no longer in the NFL, where are their championship trophies kept?
Vic: I like that question. I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to it. My first guess is that they might be housed in the Hall of Fame or in a local museum. Maybe one of our readers can answer the question. One of my favorite stories from the old days of the NFL involves the controversial 1925 championship. The NFL actually formed a committee in 1967 to re-visit the controversy to determine whether the Pottsville Maroons should’ve been presented the league championship trophy. They were denied, again, and the players from that team then carved their own championship trophy out of coal and presented it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That’s the best I can do on the subject.
Kevin from Oakland, NJ
Will your all-important power rankings be making an appearance on packers.com?
Vic: Yes, they are all-important and they will be making an appearance on packers.com next fall, I hope.
Paul from Williston, FL
You may have covered this – I just found the site – did all of the injured reserve and practice-squad players receive postseason money?
Vic: Only players on the 53-man roster and on the injured reserve list get playoff money for the wild-card and divisional-round games; players on the practice squad do not receive a share. For the conference titles games and the Super Bowl, the postseason share rules are quite elaborate and specific. Here’s a link to those rules: Postseason Share Rules