Kyle from West Point, NY
Vic, today’s lesson is on the last years of Vietnam and includes the Kent State violence. Is there anything you want my classes to know about that day?
No. Let them come to their own conclusions. I did a long time ago.
Hardy from Panama City, FL
Vic, do you think exciting finishes like the Packers’ Hail Mary passes factor into prime-time programming when the NFL sets the schedule?
The Packers’ huge fan base is more of a factor. The league and the TV networks want ratings. The Packers deliver ratings.
Luke from London, UK
Vic, I’ve just seen an article saying the Packers have the easiest strength of schedule for the coming season. Is this a good thing, as it should help get the best win-loss record? Or is it a bad thing, as we may not have faced many contenders going into the playoffs?
If it turns out to be the league’s easiest schedule, it should help the Packers achieve a better record, which should help the Packers in their quest for the No. 1 playoff seed. What if the teams in the AFC South play better than they did last season? What if Brock Osweiler is a difference maker for the Texans? What if Andrew Luck stays healthy and has the kind of season predicted for him last season? What if the Packers have to play at one o’clock in Jacksonville in September? That’s an easy game? There are three young quarterbacks in the AFC South that were drafted in the top three, and the fourth quarterback just broke the bank in free agency. Does the SOS stat mention that? I think the Packers will get all the tests they need to be ready for the playoffs, if they indeed make it into the playoffs. Don’t predict the future. Prepare for it.
Brett from Green Bay, WI
Vic, who do you think the Broncos will host in the regular season opener?
In my mind, it has to be the Panthers or the Texans.
Matthew from Maffra, Australia
A 2013 draft do-over on nfl.com had two Packers (Eddie Lacy 20th and David Bakhtiari 26th) going in the first round. Assuming it is accurate, the Packers had two first-round picks in 2013!
That’s how you defeat the inverse-order draft system.
Michael from Anchorage, AK
I have been expecting more of our own free agents would have been signed by now. Does it seem this year is slower that way than prior years? If so, what do you think is happening? Are players losing some of their bargaining power?
I think free agency is drying up. I’ve felt that way for the past several years, as teams do a better job of protecting their core players. We’re seeing a lot of players sign one-year contracts, and that’s not what they seek in free agency. They want the long-term contract with the big signing bonus. Why is that happening less often? Because time and again free agency is proving to be a bad platform for player acquisition.
Damon from Bolivar, MO
Who do you think will be the Packers’ opponent for the first game?
My inbox thinks it’ll be the Vikings in their new stadium, but I don’t like the idea of playing what might be one of the two premier games of the season in Week 1. I think a Texans at Packers game would provide a lot of drama at the quarterback position. A rematch with the Seahawks at Lambeau Field would also be good.
Lachlan from Queensland, Australia
In November this year, I’ll be attending my first NFL game and will be doing it at Lambeau. What would two Australians do before a game if they wanted to get involved in tailgating or pre-game festivities?
Walk around, tell people where you’re from, and then eat their food. That’s what I’d do.
Bill from Grandville, MI
Back in the early 1960s, I saw the former heavyweight champ Joe Louis on TV. He seemed not to know who or where he was. My parents said he was punch drunk from too many hits to the head. How did the NFL and the NFLPA not know what was common knowledge about hits to the head?
Louis didn’t wear a helmet. It was thought helmets protected football players from hits to the head. Nobody knew, including the medical profession.
Matt from Madison, WI
I was reading a draft report on Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech. At the end the scout said “plays like a lead dog looking to eat.” It made me wish it was September and tomorrow was Sunday. What’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve heard a scout say about a draft prospect?
I remember the Steelers drafting a wide receiver named Weegie Thompson. We weren’t familiar with him, so we began looking through the draftnik books to get information on him. One book said, “long arms.” The next book said, “very long arms.” The next book said, “unbelievably long arms.” We couldn’t wait for mini-camp so we could see the guy with the long arms. I was disappointed. I didn’t think they were that long.
Matt from Eugene, OR
With both Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang set to become unrestricted free agents next year, how early do you expect the Packers to address the guard position in this year’s draft?
A team often addresses the guard position when it drafts a left tackle. This is a good year for tackles. I would expect a tackle to be at the top of the Packers’ board early in the draft.
David from Janesville, WI
Vic, my son tried football for the first time last year at 10. My wife and I were worried about it; her position was if he got his bell rung he was done. He got dents and dings and one facemask hit that knocked his chinstrap into his Adam’s apple, but no bell ringing I’m aware of. My wife is still concerned. My son has carried a football to school and home each day for the last six months. Every recess was football. Each trip to the backyard involved a football. I really hope he avoids any hits to the head because it would break his heart to have football taken away from him.
It’s a sensible approach.
Nikola from Maribor, Slovenia
Do you have any stories about Val Pinchbeck to share?
He was the schedule maker. He did it largely by the seat of his pants, and he was a genius at it. Val vacationed at Sawgrass, and I’d see him at a sports bar across the street from Sawgrass and he’d regale me with schedule stories. I think I once referred to him as the most powerful man in the NFL. That might’ve been an exaggeration, but there’s no doubting the power of the schedule maker. He talked about creating good theater, and he always did. He’s one of this league’s pioneers, and this was his big day.
Phil from Newberry, SC
Vic, I am a longtime head football coach in this state. I am really getting worried about this game we love. The push now is trying to get us to start practicing like the pros, and the colleges do. Who’s going to teach these guys how to block and tackle?
Teach them to pass and catch. That’s the new game.
Domenick from Kenosha, IL
“Grits will fix that. It does for me.” I love your sense of humor, Vic!
A couple of years ago, I went to the food store to buy grits, but I didn’t see them on display. I went to the customer service counter and asked the woman, “Do you have grits?” She gave me a hard stare, and then she said, “Just what are you asking me?” I explained. The next time I went to the store, they had grits. I like to think of grits as my contribution to Green Bay.
Zach from Billings, MT
Vic, thanks for the great column that generates an amazing discussion in the comments section. Who knew it could be so educational? I now have plenty of ideas to better take care of my lawn.
Handsome lawn, handsome man.
Brandon from Phoenix, AZ
What is your favorite day of the football year? Is it opening day of the season? Day one of the NFL calendar year? Super Bowl Sunday? December 1st?
My favorite day of the football year is that day in December (sometimes it’s January, as it was last season) when everything is on the line. It doesn’t get any better than at Chicago in 2013.
Garrett from Pleasanton, NE
Wednesday's “Ask Vic” was an absolute home run for me. I found myself singing the “Seven Days of the Draft” before I was done reading it. Are you implying your true love is Ted Thompson? Or is your true love the Packers organization as a whole?
Scott from Greensburg, IN
Thanks a lot, Vic, for putting that song in my head! However, I am a little surprised the key “five golden rings” wasn’t “jars for the shelf.” Keep up the awesome work!
I like that. On the fourth day of the draft, instead of trading up in the round, my true love gave to me, jars for the shelf.