Dario from Novi Marof, Croatia
You said yesterday that there aren’t any new frontiers in the continental U.S. for the NFL, but let’s say you get to choose two cities that will have new teams after a possible expansion. Which two would it be and why?
I probably should consider Los Angeles as a new frontier, but I just don’t think of it in the same terms as Denver, Houston and San Diego were to the AFL, which is to say new markets on the rise. Los Angeles will get a team soon, but it won’t be an expansion team. I don’t see the league expanding in the near future. After the situation in Los Angeles is settled, and that will likely result in two teams moving there, I think London will be the next city to get a team. If that experiment works, Frankfurt would be on deck.
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, I’ve been reading your column for the entire season and I have learned a lot, so much that I have applied what you said in building a team, maintaining a healthy cap and finding “The Man” and have won four Super Bowls in a row on my Madden 13 game. Have you ever played Madden?
Rick from Murfreesboro, TN
Suppose Ted Ginn breaks free on the kick return with nothing but daylight ahead as the game clock hits zero, but a desperate Joe Flacco suddenly comes off the sideline to tackle Ginn at the 30-yard line. What’s the call?
The referee would likely penalize the Ravens for having committed a “palpably unfair act,” which would allow the referee to award the 49ers a touchdown.
Tony from Lake Geneva, WI
Dude, what can Aaron Rodgers do better? Do you think there is another step he can take, or is this the best it’s going to be?
You want more than this? Now that I’ve stopped laughing, let me tell you that it doesn’t get any better than this. I’ve covered 41 seasons in this league and I’ve never covered a quarterback that even approached the level of performance I’ve witnessed the past two seasons. Dude, you gotta put down your Madden and come back to the real world.
Tyler from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, have you heard the rumors that the NFL is looking to make the field 34-feet wider to decrease concussions? I don’t like this idea and I don’t think it will decrease any injuries, rather, I think the injury number will go up. What do you think?
The NFL’s answer to decreasing contact and making the game safer has always been to open the field and create more open spaces. As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?”
Dave from Lake Zurich, IL
Vic, do you think Paul Hornung could’ve played in today’s NFL? Would his speed be sufficient?
Probably not. Here’s a question for you: Does that make the game better?
Travis from Eau Claire, WI
Are there different types of toughness?
There’s tough, and then there’s Chuck Bednarik tough. Bednarik won several medals for having flown 30 combat missions as a B-24 waist gunner in World War II. He was the first pick of the 1949 NFL draft and became the greatest and last true 60-minute player in pro football history. When I think of toughness, I think of him.
Tim from Erin, WI
If you were the GM for the Chiefs this year, what would your plans be at QB?
Run the ball. I’m serious. It’s what Marv Levy did in 1978 when he was the rookie head coach of the Chiefs. That team was deep at running back, not wide receiver, and Levy used the Wing T to dominate time of possession and help keep a weak defense off the field. The Chiefs had a respectable season and, in the process, learned how to block and tackle. Maybe they should do it again.
Paul from De Pere, WI
I understand the salary cap, but I don’t know the cap. Do you offer a salary cap primer?
Maybe I should do something like that before free agency begins on March 12.
Charles from Statham, GA
There are several head coaches with offense backgrounds that are the play callers for their team, however, I can’t think of a head coach with a defense background that makes the calls for the defense. Are there any such head coaches in the game today?
It’s much easier for a head coach to call plays or help call plays on defense than it would be on offense. He can merely say into his headset, “Nickel,” and that’ll be the call. The play calls on offense are much more sophisticated. They involve more language and formation adjustments. In my last year in Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio was making the calls on defense for the Jaguars. All head coaches have to be involved with what’s happening on the offensive side of the ball. Even defensive-minded coaches such as Mike Tomlin get involved in the play calls on offense. He might say to his offensive coordinator, “I wanna run the ball here,” or “I’ll go for it on fourth down,” or “We need to open it up.” That’s when it gets technical and that’s when the machinery has to take over. The offensive coordinator might be up in the booth and he gives his play call to the quarterbacks coach down on the sideline, who relays it to the quarterback. Though all of that, the head coach is listening and can jump in at any time.
John from Port Edwards, WI
How does the Packers’ cap look?
They currently have $7 million in cap room for 2013. The average in the league is $10.5 million in cap room, but the Packers have the potential to create huge amounts of cap room with a minimum of effort. That’s not by mistake, it’s by design. The Packers are going to need room to re-sign important players.
Bram from Colorado Springs, CO
Would Jake Long be a worthy upgrade for the money?
Long is likely not to be franchised by the Dolphins. He’s this year’s Mario Williams because the “120 percent” rule will take Long’s franchise tag to $15.4 million, which most think is too high for a guy whose skills are thought to be declining. Long could break the bank, as Williams did last season, or he could find that teams aren’t willing to pay him Williams-like money. My guess is he’ll break the bank, but it won’t be the Packers’ bank.
Mike from Dallas, TX
We often talk about tweeners, college ends who project as a 3-4 outside linebacker. I recently read that the Packers used five-plus defensive backs on 67 percent of their snaps. Is there such a thing as a defensive back tweener, a college outside linebacker who projects as a safety?
Carnell Lake was a linebacker at UCLA who went on to become one of the best strong safeties in the NFL.
Sean from Long Beach, NY
Vic, I live on the south shore of Long Island. “Sandy” devastated my house and my town. Things just started turning around. Today, I had orientation for a new job. I put on my khakis. It was a good day.
Life will begin to improve now.
Kyle from Chicago, IL
Vic, do teams have financial specialists to help with cap issues or is that all run by the GM?
Every team has a cap man.
Nan from Columbus, OH
Who has more influence on the Packers’ cap strategy, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, Mark Murphy or you?
Thompson creates the vision for the Packers’ football operations. The structure of the Packers’ salary cap is symbolic of Thompson’s vision. Clearly, he wants to put the best team on the field a protected future would allow. Take care of the future, and the future will take care of the present.
Kenneth from Honolulu, HI
Aaron Rodgers is already 30 years old and I figure the window for the Packers to win another Super Bowl with him is around six years. Draft and develop takes a longer time; should Ted Thompson start signing some free agents to compete for a Super Bowl, to complement his draft-and-develop philosophy during this six-year window?
If you’re talking about a free agent here and a free agent there, neither of whom would damage the Packers’ salary cap but both of whom would enhance the Packers’ roster, my answer is yes, he should do that. I have a feeling, however, that you wouldn’t be satisfied with that approach.
Jamie from London, Ontario
If the cap is the percentage of the players’ share of the revenue divided by 32, inevitably all teams do not necessarily spend to the full cap, so where is the difference made up to get the players’ their full share?
Within the CBA, there are two four-year bans in which clubs have to spend 89 percent of their cap in cash, and the league has to spend 95 percent as a whole. Should that spending not reach 95 percent, there’s a formula for the league kicking in extra money to reach 95 percent. That’s where it gets real technical. We don’t need to know that stuff.
Ben from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, what are your feelings on Steven Jackson? It seems a lot of people think he would fit the Packers’ system perfectly.
I think it’s a young man’s game. I think it would be better to find the next Steven Jackson.
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