Drew from Rockford, MI
Vic, what level of football do you think is the most important level to the game of football itself and why?
I’ve always been a huge fan of high school football. It’s where I found and learned the game. Friday night in the fall was the centerpiece of my life when I was young. Pro football, of course, has been my focus for 40 years and it defines me. College football, however, invented the game and I think we have to acknowledge that college football is mostly responsible for the game’s evolution and development. For a long, long time, football was the college game. I’ve never understood why college football has been so willing to end its season shortly after Thanksgiving and literally give December to the NFL. Right when the season reaches its peak, college football closes its store. They play some minor bowl games, but look at the attendances and TV ratings for those games. I’m talking about a playoff system. Playoff games in December would drive attendance and ratings. I’m talking about big-boy schools playing against other big-boy schools with everything on the line. I’m talking about southern teams actually leaving the South to play a game in cold weather. I’m talking about a system similar to the NFL’s. Hey, it’s worked pretty well for the NFL, right? So why does college football resist, and don’t tell me it’s the money because there’s no way a playoff system that would “own” December wouldn’t drive revenue.
Jon from Lewisburg, PA
Vic, do the Packers have a plan for if Jeff Saturday leaves when his contract expires?
I would suspect the plan is to develop a young player at the position between now and then. What’s going to interest me is who that player will be. I’m hearing that this year’s center class is off the charts weak, yet, I can’t help but believe Ted Thompson has a guy in mind. Maybe he’s not a center. Maybe he’s a guard that offers the potential to be developed as a center. Stay tuned.
Nick from Seattle, WA
Where do you see Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos going this season?
It sort of reminds me of Joe Montana spending his final years in Kansas City. He took the Chiefs to the AFC title game; he still had some game left, but the curtain falls quickly when a player reaches that stage of his career.
Neil from Bristol, WI
Would you be surprised to see Thompson grab two 3-4 rush-backer tweeners since this class is so strong? Personally, I'd love to see them grab Nick Perry in the first and Jake Bequette in the mid rounds. I think it would add excellent depth at the position.
Bequette is a guy that really interests me, especially because it doesn’t appear you’d have to spend a high pick on him. He caught my eye – I should say my ear – at the Senior Bowl in blitz pickup drills by making the back shiver. Bequette consistently made the loudest sound when he thumped the back. He ran in the 4.7s at the combine and I see some Kevin Greene in him.
Trevor from Oxford, MS
The robot's name is “Cleatus.”
Does he have a Twitter account, too?
Jake from Tucson, AZ
Vic, would you say there's a hint of Gonzo journalism in your column? You seem to like putting your personality into your answers.
I haven’t used anything as a template to shape the column. I just answer the questions as I think they should be answered. Football for me has always been about having fun. I like a debate. I like football with an edge. I like cutting up. Mostly, what you’re sensing in the column is friendship. We all belong to the fraternity of football. I like that and I want this column to have a family feel to it.
Andrew from Eau Claire, WI
What would you think about the Packers trading up in the draft to get Trent Richardson?
That would be a long way to go and the cost would likely be very heavy. I think it’s a good year for running backs in the middle to late rounds; the Packers should be able to find a back without trading up. Richardson is a sensational talent. He’s a back that needs to be featured and I just don’t see a running back being the feature of the Packers’ offense. This is Aaron Rodgers’ offense. It’s going to feature him and that means the ball is going to be in the air a lot more often than it will be in the hands of a running back.
David from Green Bay, WI
Is Aaron Rodgers the favorite to win the MVP again in 2012?
I think he’ll be one of the favorites to win the MVP over the next several years. As I said, he’s the featured player in an offense designed to throw the ball. That’s a formula for winning MVPs. I would be shocked if Rodgers doesn’t win multiple MVP awards in his career.
Kyler from Anderson, CA
What happened to the back shoulder throw? Where did it go after the KC game?
I don’t know for certain what the answer to your question is, but I know this: If you do anything well enough long enough, the other guys will take it away. The Packers made a lot of plays in the middle of the field in the final two games of the season. How can you find fault with 11 touchdown passes and 763 yards passing? I think the question you’re asking is: What happened in the Giants game? I think I’ve answered that question.
Tom from Indianapolis, IN
Who needs Michael Jordan when you can just draft Sam Bowie instead?
Hey, the Trail Blazers didn’t need the greatest player in the history of the game, they needed a center to replace Bill Walton, who was starting to break down.
Darrell from Bishop, CA
Why does the NFLPA want to protect players that were paid to hurt/injure other players?
Do I really need to answer that? This bounty story is beginning to wear on me. Yeah, what the Saints did was wrong and I’m OK with the punishment, but that wasn’t the “Goodwill Games” I was covering back in the 1970s. It’s football. It’s always been a tough game for tough guys. It’s always been a game played by men with bad intentions. Everybody thought George Young was being playful when he said “it’s not a game for the well-adjusted.” He was being truthful. I remember Dick Jauron, a man with an Ivy League diploma and one of the most gentlemanly, composed and intelligent men I have ever known, commenting on the selection of safety Donovin Darius that Darius “would bring some violence to our secondary.” Nobody complained. Why not? Because it’s football and it’s a violent game. When you decide to play this game, you understand that you will get hurt. It’s not if, it’s when. OK, the Saints took it too far. I am in complete agreement, but criminal charges? Come on.
Paul from Grand Prairie, TX
You’re a sellout, dude. Ain't no way should the Cowboys be starting the season. You don't have the Packers’ back.
Matt from Eau Claire, WI
Of our injured players to end the 2011 season – Derek Sherrod, Alex Green and Andrew Quarless – who is the most important to get back and healthy?
They all have important roles. Green and Quarless are ACL guys, and we pretty much know what’s ahead for them, which is to say a lot of dedicated rehab. In time, they’ll make it all the way back. Sherrod’s is the mystery injury; we don’t know much about it and, therefore, don’t have a timetable for his recovery. He’s a very important man on this team because it appears he was drafted to be the team’s left tackle of the future, Rodgers’ blindside protector. The Packers need him to make a full recovery.
Mark from Seattle, WA
Publicly, Ted Thompson is an enigma. Do you have any stories from his playing days that might shed some light on the inner Ted? You must have covered quite a few Steelers-Oilers games in the ’70s and ’80s.
He played for one of my all-time favorite coaches, Bum Phillips. Thompson was a special teams maven and reserve linebacker in a 10-year career, and there aren’t many men who’ve played that long in this league without having been a starter. Bum saw something in him. My guess is he saw the same football aptitude Thompson has displayed in his career as a personnel executive. Thompson also played in one of the most physical, intense football games I’ve ever covered. I can still see Donnie Shell driving the top of his helmet into Earl Campbell’s midsection, breaking Campbell’s ribs, and I can still hear that song and the swish of those pom-pons Oilers fans had in their hands that day in the Astrodome.
Josh from Chesaning, MI
Why does the value of a player matter if you don’t need them?
You mean like Michael Jordan?
Robert from Mission Viejo, CA
On average, how many questions do you receive per day? I’ve asked what I thought were intelligent questions and you haven’t responded to one.
I get a couple hundred a day during the offseason. I read them all.
Brian from Ames, IA
Who is the best coach in the Super Bowl era that never won a championship?
Marty Schottenheimer comes to mind.
Ted from Madison, WI
In your opinion, what would the credentials need to be for a player voted into the Hall of Fame as a 3-4 defensive lineman?
You pretty much have to have sacks to get into the Hall of Fame as a defensive lineman. Bruce Smith was a 3-4 defensive end and he’s one of the few 3-4 linemen in the Hall of Fame, but Smith wasn’t used as a true 3-4 end. He was used to rush the passer – that’s one of the reasons the Giants were able to shove the ball down the Bills’ throat and dominate time of possession in Super Bowl XXV – and that’s why Smith is in the Hall of Fame.
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