Stephanie from Appleton, WI
I realize you love the merge of football and journalism, but was there ever a player or coach you disliked and didn’t want to interview? If so, would you even name him?
Belichick; he was a terrible interview when he was the coach of the Browns. We’d do conference calls with him and there would be long pauses on the other end of the line following questions. It was as though he had gone to sleep. Then we’d hear the rustling of papers and we realized he wasn’t even paying attention to the questions. That kind of disrespect for the process really bothered me because I came from a time when coaches were ultra-cooperative with the media because they knew they were responsible for the promotion of the game’s popularity. They came from a time when football was the college game and baseball was the national pastime, and pro football was trying to get a toehold on the American sports landscape. I don’t think any coach is too busy to perform his media duties.
Rob from Edmonton, Alberta
My head exploded trying to figure out salary cap problem No. 2.
No. 2 isn’t that difficult. I’m getting a lot of right answers on No. 2. The second part of No. 3 is the one everyone is missing, so I’ll give everybody a little tip on solving the second part of No. 3: It’s a trick question; the June 1 cuts rule has nothing to do with the answer.
Brandon from Norfolk, VA
Do you think eliminating workout bonuses would lead to fewer players being so strong?
An incentive for not working out? Genius! This is the kind of forward thinking I’ve come to expect from “Ask Vic” readers.
John from East Meadow, NY
If a nonexclusive franchise tag gets you two first-round picks if someone wants that player, why is it not used more?
It’s not used more because using it means having to take a big hit on your salary cap at the pricey positions. It’s also not used more because players hate the franchise tag and that means teams don’t have to use it to get what they want, which is for the player to do a new deal with the team. What’s most important is to have it to use. It’s the atom bomb. Do a new deal or we’ll use it. The franchise tag was originally an invention for teams to lock up their top players. What we’ve found is that it’s most effective at accomplishing that goal when it’s not used.
Dennis from Minocqua, WI
Do you think Mike Wallace, as a receiver that can stretch the field, would be a good fit for the Packers?
A player with his speed is a good fit on any team, but I think Wallace is going to break the bank, and that’s not the kind of fit I like at wide receiver. You can find those guys later in the draft.
Paul from Farnborough, UK
What do you think the football landscape would look like if there simply wasn’t a salary cap at all?
I think the big-money teams that can’t discipline their spending would sign every big-name player in the final years of his career trying to get one more sting before he pulls the plug. I think they would spend themselves into embarrassment, leaving the teams that make sound decisions based on a commitment to long-term management to dominate the league. Most of those in my profession do not agree with me. They believe a league without a cap would be a death knell for teams that lack spending power. I disagree. I believe teams with sharp decision-makers would lock up the core players they need, and use their football acumen to find an affordable supporting cast within the endless supply of football talent America’s colleges and universities produce.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
The NHL currently has policy in place to be vague to fans and media regarding players’ injuries. For instance, an ankle injury is referred to as a lower body injury. Do you think the NFL would benefit by adopting this sort of policy when teams report injuries?
I think we would all benefit from perseverating on injury reports. Why? Because I know coaches are doing everything in their power to provide the least amount of information on injuries. I remember covering a playoff game in 1992 in which Neil O’Donnell had a leg injury and he played with a heavy wrap of tape on the leg that wasn’t injured. Why? Because they were trying to trick the Bills into tackling the good leg. It might’ve worked. My point is this: Injury information you can trust is difficult to find.
Cory from Milton, ON
Your thoughts about Vince Young?
I never saw anything in his game coming out of Texas that led me to believe his talents would translate to the NFL. Even though Young was successful early on, I covered his worst meltdowns, including the one that cost him his job to Kerry Collins and resulted in a manhunt for him after the game. His supporters railed at me. “All he does is win,” they would say. Then the winning stopped. What Young taught us is we shouldn’t rush to judgment on a player because of one season, and I think we need to apply that to the quarterbacks that burst onto the scene last year. Will their talents translate to the NFL over the long haul? I think Andrew Luck’s will because he’s conventional, but the other three – RG3, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick – are new-age types, and I need to see them do it again.
Mark from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, love the daily column. With free agency officially starting on March 12, when players like Chris Canty visit the Packers and leave without receiving an official offer, why are these team visits allowed before free agency begins?
Canty was released by the Giants. He is no longer under contract. Players such as Greg Jennings haven’t been released; they have contracts that expire on March 12.
James from New York, NY
Please don’t use LOL again. It is not becoming.
Why, because a man of my years shouldn’t dabble in such pop culture? Paaaaaaleeez! We were doing this stuff 40 years before anyone knew what a Twitter was. LSMFT.
Nik from Euless, TX
Vic, eventually are we going to have QBs making $50 million a year with $150 million being spread over the other 50 guys? Have we gone too far in overpaying QBs, to the detriment of every other position?
It’ll work itself out. As teams find they’re running out of money to pay their other players, they’ll adjust their pay scale accordingly. The rules of supply and demand apply here. Having said that, I remain convinced that any team that finds a way to devalue the quarterback position will immediately gain an advantage over every other team in the league.
Vern from Sherwood, OR
It seems like the teams that run a 4-3 defense have a better chance of stopping the read option. How difficult would it be for the Packers to switch to a 4-3 for these types of match ups?
I don’t agree with you. I think the 3-4 is better suited to play against a running quarterback, for the obvious reason that size has been replaced by athletic ability, which is what works against that kind of offense. A running quarterback is more athletic than a pocket quarterback, therefore, an extra athlete on defense should be beneficial. Whether it’s a 4-3 or a 3-4, it’s still seven up front. In a 3-4, however, you’ve got one more guy that can play in space.
Grant from Richmond, VA
What are the biggest differences in a 4-3 end and a 3-4 rush backer?
Ends like to play with a hand on the ground and on the line of scrimmage because the strength of their game is usually their first step or their power. When they can get close to their blocker, they can use that first step to get by him or get into his body quickly and use their power to bull rush. A rush backer relies on his up-the-field speed and elusiveness. He wants to avoid getting into a tight-quarters game in which the blocker can get his hands on the rush backer and swallow him up with size. Ends like it tight, rush backers like space.
Joe from Clio, MI
What happens in a college player’s pro day that is different than what they do at the combine? Also, when did these pro days start and why do college programs host them?
Colleges held pro days long before the NFL turned the combine into an event; they’re essentially the same event. Colleges began hosting pro days to help promote their players for entry into professional football. If you didn’t have a pro day, you might have trouble recruiting the top prospects.
Brian from Cottage Grove, WI
Vic, I really enjoy your column and I agree with you most of the time, including your statement that in order to really understand the NFL one must understand the cap. However, I remember it more like the game we used to play in high school long ago. We played football, watched college and NFL games purely out of love. Frankly, I don’t give a hoot about the cap and tend to skip over those questions/answers. I care about a group of young men and coaches working together to win a championship, including everything that happens along the way. Perhaps I’m no longer the target audience?
You’re giving away the offseason, which the NFL has turned into another real season. Free agency is all about the cap. If you don’t know the cap, don’t even bother with free agency because you won’t be able to fully appreciate why teams do what they do in free agency. The two dovetail; it’s just that simple. I get questions every day asking me why don’t the Packers go after this guy or that guy in free agency? I can’t answer those questions without discussing the salary cap. It’s really not that difficult to understand. Once you get it, you’ll love it because it will allow you an understanding of an intrigue in the game you never thought existed.
Shawn from Albany, NY
Hearing your idea for a smaller and weaker NFL got me thinking. I think the league should set weight limits for each position. It would definitely make for a smaller and weaker NFL. Do you think this is a good idea?
I don’t like regulating evolution, but I don’t mind helping it.
Will from Mt. Laurel, NJ
Never overpay for a skill player.
Unless he’s the quarterback.
Jake from Madison, WI
Do you find it ironic that the Packers, a team that depended on the salary cap more than any other to maintain their very existence, won the Super Bowl in what I believe was the only uncapped season since the cap was implemented?
I found it telling that a team that manages its cap very conservatively and frugally won the Super Bowl in an uncapped year, 2010. What’s that say?
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