"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Billy from Farmingdale, NY
Does Maurice Jones-Drew have a stronger Hall of Fame case than Fred Taylor? Taylor has him in overall yards and yards per carry, but MJD has more TDs, more Pro Bowls, more All-Pros, a rushing title, virtually every Jaguars rushing record, not to mention all-purpose yards. He was a better blocker and receiver, as well. I couldn't believe my eyes until I dug a little deeper, but there is a decent case for Jones-Drew over Taylor as the best running back in Jaguars franchise history. What have you to say, Vic?
Maurice didn't crack the 10,000-yard mark, and that's why he won't make it into the Hall of Fame. That doesn't mean you can't consider him to be the greatest running back in Jaguars history. Mo was also a game-breaking kickoff returner. His long return in the 2007 playoff win over the Steelers was the turning point in the game. The sad fact of the matter for Mo is he spent too many years sharing carries with Fred. It helped lengthen Fred's career, but it cost Mo the yards he needed to break the 10K mark.
Clint from New Berlin, NY
I have never heard of Marion Motley until Thursday's posting. I had to do a quick Google search to find some highlights. Wow! What a player! I'm too young to have experienced that era of football, but he really stood out as a man among boys. Thank you for sharing, Vic.
He was 6-1, 232, and he looks pretty fast on those old films. The problem with the bigger-stronger-faster snobbery of today is it tends to ignore or discredit special players from the past that could've dominated in today's game as they did in their era. Motley is one of those players.
Todd from North Carolina
Do you think the media is lauding LaFleur too early with distinctions along the lines of "his scheme is going to attack every level"?
It's that way with any new coach. Chuck Noll is the best coach I've covered. He won four Super Bowls and changed the course of Steelers history, but when he was replaced by Bill Cowher the lead up to the 1992 season was full of stories about positive change. The big one was about motivation. Instead of players having to motivate themselves, Cowher was going to do it for them. It made me angry to read those kinds of stories because they ignored why Coach Noll didn't believe in pep talks: You can't stop the game in the fourth quarter to give one. Every coach has his own style and personality. The difference in those styles and personalities are easy topics of interest for the media to expose. Soon, the season will arrive and predictions will be replaced by facts. Here are the facts on Mike McCarthy: He's No. 2 behind only Curly Lambeau in wins. McCarthy was 10-8 in the postseason, including a 4-0 run to the Super Bowl title in the 2010 season. I bet Matt LaFleur would be happy to have accomplished as much at the same stage of his career.
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
Reflecting on Bart Starr's career with the Packers and the reports he called his own plays, I know Unitas did also. How many QBs back in that era called their own plays and what happened in the game that influenced the change of coaches calling the plays from the sideline?
Most but not all quarterbacks called their own plays. Tom Landry called plays for his quarterbacks. Paul Brown used a messenger guard system to shuttle in the plays for Otto Graham. As time passed, the game became too sophisticated for quarterbacks to have to deal with the personnel changes that accompanied the responsibility of calling plays. When Terry Bradshaw called his own plays, neither the personnel nor the formation changed much from down to down. In my opinion, predictability is one of the trademarks of great teams. The Steelers were going to run the inside traps and throw it deep. The Cowboys of the early '90's were going to run the lead draw; the Bill Walsh 49ers were going to run "sprint right option," which was a Paul Brown play. The Packers sweep? Yes, the game has changed, but good teams still have a trademark, an identity on which they can rely.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Vic, I still remember buying football cards for a penny a card, individually wrapped, by the way, and later in five-packs for a nickel. Those cards were the only image we really ever had of the players. The statistics/bio on the back gave us all we needed. I still have my Packers cards separate from all other teams, in an effort to prevent contamination from Bears cards, etc. Funny thing, but I have Bart Starr on the top of the stack.
The less we have, the more we value it.
Matthew from Madison, WI
Is "stepping into a leadership role" akin to mentoring younger players?
It's become this offseason's go-to story. Coach Noll is the first coach I heard use the words, "Just do your job." Now, Bill Belichick is famous for those words. That's 10 Super Bowl titles. Maybe everybody should just do their job and stop trying to help everyone else do theirs, too. Leadership is a special quality. It comes naturally to people who have a special capacity for it. It came naturally for Bart Starr. Joe Greene had it in his personality, too. Bradshaw was more of a loner, but he did his job. In my opinion, a football team only needs one leader for the team to win, as long as everybody does their job. The coach is the leader.