"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Can you tell us about Noll's fourth-and-four play call in Super Bowl X? Why was it the worst you've ever seen and how did the strategy work?
The ball was at the Cowboys 40, or thereabouts. There was about two minutes to play in the game and Bradshaw had been knocked out of the game on his touchdown pass to Swann. Coach Noll didn't want to risk having a kick or punt blocked. Kicker Roy Gerela had just missed a PAT attempt and punter Bobby Walden was in a bad way; it would be the final game of his career. Coach Noll's decision was to run Bleier into the middle of the line for a one-yard gain, take four seconds off the clock and put the game into the hands of his defense. A few plays later, the Steelers intercepted Staubach and the game was over. The crazy part is there was very little postgame discussion about that play call. The media didn't pounce on it. If it happened today, it would be the No. 1 controversy of the Super Bowl. Give the ball back to Staubach near midfield? Why didn't Noll run play action? Shouldn't the Steelers have at least thrown a deep pass? I have to admit, one yard and four seconds is kind of nuts, but how do you argue with the simple, unassailable logic of turning the game over to the "Steel Curtain?"
Dick from Watertown, SD
I remember Cedric Benson as a favorite from his first interview on. Anything more you can add to help us remember the man?
The first time I saw him in practice, his talent was undeniable. He made all of the other Packers running backs look ordinary. Injuries and discontent in Chicago dogged his career, but he rebounded for three 1,000-yard seasons in Cincinnati. He had the look I like most in a running back: low, thick and powerful.
Scott from Little Rock, AR
No question, just a thanks. I love Coach Noll's quote on stubbornness. I'm 46 and still struggle with it most days. I'm trying to be new!
Every time I break away, it drags me back in.
Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH
There hasn't been much said, good or bad, about the Lions. What is your impression? If you had to rank the NFC North right now, what would your ranking be?
Bears, Vikings, Packers, Lions. To those Packers fans I might ruffle with that order, please remember the Lions beat the Packers twice last season. The NFC North might be the most balanced division in the NFL. If the order flipped, it wouldn't surprise me.
Chris from Bozeman, MT
Love how you replied to Justin from Janesville’s question minimizing the significance of team rankings right after you said you’d dedicate Wednesdays to team rankings. How have you not pursued politics?
That's why I call them my all-important power rankings. The fans begged me to do them. I didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
"Prior to last week's Week Two games, Bruce Arians said he could already cut to 60. I think teams could've cut to 60 after OTAs." Vic, if that's the case, why not make the cuts early and give the remaining players more coaching and reps?
Who are they gonna rep against? Coach, you'll wear them out. Beyond that, the "extras" are trying out for futures contracts.
Simon from Santa Clara, CA
If you're gonna post opinions but not answer any questions, it's not really "Ask Vic." Maybe you should change it to "Vic Says."
The Big 10 has 14 teams. The Southeastern Conference has a team in Texas. The National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have teams in two countries. It's brand.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Vic, the 3-4 defense in Green Bay ... has not been very successful, to say the least. Did Dom Capers have any input into the players selected for his defense or was he stuck having to plug in the Ted Thompson clones he was dealt?
My understanding is Clay Matthews was drafted per Coach Capers' request. It's common for an incoming coordinator, especially for one of esteem, to be granted a centerpiece player. The Steelers drafted Eric Green per Joe Walton's request when Coach Noll hired Walton to be the team's offensive coordinator. Other than for Matthews, I know of no other requests by Capers, though I have to believe he was involved in the drafting process.
Eric from Clayton, MO
Did Jerry write to you for advice on what to say about Zeke?
Pete from Chapel Hill, NC
Are offensive linemen harder than average to evaluate and predict? On the one hand, there is Jason Spriggs and the Tony Mandarich debacle. Then there are fourth-rounders Bakhtiari and Lang and seventh-rounder Scott Wells.
In my opinion, toughness is the No. 1 attribute an offensive lineman must possess. They're all big, but they're not all tough. Bakhtiari, Lang and Wells are.
David from Madison, WI
What would an NFL with too much parity look like?
The NFL has been pursuing parity for all of the years I've written about it. This is parity. I can't think of a team in the league that doesn't believe it can be a playoff contender this season. Is that too much parity? I don't think so. I think it's good.
Dave from Savage, MN
Would you have looked forward to covering a game in Winnipeg?
Yes. I've covered NFL games in Champaign, Ill., Knoxville, Tenn., and Barcelona. Winnipeg would've been a nice addition.
Don from Mascoutah (wherever that is)
Coach LaFleur apparently wants the Lambeau crowd to be louder on third downs. What do you think about just putting a dome over the field? (Sorry, I can’t ask that seriously.)
So what are you asking? I'm not big on coaches coaching the fans. Frankly, I think it's insulting. I think Coach LaFleur should concentrate on coaching his team. Packers fans know when to cheer.
Adam from Madison, WI
I just skimmed ESPN's list of training camp MVPs. There were 16 wide receivers named.
Fever in the morning, fever all through the night.
Leo from Dallas, TX
Did the preseason "Ask Vic" columns prepare you for the regular season columns?
No, I save my best adjectives and adverbs for the regular season.
Michiel from Belgium
Considering you call Rodgers the best quarterback you ever covered and Brady is the GOAT, what is it in your opinion that makes Brady the best to ever play the game? One could say Rodgers is (or at least was) the most talented. Is it the Brady-Belichick-Patriots combination?
This debate rankles Packers fans and I don't understand why. I read all the stuff about a weak division and top 10 defenses, etc., and I can't help but think how ridiculous it would look to rank a guy with one Super Bowl win above a guy who has six. You can't defend that kind of illogic. I recently came across a stat that might give the weak division, top 10 defenses people a new perspective: In games in which Brady attempted 50 or more passes, he's 19-9. Drew Brees is 4-15, Peyton Manning 4-13 and Dan Marino 5-11, to provide statistical comparison. Hey, when you can't play defense or run the ball and have to throw the ball 50 times, you're supposed to lose, but the Patriots win. Why? Because they have Tom Brady.
Taylor from Hull, IA
The new head coach chewed out a player at an open-to-the-media practice, and seemingly questioned the methods of his special teams coach. Obviously, the Packers are being new and this head coach differs on his leadership style from McCarthy. Which style do you think players respond best to, or does winning/losing only really answer the question?
In his first training camp as head coach, Bill Cowher stopped practice, huddled his team at a far corner of the practice fields and ripped them for their lackluster effort. Each coach has a style and a personality that's unique to him. Just win, baby.