"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL
At the end of a long day, what makes Vic smile?
It's knowing I've been a nice person.
Dave from Savage, MN
Did you read Cliff Christl's (story on) Bill Austin? Good stuff about the offensive line and the power sweep under Lombardi. There's a picture of the Packers coaching staff: Lombardi and five guys. Amazing when you see the quality of play now with 20 coaches. Is bigger better?
Last season's Packers coaching staff included Matt LaFleur and 21 other guys, four of whom were quality control coaches and another who was generically designated an offensive assistant. Is bigger better? Not when you lay the egg the Packers did in San Francisco. Early in my time covering the Steelers, Chuck Noll's staff included Dick Hoak, Dan "Bad Rad" Radakovich, Lionel Taylor, George Perles, Woody Widenhofer and the great Bud Carson. Coach Noll was head coach, offensive coordinator and special teams coordinator. It's the smallest and probably the best coaching staff I ever covered. The Jaguars are hiring so many coaches they may not be able to fit them all on the plane to London.
Dirk from Hanover, Germany
In the context of player safety, do you see a development where tackling is eventually forbidden and the NFL plays a kind of electronic flag football (a play is ended when a defender triggers one or more sensors sewn into the clothes of the ball-carrier)?
I see a day when the ball is snapped and all of the players begin vibrating and moving in different directions.
Billy from Verona, WI
Vic, have you ever seen players become tough as they developed in the NFL, or is being tough an intrinsic trait?
Greg Lloyd comes to mind. He was a media darling in his first couple of training camps. He was Mr. Nice Guy, but he kept getting hurt so he decided to become Mr. Mean Guy, and he never got hurt again. Nice isn't good in football.
Jonathan from Southern Pines, NC
Care to detail more how Jacksonville is a legitimate NFL market? They can't even sell out the stadium or come close, and it's been that way for years. Now they're giving off multiple games to London. Are their local TV ratings any good? It just looks bad.
The Jacksonville TV ratings were always good. Interest in football was never the issue; lack of market size and disposable income were the problems early on. The Jaguars bear a large portion of the blame. They made short-term decisions that made their franchise bid look good to the NFL, but damaged the long-term future of the franchise. Ten thousand club seats was a ridiculous number. In my opinion, the market has grown in population and in commerce to the point there's no excuse for not being able to support 10 home dates a year. It's a one-sport town and there's no doubt in my mind the Jaguars should be a hot ticket in a market as vibrant as Jacksonville and without competition for the entertainment dollar from any other major league team. Stop with the pools and the promotions and put a team on the field that captures the heart of the Jacksonville football fan.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, female coaches have been added to the staff on at least two NFL teams. What are your thoughts on this dynamic and its impact on the game?
It's not an issue for me because women don't play the game, therefore, they weren't being exploited. I sense no wrong being righted. African-Americans were being exploited as players until they began being hired as coaches.
John from Garnet Valley, PA
During your years covering the NFL, what rule change had the biggest impact on the way the game is played today?
The 1978 rules change that allows offensive linemen to use their hands in blocking changed nearly everything about how the game is played. All of the techniques of line play changed. Pad level, once the foundation of line play, has become unimportant; that's why nobody can convert short yardage with any consistency. Mobility and creating space have been replaced by sliding and walling up. The explosion in the size of offensive linemen is the greatest change. I don't think the league saw that coming and I don't think this super sizing has been good for the game.
Tom from New York, NY
I'd like two preseason games, seventeen regular-season games and a second bye week for an 18-week season. Problem solved?
The league did two bye weeks in 1993. It was deemed a bad idea. The regular season ended after the first of the year. Coaches didn't like having to re-start a second time. The TV menu was weak twice that season. Be that as it may, there were only 28 teams back then; today's 32-team league would offer more schedule strength during the bye weeks. It might be worth a try.
Doug from Union Grove, WI
During the offseason, do you ever get as tired of us as I do?
I especially enjoy doing the column in the offseason because we tend to get into some deep-thought issues that challenge our perspective and help us re-discover the past. What I don't enjoy is the constant pounding on the same tired subject. There always seems to be one issue every year. Last year it was Mike McCarthy. This year it's the need at wide receiver.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Do you see the NFL ever expanding to 36 teams?
I think it's likely to happen if the league expands internationally. As it is, I don't know where the league could expand in the U.S. What if we're headed for another population migration, to escape the effects of climate change? Expansion? What about contraction?
Jared from Sugar City, ID
Vic, when did player celebrations become a thing, and how has it changed the feel of the game?
Homer Jones threw down the ball as he crossed the goal line, and the celebration generation was born. Homer's celebration was spontaneous. Today's celebrations are rehearsed. I think they're pukey. They make the players look silly.
Ryan from Freedom, WI
I have seen reports of the Bears thinking about trading Mack to the Redskins for a second overall pick, most likely to draft a new quarterback. What are your thoughts on this?
Reports? Have any of those reports mentioned his $47.8 million dead money hit in what would be the final year of the CBA, which means the Bears would have to bear the whole hit in 2020?
Douglas from Binghamton, NY
The Packers just completed a sweep of the NFC North, made it to the NFC championship game, and beat the Seahawks along the way. How is this season a disappointment by any metric? Yeah, they got thumped on the road against a team so loaded they nearly beat the Chiefs with Jimmy G at QB, but what other team would have beat the 49ers at home?
Dave from Franklin, WI
I don't necessarily think this column needs "Nice Vic." Do you think you're sensing more anger because people are upset you've dropped to two publishings a week for the offseason?
No, it's because that's who we are; we're angry people. We're angry at people who have a different opinion and we're especially angry at the "fake news" media.
Brad from Basalt, CO
Vic, I hear about all of Blake Martinez' flaws at linebacker, but he also led the league in tackles this year and was second last year. So a new and better inside linebacker will do what exactly? And does this reflect poorly on the rest of the defense or just the other linebackers?
Martinez is taking the fall for the run-defense's failures and that's not fair. Remember, Kyle Shanahan said he had targeted the Packers' edge players; it amazed me Shanahan revealed that information. Frankly, the pass rush was the only thing I liked about the defense last season. For a team with a rush as fierce as the Packers, I thought the pass defense was also a disappointment, especially when you consider the Packers played games against three backup quarterbacks and two rookies. The Packers need to continue their focus on improving the talent on defense.