"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Jeff from Dorr, MI
Did the Raiders make a good move trading Cooper for a first-round pick and picking up Brown for about the same money?
It's been my experience teams that trade first-round picks for wide receivers usually lose value, so my belief is the Raiders made a good move in getting a one for Amari Cooper, especially when you consider the Raiders are going to replace Cooper with Antonio Brown for the cost of third and fifth-round picks. Let's not forget another wide receiver trade the Raiders made: a third-round pick for Martavis Bryant, clearly a loss for the Raiders. So, in a year's time, the Raiders have traded away two threes and a five, got a one, lost Cooper and acquired Brown and Bryant. I think they should focus more attention on big guys and less attention on wide receivers; dime a dozen.
Dan from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I am a teacher of eighth grade math whose students often think of math (and school in general) as boring. Your explanation of how ideal fans foster a boring game while the "other" fans promote an exciting one, and how the conversion is leading us into a dysfunctional malaise, is pure brilliance. I'm going to spend my summer thinking about how I'm going to somehow lead students to the conclusion that sometimes boring is the price one pays for an exceptional life filled with interesting memories. Thank you, and I mean that sincerely. What pearls of wisdom would you pass on to 14-year-olds struggling to find purpose?
Don't just get by, aspire.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, the Cardinals are planning to allow cell phone breaks during meetings, reportedly to allow them to get their social media fix. What are your thoughts?
The days of the taskmaster coach are over. The players are in control of the game and all coaches are players' coaches. Coaches are competing for their players' affection. Have we confused affection for respect?
Todd from Brookfield, WI
Now that we're approaching the draft, what are your thoughts on last year's trade with the Saints? We picked a small but really good guy. They picked a big but injured guy. We also got a first-rounder out of the deal.
The Packers clearly won that trade. It was a great start to Brian Gutekunst's draft history. It was a gutsy move. Gutekunst was trading away from a pass rusher, just as Ted Thompson had a year earlier, and the move could've backfired and made Gutekunst appear to be a Thompson clone. Gutekunst stayed true to his board and won the value battle. Tom Coughlin once said to me the draft is all about need. I think it's all about value.
Kurt from Mariposa, CA
Do you think athletes are switching to basketball more and will that ever be a problem? Zion looks like a football player.
Just because he looks like a football player doesn't mean he could be a football player. At the NFL level, the speed and fury with which the game is played is unlike anything Zion Williamson has experienced.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what can you teach us about the art of asking a good question?
It's about having a reporter's instincts. You have to know when to ask a tough question and how to ask it. If it's a question that's going to end the interview, wait until the end of the interview to ask it. Ask questions respectfully, calmly, intelligently. There are no hostile witnesses for a sports reporter. Hey, it's sports. If you've cultivated a relationship with the player or coach, he's likely to respect your question. If you're a newbie on the scene, I'm not sure you've earned the right to ask the tough question. Sometimes questions need to be asked in an almost apologetic tone, so the coach or player knows you're not enjoying his angst. Don't back off asking the tough question, but never revel in asking it.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, are you expecting the Packers to make a splash in this year's draft, or to follow the script the experts are projecting for them to take?
No. 12 is usually a high enough pick to get a quality big guy. My hope is the Packers will significantly deepen their pool of talent. Anything less would be a disappointment. That's my script.
Eric from Lansing, MI
Apart from being stupid and enjoying yourself, what is the best thing about being young?
There's a belief that whatever it is, you can do it better. Youthful arrogance is innocent and necessary conceit. Parents want their child to feel that surge of self. It means they did their job correctly.
Nicholas from Appleton, WI
As the Packers GM, if you were offered 24 and 27 in exchange for 12, do you take it?
No. You're drafting the same guy twice.
Daniel from Richmond, TX
Vic, did Ted Thompson's last few drafts under-perform because he emphasized versatility too much, as in we ended up with a bunch of players that could fill in for multiple spots but weren’t starter-quality for any?
I think he tried to get too cute in the 2017 draft. He traded away from T.J. Watt and then drafted a Wisconsin pass rusher a little later. It was as though he was saying, "I got my guy (Kevin King) and got Watt later." I can't imagine a more perfect pick for the Packers than Watt would've been.
Ben from El Paso, TX
What are your thoughts on "March Madness?"
I read on Sunday former Texas football player Limas Sweed is suing the NCAA for not protecting him against the effects of concussions. My first thought was, "Here we go." Long-time readers might remember I said the concussion thing would eventually trickle down to college football because concussions aren't limited to the NFL. Is this the beginning of it? If it is, look out. Basketball could become the No. 1 college sport because it's without the liability football carries with it. "March Madness" is good theater. It's exciting and college basketball is inexpensive enough that even small colleges can play on the big stage.
Scott from Lincoln City, OR
Vic, I just read this text from my son: "We have four players and no coaches left from the Super Bowl team. We only have eight players left from the 2015 season. Something broke after that NFC championship game in Seattle." Besides my heart, what broke for the Packers?
Twenty percent is customary roster turnover from year to year. When you consider the ages of the players on that '14 team, and for how many years the Packers were drafting near the bottom of the order, I don't think the roster turnover since that NFC title game is alarming. It's a game of replacement.
Shawn from Kissimmee, FL
Will the Packers draft a wide receiver this year or do you think they have enough on the roster?
Wide receiver is a need position. The bottom of the first round is a good place to find one.
Steve from Hudson, WI
Is there a difference between an official expectation and a prediction?
I don't like the word expectation because it infers clairvoyance. Prediction is a better word because it suggests an attempt at clairvoyance. I prefer the word hope. My hope for the Packers in 2019 is they'll return to the playoffs.
Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD
I don't know enough about the Packers' new signings. They appear to be young and coming into the prime of their careers. With Clark and Daniels coming back off injury, will the Packers be able to rush four and drop seven more often?
Only a few defenses have the talent up front to play that way. The Giants of 2011 could play that way. The '70s Steelers seldom blitzed. I don't see the Packers as a rush four/drop seven defense. I think they're like most defenses, which is to say trying to find a way to bring a fifth and sixth rusher from unexpected places. They didn't sign the "Smith Bros." to drop into coverage.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Is there a player for which you'd give up a first-round pick?
Straight up? Probably not, because teams usually don't trade players who are worth first-round picks.