"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Jared from Sugar City, ID
Vic, I'm not surprised to see the Patriots not take a QB in this draft. It seems a great three, four-year winning strategy would be to build up your roster on high picks, then pick a top QB you believe will be a franchise QB. Then you hope to have a solid roster bolstered by a cheap QB. Do you feel this is what they are doing? Or maybe they just didn't see a solid QB where they could pick from?
I love fruit, but I don't buy it if it looks rotten. Shopping strategy is only as good as what's available to you. That's why I'm an advocate of BAP (best available player) drafting. If you stay true to your board, all you need to do is be patient. Bill Belichick is a value drafter and a great evaluator of talent, and I have to believe his success has earned Robert Kraft's patience.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
The Ivy League went from being the powerhouses of early college football to being basically irrelevant today. What happened that led to the decline?
The Ivy League schools chose academics over athletics. The early 1960's was the jumping off point. In my mind, the creation of red-shirting defines the divide. The academic powerhouses didn't want to use such a cheap tool to hold a player's academic development hostage; it was beneath their esteem to do so. De-emphasis was an easy decision for the Ivy schools. Their reputations and endowments are built on the successes of their alumni in business, science, medicine, etc. Our last five presidents, for example, are graduates of Ivy League schools. To put the academics vs. athletics debate into perspective, Harvard's endowment is in excess of $40 billion; Alabama's is less than one billion. Any time Harvard wants to play big-time college football, it can flip the switch; it has the money to do it. It chooses to avoid soiling its reputation.
Scott from Mountain Green, UT
Being a Jags fan, I have watched two QBs with long deliveries that needed to be addressed (Leftwich and Bortles). And while both tried and showed temporary improvement, neither was able to improve permanently, especially under pressure. Can you provide an example of a QB with a long delivery who did improve permanently?
Scott, I saw instances in which Byron's windup was so big the ball nearly touched the ground. Bortles couldn't even throw a spiral. Jordan Love's mechanics should not be compared to either one of those two quarterbacks. What I saw of Love in his 2018 performance is a quarterback whose delivery got long only when he threw touch-type passes. He'd soften his throws with a long, slow arm. In 2019, it appeared all of his throws were made with touch-type deliveries. I think he just got into a bad habit of throwing the ball that way. His mechanics, for whatever reason, deteriorated in '19. He got long, slow and soft, and he also appears to have developed happy feet in '19. His throwing motion will have to be tightened and I think it can be done because he did it in '18. As my friend Dirk Koetter is fond of saying, "If you do it once, you can do it every time."
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, if there's a 2020 NFL season, what reasonable expectations should Green Bay fans have for the team?
There should be no expectations for this season because I think it's likely there won't be a season. Even if the NFL finds a way to play, I don't think it would be a meaningful season.
Adam from Denver, CO
Is current Tom Brady an upgrade over Jameis Winston?
If Brady can play at last year's level, it'll be an upgrade, but age is a slippery slope and at Brady's age the slope can become a cliff.
Mark from Wausau, WI
Vic, what is your favorite Jerry Stiller scene in Seinfeld?
The Frank Costanza character is my least favorite.
Rob from Boulder, CO
If Jordan Love's 2019 season had been as exceptional as his 2018 season, then he wouldn't have been available at pick 26, right?
He might've been the second quarterback picked.
Pat from Seneca, SC
What are your impressions of Cleveland as a sports town? The time I’ve spent there suggested a once passionate fan base that has been pummeled by decades of losing and the occasional heartbreaking near miss.
Cleveland is a great sports town. It's given me great memories, from the sublime (Eric Metcalf's punt returns vs. the Steelers in 1993) to the ridiculous (bottle-throwing incident in 2001).
Brian from Neenah, WI
Vic, Dr. Fauci said it will be tough to have a full football season. Joe Biden said it’s a health problem that is contributing to an economic problem. South Korea opened their restaurants but promptly closed them after seeing 30-plus cases appear. Why aren’t we honest with ourselves and cancel the season?
It's about the money. It's the answer to everything. This virus is providing us with a snapshot of ourselves. We live for the money.
Mark from Wausau, WI
Vic, how did you decide where to retire?
It's what I could afford.
Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH
There was a period of time last season when Davante was hurt and I thought the offense looked really good. It seemed like they were more creative and got the running backs involved in the pass game. Something seemed to be clicking. When Davante returned, the clicking stopped, which was probably a combination of him still healing from his injury and going back to an offense designed to rely on the star wide receiver to make plays. I couldn’t have been the only one who noticed this. Did you? Maybe the reason why they didn’t spend huge draft picks on a wide receiver?
OK, folks, it's time to let it go. The Packers didn't pick a wide receiver because they picked players at other positions. That's the answer. Deal with it.
Bob from Kennesaw, GA
If the NFL season is canceled, will the players still be paid?
Yes, they'll get the money.
Michael from Neenah, WI
Is it fair for owners in the NFL to ask players to reduce salaries if they can't sell tickets? Should the union accept?
Yes, it would be a fair request, but the players won't comply because they want the money.
Tim from Jacksonville
Are we the Roman Empire and football stadiums the gladiatorial arena? When does it all end?
When the money is gone, it'll all end.
Sean from Brighton, MI
Vic, I’m quite interested in the Steelers' second-round pick, Chase Claypool. The guy has Calvin Johnson size and runs a similar 40. The Steelers drafted him above players like Dobbins. This tells me he was very high on their board. What do you see in Chase Claypool?
He's a fast JuJu Smith-Schuster. I have a feeling the Steelers didn't pick Dobbins because they had targeted the running back from Maryland. The Steelers have long been value pickers. The Maryland back is a value pick.
Rudy from Milwaukee, WI
Do you think the Packers might use Jones and Dillon in some sort of split-backs formation? Do you recall any teams using that type of formation to great success?
Taylor and Hornung, Harris and Bleier, Csonka and Kiick. Split backs is another name for pro set. In pro set, the fullback is the feature back and the halfback is the blocker. I think today's game is too specialized to turn the clock back on split backs. Runners run and blockers block. As Ron Erhardt told Merrill Hoge when Hoge complained he wasn't getting enough carries, "So, when I want to gain 4.3 yards, I'll give it to Foster, and when I want to gain 3.8 yards, I'll give it to you." I think Jones and Dillon are best utilized as complements to each other.
Adam from Wausau, WI
How were mistakes handled in journalism back when you were starting out and how does it compare to now?
Back then, we printed retractions. Today, we create conspiracy theories.