"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Aaron from White Hall, AR
Who helped their case the most during Senior Bowl week?
According to Tony Pauline: Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, Dayton tight end Adam Trautman, Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims and Temple center Matt Hennessy.
Dan from Golden Valley, MN
How do you feel about 16 teams making the playoffs?
I like it; no byes. An 8-8 or 7-9 team in the playoffs? So what?
Zach from Virginia Beach, VA
Because more guns mean more gunfire. Awesome logic. Have you considered the possibility if the Kent State students were armed there may not have been any shots fired at all?
I hadn't considered that possibility.
Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL
Normally, I love your phrases, especially "players, not plays." But this WR one? I don't know, Vic. Under Ted Thompson, WRs taken in rounds two and three: Murphy, Jennings, Jones, Jordy, Cobb, Davante, Montgomery. Five of those are great Packers, one had a career-ending injury in his rookie year, and the other was serviceable, plus, transitioned to RB for us. Now let's look at rounds 4-7: Bragg, Rodgers, Clowney, Swain, Johnson, Dorsey, Abbrederis, Janis, Davis, Yancey, Dupree. Notable UDFAs have been Martin, Boykin, White and Allison. I'd rather pay a dollar for one Jordy than 10 cents for twelve Braggs.
You forgot to mention the first-round picks. Dime a dozen.
Nick from Owego, NY
What do you think the keys to the game are for each team? What should I keep an eye on during the big game?
Mahomes needs to be the MVP for the Chiefs to win.
Andrew from Fullerton, CA
I know Gary didn't play a lot, but he's a large man and seemed to tackle all right. Do you think he'd be an improvement playing more on the edge on run downs? You also brought up moving him inside. Did you mean inside linebacker or 3-4 DE?
Run-downs specialist with the 12th overall pick? If Gary is the athlete the Packers believe he is, moving to inside linebacker shouldn't be a challenge.
Jeff from Ogden, UT
The Smiths didn't play the run well. If we add nasty to the interior defense, will it make the edges better?
As I've already written, you can live with one soft edge by shading the strong safety to that side of the field. Playing the run wasn't KGB's strength, but he had Aaron Kampman on the other side which allowed the Packers to give KGB help. Coach LaFleur, Mike Pettine and Brian Gutekunst will have to figure this out in the offseason.
Rudy from Milwaukee, WI
What happens with a player's cap number when he retires? Does the bonus money proration accelerate onto the cap the year he leaves or is it simply eliminated from salary cap consideration altogether?
Retirement extinguishes nothing. You pay it, you claim it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've written those words. In 2020, because it's the final year of the CBA, there is no June 1 rule that would allow a team to spread a retiring player's remaining amortization over two years; it all has to go onto the '20 cap. For example, Luke Kuechly will be a nearly $12 million dead money hit on the Panthers' cap this year, and then he's off the books.
Mark from Wheaton, IL
You observed the bookends to Ted Thompson's tenure were the drafting of Aaron Rodgers and passing on T.J. Watt. What will be the first bookend of Brian Gutekunst's tenure or is it too soon to say?
The first marker in Gutekunst's career as Packers GM will be the franchise quarterback he drafts to replace Aaron Rodgers. When will he do it?
Neil from Sun Prairie, WI
I'm 65 and watched the Packers all my life but you've taught me how to understand so much more about the game. Every week I get together for lunch with a friend and the main topic is Packers football. I'm wondering who do you do that with? Do you send emails, talk on the phone or get together with anyone?
I talk to reporters, scouts, coaches and front office people on whom I've depended for friendship, conversation and information through the years. Nothing has changed in that sense. It's my fraternity of football. This column is also part of my fraternity of football.
Brett from Marietta, GA
I enjoyed your column on Monday. One of your responses triggered a question: Is it possible Matt LaFleur is just too nice of a guy to be an effective pro football coach?
He was a mild-mannered caretaker coach through the season, and I was impressed by his restraint. Everything was going his way; it wasn't broke and he didn't try to fix it. I couldn't help but wonder when it would all change and how he'd react. That day came against the 49ers. Every time TV put its camera on him, he was fuming. I thought to myself, now he's the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He's got issues he must resolve. Now we begin judging him.
John from Edisto Island, SC
I'd like to see a column in which you just tell stories.
Breakfast at the Sea Cow on a winter morning, with the tourons gone and nothing to do and all day to do it, is a perfect time to tell stories. Just get me going.
Jeff from Miami, FL
Vic, in a 3-4 defense, is it common for all three of the down linemen and both outside linebackers to rush on pass plays?
James Harrison wasn't rushing when he intercepted Kurt Warner in the end zone and ran through the "whole" Cardinals team to score on the final play of the first half of Super Bowl XLIII, but it's common to rush five. In a 3-4, the defensive linemen are often used as foils for the linebackers. The linemen will execute a lot of stunts and twists to help create space so the linebackers can get free. Coach Pettine did a lot of that this season.
Pat from Seneca, SC
I am not a Patriots fan, and I have levied my share of criticisms toward their organization and their records. However, since I’ve come to fully appreciate the double-barreled challenge of the salary cap and the inverse order draft, I am astounded by what they’ve accomplished over the past 20 years. It simply doesn’t seem possible.
Now we'll find out if it was Brady or Belichick.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what is your favorite Super Bowl memory?
There's one that touches my heart now more than ever. It's from Super Bowl XIII. Podiums were set up under the bleachers for players to use in media interviews. I was standing at the back of a crowd of reporters near one of the podiums when, all of a sudden, I was being lifted by an arm and being carried forward. It was Mike Webster. Memories make us rich, and sometimes they hurt.
Stu from Grand Forks, ND
What are your memories of Steve Young?
He looked like such a normal guy.
Jack from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Does it surprise you Doug Marrone chose to fire the offensive coordinator (who inherited a rookie QB minutes into the season) while leaving the other side of the ball unscathed?
Maybe he thinks the coaches on defense are good and the players are bad. Nobody knows more about a team than its head coach. The Jaguars' problems began right after their flukey run in 2017. They thought they had arrived. Then, after a fall to 5-11, they thought they were one player away. Now they've got a mess to clean up. The good news is they're back in the top 10 of the draft and they've got two first-round picks. I am greatly intrigued by what the Jaguars will do this offseason. They need to be dynamic in the personnel decisions they make.
Nate from Pueblo, CO
A report I read shows just about every team is a good amount under the projected salary cap. If it’s true, most teams are managing their salary caps pretty well.
Allow me to stop you before you ask a question: How far under or tight to the cap a team is says nothing about a team's salary cap health. They could be just kicking the can down the road by restructuring contracts. Cash over cap says it all because cash over cap is all about proration. When I judge a team's salary cap, I don't look at this year, I look at the next few years. How much money is being pushed out. I look at the big hits and how married the team is to them. A team held hostage by star-player contracts is dead team walking.
Pete from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, what could account for Jaire Alexander's clear regression over the course of the season? Is there a chance he was injured?
Maybe he thought he had arrived. Coach Noll said you never arrive.
Scott from Milwaukee, WI
Do you think the Super Bowl will be a low-scoring or high-scoring game?
49ers 38, Chiefs 35.