David from Madison, WI
Vic, with the draft approaching, I thought it would be good to review the best available player strategy. Can you walk us through this scenario? The Packers are on the clock with their first-round pick. Their greatest need is pass rush but the top-rated player left on their board is a quarterback. If you're drafting BAP, you take the quarterback, right?
Not necessarily. You can fit yourself to the pass rusher you want by moving back to where he becomes the best available player. By doing that, you recoup the full value of your original pick by adding the value of the extra pick you acquired. Now you've got the added value and the player you've targeted fits where you're selecting him, and that maneuvering also fits what he'll cost you on your cap. What you don't want to do is reach for a player who is neither worthy of the value you're spending to pick him, nor the money the slot at which you selected him demands you pay him. If you can't move back, pick the guy at the top of your board, but quarterback is a special position. It's the exception to the rule. Those are, in my opinion, the hard and fast facts of the philosophy of drafting the best available player.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Vic, you have often said being a leader of men is a necessary quality for a coach. How does that quality translate to the QB position?
How many titles would the Packers have won without Bart Starr at quarterback? He had average skills, but nobody was a better leader of men than Starr. Tom Brady is a great leader of men. He leads with crunch-time performance. I think that's the defining trait of leadership. Terry Bradshaw played his best football when the games were biggest. Joe Montana did the same. Starr called the most memorable play in football history. He didn't have to put the burden on himself, but he did because he possessed that steadfast and defiant belief in himself all leaders of men possess. If your quarterback isn't a leader of men, he's just a passer of the ball.
Shane from York, NE
Vic, I finally found your new blog and immediately began the process of reading every column on your new site. I love the conversations! You recently mentioned the Packers are more than one player away. Assuming a healthy Rodgers, how many players do you think they lack to be competitive playoff contenders and on which side of the ball are they?
"More than one player away" is a way of saying they need to improve their overall roster. Specifically, the Packers need an impact pass rusher and impact run-stuffer on defense; that's two players. On offense, they need speed and suddenness at receiver; that's one more player. Then there's the big one: Where is Aaron Rodgers in his recovery from collarbone surgery? There's a foregone conclusion among Packers fans he'll be no worse for wear, but I'm not convinced. Thirteen screws are worrisome. If Rodgers makes a full recovery, the Packers are a few players away. If he doesn't make a full recovery, there'll be no need to ask this question again.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
Vic, if I was a team picking in the mid-teens to 20's that had a settled QB situation and lots of other needs, I would be raving about every QB in the draft to anyone who would listen. The more QBs that get overdrafted, the more quality players get pushed down. Is disinformation part of the game?
Yeah, but you don't have to pump up quarterbacks; the position does it naturally. What's most important to the Packers, in my opinion, is they must be absolutely certain about their needs at quarterback, should a franchise-type quarterback be available to them. If you pass on him, it might be a long time before you get another chance to draft him.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, with 12 draft choices available to GM Vic, would you be entertaining the possibility of trading some of those picks for experienced roster depth? Standing pat? Or trading up?
GM Vic never, ever trades draft choices for veteran depth. GM Vic wants young depth. I'm not opposed to trading up. Twelve picks is actually too many.
Isaac from Nashville, TX
Vic, this might be naive, but something that's struck me over the last few years is how quickly great defenses age out. Having "The Man" keeps an offense artificially young, but these defensive juggernauts seem to rise, beat everyone up, and then recede in just a few seasons. Was it always this way?
You've made an astute observation. It wasn't that way in the '70's, for example, but it is now because today's game is unfairly tilted toward offense. The "Legion of Boom" is gone but Russell Wilson remains; that's the example. Once upon a time, defense was the constant and offense was whimsical. These days it's the reverse. It's evolution.
Matthew from Oshkosh, WI
Vic, lots of talk about the lack of aggressiveness with Clinton-Dix. Is this guy a bust or did he just get stale under Capers' system? I don't think I've seen a player fall off so hard from a Pro Bowl year in 2016 to his dismal performance in '17. No injuries were ever made public so we are left to believe it's all mental? Or maybe play-calling to blame?
Ha Ha and all of the other players on that defense will have to be accountable for their play this year because they've lost their best excuse.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Have you ever gone crabbing? I remember being a kid crabbing off a sunken boat just north of the South Carolina border.
I gave my crab trap to a neighbor. I got the shell fish allergy and crab is No. 1 on the don't-eat list. Fortunately, I can still eat shrimp. I looooove shrimp.
Blake from Normal, IL
What do you think the immediate future of the NFC North is? Do you see the Bears making noise anytime soon? Can the Vikings figure out their QB issue? Thoughts?
The Vikings are the current king of the division, and I think they'll be difficult to dislodge from their throne. I like the way they're approaching the quarterback position; I get the sense they know it remains unsettled. I think Jim Caldwell had the Lions on the rise and it was a mistake to fire him. The Packers will compete for the division title if Aaron Rodgers makes a full recovery from his collarbone injury and if the defense finds the talent it needs to become formidable. The Bears will be the surprise team next season; that's my prediction. I see big things on the horizon for the Bears.
Rich from Manitou Springs, CO
Do you think there will be a day when Major League Baseball will have a cap? I've given up watching baseball just because I feel there is never an even playing field. Smaller markets have a huge disadvantage. Imagine the NFL without a cap. Green Bay would be lost.
The Yankees, Red Sox and their big-market brethren will never do for the rest of the league what the big-market teams of the NFL have done for Green Bay. It's just not in baseball's DNA to be a leaguethink league. The luxury tax is a veiled attempt at a cap-type mechanism, but it's really just welfare for losers. It does little more than assure there will be teams to beat. Maybe that's the way it has to be, and it's because baseball depends so much on attendance revenue. That's where market size is a huge factor. Eighty-one home games create a huge gap in attendance revenue.
Rich from Rome, NY
Do you think Fred Taylor will ever get the Hall of Fame nod? Would he get the nod in Vic's heightened requirements?
It can't even be a thought until Edgerrin James is elected. Here's what I'll say about Fred: He's the most talented running back I've ever covered. He's in my Hall of Fame, first ballot.
Kyle from Green Bay, WI
You've mentioned you ride a bike. What type? Have you done a century ride, yet?
I ride an Orbea. Why? Because it was affordable. I ride for enjoyment, and an app called "Map My Run" has made riding my bike especially enjoyable. I would've hit 5,000 miles last year if I hadn't lost two months due to shoulder surgery. I finished at 4,017.4. I think my longest ride was about 25 miles. I ride daily. It adds up.
Terry from Pinehurst, NC
I was looking again at that picture of the flood waters under your home. What do you do with your vehicles?
We parked our cars in a field high enough to avoid the flood waters. You learn what to do. It becomes part of the routine.
Logan from Lino Lakes, MN
Vic, I presume you get to see pretty good metrics. Do the readers seem to be more breakfast time readers, or lunch or evening? I’ve always been curious when others read the column.
"Ask Vic" gets its biggest readership bump in the hours immediately following posting. It stays at an even pace from about early afternoon on.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, "the glove is making the catch." Are they working on something to make the tackle?
We already have something to make the tackle; they're called shoulder pads, but players have stopped wearing them. Defenders are ducking hits because they lack protection. Why aren't they wearing more protection? Because football is a passing game now. Freedom of movement is more important because defending against the pass is more important than supporting against the run. In the run-the-ball era, players wore hip pads, thigh pads, knee pads and neck collars. Football was a hips and shoulders game back then. Now it's played with the hands and feet.
Mark from Bettendorf, IA
Help me understand the effect of removing three- and four-point stances.
The head isn't involved in nearly as much contact. It's all about the head now. The CTE scare is an even greater threat to football than the flying wedge was.
Ben from Chicago, IL
Vic, how would you characterize football pre-TV money?
Every team was on its own, and some teams just didn't have owners wealthy enough to compete at the top level. Pete Rozelle negotiated a leaguewide deal with CBS in 1962, but the money was small. The big-money TV deals didn't begin until after the merger. Here's an example of the money crunch teams faced prior to the big-money TV contracts: In 1966, the Steelers drafted Dick Leftridge, a running back from West Virginia, almost solely because they could afford him. He was the third pick of the draft and his career totals are four games, eight rushing attempts and 17 yards gained. He never played for another team. Imagine a No. 3 overall pick's career ending following his rookie season. Half of the NFL was largely uncompetitive during the NFL-AFL war years of the 1960's. For those teams, financial survival was the No. 1 concern.
Jake from Milwaukee, WI
I love the idea of warm weather and being by the water, but I can't imagine not having a basement. Where do you put all your junk?
We have storage rooms under our homes. I have a big storage room I fuss over; it's my man cave. The room is vented at the bottom, to allow for water to escape after it enters. To prepare for rising waters, I move everything off the floor. The water goes in, the water goes out, and then I get the pressure washer and clean up. it's an uninsured room; insurance coverage begins with the first floor.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
Your Mt. Rushmore of all-time coaches would include Lombardi, Noll, Landry and?
Lombardi, Landry, Brown and Belichick.
Connor from Greenville, SC
A few years ago you were asked to make a team of three current NFL players and three players in the upcoming draft. You chose Andrew Luck, J.J. Watt, Richard Sherman, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson and Aaron Donald. Who would you take now?
Donald, Carson Wentz and Khalil Mack, and Sam Darnold, Bradley Chubb and Saquon Barkley.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, assuming the Packers don't draft a round one QB, who are some of the later round prospects that have your attention?
I asked Tony Pauline your question and he gave me Mason Rudolph and Mike White. Rudolph was rising in my estimation throughout the season, especially following the Texas Tech game. I began seeing him as a first-round prospect, but then he had a horrible bowl game against Virginia Tech. He was wild high and that immediately raised arm strength concerns, which always seems to be an issue for Big 12 quarterbacks coming out of those lob-ball offenses. Be that as it may, I still like him, even moreso in a later round. He's got size and he knows how to distribute the ball.
Luke from Horicon, WI
I am happy for the memories Cobb and Nelson have provided me, but it’s time to kick them to the curb. I want some young speed.
If you don't have speed, defenses won't fear your passing attack. The Packers need speed.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Who do you like to make the deepest run in the playoffs next year: Steelers, Jaguars or Packers?
I don't think the Jaguars can do it without upgrading the quarterback position. Will they? At this point, I would say the Steelers have the best shot of going deep. Ask me again after the draft.
Matt from Verona, WI
What's your take on Kirk Cousins? I can't shake the feeling his stats lie, and he's the kind of QB 8-8 teams have.
I think he's a good quarterback who's played on an average-at-best team. Surround him with talent and he might be "The Man."
Rob from Weatherby, UK
I notice your initial summary of Romo as a broadcaster was just OK, with things he needed to improve. What were your thoughts by the end of the season?
He needs to say less. He talks so much he can't avoid making ridiculous comments, and then he tries to cover his tracks, which means he's said nothing. Chatty has to be more discerning in his remarks. Say big stuff, avoid the chatter.
Dan from Plymouth, WI
How often do you get requests from people who want to just call or come visit you and have a conversation?
I get a lot of it. I have six rockers on my front porch. I wish I had 6,000 of them and I could fill them with readers who want to talk football. I love it.
Nick from Oswego, NY
Does it even matter where offenses start any more? In other words, does football still have a field position battle aspect?
Jerry from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Does all the mental and physical preparation by the athletes (for the combine) really make a difference in their draft position?
Teams go to the combine with a list of prospects they've already targeted. The combine is used to gather medical information on the players teams have targeted and to interview those players to gather information about their personality and how it might fit within the locker room and with the franchise's image. The medicals and interviews are the big things; the cone drills are not nearly as important. Boards are set before the combine; they're tweaked after the combine. I think you'll enjoy Mike Ryan's report on the information teams seek in the medical examinations.