"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Blake from Wausau, WI
Sorry to hear the news about Notre Dame. Embarrassingly, I didn't know the school was named after the cathedral. Not a Catholic, but I feel like I should have known that.
Where are the flying water tankers when you need them?
Kevin from Silverdale, WA
Two opening division games again and six home games before mid-November. Can't say I'm a fan of this schedule at all.
It's a formula for a fast start. Why wouldn't you like that kind of schedule for a team with a new coach? It's the first four games that jump out at me. Three of them are at home. It says the Packers need to be good early but, if they are good early, they could explode out of the blocks. Teams with new coaches tend to have a lot of energy coming out of training camp.
Nate from Pueblo, CO
I used to work at an airport as one of the ground crew. I was stunned when I found out some safety concerns could be overlooked as long as they weren’t combined with other safety concerns. When it comes to player attributes, do you think it’s similar? I remember Gutekunst saying he can accept fewer bench reps for guys with longer arms.
Speed trumps all; it's all-forgiving. If you can run faster than everyone else, somebody will find a place for you on their roster, even if you have a record of violence against women and children.
Dan from Green Bay, WI
Vic, Bradshaw and Brady seem to get plenty of credit for all the rings and are considered elite because of those rings. Why isn't Bart Starr equally revered? The man lost his first playoff game and then never lost again, yet, all we ever hear about is Johnny U. What am I missing?
It's the body of work (stats); it's weak. He never threw for 2,500 yards in a season and only threw for 2,000 or more yards five times in his career. Unitas topped the 2,000-yard mark 13 times and 3,000 yards three times. He put up numbers that became the standard for seven decades. Nobody respects Starr more than I do. He was one of the greatest postseason quarterbacks ever. He was Mr. Crunch Time. I will always be in awe of him going to the sideline and telling Lombardi what play should be run with everything on the line in the "Ice Bowl." How many quarterbacks possess that kind of command? There's a special place in football history for Starr. I call it the Hall of Winners.
William from Farmingdale, NY
Who do you consider to be the greatest golfer of all time? There's a solid case for Nicklaus, Tiger, Snead and Palmer. I'm sure there are a few more names worthy of mention that I may not be aware of, but give me Nicklaus any day of the week teeing off against anyone.
It's Nicklaus. He has the wins and he played against the best competition any golfer has faced: Palmer, Player, Trevino, Watson and more. It was the golden age of golf and Nicklaus defined it.
Steve from Racine, WI
So why not put the play-calling back in the quarterback's hands?
Coaches would tell you the sub packages have become too specialized for quarterbacks to call their own plays. There are so many people running off and onto the field it requires coaches to process the information and react accordingly. In the '70's, when it was common for quarterbacks to call their own plays, sub packages were limited to a third wide receiver and an extra defensive back coming onto the field. The chess game football has become didn't begin until after the rules changes of 1978, when scheme-conscious coaches such as Walsh and Coryell saw what could be done by casting players in specialized roles. Be that as it may, I believe the great quarterbacks of today could call their own plays without a decline in efficiency, but I think they would need help from the sideline in processing the personnel changes. Bradshaw? When in doubt, go deep.
Andy from New York, NY
What was it about Lynn Swann's game that made him the best you ever covered? You've seen some greats over the years.
He was a unique combination of Baryshnikov and Bednarik. He was trained in ballet but he went over the middle with the fearlessness of a waist gunner. Swann's appearance to perform ballet on "Mr. Rogers" angered football purists who viewed it as being too soft for their tastes. The same guy who performed on "Mr. Rogers" was carried from the field unconscious by Joe Greene, was wheeled on a stretcher out of the locker room after the game, eyes closed and still in a semi-conscious state, but two weeks later was the MVP of Super Bowl X. I wonder what the concussion protocol would say about that.
Bob from Kennesaw, GA
With reasonable drafting, how long does a complete rebuild take?
Four years, if you get "The Man." The Rams underwent a complete rebuild, and they got "The Man" and Aaron Donald.
Gil from Lexington, NC
Vic, did you ever get the opportunity to interview Forrest Gregg? I'm hoping you might have from your time covering the Steelers when he was coaching the Bengals.
I interviewed him in conference calls when he was the coach of the Bengals, and I interviewed him in person in Canton, Ohio, when I was there to cover Dave Robinson's Hall of Fame induction. Gregg was always a cooperative interview. He was a great player and an ambassador of the game.
David from Washington, DC
When we will be able to get a feel for what sort of coach LaFleur is? First signs of adversity? Ability to focus team? When he calls spider 2-y banana?
I can remember asking myself the same question of Bill Cowher. The answer came during a moment in training camp, when he stopped practice to huddle his players and show them his jaw for what he thought was a poor practice effort, and during the first game of his coaching career. The Steelers were trailing early in Houston. They were in danger of falling way behind. Cowher called a fake punt, which the punter converted into a first down that began a game-winning rally. With that play, the Cowher era of Steelers football began. What will it be with LaFleur? We'll have to wait and see.
Nick from Owego, NY
What are your predictions for the Raiders next year? Will they turn it around?
The trade for Antonio Brown is either going to save Derek Carr's career with the Raiders, or end it. Brown is really going off the wall with his need for attention. Gruden is facing a major challenge. I like the way the Raiders are positioned. I'm not sure they needed Brown. I agree with Jack Del Rio.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
How do you handle a situation that is completely out of your control, yet, will affect you greatly?
You prepare for its potential consequences. Coaches do it all the time.
Mike from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, I’ve always liked your “defining postseason moment” requisite for the Hall of Fame. Jerry Kramer obviously had one, but I’m having a hard time thinking of many defining postseason moments for other linemen. What is one you like a casual fan might not know about?
You have to look at the high-profile one-on-ones. Mike Webster had his moments against Randy White. Tony Boselli had his against Bruce Smith.
Nick from Arvada, CA
What are some of the biggest ways the game has changed since Tom Brady played his first meaningful snaps in the 2001 season?
The major emphasis on the chuck rule and the protections being afforded quarterbacks and receivers have changed the game. It's never been easier to complete a pass.