"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, how much stock have you put into the Senior Bowl? In a draft in which Jacksonville needs to find a young signal-caller, all showed noticeable rawness or deficiencies there. Guys like Will Grier passed the eye test in games and could hit the windows, but he looked awful in the Senior Bowl game.
I attach great importance to the Senior Bowl practices, but not a lot to the game. Why? Because the practices are controlled and geared to identify players' talents as they pertain directly to what they will have to do to succeed on the NFL level. One-on-one pass-rush drills are the perfect example. That's where Aaron Donald became a sensation. He sent the Outland Trophy runnerup through the air, dominated center Weston Richburg and put on such an overpowering show in the drill through three days of practices it left Zach Martin to kiss Donald on the top of the head following the final rep of the drill. In all the years I had covered the Senior Bowl, it's the only time I can remember a drill ending on a Wednesday with applause from the scouts' side of the field. In contrast, a defensive lineman might get a sack in the game due to a blown assignment. In my mind, that sack means nothing. Quarterback? Derek Carr's stock rose dramatically following a post-practice red-zone performance Carr's agent arranged. It was evidence Carr could make all of the throws. The Senior Bowl has been a sensational event for a lot of years. Even in these times when top players are opting not to participate in the all-star games, the Senior Bowl is still turning prospects' arrows up and down. It's the standard by which all-star forums are measured.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
Which Super Bowl game is your favorite?
It's Super Bowl XIII and it's because of the great collection of talent on the field: Bradshaw and Staubach; Franco and Dorsett; Swann and Stallworth, and Hill and Pearson; Greene and Greenwood, and Harvey Martin and Too Tall; Randy White and Lambert; Blount and Benny Barnes; Ham and Hollywood; Webster and Rayfield Wright. Fourteen Hall of Famers (Tony Dungy was a reserve) played in that game. Both head coaches would be inducted and Hall of Famers Mike Ditka and Ernie Stautner were Cowboys assistant coaches. It's the greatest collection of talent on one field I have ever observed, and it was a great game.
David from New York, NY
I just had a discussion with somebody who referred to Peyton Manning as the first-ever modern quarterback. It really seems like Peyton managed his public image better than most, and that his legacy is outsized from that. Are there any other players you can think of that have an outsized legacy due to public perception?
Johnny Unitas invented the game Manning played. That's not a public perception, that's a fact. Outsized legacy? Butkus might be the greatest middle linebacker ever, but he was just as accomplished at managing his image. The "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" comment about the rolling head was sheer marketing genius. Frenchy Fuqua has done pretty well with his answer-in-the-envelope routine. I see nothing wrong with it, especially in those days, when guys were underpaid and had to find ways to supplement their football salaries. What has "Instant Replay" been worth to Jerry Kramer? Good for him.
J.P. from Jacksonville, FL
You've spoken repeatedly about the need to get a QB ("The Man"). I agree. If you're the Jaguars, or any other team that needs "The Man," would you be willing to use two of your top three picks on a QB? Suppose the Jags are able to take Dwayne Haskins in the first and someone like Drew Lock, Will Grier or another highly-ranked QB is available in the second. Do you use both picks to increase your chances of getting the right player?
First of all, let's wait to see what the Jaguars do about Nick Foles or Joe Flacco. If they trade for either of those two quarterbacks, the scenario you've presented will likely be impossible. If the Jaguars don't trade or otherwise acquire a veteran quarterback, they'll have to rebuild the position in the draft and I wouldn't be opposed to drafting two quarterbacks, but not in each of the first two rounds. If you pick a guy No. 7 overall, you have to believe he's your quarterback of the future or you shouldn't have picked him that high. Quarterback is different from all other positions. It needs to be uniquely managed.
Brett from Marietta, GA
Are you going to share any of Tony Pauline's insights on the prospects from the Senior Bowl?
I asked Tony what players he liked in Mobile. He gave me: quarterback Jarrett Stidham, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, offensive tackles Andre Dillard and Tytus Howard, defensive linemen Khalen Saunders and Renell Wren, and linebacker Terrill Hanks.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
If NFL coaches really thought overtime was unfair and the outcome was dependent on a coin flip, wouldn't they just go for the win in regulation?
If they have a top defense, no. If they have a weak defense, they have to decide if they feel lucky. Maybe they should flip a coin to determine whether they should flip a coin.
Graeme from Scotland
Dear Vic, today (25 January) is a sad day here in Scotland because we have lost a legendary sportswriter, Hugh McIlvanney. I'm not sure if Hugh's writing across a wide array of sports ever made its way to the U.S., or if you ever had a chance to read any of his work, but as I read some of the tributes this morning, his approach to writing made me think of you. As a fan of your work since I discovered it on packers.com, I think Hugh's way of illuminating the human aspects of sport -- the conflict, the triumph and the tragedy -- might appeal to you.
McIlvanney wrote with flair and drama. He wrote of power and pathos, of daring and defeat, of warmth and woe, and it's no coincidence he was at his best when he was writing about boxing, a sport of pure human confrontation. His work is for those who prefer prose to technical analysis. Language was McIlvanney's all-22. He was a sportswriter for those who enjoy a well-turned phrase. Each of their ranks are shrinking.
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
Now that the season is over for the Saints and the Packers, did the passing on drafting Marcus Davenport hurt the Packers as passing on T.J. Watt did?
The Packers won the trade with the Saints because they favored value. It defeats need.
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
Vic, can you think of any big, historic games in the past that could have had a different outcome if today's technology was available then?
The 1977 AFC title game immediately comes to mind. Replay showed Rob Lytle fumbled and the Raiders had recovered. Replay would've reversed the call, the Broncos would not have scored on the next play, and the Raiders would've gone to the Super Bowl, not the Broncos.
Steven from Montclair, NJ
After last year's Super Bowl, you said that was the beginning of Tom Brady's decline. How do you explain his recent success and arguably one of his best postseasons?
I saw signs of decline through the 2018 season, and statistically it was not among his best years. Statistically, he wasn't at his best in the win over the Chiefs, either. He's the best crunch-time quarterback I have ever seen. That much hasn't changed, and that's why he's in the big game, again.
Will from Salt Lake City, UT
Who is one current and past player you would have really liked to see win a Super Bowl and why? Mine would be Dan Marino for all of the records he set, and Larry Fitzgerald for what a great talent and great guy he is.
Ken Anderson. Current? I don't think like that. Just play the games. I like to watch.
Brian from Iron Mountain, MI
If Brady had been the Packers’ quarterback the past season, they would have made the postseason, right?
The Packers did not have a postseason-worthy team in 2018. I don't think Brady would've made the difference.
John from Denver, CO
Vic, in response to the question about the Packers bundling their first-round picks to move up, you said, "Two good players are better than one." I know there's no clear answer to this, but is one great player better than two good players?
Nathan from San Diego, CA
What do you think the landscape of professional sports will look like in a couple of decades?
Attendance will have declined and TV ratings will have increased. As a result, stadiums will be smaller. Football will bear little resemblance to what we're watching now, which bears little resemblance to what we watched two decades ago. Gambling will be the fans' focus.
Burt from Iconto Falls, WI
We have some big-dollar contract decisions to make this offseason. What does GM Vic do about Jimmy Graham, Randall Cobb, Clay Mathews and Nick Perry?
A new coach is a perfect time to become all new. If you're going to do it, do it now.
Justin from Canton, NC
This Rams team could get to Brady with four and cover with seven. Wasn't that what did Brady in against the Giants both times?
In my mind, it's all about Aaron Donald. Belichick's reputation is for taking away the opponent's best player. That's Donald.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what is your favorite Super Bowl memory?
It's from Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl. I was at my position in the press box when I instantly recognized the man sitting down next to me. It was Robert Walden of the "Lou Grant" TV show, my favorite. Walden stuck out his hand and introduced himself. I said "I know who you are. What are you doing here?" He explained he was there to observe the media so it would help him in his reporter's role on "Lou Grant." I laughed. "Why are you laughing?" he said. "There's nothing to observe," I said, and then explained the whole no-cheering-in-the-press-box thing. He had a look of disbelief on his face, but he later admitted, "You're right. You guys are boring."