"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, in the conventional 3-4, what's the difference in function and ideal body type between the defensive end and the nose tackle? I have an image in my mind of three two-gapping, 300-pound monsters, but I suspect I may have that wrong.
In a two-gapping 3-4, all three down linemen were probably defensive tackles in college football; they're all run-stuffers. The difference between the nose tackle and the two ends is the ends are more mobile. The ends can move and the nose tackle is immovable.
John from Topeka, KS
Vic, I read the following statement: "Bottom line, if Cousins can deliver like he did for the Redskins back in 2015 behind a re-worked offensive line, this team is a Super Bowl contender. If he can’t, a tricky future awaits the franchise." In looking at the Vikings' bottom line, they have a tricky future regardless of whether they can contend for a Super Bowl or not. Do teams and fans, like Denver recently, really feel one-and-done runs are worthwhile?
Wayne Weaver said "the Super Bowl is a powerful opiate." That's one of the reasons I think the Super Bowl is a bad goal; it's addictive and distorts our judgment.
Ryan from Bend, OR
Vic, I’ve been reading about the cap. It mostly makes sense, but dead money or dead cap has me befuddled. Can you lay it out simply?
What's so difficult to understand? You can cut the player but you can't cut what you paid him. It's like dining at a restaurant: When you stop eating, you start paying. How long can you eat?
Pat from Seneca, SC
If you had the power, how would you change the acceptable structure for player contracts? For example, if you could prevent teams from pushing dead money into future years, would you do it, or do you like the fact teams have the option to place themselves on the salary cap train track?
I think voidables should be forbidden. I'm really surprised the league hasn't shut them down. They are completely disingenuous and their sole purpose is for circumventing the spirit and the rules of the salary cap. Otherwise, I think the cap works and is fair to all. To those teams that don't mind paying the bill and seeing the franchise go dark, I say keep eating.
Jeff from Dorr, MI
Why is it the Detroit Lions have had very little success when they seemingly have drafted near the top over the years? Poor management?
Yes. There's absolutely no excuse for not putting a championship-caliber team on the field in what is a great football town, and on the heels of moving into a new stadium that was awarded a Super Bowl. With the draft position the Lions have enjoyed, a good franchise would've assembled a dominant team.
Braedon from Vestal, NY
I’m a huge Aaron Rodgers fan so I was wondering, if he were to finish his career with just the one Super Bowl (I hope not!), would he make it onto your list of top five regular season QBs?
No because he's generally played well in the postseason. He has a 99.4 passer rating and two of the games in which he statistically underperformed were games in which the Packers defense collapsed: at Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game and at Arizona in the '15 postseason. There's nothing glaring in Rodgers' postseason performance. Brett Favre threw 30 postseason interceptions; that's what I would call glaring.
Dave from Savage, MN
Were you ever approached to write a football book?
Following the Jaguars' run to the AFC title game in 1996, I was approached by a couple of representatives from a publishing company to write a book about the Jaguars' Cinderella season. After a lot of chit chat, I asked them how much they were going to pay me to write the book. They went into a long explanation about who gets the money in the book-writing business: the distributors. For example, the book store has to get a little something for the effort, if you know what I mean, for displaying the book on a shelf at eye level. OK, but how much does Vic get, I asked? Answer: Not much, unless the book sells more than 10,000 copies. I thanked them for lunch. Folks, there isn't going to be a book. This retirement version of "Ask Vic" is the "book" and it's for your enjoyment, just as I enjoy writing it for you. It's perfect. You don't have to buy it, and I don't have to pay a bookstore for displaying it at eye level.
Mark from Ventura, CA
I'm gonna work on ignoring complainers and be new today! Change is hard but this summer is dedicated to these ideas. Thanks for the words.
I was in my kayak on Saturday when I heard the unmistakable sound of a dolphin blowing out air. I turned to the right and there it was, just 10 feet from my kayak. It's always a thrill to see something so intimidating in the calm of the creek. I felt a surge of fulfillment the rest of the day. I'm going to try to hold onto that feeling. It's so much better than want.
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, I think you're confusing the career longevity concerns for Jalen Ramsey with Myles Jack? It was Jack who slid to the second round for knee concerns. Also, is there a better corner in the league than Jalen right now? If he keeps up his current pace for another 4-5 years, he could be on track to be a Hall of Famer, in my opinion. I don't get the sense the Jaguars think he's as big of a distraction as outsiders do. Thoughts?
Ramsey underwent microfracture surgery in high school. Yes, he might be the best corner in the league right now, but microfracture surgery is a daunting procedure that usually portends a shortened career. I think the Jaguars have to consider that fact in whatever plans they make for retaining Ramsey.
Ed from Des Plaines, IL
I listened to an interview with Joe Namath. I was born in 1964 and only remember the end of his career with the Rams. Did you have the opportunity to see him play in his prime? Did you ever have a chance to meet and talk with the man? I didn't know until the other day he was from Western Pennsylvania. Is there something in the water?
Yes, I saw him play. My lasting memory of Namath is from when he played high school football. Where I grew up, a team had to finish the season undefeated and untied to win the league title. If there was no such team, there was no champion that year. Namath's team was the only undefeated, untied team that season, so it won the league title without having to play a championship game. All these years later, it still bothers me.
Mike from Columbus, GA
Each time a replay looks at several angles, especially for breaking the plane, I am reminded of a picture I saw at a dog track. If you stand to the left, dog No. 1 is the winner. If you stand to the right, dog No. 3 is the winner. The actual winner is dog No. 2, if you are standing on the line. Replay will never have the perfect angle, especially on pass interference.
Replay is good for the game but bad for us.
Todd from Prairie du Chien, WI
What assistant coach you've worked with most impressed you as a guy who best communicated with players and how did he go about his day's work?
Dick Hoak is the best position coach I covered, and it's because he never wanted to be anything but what he was. He spent his entire career as the Steelers' running backs coach. He turned down a head job in the USFL and declined an offensive coordinator position in the NFL. His players never had to deal with the distraction that accompanies a position coach's upward mobility. He was their guy and it created calm at their position. On the day Frank Pollard was playing his final game, after Chuck Noll had taken Pollard out of the game to the appreciative cheers of the crowd, Hoak alerted Noll to the fact Pollard only needed a few more yards to move up the list of all-time Steelers rushing leaders. Noll put Pollard back in the game. Hoak is the player Pollard passed on the rushing list.