"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Matt from Hazelhurst, WI
Vic, what do you think of Green Bay's "Family Night" tradition?
I think it's a good way to launch a new season. It's fun, it's affordable and it's carefree. It gets the juices flowing. I think every franchise needs something to restart its engine. During the Noll years in Pittsburgh, it was the Oklahoma drill.
Tanner from Reidsville, WI
I read an article stating the Hall of Fame is thinking of letting 20 people in for 2020. One of their reasonings is some people on the all-decade teams are still not in the HOF. Do you think everyone one on the all-decade teams should be in the HOF?
The main reason for inducting more players into the Hall of Fame is it'll bring more fans to the Hall of Fame. The NFL's philosophy for increasing the popularity of the Hall of Fame is different from mine. The NFL believes in growing the Hall of Fame by putting people in; I believe it'll soon reach the point of saturation and eventually irrelevance if it doesn't begin keeping people out. In my opinion, it's going to become the Pro Bowl. To answer your question more directly, the Hall of Fame isn't about decades, it's about all time.
Steve from Hudson, WI
My team's uniforms are really ugly. Can you do something to fix that?
You can't possibly be talking about the Packers. Their uniforms are historically distinct and, therefore, beautiful. I think of the stripes on those sleeves as Lombardi stripes. They're more meaningful than they are decorative.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
How might the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s decision to have an expanded class for the centennial NFL season affect Fred Taylor’s chances of someday being a Hall of Famer? Could clearing some of the current logjam bring him more into the conversation further down the line? What do you think it does for Tony Boselli’s chances of finally getting elected?
I think one of the two, not both, is going to make it in. I think Tony has the best chance because for a short period of time he was the best player in the league at his position. Fred's problem is he played a position at which success is measured statistically, and he's going to lose that battle to players such as Frank Gore, and there are a lot of them and more are on the way. By the way, Edgerrin James is an all-decade player not in the Hall of Fame. As it stands, Fred might be the most underrated player in the history of football. I mentioned legendary Steelers running backs coach Dick Hoak in my previous column. There's no voice on the running back position I respect more than Hoak's and he thought Taylor was sensational.
Cliff from Washington, DC
Vic, what's the best book you've read recently?
I recently finished "Gettysburg," by Stephen Sears. It's the best history on Gettysburg and the Lee strategy for peace I've ever read. It's given me an understanding of the how and why I never previously had, especially how Lee was able to flee Gettysburg through the mountains. Now I've begun Sears' "Chancellorsville," which is an even more celebrated work.
Dave from Wisconsin
Has the league ever considered state income tax rates and cost of living in the salary cap calculation? A million dollars in New York or California is a lot less than $1 million in Texas or Florida.
I don't know of an attempt to even the tax-rate, cost-of-living field, but I can tell you it's a big deal in free agency. If a team in Florida is competing for a free agent with a team from a seven percent tax state, the team in Florida is getting a seven percent advantage.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
What's the fastest time you've clocked in your kayak?
It's not about speed, it's about tide. I kayak on my tidal creek to and from a place where the creek meets the sea. It's called Jeremy Inlet. I usually schedule the trip so it begins and ends while the tide is coming in. On a day of a strong northeast wind, I'll have to paddle my ears off going out, but that'll allow me to sit back in the kayak and enjoy the sights and sounds as I drift home. Those are the best days. The calm and the quiet allow me to hear something as faint as fiddler crabs scurrying up the banks of pluff mud. This is a time of reflection in my life. If you've lived well, the past is a great place to visit. The kayak takes me there.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
Vic, in Monday's column you stated "voidables should be forbidden." Could you elaborate on that?
A four-year contract that voids after two years is, in my opinion, a two-year contract and should be capped as such. The players would have to agree to a change in the CBA for voidables to be disallowed.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL
How good could Tavian Banks have been? What a pick by Coughlin.
He was on his way to becoming a star. Banks is an example of why a team should take its foot off the gas when it has a big lead.
Patrick from Ashland, WI
I encouraged my son to play football because as a high school baseball coach I have seen how much it has benefited athletes across all sports. Now, he is a triple option starting quarterback as a junior and I've tried to explain to my wife (not from an athletic family) how many shots he is gonna take and she better be ready. He is all in and a great leader. Her worries have her mad at me. Probably a normal question but any paranormal advice?
I get this kind of question often. So when did mothers become such a strong voice in these matters? When I needed a parent to sign my football participation form, I went to my father, not to my mother. When I broke my leg and permission was in doubt the following year, the coach came to my house to talk to my father; I don't remember my mother being present. This is a father and son matter, and that's a bond a mother should respect and promote.
Rob from Muskego, WI
If the Packers offense this year puts up significantly better numbers than last year, is there a way to spot whether it was player improvement vs. scheming to fit the players' talents better?
They're the same thing. When a coach schemes personnel, he uses his players according to how his plays will best utilize his players' talents. Aaron Jones is an example. Mike McCarthy used Jones effectively. Unfortunately, we'll never know what plans McCarthy had for expanding Jones' role. Let's see what Matt LaFleur does with Jones. It might give us an indication of LaFleur's effectiveness in scheming personnel. Scheme schemes? Those kinds of coaches don't last long.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
How did the Steelers scheme for the running game and line play in the '70's come about? I remember their linemen had different attributes than most in the league and they ran a lot of traps.
Chuck Noll was a messenger guard on Paul Brown's Cleveland teams, and Chuck was a big believer in pulling and trapping. He liked offensive linemen who could move and tended to draft that type of player, which meant drafting undersized guys. It wasn't until late in Chuck's career he drafted an offensive lineman in the first round. He would draft a player such as Gerry Mullins, an undersized tight end at USC, and make him a guard. Mike Webster was an undersized center. Larry Brown moved from tight end to tackle. Carlton Haselrig was converted from nose tackle to guard. Chuck was a genius when it came to offensive line play, and a big part of his genius was spotting a prospect's ability to succeed in his system. Haselrig might be the best example. He didn't play college football; he was a wrestler. I don't think the game passed Chuck by, I just think he saw it was changing in ways he didn't like. He made a point of saying he didn't want to coach a game that had a "graduating class," which was his way of describing free agency. He was a teacher and he didn't want to teach other teams' players. Also, I think he would've hated zone blocking.
Levy from Milwaukee, WI
In your opinion, is LeRoy Butler worthy of Hall of Fame consideration?
I guess we're going to find out, right?
Kirsten from Madison, WI
How often do you think a QB should be allowed to change the play a coach has called?
In my opinion, it should be limited to those times when the look a quarterback gets at the line of scrimmage is all wrong for the play that's been called. Otherwise, the quarterback should run what the coach has called because the coach isn't calling plays, he's calling a game plan.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What do you think about the women's soccer team player acting as though she was sipping tea?
I think it's distasteful behavior, especially since it was on an international stage.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
What does the Fourth of July mean to you?
It means I can write this column with freedom of speech. We live in a wonderful place. This is a meaningful holiday. All Americans share in its meaning.