Mark from Madison, WI
Where do you stand on centers?
An accomplished center is of critical importance to the running game and success against 3-4 defenses. If you're playing in a division with a butt-kicking nose tackle, you better have a butt-kicking center or you've got a big problem.
Bill from West Chester, PA
Vic, Green Bay has had many busts on first-round picks the past 10 years. I think the Packers should identify the top 50 players in the league, excluding QB, and go to the teams those players play for and offer the first-round pick they got from New Orleans for that player. To me, a proven, top-quality NFL player is worth more than a first-round crapshoot. Your thoughts?
Players, not plays, and picks, not players.
Rich from York, PA
Vic, do you think Kordell Stewart could have been taught to be a more proficient passer?
I think Stewart and the Steelers made a big mistake in changing his role from a "Slash" to an every-down quarterback. Stewart should've never insisted on being a quarterback. He was unique. He was the first of a kind and nobody was as good at it. He might've become the greatest big-play receiver in Steelers history. He also might've become the greatest big-play rusher in Steelers history. His combined run, pass, catch ability is the greatest of any player I've ever seen. It was Bill Cowher's greatest display of coaching genius to make Stewart a "Slash" in his rookie season. If he had been retained in that role, the Steelers could've patched in an ordinary every-down quarterback and made Stewart the centerpiece of what would've been the most unique and intriguing offense in the league. I fault the Steelers for not persuading Stewart to accept that role.
Jimmy from Vero Beach, FL
Would a pitch clock (similar to a basketball shot clock) help speed up the game of baseball? Watching the pitcher hold the ball for long stretches is the epitome of boring.
I'd like to see what would happen if one ball was eliminated from the game: Three balls and you walk. How would that speed up the game? Might that force pitchers to nibble at the corners and waste pitches up and in less often, and might that create more action in the game? What if baseball experimented with three balls you walk in spring training, or in a minor league? Why does baseball have to be so stubborn to change? Vic to baseball: Do something. You're dying!
David from Boise, ID
Vic, did the Packers' less-than-satisfactory performance last year warrant the organizational changes?
Time demands change. It was time for the Packers to be new. They had gotten old on many fronts.
Dave from Rochester, MN
Vic, what are your thoughts on the Packers' structure for management? Murphy is the clear head of the organization, with Gutekunst, McCarthy and Ball in a triumvirate beneath Murphy.
In my opinion, football had created a cozy, self-protective fiefdom that needed to be penetrated by management. In other words, the walls needed to come down. I think that's happened and if Mark Murphy is the leader of this movement, the Packers' future is in good hands. Murphy is one of the most impressive football men I've ever known.
Ben from El Paso, TX
What were the results of the survey?
Five days a week is the clear winner, but there is strong sentiment for three days a week during the offseason. I'm thinking of this: Three days a week until about midseason, then go to five until after the season is over, and then go back to three a week in the offseason.
David from San Francisco, CA
Vic, how can we evolve this site to take questions from fans of every team and not so heavily tilted towards the Packers? I love my team but I want to recommend your site to my friends.
The survey confirmed most of my readers are Packers fans, but I was surprised by how many "NFL in general" results I received. How does the column evolve? That's up to the readers. I don't ask the questions, I just answer them. That's why I say the readers write the column.
Nathan from San Diego, CA
Vic, I recently read an interview with Coach McCarthy in which he was echoing your opinion about the decline in the quality of the first few regular season games. He said he was trying to address this by giving younger players more opportunities, which he is doing by excusing vets from mini-camps. Do you think this is an effective approach?
I think McCarthy was using the decline-in-quality issue to tell you what he's going to do in the preseason: Rest his starters. In other words, the decline in the quality of play in the first few games of the regular season is just something we have to accept because risking injury to frontline players is something McCarthy won't accept.
Todd from Milwaukee, WI
Where does free agency fit on the scale of what's depersonalized football? It's about the money, as you say. If it's not personal for the players, why should the fans feel a personal loyalty to the individual and their confrontation, rather than to the team? It's all gotten to be so mercenary, it's discouraging.
It's always been about the money. Why did Jim Taylor finish his career with the Saints? Any fans who think money isn't the driving force of professional football are either naive or intentionally deceiving themselves. Frankly, I think pro football's mercenary quality is its charm. It's play for pay. It's a cold and harsh philosophy, and something about it warms me.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, as football has grown in popularity, how would you characterize the change in the fan base? When it was a niche sport, was there more of a connect between fans and the reality of the game? I dislike fantasy because there are no points given for things that matter in the game of football (blocking and winning), and the focus on stats over the game really distracts fans from the essence of football.
Fantasy football, video games, jersey sales, etc., are all part of a leaguewide marketing approach that has transformed football from a regional to a national sport. TV, of course, has played the biggest part in this. I think the creation of Monday Night Football is a perfect example of the movement toward creating fans across team lines; the entire country watching one game. When I was a kid, I saw the Steelers and the Colts; that's all we saw in the two-team network that was Pittsburgh-Baltimore. Pete Rozelle negotiated a leaguewide deal with CBS and the national movement was on. That's the major change in the fan base. We are as familiar with other teams' players as we are with those of the team in our own market. It's all part of Rozelle's leaguethink approach, and fantasy football has taken it to levels not even Rozelle could envision.
Josh from Tucson, AZ
What are your thoughts on the crowds at the U.S. Open? It is to the point where I have to mute the TV because the constant "get in the hole" after every drive, amongst other stupid phrases, gets tiresome after the first half hour. Give me tinny music and azaleas in the spring; at least the Masters will boot folks who insist on acting foolish for the benefit of being heard on camera.
TV created this problem and I think TV has an obligation to fix it.
Matt from Iowa
If you could build an offense/defense with players from the Steelers, Packers and Jags from the years you covered those teams, who would be the starters?
Tackles--Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy; guards--T.J. Lang and Gerry Mullins; center--Mike Webster; receivers--John Stallworth, Lynn Swann and Jimmie Smith/Keenan McCardell (tie); quarterback--Aaron Rodgers; running backs--Franco Harris and Fred Taylor.
Defensive linemen--Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes, L.C. Greenwood and Tony Brackens; linebackers--Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and Clay Matthews; cornerbacks--Mel Blount and Rod Woodson; safeties--Charles Woodson and Donnie Shell.
Mike from Dacula, GA
I went to college in Charleston and have vacationed every summer in Hilton Head, while growing up in the Green Bay Area. Just got back from a week down at the beach with my wife and daughters. After many trips over the years, I am still in awe at the serenity, charm and natural beauty of the SC low country. My favorite (and the kids, too) is spotting alligators around the many lagoons and ponds. The primitive look of them has captivated me since I was a kid. I’m curious as to what attracts you the most to the sea islands of the SC low country?
People like you.
Dave from Savage, MN
You have written you don't plan to ever write a book, fiction or non-fiction. If you wrote a novel, do you have a theme or a premise or a setting or a character or a style you would start with?
If I wrote a book, it would be about me, not because I want others to read it, but because I'd want to read it. I think it's important for everyone to read about themselves, which is a way of saying examine ourselves. Football would be the biggest part of what I'd write about myself. It's dominated my life, and maybe that's not such a good thing.