"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Jim from Huntertown, IN
Vic, I read an article that stated Aaron Rodgers is already pushing for more freedom within the new offense Matt LaFleur runs, even though his style of offense doesn’t allow much room for quarterback adjustment. Do you think this could be something that sours the milk, so to speak, going forward?
It could be the first big test LaFleur faces as coach. In my opinion, LaFleur has to find a way to reel in Rodgers or risk this mania for play-calling poisoning training camp. LaFleur has to send the message the Packers will win with players, not plays, and that he has a plan and Rodgers will be expected to play within that plan. This must not be allowed to become the No. 1 media topic of the summer.
Steve from Hudson, WI
The Packers hype train is chugging along pretty strong at the moment. I just read a power rankings placing them fourth in the league. How over-hyped is this? Is it reasonable to think a first-year coach can take a team deep into the playoffs? I'm just wondering if it's safe to buy a ticket for that train.
Why do you do this to yourself?
Nick from Owego, NY
Ryan Fitzpatrick is an enigma to me. He must be good since he's survived in the league for so long. Yet, he also can't be that good as he is constantly changing teams. Can you elaborate on his strengths and weaknesses?
His strength is he makes plays. His weakness is he has to force passes to make plays, and that often results in making bad plays. The good ones make it look easy. Fitzpatrick makes it look difficult.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
I read a headline proclaiming Max Scherzer passes Warren Spahn and Bob Feller in strikeouts. Good for Max. however, there was no mention of Spahn serving four years in World War II or Bob Feller also losing time, being the first high-profile American athlete to enlist after Pearl Harbor. Do you have any examples of great NFL players who would have achieved greater fame/statistics if not for their service time?
Chuck Bednarik followed a unique path to football fame. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces following graduation from high school, and then attended Penn after the war and later became the first pick of the 1949 NFL draft. The military was full of football players during the war. It was difficult for the NFL to find players to fill a roster during the war years, which left the Steelers to merge with the Eagles (Steagles) and Cardinals (Card-Pitt) for the 1943 and '44 seasons respectively. Baseball was the national pastime and its players stole the headlines -- Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial played in an Army League. What would Bednarik, Williams, DiMaggio and Musial have achieved if you could put a couple of more years onto their pro careers?
Glen from New York City
Lombardi said, "The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall." I'm a lontime Packers fan, however, I thought the St. Louis Blues hockey team displayed in their Stanley Cup play this philosophy to a tee. Were you aware of their rise from worst team in the league (after 45 percent played schedule) to Stanley Cup champions?
Kevin from Whitehall, WI
In a recent column, you wrote, “The Internet has made it easier to become a sports writer, but more difficult to make it a career. I see a lot of hobby writers and part-timers. The day of full-time reporters with medical plans and pension funds is largely gone.” This is truly a sad reality of what the Internet and social media has become. Are we experiencing the end of true journalism?
What we've experienced is the end of day-old journalism. The Internet is immediate. Instead of sitting on a story until the next press run, the story posts on the Internet and within a few hours reactions and rebuttals are posting. What was once a week-long story now runs its course in one news cycle. As a reporter, I like that kind of power. I think it's a good thing, provided it's used responsibly. The reader is in control. Read the sites that use the power of the Internet responsibly; reject the ones that don't.
Brett from Hoboken, NJ
Another disappointing weekend for Rickie Fowler at Pebble. He is always in the mix, which helps, but will he ever actually finish one off? I always root for him, but something just seems to be missing.
The U.S. Open is an endurance test. It's about avoiding meltdowns. Phil Mickelson hasn't won a U.S. Open because he's wasted too many strokes on wayward shots and missed short putts; his losses at Winged Foot and Shinnecock are perfect examples. Fowler has some of that in him. He was never the same following his wayward approach shot at No. 18 last Saturday. It's ridiculous for a golfer of his talent to pull a short iron into the ocean on a par five. Mickelson has sadly wasted a big chunk of his career on careless/reckless play. Fowler is young enough to change his ways. I have a feeling his water ball at 18 will serve as a wake up call.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Vic, what are your thoughts regarding the large Lombardi replica trophy at Lambeau? My July, 2015 first-time pilgrimage to Lambeau was exciting and rewarding in many ways, but I thought that item was a bit much.
I see nothing wrong with it. It's a marketing tool. It's for the fans, but that's where it has to stop. The past won't win games in the present. Too much celebration of the past can even become a burden to players.