Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, you offered the Packers' success will come at the heels of their addiction to Aaron Rodgers. Is Joe Philbin the guy to do that? From 2007-2010, the offense was known to have a late-season running game surge.
Generally speaking, cold-weather (outdoor stadium) teams turn harder to their running game late in the season. The 2014 Packers, the best Packers team I covered, had a dominant running game late in the season. It's what Mike McCarthy wants. Focus on Coach McCarthy. It's his team. He calls the shots.
Adam from Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Vic, what are your thoughts on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on sports gambling?
Gambling is an opioids-like threat to our culture. If allowed to operate without regulation, gambling will collapse wagerable athletics and create a devastating subculture. The Supreme Court got this one wrong.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, one thing you didn't mention in your assessment of Capers' tenure: inside linebackers. When I think of really successful 3-4 units from the last few years, they always had one or two top-flight ILBs. I think Capers had some decent players at that position in Green Bay, but never better than decent. Am I reading that right?
I think you are. Most pundits would tell you inside linebacker is a two-down, grunt position -- the outside linebackers are the true stars of the 3-4 defense -- but here are some of the names of inside linebackers I've covered: Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown and Hardy Nickerson. Ryan Shazier played inside linebacker in a 3-4; so did Ray Lewis. The Packers' inside linebackers have been the two-down type. They couldn't rush or cover and, frankly, I didn't think they were all that good against the run, either. The team didn't value that position enough to address it -- other than A.J. Hawk -- which I thought was a mistake because low in the draft order is where you find the good inside guys. You can even find them affordably in free agency. James Farrior was a free agency bargain. In my mind, if you're going to play a two-gapping, 3-4 defense, you can't stop the run without top inside linebackers, as the Steelers proved late last season after Shazier was lost to injury. And if you can't stop the run against the Vikings, you won't have to worry about stopping the pass because Mike Zimmer won't stop running it. The Packers need to get better inside.
John from Peoria, IL
Vic, I need some help. A restaurant in my burg offers southern cuisine with which I'm not too familiar. I see they sell shrimp and grits. Got any advice on how I should order that particular plate?
It's simple. You get shrimp, and you get grits underneath it. The only thing I would suggest is ask if you have to peel the shrimp. If they come peeled, don't order it.
Bob from Mystic (wherever that is)
"Ask Vic" is the most credible news site of any I follow. Thank you for this gift.
"Ask Vic's" greatness is great.
David from Hilliard, OH
Vic, love your takes on the Packers' upcoming season and the Rodgers addiction analogy. My question is about the recent passing of Chuck Knox. He was always one of my favorite head coaches in the league. Did you ever have any contact with him? Any stories to share?
Coach Knox is from Sewickley, Pa., a town just outside Pittsburgh. He'd chastise his players with "That's sixth-grade Sewickley." Coach Knox liked to run the ball, and I like coaches who like to run the ball. What I came to find out is Coach Knox also liked a little gamesmanship. It goes back to training camp 1978, when Coach Knox traded a tight end named Paul Seymour to the Steelers for wide receiver Frank Lewis. Seymour flunked his Steelers physical -- fallen arches -- and the Steelers tried to return Seymour to Buffalo and nix the trade, but Coach Knox claimed the trade was not contingent on Seymour passing his physical -- Coach Noll claimed it was an unwritten rule all players had to pass a physical to finalize a trade -- so Coach Knox refused to return Lewis to the Steelers. It was good writing. A little gamesmanship is always appreciated. The two teams opened the season against each other in Buffalo. Thank you for the memory, Coach Knox.
Omar from Morelia, Mexico
During your time in Jacksonville, did you ever have any exotic visitors in your yard, like gigantic alligators?
I owned a house in Jacksonville Beach that included a retention pond on the property. I got a phone call in the press box from my wife, who said we had an alligator in the pond next to the house. We were in the process of selling the house and closing on another one, and I told her to call Bubba (the licensed alligator hunter) and get him to get that alligator out of the pond. The house closing was a few days later and Bubba had yet to arrive. When the deal was done, I asked the closing attorney, "Is this over?" He assured me it was and the house now belonged to the new owner. I said to the new owner, "Soon, a man with a gun, a rope, a large hook and a chicken will be coming into your yard." The guy gave me a puzzled look. "Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a 10-foot alligator."
Kevin from Stillwater, MN
I read as much Packers coverage as I have time to. I've noticed there's much antipathy towards Bob McGinn. I don't understand it. His reporting on the hire of Gutenkunst seemed right on to me, and I've enjoyed many other articles written by him. What's the deal?
Bob is as good as they come. If you don't like reading Bob, you're looking for a friend, not the truth.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, recently you answered a question about the Jaguars that you never understood the fascination with the goofy Duval County reference to Jacksonville and that only Jags fans get it. Well the rest of us think the same thing of the Steelers fans and their silly yellow towels. We don’t get it if we’re not from Pittsburgh. By the way, Steelers fans get the Duuuval chant! At least the few thousand that stayed for the end of the game at Heinz Field last season. My brother, sister in-law, nephew, nieces and sons in law can attest to it! They stayed and confirmed that I did hear Duuuval in the television in the fourth quarter.
Sam from Sussex, NJ
What are your feelings toward regret? Do you have anything you currently regret but would like to remedy before your time is up? Do you have anything you regret but the time to remedy it has passed? I very much appreciate your opinions on both football and life, so thank you.
We all have regrets. I regret not having spent more time with my family. The Packers regret having blown a 19-7 lead with 3:52 to play in the 2014 NFC title game. Some regrets can't be fixed. You live with them.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, the most extraordinary thing about the 2010 season I remember is the Packers never lost a game by more than one score, and I want to say they never trailed by more than one score. How extraordinary is that, especially on this side of the 1978 rules change? How did this team compare to the 2005 Steelers?
Neither one was great. They just got hot when it counted.
John from Jefferson, WI
Vic, you mentioned the owners traded away the game in return for the money. Was it worth it?
We'll find out the next time they have to negotiate a CBA. What's left to give?
Brian from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, in your newspaper days, when the NFL had an offseason, what other things did you cover? What were your favorites besides football?
When the season ended, I covered basketball. I covered a St. Johns-Pitt basketball game (the Chris Mullins team) the night my youngest son was born. In the spring, I covered the Pirates. I covered some U.S. Open golf tournaments and I was in the press tent at Oakmont the night O.J. went for a ride in the white Bronco. "Why are they showing a white Bronco on TV?" I said to reporters parked in front of the press tent TV. I had just come in off the course, where the heat was so stifling Colin Montgomery nearly died. "O.J. is in it," came the answer. "Why is TV showing a white Bronco with O.J. in it?" I tried again. "Because O.J. is a fugitive from the law," came the answer. I sat down and watched the white Bronco on TV until they made us leave the tent. One year I was covering the PGA at Oakmont when they announced in the press tent Pope Paul had died. Myron Cope struggled with his hearing and he was shocked by the news. "He was just a young man," Cope said. "Huh," came the reply. "Boog Powell. They just said Boog Powell died." Being a sportswriter means I never had to work a day.
David from Madison, WI
What do you think about James Franklin's comments about exiting the Pitt-PSU rivalry game to ostensibly better his team's strength of schedule rating for the CFP? Has he no shame?
It is also Joe Paterno's shame he cost the state of Pennsylvania its most intense and treasured rivalry. Shame on Penn State for what it's done! The "Grand Experiment" is garbage. One day, I hope they meet again in a meaningful game, and I hope Pitt nails Penn State to the cross on which it belongs.
Kabir from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
A recent article cited Ben Roethlisberger's evolution from game manager to field general. What are the distinctive characteristics of one versus the other? How does one recognize when a quarterback has made that transition?
Roethlisberger's time as a game manager was short-lived. In year three of his career, he went from 2,385 yards passing the previous season to 3,513 yards passing. From that point on, he was "The Man."
Jason from Loganville, WI
Vic, what would you say was the best advice someone has given you in your lifetime?
Joe Greene told me, "Take the high road."
Mark from New London, WI
If forced to choose, would you rather watch World Cup soccer or the royal wedding?
How about watching Webb Simpson play 18 holes of golf without anyone challenging him?
Ben from El Paso, TX
Not a question but a sincere thank you. The response to the fact/fiction question I asked was fantastic. It reminded me that during the weeks leading up to the 2013 game in Chicago was when I discovered your column. I have been reading it ever since. In my opinion, you got it right.
We live for the drama.
Fed from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, when will fans get a clue. I remember hearing you on the radio in one of your last seasons in Jax. Someone asked you about Torry Holt (who had signed with the Jags at the end of his career), if he would help the young receivers. His answer was, "I'll help mentor them, all right. I'll mentor them right to the bench." Isn't this Big Ben's mentality? Shouldn't it be?
It's absolutely the right attitude.
Pat from Seneca, SC
Do you have any favorites among college football stadiums?
Old Mountaineer Field at West Virginia is my favorite.