"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Adam from Chicago, IL
I guess that's all she wrote for Spriggs. The draft really is a crystal ball business. What are your thoughts on his time in Green Bay?
I remember Tony Pauline telling me Spriggs' production didn't equal his physical appearance and potential. The Packers looked into their crystal ball and saw another kind of player, but what they got was the player on tape. It happens. In this case, it's especially troubling because they traded up for him.
Billy from Farmingdale, NY
Jaire Alexander over Jalen Ramsey? Alexander had a good rookie year, but Ramsey is an All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl in all but his rookie season. Ramsey took Antonio Brown out of a game for two picks. Alexander allowed Adam Theilen and Stefon Diggs to go for 12 catches, 130 yards, two TDs and eight catches, 128 yards and one TD respectively; in the second matchup he allowed Theilen eight catches for 125 yards and a TD, and Diggs eight grabs for 77 yards and a score. I can count on one hand the amount of times Ramsey allowed such production. While I'm sure this isn't all on Alexander, it's asinine to consider him better than Ramsey at this point. Does he have potential? Sure, but until he proves on the field he's better than Ramsey, he's not. To be the best you gotta beat the best. Right now, Ramsey is the best and the benchmark for being elite. The off-the-field antics for Ramsey aren't enough for Jaire to close the gap to what he's shown on the field. Obviously, time will tell but I think this is a dishonest take.
Ben from Indianapolis, IN
Vic, how are voidable years legal? This whole voidable year stuff feels cheap and credit card worthy.
We discussed this a few weeks ago. I said I thought voidables were a violation of the spirit of the cap, but the CBA provides for them and, therefore, are permissible for a team to use. The players love voidables because it helps them get the money.
Bob from Valley Springs, SD
Do you have any Jordy Nelson stories from your time with the Packers? He seems to be a quiet, unassuming guy who doesn't fit the wide receiver prototype.
That's probably why I don't have any stories about him to tell you. He was a player who did his job.
Brett from Peoria, IL
Can you explain how Tom Brady’s new contract works? I’ve read it will help the Patriots manage their cap, but I don’t quite understand how that’s being accomplished.
The Patriots gave Brady a two-year contract extension that gives Brady a whole lot of money and the Patriots two dummy years to help spread out that money and the money left from his previous contract. The result is about $5.5 million in additional cap space for the Patriots this year. In reality, the extension doesn't exist because Brady's contract voids at the end of this season. It's a ploy, it's a trick, but it's available for every team to use. It comes at a cost: dead money. The Patriots were winding down Brady's dead money in anticipation of his retirement; this dummy deal winds it back up. If Brady has a good season and the Patriots want to retain him as their quarterback, they'll probably do the same thing next year, and the dead money will increase. How do you wish to die?
Mitch from Winston, GA
You have mentioned the amount of time a draft pick has to "get good or get gone." Do coaches and personnel managers take the same approach with chronically injured players?
In the salary cap era, a lot of players have made the club in the tub.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the combined practice with the Texans and the Lonnie Johnson thing?
I like combined practices. They give teams additional opportunity to evaluate personnel, and in controlled circumstances. They also bring some spice to the monotony of training camp. As for Johnson, there's no place for that kind of show-off stuff, but I think the Packers doth protest too much. It came off as a little whiny, especially after Johnson was held out of the second practice. Benched because he might hurt somebody? That doesn't feel good. Also, I was surprised to read Aaron Rodgers' comments about his disdain for combined practices, especially following LaFleur's comments about how much he likes them and values the experience. Maybe LaFleur could give Rodgers the day off and sneak in an Oklahoma drill. It's good for the soul.
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
Football is a microcosm of life in many ways. Here's one way: "When they say it's not about the money, that's when it really is about the money." Another version is when a significant other says, "I don't like to make a big deal about my birthday," that's when you know they really want to make a big deal about their birthday.
And when they say it's the principle of the thing, it's really not the principle of the thing.
Patrick from Indianapolis, IN
So now Aaron is outright publicly criticizing Coach LaFleur's stance on joint practices, and also indicating the NFLPA should look at how Coach LaFleur structured the practice (live kickoff drills)? Is that how you interpreted this? What do you make of this?
I think the question about combined practices caught Rodgers in a mood, and my guess is he regrets what he said. It's important for leaders, especially one of the franchise's iconic players, as Rodgers is, to send the message to everyone on the team: No one is above this. No one is above competing. No one is above getting hit. Especially in this training camp, as a young rookie coach attempts to put his stamp on the Packers roster, it's of critical importance for a player of Rodgers' esteem to put his stamp of approval on the coach. Mike McCarthy didn't schedule combined practices. It appears this coach will. The comparison reminds me of the differences that separated Chuck Noll from Bill Cowher. Chuck didn't believe in whistles or horns at practice. Air horns echoed in the hills surrounding St. Vincent College in Bill's first training camp. Chuck didn't believe in pep talks; Bill was great at them. Every coach has a style and a belief system, and their success depends on the players' support. I'll always respect Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Gregg Lloyd and the holdovers from the Noll years in how they quickly shifted their support to Cowher.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
I was just thinking about Plan B free agency. There were some good players that changed teams. What do you remember about it?
It was the first crack in the armor.
Enrique from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, any idea how people around the Jags office reacted when the players made their Super Bowl rap song in 1999? I imagine Coughlin was not pleased.
The name of the song was "Uh oh, Jaguars." When the Titans upset the Jaguars, I was struggling to think of a headline for the cover of Jaguars Inside Report, and I settled on "Uh oh, Titans." I don't think Tom Coughlin will ever forgive me.
Jared from Rigby, ID
What is your opinion on scripting the first bunch of offensive plays? What is the strength and weakness to this approach?
Coaches had, in effect, been doing it long before someone popularized the concept. You pick plays that represent your game plan and might influence and expose your opponent's tendencies, and then you practice them in an order that focuses your offense for what you hope will be a fast start in the game. There's no downside. If you get a down and distance you weren't expecting, you change the script.
Cody from Turlock, CA
Vic, I was watching a replay of the Super Bowl and noticed the Patriots sideline seemed very disciplined and focused, down to positional coaches. Do you think the head coach has an affect on the personality of their sideline? Does it matter in your opinion?
The personality of a team's sideline is the personality of the team's coach.
Gabriel from Appleton, WI
You wrote earlier about locker room interviews. How did you deal with someone tight-lipped, like Marshawn Lynch?
I avoided him.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Za'Darius Smith says he works the sled each and every day. What does that tell you?
He plays with leverage.
Darren from Burlington, Canada
I read the column because I'm an old-fashioned mind in a young man's body, and I love your romantic writing of tough tales from a world gone by. This coddled, sensitive society ain't the one for me. Thanks.
An old mind in a young body spends a lifetime in loneliness. Try to be new.
Eric from Lansing, MI
I never knew why I would have wanted my dad to take me to a Packers game in the sixties. Now I do.
New memories begin today. It's never too late to create them.