"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Nate from Pueblo, CO
How do you think Rodgers will feel about cutting players? That’s essentially what he’s doing.
This kind of started a few years ago when Rodgers went off on the young receivers in a press conference. I remember thinking players are now evaluating players? I didn't think it was healthy.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
A non-Rodgers question, if allowed: Tight ends are a hot commodity these days. Would offensive coordinator Vic prefer three good wideouts with a serviceable blocking tight end, or two good wideouts and a good pass-catching tight end?
You need a tight end of equal blocking and pass-catching ability to be able to keep the defense from scheming specifically against run or pass. They go nickel, you run the ball. They go heavy, you throw the ball. That's the value of a tight end that can block and catch.
Scott from Issaquah, WA
I’m confused by your comment that Aaron’s contract structure protects the Packers. If someone is trading for Aaron after 2021, they get a QB on a one-year deal with a no-tag clause. What’s to stop Aaron from leaving the new team after 2022? Doesn’t that significantly diminish his trade value after 2021?
No team is going to trade multiple high picks for Rodgers without knowing they can sign him to a new contract. That's when it's about the money.
Malcolm from Fennimore, WI
I would like to thank you for helping us learn how to enjoy the ride of each season regardless of the outcome at the end of it. However, with everything that went down this offseason, does it seem like the Packers are in a Super Bowl or bust year?
I thought last year was a Super Bowl or bust year. OK, let's turn it up a notch.
Richard from Jacksonville, FL
What do you call someone who falls in love with their kidnapper? Packers fan.
That's funny. What do you call someone who gives a wedding gift to someone they don't know?
David from Broward County, FL
You said pressers are about getting information, not stopping the flow of information. So many folks seem to think hard, confrontational questions are the best way to get information. Can you expand on this?
Questions should be asked calmly, intelligently and respectfully. That's the media's role. The answers are then judged for honesty and appropriateness. That's the readers' role. Often, fans want the media to express the fans' anger or frustration. The fans call that asking the tough questions. I call it showing off.
Jerry from Chicago, IL
When is a press conference not an appropriate time to ask a question confronting a player?
In the early years of my career, Coach Noll did a separate press conference with the writers. We would gather in a small and often smoke-filled room; TV cameras were not permitted. Chuck would do individual standups with the TV people in the lobby following his session with the writers. I always thought it was a great concept. It allowed us to ask questions without TV poaching the answers. It also allowed for a more casual and more probing atmosphere; Chuck didn't have to worry about getting caught on camera with a question he wasn't prepared to answer. In time, that approach went away, for a variety of reasons, including the packaging of press conferences as part of sponsorship deals. To answer your question directly, I don't think it's professional to take a player or coach down, so to speak, while the TV cameras are rolling. If I have something extraordinary to ask, I would try to arrange a personal meeting with the player or coach so I might ask the question respectfully. Embarrassing someone by getting them on tape for the whole world to witness their angst is bad reporting. Get the story, not the glory.
Dan from Verona, WI
Along with Rodgers, what might a healthy cut and gut look like?
It's easy stuff. You go to the top of your payroll and circle the names that would provide the greatest cap savings cut or traded. You begin with Rodgers; he'd provide massive cap relief. After that? Z. Smith, come on down! P. Smith, come on down! Adrian Amos, come on down! We can stop there for now.
Sean from Arlington Heights, IL
Vic, theoretically, if a player going into the last year of his contract with significant signing bonus amortization remaining really wanted to be traded but his current team didn’t want to take the cap hit to have that player play for another team, could an agreement be reached where the player returned the unearned portion of the signing bonus, in exchange for converting the returned signing bonus to a fully guaranteed roster bonus to be paid on a date after the trade was made?
The trading team gets a cap credit the equal of the amount of signing bonus that was returned, and the team signing the player would be charged the roster bonus in the year it was paid. I'm not sure what the management council's opinion of that kind of deal and the precedent it would set would be, but it's a good example for explaining the basics of how the cap works: You pay it, you claim it; you get it back, you get a credit. If you're relating your scenario to Rodgers, it's not necessary. His cap hit in '22 would be $20 million more than his dead money. He'd be a huge savings traded.
Jack from Middleton, WI
Have any good stories about trainers you haven't yet shared with us?
Mike Ryan was the trainer in Jacksonville when I covered the Jaguars. He helped guide me through my personal health problems. I turned to him last summer when I was struggling with the effects of a neck problem that would lead to a two-level fusion that was being delayed by the pandemic. His wealth of medical and good-health knowledge has always enriched and calmed me. I'll also always remember Mike for the morning he came running down the hallway, stopped at my office and said in a somewhat panicked voice: "Have you seen Coach Del Rio?" Apparently, somebody put an axe and a tree stump in the locker room.
Robert from Rotterdam, The Netherlands
I know Oklahoma drills are sadly a thing of the past, but if you were asked to pick a matchup for each of the three teams you've covered, what matchups would you pick?
I'm not sure I understand your question. Are these players I covered but played in different eras? If that's the case, the one Oklahoma I would love to see would be Joe Greene vs. Carlton Haselrig. If it's players from the same era, Tony Boselli vs. Tony Brackens would be my pick for the Jaguars. Tom Coughlin didn't do Oklahomas. Tom didn't spend a lot of time on individual drills. He concentrated practice time on playbook execution, especially in the passing game. In that sense, I think he was a little ahead of his time. The Packers didn't have a classic Oklahoma player on the defensive side of the ball when I covered them. Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang were Oklahoma types on offense.
Hannes from Glendale, WI
Did Aaron Rodgers basically make Brian Gutekunst a lame duck GM?
No, but Gutekunst is a tenor now.
Kier from Gagetown, New Brunswick
Other than being a great talent evaluator, what does it take to be an NFL GM?
You have to be a picker. You have to know how to massage the draft order to acquire what you need without surrendering value. It dovetails with being an astute salary cap manager.
Joseph from California
Are there any traditional elements left within the modern-day camps that help satisfy the NFL purist in you?
Brett from Marietta, GA
Football used to reflect what was good about America. My question is, does football today still reflect that, or reject it?
When I was young, football reflected traditional values: work ethic, perseverance, discipline, respect for authority, etc. They were a reflection of the times and they were defined by Vince Lombardi. These days, football reflects modern values: creativity, ingenuity, adaptability, flexibility, etc. They are a sign of our times and they are defined annually by the team that best represents them. Change is good for America.