Steve from Eau Claire, WI
What offensive opportunities does putting Graham and Lewis on the field at the same time provide to the Packers?
The answer is the Packers should be able to run and pass with equal effectiveness, but I have a feeling you're hung up on the two tight end thing, and I don't think that's the issue here. Defenses will cover Jimmy Graham as a wide receiver. They will not view him as a tight end. He'll likely cause the defense to be lighter up front -- and more vulnerable to the run -- because it'll cover him with a defensive back, but that would be the case with any wide receiver on the field. Mike McCarthy will find ways -- I'm sure he already knows how he'll do it -- to create mismatches with Graham, but it won't be because Graham will be perceived as a tight end, it'll be because Graham is a big, tall receiver who can play higher than most defensive backs and can outmaneuver most linebackers. Don't get hung up on the position name. It's not about position, it's about function, and Graham's function is to catch passes. He does it with atypically soft hands and speed for a man his size. Players, not plays. The defense has plays, too.
Brent from Dubuque, IA
Vic, don't get me wrong. I'm grateful Green Bay has the talent they have at quarterback. But an opt out clause if someone ends up making more money? Does Vic the GM agree to this?
What's the rush?
Nick from Chicago, IL
Vic, your idea of removing the facemask intrigues me. But if we remove the facemask, then will we see more facial injuries when one player's helmet impacts another player's face? Do we also have to go back to softer helmets? Or no helmets?
Nobody dies of a bad smile, but CTE is a killer.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, what are your thoughts about cheerleaders in the NFL? It seems to me the NFL should either discontinue the practice or enforce some type of standards for pay and working conditions. This perennial scandal is long past embarrassing.
I had a cheerleader moment in Jacksonville during the Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl. My office was in the hallway that leads to the two locker room tunnels. I opened my office door to go into the hallway just as the Eagles cheerleaders were passing single file past my doorway. I stood there and smiled and nodded at each girl as they passed by, and they smiled and nodded back. I thought to myself, "Are they doing this just for me?" Those are the only thoughts I have on the subject.
Abhi from Rockville, MD
Vic, FIFA World Cup is starting soon. Since the U.S. did not qualify for this World Cup, do you think there will be any interest this time? Was it just a fad during the last World Cup?
I don't know.
Loftur from Columbus, OH
The World Cup starts on June 14. Are you going to be new and watch some games?
No. Thanks for the alert.
Aaron from Wausau, WI
Why is NFL tight end such a hard position for players to transition to from college?
It's not, other than the competition is significantly better. A high draft pick at tight end should be expected to make an immediate impact, or you picked the wrong guy.
Nick from Seattle, WA
Vic, not much of a question, but something you may be interested in. ESPN ran an article asking all of the ESPN team reporters to state whether the team they cover will get more or fewer wins than what the predictive system gave them. Only three team writers predicted they would win less than the estimate. I guess the offseason truly is the time for optimism.
I think most beat writers favor the team they cover, especially during the offseason hype period. I think media has an obligation to treat the team it covers in a fair and friendly manner, and raining on the team's hype is mean-spirited. My attitude was I'll help fans see the positives, as long as they're realistic expectations. I'll caution when I believe necessary, but I won't do anything to dull the suspense and excitement for a new season.
John from Peoria, IL
Vic, just today, packers.com took down the "Ask Vic" pages as part of their web refresh. You left no shadows.
That must've been that little stabbing pain in the back I felt while I was kayaking.
Steve from North Hudson, WI
The season of hope is upon me, Vic. Every change to the Packers is spun as an improvement. Can you give me a little perspective to keep my hopes in check?
About three months from now, the kicker will begin his run up to the ball in the season opener, and we'll say to ourselves, "The baloney stops now," except we won't say baloney. Until then, it's just baloney.
Neil from Dallas, TX
Vic, when did the facemask get implemented in the NFL and why?
Paul Brown created the facemask to protect a gash on Otto Graham's face. It changed the game and now it's threatening to destroy the game.
Nick from Toronto, Canada
Further to your observation about empty ballparks, ESPN recently published a list of the 100 most famous athletes for 2018. It's based on endorsement deals, Twitter followers and Google searches. Seven NFL players made the list, although Tom Brady was the highest at just 38. No MLB player made the list. How has baseball been so bad at marketing its players, and is this the reason it appears to be struggling?
If baseball is struggling, it has nothing to do with social media and everything to do with baseball continuing to be a slow, dull game that plays way too many games for any of them to have true meaning. Baseball just doesn't fit the modern sports eye. There are too many pitches that don't result in action. I'd love to see a test game in which three balls you walk and two strikes you're out. I want to see less dead time in a game.
Jamie from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, have you ever thought of writing a sports story again and posting it to your blog?
Maybe I'll do that next season, if I go to the Steelers at Jacksonville game, as I intend to do.
Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador
Vic, here are the stats regarding the length of baseball games: 2014 -- 3:09, 2004 -- 2:51, 1994 -- 2:58, 1984 -- 2:40, 1974 -- 2:29, 1964 -- 2:35, 1954 -- 2:31, 1950 -- 2:23. I'll let you and your intrepid readers draw their own conclusions whether this is a major factor affecting baseball's popularity.
I don't think time of game is the issue. I think action is the issue. There's just too many gaps between action moments.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
I attended a Twins game a week ago. To my surprise, I found myself getting restless at the breaks in the action and the generally slow pace of the game. I don't blame baseball, but myself. Could it be that we have become a frenetic people and we can no longer enjoy slowing down?
Yes, but there's more. We're spoiled. A trip to the ballpark isn't a big deal anymore. When I was a kid, I filled the dead spots in the game with wonderment as I absorbed the sights, sounds and smells of Forbes Field. It was a magical place for me. It was awash with color, and I especially liked going to night games and watching the daylight fade as the big lights blacked out what lay beyond the outfield wall and made this the only place on earth. I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful. Do we still feel that way today? We see so many games on TV I have to believe our senses have been dulled.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, how did the Steelers maintain such a consistent identity for so many years?
It wasn't by accident. They hired coaches who believed in a physical approach to the game. A scout told me Bill Cowher said, during a lean-years period in the middle of his career, "When did we stop drafting tough guys?" They then started drafting tough guys again and they began to play Steeler football and won a couple of more Super Bowls. I think we're going to see Mike Tomlin get back to playing Steeler football this coming season. I think the franchise is embarrassed by its inability to stop the run on defense last season. That's not Steeler football and it must be corrected.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, take us back in time involving your favorite team, stadium, players in what you felt was the greatest game ever.
Every team I covered was my favorite team, and I covered great games with all of them. The first game I covered in my time covering the Packers, the 2011 season opener, was amazing. I'll always remember it as a walk-off defensive win. The Jaguars gave me several great games, and they so often were in games against the Steelers. I'll never forget the 1997, walk-off-blocked-field-goal-attempt game, and the sight of Chris Hudson running down the sideline and Bill Cowher playfully taking a step onto the field and feigning a punch. If there's one game that goes deeper than any other, it's the 1975 AFC title game. It's the most vicious football game I ever covered. It was the real thing, no hype. The Raiders and Steelers truly hated each other, and they played that game with more than winning in mind. They played to inflict pain. I'll never forget the sight of Lynn Swann being wheeled past me on a stretcher as I stood in the hallway waiting for the Steelers' locker room door to be opened after the game. Swann was knocked cold in the first half and he was still in a semi-conscious state two hours later. Two weeks later he'd be the Super Bowl MVP. How's that for toughness? I'll also never forget the sight of Joe Greene going out onto the field, picking Swann up and carrying him like a baby to the sideline as Joe glowered at the Raiders, letting them know there would be payback for this. Game? No, that one was a lot more than a game. What I felt that day I never felt again. I'm glad.