"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Morgan from Little Chute, WI
So with all the big free-agent signings from years past getting the ax in one way or another, why sign a free agent when their original team didn't want them?
Why do people remarry?
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
By the time the Packers know If Love is talented enough to be “The Man,” they will have to start paying him “The Man” money. Is this what haunts the Packers, never being able to get the maximum value out of the QB?
Quarterback is a unique position, for reasons beyond its importance. Only one can play and your cap can only afford one of starter salary. What the Packers did in transitioning from Favre to Rodgers is the exception, not the rule. I think it's a mistake to use that as a model. How many star quarterbacks didn't play until their fourth season? The Love pick continues to confound. I have to believe the Packers regret making it.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
Whose career would you have liked to seen play out without injury? Nick Collins, Jermichael Finley or Derrick Sherrod?
How about Joe Namath or Gale Sayers?
Jason from Austin, TX
Vic, it always sounds like the rivalries of the '70's were more intense because the players were completely sold on the rivalry. How far did that extend? Would a player go as far as to not sign with the rival team if they were a free agent?
There was effectively no free agency back then because it included draft-pick compensation. Until you were cut or traded, you weren't likely to play for another team. What that did was create a strong sense of attachment, identity and loyalty of players to teams. These days, I think players see themselves more as belonging to the league, rather than belonging to a team.
Jake from Dublin, CA
Considering where the Packers are in the draft order and their positional needs, which position would you try to fill in free agency for the best immediate impact?
Inside linebacker. You can usually find a two-down run-stuffer who's affordable.
Steve from Hudson, WI
I think it would be fun to read your take on which teams are all in and which are not at the beginning of the season. A Vic list breaking down from 1 to 32 the teams that are most all in to least all in.
Total the amount of money each team has spent in re-structuring contracts. The team that's spent the most is the team most all in. I'll take a look at where the Packers, Jaguars and Steelers stand after the dust has cleared.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I think it's easy to come to your blog for perspective because we know you're being honest with us. There are many writers and talking heads out there critical of Green Bay, but I can't tell if they're honest or just writing/saying what they have to to earn their clicks. Bottom line, thank you for your trustworthiness and honesty. My question is, how come the MLB player's union has been so much stronger than the NFL player's union?
I don't think that's the case now, but it was for a long time and the answer is Marvin Miller. The NFLPA wasn't willing to commit to that kind of aggressive leadership, and that's why three strikes ('74, '82, '87) failed. In the end, it was a federal judge who gave the NFLPA the strength it always lacked.
Dan from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, with the NFL likely moving to a 17-game regular season, is being a run-first team too much to ask, given the physical demands required of the offensive line and running backs?
Offensive linemen love to run-block. They prefer it to pass-blocking. Here's how you create a run-first offense in a 17-game season: Load your roster with running backs instead of dime-a-dozen wide receivers. I thought the Packers had a nice trio of runners late in the season. I thought they really had something good going in the run game.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Fortune favors the bold. The eye test says Zach Wilson is better but Lawrence will be the pick because of the politics. Which NFL coach/GM could get away with picking Wilson with the first pick?
Urban Meyer certainly has the contract to do it.
Adam from Wausau, WI
Is the franchise tag more valuable for a Super Bowl contender?
The franchise tag is maximum pain for any team. It's maximum cap hit and, in many cases, it becomes a disruptive confrontation. The franchise tag should be used as a nuclear deterrent. It's the atom bomb. You don't have to use it, just have it.
Ryan from Roselle, IL
Was there such a thing as an all-in season before the salary cap?
"All in" is stock market terminology. When an investor holds back a portion of his money in a sidelines cash account, he's not all in. When the market is good and a big return is expected, investors tend to be all in, meaning they hold nothing back in cash, all of their money is invested in stocks or bonds. Apply the same principal to a team's salary cap. If it's saving room for the future, it's not all in. If it's re-structured to the max, it's all in. The 1999-2001 Jaguars, for example, were all in, and if it wasn't for the Texans expansion draft of '02, the Jaguars would've had difficulty complying with the '02 cap. That's when all in becomes all nuts. Prior to the salary cap, a team couldn't be all in because there was no limit to what it could spend. It would've been a figurative description. In the cap era, it's literal.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Vic, thankfully, there is an NFL. With spring training in full swing and the NBA being shoved down the viewers' throats, I think we can all agree, or maybe just you and I, that 80-90 percent of all franchises in these two sports are just cannon fodder for the big-city franchises. I can't imagine how sickening and hopeless it must be being a fan of the Reds, Brewers, Pirates, Royals or any other non-major-market team. In basketball it's even worse. How can they still get sponsors? Who can watch that game with a straight face and claim it's anything other than 3-4 franchises playing what looks to be 25 teams called the Washington Generals?
You're forgetting college football. Even Notre Dame is the Washington Generals. When you give thanks, begin with thanking Wellington Mara. He saved football in Green Bay and allowed all of the small markets to be the equal of New York.
Jesse from Madison, WI
What does it mean and take for a big, power back to be dynamic?
He needs to have big-play ability. A guy who can pound and pop is special. When you have that player, your quarterback doesn't get sacked as often and rarely sees two deep safeties.
Jake from Chippewa Falls, WI
Even if a team wants to go all in, can it buy enough talent in 1-2 years to really make a difference? Or do you have to draft at the top for several years to build a great roster with depth and then just buy the quarterback like the 2015 Broncos and now the 2020 Bucs?
I don't think you need a great roster to win in today's game. I think you can win with a roster of role players punctuated by a few feature players and a top quarterback. I think that describes the Bucs and Chiefs, and I think it also describes the Packers.
Joe from Milwaukee, WI
Is there a drill that teaches a running back to follow his blockers?
Nine-on-seven and half-line drills are all about blocking and running behind the blocking, but they've been legislated out of practice by the player safety movement. Coaches have to do more teaching in the classroom and in dummy drills than the coaches from the player non-safety era. I think it's also more important than ever for scouts to find players with strong instincts for the game, the stuff that doesn't need to be coached, because today's limitations in what can be done in practice severely restrict a coach's ability to teach.
Santiago from Bogota, CO
Vic, do you think if Marty Schottenheimer had kept Drew Brees he would've won one, if not multiple, Super Bowls? Those were the down years of the Patriots' dynasty and I remember that Chargers team as being loaded.
If Julius Peppers had been there to tell Marlon McCree what Peppers instructed Morgan Burnett to do to, I think Coach Schottenheimer would have won a championship.
Chad from Madison, WI
While cleaning out my parents’ house, I found a John Henry Johnson autograph from an awards dinner of "The National 1,000 Yard Club Foundation," which my dad attended in 1970. I am familiar with most of the players listed in the 1,000-yard club, but don’t know much about John Henry. I didn’t think there were many standout teams or players from the Steelers prior to 1970. Can you tell me more about him?
Johnson was a star runner who was best known for being a vicious blocker. He fractured three jaws and a skull. Imagine Johnson and Hines Ward on the same team. I remember Johnson most fondly for picking up a sideline yard marker and swinging it at a Rams player. Johnson didn't want to do it. He felt he owed it to him.
Josh from Napoleon, OH
Do you think the Raiders-Steelers rivalry of the '70's can be compared to the Packers-Bears rivalry of the 2010's? Seems both rivalries had some intense moments with a lot of big games on the line. I sure am glad to have witnessed the 2010's Packers and Bears rivalry.
Me, too. I love the history and tradition.
Max from Toledo, OH
I also grew up in a frugal house. Did you ever straighten nails and reuse them? Screws, wood or anything was reused. You would never spend at a game. The game was enough. I'm glad he brought me up that way. May the old dads rest in peace.
I re-purposed a rusted out wheelbarrow into a kayak carrier, but a year ago the wheel rusted off and there was nothing more I could do with it so I threw it away. Now I'm kicking myself because I have a wheelbarrow in need of repair and I could use a few salvage parts from the one I discarded. It's causing me despair.
Lupe from Minneapolis, MN
Though there's a luxury tax, baseball is uncapped and teams with rich owners can build powerhouse dynasties. Football is capped and parity is rampant. At a glance, baseball is capitalism and football is socialism.
Pete Rozelle had another name for it: leaguethink. You could also call it teamwork or working toward a common goal.