Jake from Eden Prairie, MN
What is your take on the XFL coming back in 2020? Will it be a bridge between college and the pros? A minor league you’ve advocated for, so to speak?
I never said anything about a league. Practice squad players don't play in a league and they develop their skills quite nicely. The XFL was and still is a garbage idea, mostly because its founder is a promoter of garbage sport. What's he going to do this time, put a team in North Korea and call it the Nukes? Hey, 2020 is a long time from now, and Vince McMahon is 72. I wouldn't waste much thought on the XFL. I won't.
Jake from Knoxville, TN
How slim are the odds you’ll ever get around to making an “Ask Vic” app? Your page is basically the only thing I use my phone’s Internet browser for.
There's a better chance I'll get hit on the head by a meteor.
Amis from Norwich, UK
I have a feeling if Kirk Cousins hits the open market he's going to completely shatter the QB pay scale. Do you think the Packers should get a Rodgers extension done before that happens?
I think Jimmy Garoppolo is going to begin to set the pay scale for quarterbacks when the 49ers put the exclusive franchise tag on him. We're talking about something north of $25 million a year. I think the Packers have a decision to make that will be of enormous impact to future caps, and I don't think rushing to judgement is the right thing to do. Aaron Rodgers' age and his injury would be my concerns. A deal sooner isn't going to be much less expensive than a deal later. I would want more information on Rodgers' recovery before I'd do a new contract.
Chris from Appleton, WI
Vic, the Jaguars need to capitalize on young (cheap) talent now, don't they? Can they afford to wait on another QB to develop? What about a guy like Alex Smith? Do you think he'd be good enough to carry them all the way?
The Jaguars still have lot of cap room. I expect them to be a major player in free agency. They have the room to sign a quarterback for now, and then use a draft pick on a quarterback for the future. I think the position needs to be rebuilt and that would be my formula for doing it. Alex Smith? Sure, it's going to cost a pick or picks in a trade, but the Jaguars are picking low and they don't have any screaming needs other than quarterback. Smith's $14.5 million salary for 2018 could be easily fit onto the Jaguars' cap with a contract extension that would push out some of that salary in the form of money converted to signing bonus. That kind of conversion would allow the Jaguars to spend even more in free agency on other upgrades. It would remind me of what the team did in 1999 in signing Kyle Brady, Carnell Lake and Gary Walker. Smith appears to have just enough gas left in the tank to suit the Jaguars' needs.
Jeffro from Kenosha, WI
Since most great coaches have won with a single quarterback, what’s your opinion of Joe Gibbs?
He was a great coach who won with the running game. He was a great manager of men, and that was his leadership quality. I wish he hadn't come out of retirement. It damaged his reputation.
Derek from La Crosse, WI
My brother and I always loved Doug Pederson. He was our favorite back up QB. Probably because he never had to play. Who is your favorite back up QB of all time?
Mike Kruczek. He was 6-0 as a starter and allowed only 28 points. It was the greatest defensive performance by a quarterback I have ever seen.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
How do you feel about Eric Ebron if he were to enter free agency? You were quite high on him throughout the pre-draft process.
Actually, he was quite high on himself at the combine; I was just reporting what he said. If I needed a tight end, I'd try to find one in the draft. I just couldn't force myself to pay big at that position, unless the guy was a proven star.
Greg from Ann Arbor, MI
Is it just me or did Coach McCarthy seem energized by all the changes during his press conference? Be new, right?
He appreciates the dramatic change his team is undergoing and the energy required to make it work. A new attitude is a big part of the change.
Rhonda from Appleton, WI
Is it sad I am more excited to see Justin Timberlake in the halftime show than the actual game?
It tells me you're not a football fan, you're a Packers fan. I think this Super Bowl is an exciting matchup. Halftime? Oh, I'll go outside and clean the grill, or go into the storage room and sweep the bugs off the window ledge. I bought a new hose winder; maybe I can play with that for awhile.
Nathan from New York, NY
"The issue is: Will the Vikings pay Keenum as they would 'The Man?' That's a tough one because you're talking about a longterm commitment. In my opinion, if the Vikings do that, they'll open the door for the other three teams in the NFC North." The other three teams, Vic? Have you forgotten which team was in first place before Aaron Rodgers got injured? Perhaps you meant to write the other two teams?
No, I mean three. Get ready for it, folks. The Bears are back. They will be a division title contender in 2018.
Dan from Plymouth, WI
Vic, have you watched the show This is Us? It seems to be potentially up your alley. It takes place in the late '70's in an unnamed Pittsburgh suburb and early episodes have plenty of references to the Steelers, Chuck Noll, Terry Bradshaw and Steelers fans (the time you were covering the team). I won't go into plot specifics, but it is essentially about life and enjoying the beauty of it, while enduring the hardships. You often write about life and perspective, which aligns with the show. Then again, there's a lot of crying in the show; maybe not for you.
I've heard about it and I've meant to watch it. I'll try harder to find it. Life after big steel left Pittsburgh was the best of times and the worst of times. The Steelers made it great; steel made it awful. The exodus was painful. Friends and family forced to leave. Sunday was good. Monday-Friday was bad. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, Joe Greene said: "If you weren't at Three Rivers Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the fall, you were in the wrong place." In those days, Pittsburgh was the wrong place to be, but in at least one way it was the only place to be. It was us. We lived by the steel, we died by the steel. Now, the place has been reborn. It's really not Pittsburgh anymore; no angst, no grit. I just saw another one of those stories ranking cities in America rank Pittsburgh No. 1. That's become a trend, and it always makes me laugh. Where were they when Pittsburgh was the worst city in America? That's when it was truly No. 1.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, under the new Packers front office structure, do you see an increase in free-agent acquisitions?
I hope not. Brian Gutekunst is a draft guy. I hope I'm reading this right.
Frank from Ellwood City, PA
Why has the quality of sportswriting taken a drastic hit over the past 10 years, particularly NFL writers? It seems not long ago NFL writers were known for their hard work and excellent reporting and writing skills. Today, some are lazy, only want to make mindless videos, count their Twitter followers and believe serving as a guest on a third-rate Sunday night local TV talk show makes them legit.
The Internet has expanded but damaged my profession. It's allowed an army of pseudo-reporters to emerge. The web is loaded with sites that re-write the news with a slant that'll prey on fan anxiety. My friend Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke the story about Le'Veon Bell missing the walk-through prior to the playoff game. Since then, I have seen that information re-worked by re-write sites into a multitude of stories; no new facts, just new rants by writers who are more fan than reporter. These are writers who don't have to worry about developing relationships they might cultivate into news sources. They just re-package old news and tease it with Twitter talk. Hey, the POTUS (that's Twitter talk, right?) does it; why shouldn't they? The combine media room is cut in half by the speaker podiums. The old ink-stained wretches tend to sit on the right side of the room; the Twitter kids tend to sit on the left side. There's a distinct division and the room knows how to divide itself; seat assignments aren't necessary. I fear one day the left side will be sitting on both sides.
Matthew from Shawnee, KS
You say a team's draft board doesn't change much after the NFL Combine and that teams just want to get some one-on-one time with the players, which I think makes sense. But I'm curious, do the Shrine game and Senior Bowl affect a team's board?
The players in those two games can move their needle dramatically according to how they perform at those two events. Eric Fisher rode his Senior Bowl performance to the first overall pick of the draft. Aaron Donald was a too-small defensive tackle thought to be no higher than a second-round prospect until he began throwing people around at the Senior Bowl. It wasn't a fluke. He's still doing it.
Elten from Pleasant Lake, IN
"The scheme is worthless unless you play with great passion and great technique." Mike Pettine said it but it could have been Vic saying "players, not plays."
Playing above the X's and O's is what wins championships. I'll use the Dion Lewis game-clinching third-down run as an example. That play shouldn't have worked. It worked because the blocking was executed beyond expectations. Telvin Smith couldn't get off his block. The defensive back on that side was buried. Frankly, I think Bill Belichick had decided to run it, punt it and turn the game over to his defense.
Paul from Chicago, IL
Vic, you're on a panel with four others discussing the greatest QB of all time. The other four people say it's Brady. What do you say?
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, is Kirk Cousins "The Man" or just has potential to be "The Man?"
He's not "The Man" but he'll do until "The Man" gets here.
Pat from Seneca, SC
At some point in your past, you coached youth baseball. Did you ever have problems dealing with the parents of a player?
I put every player in the batting order, but the rules only required me to play a kid for two innings in the field. A father complained his kid wasn't getting enough playing time. I respectfully asked him how much time his son spent practicing or playing baseball at home. He nodded his head; he understood. I explained my big concern was his son would have a negative experience in the field that would leave him with a painful memory, so I tried to limit that exposure. The father began playing catch with his son, and I saw the kid's skill was improving, so I played him more. The story ends with the kid sticking his glove into the air and snagging a line drive that helped win the game. It was a Sandlot moment before there was a Sandlot. He was a hero! I looked at his dad and we both smiled.
Chris from Minneapolis, MN
The Packers finally bought into your resolution to be new. Are you excited to see how well McCarthy balances all the newness to field a competitive team?
New structure, new GM, new coordinators, new players on the way; the 2018 Packers are going to be all new. I'm not worried about Coach McCarthy. I'm worried about the fans. Are they going to be new?
Ben from Chicago, IL
If the Eagles win, I am sure Carson Wentz will receive a ring, but will he be referred to as a Super Bowl winning quarterback?
No, this is Nick Foles' team, just as the 1990 Giants were Jeff Hostetler's team.
T.J. from Tampa, FL
Why was Pete Rozelle attending the AFL Championship instead of the Ice Bowl? Do you give any credence to him and Lombardi having a strained relationship and Rozelle being sort of anti-Packer?
Maybe Pete was paving the way for the merger. Anti-Packer? The Packers owe their existence to Pete Rozelle. If not for his pool-the-revenue philosophy and his ability to persuade Wellington Mara to share his revenue with the Packers, there wouldn't be a team in Green Bay.
Patrick from Fort Collins, CO
Vic, you're on a deadline, what’s your lede coming out of the Pro Bowl?
I probably would've found somebody in the hotel or press box worth interviewing, somebody who might've provided insight on a worthy subject, made that my lede, tucked some details from the game inside the story, slapped a dateline and byline on the story and mercifully hit the send button. The Pro Bowl is like People magazine: The pictures are good, but there's no content.
Randy from Billings, MT
Vic, are you as tired of hearing "at the end of the day" from coaches, players, commentators and writers as I am?
It's a way of saying the result is what counts. I agree. Just win, baby.