"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
Schefter just reported it’s not about the money for Rodgers. Should you tell him or should I?
Min Shik from Seoul, South Korea
Pro Football Reference released pre-1982 sack stats after more than 30 years of research. Please shed a light on such players like Coy Bacon, Cedrick Harmon, Jack Gregory and Al Baker for us.
They played run first, pass second.
Trevor from Wausau, WI
What position battles are you most interested in watching for the Packers, Jaguars and Steelers?
The Packers drafted a cornerback in the first round and he'll be challenging a much-maligned Kevin King. Gardner Minshew could make it uncomfortable for Trevor Lawrence. Nobody likes having their job taken from them. Minshew will compete. I'm surprised the Jaguars haven't already moved Minshew and eliminate any preseason awkwardness. The Steelers have a competition for the backup quarterback job, and the winner could become the heir to the starting job when Roethlisberger retires.
Eric from West Salem, WI
Only nine questions on Monday? What are your thoughts on the Packers defense going into the next season? And who do you think the surprise team could be this year and why do you think that?
I have high expectations for the Packers defense, for the obvious reason they've invested a lot of picks and money in repairing it. The Lions are my surprise team. They appear to have new energy.
Todd from Raleigh, NC
Aaron Rodgers is 1-4 in NFC title games with nine TDs and eight interceptions. His one win came 11 years ago against a Bears team led by QBs Jay Cutler and Caleb Hanie. Change doesn't have to be a bad thing.
I never had a problem with Rodgers' title game performances until his self-serving comments following the loss to the Bucs.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
I’ve noticed the transformations of several recently retired NFL linemen from hulking 320-pound masses to more normal-looking big guys, dropping 50-70 pounds quickly. I’m glad to see it, but it makes me wonder how much work it is to maintain that massive size? And it also makes me wonder if maybe the growth science is still quite a few steps ahead of the detection science, if you know what I mean. Is the NFL still a steroid league?
I've noticed the same and I, too, can't help but wonder.
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, when teams push a player's salary out into the future, is there any consideration of protecting the value of the money promised today against the ravages of inflation while the player waits to receive his compensation? The contract should pay more in the future for that money was supposed to be in his hands today but has been deferred by a new contract.
I know of no new contract that doesn't include a signing bonus that brings real money forward. Should the team get a cut of the investment earnings on that money they floated the player? The money you're talking about being pushed out is cap money, and it will likely be converted to signing bonus and brought forward in more cap-friendly restructuring.
Blake from Atlanta, GA
When is it time to cut bait on a player?
When his arrow has stopped pointing up and the level at which he's playing isn't good enough.
Simon from Santa Clara, CA
The dead zone really is dead, huh? Did you get to sample the local concessions in the stadiums you visited? Which was your favorite?
I ate press box food for 45 years. Prior to that, my mother had dinner waiting for us when we got home and my father didn't want me to spoil my appetite. There were a few years in there when I had a summer job and a couple of bucks in my pocket, so I indulged myself. I once splurged on a hot dog in dirty water at Forbes Field. It was the most delicious piece of meat I had ever tasted.
Jim from Minneapolis, MN
How will you judge if the Jaguars' rebuild is successful and what milestone marks should Urban Meyer hit this season and in the 2022 season?
Chuck Noll was 1-13, Bill Walsh 2-14 and Jimmy Johnson 1-15 in their rookie seasons. Something between one and two wins would be good enough for Meyer this season. After that, I would expect improvement to be rapid.
Louis from Columbus, OH
Vic, your recent discussion about the Packers forming a new identity got me to thinking. Do all teams have an identity?
All teams have a short-term and a long-term identity. The Packers' short-term identity is for finesse, quarterback-driven offense. The long-term identity is for stability, tradition and a loyal fan base. The Jaguars' current identity is for a team in rebuilding. Their long-term identity is for a struggling franchise trying to find its way. The Steelers' current identity is for a team in transition. The franchise's long-term identity is for physical football.
David from Janesville, WI
Have you seen enough of Matt LaFleur to establish an opinion of him as an NFL head coach, or is it too early?
We'll know this year.
John from Jacksonville, FL
I’m getting a chuckle about the fan questions from the folks up north. They really have no idea night time offers little respite from the heat, humidity and bugs during summers in the South.
I remember a heat wave in Green Bay in May when I first got there. A workmate asked me if it reminded me of Jacksonville. I said there won't be a day in Jacksonville this cold for the next six months. I could also say the people in the South don't have a clue what real cold is. The Jaguars rewarded sponsors with a trip to Green Bay for the 2004 game. I can't imagine why they picked that game but they did. The sponsors got on the plane wearing spring jackets. I thought to myself, "Where do they think they're going?" We landed in a snowstorm and when the plane broke through the clouds, the ground looked like Siberia. There was a collective gasp.
Jake from Green Bay, WI
Are the owners at fault for shaping the game such that NFL viewers are denied another Ray Nitschke or Dick Butkus?
No, the fans are.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
Any idea where Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith are these days? Are you surprised they’re no longer in professional football? I am.
Jack is the defensive coordinator for the Washington Football Team. He has a knack for landing in places with a top young pass rusher. He got Julius Peppers in Carolina, Khalil Mack with the Raiders and now Chase Young in Washington. Mike is retired and trout fishing in the East Tennessee mountains. We connected not too long ago. Jack and Mike are two of the finest defensive minds I've ever known. I always enjoyed a visit from them in my office to talk football. Memories have made me so rich.
David from Owasso, OK
Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith? And your thoughts on Eric Dickerson? I could watch him run all day.
Smith; Dickerson ran too upright for my tastes.
Paul from Arlington, VA
Why do you think most of the Belichick-tree coaches fail outside of New England?
They don't have Tom Brady.
Erik from Madison, WI
I just got a zero-turn mower and it is an absolute blast. Maybe you don't have the yard for it down there, but I highly recommend it for a mowing enthusiast.
My first three cars cost less.
Michael from Plano, TX
"In today's game, Butkus wouldn't have the opportunity to be the great player he was in the '60's because middle linebacker is arguably the least important defensive position, and he might find himself on the sideline for the majority of plays in a game." Same for Lambert in the 70's?
Yes, but Lambert had the length and mobility to play outside. He had 28 interceptions in his career. Dick Butkus had 22 picks and Willie Lanier had 27, so maybe all of them were just too good to keep off the field and would've transitioned to another position.
Gary from Portland, WI
If Big Ben’s reported contract is indicative of his value to the Steelers, why didn’t they draft a quarterback in 2020 or 2021?
They drafted Rudolph in '18 and signed Haskins this year. Both of those players are worthy of consideration as the future at the position. If you're talking about picking a quarterback in the first round, you don't do that until you're ready to make a change at the position. Maybe that'll be next year, but they weren't ready to make that switch this year.
Drew from St. Paul, MN
Scouting reports on offensive linemen often say “played X position in college but projects as Y in the NFL.” What traits are most important for each OL position, and how do scouts/GMs determine an OL prospect’s optimal position?
A left tackle needs to be a premier pass blocker. If he's a good but not great pass blocker, he's a right tackle. Guards are usually another notch below the tackles and centers are good angle blockers and can shove a ball between their legs. The modern game is all about pass blocking. Once in awhile you'll find a big guy who can sink his hips and run block, but the majority of linemen are evaluated on their ability to pass block.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Have you ever witnessed Vito get angry? I feel like that would be a terrifying sight to behold.
I saw him yell at a kid in the Long Beach airport a long time ago. It was effective.
Mark from Eau Claire, WI
What's the distinction between a reporter and a writer?
If he or she can do both, there is no distinction.
Jim from Chicago, IL
Give me Vic's rankings and overview of the 2021 NFC North defenses.
I would expect the Packers defense to be the division's best. The other three are scratch and claw types.
Rich from Grand Rapids, MI
How would Defensive Coordinator Vic game plan for Love as the starting QB? How does that differ from your game plan with Rodgers at the helm?
You throw the playbook at Love because he hasn't seen any of it. Rodgers has seen it all and beat it all. You game plan to deny the big play.