"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Nathan from San Diego, CA
What is the cure for wide receiver fever?
Allowing 285 yards rushing, a 6.8 yards per carry average and 37 points to a team that threw only eight passes for 77 yards should be a cure.
Bob from St. Charles, IA
Pittsburgh football DNA has always been about solid, physical defense. Green Bay just doesn’t seem to have that trait. Green Bay should return focus to offense, score 42 points per game and try to hold the other team to 41. Thoughts?
How do you live with yourself?
Robert from Plymouth, WI
I thought the playoff system they had in place was one of the best in all of sports. So strange to change it. Do you think expanding the playoffs will hurt in the long run?
We asked the same question when the league went from four playoff teams to five and then to six. Why the concern for the quality of a wild-card game? Could the No. 7 teams play any worse than the Packers did against the 49ers? Where was the quality in the Ravens' performance against the Titans? Based on the Texans' collapse against the Chiefs, were the Texans playoff quality? More playoff games is a good thing.
Nate from Plymouth, MN
Regarding your comments on Green Bay's defense, I think cornerback is a sneaky position of need for the Packers this offseason. Kevin King led the team in picks, yes, but I've also watched him get roasted at a disappointingly high rate over the course of his tenure with the team. Tramon Williams is probably the oldest cornerback in the league by half a decade, and while I do think he played pretty well last year, there's only so long that can last. Jaire Alexander was looking like a great corner in the making, but he got abused by Amari Cooper last season, and I also saw him giving up big plays in a few other games. Plus, in today's NFL, coverage guys are at a premium and I think you need at least three good, solid corners on your team, and the more the merrier. I think this team needs to add a cornerback or two this year. What do you think?
I'll swim Scott Creek if the Packers don't draft a cornerback.
Jeff from Miami, FL
If the Steel Curtain defense had to play today's pass-heavy offenses and wanted to play five defensive backs, how would they have lined up the down linemen and linebackers?
Tony Dungy would've come into the game, a linebacker (not Lambert or Ham because they were outstanding in coverage) would've gone out, and everything else would've stayed the same. Substitution only becomes problematic when your defense is heavy with specialists.
Rey from Milwaukee, WI
Why were you amazed Shanahan revealed that information about his plan?
Coaches are extremely guarded about strategy. They consider it proprietary information. Going way back, I can remember Coach Noll being unwilling to discuss strategy or play-calling. He'd avoid those questions with, "How do you wish to die?" Kyle Shanahan's willingness to reveal his strategy to attack the Packers edge rushers was self-congratulatory and insulting to the Packers. If I was Matt LaFleur, I'd be a little angry.
James from Nogojiwanong, Canada
How do you connect the dots between the Packers coming out brain dead in three California games, plus, the same sort of performance in an NFC championship game in Atlanta and the last four minutes and overtime in an NFC championship game in Seattle?
I feel no need to connect those dots, but if Mike McCarthy was still the Packers' coach, I have no doubt fans would be blaming him for another NFC title game failure. Based on how it all turned out, I think the change is for the good.
Kevin from Grand Rapids, MI
With many college players sitting out bowl games prior to being drafted in the NFL, do you see a time when a Trevor Lawrence or someone of similar ability will sit an entire season prior to being draft eligible? Wouldn't Lawrence be a top five pick if he came out this year? Why risk it?
I see the day when players will be free to enter the draft without having to wait three years from the time they graduate from high school; all free all the time. I think that day is just around the corner.
Dave from Savage, MN
Do you remember the first big hit you received in football?
It's from the first practice of my freshman year in high school. The coach conducted his own version of the Oklahoma drill. A defensive player would lie on his back between two blocking bags a couple of yards apart, and a ball-carrier would position himself five yards from the defender. At the sound of the whistle, the ball-carrier would charge at the defender, who would turn himself into an upright position and brace for the blow. It was a head-on-collision drill and its intent was to set a physical tone. It was a memorable moment and one of my memories from it is the lingering scent of Cramergesic. That's when we know something is big; we remember everything down to the fine details.
Andrew from Stuttgart, Germany
I was curious your thoughts regarding Kenny Clark. Is the impact he has on games going to be worth the money they will likely shell out to him?
In my mind, a nose tackle must be a special player for a team to pay him big money. I think Clark is on the verge of becoming special and I would advocate signing him to a new contract. I especially like Clark's athletic ability and fit in a 3-4. I think he has the ability to play inside or outside; he's perfectly suited for a 3-4 and he reminds me of Kimo von Oelhoffen, a versatile and much underrated 3-4 defensive lineman.
Kevin from Silverdale, WA
Vic, I think it's important to find a way to keep the kickoff. I think it's one of the most iconic moments of football, especially on the opening play.
Ceremonial? OK, start the game and the second half with a kickoff. Otherwise, put the ball at the 25 and let's go.
Jason from Austin, TX
Not to open this can of worms again, but do you think if Jacksonville had drafted hometown darling Tim Tebow they would have had the same issues selling seats during his tenure in the NFL?
He would've given them a bump in season ticket sales in year one, but the team would've been blamed for his ultimate failure and it would've given the Gator crowd another reason to dislike and mock the Jaguars. Tebow wasn't the answer. Time was the answer. Jacksonville needed time to grow and overcome its habit of watching football on TV. The latter is what got lost in the decision to put a franchise in a place that filled a big stadium for the Florida-Georgia and Gator Bowl games. The people filling the stadium were from out of town; Jacksonville watched those games on TV, and the high ratings are proof of it. When Jacksonville was awarded a franchise, the town's football fans thought to themselves, "Oh, good, now I have a favorite team to watch on TV." I don't think they understood the responsibility they were accepting for buying those expensive tickets. All of that came to a head on that Sunday night in 2004, when the Steelers took the field and the towels turned Alltel Stadium yellow. Six home games were blacked out that season, despite the Jaguars being in playoff contention down to the final game of the season. When I saw those towels swing, I knew we had a big problem. Sixteen years later, I think Jacksonville has grown enough and the Jaguars are important enough for that market to become the football hotbed it was thought to be when the franchise was awarded. It just took time. I disagree with Shad Khan. I think the market has arrived. Just give it a winner.
Scott from Medford, NJ
Would Rozelle have allowed the Jaguars to give up two home games for extra local revenue? Seems to fly in the face of competitive balance.
I don't know the answer to your question, but as a sidebar I doubt Jacksonville would've been awarded a franchise had Pete been commissioner in 1993. Vito Stellino, with whom I covered the Steelers and Jaguars, told me of an unsolicited phone call he received from Rozelle nine months after the Colts left Baltimore. That was in 1984 and Vito was working for the Baltimore Sun. Vito is the reporter who broke the story on the Colts' shocking late-night exit from Baltimore. Rozelle phoned Vito to tell him Baltimore would be awarded a team in expansion. Pete was big on tradition and Baltimore was one of the league's flagship cities during Pete's early years as commissioner. Circumstances caused expansion to be delayed until after Pete retired in 1989.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Vic, watching videos from the '70's and early '80's, something struck me about the crowd. No one was wearing jerseys or really any team apparel. When did the NFL start marketing jersey sales and fan apparel?
When the fans became sheep. It was another stroke of marketing genius by the NFL: Make it fashionable for the fans to spend huge sums of money to buy a team jersey, and then, after making them feel as though they are part of the team, sell them a ticket and instruct them to stand and howl. Baaa! When I was a kid, I had an old, yellow sweatshirt on which I stenciled the number 22 on the sleeves. I loved that sweatshirt. My dad always wore a cigar to the game. I can't think of Bobby Layne without thinking of that sweatshirt and smelling cigar smoke.
David from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, have you felt an increased disrespect toward members of the media since 2016?
That happened following Watergate. Everything changed. Americans have a distrust and dislike of those who speak the truth.
Philip from Madison, MS
Can you provide some detail, Vic? What does being a nice person mean to you?
Humble and helpful top the list.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what is your greatest challenge in your quest to be kind?
It's probably greed.
Wendel from Porto Allegre, Brazil
The dead money of Khalil Mack's contract would be $30.8 million if he's traded. The $47.8 million figure occurs if he's released.
Mack's $13.3 million salary fully guarantees on 3-15, three days prior to the start of the league year, but it won't be paid until next season so, you're right, his salary would become the liability of his new team. A $3.7 million roster bonus is to be paid on 3-20, and its liability would depend on when the trade occurred. Traded, his dead money wouldn't be $47.8 million, it would be either $34.5 million or $30.8 million. Trade him to draft a quarterback? It's doable but it would mean starting over, and based on the contract re-structuring the Bears are doing to create cap room, I don't think a re-start is in the Bears' plans.
Luke from Madison, WI
With the conversation here turning slowly to the NFL draft, I had an observation on the crystal ball, hit-or-miss business of the draft. From 2015-17, the Packers had poor luck in the second round. In an imaginary world in which the Packers took the guys drafted one spot later, they'd have Frank Clark, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Jarran Reed. It's amazing, sometimes, how thin the margin is between a hit and a miss.
Jason Campbell was selected one pick after Aaron Rodgers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Remember when you frequently used the phrase "no more excuses" while this column was very young? The game vs. Houston (2004), when the aliens showed up at halftime, was 15 years ago. It's time the Jaguars fan base takes accountability for losing games to London. Enough with the finger pointing. Stop the baloney and fill the seats!
Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? I can't help but think of that "no more three yards and a cloud of dust" remark. Why didn't we appreciate what we had?