"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
Do you think "Mean Joe" Greene liked being called mean?
Yeah, I do. I don't think he would've gotten the Coke commercial if he had been "Nice Joe" Greene. "Little boy, would you like to have my jersey?" instead of "Hey, Kid" just doesn't work.
Matthew from Madison, WI
In reading about the draft, I came across someone arguing the term generational prospect gets thrown around too much. A generational prospect at their position should come around once every 20 years. He put forth the term presidential prospect (a prospect that comes around every four years). Do you think anybody in this draft is deserving of one of those labels?
Overstatement is the charm of the draft process. It's politically correct to be outrageous when talking about draft prospects, which has always been what I've loved most about the draft. Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane; looks good in the shower; plays best in space; plays too big for his body; time him with a sun dial; I have him graded just below Jesus from Nazareth, etc. It's draft lingo and I've always loved it. I got a text from a scout friend who was at this year's Combine: "Tight ends struggled blocking a sled. Ditka is shaking his head!" It almost made me wish I was there. Are there generational or presidential prospects in this year's draft class? Absolutely there are. Finding out who those players are is what makes the draft fun. It's all a projection. It's a crystal ball business and the careers of the men who look into those crystal balls will be determined by what they see. Love it!
Mike from Somerset, WI
The Packers got whipped in the NFC Championship game. How would you compare the fan bases after big losses for each of the three teams you covered?
There's no difference. I covered all three teams when they lost conference title games and there was abject disappointment in each case. The reaction by Packers fans to what happened in San Francisco is a little different because they're giving Matt LaFleur a rookie coach pass. It'll be his last.
Tom from Pine River, WI
What are your thoughts on Tony Romo becoming the highest paid NFL broadcaster?
They're paying him by the word? Seriously, it didn't surprise me. As much as he's not my kind of TV analyst, he is the perfect TV analyst for the young fans, whose view of football is tilted toward the play-calling/strategy side of the game. Romo has a magnetic personality for the young fans. I think it helps him he never won anything. It gives him a kind of sympathetic nice guy allure. In my mind, his commentary explains why he never won anything: He relied too much on scheme. That's exactly what the young fans love about him.
Will from Maine
Vic, what precautions are you taking to ensure you will survive the coronavirus? What should the rest of us do?
I've stopped eating bat. I think everyone should do the same, at least until we know a little more about this illness.
Mark from Minneapolis, MN
NFL Network definitely has a case of WR fever. The first night of the Combine they posted a list of the best WR 40 times in recent years, and it was alarming to see the NFL productivity, or lack thereof, associated with the names on the list. Is the mega-hype over 40 times a media-driven tool to drive viewership, while the GMs and personnel people are looking for a much broader skill set?
It's the underwear Olympics. Nobody cares about the 40 times of offensive tackles.
Joe from Eau Claire, WI
You mentioned Jacksonville holding its training camp in Stevens Point, Wisc. This brought back memories of when I was younger and there being a variety of teams holding training camps in Wisconsin. Do you have any insight on this practice, how it came to be, or what contributed to its decline?
Teams were trying to get out of the heat. This was in the era of two-a-days and full-pads practices with live goal-line drills. The Cheese League was also good for combined practices, which had become very popular. Why did it go away? Teams began building elaborate training facilities at home, distance from home was making the move bulky, injured players had to be sent home for medical evaluation and treatment, etc. The Jaguars were in Stevens Point for only one year. It was obvious it didn't make sense moving a football team so far from home.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
Last weekend, I read a draft guy that wrote something to the effect a LB prospect showed he will be able to be a good cover guy because he had good times in the 40 and the agility drills. Do these guys really believe this stuff or are they just trying to get us to believe it?
It's a crystal ball business, Dave. Rashan Gary is a classic example. He was a down lineman in college but he was drafted to play linebacker because the Packers believe he has the speed and agility to play in space.
Evan from Chicago, IL
Are running backs a dime a dozen now?
The elevated injury risk at that position is also causing teams to look for more affordable prospects in the later rounds. Look at the mess the Rams are in with Todd Gurley. I favor a shotgun approach at running back. Late picks, undrafted free agents, street free agents; Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams are good examples of that philosophy.
Jared from Sugar City, ID
Vic, if you were a coach, what would you look for in players during the pre-draft activities?
It always begins with size and speed. Then you look for athletic ability, instincts, toughness, coachability, leadership, etc., but big and fast are the prerequisites.
Grant from Wauwatosa, WI
The Packers may be an all-in team for the next three years and there is only one result that justifies this strategy. What do you suggest Packers fans do for the subsequent three years of clean up?
You can't have it both ways. If you're all in on the present, you're going to suffer the consequences in the future. My philosophy, especially in the salary cap era, has been to take care of the future and the future will take care of the present. In that philosophy, you pay the price in the first three years. When do you wish to be patient?
Louis from Columbus, OH
Vic, if you are Brian Gutekunst, what is your biggest concern this offseason? What keeps you up at night?
It's the defense. It's No. 18 in the league and that rather unimpressive ranking was achieved despite having played against three backup quarterbacks and two rookies. The Packers have spent a lot of money and draft picks on that defense and it's still the Packers' No. 1 problem. Complicating matters, I've got an aging quarterback and I need to get him weapons to help ease the concerns I have about him.
Adrian from Jacksonville, FL
How can the Jaguars fix the problem they have with players wanting out of Jacksonville?
Let them leave, trade them and cut them. You lost with them, you can lose without them. It's time to blow that mess up and start over, and the Jaguars certainly have the picks to do it.
J.P. from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, do you have any advice on how to best enjoy an afternoon at the upcoming TPC Sawgrass tournament?
Get a press pass, sit in the media facility all day, eat the free food and watch the golf on TV. That's what I did and I loved it. Oh, make sure they give you a parking pass, too.
David from Madison, WI
Would you share a story from coaching little league? Your story about not playing a kid when he wasn't ready is powerful.
We had a nice traveling team of 12s. The following year, they were going to be 13s in a 13-14 travel league and we knew we were gonna have a long summer, but they'd be better for it when they were 14. So, we prepared the kids for what was going to happen, but we weren't prepared for one particular team we had to face. As soon as they stepped off the bus, I knew we were looking at a 10-run-rule game. I was actually more concerned about injury. This team was built for a much bigger stage. Neil Walker's father, former Expos pitcher Tom Walker, was the manager. I saw the look on our kids' faces and I took them aside and gave them this pep talk. "Forget about the score," I said. "Let's get these guys out 15 times." There were chuckles. One kid hit a pop up so high I was afraid our kid would miss it, it would hit him in the face and he'd be disfigured for life. Mercifully, the game ended and our kids looked like they'd rather play soccer, so I took them aside and gave them this pep talk. "We got them out 15 times," I said. Then, for dramatic effect, I pointed at the other team and in a louder voice I said, "We got those guys out 15 times!" Our kids smiled, laughed and left happy. Perception is reality. Oh, by the way, the other team eventually lost to Chinese Taipei in the Pony League World Series.