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Sorry, Cliff, Bart Starr has to be on Mt. Rushmore

Posted Jul 8, 2016

Injuries are every team’s weakness


Aaron from Huntington Beach, CA

“I had long considered football to be a run the ball, stop the run game. I now believe it’s a pass the ball, stop the pass game.” I think it’s important to acknowledge Saban’s Alabama dynasty is built on running the football and stopping the run. Love the column, Vic!

I think it’s also important to note Coach Saban recruits his players, instead of having to draft them. Everything changes when you have to get in line and wait.

Steve from Austin, TX

Vic, what are your thoughts on Cliff’s Packers Mt. Rushmore?

Nobody knows more about the Green Bay Packers than Cliff Christl. I defer to him on all things Packers. Be that as it may, Bart Starr’s has to be one of the heads on Mt. Rushmore. As far as I’m concerned, Starr gave birth to the franchise we celebrate today when he went to the sideline on Dec. 31, 1967, and told Vince Lombardi this is what we’re going to do. I believe it to be the most courageous act in football history. One play and one man changed history.

Grant from Andover, MN

Vic, I am a golf Instructor and I’m curious as to what’s the best golf tip you’ve ever received?

Keep the left heel down.

Mike from Boise, ID

Is there a thing this year?

They’re all gone. Hold onto your thing.

Brad from Marion, IA

I had a high school football coach who wrapped his hand in gauze, dipped it in sheep’s blood and tried to say he was injured using a chainsaw but thought our game was too important to go to the hospital. He actually punched the wall for effect to try and get us fired up. I thought he was psycho and started to question my own sanity for listening to him. What’s your best example of coaches gone wild?

It’s either turning a backstop upside down for a two-man cage match to decide a starting job, or my junior varsity coach, who drove a sweet 1959 Thunderbird convertible and told us he was going to put a piece of bloody meat on a stick and hold it in the air as he drove his T-bird around the track that surrounded the field, and we would chase after the bloody meat because we wanted to eat it. I knew he was nuts. George Young confirmed my suspicions years later when he said football is not a game for the well-adjusted.

James from Tualatin, OR

Please elaborate on the forces that would disguise the truth. Your response saddened me.

It happens every day. Coaches shape the truth to disguise the truth from an opponent. GMs shape the truth to disguise who they want to draft. Players disguise the truth because they don’t want to anger the coach. We’ve become so comfortable with untruth that we’re not sure how to react to the absolute truth. Here’s an example: For a game against the Falcons in the final year of L.C. Greenwood’s career, Chuck Noll benched Greenwood and started a young defensive end named John Goodman. At the end of the first quarter, Coach Noll replaced Goodman with Greenwood. After the game, Coach Noll was asked why he benched Goodman. Coach Noll said dryly and with effective pause, “Because … he was being … blocked.” The room burst into laughter. We laughed at the truth. We had become so accustomed to disguise of the truth, we didn’t know how to react to the truth.

Jared from Springfield, MO

Vic, your influence spreads far and wide. I challenge your readers to go to a YouTube video entitled, “And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?” The first comment? “Vic Ketchman brought me here.” It made me chuckle and gave me perspective.

Remember when Margo from Bloomington, IL, got all fussy because I kept answering her questions with, “I don’t know, Margo”? I’ll remember that long after I forget my answers to all the play-call questions. This column is about people. Football is what brings us here.

Dan from Golden Valley, MN

I’m watching a CFL game on cable, Hamilton vs. Winnipeg. I remember watching CFL games on cable years ago, thinking what an odd sport. As I watch this tonight, I see the future of the NFL. Pitch and catch, wide open. I think it’s better than most NFL preseason games, to be honest with you. What do you think?

I watched some of it. I did not enjoy it. No bite. No sense of anything meaningful. Just two teams running plays.

Chris from Dallas, WI

Vic, everybody has rose-colored glasses this time of year, but if you have to predict the biggest weakness of the 2016 Packers, what would it be?

In my mind, the Packers addressed all of their perceived depth issues in the draft. At this point, I see no weaknesses, but injuries always reveal them. I think we saw that last year. One injury can change everything. This isn’t the time to evaluate a roster. You have to wait for that injury to occur.

Rick from Beloit, WI

“That’s a state of emergency down here. I have a backup wall unit on each floor.” I roll my eyes when people like you talk about how much you like hot weather. I’ve worked outside, summer and winter, for more than 40 years and still doing it part time at age 67. You live in an air-conditioned house, drive a car with AC and have it at your work. How do you even know what the hot weather feels like?

Yesterday, I biked 12 miles around the beach, spent the afternoon cutting grass and palmetto stumps, and then peeled off my clothes in 105-degree heat index and stepped into my outdoor shower, which I followed with a cold one on my screened-in porch. People like you make me laugh. Come on down. I’ll have you on your knees begging for mercy before the temperature hits 90 – at 6:30 a.m. it’s 83 and feels like 90. It took me two days to get my son to crack. I could do you before noon on the first day.

Mike from North Hudson, WI

Vic, if you could wave your magic wand, what would you like the top story to be in this training camp for the Packers? How would it read?

“Defense leads the way.” I think it’s time for this team’s defense to lead the way, and I think it would help make the offense better.

Cameron from Downers Grove, IL

Wasn’t the “Run and Shoot” offense the Oilers and Falcons ran similar to the spread offense? So why wasn’t it as successful and catch on sooner?

It didn’t have a tight end. It struggled in goal line.

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

Vic, please share a story that exemplifies Donnie Shell’s toughness.

In one of the two or three most physical games I’ve ever covered, he collided with Earl Campbell in a head-on, train-wreck tackle near the line of scrimmage. The force of the blow broke Earl’s ribs and forced him out of the game. It was the game-winning play.

Sam from Sun Prairie, WI

You said the top 10 quarterbacks are the top 10 players in the NFL. Good quarterbacks are always around, and there’s always more than one of them. A guy like J.J. Watt is a once in a generation player. I think he’s the best defensive lineman since Reggie White. How is he not in the top 10?

Best or most valuable player? I don’t know how to separate the two. What I know is the Texans lost 14 games in 2013, despite Watt playing at possibly the highest level of any defensive lineman in the league. I don’t see a team losing 14 games with a top quarterback.

Adam from Oshkosh, WI

Was Joe from Rhinelander’s coach an infantryman?

I think he was Major Kong.

Ross from Stephenson, MI

Vic, as a writer, how do you square your love for truth with your desire to entertain the reader?

The truth is entertaining.

Dennis from Indianapolis, IN

You mentioned how your body gets acclimated to the heat. Shouldn’t that hold true for the cold in Wisconsin?

It does hold true for the cold in Wisconsin, but my cold-weather acclimator broke in the winter when we had 58 days of below-zero temperatures. I think it broke that day at the gas pump. I need to be down here now with all of the other cold-weather sissies.


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Vic Ketchman

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Do you have a question for Vic? Your question could be posted on packers.com. Vic has covered the NFL through 43 seasons, including 23 years covering the Steelers and 16 years covering the Jaguars.

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