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Who are the NFL's top 10 players?

Posted Jul 7, 2016

Here's what I want to see in training camp


Del from Sterling, IL

Vic, do you think the course of the NFL’s history would have been different if Pete Rozelle hadn’t been voted in as commissioner?

I can’t imagine another man being as dynamic, diplomatic, persuasive and perceptive as Pete Rozelle was. He was perfect for the times the NFL was entering. He was a visionary who was at his best when he was building consensus. He’s the best sports executive I have ever known.

James from Leander, TX

I wanna know who you believe the top 10 players are for the 2016 season?

Rank the top 10 quarterbacks and those are your top 10 players.

PB from Minneapolis, MN

What’s one thing you’ve changed your mind about for the better? What’s another thing you’re too stubborn to look at any other way?

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 doubt I will ever change my opinion that it’s a game of human confrontation.

Ted from Green Bay, WI

What did you mean when you said you've “climbed” Everest?

Everest is a metaphor for my view of life. I’ve been to the top. I’ve seen it all.

Jason from Klamath Falls, OR

Vic, what player are you most looking forward to seeing in camp, preseason and the regular season? I’m looking forward to watching Clay Matthews outside again, and jointly the inside linebackers.

For me, training camp is all about young players. I don’t want to see Matthews. I know what he can do. The less I see of him the better, if you know what I mean. I want to see Kenny Clark and the rookies. I want to see the young receivers in their competition to order themselves. I want to see the depth the Packers can develop at running back and on their defensive line, because they’ll need depth at those two positions in Jacksonville. I want to see what “jars on the shelf” are ready to come off the shelf on the offensive line. If there’s one veteran player I think we all want to see, it’s Eddie Lacy, for the obvious reason.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

I saw a bicycle in the back of a police SUV this afternoon. It brought me back to your story about a bike that saw many different riders. Wouldn’t that be a great end in this day and age? The police going out of their way to return a bike that had helped so many others.

Maybe the policeman perceived the bike as having been abandoned. Maybe a car accidentally hit the bike and damaged it, and the policeman is taking it to a prison where it can be repaired as part of a prisoner rehabilitation program. Maybe it launches a prisoner into a career as a bicycle repairman, and he finds the goodness in his heart that had always been hidden from him, and it changes him. I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story.

Joe from Rhinelander, WI

Vic, I remember in high school our football coach would yell, “Blood makes the grass grow,” and the players would holler in unison, “kill, kill, kill!” That chant is frowned upon these days. Are we evolving as a society or getting softer?

Who was your coach, Genghis Khan?

John from Denver, CO

If you are correct and the spread style offense is the future of the NFL, do you see a mix, with some teams playing spread style and some playing a more traditional pro style (when they can find the “The Man”), or will the spread take over completely?

I can see the true pro-style quarterback going the way of the dinosaur. I can see Russell Wilson becoming known as the father of modern offense. He’s where offense is headed, which is to say toward a mobile quarterback who can think on his feet, make plays with his arm and feet, and can be acquired at a bargain price. When the game is full of those types of quarterbacks, and college football is beginning to produce a lot of them, second contracts won’t break the bank. The position is evolving.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What is a realistic expectation for Jeff Janis?

This is the year for Janis to fully establish his professional football career. That is my expectation for him.

Jon from Towanda, PA

Vic, does Mike McCarthy ever get rattled? I have never seen the man show any sign of frustration.

When I see a coach or a quarterback for the first time, I’m looking for examples of poise. I saw Coach McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers for the first time in a regular season game in 2008. Even though the Packers lost that game, I knew I had witnessed a coach-quarterback combination for the future. The Packers’ sideline was a study in control, and Rodgers was, by far, the best player on the field, in terms of talent and command.

Freddie from Edgemoor, SC

Vic, when do you plan to return to Green Bay for the upcoming season?

That question will be answered on Monday.

Adam from Wausau, WI

Do you know of any players that may not have had the regular season body of work to make them Hall of Fame worthy, but had multiple postseason moments?

Lynn Swann is in the Hall of Fame because he is one of the greatest players in Super Bowl history. His body of work is not Hall of Fame worthy. His impact on the game is.

Peter from Mount Horeb, WI

Vic, it’s been a tough day but reading your column helps. Thanks, you’re very good for Packers fans. Have we been good for you?

You have no idea how good you’ve been for me. Packers fans have been very, very good for me.

Liam from Somerset, WI

Hey, Vic, what do you think about K.D. going to Golden State?

I am without thought.

Jason from Dillsburg, PA

Vic, was it ever too cold to wear your flip-flops in Florida in the winter?

Yes, both weeks.

Justin from Athens, GA

If you were to pass suddenly, God forbid, would the Packers inform us of your funeral plans? I bet you’d easily break 1,000 attendees. I hope there’d be enough of those little sandwiches for everyone.

I’ll make sure they save one for you.

John from Winnipeg, Canada

I’m sure Gino Marchetti, or any professional athlete, would much rather be remembered for their excellence on the playing field than for a pathetic photograph of that player, beat down by injury, unable to help his team.

Those of greater sensitivity for the true meaning of such a photo would tell you it is of a man whose love for his team and its fate in a game that would define his life was greater than the pain in his broken leg. Those people would tell you the photo you refer to as pathetic is, in fact, a symbol of everything we love about a game that defines body and soul. I’m truly sorry you lack such sensitivity. You’re unlikely to fully appreciate the most wonderful game in the world.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

Vic, your answer about growing up in the ’50s and ’60s was spot on, maybe one of your best ever, thank you. Who did you compete against as a sportswriter? Other writers, the deadlines or yourself?

My writing career has always been a competition against the forces that would disguise the truth.

Mike from North Hudson, WI

Vic, over your career, pound for pound, who was the toughest NFL player you covered?

Donnie Shell.

Martin from Tisovec, Slovakia

Vic, Wimbledon’s manic Monday is called “the best day of tennis in the calendar.” Which is such a day for you in football?

It is often the final day of the regular season, because so much always seems to be on the line for so many teams. It was that way last season. As for tennis, the grunting bothers me. It makes me feel like I’m standing outside a men’s bathroom.


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