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Ask Vic

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One more chance, then it's time to turn page

Posted Jun 7, 2011

Zach from Woodstock, IL

Do you have your eye on any of the college players that are likely to enter the supplemental draft?

The prominent candidate, should he decide to request eligibility for the supplemental draft, is Terrelle Pryor. He is an amazing athlete; there’s no doubting that, but what position is suited for his talents on the pro level? He needs one more year at Ohio State. He needs to take the big step in his development as a quarterback to prove he can play the position on the NFL level. I don’t think he can, but that’s based on what I’ve seen to date. OK, so what can he play? Is he another Jermichael Finley? Pryor has rare size and speed but a lot of big, fast guys haven’t been able to make that transition to receiver. Be that as it may, he would be a most intriguing and tempting prospect, especially in a lockout situation because we are rapidly nearing the point that all rookies are going to become futures picks.

Rachel from Waldorf, MD

I understand your explanation for the supplemental draft; however, what if two teams specify they would give up a second-round pick for a player? How would the league determine which team the player would be awarded to?

The player would be awarded to the team highest in the draft order.

John from Green Bay, WI

It would appear that to better one's career, it would become necessary for a star player to join a team that is successful. You seem to hold that grudge against the Dan Marino and Barry Sanders players of the world. I absolutely hate the NBA; however, for analogy sake, would this mean that you would favor LeBron's decision to move to Miami over staying in Cleveland? And would you urge NFL players to do the same? Would we have more draft-day holdouts like Eli Manning? Penny for your thoughts?

My thoughts are that you’ve taken this too far. Knocking down players that didn’t perform well in the postseason has nothing to do with free agency or the draft. It has everything to do with how a player played when the lights were brightest. To say Sanders played poorly in the postseason is an understatement. In six postseason games, he only scored one touchdown. He netted minus-one yard on 13 carries in a wild-card game at Lambeau Field. Sanders was awful outdoors in the cold in the postseason, averaging a mere 2.8 yards per carry outdoors. Don’t forget, he played with one of the most prolific pass-catching duos of their time, so it’s not as though defenses were loading up against the run. Marino played on Dolphins teams that lacked postseason-type defenses; I’ll acknowledge as much, but he was guilty of trying to do too much, which resulted in far too many interceptions in the postseason. So what am I supposed to do, penalize players who did perform at a higher level in the postseason? Not in this column, baby. I admire and respect the players that get it done at crunch time.

Chris from Wauwatosa, WI

I've always thought Bob Harlan should be mentioned in the same breath as Wolf and Holmgren, because as important as football operations are, the CEO runs the company and hires the hires. Also, this may be splitting hairs, but I always thought Reggie White was more important in the Packers’ Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s than Brett Favre. He was the one who made the clutch sacks at crunch time. What do you think?

I’ll agree on the first but not on the second. Yeah, it always starts at the top. Harlan is a beloved figure. I know his son, Kevin, who possesses the Harlan charm that his father made famous and with which he blessed the Packers for a lot of very good years. As far as the Favre-White dynamic, just as it starts at the top in the front office, it starts with the quarterback on the field. White might have been the heart and soul of that team, but Favre was the engine that drove it. What interests me is that Favre-White is another example of building a team around a star quarterback and an impact defender in the front seven: Manning-Freeney, Brady-Seymour, Bradshaw-Greene, Van Brocklin-Bednarik, Simms-Taylor, Kelly-Smith. It has long been a formula for building a championship-caliber team.

Ryan from Akron, OH

I'm sure you've gotten several questions on this subject, but when Al Harris receives his ring on the 16th, will he be an official Super Bowl champion, or is it just a sign of respect from the franchise?

Wow! Honorary Super Bowl champion to official Super Bowl champion in one day. No man has known such love.

Mitchell from Big Lake, TX

You have said that you don't base the greatest player based on stats regarding the quarterback position. Is there a position in which you would look strictly at stats for the best player?

I look at stats, but I look at all the stats, which includes the postseason, which the NFL doesn’t regularly include in a player’s bio. A player’s postseason stats are something you have to find, and I do, and when I find them, I look at them hard. Even when it comes to kickers, I wanna know what the guy did at crunch time. I covered Gary Anderson for a lot of years. He was a tremendous kicker and a great guy. I would love nothing more than to put him on my all-time team, but he missed that big postseason kick against the Falcons when he was playing for the Vikings, and that miss prejudiced me against him. I made Adam Vinatieri my all-time kicker because he’s the best clutch kicker I’ve ever seen.

Mike from Iola, WI

Now that we're past the OTAs and the mini-camp (or getting close to it), are we getting to the point where the conditioning for rookies and even second-year players is becoming compromised for the 2011 season? Can we expect to see tons of strained hammies and the like with a late camp? How would McCarthy adjust his training camp schedule to accommodate a late start and potentially more injuries?

It’s an issue. I don’t know how big of an issue it’ll be, but the more that time is lost, the more of an issue it becomes. Coaches are no doubt going to monitor the time element. In a brief interview with Mike McCarthy at the “65 Roses” golf tournament on Monday, he talked about having built schedules for every contingency. If the labor problem drags on, he’ll no doubt accommodate its consequences. You have to be smart about how you do things.

Colin from Tallahassee, FL

I guess I can't do anything about the ad hominem argument, Vic. My guess is that it is hard for anyone that follows sports to give up the idols of their youth, maybe even sportswriters.

Colin, as a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, I assure you that I didn’t look to Philadelphia and Cleveland for my idols. I think you should consider the possibility that I might actually believe in what I’m saying, as opposed to favoring an agenda. I think you should listen to your elders when they speak of the players they saw but you never did. One day you’ll be the one giving the lesson.

Tom from Richmond, VA

What are the odds the Packers will express interest in Rick Elmore's twin brother as an undrafted FA? Apparently he's got significantly better measurables than the brother we spent a draft choice on. Sounds unorthodox, I know, but what’s the harm?

Is this a Casey Matthews question in disguise?

Jonathan from Blacksburg, VA

What are your thoughts on Donovan McNabb? I was surprised to not find him on your active quarterback list, even though he had a pretty dismal 2010 season.

Were you really surprised? Once upon a time, McNabb might’ve been in my top five. Staying young is difficult to do.

Dan from Charlotte, NC

The Packers received an exemption from the no-contact rule in order to have a Super Bowl ring ceremony. What will that be like? Will there be spies from the league or from other teams to make sure the Packers don't do anything that might be football-related? Or is there just a trust system?

I don’t think spies are necessary. I really doubt the Packers will run any plays during the ring ceremony. The ring ceremony will be one last chance to celebrate as a team, and then it’ll be time to turn the page.

Merle from Farmington, IL

Just in case there ends up being football and a contract that is at least somewhat similar to the previous one, how are the Packers looking regarding salary cap into the future? We have signed several of our key players to large contracts and Jermichael Finley has a big payday coming up. Are we going to have to be trimming some of our best players pretty soon to stay under the cap?

The uncertainty of everything makes it impossible to answer your questions beyond this: Teams have to be prepared for every possibility, and that’s one reason why teams have had to draw the line on potential free agents. They have to be prepared for the possibility that a new CBA will include a salary cap. If it doesn’t, then they can splash some money around to keep guys they would otherwise lose, but spending money is easy to do; not spending it is the tough part. I assure you that the Packers are well-positioned for the potential resumption of a salary cap.

 
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Vic Ketchman

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