Ask Vic


The four best days of football every year

Posted May 28, 2014

I’m insane? Here’s the explanation for yesterday’s top 10 QBs

Trevor from Biloxi, MS

I just finished reading your “Ask Vic” article and when you replied with your top 10 QBs, I noticed you left off Peyton Manning. Is there a reason you don’t think Manning will be as successful as he was last year?

He’s a year older and his arm strength is clearly an issue. The Seahawks made it an issue in the Super Bowl and I think we’re going to see teams defend Peyton Manning in the same manner the Seahawks did: Force him to make plays downfield, which he might not have the arm to do anymore. That’s my thinking. It’s also my thinking that he’s never been mobile, and an immobile quarterback that lacks arm strength is an invitation to rush. The Broncos play a tough schedule this year and their failings on defense are also an invitation for opponents to be aggressive in attacking Manning. I think the Super Bowl is a preview for what’s ahead in Manning’s career.

Michael from Milwaukee, WI

I was one of those kids that got lost in the shuffle once. I knew in high school Friday nights were not for me. My friends and I had a great spot on the sidelines with an excellent view of the action. I was made for Monday to Thursday practice and JV games. I remember my first JV game. I did not get into the game; for whatever reason my coach forgot about me. I wanted to quit on the walk into the locker room. I would have rather practiced with the seniors than dressed for that game. My coach pulled me into his office on my way out the door and admitted his mistake. I would have crawled through hell for him after that.

You’re every coach’s dream. You’re a self-starter and it’s a quality that’ll serve you well in life. Thank you for sharing that football memory with us. I submit that you learned more from your disappointment than you might have learned from the satisfaction of having played in that game. You learned how to deal with disappointment without losing your will to succeed. Coaches aren’t looking for men that need inspiration. They’re looking for men whose switch is always on. “Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated.” – Lou Holtz.

Angelo from Willemstad, Curacao

Vic, I’m no expert but would having a good safety and corners not help the linebackers? I can imagine that every second the secondary covers increases the chances of the pass rushers.

Rush or cover; if you can do one, you can do both.

Steven from Brookfield, WI

You realize that as youth football declines and head-injury paranoia grows, soccer participation will skyrocket, right?

America could face a choice between reading a book and watching soccer. I think it’ll read a book.

Kurt from Menasha, WI

Vic, an edge rusher can have all the straight-line speed in the world, but what good is it if he has stiff hips and limited flexibility?

You’re always looking for some wiggle.

Ryan from Hayward, WI

Pretty gutsy pick leaving Manning, Wilson and Kaepernick off your list.

What’s gutsy about it? The worst that can happen is I’ll have to say I’m wrong. I can do that in my sleep. We are blessed with the greatest freedom of all, the freedom of expression. I’m gonna use it.

John from Saint Augustine, FL

I really don’t think the Packers defense needs to become the equal of the offense; just to be upper middle of the pack would probably win them a Super Bowl, given how formidable the offense is.

That’s a sensible opinion, but I don’t totally agree with it. In the big games against the power teams, you need a defense that, with the game on the line, can say no. That was the situation against the 49ers in the playoffs, and the 49ers expired all five minutes left on the clock with a 65-yard drive that ended in a walk-off field goal.

Eli from Seattle, WA

Can you explain the difference in skill of punt returns vs. kickoff returns? What makes someone well suited for one but not the other?

Returning punts is bullfighting. Returning kickoffs is crash testing. A good bullfighter needs to be skilled at dodging bulls. A good crash-test dummy needs to be big enough and strong enough to absorb the crash.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

In your 16-team playoffs, would you have the current seeding system or would you have wild card teams hosting division champions with weaker records?

Eight plays at one, seven plays at two, six plays at three, five plays at four, and the first round of the playoffs effectively become the best four-day weekend every year. That’s right, four days: One game on Friday night, three on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night. I’ve gone mad!

Jon from Naperville, IL

Last season, the Packers scored touchdowns on 50.8 percent of their red zone opportunities, seventh worst in the entire NFL. I feel like we were missing the tall red-zone target in the passing game. With the departures of Finley and Jones, our two biggest pass catchers from last season, who replaces them? Do we trust Adams and possibly Lyerla?

At midseason, the week prior to Aaron Rodgers’ injury, the Packers were tied with Kansas City, New England and San Diego for 18th place in the red zone rankings. Maybe losing Rodgers was the problem.

J.D. from Indianapolis, IN

Vic, in your opinion, which are the best teams you covered that have made the playoffs and didn’t win the Super Bowl, and didn’t make the playoffs but would’ve had a chance to win the Super Bowl?

The 1976 Steelers, 1999 Jaguars and 2011 Packers are the best teams I’ve covered to have made it into the playoffs and not won the Super Bowl. The 1981 Steelers didn’t make it into the playoffs, but had a red-hot Terry Bradshaw not broken his throwing hand late in the season, I think that team could’ve gone all the way.

Mike from Janesville, WI

Adrian Hubbard is an outside linebacker. Could he move to inside?

In most cases, if a guy can play outside, he can play inside. I think it’s a mistake to assign depth-chart places to rookies about whom we know very little. Hubbard’s performance will determine where he belongs.

Edward from Canton, SD

If the NFL is serious about improving the gameday experience for the fan in the stands, they need to shorten the dead time for TV commercials. They can do this by following the lead of ABC’s coverage of the Indy 500. When extra points are kicked, split the screen and start showing the commercials on the larger screen. Same thing for kickoffs, but if the kick is run out, then the game fills the whole screen and the commercial is re-run during the time out. It would be worth trying in the preseason. I think it could shave 10 minutes off the total running time of the game. What do you think?

I love it, but I’m not sure the advertisers would share that feeling.

Nick from Toronto, Ontario

How did fans react in 1978 when the NFL moved from a 14-game schedule to a 16-game schedule? Was it with as much disdain as we see now for expanding the playoffs?

It was greeted warmly because it reduced the preseason from six games to four.

Gordie from Cascade, WI

What ever happened to the coffin-corner kick?

It was replaced by the pooch kick, which has a much higher percentage of success than the coffin-corner kick.

Grant from Dubuque, IA

Vic, as a Hawkeye fan, I’m curious to know what you think of Kirk Ferentz.

He’s a fabulous coach. His program teaches blocking and tackling, and it has done as good a job as any college program in the country in preparing its players for the NFL. Ferentz also tells great Joe Moore stories.

Bart from Batavia, IL

I agree with you. You are insane. Anyone who would omit Peyton Manning from the list of top 10 QBs for this season is certifiably insane. You also omitted Jay Cutler, who I believe will have a big 2014. Cutler has a new big contract, so he’s happy. He has more offensive weapons this year, along with an improved offensive line. The defense is greatly improved, which means the offense won’t have to play from behind as much this year, and don’t forget that the Bears would have been the NFC North champs last year if Julius Peppers hadn’t missed a tackle. Shouldn’t Cutler be rated at least one notch higher than Roethlisberger?

Yesterday’s “Ask Vic” column achieved near-record page views. Why? It was because of the headline. That’s what’s insane. There’s nothing insane about someone expressing their opinion, but it’s insane for people to experience an emotional and intellectual meltdown in my inbox because my opinion doesn’t support theirs. Some have suggested that I shaped my opinion intentionally to drive views. That’s not true. I genuinely believe the 10 quarterbacks I named will be the highest-rated quarterbacks this season. I didn’t put a lot of thought into it, but I’ll stand by it and if I’m wrong, have a chortle on me; I won’t stop you. I might even chortle with you. Yes, I knew the headline would drive views, and that kind of saddens me because we should be about more depth than what a headline provides, but it is what it is. I’m in the media business and I’ll give you what you want. I’m insane?

Patrick from Plymouth, MN

Vic, the fact that Sean Lee tore his ACL in what is supposed to be, relatively speaking, light jog-throughs of the playbook with no contact should be more concerning to the league then I sense it is. The only way I can see a mistake like this happening is by digging his cleat into the ground to make a cut and his tendons not supporting the mass of muscle/weight. Count me as one who has accepted and made the mindset change that we need to protect our players. Is it ludicrous to start thinking about weight control regulations by position in the NFL?

Yes, it is. I suggest that you make another mindset change: It’s football. You will get hurt.


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