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The top five quarterback rivalries of today

Posted May 31, 2013

Eddie Lacy can be a difference-maker this year

Tony from Killeen, TX

Sam Shields made a big jump in his coverage ability and tackling last year, and probably was the best tackling cornerback the Packers had. To me, it’s ridiculous that the Packers haven’t made a move to a long-term contract.

The players agreed to a CBA that provides for a restricted free agent tender system that all teams in the league use as a tool for protecting their rights to their non-UFA players and for maintaining a healthy salary cap. I don’t know that the Packers haven’t made a move toward a long-term contract; maybe they have but it’s not to Shields’ liking. What I know is that RFA tenders are used by every team in the league, OTAs are voluntary and you are overreacting to what is a common occurrence in the process of conducting business in the NFL. It’s just OTAs.

Travis from Green Bay, WI

Vic, is there a limit to the number of players a team can have on PUP or IR?

A team may have up to 90 players on its overall roster. During the season, a team’s overall roster includes 53 active players and eight practice-squad players. That would allow for a total of 29 players of other designations, such as PUP and IR. If you have 30 players on IR, you’ll have to cut somebody from the active 53 or from the practice squad. In that circumstance, usually a team will settle with one of its IR players.

Alex from Centreville, VA

Falcons as the No. 2 team in the NFL? Over the Broncos, Packers and Seahawks? I don't see it. Can you elaborate?

I thought the Falcons made a big move last year. They got the playoff win they needed to be regarded as a serious Super Bowl contender and, frankly, I thought they dominated the Seahawks in that game until they backed off and Russell Wilson started doing the magic wand stuff. I thought they outplayed the 49ers, too, until crunch time. I like Matt Ryan and I like what the Falcons did in the draft on defense. As for the Broncos, I think the NFC is stronger than the AFC and that’s what I was reflecting there. As for the Seahawks, I’m not convinced Wilson is the guy. I saw him in person and I wasn’t impressed. As the pocket tightens, he has to flush because he’s not tall enough to see over the rushers, and when he flushes, he usually flushes to the right. I think he has physical limitations and I think teams went to work on him in the offseason and I’ll be interested to see what the result will be in 2013.

James from New York, NY

Vic, I know it may seem like everyone is doubting those Jim Thorpe accounts, but I believe them. It feels good to believe there was once a player who could do those things.

I don’t know what the truth is. Here’s what I do know: That catch-the-punt-and-score play is a legendary moment in college football, and it was executed in a high-profile game. Carlisle went three years in a row losing only one game. Everybody wanted to see the team from the small Indian school and they wanted to see this football wunderkind, Jim Thorpe. This was his first big moment, against a powerhouse Pitt program that would win eight national championships over a 26-year period. So, this game wasn’t lacking attention. It was covered by the big-city newspapers in the northeast and all of their accounts agree on the facts of that game and, in particular, Thorpe’s legendary play. Isn’t it kind of arrogant to think all of the reporters at that game conspired to tell the same lie?

Patrick from Lancaster, CA

One of the things I learned about history is that it often repeats itself. Do you think the NFL will ever return to a run-first, throw-second game?

If it does, it won’t be a repeat of how it was, it’ll be done according to a new way of running the ball. Maybe that’s where we’re headed with the read-option, but I doubt it. I think the game will forever more be a passing game.

Blake from Wayzata, MN

In a nine-on-seven drill, are the two extra players on offense or defense, and what is the focus of the drill?

The quarterback and the running back are the extra players. Everybody else is either blocking or trying to get off blocks. The purpose of the drill is to run the ball and stop the run.

Jacob from Palembang, Indonesia

Do we trust the stories of yore and respect and believe those legends shrouded a bit in the mists of time, or do we trust and respect the phenoms of today who will always be tinged with the suspicion of hidden enhancement?

I like that, plus this is the first question I’ve ever received from Palembang.

Steve from Ithaca, NY

What can you tell me about Curly Lambeau? I know some of the popular stories, but not much beyond that.

He once kicked off, ran down the field and caught the ball out of the air at the goal line, ran back down the field through his own teammates and the opposing team, and then kicked off again. I think Lee Remmel was there.

John from Austin, TX

Dan Jenkins: semi-great!

Dead solid perfect. He’s a great writer. I’ve never read anything he’s written that I didn’t like. When I read his story from Super Bowl X the other day, I felt honored to have been in the same press box with him.

Hans from Cardiff by the Sea, CA

The football had a different shape when Thorpe played. It was rounder and not the bullet shape we have today. Simple physics explains why that ball had a longer hang time; it went up slower and came down slower due to the aerodynamics. Hang times in the early days were longer because of the shape of the ball.

There it is. I knew there had to be a reason somebody a hundred years ago could do something then that can’t be done today. It had to be the ball.

Ryan from Auburn, NE

I just have to say you seem so full of yourself and your opinions, it’s unreal. First off, seeing Al Harris retiring a Packer was phenomenal (same if Woodson follows suit). Secondly, watch the Tiger/Sergio replay just once and a person with half a brain could tell that Tiger didn’t look in Sergio’s direction a single time (not that he could see him anyways through the crowd) when pulling a club from his bag. You, sir, taint the Packers website every time we have to read your moronic views.

OK.

Tom from Wagga Wagga, Australia

Why would a coach be hesitant to show too much in preseason if it’s players, not plays?

Because the other team has good players, too.

Chris from Burlington, ON

Vic, you mention many great quarterbacks from the past. What’s your take on Joe Montana?

At one point, I thought about making him No. 1 on my all-important quarterback rankings list, but he didn’t invent the game so I kept him at No. 2.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Is there an art to film study, or is it just tedious work?

For scouts that have to examine miles of tape, it’s an art form. I’ve known scouts that would put on a tape or a reel of film, move it back and forth several times just to see how a lineman came off the ball, saw that he was slow and high and then moved on to another prospect. When it comes to cornerbacks, a scout might run the tape or film until the kid has to turn his hips and run. If he’s stiff, off goes the tape. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with marginal prospects. It’s not just about the result, it’s about the things a prospect has to do to play in this league. If a cornerback can’t flip his hips, you’re probably not going to spend a lot of time on him unless he’s got top end speed or the potential to play safety. That’s when the work gets tedious. When guys can run, you better find something in his game you like.

Marc from Roxbury, WI

Vic, who was the best pass rusher you ever covered?

If it’s a linebacker, it would be a tossup between Kevin Greene and Clay Matthews. One guy I covered, Chad Brown, had sensational pass-rush instincts and was on his way to possibly being the best blitzing linebacker I’ve ever covered, when he went to Seattle in free agency, was miscast and never got the full pop out of his career. If it’s a hand-on-the-ground defensive lineman, it might be Tony Brackens. He had sensational natural pass-rush ability, but his career was compromised by knee injuries.

Augustus from Humboldt, CA

Your quotes yesterday from the articles covering Jim Thorpe brought a tear to my eye with their artistry. Why isn’t there anymore of this style of covering sports and, if there is, where can I find it?

Tweets aren’t your bag? “J-thorpe all out today.” How about this? “Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, Jim Thorpe punted the ball 70.4 yards with an 8.2-second hang time, then ran down under the ball, caught it and scored, delighting fantasy football players everywhere. Elias Sports Bureau is checking to see where the play ranks in excitement. Asked about it, Thorpe said he just wants to contribute. Carlisle Head Coach Pop Warner said his team would celebrate the victory for 24 hours and then turn its attention to next Saturday’s game.”

George from Corvallis, OR

Vic, I realize Aaron Rodgers has a lot more football to play in his career, but at what point do we need to find the next guy for our franchise?

That’s way in the future. What’s important now is finding the next Matt Flynn. There are two candidates, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman. The Packers need for one of those guys to prove he can be the dependable backup quarterback Flynn was. I think it’s a major issue with this team.

Nate from Clive, IA

What are your thoughts on the push for an 18-game season?

The game would have to be further softened, but why not?

Randon from Oak Creek, WI

What are the top five current QB rivalries?

1.) P. Manning-Brady, 2.) Rodgers-Brees, 3.) Roethlisberger-Flacco, 4.) Kaepernick-Wilson, 5.) E. Manning-Romo.

J.P. from Brandywine, MD

Vic, while I personally do not think the Redskins should change their name, I love the idea of calling them the Redtails, if they do.

How about Pigskins? “Hail to the Pigskins.”

Sergio from Winnipeg, MB

Vic, those old newspaper quotes about Jim Thorpe were fabulous. It sounds like a good novel, not a newspaper. Give us more of those anytime. A good quote reporting on the Ice Bowl would be great.

This is from SI’s Tex Maule, another all-time great football writer: “In the gelid confines of Lambeau Field, on the coldest New Year’s Eve in the cold history of Green Bay, the Green Bay Packers won the right last Sunday to move south to Miami.” What happened to us? When did we stop writing?

Tim from Reading, PA

Do you have any stories about Lenny Moore?

He invented the back out of the backfield. Or was it Unitas?

Bryce from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, when I think of the Steelers or Ravens, I think of hard-hitting defense, and it makes me warm inside. Is there something wrong with me? I’m only 26. Shouldn’t I like read-option QBs and passing games?

Yes, you should. The next hundred years will be very difficult for you.

Dale from Kaukauna, WI

Is Eddie Lacy going to be a good pick for the Packers?

I believe he can be a difference-maker. There’s a lot of concern about his toe and his longevity, but my focus is on what he can do for this team this year. This team needs a pounder. Lacy is a pounder. He could make the difference.

Mark from Yucaipa, CA

Vic, I just read your article on the defensive youth movement. In it you state that Jones could become our premier pass rusher. How do you reconcile this with the hold-the-point, two-gapping, 3-4 defensive end?

On third and 10, you’re not holding the point, you’re rushing the passer and the Packers’ best pass-rushing lineman will be on the field. Who will it be?

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