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Ask Vic

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Throwing on third-and-one doesn't feel good

Posted Feb 15, 2013

Combine will begin to reveal where prospects fit in the draft


Grant from San Diego, CA

Why do you think Don Coryell has not been elected to the Hall Of Fame? He guided the St. Louis Cardinals during the heyday of Dan Dierdorf and their success in the 1970s, then put “Air Coryell” on the map in San Diego, which has basically led to the modern deep passing game. Is it really just that missing Super Bowl appearance that is keeping him out?

Coryell, who was one of my all-time favorite conference calls, isn’t in the Hall of Fame because his quarterback, who is in the Hall of Fame, played his worst football in the playoffs. Coaches have to win titles to get into the Hall of Fame. It’s pretty much that simple. It’ll probably keep Marty Schottenheimer out of the Hall of Fame, and he was an absolutely great coach.

Rich from Elk Grove Village, IL

Vic, my two sporting favorites are the Packers and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska. I recently read an article how two great Iditarod champions won multiple times in succession then went into slumps for a few years. This was attributed to having great bunches of puppies, staying with the team for many years and not supplementing them with new dogs each year. Sounds exactly like what the Packers avoid each year, bringing in young talent each year to stay fresh, fast and big. Thanks.

Nothing beats a fresh supply of dogs.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

If Jadeveon Clowney were eligible, would he be a Chief?

Yeah, he’d be the first pick. If Clowney had gone to prep school, as Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy did, he could come out this year. The prep schools are starting to look pretty good.

Jacob from Toledo, OH

I read “Ask Vic” daily and I agree that at times you have to be willing to let players go. My question is, other than Rodgers, is there anyone you can’t see the Packers letting go anytime soon?

Clay Matthews is to the defense what Aaron Rodgers is to the offense. You have to keep your stars.

Fabrizio from Fossano, Italia

How was the situation in the league before the introduction of the salary cap? Why was it introduced and how did it affect the league?

There was no limit to what a team could spend on its roster. As a result, the high-revenue franchises were spending the low-revenue teams into uncompetitiveness and worse. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t favor Eddie DeBartolo in his Hall of Fame bid. What was good about him was also bad about him. Yeah, he forced the advent of the salary cap, but he wasn’t much of a leaguethink player and I think some of that seeped into the league and challenged it for a lot of years. The new CBA is a breath of fresh air; I see it as a step back toward leaguethink, which is what made the NFL famous. The salary cap was an early-’90s invention intended to control salaries. At that, I don’t think it’s been real successful because going with a soft cap instead of a hard cap has allowed teams to beat the cap and push the envelope. The other thing I don’t like about the cap system is that it’s a means for rich teams to transfer player costs onto “poor” teams. What the salary cap has achieved, and I think this is its greatest achievement, is having created a partnership between the owners and players that is promoting a leaguethink mentality in everybody.

Matt from Binghamton, NY

Vic, the college system works for the NFL, the NCAA and it works for the fans. The NFL gets NFL-ready players, the NCAA gets millions of dollars in jersey sales and the fans get a good product from the NFL and, to a lesser extent, the NCAA each year. This system does not work for some players, as is evident with Jadeveon Clowney. He is an NFL-ready prospect who has the potential to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft this year, yet, the NCAA and the NFL are forcing him to go back to school for another year, where he could be injured and potentially make him make less money, or even end his career. Do you have any idea how to fix this system so it works better for those players who could play in the NFL, but are forced to go back to college?

I think we have a system for that in place; all we need to do is make it available to any college player at any level of eligibility. I’m talking about the system that allows an underclassman to petition the league for evaluation and advice. I think everyone agrees that players that avail themselves of that service get credible information on where they would project to be drafted. I think it’s time for college players to become unrestricted free agents, too.

Dan from Seoul, Korea

Is it ever not about the money? Does a guy at the end of his contract ever say, “I know I could command bigger money elsewhere, but we have the championship ingredients so I’ll take less money to stay where I am?”

One of my favorite George Young quotes is, “It’s about the money, and when they say it’s not about the money, that’s when it’s really about the money.” I have no problem with it being about the money. That’s the carrot. That’s what they’re chasing. At least it’s the truth, as opposed to all of that do-it-for-dear-old-U baloney. Do you think Clowney feels like doing it for dear old U? We’re Americans. We’re capitalists and we pursue financial gain. Along the way, however, our hearts warm to the pursuit, and at some point we’re faced with the yin and yang of what your heart wants and what your lifestyle demands. That’s the charm of pro football. I love the way it can be cold and heartless, and I love the way it can break those hearts, too.

Steven from Franklin, TN

Vic, I enjoy your commentary. Two issues to ponder for draft day: One is that Aaron Rodgers is our most valuable player and must be protected better. Two is the third-and-one failures of the last two years. Your thoughts?

If I could fix one thing on this team, it would be that third-and-one problem. It’s maddening and it goes to a team’s esteem, too. When you have to throw the ball to convert third-and-one, you can’t possibly feel good about yourself.

Joe from Clio, MI

Ron Wolf drafted a QB every year despite the fact he had an iron man at that position in Brett Favre. Do you agree the position is so vital you should use a draft pick and conversely more cap space for a backup QB?

I believe the position is so important that it requires heightened sensitivity to it, but I don’t buy into the notion of overdrafting the position, because you’ll seldom get full value for a quarterback you’ve identified and developed. The Packers got very little return for Mark Brunell. The quarterback position is unique: They’re expensive and only one can play at a time. Get what you need and move on to the other positions.

Tony from Saint Paul, MN

Vic, are you headed to the combine? If so, what do you look for that’s different than the Senior Bowl practices?

Yes, I’ll be in Indianapolis next week and what I look for at the combine is a sense of order as to where prospects appear to be fitting in the draft. I do that by talking to people who have a feel for that kind of information.

James from Chicago, IL

Based on conversations I have had recently, I don’t think many of my fellow Packers fans look at the Packers roster with eyes that know there is a limited checkbook.

A lot of fans don’t want to acknowledge the existence of the salary cap because to do so would require them to understand it, but if you don’t know the cap, you don’t know pro football.

Jay from Round Lake, IL

Vic, I know defensive ends in a 3-4 defense are more hold-the-point types, but what is the exception with J.J. Watt?

Watt is miscast in a 3-4, just as Bruce Smith was in Buffalo’s 3-4. So what are you going to do, make them eat blocks? They’re too good to make them do that. I don’t know how many times or how many ways I can say this, but I’ll try a new way: Scheme is secondary to the talents of the men who play it.

Jordan from Riverside, CA

Hey, Vic, I’m usually pretty discriminatory when it comes to who I think should eventually be in the Hall of Fame. I generally have a pretty good idea of who I think is and isn’t deserving, however, one I have trouble making my mind up on is Dan Reeves. He coached teams to four Super Bowls, and I guess the big knock on him is that he never put a good enough team around Elway to win one. What are your thoughts on Reeves to the Hall of Fame?

If he had won one Super Bowl, he’d be a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate based on his total contribution to the game, as a player and as a coach. Coaches have to win Super Bowls. If there was a Hall of Fame of best-dressed coaches, Coach Reeves would be a first-ballot inductee. I used to watch Broncos games just to see what he was wearing.

Steve from Ladysmith, WI

Vic, regarding wide receivers. You say they are a dime a dozen. Looking at Ted Thompson’s drafting of wide receivers, he’s hit home runs when drafting them in rounds 1-3. He’s drafted five and hit on four of them. When drafting a wide out in rounds 4-7, they barely stayed long enough for a cup of coffee, Donald Driver being an exception. Were you talking about quantity or quality? What say you?

First of all, I don’t see a wide receiver Thompson has picked in the first round during his time as Packers GM. In fact, I see a clear intent to move out of the first round to draft Jordy Nelson, which tells me Thompson favors my thinking on wide receivers. Secondly, if you’re drafting wide receivers in the second and third rounds, as the Packers did with Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Randall Cobb, those receivers you picked in rounds 4-7 better darn well not make your team or you screwed up in rounds two and three. I know the fans love wide receivers and hate it when I say they’re a dime a dozen, but nothing will collapse a team faster than a bad case of wide receiver fever. It caused the Lions to go 0-16. It doesn’t mean you should never take a wide receiver in the first round – the Fitzgeralds are special – it just means you can get those guys later in the draft but you gotta get the big guys early. That’s all I’m trying to say.

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