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We won’t soon forget Wisconsin basketball team

Posted Apr 9, 2014

Eric Ebron was gone; I picked C.J. Mosley


Ian from Chicago, IL

Make helmets out of bighorn sheep horns. Problem solved. They don’t get concussions when they bang heads, right?

Recent research is showing that bighorn sheep do, in fact, get concussions from butting heads, and they are more likely to suffer a recurrence if they butt heads before having fully healed from their previous concussion. Researchers are working on a baseline test for bighorn sheep, to determine when they can begin butting heads again.

Uriah from Marysville, OH

With QB's legs going first, do you think Kaepernick’s career will be shorter because his main threat is his legs?

It will be if he doesn’t more fully develop his passing skills. He has to learn to look-off defenders. He stares down his receivers. Terry Bradshaw is the only quarterback I’ve covered that didn’t have to look-off defenders. Kaepernick has Bradshaw-like arm strength, but he doesn’t have his release. Kaepernick’s delivery is long and wide from his body. He shows the ball for a long time. Bradshaw flicked it from his ear and it was there yesterday.

Jamie from Butte, MT

Do teams ever draft players and then trade them before their first season?

John Elway and Eli Manning come to mind.

Phil from Madison, WI

I agree with your thoughts that better helmets encourage big hits and their use as a weapon. So if the league is really concerned with injuries, why not add padding to the outside of the helmet and protect the target of the hit instead of the hitter? Take the weapon away without reducing protection of the wearer.

The Ohio State helmet of the 1960s was awful. Padding the outside of the helmet doesn’t appear to be the way to go. For starters, it makes the helmet bigger and heavier, which means it becomes an even greater weapon. Roger Goodell is trying to change the culture that would use the helmet as a weapon. I’m trying to change the culture of the fans who want new helmet technology that would offer greater protection. Listen to me, please: The helmet isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. The Riddell Revolution was supposed to be the cure; it was not, but it cost $50 more and it struck a terrible blow to competitors, which isn’t a good thing because we need competing companies doing helmet research. The solution to the problem is eliminating hits to the head. It’s that simple. Try to understand and embrace that approach. You protect the head by eliminating contact to it. Yes, it’s going to change the game, and that could be a problem, but the possible long-term effects of concussions is a problem and Goodell was smart enough to understand the problem and begin addressing it. His predecessor didn’t do that. He tried the denial approach, and it was a losing battle that would only cause more problems for the league and create an even greater threat to the game. Goodell saw the danger and addressed it. I give him credit for that. He could be remembered as the guy who saved the game.

Christian from Cologne, Germany

Vic, you wrote: “I like football spicy. I seek confrontation and combativeness. I get all the political correctness I need in real life.” Isn't that in some way the answer to the question why many Packers fans including myself dislike Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick? I mean, they beat us bad four times in a row. The nice thing about football or sports in general is that you really don’t need another logical explanation other than the fact stated above.

That’s it. They won. That’s why you don’t like them. I’m not buying that he kisses his arm baloney. That’s whiney. You don’t hear 49ers fans complaining that Aaron Rodgers does “The Belt,” right? I wonder why. Just win, baby.

Rick from Blaine, MN

I want to say congratulations to the Badgers for a great run in the NCAA tournament. It’s too bad it ended this way but they gave it everything they had against UK. That was a great game. And I want to thank you, Vic, because reading your column everyday allows me to say that. A year or two ago, I would be yelling and screaming and in a sour mood. Today, I can say I watched a great game, even though my team didn’t win.

The Wisconsin basketball team achieved something special in its run. I think it achieved a degree of immortality. We will not soon forget the 2014 Wisconsin basketball team, and it’s because of the style with which they played. I loved watching them play because I haven’t seen a team play with that style since before Lew Alcindor and Elvin Hayes went head to head in the Astrodome. Wisconsin was Hoosiers without the short shorts. Wisconsin played like Pete Carril Princeton, with all the ball movement without dribbling and the back-door cuts, but at a fast pace. It was beautiful to watch. Bo Ryan is one great coach to be able to recruit for and teach a system so contrary to what everyone else is playing. They could’ve won it all. UConn wouldn’t have been too fast for them. I loved the game on Saturday and I was sorry to see them lose, and I was also sorry to see that replay review has infected another sport. I’m talking about the review at the end of the game on the three-point shot. It confirmed the call but exposed that the shooter had committed a steps violation. So, they reviewed for a call that didn’t need to be changed and, in the process, revealed a violation they couldn’t correct. Replay review might be the worst thing that has ever happened to sports.

Caleb from Wasilla, AK

Earlier mock drafts I saw were projecting C.J. Mosley as early as the top 10. Now I’m seeing him as a mid to late first rounder. I’d love to see Green Bay get him, but I’m curious as to why he appears to be dropping.

We don’t know that he’s dropping. Draftniks don’t draft. I’ve heard rumblings about knee concerns; maybe that’s why the draftniks have dropped him. Remember, draftniks have to update their information to attract viewers and readers. If they make one board and stand on it, people will only read it once. If a team has targeted Mosley, it’ll get to the bottom of the rumblings. The team has the medicals from the combine or from the combine re-check. They’ll bring him in for a visit and do more research. Draft hype creates fun for all of us, but don’t treat it as representing anything but the opinions of the draftniks.

Ben from Oostburg, WI

You don’t need to know about amortization to be a football fan but you probably should if you want to know what you’re talking about when you criticize what a GM does or doesn’t do in the offseason, right?

Yeah, but I think you need to understand the salary cap to have fuller appreciation of the game. Don’t be afraid of it. Learn about it. It’ll open a whole new world of fun for you. When you know the cap, football doesn’t have an offseason.

Paul from Wauwatosa, WI

As we get closer to draft day, and based on needs certain teams have, which teams do you think will execute the classic reach instead of drafting the BAP?

The teams that need a quarterback will do that. I think as many as four could go in the top 10, and I’m not crazy about any of them.

Dave from Rugby, UK

Vic, if you see your target and you believe you can trade back and then do so, what happens if your target then gets drafted before your new slot?

You find a new target. Drafting isn’t a science. It’s poker and it involves bluffing and risk taking. Usually, a team won’t make the deal until right before it goes on the clock with the pick. It will have laid the groundwork for the deal, but it’ll wait until it knows its target is going to be there. In 2007, the Jaguars wanted Darrelle Revis. He was their guy and they had worked out a trade to move up to 15 to pick him, but I think that information got leaked to the Jets, who then traded up to 14 and picked Revis. So the Jaguars trade didn’t happen, and stunned by having lost their target, they then traded down to where their next target fit.

Brad from Denver, CO

In the years of covering Coach Coughlin, did you ever see a player refuse to pay a fine for something as petty as a tie not being worn correctly?

You don’t pay it, they deduct it from your salary. Do you wanna file a grievance over $50?

Joe from Friendship, WI

Vic, do you think the Packers will draft a safety? If so, who?

Yeah, they’ll probably draft a safety, but I don’t know who that’ll be. This safety mania is now approaching Cullen Jenkins levels. We need to back it off. It’s unhealthy to fixate on something as intensely as fans have on the safety position.

Alex from Quebec City, Quebec

Vic, what do you think Ted Thompson would say if he was reading your chat transcript?

He’d say that guy doesn’t have a clue who we’re going to draft, and he’d be right.

Lance from Chicago, IL

Vic, for a Braves fan like me, yesterday marked a special moment as the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s record HR. What do you remember about that moment?

I remember thinking that if Willie Mays hadn’t played most of his career in Candlestick Park, Aaron would still be chasing Mays.

Billy from Brookfield, WI

Who do you think is the rawest prospect in the 2014 NFL draft?

Among the high-pick prospects, I think it’s Blake Bortles.

Kyle from Green Bay, WI

Vic, if you were a GM for, say, the Jaguars or Browns, would you take Johnny Manziel?

No.

Bonnie from Rice Lake, WI

Exciting! We are part of the Packers Tailgate Tour this year. Just wondering how the Packers organization decides which cities to include on the tour?

I lobbied hard for Rice Lake. A couple of years ago, I got a question from a guy in Rice Lake. I had never heard of the place but it sounded interesting so I looked it up on Google maps. I love geography. I found the town and pulled the little man down and walked the streets and took a look around, and I imagined what it would be like to live in a place like that. I like to do that. I don’t know why, I just do. Well, I became fond of Rice Lake. If it wasn’t so darn cold, I might retire there.

Scott from Durham, NC

What are your thoughts on TE Colt Lyerla?

Twitter cost him a lot of money. I can think of three teams that won’t draft him.

Ismail from Woodbridge, VA

Vic, if you can pick anyone in the draft, who would you pick?

Clowney.

Bill from Milwaukee, WI

Can everyone please just stop with the word winsome? I don’t even think most of the readers know what it means, especially the guy who used it to describe Tom Coughlin. Note to readers: Being winsome has nothing to do with winning football games.

That’s true, but it has a lot to do with fans enjoying football games and increasing the enjoyment of those around them. Fans don’t play, Bill. There’s nothing they can do but watch.

Bryan from Madison, WI

Vic, both Ebron and Mosley are available at 21. Who do you pick?

I participated in another mock draft yesterday. I asked if Ebron was available. He wasn’t. I asked if Mosley was available. He was. I picked Mosley. Had Ebron been available, I would’ve picked him.


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