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Ask Vic

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Who's the biggest threat in the NFC North?

Posted Apr 17, 2014

The defining games of the last six decades


Marc from Prescott, AZ

Regarding Matt Flynn and his leaving and returning to the Packers, you asked, “Would you agree that Thompson played his hand very well?” I don’t agree. While it was a given that Flynn had to go, because the price to keep him was far too high, Thompson didn’t properly address the position of backup QB, and it cost the Packers a number of losses. Thompson was lucky that Flynn came back on the market just when Rodgers was hurt, or the Packers would have lost the division title and not made the playoffs. I think TT is a very enlightened GM, but he absolutely mishandled the backup QB position last year. Don’t you agree?

Division title and a home playoff game? Just win, baby. It justifies all.

Thomas from Park Falls, WI

Vic, why do you think Coach McCarthy doesn’t seem to generate the same national buzz as an elite NFL coach as other guys do?

If the national media had been with Packers media members when we interviewed Coach McCarthy at the recent NFL Annual Meeting, he would’ve become one of the darlings of the media. He was fantastic, answering every question we threw at him. He told stories and joked with us. Maybe it was the Florida sunshine that brought out all of that joy. Whatever it was, it was the real Mike McCarthy, a coach I consider to be the best one-on-one interview of any coach I have ever covered. Coach McCarthy has a naturally effervescent personality. He’d be a fantastic college coach because he’d be a killer recruiter. So why don’t we always see that personality in press conferences? I guess we’re to blame. Media has a gotcha quality to it these days. It’s waiting to pounce by tweeting out anything that might be the least bit inflammatory, and the readers don’t get a pass on this either because they love it. You love controversy and we love giving it to you and that combination has caused a lot of coaches and a lot of players to become protective by developing a press-conference personality. It’s really a shame.

Aaron from Jacksonville, FL

Just to add to the Matt Flynn saga: Another team paid his signing bonus and took the dead money cap hit when he was released. Flynn got paid and the Packers got their guy back without losing any real money or cap money.

Somebody taught you well.

Chris from El Dorado Hills, CA

Vic, who do you believe is the best quarterback in this year’s draft?

I think Derek Carr has the best combination of size, mobility, arm strength, accuracy and mechanics of any quarterback in the draft, but his brother’s failures are hurting him.

Grant from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, if you had to pick a game of the decade since 1960, what would it be?

1960s—Ice Bowl. 1970s—1975 AFC title game. 1980s—1981 NFC title game. 1990s—Super Bowl XXV. 2000s—Super Bowl XLII. So far in this decade—2013 NFC title game.

Scott from Saint Augustine, FL

I just finished watching the three-part TV special on Arnold Palmer. I’m hoping you have a story or special memory about Arnie.

I was working at a newspaper near Latrobe, Pa., Palmer’s hometown. My best friend was sports editor at a competing newspaper nearby and he covered Palmer during his heyday. It was the winter of 1985 when we got an invitation from Palmer, through his manager, a former newspaper man, to play golf at Bay Hill, which Palmer owned. We jumped at the chance and arrived in time to go to the range before our tee time. It was the weekend of the big golf equipment show in Orlando and the practice tee was packed with golf pros from around the country. We found a place down near the far end of the range, parked the cart behind us and jumped up onto the tee. My friend was playing with a ridiculous looking driver called a “Power Pod,” and he immediately began crashing drives. I bent over to put the tee into the ground when a ball whistled under my nose and crashed into our cart. “Whoa! I nearly got killed from a ball that came out of that fairway,” I said to my friend. The golf pros were roaring with laughter, which was angering me. “What’s so funny?” I said. I walked around a little bit, trying to cool off. “That ball didn’t come from that fairway,” my friend said. “Where’d it come from?” I asked. “I hit it,” he said, explaining that he had shanked a shot into a cement tee marker, which caused the ball to ricochet back under my nose. The story spread like wildfire, all the way to Arnie.

Rod from Peoria, IL

Vic, I’m still struggling to understand the BAP approach to the draft. It seems that value must be relative to the team’s needs. If that is true, then does BAP mean the best available at the position of need, or the best available period, with all players ranked against each other?

Stop! You have no chance of ever understanding this. If you continue to try, you’ll hurt yourself.

Matthew from Tamuning, Guam

On packers.com, the poll is “Which NFC North opponent is the biggest threat to the Packers?” The poll results are 51 percent Bears, 46 percent Lions and three percent Vikings. Do you think there’s a chance the Vikings could be the biggest threat?

My vote would go to the Lions. Anything can happen, but Mike Zimmer’s got some rebuilding to do with the Vikings. I like the way they drafted last year and I like the way they’re positioned to draft this year. My expectation is that Zimmer will fix that defense pretty quickly, but there’s work to be done at the quarterback position and that usually requires some development time.

Raymond from San Antonio, TX

Vic, my friend Jake was saying the Giants’ interest in Flynn was leverage for him with the Packers. I don’t buy Ted Thompson falling for that trick, especially for a backup. What do you think?

My guess is the Giants’ interest, whether real or imagined, triggered a need for the Packers to get the deal done, but I don’t sense that it was leverage because I don’t suspect that it’s a big contract.

Matt from Florence, SC

Vic, this is related to the question by D.J. from Denver and about who you would select in the draft. If the following players were on the board, who would you take: Calvin Pryor, C.J. Mosley, Louis Nix or Justin Gilbert?

Gilbert; he’s a game-impacting return man, which increases his worth.

Paul from De Pere, WI

How has moving the draft back impacted the reporting of the offseason? Do you like the change or not?

This is too long to wait. The league made a mistake. Radio City Music City Hall isn’t that important to the draft. They could’ve taken the show out onto the road for one year.

Brian from Richfield, WI

Vic, my dad always said there are two types of people in this world, those that liked the Beatles or those that liked Elvis. What camp do you fall in?

Your dad was wrong. I liked Motown.

Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, what makes you believe Julius Peppers will be effective in a new role after 12 years as a standout DE?

Peppers is one of the most athletic defensive linemen to have ever played the game. I saw Tony Brackens used as I believe Peppers will be used, and Brackens had the same kind of athletic ability Peppers has.

Ian from Ossian, IA

Vic, I just wanted to say thank you for posting those Packers vs. Cowboys highlights. Whenever I have a bad day, those highlights, along with the fourth-and-eight play, just seem to make the stormy black clouds of the offseason disappear.

It’s another reason why a Super Bowl title can’t be the only goal. If it’s the only goal, then Packers fans have only been able to enjoy four seasons since 1966. That’s not enough fun. We have to find joy along the way, and that means finding a lot of joy in the seasons that don’t end in a Super Bowl title because those are going to be most of the seasons. I’m glad you have the ability to find joy along the way. I’ve covered something in the vicinity of 700 games, but that game in Dallas last December is one I will never forget. It was a great season; one of my all-time favorite years.

Brian from Portland, OR

Some in my family say Montana was going to be the first pick for Green Bay when he came out, but Starr vetoed it, claiming he would never be a good NFL QB. Is any of that true?

The Packers used a vertical passing game in 1979, when Joe Montana was drafted by the 49ers in the third round. Lynn Dickey was a strong-armed quarterback who was beginning to emerge in an offense that featured one of the most feared deep receivers in the game, James Lofton. There were questions about Montana’s arm strength. He wasn’t a good fit for what the Packers were doing. I doubt Montana would’ve ever achieved the fame he did had he not played for Bill Walsh in an offense that was tailor-made for him.

Brandon from Saint Paul, MN

Vic, it seems the Packers place a high emphasis on character during their selection process, as can be shown by the tremendously low arrest rate. This seems like a simple strategy to sustain success, yet, it seems more of a rarity in the NFL than the standard. What other teams are as committed to personal character?

Nobody wants a locker room full of criminals. All teams place a premium on character. Draft picks are too valuable to waste on guys in jail. It’s all a matter of where you draw the line. Some teams are a little more willing to gamble on a guy with some issues in his past. Santonio Holmes was one of those guys, and those issues eventually caught up to him with the Steelers, but not before he won a Super Bowl MVP. Aldon Smith had some red flags when he was coming into the draft, and it might be catching up to him just as it did with Holmes, but the 49ers have gotten a pretty nice return from their investment in Smith. Where do you draw the line? Every team has to answer that question in its own way. George Young said it’s not a game for the well-adjusted, and I am a George Young devotee. I don’t need a locker room full of choir boys. My line has some loops in it.

Hunter from Millersville, PA

So, what do you think about "Bull Durham"? It’s one of the few baseball movies that’s actually about baseball, and to this day it remains one of my all-time favorites of any genre.

It was about baseball? I thought it was about Susan Sarandon.

Mike from Rockford, MI

How about an “Ask Vic” tailgate tour?

I’d love it.


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