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A bold prediction for 2012 Packers


Paul from Madison, WI

So you don't like feet, but you're a sock connoisseur. Doesn't make sense to me.

That's it! I have a foot phobia and feel a need to cover my feet, which explains my sock fetish and dislike of soccer. Something clearly went wrong in my youth to have created this imbalance. Maybe my shoes were too tight or my mother put them on the wrong feet when I was a baby. Thank you, Sigmund.

John from Lacrosse, WI

My high school in Central Wisconsin ran the Wing-T well into the 1980s (minus the crab-blocking), and it's a thing of beauty when it's executed. Our coach ran base plays almost exclusively: trap, belly, sweep, counter, and throw in the sweep option pass to the post once he noticed the corners cheating up to stop the run.

When Marv Levy was the rookie coach of the Chiefs in 1978, he took over a team that was terrible on defense the previous season, was depleted of talent and needed to find a way to be respectable as it rebuilt its roster. So Levy installed the Wing-T and ran the ball 60 times a game, just to keep the defense off the field. The Chiefs didn't win many games, but they set rushing records and were competitive in just about every game. I can remember Chuck Noll praising Levy for his bold move. That's the last we've seen of the Wing-T in pro football.

Jack from Lansing, IA

With the whole deal about the college players leaving early for the NFL ruining college football, why not just make it illegal to leave for the draft until after the players' senior year? I am just as big a college football fan as NFL, and would also not like to see the college game go away.

It would be challenged and defeated in the courts. Think about the tough spot in which the NFL often finds itself. It knows what's best for the game and its players, but it often finds itself in court fighting losing battles in cases that force the league to do things that will later cause the league to be sued for having done them.

Kent from Appleton, WI

Changing the culture is hard. What if we weren't saddled with that burden? If the NFL knew in its formative years what it knows now, what do you think they might have done differently and what would the game look like?

The NFL of today is very different from the NFL of its formative years. In those days, football was the college game. The NFL took its lead from college football; now, college football takes its lead from the NFL. The NFL's founding fathers didn't have the luxury of conceptualizing. They were just trying to pay the bills, and America liked its football played with a bloody nose. I encourage everyone to read on the history of professional football. This is a young sport and it's not a long read, but I find it fascinating, especially in how professional football grew from such humble beginnings into the powerhouse business it is today. The early years of the NFL were spent playing in college stadiums (Franklin Field, Pitt Stadium) and baseball parks (Yankee Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Forbes Field, Wrigley Field). The NFL was the second tenant in almost every facility in which it played its games. I can remember as a kid having trouble even finding the games on the radio because the Major League teams controlled the dial. Compare that to now.

Eric from Madison, WI

In regards to contracting a payout (bounty) for physical bodily harm of another individual, how is it not a criminal offense? In any other situation this sort of activity would be highly illegal and most likely result in serious fines, if not jail time. Am I alone in thinking this is a criminal activity? I would surely land in jail if I were to put out a bodily harm contract on one of my business competitors. Where is law enforcement in all of this, and could players face criminal charges?

Eric, I wandered out into the bowl on Thursday. It was a beautiful day and I decided to sit in the sun and listen to the sounds of the construction work on Lambeau Field. I sipped on a coffee and imagined what it must've been like on that field and in those stands on Dec. 31, 1967, and what it'll be like in Lambeau Field 50 years from now. It was nice to get away from all of this "Bountygate" angst and feel football again. I recommend it. Leave that other stuff for the people who get paid to suffer it. Don't make it your worry. They'll get it all figured out and, when they do, they'll all pose for a group picture, hugging on each other and heaping praise on each other, and you'll be left wondering what happened. Remember the lockout? Remember what I said?

John from Austin, TX

So that's why you don't like to see kickers get into the Hall of Fame.

Yeah, it's all making sense now.

Jim from Monroe, WI

Vic, just watched "After Further Review." You are seated in front of Bart Starr's photo. Did anyone ever tell you that you resemble Bart?

No, but here's a little factoid you probably don't know: I use his mail box. I'm serious. I do.

Monty from Steele, ND

Underclassmen leaving will not hurt college football, in my opinion. Underclassmen are required to be in college for three years. With early enrollment, that'll be 3.5 years. Why would it hurt the game?

It would hurt the game because the NFL doesn't take players from the bottom of college football, it takes them from the top, which means the NFL would be taking more of college football's best players. Also, underclassmen are not required to spend three years in college before declaring eligibility for the draft. Players that spent a year in a prep school before entering college may enter the NFL draft after just two years in college football. Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy only spent two years in college.

Charles from Port Saint Lucie, FL

Which second-year player/starter needs to take a big step forward? Newhouse has been the hot name for it.

Marshall Newhouse will be in his third season this year and I think he's an excellent candidate to take a big step forward. I thought he made significant strides last season. That was left tackle he was playing. That was Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, Tamba Hali and Jason Pierre-Paul he was facing. Newhouse will be better for the experience.

Ray from Black Creek, WI

Is there any real difference between "Bountygate" and a pitcher in baseball throwing at a batter to warn the other team to knock it off?

Intent is difficult to gauge, but "Bountygate" made it easy. That's the difference.

Clint from San Jose, CA

Forgive me father for I have sinned, because I hope the NFL doesn't go too safe. Maybe I'm a bad person, but I miss the Chuck Cecil bone-crushing hits.

Good for you, Clint. I, too, have sinned and it's time all of us sinners go to confession, cleanse our souls and start over. We have to change our ways. I think that begins with an admission of guilt. The way the game was is as it can never be again. I'll help you through that acceptance if you'll help me.

Ryan from Irvine, CA

I'm a little confused and I was hoping you could clarify. As I understand it, two-gapping is inefficient for rushing the passer because they can't get that quick twitch off the snap. So how does a 3-4 defense create pressure?

Just because a guy lines up in the gap doesn't mean he's going to get through that gap. More often than not, he won't. Two-gapping is a way of sacrificing a few of the defensive players for the purpose of occupying the blocking, so the linebackers you've designated to rush the quarterback won't have to deal with those blockers. That's where the creativity of the 3-4 enters the picture, in the form of stunts and twists.

Nicholas from Eagle River, WI

Go out on a limb and make a bold prediction about the 2012 Green Bay Packers.

The defense will start slow and finish fast.

Bill from Lakeland Shores, MN

"I loved him. I loved his nonchalance. He was one of a kind and I can't imagine another coming along soon; the broadcast booth is just too intense with analysis to allow for another Don Meredith." How about Bob Uecker?

Love him. He's my kind of broadcaster: Just a bit outside.

William from Henderson, TN

My favorite player of all time is Jim Taylor. He hit hard and took hard hits and kept going. He played when he was really hurt bad. According to some he played against, he was the toughest player in the league.

When I was in high school, I came across a picture of Taylor in a three-point stance. He was covered in mud and his sock was down, exposing several stitches he had just received in his leg. I can still see that picture. I secretly hoped I would get cut like that so I could get stitches and push my sock down. Clearly, I was not well-adjusted.

Miriam from Butte, MT

Maybe you will answer this one? Do you get more questions from men or women? Do you answer more questions from men or women? Do I have to call your wife to let her know? LOL, Vic!

I'm tingling.

Dusty from Rice Lake, WI

I love your article because I did not think you were going to answer my question, but you did. You actually do spend a lot of time on this, don't you?

You care enough to write; I care enough to read.

John from Naperville, IL

Vic, is it just me or is today's sports media going downhill? They seem solely concerned about hyping up specific athletes.

Success in my industry is measured by volume of readership. Our problem is we haven't found a way to make our readers read what we think they should read, instead of what they want to read.

John from London, UK

When I was young, the book "Paper Lion" by George Plimpton was a favorite. How much has today's offseason and training camp changed from the 1960s experience described in that classic book?

There were no OTAs back then. When players left after the season ended, they often didn't return until training camp. That's where the biggest difference begins. Training camp was nine weeks long, it began shortly after the Fourth of July and ran through Labor Day. It was two-a-days every day and always in full pads. The hitting was intense and the "Oklahoma" was a true teaching device, not just a sideshow. The preseason was six games long and games were often played in remote locations. If you made it through a training camp back then, you had half the battle won.

Kevin from Atlanta, GA

Seriously, I like reading your column because you write exactly like your picture looks, pompous and arrogant. Good luck to you.

Good luck to you, too.

Ando from Boulder, CO

Vic, a kid asked a simple question about cleats and you turn around and rip on soccer. Why the hostility? Is it because after failing at football, you tried soccer and failed at this due to your diminutive, sad excuse for masculinity? It's funny to see a pathetic man-child talk up tough football and rip on wimpy soccer.

No, I don't think that's it. I think it's the foot thing.

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