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Coach make the QB or QB make the coach?


Dan from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I completely agree that the leaked confidential report of Morris Claiborne's Wonderlic test results is an absolute disgrace. This will now be tagged to his name leading up to the draft and beyond. I know Patrick Peterson didn't do much better and turned out all right in the draft. Will this ultimately hurt his draft stock or does his talent overshadow the test score?

I don't think it'll hurt him at all and I don't think it should. Claiborne has shown his football aptitude on the field on Saturdays in the fall, and his score is very, very high.

Chris from Pompano Beach, FL

Vic, which game interests you the most of our preseason games?

The politically correct answer is the third preseason game, because that's the one for which teams game-plan and play their starters the longest. The third preseason game is the one that's supposed to give us the best preview of the upcoming season, but I don't need a preview of the upcoming season because I know what kind of team the Packers will have in 2012, which is to say another Super Bowl contender. I'm sure of it. What I need to find out in the preseason is what kind of draft class the Packers have and how far along their draft-and-develop talent has progressed, and that means the games in which the young players play the most are the games that'll interest me the most. The preseason finale, which showcases those young players, is probably the one that'll most interest me. It's the one most people like the least, but I think it's the game that's most telling from a player evaluation standpoint. The draft picks have some game experience under their belts at that point, and what they do in the preseason finale is an indication of what we might expect of them as rookies.

Kent from Christensen, WI

Now I want to know how a couple of basketball players could be responsible for domed football stadiums. Why do you torture us with incomplete answers at times?

I do it to invite questions and research. If you search "Lew Alcindor, Elvin Hayes, eye patch," you will be taken to one of the monumental college basketball games in history. I think it's probably the most hyped regular-season college basketball game ever. It was played on Jan. 20, 1968. UCLA was on a 47-game winning streak; Houston was No. 2 in the country. It was a showdown between Alcindor and Hayes, but Alcindor was a one-eyed player in this game, having suffered a scratched cornea in a previous game. Houston won the game, 71-69, but the real story was that the game was played in front of 52,693 fans in the Astrodome. Playing a basketball game in that kind of massive arena was something new. I remember the floor appearing as though it was in a corn field. There were vast empty spaces behind the benches and scorer's table. People in the upper deck could barely see the ball. The impact of the game, however, is that it proved that a basketball game could be played in front of that kind of crowd, and not just in field houses that seat 6,000. Dollar signs danced in the NCAA's head and not long after this game was played, the NCAA started playing Final Fours in places like the Hoosier Dome, Superdome, etc. That's why towns like Atlanta, that have nice weather, have domes. They want to host Final Fours and event-status sporting events.

Travis from Edgerton, WI

You've been following the draft since the dinosaurs roamed. Of all the drafts you've covered, which ended up being the best?

The Steelers' 1974 draft, which is widely considered to be the best of all time, is the best draft I've ever covered. The Steelers selected Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster in that draft; they're all in the Hall of Fame.

Tony from Monona, WI

I hate humor.

You're not joking, are you?

Troy from Delano, MN

Great coaches and great quarterbacks often seem to be linked. Would you say a great coach creates a great quarterback, or does a great quarterback allow a coach to be great?

The quarterback is the canvas on which his coach may paint. The better the canvas, the bolder the brush strokes.

Adam from Stevens Point, WI

Are the Packers looking for another Clay Matthews caliber rusher at OLB?


Kenny from Forest Lake, MN

With all this talk of the difference between a 4-3 and a 3-4 DE, I was wondering your thoughts on Reggie White? My opinion is he's the best end ever and I think he could've played either defense.

Reggie White would've been dominant in any defense, including the 1-10.

Jeremy from Springfield, AL

Vic, do you actually use questions people send you or do you just make up this entire column on your own?

I didn't make up your question, but I made up all of the other ones.

Drew from Saint Paul, MN

The Packers organization and its fans are awaiting the news on whether Nick Collins is going to put on a Packers uniform ever again or have to call it quits because of his neck injury. I hope he makes the right decision for himself and his family. The Packers are not new to this. They went through it in 1994 when Sterling Sharpe had to call it quits because of a similar injury, and I feel he made the right choice.

There's one major difference between Sharpe's neck injury and subsequent surgery and Collins': Sharpe's fusion is at a higher level; it's at the top two vertebrae in the neck, which is just beneath the brain stem.

Peter from Lynchburg, VA

Vic, football is regarded as a game of inches, and rightly so. Game-changing drives are often sustained by first-down rulings decided by a measurement. All eyes are on the referee marking the foremost chain, but who is watching the back ref? Can you enlighten me on the internal control and process in accurate measurements?

It's all very technical. An official places the football on a spot he thinks is close to where the runner was down, give or take a foot. Then an official walks over to the sideline and arbitrarily selects a link of the chain to grasp and walk to a spot on the field 20 or so yards away that he thinks corresponds with the spot along the sideline where he grasped the chain. Then the chain is stretched to its full length, hopefully without any of the links chinking, and the official either signals that a first down has been achieved or he holds his hands apart a certain distance he believes to be the distance left to be covered for a first down to be achieved. Who's watching the back ref? That's a good question. Everybody's watching the front stick. Maybe we need replay review of the measuring process.

Ray from Clark, NJ

In the case of Christian Ponder being a reach pick, if the Vikings liked him more than everyone else, why not trade down, get an extra pick and still get the player you like most?

I don't know where he was on the Vikings' board or what their thought process was in selecting him; all I know is I think they got it right. If, in fact, Ponder was a need pick, then the rule for need picking is that when you have a chance to pick your man, you pick him.

Kevin from Westwood, MA

Fast is faster: Speed is relative to what an object is being compared to. A high school wide receiver is fast because he is faster than everyone on the field. He goes to college and suddenly he isn't so fast anymore; he's the same speed as everyone else. When we're talking about NFL receivers, they're all fast, if you compare them to you and me. When you compare them to their competition, only the guys who are faster than the average player are considered fast. Just ask yourself, which of my dogs is fast? Is he fast if I race him against a poodle or a greyhound?

The dog that doesn't like me is faster than the dog that likes me, but the dog that doesn't like me is a mama's boy and I don't think he's fast. I'm so confused now.

Brendan from Lafayette, IN

Are there any differences in the roles or physical requirements of safeties and cornerbacks in a 3-4 vs. a 4-3?

It's all about your personnel and what that dictates you play behind the front seven. If your corners are Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, you're going to play man. If you're a zone-blitz team, your corners are probably going to be better in zone than in man.

Bart from San Diego, CA

Overall, do you think Roger Goodell will be compared in as positive a manner as Pete Rozelle is, when all is said and done?

The CBA that was negotiated last summer has and will continue to cast a positive light on Goodell's term as commissioner. He got it done and he got it done right. The other big part of his legacy will involve his efforts to promote and effect player safety. This is a game-changer. The question that remains to be answered is: How will it impact the popularity of the game? If this move to player safety enhances the popularity of the game, Goodell's bust will appear on Mt. Football right next to Rozelle's. The challenge is daunting. I'll say this for the commissioner: He's got guts.

Marq from Milwaukee, WI

What top running back prospects in this draft do you think are going to be a steal and potentially a Green Bay Packer?

I don't know who the Packers like, but I'll give you a guy I like in the "unknowns" category: Alfred Morris of Florida Atlantic.

Lucas from Pocatello, ID

If fast is faster, does that mean slow is slower?

Or dumb is dumber?

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

In today's game, with so much emphasis on replays, challenging plays, along with the world's obsession with computers, what do you think of some type of computer chip or sensor being put inside the football to show exactly where the football was on the field for a first down, touchdown? I mean, it's not like MLB where human error is part of the game. If it was, there wouldn't be so many instant replays.

I'll have no problem with it, as soon as I'm dead.

Eric from Jacksonville, FL

Can you shed some light on how national media guys like Adam Schefter, Mort and John Clayton manage to develop inside sources on so many teams?

I've known John since 1973. We grew up covering football together and John has always had an advantage over the rest of us. He was born with a unique physical trait: His ear is a phone.

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