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Coaches don't deal in perception, only reality


Dennis from Brook Park, MN

Loved the quarterback rating list. How would you rate the retired quarterbacks?

I'll let you know this afternoon, after I sit down and do a top 10 all-time quarterbacks ranking. We'll post it this afternoon. Hey, let's have some fun, huh?

Dane from Jacksonville, FL

Could you explain the different skill sets required to be a nickel back as opposed to an outside corner?

You'd like your nickel or inside corner to be a quick, strong, heady defender. He doesn't have to possess the long speed of an outside corner because the routes the nickel back is going to be covering are going to be quick, short routes being run by smaller, quicker slot receivers such as Wes Welker. The nickel guy needs to be quick enough to mirror, strong enough to ward off contact and instinctive and smart enough to be able to jump routes. Ideally, you'd like your nickel back to be a safety or at least possess safety-type run-defense skills because if the offense senses you lack run-support guys, they'll go no-huddle, keep you in nickel and run it down your throat.

Richie from Truckee, CA

You mentioned in a previous post that the same people who are proposing free-market free agency are also backing the rookie wage scale. How is that possible?

I said no such thing. All I said is that a lot of people who preach the need for free markets are also preaching the need to regulate the rookies' free-market ability. I'm a regulations guy. I'm all for a rookie wage scale. I want people to remember what made this league great, and it wasn't free markets. It was hard and fast regulation. It was Pete Rozelle's leaguethink, pool-the-revenue model that made this game what it is and we need to get back to it. In my opinion, everybody in the game, from players to owners, needs to agree to a way of doing things that is good for everyone, especially for the fans. We need big-market owners to understand the needs of small-market owners. We need the players to understand the need to keep the game affordable for the fans. This is a critical time in NFL history. We need agreement and agreement is another word for regulation.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT

I'd love to see your reaction if you took a trip to Yankee Stadium and entered Monument Park. You might cry all night. Sixteen numbers are retired and the No. 8 was actually retired twice. Someday, I'm sure the numbers 2 and 6 will be retired for Derek Jeter and Joe Torre and no one will be able to wear a single-digit number. At least they won't have to worry about Mariano Rivera's 42, because it's already retired for Jackie Robinson.

Infielders and outfielders wearing numbers in the 60s and 70s just doesn't seem right, but the Yankees might be headed there.

Evan from Baltimore, MD

I know that you ranked Aaron Rodgers as No. 1 for your top 15 QBs. I was interested if you had Brett Favre in the top 15 before he retired and if, at any point, you believe Brett Favre was No. 1.

Retirement wasn't the issue. Interceptions (league-leading 5.3 interception percentage) were.

Brad from Plano, TX

The people at work swear you must have been drunk when you put your top 15 QBs list together. Could you explain why Tony Romo was not on the list? I know why, but they won't listen to me.

So, they would have me put into my top 15 quarterbacks a guy who missed 10 games due to injury, was 1-5 when his season ended and was on pace for a 20-interception season? He's 1-3 in the postseason, too, by the way. I think he's a talented guy and he could very easily break into the ranks of the top quarterbacks, but I gotta have something I can hang my hat on more than I like him.

Eric from Bourbonnais, IL

Vic, have you ever considered writing two columns a day? That way I could read one in the morning before work and the other in the evening after work.

How about read half the column in the morning and the other half at night? I'll write extra long.

Marcus from Portland, OR

Words cannot describe how brutal your videos are. Please stop doing them.

I'm sorry you feel that way and I will stop immediately.

Gerald from Karlsruhe, Germany

Loved your explanations about 3-4 and 4-3 differences, but what defines the weak and strong sides?

The tight end defines the strong and weak sides. The side to which the tight end is aligned is the strong side. If there are two tight ends in the game and the offense is balanced side to side, then the defense must decide which is the true tight end and that becomes the strong side. One of the intents of the one-back, two-tight end offense that Joe Gibbs used with the Redskins in his first term as the team's coach is that it forced defenses to declare one of the tight ends as the true tight end, which meant the strong safety would usually favor that side, and then the Redskins would run the other way. When they did that, they were running away from the strength of the defense's run-support.

John from Canandaigua, NY

You talk about Jim Brown being the greatest running back of all time. I thought you measure greatest by championship wins. To my recollection, the Packers and Ray Nitschke in particular always held Jim Brown well under 50 yards in big games. Could you check the record on that? I feel Jim Brown racked up yardage against inferior competition to pad his statistics. I would definitely prefer Jim Taylor in a big game and short-yardage situation. A penny for your thoughts.

I looked it up and I can only find three meetings between the two teams during Brown's career, excluding a game the league called the "playoff bowl" that was a meaningless matchup of second-place teams. I have no doubt Brown was stopped in those games by what was, of course, a great Packers defense. Forgive me for suggesting that something or someone other than the Packers or a Packers player might have actually been worthy of regard but, really, Jim Brown was pretty good. I'll tell you what I'll do: The next time I see Jim Taylor, and I was with him during the Super Bowl and I had a memorable conversation with him at halftime of that game, I'll ask him who was the best back of his era. Wanna bet what he'll say?

Bill from Long Lake, MN

Forgive me if I missed this in an earlier column, but with a deep, young roster coming off a Super Bowl win and something like 14 players coming back from injured reserve, why not stockpile picks for the future instead of drafting half a dozen late-round picks that you don't have room for on the roster?

How do you know they don't have room for them on the roster? Competition will decide whether or not there's room for those players. No team, especially in this era of free agency, a seven-round draft and an 80-man roster limit, is so good that it doesn't need a yearly infusion of young talent. If a guy can play, you can find a way to keep him. It's what keeps your roster young. You don't want any gaps in the chronology of your roster. It would be the equivalent of a college program having a bad recruiting class in a particular year. You're going to pay a price for that at some point in time. You want an even and full distribution of talent throughout the years.

Mike from Orange Park, FL

Are there any players that really stand out to you for their philanthropy?

There are lots of them. Today's players are quick to establish foundations and even though the initial impetus of establishing those foundations might've been financial and recommended by the player's agent or financial adviser, in many cases the player becomes emotionally attached to the philanthropy his foundation supports. The one player that immediately comes to mind is Mark Brunell, who played for the Jaguars and the Packers. Mark did more than raise money and talk the talk; Mark walked the walk. He visited the children's hospital in Jacksonville every Friday during the season and I'm sure much more often than that in the offseason, and he did it without fanfare or publicity. A reader once asked me if there was any chance I could have Mark visit his daughter. All I had to do was ask and it was done.

Andy from Green Bay, WI

I was wondering if any position is able to wear any number that the team has available and if there is a certain number the league doesn't allow you to go over?

Here's the breakdown of numbers that may be worn by position: QB, P, PK—1-19; RB, DB—20-49; C—50-59 (60-69 if 50-59 are unavailable); G, OT—60-79; WR—10-19 and 80-89; TE—80-89; DL—60-79 (90-99 if 60-79 are unavailable); LB – 50-59 (90-99 if 50-59 are unavailable).

Jerry from California

Just discovered your website. Are you related to Bob Barker? You sure look like him.

He's my younger brother. He changed his name when he became a big star.

Patrick from Austin, TX

Being a lifelong Packers fan I was ecstatic with the Super Bowl victory; however, at 10-6 they were tied with the Giants and Bucs and were very close to not even getting in the tournament. Because we always think we are better or worse than we really are, the perception (not reality) of the Packers would have been completely different if a punt return would not have happened. Do you think that perception influences the way teams build or change a roster and otherwise prepare for the following year?

When teams evaluate themselves in the offseason, which occurs immediately after the season is complete, they are brutally honestly about themselves. What did Mike McCarthy say at the combine? He said his offense needed to score more points in 2011. He was only a few weeks removed from a Super Bowl run during which his offense caught fire and stormed through the postseason, yet, he was standing in front of reporters and giving them his report on the evaluation of his offense; it wasn't consistent enough and needs to improve. Don't worry about perception being reality. Coaches don't deal in perception. They deal only in reality and the reality of last season is that the Packers got hot just at the right time, and the reality in moving forward is that the team needs to make what happened late in the season an all-season occurrence. Here's the story from McCarthy's comments at the combine.

Ed from Madison, WI

I've enjoyed your attention to the old-timers. Is there any way to see footage of these players? One of the highlights of visiting the Packers Hall of Fame was having the opportunity to see film of players like Don Hutson. Is there any way for the average Packers fan to watch film of the old-timers without actually having to go to Green Bay?

Click on this.

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