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Does the NFL need targeting rule?

We've turned expectations into demands


Dave from King Ferry, NY

Vic, when teams relocate to another city, what happens to their fan base? Do the old fans still like them and do the new fans give up on their previous favorite team. I have been a Packers fan for 50 years and could never change my allegiance.

The Colts were a model franchise and Baltimore was a premier NFL city, but it had to go without an NFL team for 12 years after the Colts fled to Indianapolis. What did Colts fans do with their allegiance to the Colts? Take it to Indianapolis? Switch it to the Redskins? I doubt it. They waited. It's all their hearts would allow them to do. When the Ravens arrived, Baltimore's love affair with pro football was reborn. I remember the sight of Johnny Unitas standing along the sideline during Ravens games. He was a symbol of the kind of love that never dies, only waits.

Dan from Golden Valley, MN

Vic, really like your last comment yesterday: "They won't even cover you anymore." That's what happens when you lose; the national media checks out. I remember the Packers seldom drawing a mention in the national press during the dark years, and almost never getting on Cosell's Monday night highlights. Can you figure out why some fans just can't enjoy the Packers' streak of success?

I think we've intensified our expectations to the point they've become demands. I think fans need to work on their definition of the word expectations, and how it should be applied.

Nick from State College, PA

Can you compare and contrast some of the great coaches you've covered and how their styles differ?

Chuck Noll was the most stubborn coach I've ever known. He was absolutely sure his way was the right way, and he was right. When stubbornness wins, it's commitment. Bill Cowher is very misunderstood. His reputation is that of a tough-guy motivator, but he's a very underrated strategist. He has an amazing record, something like 101-1-1, when leading by 10 or more points heading into the fourth quarter. That's no accident. That's the result of precise execution of a winning strategy. Tom Coughlin and Mike McCarthy are similar in that their teams employ the most sophisticated pass offenses I've covered, and that includes Bradshaw-Swann-Stallworth. Coughlin taught me to embrace what I formerly rejected. When I began covering the Jaguars, I was sure there was only one way to play football; Coughlin taught me another way. It opened my eyes to other ways. He broadened me. I am forever indebted to him. Jack Del Rio is similar to Coach Cowher. They're both run-the-ball, attack-defense coaches whose teams are punishing and gritty. Jack's going to win with Derek Carr. Coach McCarthy is the best manager I've ever covered. He has a feel for every facet of his team. So did Coach Coughlin, but Coach McCarthy is more open to change. Coach McCarthy is, by far, the boldest coach I have ever covered. I believe he'll challenge Curly Lambeau for the most wins by a Packers coach.

William from Lima, Peru

I agree with you that commitment is what makes a team great, but I'm curious, when do you think it's OK to fire any coach?

When the little voice inside you says you made a mistake hiring the coach, it's time to fire him. Listen to the voice coming from your heart, not the one in your ears.

Chris from Urbandale, IA

Vic, you mentioned being in favor of re-signing Perry. Who or how many of our in-house free agents do you see us bringing back?

The Packers traditionally re-sign a lot of their own free agents. They put them into prove-it years and then make their decisions on re-signing those players based on what the players did in those contract years. It makes perfect sense. If a player can't play well when he has every motivation to play well, why would you want to keep him? I would expect the Packers to re-sign several of their free agents. Contrary to popular belief, the Packers are coming off a successful season.

Brian from Neenah, WI

I disagree with you about WR being a top need. What happens if we only lose one receiver to IR next season? You'd still have five capable receivers, assuming Janis is continued to be motivated to improve his craft this offseason. You'd have to carry seven or more receivers on your roster.

All season long, my inbox kept telling me the Packers lacked speed at wide receiver and that's why they couldn't stretch the field and win their one-on-ones. All of a sudden, that's not a problem. I wonder what happened to cause that change of opinion.

Adam from Madison, WI

I want to live in a world where Belichick is the head coach of a team and McCarthy is the offensive coordinator. I want to see the teams they field.

I want to see the day when Tom Brady isn't the Patriots' quarterback. Then we'll find out what happens to plays when Brady isn't the player.

Jon from Rapid City, SD

When a defender launches himself to make a tackle and it results in a head-to-head tackle, even if it was unintentional, make it an automatic ejection from the game. Wouldn't that rule affect the way defenders would make tackles?

That's college football's targeting rule and it doesn't exist in the NFL. Ryan Shazier wasn't even fined. It was a perfectly legal hit. The only mistake the officials made was blowing the play dead and costing the Steelers a legitimate touchdown return of a fumble.

Keo from Mililani, HI

Vic, another year has passed and you have yet to take one of my questions. I hope you have a great offseason. I hope to finally get a question picked. Aloha!

Don't give up.

Beau from Lancaster, PA

Vic, wouldn't this offseason be a great time to come up with some new intro music for "Video Ask Vic?"

"VAV" will be suspended during the offseason.

Brad from Chippewa Falls, WI

Is there a certain amount of yards necessary to be considered a Hail Mary? My daughter asked and cannot find the answer.

A Hail Mary is generally regarded as a final-play heave for the end zone, but I think Aaron Rodgers was especially to the point when he said: "I didn't know where anybody was." When your quarterback throws a pass without an intended receiver, that is truly a Hail Mary. I might even call that an Our Father.

Joe from Cocoa Beach, FL

Vic, do you ever make up the hometowns of the people who write to you, or are they always legit?

I don't make them up, but I have no way of knowing if they're legit. How do I know you're from Cocoa Beach? Maybe you're from Natrona.

Kyle from Wautoma, WI

I am a huge Abbrederis fan (I'm from his hometown). How will Jared fit into the mix of WRs next season, since we saw him have his second-highest game this past Saturday? Or is that a better question for preseason?

I think we should save next season's questions for much later in the offseason. We're in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 season and this is a good time for review-type questions. As we near the combine, we should begin turning our attention toward the draft. When free agency begins, we should spend time on that subject, and then go back to the draft. Eventually, we'll reach the dead zone, and that's when we need to be truly creative, almost literary, about our questions. I think I enjoy doing this column the most during the dead zone, when fans achieve a deeper sense of consciousness.

Willie from Hayward, WI

Vic, the Packers have been bounced from the playoffs in overtime the past two years, with the offense never getting on the field after regulation. I'm not looking to put any one's head on a stake, but there is a real problem there. How can McCarthy allow these types of meltdowns at critical points in the season without assigning accountability? Players, not plays, right? Is there a root cause for this condition?

Willie, you can call out anybody you want, but it serves no purpose for a coach to do that. Coach McCarthy is up front in his demands for Eddie Lacy to improve his conditioning, and for Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers to step up their games, but the moment he calls out a player for blowing a coverage and allowing the other team to gain 75 yards on a play that was largely the difference between victory and defeat, he's done in that locker room. I wouldn't play for a coach that did that. Loyalty is a two-way street. If you want mine, I've got to have yours. Coach McCarthy holds his players to strict accountability. You want a public flogging. I think that's an unfair and unrealistic expectation.

Timothy from New York, NY

Vic, I think your assessment of Jeff Janis fever isn't representative of the Packers fan base at large. As popular as your column is, it represents a niche market of Packers enthusiasts. When I told my non-Vic-reading Packers friends about your readers' obsession for Janis, many of them were surprised or even perplexed, given his performance up until the Cardinals game. I think Janisitis is slightly mob mentality, and also part jest by your readers. Just my observation. Enjoy South Carolina!

Last summer, in training camp, I wrote a "News now!" story about Brett Hundley throwing a touchdown pass in a red-zone drill. I made mention of Hundley getting a huge cheer from the crowd. A reader wrote to my inbox to correct me. He said the crowd wasn't cheering Hundley's pass, it was cheering Janis for making the catch. I thought to myself, "He's right." That's when it hit me that Janis was a big fan favorite. Hey, I'm all for it. The league's success is built on the popularity of its players. If Janis becomes a star, the Packers Pro Shop won't be able to keep his jersey in stock.

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