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Favor the Bears, the Packers or just good theater?

Expect the Bears to try to impose their will


Mike from Iola, WI

Vic, how do you feel about the gameday inactives? They don't make any sense to me. If you are on the 53, shouldn't you be active, period?

This is another one of those questions I've answered, but it continues to dominate my inbox. Maybe some of these types of questions can be posed to the people in the comments section; they know the answers. The 53-man roster and its gameday inactives are determined by the CBA. These are the guidelines to which the owners and the players have agreed, and the main issue is money. The players want more of it, and the owners want to spend less of it. Another key issue is specialization. We already have too many players running onto and off the field after each play. We have long-snappers, pass-rush specialists, two-down run-stuffers, blocking tight ends, etc. One of the concerns of specialization is a loss of identity. Jim Brown should not come off the field on third down. It devalues the brand that is Jim Brown, and that's not good for the game. I'm fine with the number of players active on gameday. I'd like to see the practice squad enlarged. What I don't want to see is two players wearing the same number. This is the way it is and this is the way it will continue to be, until the owners and players agree to change the CBA.

Clayton from Milwaukee, WI

Your "Video Ask Vic" gave me chills this week. The Bears are on the horizon. Please keep all hands and feet within the ride at all times. Do you see Randall Cobb being ready for Sunday?

He says it's going to hurt. He knows it'll hurt more if he doesn't play.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Vic, a lot of people feel you have to win a Super Bowl to be considered great. Even A-Rod said he would have to win another to be considered among the greatest. I disagree. Using that logic, Trent Diller would be considered greater than Dan Marino. Sometimes your team makes you greater than you are, or keeps you from true greatness, if you catch my drift.

A quarterback's body of work identifies him as being elite. I don't think anybody considers Dilfer to have been a better quarterback than Marino. Among elite quarterbacks, championships tend to be the difference makers. Why? Because in most cases elite quarterbacks have a large body of postseason work. Take a quarterback's body of postseason work and compare it to some of his best regular seasons. How do the two compare? That's how I judge elite quarterbacks.

Greg from McFarland, WI

Often I hear sportscasters talk about the great matchup today, Manning vs Brady (or any two good QBs). Don't these people know they don't actually play against each other? They play against a defense. Give it to me straight, Vic.

The quarterback that plays the best usually wins the game. As far as I'm concerned, they play against each other. Their importance can't be minimized. They are the game.

Adam from Racine, WI

Do you see the upcoming contest as more of a smash-mouth game featuring the run and stopping the run, or do you think this will be another shootout between Cutler and Rodgers?

I think it'll be a clash of the Packers' balance between run and pass vs. the Bears' ability to impose their will with the run.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

I know you are still new here, but you should know "Bears week" only applies to the game in Green Bay.

That's Favre night. This is Bears week.

Alen from Tilburg, The Netherlands

Vic, how can the Packers improve this year as a team?

Be as good as last year's team; that'll be good enough. And then finish.

Mark from Arlington, VA

Vic, if Jones signed a high-salary contract with his departure for Oakland, would those contract terms carry to the Giants and Green Bay?

No, because he was released by the Raiders, and then by the Giants. Had he been traded by the Raiders to the Giants, the Giants would've inherited his Raiders contract; the same is true had he been traded by the Giants to the Packers.

Mark from Yucaipa, CA

People seem to be taking this first game for granted. They assume Cutler will give the game away again. I feel Fox will have his guys ready to play and I hope for a spirited game. You can't have a rivalry if one team is dominating.

The moment I looked at the schedule, I thought to myself, "Why did they do that?" I don't like these kinds of important division games being played this early in the season. My guess is the schedule-maker is giving Coach Fox a chance to strike an immediate blow and help resurrect this rivalry. Or is this game too early in the Bears' makeover for Fox's team to win it? Who is the schedule-maker trying to favor, or is he just trying to create good theater? Nobody should be taking this game for granted. I've been saying it since the schedule was announced.

Todd from Springfield, VA

I just want to say I look forward to your column every day. I don't know how you put up with the people that continue to insult you with the "I know who pays your salary" comments. You have helped me appreciate the game without the ulcers that would go hand in hand with losses. I do suggest you write a book/article/pamphlet on how the NFL works. It should explain how everything works in detail: free agency, practice squad, salary cap. Too many fans and their questions are indicative of a lack of understanding of that process. Once I understood the cap, I understood why we don't just grab free agents to fix everything. Thanks again for a great column!

Why would anyone continue to read this column if they believe I'm lying to them?

Andrew from Fort Collins, CO

How many players would get hurt in an average Raiders-Steelers game?

I began thinking about your question and the only player I can remember getting hurt is Lynn Swann, twice, in the 1975 AFC title game when Tatum and Atkinson targeted him over the middle, and then in the 1976 season opener when Atkinson karate-chopped Swann in the back of the neck. I'll never forget the sight of Swann being wheeled out of the locker room on a stretcher following the '75 AFC title game. He was still lapsing into unconsciousness after being knocked out in the first half. Two weeks later he was the MVP of Super Bowl X. There's no way he would've passed concussion protocol today.

Kevin from Richland Center, WI

Vic, Coach McCarthy had a bit of an edge about him in the press conference on Wednesday. Is this a sign of his focus on the Bears game this week and the intensity he has the players at?

I hope it is, but I acknowledge the possibility we caused it.

Gary from Topeka, KS

Do players on injured reserve travel with the team to away games?

I don't know what the Packers' policy is on IR and practice-squad players traveling with the team, but I've routinely seen them on trips throughout my years with the team. Coach Noll's philosophy was: If you can't play for us, you can't help us. He didn't take anybody that couldn't play, and that meant active-roster players who were injured and couldn't play. If you were injured, you stayed at home and recuperated.

Matt from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, how does a player holdout, such as Kam Chancellor's, affect the cap? Does money not paid go back to the team's cap?

A team receives a cap credit for money not paid. Just remember this: You pay it, you cap it.

Bruce from Indianapolis, IN

Concerning the waiver wire, are the other teams made aware of a claim made by a team during the 24 hour wait period?

No. With that answer, I am instituting a cease-fire on questions about NFL procedures. The waiver wire and the practice squad cause this every year at the end of the preseason, but it's time to leave the preseason and the cuts to 53 behind. We are three days away from the start of the real season and we need to fill ourselves with the thrill of playing a game that matters deeply to us.

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