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Giants used 'illegal' formation in playoff game


Mark from Appleton, WI

Vic, when you are interviewing players, or even just having a casual conversation, do you ever think to yourself, "This guy would make a great coach"? If so, which current Packers do you think could make the next step into coaching?

I've always thought that way. Future coaches are easy to identify. They're usually guys with strong communication skills. They're usually guys that have a message they want to deliver, which usually means they're guys that were pretty good with the media when they were players. I covered Darren Perry and Kevin Greene in Pittsburgh. Both were outstanding communicators with the media and it's no surprise to me that they've become coaches. Joe Greene and Tony Boselli immediately come to mind as two guys that loved to talk about football. One became a coach and the other one became a voice of the team. Charles Woodson, Donald Driver and Charlie Peprah are current Packers that have strong communication skills and a passion for the game. Just because a guy loves the game and has a message he wants to deliver, doesn't mean he's going to become a coach. Becoming a coach means saying goodbye to your family and your golf clubs in July and not saying hello again to either until January, at the earliest.

Turku from Finland

Do the Hargrove and Muir signings have any effects on the draft?

Most people would say they addressed needs that will allow the Packers to focus on drafting the best available player, but Ted Thompson is too disciplined and dedicated to his process and draft beliefs to be held hostage in the draft by need. I think the Hargrove and Muir signings are an admission of need up front on defense. I think those signings addressed that need and I think having done that is like buying an insurance policy that more defensive line talent will be available to the Packers in the draft. I don't know why it works that way, but it always seems like it does. If you want it, make sure you don't need it. As I've said, I wish the draft was first and free agency was second, but it's not that way so you have to address your perceived needs in free agency and let the chips fall as they may in the draft.

Dave from Iowa City, IA

You say football is all about "players, not plays." Respectfully not true. Football is nothing less than an abstract war game and, as such, is all about having more guys at the point of attack than your opponent. This goes for the offense and defense.

What happens when you have to win the one-on-one's?

Carson from Rochester, WI

I'm doing the history of the NFL for a speech in school, and I was curious as to which things you believe has best shaped the NFL and what historical events I should cover.

There are a ton of historical events, but if you read on these and their impact on the game, it might give you a start: the 1958 NFL title game, Pete Rozelle and his "leaguethink" policy, the "Ice Bowl," Super Bowl III, the AFL-NFL merger, the games of Dec. 23, 1972, and their impact on the popularity of professional football and the 1973 Act of Congress that allowed for the televising of home games, the strike of 1987, the emergence of the salary cap and the free agency era.

Jeff from Seattle, WA

Vic Ketchman 10 Commandments of Football: 1.) Players, not plays. 2.) Players, not plays (this is worth repeating). 3.) It's a young man's game. 4.) Always select the best player available. 5.) Tough game for tough men. 6.) Picks over players. 7.) Greatness is made in the postseason. 8.) Never overpay in free agency. 9.) A team's fate is tied to the QB. 10.) Always draft a wide receiver in the first round (just kidding).


Chris from Appleton, WI

For weeks we have been hearing reports that players are moving up or down teams' draft boards. What is this information based on since teams hold their draft boards with such secrecy?

It's based on baloney. Draft talk is all about baloney. Don't take any of it seriously because the majority of the information teams leak is meant to deceive. Maybe that's why we like it so much. The draft is a license to lie. The better a guy lies, the greater his esteem. It's a wonderful exercise in intrigue.

Paul from De Pere, WI

It would seem to me a weak draft class means more picks later is a good position to be in. Does that play to the Packers' favor?

You have to pinpoint in what range the draft strengthens and weakens. If it's perceived to be weak at the top and you have a pick near the top, then you want to get out of there and move into the range of strength. I think that's what we're seeing right now with teams going on the record as inviting trades and trying to create a panic to trade up by saying they've had a lot of calls from teams wanting to come up. More lies. This draft class appears to have pockets of strength. Once the tweeners start to fall, I think the draft will experience a 10-15 picks area of strength. Then it'll weaken again until the guards start to fall. The second tier of wide receivers has some strength, as does the second wave of running backs. By and large, though, this draft is considered to be a weak one.

Alex from Hammond, IN

Last year, the Ravens moved from the 26th pick to the 27th after a flubbed trade. The Ravens were also involved in 2003 when the Vikings dropped from the seventh pick to the ninth. Have any NFL teams intentionally passed/delayed their picks because there were no players worth drafting in that position?

What the Vikings did in '03 wasn't a mistake. They had their guy, Kevin Williams, and they knew neither the Jaguars, who had Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, nor the Ravens, who were trying to trade up with the Vikings to pick Byron Leftwich, were going to pick Williams. So the Vikings tried to do the deal but couldn't get it done before the clock expired. They then passed again and allowed Carolina, who everyone knew wanted Jordan Gross, to pick. The Vikings got their guy at a slot two spots cheaper. What happened to Bill Belichick in 1995 when he was the coach of the Browns is an example of getting caught off guard. Chuck Noll liked to say, "Never fall in love with a guy," but Belichick fell in love with Kyle Brady. Belichick was two picks away from Brady and waiting for him to fall to the Browns when the Jets surprised everyone by picking Brady one spot ahead of the Browns. Belichick was so stunned that he traded with the 49ers to move all the way back from pick 10 to pick 30, where he selected linebacker Craig Powell. I guess Chuck was right.

Justin from Milltown, WI

According to what must be close to the 100 mock drafts I've seen, the only OLB prospect we don't have a chance at is Ingram. Could you make a list of your top five OLB, minus Ingram? Which ones are worthy of a first-round pick?

It depends on what players you consider to be rush-backers for a 3-4. From what I'm hearing and have read, the other first-round candidates are Courtney Upshaw, Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, Zach Brown, Andre Branch, Shea McClellin, Vinny Curry, Cam Johnson and Bruce Irvin. I also think Dont'a Hightower could play outside in a 3-4, but Brown is thought to be more of a weak side linebacker in a 4-3. I went extra deep with that list – most draftniks would say three or four of those guys aren't first-round prospects – because I'm expecting a run on pass rushers. I'll give you the name of a guy I like: Josh Kaddu of Oregon. I think he might sneak up on some people.

Albert from Milwaukee, WI

Noting the Packers passed on three future HOF players in the 1989 draft, if you could re-mock the Packers' first-round pick in the '89 draft, who would you pick? Personally, I would have liked Barry Sanders over Tony Mandarich.

I think I would've enjoyed seeing Deion Sanders play in Green Bay.

Bubba from Pocatello, ID

Hey, Vic, I'm planning my trip to Lambeau this summer and look forward to the stadium tour and Packers Hall of Fame. What I want to know is if there is an entry fee to get into the "Ask Vic" Hall of Fame, because I couldn't find a ticket price online.


Nicholas from Eagle River, WI

Being able to run the ball effectively wins championships. You can say it's a passing league now until you are blue in the face, which you have, but if you can't run the ball in the red zone, manage the clock or steadily wear out a defense throughout a game, you simply aren't going to succeed. You make it sound like this is the Arena League. The reason the Packers lost in the playoffs last winter is because they couldn't run the football. I will manage my clock and patiently await your sarcastic comment.

For years and years, the passing game wimps attacked my "run the ball, stop the run" mantra. Then the league changed the rules to favor the passing game so strongly that we've now reached a point that the team that won the Super Bowl was dead last in the league in rushing, all of which has caused me to join the ranks of the passing game wimps.

Ric from Syracuse, NY

I heard John Clayton's analysis of the "strength of schedule" differentials. According to John, every team in the NFC North should pick up two additional victories this year because of the easier schedule. What do you think about using last year's performance to predict this year's outcome?

I think "strength of schedule" has been an accurate predictor in recent years. That doesn't mean it can be used to predict what will happen; it just means it's a good gauge of the difficulty of the upcoming schedule.

Terry from Stoughton, WI

With the offensive part of the game apparently trending toward passing, do you think a team with a strong power running game would have a chance at winning big in today's game?


Brandon from Califon, NJ

Where will you be during the 2012 NFL draft? Take us through your days covering the event.

I'll be in my office in Lambeau doing a "Cover It Live" chat on days one and two, up to the Packers' pick in rounds one and two. Then I'll head down to the media auditorium for interviews. Mike Spofford will be in the auditorium at all times. We'll have it covered.

Tim from Clear Lake, WI

What's your take on Drew Brees taking time off this offseason, compared to the workouts he scheduled with his teammates last offseason? I think he might be a little rusty, like Aaron was last season.

I think that if Aaron Rodgers sees your question, you will have brought a smile to his face.

Nick from Wauwatosa, WI

While I don't always enjoy ESPN's "First Take," I heard/watched a great segment today in which Ryan Clark and Skip Bayless discussed the fine line of player and reporter relationships. How do you figure out where to draw the line between professional and personal in that relationship?

It's purely professional, at all times. For it to be regarded as anything more than that is unrealistic.

Margie from Green Bay, WI

Vic, I don't mean to beat this question to death. I asked it awhile back and didn't get a response. I found this "Ask Vic" question: Brian from Little Rock, AR—"The Giants' offensive line resembled a horseshoe at times, again, in the Super Bowl. Do you think they should have been penalized?" "Yes, I do. I think this is an issue that should become a major point of emphasis in 2012. It's tough enough to play defense in this league; offense should at least be required to play by the rules." Will you explain what this formation is? Thank you and keep up the good work. Love reading your column.

It's not a formation, it's an attempt by offensive linemen, especially the tackles, to drop back from the line of scrimmage to gain an advantage in pass blocking. The helmets of the men on the line of scrimmage must break the plane of the center's belt line. The Giants grossly violated that rule in 2011, in my opinion, and as I predicted, it will now be a major point of emphasis in enforcing it. The horseshoe to which you refer is the bow in the line from center to tackle.

Robbo from Madison, WI

Even with the addition of Nick Hill, who do you think is the ideal draft candidate in the late rounds to come into the quarterback school?

In the late rounds, you'll find guys with strong arms and guys with accurate arms, but you don't find guys with strong and accurate arms. I believe the Packers, as do most teams, value accuracy over strength, so look for the accurate passers among the late-round prospects.

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