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Good trio to hold cap 'hostage'


Keith from Spokane, WA

What if the Packers used their first-round pick on Mike Wallace? The way I see it, Mike Wallace has more value than anybody we can get at the bottom of the first round, plus, we take away a playmaker from a good Pittsburgh team. What do you think?

I think the Packers and Steelers don't play against each other often enough to employ the addition by subtraction theory. I try to stay disciplined to my philosophies, and I've long believed in picks, not players. What does that mean? It means teams have traditionally attached more value to draft picks than they have to players. The league has long operated in that manner and Wallace is testing it. I'm interested to see how this turns out.

Kevin from Palm Bay, FL

Do you think the Packers will make a serious run to sign Jeff Saturday with Scott Wells gone?

As I've said, I'm sure they have a plan. I think part of their plan was to re-sign Wells. They were unable to do that and now they've turned to the second part of that plan. Sign a veteran center that might provide a short-term patch at the center position while you're grooming a young player to take his place? That sounds like a plan to me. A team must not allow itself and its salary cap to be held hostage. Its plans must include contingencies. At all times, the franchise's future must be preserved. Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present.

Nick from Green Bay, WI

If a player is released while still under contract, is he still entitled to the salary he was going to earn?

It depends on when the player is released and if he's a vested veteran. If he's a vested veteran and he was on the roster in Week 1 and then released after it, his salary for the season is guaranteed, provided he hasn't used that one-time termination pay option previously in his career. There are sophisticated guidelines for payment of salary. In most cases, the release of a player results in the termination of his salary.

Blake from Jacksonville, FL

I feel like the limited resources of small-market teams can also be a positive. Small-market teams must utilize their resources efficiently and, thus, they understand the importance of first-class scouting departments. Large-market teams have some unique problems, at times, such as the constant temptation to attempt to "buy" a championship, for one.

First of all, "small market" and "large market" are usually intended to also mean low revenue and high revenue, which is usually, but not always, the case. I agree with you that small-market franchises need to be more creative in what they do and more efficient in how they do it because they don't have the margin for error that the large-market teams do. The result of that heightened creativity and efficiency is that small-market franchises are often better business models and managers than the big boys of the league. The big boys can buy out their mistakes; the small-market teams have to live with them, often having to create new ways and revenue streams to overcome them. Green Bay, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have won five of the last seven Super Bowls. The Giants are the only large-market champion in that time. I think it says a lot about the system and the efficiency of those small-market franchises that they could enjoy that kind of success.

Trent from Clinton, UT

So, with the game becoming mainly pass-oriented, do you think play-action will become obsolete?

Not if you can sell it, but what good is it if you can't sell it? There has to be the threat of run for play-action to freeze anybody. Baltimore and San Francisco can sell it. If I'm playing against the Packers and Aaron Rodgers pulls out from center, I'm backpedaling as fast as I can. Oh, I'll take a peek into the backfield, but I'm not going to stop and consider the possibility of a run, as I would if it was Baltimore or San Francisco. I can remember covering a Miami game when Dan Marino was the quarterback. He play-faked and no one even bothered to look. Why do it? Defenses always react to their greatest fear.

Peter from Toledo, OH

Vic, last year McCarthy intriguingly said the number of carries is far more important than the yards per carry. Obviously, that's an ingredient in the alchemy of his pass-centered offense, to set up play-action. Comments?

That has long been the mantra of pass-first teams. They run the ball for balance, not for yards. The theory is that if you run the ball often enough, your opponent will have to respect run. I don't agree. In my mind, if you don't run it for yards, I have no reason to respect the run because I don't fear the run.

Alex from New York, NY


It's a finesse-blocking tactic. A guard and/or pulls out hoping to influence the defense to follow, and then the back cuts back behind the flow without the center or off-guard trapping. It's a way of blocking without having to move anyone; it's scheme football intended to get a guy out in space and let him do his thing, and in the day and age of poor tackling, it can be effective.

A.J. from Milwaukee, WI

I think Tebow to the Packers could be a smart move. With Tebow, you are also allowed to develop special packages using him. What are your initial thoughts?

My initial thoughts are that I'd prefer to have the ball in the hands of the best quarterback in the game at all times. Here's another thought: From what I understand, Tebow's contract is a concern for teams that might be interested in acquiring him. The Broncos structured it in such a way that he would pretty much have to be your franchise quarterback for it to make sense to pick up the contract, which is what a team would have to do if it traded for Tebow or claimed him off waivers.

Paul from Salem, OR

As I see it, we are being held hostage from free agency by Rodgers', Matthews' and Jennings' future contracts.

If your cap is being held hostage by star players of that magnitude, then you've drafted beautifully and you should have no regrets. Yes, I agree the Packers have to be mindful of the contracts they're facing in the near future. They have to prepare their cap to accept those contracts and I'm sure they have. The example you've provided should be assurance enough for Packers fans that things are being done the right way.

Nash from Beit Shemesh, Israel

Why didn't the Packers go for Mario Williams if a pass rusher is all they need?

You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, well, you just might find, you get what you need.

L.J. from Chicago, IL

Isn't it "toe" the line? I mean, you're not actually towing the line, are you? LOL.

I'm not nearly as good an editor when people are mean to me.

Ruben from Hollywood, CA

Man, I get worried when I think about us not signing any free agents before the draft, with all the needs we have. Wells is gone, Sherrod might not play most of this season, Flynn is gone and Collins might be done for good (I hope your rehab is going well, Nick), and we need an upgrade at RB, OLB and DE. Plus, if we want Woodson to play safety, we need another good CB. I love my team but I am nervous and interested in what Ted is doing. What are your thoughts?

Your angst is palpable. In my opinion, when there's nothing to worry about, that's when you need to worry. Consider the last two seasons. The Packers barely made it into the playoffs in 2010. They had to win on the road three times to make it to the Super Bowl and the prospects of that happening were slim, but that's exactly what they did. When there was the most reason for worry, then won it all. This past season, they coasted into the playoffs and only had to win twice at home to make it back to the Super Bowl. See what I mean? Don't worry, Ruben. Just sit back and watch. It's all you can do.

Allen from Omro, WI

On average, how many questions to you get daily?

In the offseason, I get a healthy but manageable amount of questions that keep me busy through the day but allow me extended coffee breaks. That changed yesterday afternoon when, all of a sudden, my inbox turned into a ding machine. What the heck is going on, I said to myself? Tebow! Oh, no, he's followed me here. It was one Tebow question after another. Tebowmania had descended on "Ask Vic" again. If it doesn't change today, tomorrow's column will have only have one question in it.

Vince from Sioux City, IA

Vic I just read on that the Packers are interested in Tebow for a late-round draft pick.

Yeah, that's what did it. Thanks,

Nick from Kenosha, WI

If you were Coach McCarthy or Ted Thompson, would you have been opposed to Driver going on "Dancing With The Stars" in fear of injury?

No, I think what he's doing is fine. I can remember Lynn Swann going on Mister Rogers to perform ballet. It's a classic Mister Rogers, intended to let kids know it's OK to be a person of refinement. He did this in the middle of the season, right before a big game. We didn't even think about the potential for injury. I think we might be taking football a little too seriously now. I watched Donald's performance. I thought it was sensational and I thought he carried himself and the Packers' name with distinction and dignity. I'll be rooting for him.

Michael from Manchester, MO

As an owner, I would like to know if the practice-squad players' salaries count against the salary cap. Just wanting to know where all my money is going?

The money paid to practice-squad personnel does not count against the cap.

Erik from Copenhagen, Denmark

I enjoy reading your columns every day but it is not because of your knowledge of football, rather it is because I have picked up on the fact that you are a man of principles and values, and all else about you derives from that. Whether I agree with your opinions or not, I admire and appreciate those qualities. On to my question: Can you recommend some of your favorite fiction stories? Please limit your suggestions to stuff not related to American football.

You got me all wrong, Erik. As for my favorite fiction story, I recommend "The Moon Is Down," the setting for which is one of your Scandinavian neighbors, Norway.

Connor from St. Paul, MN

ESPN said the Packers were pursuing Tebow.

Be that as it may, I'll take this time to remind everyone that Packers kicker Mason Crosby will grace by participating in a fan chat today at noon. Bryan Bulaga kicked off the chat series last Wednesday and I have no doubt those fans that participated will return for today's chat; the more the merrier. Also, it is my hope that between now and tomorrow morning I will have received enough questions about topics other than Tim Tebow that we might produce another edition of "Ask Vic."

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