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Growth will define Packers season

A leader of men doesn't whine or cry


Ted from Amherst, NY

Vic, going forward, is there a way to direct our questions to you, Mike or Wes vs. taking pot luck?

This is my main concern for the new "Insider Inbox" format. All questions go to the same inbox, so to speak. My initial strategy for making sure I don't steal from Mike and Wes is to only draw from the questions asked after the column before mine is posted. In other words, if you have a question you specifically want to ask me, you should wait until I'm on the clock. I'm sure we'll get a feel for this as time passes.

Justin from Gilbert, AZ

What is the one thing you are looking forward to most with this change?

I need to adjust my body clock. Going to bed at eight o'clock to get up at 5:30 is kind of nuts. I've missed far too many Bachelorettes.

Thomas from Brooklyn, NY

Vic, is this the year Aaron Donald takes the defensive player of the year from J.J. Watt, or are we not ready?

Pro Football Focus claimed Donald should've won the award last season. "The best season we've ever graded, even surpassing some historic seasons from Watt. That's why Aaron Donald should be the Defensive Player of the Year. He ends the season with a perfect 99.9 rating in PFF's new rating system, and the highest grade we have ever given over a single season," the site wrote.

Lance from Williston, ND

How many questions were sent in for this week's columns?

I emptied the folder at the start of the week, so I would be working only with questions specific to this week's theme. Plus, I want to make sure I read in some part every email I receive. As I write these words, I have received 1,223 emails this week. The vast majority of the writers speak kindly of the column and the memories they have of it.

Mike from Struthers, OH

"It's my greatest failure while in Green Bay. I was never able to accurately convey the difference between what I do and what a fan does, between what I feel and what a fan feels." I tried to tell you that from the beginning. I was the one that called you a carpetbagger. You can't just ply your trades and expect the same. This is Green Bay. You may have gotten it now but too bad. If you had been more open-minded years ago, it might have sunk into your thick skull sooner. Cleveland should be your next stop, but you don't have it in you. Full circle, Vic. Mike from beautiful Struthers, Ohio, bids you farewell. Finally.


Glenn from Kenosha, WI

I understand stop the run, but in today's game and the future, if there is a good pass rush and an exceptional secondary, is that enough?

You have to stop the run or you won't have a chance to stop the pass, but the point is this: Stopping the run isn't rocket science; stopping the pass can be.

John from Kaukauna, WI

Vic, I recall there is a wonderful boneyard beach at Edisto where the dead trees stand like ghosts guarding watch over that beautiful island. It seems an apt metaphor for you, joining the other sentinels who have brought life to this beautiful, vicious game.

It's called Botany Bay Beach and if you get caught taking a shell from it, it'll cost you $740.

Stuart from Madison, WI

Vic, can you tell us one last time what your heaven is like?

Heaven changes according to our phases of life. When I was younger, heaven was an arrow pointing up. Now, it's an arrow pointing sideways. I want peaceful routine. One thing hasn't changed: My heaven needs football in it. I can do without the other sports, but I need football in my heaven. It has a hold on me. It's a different kind of hold than it was when I began covering football, but it's every bit as strong.

Otto from Monongahela, PA

Banned from "Ask Vic" Mt. Rushmore: Brett from Green Bay, WI, and Justin from Titonka, IA. Two more are needed.

Monongahela, huh? Joe Montana, across the river from Stan Musial, Deacon Dan Towler, the Griffeys and the 1948 inversion. You're No. 3. I need one more head.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, in your opinion, what is the key element for the Packers to have a successful season and postseason run?

Aside from health, growth is the key. This team is depending on the growth of young players to address need.

Ben from Denver, CO

Vic, I don't even have a football question for you. I just can't believe this is it. Thank you for all you have done the last few years. Your daily column will be missed.

A wise man once said to me, "Too often we don't learn to say hello until it's time to say goodbye." Say hello today to the world around you. You'll be glad you did.

Brad from Tinley Park, IL

Vic, we have been asking you questions for years. Is there anything you want to ask us?

How do you sit out in that cold? I'll never get it. On the cold days, I'd look out at the fans with amazement at how they appeared unfazed by the temperature. I couldn't do it for 10 minutes.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Vic, you talked about the crowd going silent in Detroit and how you knew he caught the pass. Did you experience the same thing in Arizona? Did a hush fall over the crowd there, too?

It was the same hush, followed by a muffled moan, and then the sound of a few scattered cheers from Packers fans. I knew right away what it meant. I began laughing. "They did it again," I said out loud. My career began with the Immaculate Reception. I took the Arizona game as a sign. It was time.

Roger from Racine, WI

Sit in the stands in Jacksonville for the Packers game. Show us you can take the heat.

I did more than that for a long time in Jacksonville. Tom Coughlin had a "media box" for media attending practice. We had to stand in a designated area along the sideline and up against one of those tarps that covers the fence that surrounds the practice field. Try staring into the sun on a July or August day in Florida as the sun bounces off the tarp and bakes you from behind like a Thanksgiving turkey. Sam Wyche once stood next to me in the "media box" when he came to Jacksonville to prepare for a broadcast. "This is brutal," Wyche said to me. I never cracked.

Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI

Vic, where must we go to enjoy the "Video Ask Vic" music?

Right here.

Jamie from Ft. Collins, CO

What's your favorite Coach McCarthy leadership experience?

It's his press conference immediately following the "Fail Mary" game. He did what a leader does: He took the high road. There was nothing to be gained from whining and crying. The Saints were the next game on the schedule, and on a short week, and McCarthy denied himself the luxury of pity and acted in a way that would allow his team to put this game behind them as quickly as possible and turn their focus to the Saints. This is a great coach, and it's because he's a great leader of men.

William from Woodbury, NJ

On your return flight home after the game, did you listen to music? If so, what songs helped you after the wheels went up?

I listened to me.

Al from Chardon, OH

I'm sure one of the many things you will miss is the opportunity to sit in a tree stand during the Wisconsin deer season.

There are always sacrifices to be made.

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