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Guess who's coming to dinner

What should we expect of Ryan Grant?


Stephanie from Dallas, TX

Out of the three Heisman finalists, who gets your vote and why?

I like "Johnny Football." I think he's provided lift and lore to the sport this season.

Hector from Chicago, IL

You mention that teams that do well early in the season are not favorable to you because they burn out late in the season. What should a team do then to prevent this?

I think it's important for all teams, even finesse teams that rely on their passing game, to at some point in the season become physical. I like the teams that learn to walk before they run, so to speak. In other words, teams that come out throwing to start the season, and light up the stats and cause fans to wonder where those teams fit among the greatest teams of all time, tend to have nowhere to go but down. They hit high gear in September and their engine can't sustain that speed for a whole season. I like teams that establish a physical base, a standard for how the game should be played, and then build on that late in the season. I think the Packers did that with their defense in 2010. Every year at this time, we see the emergence of teams we dismissed earlier in the season as not having what it takes. What we then realize, again, is that while we were ignoring them, those teams were acquiring what it takes to be playing their best football late in the season.

David from Campbellsville, KY

Would you say Grant has a "flat" head?

I covered a Packers-Jaguars game in 2008 when Ryan Grant was used pretty much as a draw runner, and that became my image of him. I'm not a fan of draw runners. It's finesse running and I don't think you're really running the ball unless you're running with power. Draw plays force defenses to play the run on the way to the quarterback, and that's not what I want from a running game. I want a running game that makes a defense stay home until it knows the play isn't a run. Covering the Packers last season, however, I discovered that Grant isn't a draw runner. He's a powerful, pads-down guy who can pound between the tackles, which is what I call a running back with a flat head. I think Grant is a good fit for a team that needs to start converting third-and-one with the run.

Liz from Orange, CA

Vic, if a Division I college athlete in good academic standing is not allowed to transfer to another Division I institution and play right away, should a Division I coach be allowed to break a contract and coach at another school without sitting out a year?

The problem with trying to institute that kind of rule is that you have a variety of levels within the top division. You're talking about denying someone upward mobility. The NFL is much more standardized, by design, and that's what allows for its uniformed application of its rules. The coaching carousel in college football, especially as it pertains to coaches leaving schools before their seasons are complete, is a terrible problem. What if the coach at Stanford had taken the job at Arkansas and Bret Bielema then replaced the coach at Stanford, Wisconsin's opponent in the Rose Bowl? It could happen and one day it will happen. I don't know what can be done about this, but it's leaving loyal fans with a terrible taste in their mouth. Loyalty deserves the same.

John from Port Edwards, WI

How much do coaches save for the playoffs?

They save nothing. They're spending it all now. It's been my experience that most good postseason coaches reduce the playbook for the postseason. Their teams have spent a season defining who they are and what they do best, and that's what good coaches want their teams to do in the postseason, which is to say do what they do best.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

I think a lot of people don't realize that the NCAA is literally just a building in Indianapolis that is funded by the schools it governs. You think if schools start putting money towards the NCAA instead of state-of-the-art facilities they would finally grow those baby teeth?

Nothing is going to change as long as conferences continue to negotiate their own TV contracts. That's what caused the collapse of the CFA, which looked like it was poised to become that organization with teeth that college football needs. I don't know how this can be fixed without all of college football agreeing to do it, and that just isn't going to happen.

Mike from Windber, PA

Vic, if you were going to have five NFL players (past or present) over for dinner, who would you pick?

I would dine with Johnny Unitas, Joe Greene, Chuck Bednarik and Mike Ditka. Bobby Layne would stop over later for cocktails.

Lynn from Diamond Bar, CA

Vic, the Lasorda underground tape is well known to us out here in Southern California. The Kingman tape is only one of Tommy's classic responses. You need to check out the far better one on Kurt Bevacqua.

I've always considered Lasorda's rant on "Dirty Kurt" to be better than the Kingman rant, and I think Lee Elia's diatribe on Cubs fans is the best of all.

Mark from Manitowoc, WI

With Suh coming to Lambeau, what kind of reception do you think he will get?

I expect him to be booed, and I suspect he'll like that.

John from Waterford, WI

When Rodgers hands the ball off, it seems like his arm is stretched out about 10 yards. Why doesn't he try to sell it a little and be less obvious?

It's called a "stretch" play and there's nothing to sell because the defense sees the offensive line pulling out in unison and everybody knows what the play is. Rodgers is stretching his arm out because the intent of the hand-off is to achieve width. The back has to get out in front of those linemen so he can cut back behind them.

Horacio from Hammond, IN

Which player instead of Justin Harrell do you think the Packers should have taken in the 2007 draft?

Jarvis Moss went with the pick after Harrell. Should the Packers have picked him? That wasn't a great draft at the bottom of the first round. It produced several busts: Reggie Nelson, Brady Quinn, Brandon Merriweather, Anthony Gonzalez. It's easy to look back and say they should've picked this guy or that guy. People love to look at the misses and see the hits that followed. How about looking at the hits and seeing the misses that followed? Should the Packers have drafted Jason Campbell instead of Aaron Rodgers? Nobody hits on all of their picks.

Dylan from Greenville, WI

Vic, what is "Victory Monday"?

Late in the season, coaches often give their players Monday off following a win.

Mitch from Sullivan, WI

What should we expect for this game against the Lions?

I was completely blindsided by the lack of offense in the game in Detroit a few weeks ago. I thought that would be a shootout. That continues to be my expectation. These two quarterbacks are just too good for them not to produce a shootout.

Matt from Kenosha, WI

As an employee of the Packers, I'm surprised you're not on IR with an index finger injury from answering too many "Ask Vic" questions.

I play hurt. I hit myself on the leg with an ax last Saturday – I was immediately reminded of the keep-chopping-wood incident when I covered the Jaguars – but I never missed a key stroke on Sunday. It's a tough game for tough guys.

Erick from Santander, Spain

What do you think of quarterbacks that yell at their offensive linemen on the sideline?

I saw the video clip of Jay Cutler ripping into his linemen on the sideline, and it gave me pause. Hey, whatever it takes. Cutler has a uniquely sour personality and apparently he's been able to sell it in Chicago. It's become somewhat of a fashion statement, much as Pete Maravich's baggy socks.

Juan from El Paso, TX

Vic, now that Grant is back on the team, what does this mean to the Packers running game?

I think it means he's going to share carries with Alex Green. I don't think he was signed for insurance. The Packers need a back to carry the ball.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, would snow help the Packers against the Lions?

One is a dome team and the other is said to play like a dome team, yet, they each barely moved the ball in Ford Field three weeks ago, after combining for 1,125 yards in the snow and cold in Lambeau Field last season. I've long believed you can take the team out of the dome, but you can't take the dome out of the team. I think I was wrong.

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