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Here's my all-time hybrid team

New helmet warns players of trouble ahead


Jared from Onalaska, WI

Vic, do you know of any veterans that are at risk of being cut before the new league year, like Julius Peppers was by Chicago? That type of free agent doesn't count toward the compensatory picks, right?

That's right. Charles Woodson is another example of a player who was released prior to the start of free agency, therefore, he didn't count against the Raiders in compensatory picks consideration. They are better known as "cap casualties," and there will be more of them as we near the start of the league calendar year, new-cap compliance and free agency. It doesn't make them more affordable, but it makes them more attractive to sign because you don't suffer the double hit of contract and comp-pick loss.

Tom from Menominee, MI

Assuming fewer players would make the game faster, more players should make the game slower. Would you favor that idea for player safety?

More dink and dunk? No thanks. My idea is a rule that would move defensive backs toward the line of scrimmage, which would invite the big play and force defenders to run with receivers, instead of at them.

Rob from Lafayette, IN

Vic, I saw Rashean Mathis announced his retirement yesterday and noticed he is the Jaguars' all-time leader in interceptions. Do you have a story you'd like to share?

I was on the range at a golf course in Jacksonville when I saw Rashean hitting balls. I walked over and said, "I didn't know you played golf." He said he had just taken up the game. He had a driver in his hands and was holding it with a grip he might've used to climb one of those gym-class ropes. I thought to myself, "This is going to be ugly." The ball then disappeared as it sailed over the 250 sign. Rashean is one of the best athletes I've ever covered. There isn't any sport at which he couldn't excel. As a football player, I'll remember him for having his best games against Ben Roethlisberger, and for making a game-saving interception in the end zone against Brett Favre in 2004.

Ben from Berkeley, CA

In general, from the coaching staff perspective, is getting an extra preseason game with the Hall of Fame Game seen as a positive?

It's another opportunity to evaluate young personnel, and I see that as a positive.

Paul from Chicago, IL

Vic, I'm thinking of choosing Pittsburgh for my bachelor party this summer, featuring a game at PNC Park, of course. Any other must-see or do activities you recommend?

No trip to Pittsburgh would be complete without a stop at the PNA Club in Natrona.

Braden from Denver, CO

Vic, if a player is cut, how does that affect the cap? Does the signing bonus still get spread out over the rest of what would have been the contract term?

His amortization isn't extinguished. It would likely accelerate, but the answer to your question could depend on when the player is released, and a team in need of room in the current year would make sure the player is released at the right time. The guy who taught me about the cap was fond of saying, "What's in the year stays in the year; everything else goes into the next year."

Kenn from Upper Marlboro, MD

Vic, you mentioned before that it seemed like this decade was about a surprising return to defense, but what has allowed that to be the case? My initial thought revolves around the fact it seems like offensive lines are not being developed well, thus, allowing defenses to apply pressure with more consistency. I would like to know your thoughts on the matter.

I think it's a fluke. I think what the Seahawks and Broncos have done is rare and not likely to be accomplished again.

Jeff from Campobello, SC

Any opinions on my Gamecocks' immediate future with Muschamp? And what are your thoughts on Pharoh Cooper?

Coach Muschamp was a major hire by Florida a few years ago. Maybe he wasn't ready to take that step, but maybe now he is after his experience at Florida. He's a top recruiter and defensive mind. My expectation is he'll be a calmer sideline manager for his experience at Florida. Cooper reminds me of Louis Lipps. I like Cooper. He has Lipps' versatility and toughness.

David from Green Bay, WI

Vic, using players from the three teams you've worked for (Steelers, Jaguars, Packers), who would you choose for each position of an all-time team?

My all-time Steelers-Jaguars-Packers hybrid team? Offensive line: Boselli, Searcy, Sitton, Haselrig and Webster. Quarterback: Rodgers. Running backs: Harris and Taylor. Wide receivers: Swann, J. Smith and Nelson (no tight end). Defensive line: Greene, Daniels, Greenwood and Brackens. Linebackers: Lambert, Ham and Matthews. Cornerbacks: Blount and Woodson. Safeties: Woodson and Shell. Please remember I spent disproportionate time covering each team.

Amanda from Carrollton, GA

Would GM Vic sign Matt Forte?

I'd be more inclined to look for the next Matt Forte.

Mark from Wausau, WI

Go back to sudden death. First to score in regulation has choice in OT. You just scored the potential tying TD. Do you kick the extra point to tie, knowing the other team has the choice in OT? Or go for two? Simple change, more drama?

I'm not in favor of eliminating the OT coin toss. It's the drama.

Ben from Fremont, NE

Vic, what clubs are you swinging these days? I'm a lifelong Ping man.

I'm not a big-head guy. They feel like a horseshoe on a stick. I like my blades.

Gavin from Saint Paul, MN

Marshawn Lynch doesn't respect the media's opinion and hates talking to them. Why would he care at all about getting into the Hall of Fame?

Any player who truly loves the game wants to be immortalized by it. He cares.

Dana from Reno, NV

If a player retires with time still left on his contract, what options would then become available to him? Love your column.

Ask the team from which he retired to release him, play for that team until his contract expires, or play golf.

Philip from Ashland, WI

Vic, you're union made. I love it.

I've never belonged to a union, but I woke up every morning to the sound of the mill whistle, and closed my eyes to it every night. When you grow up like that, you're forever a member of the working class. I never made it to management.

Bryan from Superior, WI

Vic, can you explain the functions and differences of tailbacks, halfbacks, fullbacks and scatbacks from yesteryear to today?

A tailback is the feature running back in an I formation. Halfback was the blocking back in split backs or pro set. Fullback was the feature running back in split backs or pro set, and is the main blocking back in today's offensive sets. Scatback is not a position, it's a description of a smallish, fast, elusive style of running back. I thought of Warrick Dunn as a scatback.

Brent from Paris, Ontario

Vic, I was wondering if you have an opinion on the soon-to-be-released VICIS Zero1 helmet. Is this going to be one of the things that save football?

As a defender nears a ball-carrier wearing a VICIS Zero1 helmet, a voice from inside the helmet says boldly, "You'll get fined!" It's my contribution to the project, and I'm honored they named the helmet after me.

Willie from Hayward, WI

I love the "all aboard" cliche when talking about the salary cap. The Broncos have not even wiped the fingerprints off the Lombardi Trophy and there are all kinds of stories about how can they sign Miller, Osweiler, Trevathan and Jackson. What will the cry from Denver fans be when the train starts to leave the station?

The train has already left the station and is well on down the tracks. The goal now is to keep it from derailing. If it wrecks, forget about reminding fans of the Super Bowl the "train" won. That was last year.

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