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It's a big problem at inside linebacker

Lombardi would've loved coaching in today's game


Brett from Brisbane, Australia

Vic, do you ever see the day the NFL bans the sticky gloves?

Sticky gloves make great catches, and fans and the NFL love great catches.

Randy from Medicine Hat, Canada

Did you forget about the '85 Bears in the conversation about most dominant? I have never seen a team that kicked butt on a regular basis like they did.

Teams in the all-time greatest team discussion must have great quarterbacks. That Bears team didn't have a great quarterback.

Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA

I hate to belabor this topic, Vic, but Ted Thompson said in his last press conference that inside linebackers are being targeted by offensive coordinators more than any other position. That seems to indicate it's a highly valued position.

No, that indicates it's a position of matchup vulnerability. We talked about this following the Eagles preseason game last summer. If you put your run-stuffers in the game, they throw at them. If you go nickel and put your pass-defenders in the game, they run at them. That's the conundrum defensive coordinators face at that position. The one-size-fits-all solution is to find guys who can play run and pass with equal effectiveness, but that's becoming increasingly difficult to do in a game of specialization. The more widely practiced solution is to win first down and make the offense one-dimensional.

George from Hutchinson, MN

What are the pros and cons for the players staying at a nearby hotel for home games? Is that the norm in the NFL?

You get all of your players into one place and you focus their attention on one thing, tomorrow's game. In the old days, it was a way to get your players away from two o'clock feedings. I don't know of a team that doesn't stay in a hotel the night before a game, but I can remember Sam Rutigliano changing that policy when he became Browns coach. It was part of a player-friendly movement Sam believed would raise the team's morale. I don't think it's something Sam would've tried in today's game. The night before a game is a very special time. It's usually accompanied by the head coach's final address to the team, which includes a motivational video the team's video team assembled. The night before the game is when the team sets its edge for the next day.

Mark from Wausau, WI

Vic, did Jack Lambert really say to dress quarterbacks in dresses?

It was in response to the NFL's first wave of protections on the quarterback. My all-time favorite Lambert quote is: "Give me a six-pack and 20 minutes and I'll go play them again." I lived for comments such as those from players. They gave me a look inside them that allowed me to put my heart into my story. We're losing that feeling because players are becoming increasingly afraid to express themselves. It's a great loss. These young men have great depth to them and it needs to surface.

Kent from Rochester, WI

Vic, how does the coffee taste this morning?

The worst first cup of coffee in the morning I've ever had tasted great. There's something about that first cup. It says you've seen another day. Life goes on. Today will be a good day.

The Packers, through the "First Downs for Trees" program, planted trees at De Pere's Voyageur Park on Tuesday, May 17. Photos by Justin Rose,

Rob from Arlington, VA

You've shared a feeling that good football movies are an extreme rarity. What's your take on "All the Right Moves," which was set in a lowly steel town?

When it came out, I avoided it. I expected it to be another dud. A friend said I should go see it. He told me Don Yannessa, a legendary high school coach in Western Pa., was the movie's technical advisor and he hit on some things. When it went into rental, I watched it. It's hokie, but it's good. The locker room pep talk scene was the best. The movie nailed it, and I could see Yannessa's thumb print all over the scene. Where I grew up, football was a clash of ethnic backgrounds.

Chris from Milwaukee, WI

No mention of the '96 Packers as one of the most dominant teams ever? They were first in offense and first in defense. I would say they figured out how to balance their team.

The four candidates I chose all had a core of players that won multiple Super Bowl titles. The '96 Packers were an outstanding football team, but Ron Wolf's "wind" comment kind of defines it.

Jordan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Vic, have you ever seen a fourth-round pick with as high of expectations as Blake Martinez?

Not since David Bakhtiari became the Packers' starting left tackle when Bryan Bulaga injured his knee on "Family Night" in 2013.

Steve from Bella Vista, AR

You must be an idiot. Lombardi did not call the plays, Bart Starr did. I did not think you were that stupid.

It was Lombardi's playbook and Lombardi's plays. If you were Lombardi's quarterback and you didn't run the Packers sweep, you weren't going to be Lombardi's quarterback for long. I covered Terry Bradshaw when he called the plays, but he was calling plays from the script Chuck Noll created for that game. The same goes for Starr. He wasn't just pulling plays out of thin air. He was calling plays from the game plan Lombardi created.

Jeriah from Las Cruces, NM

Tony Boselli vs. Reggie White. Who wins?

Tony's pro debut was against the Packers. As I recall, the Packers began the game by testing the rookie with a Sean Jones/Reggie White combination. In time, White settled into the left end position, where he enjoyed a decided mismatch. Boselli stoned his man all night. Who wins? I don't know. I'll never know. White was good, but so was Tony. I'll never forget the sight of Tony waving Jason Taylor to come on down during a change of quarters.

Richard from Neenah, WI

Vic, the past two years I got the chance to play football in Turkey at the college/pro level on a team run by its players and lacking in a coach. Because I grew up playing the sport, they asked me to coach 'em up on different aspects of the game. I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to teach people who are foreigners to American football. Football is rising very quickly in Turkey, in part due to how it's portrayed in movies at the high school level (party culture, etc.). But also because their culture is a competitive culture which is very accepting of aggression. The NFL has done a good job expanding itself overseas and it's been fun playing a small part in helping the sport grow overseas.

In the immortal words of Jean Paul Sartre, au revoir, soccere.

Dan from Colorado Springs, CO

When I read all the negative comments from your readers about the color rush uniforms, I can't stop but wonder how old they must be. Change is good, people!

If the color rush uniforms are a big hit in Green Bay, I'm thinking of marketing a line of color rush walkers in this column.

Mike from Cloquet, MN

Vic, regarding the team of the decade conversation, could the team of the decade be parity? It is still possible to have 10 different champions in this decade for the first time in NFL history.

Would that be good for the game? I'm not sure what the answer is.

Harold from Chippewa Falls, WI

If Coach Lombardi spent a week watching today's training camps, would his comment be, "Pass, pass, pass. Everybody's passing"?

He'd be fascinated by the schemes and utilization of personnel. If Lombardi came back to life and coached in today's game, you'd see a different Lombardi. He was about winning. If winning meant he had to change, he would've changed. Frankly, I think he would've loved coaching in today's game. Coaches have never been more important.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Vic, imagine you have been given the mission of introducing football to a civilization that has never heard of the game. You can show them film from one NFL game. Which game would you choose?

I'd show them the playoff game between the Steelers and Bengals. If they liked it, I'd find another civilization to grow the game, because this one is stuck in the Stone Age.

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