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Mike Spofford to take over 'Ask Vic'

Our senses need more stimulation


Jamie from Shell Lake, WI

What are your thoughts on Joe Flacco playing the role of Johnny Unitas, and Johnny Unitas' family's reaction to Flacco playing that role?

When the Colts moved to Indianapolis, Unitas asked that his name be taken out of the Colts media guide because he said he never played in Indianapolis. When the Ravens came into existence and Art Modell tried to root the team in the hearts of Baltimore football fans, he paid Unitas to stand on the sideline at games; Modell was paying for Unitas' approval of the Ravens. Unitas was broke from bad investments and some people saw it as mercenary and embarrassing for Unitas to be used that way. I saw it as a great expression of his love for Baltimore that he would allow himself to be used that way. Unitas was Baltimore and Baltimore was Unitas, and that's why I'm OK with Flacco playing the part of Unitas, because Flacco is Baltimore's quarterback. I think Unitas would've been OK with it.

Donald from St. Andrews, Scotland

Vic, besides the quarterback, which position has the single greatest impact on the outcome of a game?

It's probably the kicker, but it's not as though he's in short supply.

Craig from Laramie, WY

Vic, would you please define, characterize and give a couple examples of try-hard guys in this draft?

The first guy that comes to my mind is Cal center Brian Schwenke. He has short arms, long hair, limited range and sure doesn't look the part, but he gets the job done and he caught my attention at the Senior Bowl with a cheap shot that brought a smile to my face. It was one of those playful cheap shots that smart players take; it wasn't mean to start a fight, just irritate the opponent. The other guy is defensive tackle Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern. Williams is a gifted athlete, so I'm not suggesting he's an over-achiever, I'm just saying he was the hardest-working player I saw at the Senior Bowl. It mattered to him. He never took a play off.

Keith from Green Bay, WI

What teams do you see having major cap trouble in the near future?

The Cowboys immediately come to mind. They've restructured a lot of contracts, which means they've pushed a lot of money out, and that's always a red flag. The Broncos have been overly aggressive in free agency the past couple of years.

Brad from Denver, CO

When Aaron Rodgers finalizes his new contract, do you eventually see a situation that down the road the Packers will be forced to do something similar to what the Patriots did with Brady and the Colts did with Manning, push money out for as long as they can to manage the cap?

Yeah, I could see that happening. When you have a great quarterback, you try to extend your team's run with him for as long as you can. It can be done without long-term ill effects, provided the team structures contracts in a manner that allows for them to absorb the dead money they're going to assume when the quarterback's career comes to an end. The real issue is going to be about replacing the quarterback. Obviously, Packers fans know it can be done with a minimum of trauma, provided preparations have been made. They were.

Jacob from Fargo, ND

Vic, with the new locker room camera policy, do you think player behavior in the locker room will change, since they know they're being watched?

Of course it will. As I said in a recent column, the eye of the camera is always on. There are very few places where today's players aren't on tape. You might say they are always playing for the tape. It would seem the halftime locker room is about to become the newest place they'll be seen.

Dale from Kettering, OH

How it seems like a number of franchises are saying I will gladly pay you _ years of utter irrelevence for a Super Bowl today. They act like the number in there is 2 or 3, but how long does it really take to get back on track after a cap meltdown?

I would say a minimum of five years, on the average, but there's no quantifying the effects of it because it goes beyond cap ramifications. What decisions did a team make it wouldn't have made had it not been cap-strapped? I covered a team that was devastated by cap problems. In some ways, it's still recovering. A cap meltdown causes change. Good people get fired. Change isn't always for the best.

Dakota from Jensen Beach, FL

You wrote, "Somebody had an eye for quarterbacks." Who had the eye?

Ron Wolf never worked for a team that didn't have a quarterback that would win a Super Bowl: Ken Stabler, Jim Plunkett, Doug Williams, Brett Favre. I think Wolf would be a good guess.

Matt from Falls Church, VA

Vic, I just wanted to say I don't feel bad when you don't pick one of my questions because I'm sure you get a lot of them to look at.

I read every question I receive. That's my only guarantee.

Joe from River Falls, WI

Vic, is it possible to, on the one hand, lament the days when players could say what they wanted and, on the other hand, praise the Internet and its immediate dissemination of information and widespread coverage of the league?

I think we're too afraid of words. I think we're especially too afraid of these words: I was wrong and I apologize. I think we take ourselves too seriously. Blame it on the Internet? I won't buy that. I think it's possible the Internet is the best thing to ever happen to professional sports.

Michael from Madison, WI

What is the league's position on the read-option?

I have to believe the league likes it. It's new and exciting. Evolution is good for the game. It needs to grow. The read-option could turn out to be a game-changer. It could deepen the supply of quarterbacks, just as the 3-4 deepened the supply of pass rushers.

Adam from Madison, WI

You've mentioned the personality traits that make good players. Are there any traits that are found in the best coaches?

Emotional stability. It starts with that. Good teams are stable. They don't self-destruct. All teams take on the personality of their coach, and good coaches don't self-destruct.

L.P. from Muskego, WI

Is the point of the game to win championships or always be a contender?

It's my opinion, and the opinion of a lot of people in the game I respect, that a team will win more championships by always being a contender than it will by sometimes being a contender.

Aaron from Eau Claire, WI

With all this talk about Rodgers being a good play-caller, I read that he called the plays against the Lions when Matt Flynn played and put up his crazy stats. There's proof that Rodgers can be/is a good play-caller.

I remember that, and I remember Coach McCarthy expressing some disagreement with some of the calls. With all due respect, I got the feeling on that day that I could've called the plays.

Billy from Farmersville, WI

Why does the NFL think we want all this extra sugar on the game? The big scoreboard, better speakers, locker cam, all not needed. Just give us a great flyover and a game played with intensity. I'm old or maybe I've been in the cornfield too long. What are your thoughts?

I feel the same way, but decisions aren't made with us in mind, they're made to attract the fan that wants more, and their numbers are growing. The game is changing, Billy. It's not the simple pastime that appealed to a small audience of sportsmen that loved the smell of wet turf on a cold day, the sight of colorful uniforms under a gray sky and the sound of a big hit along the sideline. Our senses need more stimulation today, and the NFL knows it must respond to that heightened demand.

C.J. from Boston, MA

Vic, love your article. I'm a lifelong Packers fan who's lived in Massachusetts my whole life. Dealing with Patriots fans is intolerable. What do you see as the main differences between Rodgers and Brady?

I see no differences. They are both great quarterbacks who play with courage, talent and amazing feel for the position, and they play some of their best football at crunch time.

Nate from Platteville, WI

What kind of improvement should we expect to see out of Jerel Worthy in year two? Can he be the difference maker on our defensive line?

He'll be attempting to make a recovery from a late-season knee injury. I think we should adjust our expectations accordingly.

Mike from Altona, Manitoba

Could you please rate (in your opinion) the top five running backs in the draft?

Eddie Lacy, Giovani Bernard, Stepfan Taylor, Jonathan Franklin, Montee Ball.

John from Carson City, NV

I have the Packers app to hear from and about the players and coaches. Ninety percent of the stuff on the site seems to be Vic's opinion. Frankly, I could not care less about his opinions. I've been a loyal Packers fan since 1951 when our family moved from Detroit to Wauwatosa. Age 76. Please improve the site content. Thanks.

I'm going into the shop for a little body work, so Mike Spofford will be writing "Ask Vic" for a while. I have no doubt you will enjoy his commentary.

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