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'Next season' has arrived for Driver


Dan from Splendora, TX

It's so hard to constantly hear of good, proven free agents signing with other teams when the Packers could use one or more on their own roster. I know the Packers really promote from within and stay loyal to their own choices in the draft, and I know this is especially difficult with next year's need to sign Rodgers, Matthews and Jennings, but do you think the Packers look past almost every free agent as a matter of loyalty?

No, that's not it. It's about the cap. What can I say or do to convince everyone of that fact? Everything is about the cap. You are what you cap. If your cap is bad, you will soon be bad. The cap is the "train" and if you don't hear its whistle, the train will run you over. The days of the uncapped year are over. We are back to a capped system and it controls a team's fate. If I might persuade fans to do anything, I would persuade them to think cap first. If you don't know the cap, you don't know today's game.

Thomas from Pensacola, FL

When a player is signed from the draft, why not load it with incentives instead of here are millions of dollars?

Because the player wouldn't sign that contract. Every player wants to receive as much guaranteed money as possible. Every team wants to pay as little in the way of guaranteed money as possible. That's the contract tug of war. It's all about leverage. Draft picks are considered to be "slotted," which means you're going to pay a pick a little less than what is paid to the player drafted ahead of him, and a little more than what is paid to the player drafted behind him. It's a game of dominoes and that's why teams wait until just before the start of training camp to begin signing their draft picks. Everybody is waiting for the first domino to fall.

Tim from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, summer is slowly but surely coming. Can Green Bay have an "Ask Vic" golf tournament, too?

I'd love to have a golf tournament. I'd love to meet the people that write this column every day. We did it in Jacksonville and it became the social event of the year. Let me see what I can do.

James from Webster, WI

In regards to the voting on rules changes, who represents the Packers owners' vote?

Mark Murphy casts the team's vote.

Justin from Stockbridge, WI

What's your thought on the Packers pursuing Manny Lawson?

My immediate thought is that they see something in him that doesn't show in the stats, something they like and can fit into a specific role.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Vic, you moved the dog from Florida to Wisconsin. If I were your dog, I wouldn't like you either.

They love it here. We have a retention pond in the backyard in Florida, which means they were never allowed to just hang out in the backyard because a gator would eat them. Here, they chase rabbits.

Loftur from Columbus, OH

What an unfortunate time in the Saints' history that this bounty scandal comes up in. They are a legitimate Super Bowl contender with a fantastic offense and they lose their head coach for a year. It's players, not plays, so based on their talent, I think they'll be in the playoffs, again, but losing their head coach has to be a major setback.

Having your head coach suspended for a season is the ultimate distraction. The door in the NFC South is open.

Larry from Phoenix, AZ

If the owner of the Saints didn't know anything about the bounty system on his team, and the general manager and the coach both lied to him about its existence, as the owner would you fire both the general manager and the coach?

I don't know what I'd do, but I'd be very angry about the hit my brand has taken and the stain that has been applied to my team's proudest moment. The Saints were the centerpiece of the Gulf's recovery from Katrina. The Saints' rise to the Super Bowl championship was a source of pride for every person in that region of the country that dug down and rebuilt their life. The celebration of that recovery has now been lessened by something reckless and unprofessional. This is truly a shame.

Nathan from Littlefield, TX

I was just watching "NFL Lost Treasures" and they did a show on the NFL in the 1970s. I just have to know, did you wear the flower power clothes and, if so, do you look back and regret it?

I had a pair of pants that looked like I stole them from Timothy Leary's closet. I loved those pants.

Jonas from Tromso, Norway

Before last season started, there was a lot of debate in this column on the impact of the lockout. As I recall, you talked about how rookies probably wouldn't get to play as big a role as they usually do. How did this pan out?

Anthony Villiotti, who authors a wonderful draft website (, recently provided a startling statistic that I used in "Ask Vic." Rookies made more starts in 2011 than ever before. I nailed that one, didn't I?

Steve from Larsen, WI

I know you're tired of Tebow questions, but I have an answer for why the Packers were interested in him. Paul Hornung won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback. Lombardi made him a halfback.

Tim Tebow, the next Paul Hornung. That's funny. I wonder how many curfews Tebow has blown.

Dan from Bowling Green, OH

I just read the article about new proposed rules changes in the NFL. I was curious, as a new stockholder and part owner, do I, along with other stock owners, get to vote on these new changes at the stockholders meeting?

No, they'll be voted on next week at the owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.

Spencer from Lakewood, CA

I was able to catch Hines Ward's emotional retirement press conference on Tuesday and I have huge respect for him. "I couldn't fathom playing in any other uniform. To all the fans that bought a Hines Ward jersey, it would be a betrayal." Vic, I think this is a mentality that is lost in today's game. I see Donald Driver having the same class. Do you think Donald will ever play in another uniform if it comes to the point that we can't keep him on the roster?

Nobody appreciates Ward's career more than I do. I began covering this game when defensive backs were brutalizing defenseless receivers. It was vicious, it was intentional and it angered me. Ward turned the hunter into the hunted, and I loved it every time he peeled back and lit one of them up, legally. I wish he would've played in the same era as Jack Tatum and George Atkinson. I would've loved to have seen their heads on a swivel. Having said all of that, I'll also tell you that if Ward had anything left in his legs, he wouldn't be retiring. Players seldom leave money on the table unless they know they're done or truly want to retire. I don't know what's going to happen with Driver. There are multiple factors involved: the cap, an opportunity for young receivers to grow, respect for Driver's career and what it means to the Packers' fans and the team's history. Driver is a Ward-like figure. Here's my advice: Cheer him onto victory in DWTS. Next season is now.

Anthony from Durham, England

From reading your previous columns, it is clear that you are of the opinion that football is a young man's game and players should be developed through the draft. With this in mind, what do you make of the situation in Denver? They have traded away a young QB they drafted to develop, for a guy who is 36 and may not be able to play as effectively as he has done in the past.

The Broncos weren't committed to Tebow's development. That's why Manning was signed and Tebow was traded, and it's for the best because a commitment has to be made to a quarterback for him to grow into an effective passer and leader.

Trisha from Waupun, WI

It's time to put an end to the friendly debate. My friends and I would like to know who is the best QB of these three: Flynn, Luck, RG3.

It depends on what you want. If you want a guy that's ready to go, Matt Flynn is your guy. If you want the next Peyton Manning, I think Andrew Luck might be your guy because Luck has the kind of intuitive grasp of the offense that promotes a Manning-like execution of its scheme. If you want upside, Robert Griffin III is "The Man." He can run and he can throw with a combined quality that has rarely been seen in professional football. He has true star potential. I think he offers the most upside, but I also think he represents the most risk because guys that run introduce a greater potential for injury. If I was picking between the three, I'd probably go for RG3 because I think the reward is certainly worth the risk.

Greg from Danbury, CT

Vic, I am the editor of employee publications for a Fortune 500 company. My stories have terrific leads and narrative that compel the reader to continue to the end. The best I've seen in a long time: "I helped save that dog's life. It's not as though I strapped him to the roof of the car." I gotta know what happened next.

I'm getting a ton of questions about Teddy the mama's boy. Here's his story. Teddy was born in a puppy mill near Savannah, Ga. He spent the first year of his life in a cage. The conditions were deplorable and a wonderful organization in Georgia saved the poor animals in that puppy mill from their suffering, and then placed them in homes. Had they not been found, they would've probably been left to die. Teddy was placed in our home; we had lost a dog and our other dog had slipped into depression. Teddy was a mess and he was painfully thin. The dirt was so deep into his fur that it took several baths to get it all out, and every time we bathed him his fur got lighter in color. When we got him, his name was Brownie, but we had to change his name because after all the baths, he wasn't brown anymore. My wife became the mother he never knew and our other dog, Jake, became the friend Teddy never had. Me? I'm the meal ticket.

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