Bob from Ashern, WI
What specific process in the NFL tie-breaker system was used to award the Packers the number six seed over Tampa Bay?
Vic: Strength of victory was the deciding factor. The rugged schedule the Packers played helped them in the end, you might say. The Giants were also involved in the tie-breaker.
Bryce from Raleigh, NC
What aspect of the roster will the Packers look to build depth on in the first round of the draft?
Vic: I urge everyone to buy into and accept the notion that the Packers draft the best available player, regardless of position. It's a philosophy that won the Super Bowl and I genuinely believe the Packers believe in and employ that philosophy. What I'm saying is the Packers do not target a position they want to address. If they can address a need by taking the best available player or trade back, recoup the value of the pick and pick a player who addresses a need and fits at the pick he's being selected, that's better yet, but they're not going to reach for a guy simply because he plays a position they need to fortify.
John from Wauwatosa, WI
When does the actual schedule for 2011 get released?
Vic: It's usually announced at some point between the owners meetings in late March and the draft in late April. I've covered the owners meetings when it was announced there, and I can remember a few years when it wasn't announced until just before the draft. This is a different kind of offseason, of course, so don't hold me to this, please.
Brian from Rochester, MN
I understand the BAP philosophy, however, why do teams like the Packers trade down? Is it because the BAP in that round is not needed or is not a fit for the team?
Vic: You trade down to fit yourself to the pick, instead of reaching and fitting the pick to you. When you trade back, you recoup the value of the pick by acquiring an additional pick or picks. It's all about value. You have a pick with an intrinsic value; why squander it? Why overpay for a pair of khakis – who doesn't need a pair of khakis, right? – when you can go to another store and get the same khakis a little cheaper? All of that is the reason trading in the draft has increased dramatically. There were 30 "draft-day" trades in last year's draft. These were trades that, for the most part, were made for the purpose of moving to where a player fit or for recouping the value of a pick the team didn't want to use because the players available didn't interest them. This is a growing trend and most teams are willing to assist each other in trading back because they need each other in their pursuit of value.
Rodney from Milwaukee, WI
What types of contracts do the undrafted free agents from last year have? For example: Sam Shields, Frank Zombo, Nick McDonald and Tom Crabtree. Are they locked up for a few years or do the Packers have to negotiate a new deal to keep them?
Vic: I don't know each player's specific contract terms but I wouldn't worry about losing young, undrafted players because they usually are either locked up with three-year deals that would bring them to restricted free agency under the old system, or they have contracts that make them exclusive-rights free agents, which means their rights are exclusive to the team that holds them and those players aren't going anywhere, as long as the team wants to keep them.
Harold from Ehlers, WI
For what position do you think the Packers would like to draft first?
Vic: BAP, please.
Lance from Fort Lauderdale, FL
Vic, why did you leave your prior position at Jacksonville; were you fired? How about Pittsburgh; were you fired there, too?
Vic: Yes; they said I wasn't kind and sensitive enough to the fans.
Chad from Callahan, FL
It's good to see "Ask Vic" is back. I can only speak for myself but I, for one, have really missed the sarcasm and Vicisms.
Vic: You might not have to wait much longer.
Eliot from Urbana, IL
Hey, guy, why do people care about the combine? I truly see no benefit to knowing what goes on there. If some guy has a freakish (or embarrassing) 40 time, then that's cool, but people get carried away. Packers fans just watched their team win a Super Bowl. These are guys that my team probably won't draft and in all likelihood won't matter this season for any team. I'd rather watch the pros work out. When someone has a great rookie season, people don't say, "I remember when he did that workout really well 10 months ago." Combine coverage is for people who are hopelessly desperate for football news. I guess this isn't really a question.
Vic: It's not a question but I think it's a healthy perspective. I don't like all that run and jump stuff, either. It's the entertainment portion of the weekend's festivities. The real purpose of the combine is to acquire the hard information teams want. They want measurements, such as height, weight, wing span, hand size, etc., all of which indicate body type. They want medical information that will tell them whether a guy has a young or old football body, which will indicate what kind of length of career he'll have. They wanna know what's in his head and in his heart. Not too many years ago, all of this information was acquired without disclosure to the public. So why is it shown on NFL Network and why is it covered ad nauseum by beat guys such as myself nowadays? Because there is an audience for it. Football fans have a fascination for the draft process and it officially begins at the combine.
Petr from Southowram on Sea, UK
Is there anywhere to get a full list of everyone's 10-yard split for the 40-yard dash at the combine?
Vic: See what I mean?
Don from Swaldale, IA
A question was asked whether you can use hair to tackle a player? Your answer was, in a nutshell, anything can be used to bring down a ball-carrier, however, the "horse collar" is a no-no, so you can't use everything to tackle a player.
Vic: The question was about hair, so I assumed we were talking about things that grow and hang from the body. I'm well aware that you can't tackle a player by his facemask or shoulder pads.
Kevin from Kennewick, WA
I loved your answer about the comparison between yesterday's and today's players. I remember when some even played both sides of the ball; that will never happen again. Are there any players who choose not to be represented by an agent or does the union have a rule prohibiting this?
Vic: There's no rule. There might be a few players who elect to negotiate their own contract, but I don't know of any players that aren't represented by an agent. The process has reached the point that I think most teams' contract negotiator would prefer to work with an agent; it expedites the process because the negotiator and the agent usually have worked on other contracts and they understand each other's needs in how the contract needs to be structured. It's not just about how much, it's also about when to pay what during the life of the deal, especially if we are to go back into a salary cap system. Negotiating and structuring contracts is a highly technical proposition. You don't want to have to spend time educating a player about the system at the same time you're negotiating with him, plus, you don't want to risk having developed an acrimonious relationship with him while executing the process. There's very definitely a business side to professional football and it's best if the player is insulated from that process and is allowed to focus all of his energy on playing the game.
Jesse from St. Louis, MO
Vince Lombardi once said, "Teamwork is what the Green Bay Packers were all about; they didn't do it for individual glory, they did it because they loved one another." Do you still see this in the Packers team today?
Vic: I haven't covered them so it would be disingenuous of me to attempt to answer the question, but I saw it in the two teams I have covered and I have no doubt it's in the Packers, too. What I would ask you to also consider is that professional football is a game that's played for financial reward, too. I doubt that Coach Lombardi's Packers would've played the game for free. It's for the money that players are drawn to professional football. Once they join the ranks of professional football players, it is their ability to play for the glory of each other that determines the degree to which they will succeed collectively.
Walt from Skandia, MI
Can a coach learn anything new about a player at the combine? Don't the scouts already know all there is to know about each player?
Vic: Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin offered an interesting perspective on what he looks for in a player at the combine, in the video I did with him from the combine on Sunday. I'll defer to Joe.