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Packers-Lions could become hot, again


George from Orange, CA

I find numerous examples during draft day that teams, including the Packers, are using their picks to fill a need over an obvious BAP pick. Media pundits are always expressing this value in all levels of their picks, too. I think both considerations of need vs. BAP should be utilized when making a draft choice, regardless of the round it is in. Can you add any more insight into this controversial subject?

Vic: No.

Alan from Madison, WI

Is Bulaga good enough to be a left tackle or with his short arms and lack of quickness is he destined to be their right tackle.

Vic: You don't like Iowa, do you? I don't know about the lack of quickness thing, but Michael Roos has short arms and he's a pretty good left tackle, and Dan Marino had small hands and that didn't seem to hurt him, did it?

Daniel from Fond du Lac, WI

On the rule change, I just want to mention something Ronnie Lott said when asked about the legal/illegal hits thing earlier this season: "Great players find a way to be great, regardless of the rules, situation, etc."

Vic: I don't agree at all with that statement. I can think of one clear case in which a rule change targeted a certain player and effectively curtailed his effectiveness. I'm talking about Mel Blount and the five-yard no-chuck rule that went into effect in 1978. The rule was intended to end bump-and-run coverage, which meant it targeted big, physical cornerbacks such as Blount, who was the poster player for the rule. Goodbye bump and run meant goodbye Mel Blount. What would the rule have done to the career of Lem Barney, who invented bump and run? I don't think Barney's in the Hall of Fame if the league had targeted him as they targeted Blount. I don't think Blount's in the Hall of Fame, either, if they had targeted him earlier in his career. Here's another question: How effective would Lott have been if he had played today, when "defenseless receivers" are protected against launching and head shots? Lott's game was physical punishment. That's not the style of today's game.

Sue from Mocanaqua, PA

What about the so-called "prevent defense?" Why do so many teams go into this non-aggressive mode of defense in today's NFL with the offenses the way they are? Play to win.

Vic: I don't like "prevent," either; I never have. The coaches will tell you, however, that all of the statistical evidence and studies say it's the thing to do, so I'll buy it. Here's what I don't understand: Why even rush three? Why rush anybody? Why not drop 11 defenders into coverage? If you want the offense to burn time off the clock, then drop 11 and let the quarterback stand back there all day looking for a receiver. Hey, the clock is running; that's a good thing.

Mike from Burnsville, MN

I know you're new to the Packers organization, but what have you learned early on about the Packers' great rivalries? Do you think the Packers-Lions rivalry can ever escalate to Packers-Bears or Packers-Vikings levels?

Vic: Yeah, I'm new here, but I know more about the Packers' past than you might think. I know that if you ask me to pick one game from Packers history that defines the team's rivalries in the NFC North, I'll tell you it's the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit in 1962, when the Lions upset the Packers and knocked them from the ranks of the unbeaten. I was 11 years old and I couldn't wait to watch the game on TV. If the Lions are truly on the way up, as Mike McCarthy says they are, then we may not have to wait long for Packers-Lions to become hot, again.

Dana from Washougal, WA

What do players feel when their college rival becomes their teammate?

Vic: Players leave that college stuff back in college; they do if they're pros. The ones that can't do it never become pros and they quickly fade from the league. I like college football, but it can get a little too schmaltzy for my tastes. I like play for pay. I find that to be charming in a manly way.

Mat from St. Louis, MO

Being a long-time reader and having witnessed which seems to be a thousand e-mails arguing BAP vs. needs drafting, I've developed a theory: It's easier to needs draft than it is to rank 'em and pick 'em. It's a cop out. It's easier to spot what seems to be a need and plug in a guy that you think will put you over the edge instead of keeping your team young and competitive for a sustained period. Needs drafting also gives a false feeling of appeasement to what may seem to be a non-interested fan base. What do you think?

Vic: You got it. It's a lot easier to only know the prospects at your positions of need than it is to know every prospect in the draft. It makes for easier discourse between the fans. Also, if you address all of your needs, you can go to the Super Bowl that season. Yeah, right.

Jeff from St. Paul, MN

Since the new AFC needed three teams to come over from the NFC for the start of the post-merger league (Steelers, Browns and Colts), how was it decided which teams would go? At the time, the AFC did not receive a lot of respect.

Vic: The league offered $3 million to each team willing to move from what would be the NFC to what would be the AFC in 1970. The three teams you mentioned took the money. Two of them, of course, were joined at the hip; one wouldn't go without the other. Carroll Rosenbloom was the owner of the Colts at that time and he was never going to pass up a handout like that.

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

A traditionalist is someone who lives in the past. The Packers uniforms of today, the green is much brighter than Lombardi days. Perhaps we should go back to blue for Vic. I am sure you really pounded that one and two-iron.

Vic: Hey, everybody, it's Scott.

Mark from Regina, Saskatchewan

Win or lose the kickoff, your most important possession is usually the last one your team has. You're either driving for the winning score or you're killing as much time off the clock and pinning the other team deep while defending your lead.

Vic: I completely agree. This has become a last-possession league. The league is very smart about creating fan interest, and that's what the coin-toss-deferral rule did. It created intrigue. It heightened interest among young Madden fans.

John from Neptune Beach, FL

Will we see kickoffs being kicked higher and shorter to allow the kicking team to cover inside the 20?

Vic: Head coaches with an aggressive mindset will do that, especially in places where cold, wet weather would make for a slow track late in the season. The more conservative coaches, especially those that have strong-legged kickers in warm-weather cities, will elect to avoid the risk of a long return and just kick it deep and go for the touchback. It'll be interesting to observe the strategies employed, but I don't think there's any doubt that touchbacks will increase dramatically.

Bradley from Plano, TX

I've followed "Ask Vic" for a long time and you reference your wife from time to time, but I've never heard the story about how you met your wife. More details?

Vic: We were neighbors but we had never met until she was driving by my house one day, saw me standing in my garage and stopped to say hello. She saw that I had been crying and she asked me what was wrong and I said: "Someone stole my golf clubs." She said, "I'm sorry." She offered comfort in my time of great despair.

Mo from Mountain Top, PA

If you won't write a book of your own, would you please recommend a couple for me to read?

Vic: I just finished my buddy Rick Gosselin's book, Goodfellows, the subject of which is high school football in Rick's hometown, Detroit, when high school football was king in Detroit in the 1950s and 60s. I heartily recommend it.

Wes from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

We have a debate stirring in our office about whether or not Andrew Luck should have entered the NFL draft after three years of college or finished his degree. Your thoughts?

Vic: Obviously, finishing his college career was of greater importance to Luck than being the first player selected in the draft, and I can certainly respect that decision. It doesn't come, however, without significant financial risk. Ask Jake Locker. He might've been the first player selected last year; certainly he would've been a top-five pick. It appears Locker is on the path in his postseason workouts of recovering some of his lost luster, but staying in for another year might cost him some serious money. Here's an even better example: Greg Romeus. Had he come out last year, he would've probably been a first-round pick. Now he's coming off back surgery and an ACL that ruined his senior season, and no one's sure where or even if he'll be drafted. I just don't know how you improve on being the first player picked. I hope it works for Luck but, in my opinion, he's taking an unnecessary risk.

Chris from La Crosse, WI

Don't leave your golf balls in your car over the winter; it destroys their distance and feel.

Vic: I never knew that.

Luke from Appleton, WI

So BAP, in practice, would be taking a quarterback with the number 32 pick in the first round if he were at the top of the board, even though we already have an elite starter in Rodgers and a good backup in Flynn?

Vic: Or trade back and recoup the value of the pick.

Wayne from Bethel Island, CA

Which players appear to be the likely best athletes at the end of the first round?

Vic: The defensive line crop is deep; a good one should still be available. The second tier of wide receivers begins to enter the picture late in the first round and the running backs start to show themselves, too.

David from Ormond Beach, FL

I have followed you to the great white north. How do you view all the rules changes and what type of impact will it have on the game overall? My fear is the game I have come to love maybe changed forever.

Vic: I understand and appreciate that fear, but I think we all need to embrace the commissioner's agenda for addressing player safety. Here's the way I'm approaching it: A lot of people didn't like the idea of being forced to wear a seatbelt when they drove their car. They didn't like the dinging noise when you didn't wear your belt, they resented being told what to do in their own car and they worried that wearing a seatbelt would be so uncomfortable that it would ruin their driving experience. Well, we got through it, didn't we? Now it's a law and we wear them without complaint. Has it ruined our driving experience? No. Has it increased our safety? Yes.

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