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Packers need contributions from rookies on defense

Why no outrage for ejected Brewers pitcher?


Don from Hazleton, PA

Do you think Pottsville, Pa., should be awarded, or at least co-recognized as NFL champions?

If that happens, Pottsville becomes irrelevant in NFL history. Pottsville's claim to fame is that it was unfairly stripped of an NFL title.

Tom from Sacramento, CA

I know you are not big on retired numbers, but what are your thoughts on Syracuse bringing 44 back?

I'm all for it. When you retire a number, it lives only in memory and only if you can recall its importance. When it remains in circulation, it lives on and becomes tradition. That's especially true when it's passed as No. 44 was at Syracuse, from Jim Brown to Ernie Davis to Floyd Little. When the number remains in circulation, so do the memories of those great players. Why did they ever retire it in the first place? Who doesn't want to remember Jim Brown?

Colbie from Castle Rock, WA

Steroids in sports will never go away. Legalize them, regulate them and tax them. We need more studies to be sure of their danger, anyway. Alcohol and tobacco are legal; it's unlikely steroids pose worse health threats than those.

I don't want to see a bottle of pills play football. I want real people.

Jameson from Del City, OK

I wish the content of this column had to do more with the game and the team. Right now, it's about history and punishments.

It's the offseason. There are no games and the media won't be permitted to watch practice again until next week.

Mike from Henderson, NV

Vic, I enjoyed the "Video Ask Vic" this week about Brett Favre. It's nice to start remembering and embracing all those great memories he gave us.

Favre's induction into the Packers Hall of Fame, and the celebration that will accompany it, will define this summer. This is going to be a major event in Packers history.

Tim from Colfax, WI

Will it be as strange for you as it will be for me to see Dick LeBeau on the Titans sideline? What has he added to the game?

LeBeau is to attack strategy as Lawrence Taylor was to the sack.

Del from Sterling, IL

Aside from Rodgers' health, what do you consider to be the most important factor for the Packers' success this year?

Replacement on defense is the key. I'm not going to put pressure on rookies to become instant starters, but the Packers need to get contributions on defense from their rookies, especially from Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.

Jesse from Papillion, NE

Vic, I've read all kinds of horror stories about how bad The Vet in Philadelphia was and how players hated playing there cause of the surface. Is there a stadium these days players have that same dread for?

Field Turf is probably the greatest innovation in artificial turf history. It turned the dreaded Astro Turf and its rock-hard surface and dangerous seams into a blanket of old tires. The only negative to Field Turf is that when I stood on it during one of Jacksonville's hot days, I couldn't get the stench of burning tires out of my nostrils, and that's not exactly the smell I want to associate with football. There are no more bad fields. The condition of playing fields is probably the area of greatest improvement during my years covering the game. When Three Rivers Stadium was being prepared for demolition, a friend of mine cut up a square of the artificial turf and sent it to me. I have it on display in my office at home. When people come to visit, they look at the swatch of turf, touch it and ask what it is. When I tell them, they can't believe it. They're amazed that football was played on something so hard and abrasive. As for The Vet, its turf took a back seat to its press lounge. For a preseason game, I remember eating donuts and beer.

Bobby from Burleson, TX

It seems Jerry Jones, media and fans believe it's the offensive line that makes the running back. Do you believe this or does it take a special back to make a good line great?

A great offensive line, and the Cowboys have one, can make an average back good. A great back can make an average line great.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

What concerns you about the game's future?

Youth participation is weak. I also worry the fundamental charm of the game, violent contact, is being legislated out of the game. Where do we draw the line in player safety? The answer to that question will determine the future of football.

Dustin from Jacksonville, FL

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Will Smith was ejected for having pine tar on his arm. I have trouble believing the media will be filled with shock and indignation. Why is that, Vic? What's so different about baseball?

It's not as important to us as football is. Once upon a time, baseball was very important. During the golden age of the game, had Whitey Ford been ejected for loading up a ball, it would've been a major story. It's amazing to me how high pro football has risen during my time covering it. When I began, in 1972, the PR guys fell all over themselves to include you among their press corps. Nowadays, PR is more a function of policing than it is promoting. Pro football is of enormous importance in the American way of life.

Connor from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, are you as sick as me by how much the NFLPA is trying to absolve players of actions that are blatantly causing this league an image crisis? They fight the good fight sometimes, but I strongly disagree with some of their recent stances.

They have to do it; it's why the union exists, to be an advocate of its membership. Having said that, it doesn't help the players' image that its union supports players guilty of nefarious behavior.

Chris from Fredericksburg, VA took a leaf from Vic's book of comedy and placed an asterisk next to Tom Brady's name on their website. Any advice for their writers, considering what you endured with the cursed asterisk?

Now it's OK to do it, huh? Where's ESPN now? Here's my advice: If they call you when you're on the first tee, don't answer.

Andy from Waupaca, WI

Vic, how about a history lesson? How did the 1985 Bears defense dominate, since they were after the rules changes of '78?

The way to beat the "46 Defense" is to attack it deep. The Bears' pass rush was so fierce, it got to the quarterback before his receivers got deep.

Jennifer from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, if the defense does return a two-point attempt for a score, does the clock run and which team gets the ball on the kickoff?

All PAT attempts remain an untimed down and the defense receives the kickoff.

Adam from New Haven, CT

Which team in the NFC North would you guess will have the most two-point conversion attempts at the end of next season? Or will it still be a question of circumstances?

The team with the worst kicker will attempt the most two-point conversions. Once a team misses a kick, it'll be likely to get into what I call the two-point death spiral; they'll keep trying to make up for the lost point. Kicks will be missed; count on it.

Gary from Waupun, WI

Vic, enjoyed last year's "Ask Vic Day". I have four more newbies I want to bring this year. Can I get six tickets?

We'll be announcing registration soon; we just need to finalize a few more details. July 29 is the likely date. Registration is first come, first serve. Be ready to go.

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