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Please, no more play-calling questions

Motivation has to come from within


T.J. from Tampa, FL

Love the look of two classic, unaltered uniforms in ours and Oakland's this weekend, right?

I agree, but I see nothing wrong with a third jersey to liven things up. What's the harm in a splash of color or design? I like the theme-uniform concept Nike has created. I think the Packers and Packers fans need to think outside the box a little bit on this subject. It's a young man's game, and we need young fans as much as we need young players. Give the young fans what they want.

Chris from Wels, Austria

Vic, I'm watching Star Wars VII tonight and I'm a diehard fan! Will you watch it?


Chuck from Port Washington, WI

McCarthy yesterday talked about the importance of play sequencing. Play sequencing! If you think plays and their selection and sequencing aren't an integral and important component of winning NFL games, then you really don't fully understand the game of pro football and your column is more for entertainment of the ignorant than education of them, or maybe you are ignorant of this vital aspect of pro football and it is why you are not and never were or will be a successful NFL championship head coach, such as the four who have rolled through Green Bay, the latest of whom still resides there.

I'll cry all night.

Matt from Rockbridge, WI

Vic, why doesn't the players vs. plays topic get banned? It's showing up nearly every day.

I've asked readers not to ask about it, but the more I ask them not to ask about it, the more they ask about it. Football fans are crazy about play-calling. They can't stop talking about it. They believe there is always a better play that should've been called and they know what that play is. Every day, I get hundreds of emails claiming to know what play should've been called, which is fine with me because this mind-numbing subject is driving views to my column. All I have to do is write players, not plays, and it's as though the "Fail Mary" has happened again. The fans want plays because they think they can call them. I want views because views are good for Vic. Go, views, go!

Dan from Webster, MN

With the officiating changing in this year's playoffs, do you think the correct calls will be made this time around?

The more we try to fix the system, the more we need to repair it. Why? Because we've made it the game's No. 1 weekly controversy. Play the game, blame the officials. It's the game within the game.

Justin from Titonka, IA

How are guys like Charles Woodson able to keep up with the younger guys in the NFL?

Woodson has a rare feel for the game. He knows where it's vulnerable. He competes against the game as much as he competes against the opponent. He gets it.

Ben from New Prague, MN

What is the role of the head coach in firing up the players? I see Del Rio, intense, has his team on the up and up. Through the years, Lombardi, Noll, Johnson, Ditka, maybe Coughlin and Parcells, all intense and successful. Even with well-paid players, doesn't it boil down to instilling intensity in the players?

Different coaches do it different ways, but the ones that are successful at it do it as an extension of their true personality. Jack Del Rio appeals to his players' manhood. He believes football is a game of physical confrontation. I saw him take a team with a soft defense and turn it into one of the best in the league, and he did it rather quickly. Within half a season, that defense bore his personality. Coach Coughlin is from the Parcells school of motivation. It's do your job or you won't have one. Coach Noll was a man of few pep talks. He appealed to his players' professionalism. They loved being treated as pros, and the feeling of pride that accompanied it caused them to aspire to being the best they could be. Lombardi motivated his players out of fear of reprisal. I have a feeling Lombardi had a natural fear of reprisal. It was common back then. I don't think he could motivate his players that way today. Ditka is about toughness. He motivated his players by challenging their toughness. In my opinion, a player's lasting motivation has to come from within.

Dave from Hayward, WI

Vic, game planning by matchup seems to answer the players, not plays question very well. What is the relationship between matchups and scheme?

How a coach utilizes his personnel is the coach's true genius. The best coaches see talents otherwise hidden in a player, and they plan and scheme to utilize those talents in creative ways. Coach Capers is doing it this year with Datone Jones. Once those hidden talents are identified, plugging them into the scheme is easy. These coaches can draw you up a play on a cocktail napkin. Plays are for Maddenites. Fitting players into those plays is what separates coaches from fans who think they're coaches. It's all about matchups, which is what I refer to as scheming personnel. When you scheme personnel, you use players to defeat plays. That's why it's players, not plays.

Conor from Milwaukee, WI

As usual, Packers fans seem to be overly sensitive to the comments Charles Woodson made. I think we should be more understanding. Fact of the matter is we're going to his house, miles away from his Green Bay legacy, and there is a black hole of fans that need something to fire them up. I am a huge fan of his, and I think he is on point with his comments and intensity.

It's a mean game. It toys with our heart. It's why we love it so. The hurt lets us know we're alive.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, what causes changes at the line, generally speaking? Is it the QB changing what he sees as a potentially negative play, or is it him attempting to create a bigger play?

It could be both of those things, but adjustments at the line of scrimmage are commonly the result of where the strong safety and the true middle linebacker are positioned. The strong safety often defines the coverage, and the true middle linebacker dictates blocking assignments. Old-school football: Look through the middle linebacker to the strong safety and you should know where every defensive player on the field is.

Greg from Danbury, CT

Vic, three teams will be over the cap in 2016. What's the deadline for these teams to get their cap in order before the NFL intervenes?

The salary cap is in force 365 days a year, but the next year's contract stipulations begin applying to that year's salary cap on the first day of the league calendar year, which coincides with the start of free agency and trading.

Bill from Downsville, WI

"The pass should open the run as the run opens the pass, but the pass has never seemed to have the same effect on the run the run has had on the pass." Great sentence, man.

I was just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

Vic, the NFL has a solution to the problem of bad calls. They have added an additional committee to consult when the rules are unclear. Now we'll get to wait even longer in between plays. Aren't you thrilled?

Call the Pope. He's infallible.

Jack from La Jolla, CA

Vic, are writers for teams like yourself able to cheer for their favorite teams – if other than their employer – in public, or must it be in private?

I have a Terrible Towel on my car aerial.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, I see cold and snow are in the forecast for the Midwest. Does this make the thought of traveling out west the next two weekends more palatable?


Eric from Baker, FL

Vic, why are the Jets and Cowboys playing on Saturday this week?

It's because college football is done playing and America can't live without watching football.

Tony from Davenport, IA

Hopefully, this will finally clear up the players vs. plays/schemes argument. No matter how good the play or scheme, if the players don't execute it, it won't work! Keep up the good work; love reading your column.

We bow to your superior intellect.

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