Skip to main content
Powered by

Sideline is a place for calm and poise


Donald from Bowling Green, KY

I keep reading reports that teams will try to trade players during the draft. How would that work if the team can't contact the players?

Vic: Stop reading those reports immediately because you are getting very bad information. During the lockout, teams may only trade picks, not players. By the way, I'm doing my first live chat as editor today. It begins at 3 p.m. for those that wish to participate.

Fred from Waterloo, WI

I'm a bit surprised that Bill Walsh's name is never mentioned in the same breath with Lombardi's. Some of the best teams in the league still use his offense, where Lombardi's power sweep is long gone. Is it possible he has had more influence on the game than Lombardi?

Vic: I don't agree that Walsh's name isn't regarded with Lombardi-like reverence. Walsh was and still is one of the giants of the game. His imprint is seen on playbooks throughout the game and at every level of competition. I also disagree with your characterization of Lombardi. The power sweep may be gone, but how about his run-to-daylight mantra? It's how backs run in today's game. Blocking schemes aren't nearly as sophisticated or as well-executed as they were in Lombardi's day. These days, the fundamental premise of the running game is for the lineman to engage and control a defender in whatever manner possible, and the back is to run to daylight. Please don't minimize Lombardi's greatness because you want to advance Walsh's. Both men stand at the pinnacle of the coaching profession. The difference is that Lombardi came before Walsh. He made Walsh's fame possible because it was coaches such as Lombardi that popularized the game.

Ford from Mobile, AL

Vic, for several years now I have been trying to find out what NFL regular-season game had the most future Hall of Famers in it (including coaches). I would suspect it would be an early to mid-60s Packers-Bears game. Do you happen to know?

Vic: I don't know the answer but I'm intrigued by your question. Yeah, when you stir in Lombardi, Starr, Hornung, Taylor and that group with Halas, Ditka, Butkus, Sayers and that group, you might be right. I think what you do is you look at each team of the decade and you find its games with its chief competition of that decade and then count up the Hall of Famers. For example, the Steelers and Cowboys of the 1970s, the 49ers and Giants or Redskins of the '80s, and the Cowboys and 49ers of the '90s. My guess is the winning combination will come from those matchups. Does anybody know the answer?

Tyler from Pierre, SD

How special is it that the Packers don't play at Wal-Mart Field or Dell Stadium or the like?

Vic: Yeah, it's a real shame that the insatiable quest for revenue has pushed out some of the great stadium names. Mile High Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium had wonderful rings to them. You felt the place before you saw it. That's the way it is with Lambeau Field. The name gives you an immediate feel for the history of the place. Progress isn't always a good thing, but it is inevitable. I'll always hear my father asking, "Who's gonna pay for all of this?" Well, the answer to that question is the corporations that want to marry their names with the teams they favor. That's the way it is nowadays and that's why it's critically important that the corporations whose names grace these stadiums be of the highest order. You want a company that's gonna put its name on that stadium and leave it there forever. You don't wanna be changing the name of your stadium every 5-10 years and you don't want your stadium named for a company with a name that's gonna become tainted.

Aaron from Kingston, Prince Edward Island

I want to let you know you're the reason I now check everyday. I love reading your articles. My question is who do you think the Packers will take with their pick position-wise, not necessarily a player? I know they could use another cornerback because Woodson isn't getting younger, but I think they need to look more at a tackle to go opposite Bulaga for the future.

Vic: I don't believe in picking according to position; I believe in picking according to the player rankings, regardless of position. I also believe the Packers share that philosophy. Position enters into the decision when you have more than one player or a group of players sharing a grade. Should that occur, then I would agree that an offensive lineman, not necessarily a tackle, would be a good fit for the Packers. I also see defensive line as a place of some need. I love drafting big guys in the first round, when they fit at that pick and indications are there will be offensive and defensive linemen that fit at the bottom of the first round. Brooks Reed is a defensive end that fits at the bottom of the first round, but he projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4.

Ryan from London, England

Do you think that with the labor issues and the current lockout we could see teams such as Carolina sticking with their current quarterbacks simply because they won't have the time to properly prepare the new quarterback?

Vic: I don't think the lockout will discourage teams from drafting a quarterback, but if the lockout continues into the summer, it would be highly unlikely that a rookie quarterback could make it into the starting lineup until late in the season.

Susie from Two Rivers, WI

I've been watching football for many years, including the Bart Starr/Lombardi days, Ditka days; you get the idea. People seem to accept/understand Mike McCarthy's style better now. Isn't an even keel, not a screaming, yelling, throwing clipboards style a major plus? Too conservative on close games for some people, but looking at the big picture. I'm for a stable, cool heads prevailing style rather than rant/rave type. Watching the Packers sideline, a cohesive, not too agitated mood seems to prevail with all the coaches during games, which is a good thing in my book.

Vic: Yes, calm, poise and intelligence are preferable to going nuts. The only thing going nuts is good for is entertaining the fans. Players don't want their coaches going nuts. Players don't want pep talks, either; they want instruction. The best thing a coach can tell his players is, "This is what we're gonna do and this is how we're gonna do it." That resonates. It focuses everybody because it provides a plan and that's what players want, a plan for winning. Now, it's up to them to accept responsibility for executing that plan, which they will. One of the first things I do early in a game is look at the two sidelines. I wanna see what the calm factor is; that'll tell me how each team will play in the fourth quarter. Teams with jumpy sidelines tend to fail at crunch time; that's been my experience. When a pro personnel department advance-scouts a game, it takes a hard look at the sideline of the team it's scouting. What's the chain of command? How orderly is that chain of command? Which coaches are on the sideline and which coaches are up in the booth? As I said in yesterday's column, I was really impressed by what I saw of the Packers when I covered them in a game in 2008. Folks, Coach McCarthy's style is the NFL style. It's how the pro game is coached. You get the lead, you protect the lead. That's the way it's done. I have to say that I have really been blindsided by the rejection of that style that I'm getting in this column.

Teri from Racine, WI

Do you really believe in football curses? I'm not without my superstitions, but all this curse talk appears kind of silly. Seems to me that a curse only has power if you believe in it. Clearly, Aaron Rodgers didn't believe in that curse after he made the SI cover following the NFC Championship game.

Vic: I don't believe in curses of any kind; I was just joking. I believe that losing often follows winning because it's very difficult to repeat winning in this league today. That's the curse. It's the curse of heightened competition. Once you win, you're the target and everybody's out to get you.

Steve from Ithaca, NY

I am fortunate enough to have two shares of Packers stock with my name on them, hence making me an owner. If I saw an active Packer player on the street and asked him some football questions (like how he is getting in shape during the offseason), would I be in violation of the league's no-contact policy?

Vic: I say yes. Hey, you wanna be an owner, you gotta act like an owner, right?

Mike from Bridgeport, CT

Did you happen to see the Rangers/Caps game on Sunday? There was a play at the end of the second period where the puck appeared to go in as time expired but replay overturned the goal, as it did not cross the line before the buzzer went off. After reviewing the play, the referee skates out to center ice and was unsure if his microphone was working. He said, "After further review," and paused three times. By this point, the Rangers fans were already booing and hadn't even heard the call. This reminded me immediately of the story you've told so well in this column, about the "Immaculate Reception" and the referee walking out to midfield and raising his hands to signal a touchdown, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Vic: I don't need an explanation. Just tell me what the call is. Figure out the explanation later when there's time to do it and give it to the pool reporter after the game. I think the explanation side of replay is slowing the whole process down. If we're gonna keep replay, and it is gonna stay with us, then we need to find ways to speed up the process. In my opinion, the worst thing that ever happened to officials is having to explain themselves on the spot to several thousand people who inherently don't like them. All of a sudden, they had to become attorneys, too, making sure of their messaging so they don't message themselves into a corner. I don't want a message, I want the right call made by a man who isn't afraid to make it.

Tom from Ashland, WI

With all the players coming back from injured reserve, and the coming draft class, which players currently on the roster do you think get cut from the team? I know this is a nearly impossible question to answer; that's why I'm asking for an opinion.

Vic: You're right, it's nearly impossible to answer, so I won't even try, but I will tell you this: The players that are released from this roster will play somewhere else in this league, and that's why it is absolutely critical that the Packers make the right decisions on how they cut this roster, because they're likely going to end up playing against some of the guys they release.

Robert from Stevenage, England

My question is how long do you think this lockout is going to continue?

Vic: We are nearing a point at which a court decision will be announced on the players' appeal to have the lockout lifted. That decision might give us some clarity. Stay tuned.

Mike from Wonder Lake, IL

Please expand on Bill Walsh's "Sprint right option" you mentioned. Can you explain it in more detail?

Vic: It is the staple of the "West Coast offense." "The Catch" was "Sprint Right Option." On that play, the quarterback sprints to the right and has the option of throwing or running. Genius, right? Yeah, and it was created by Paul Brown, for whom Walsh coached while in Cincinnati. Coaching trees are fascinating studies and the Brown coaching tree, in my opinion, is the best: Ewbank, Collier, Shula, Noll, Walsh, etc. How's that for a lineup? Brown was a great coach, but he made a terrible mistake in not giving the Bengals' head job to Walsh when Brown retired. What if he had given the job to Walsh? Would the Bengals have been the 49ers of the '80s?

Cody from Des Moines, IA

How does the NFL decide the home/away locations for the non-divisional games? We have to go to Atlanta again this year. We had to play in Philly three years in a row from 2004-06. What gives?

Vic: The schedule is according to a pre-determined formula. For example, if the Packers had finished first in the NFC North last year, they'd be going back to Philadelphia instead of playing at the Giants, and the Seahawks would be playing in Green Bay, even though the Seahawks played in Green Bay in 2009.

Rich from Whitewater, WI

If you were guaranteed he would never botch a hold, no matter how bad the snap was, for as long as his career lasted, would you spend a third-round draft pick on a place-kick holder?

Vic: No, the third round is for long-term, every-downs starters. The late rounds are for specialists, but not holders.

David from Richmond, IN

I am old-school and I wanna see at least one Super Bowl played in cold, snow, mud and dirt with players' uniforms looking downright nasty. Is this a pipe dream?

Vic: You can forget about it; dream of something else. Did you see that picture of David Whitehurst on When's the last time you saw mud on a uniform as it is in that picture? Why have we become such sissies about field conditions? A game is played on a wet, muddy field and it becomes a national disgrace. There's a public outcry for an investigation. It's really laughable. Hey, this is football. It's a tough game for tough guys.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.