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The big news: It's time to be new

This is the final week of daily "Ask Vic"


Jerry from Wausau, WI

Vic, I feel sorry for the readers that tell you what a difference you make in their lives. I find your column interesting at times, as well as opinionated, but life would go on just fine if your blog shut down tomorrow! The commenters at the end of the daily columns have no lives and spend all day, apparently, trying to amuse each other with small talk they, and only they, find funny! Do you plan to continue writing until your Alzheimer's is full blown, or will you gracefully slide off into the moonlight?

My graceful slide begins next Monday, when will launch "Insider Inbox," a mailbag-type column in this same format. I will write it once a week as "Ask Vic," and the other days, Mike Spofford and Wes Hodkiewicz will answer your questions. Don't hold back. You don't have to treat them with kid gloves. I consider this to be exciting news for "Ask Vic" readers. This is the beginning of something more, something better. In the meantime, let's have some fun this week.

Mike from McFarland, WI

Vic, when are you coming back to Green Bay?

I'm not coming back, Mike. Five-plus wonderful years have been committed to memory. Coach Noll would say I'm moving on to my life's work. Football was never work.

Nathan from Cedarburg, WI

Vic, I'm coaching my seven-year-old son's flag football team this year. Any advice?

Make it fun. That's too young for any kind of intensity.

Roy from Jim Falls, WI

Vic, I can totally relate to the crazy high school football coach stories. We were a very successful program but our coach was bonkers. At one point, he barrel-rolled around our high school track, the entire 400 meters. Of course, we cheered him on in a beleaguered loyalty that only teenage boys seem to possess. He finished the lap and jumped to his feet in a bloody mess, as he had his shirt off for the full catastrophe. "This is how much it means," he kept saying.

There must be an insane asylum where old football coaches go.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, you wrote, "Laughter is good." Is there a player you covered who made you laugh?

Lyle Alzado made me laugh when he referred to a little-known offensive tackle named Pete Rostosky as a "Polish sausage maker." Why don't we talk like that anymore? Dwight White made me laugh more than any player I've ever covered. We shared the same birthday and always wished each other happy birthday in passing at training camp. Mike Webster was a jolly, joking man. I would've never guessed his life was so tragic. Terry Bradshaw motioned me toward his locker to show me a picture of his new dog. I said, "What happened to the old dog, Brad?" He had a dachshund he always brought onto the plane on the trip back to Pittsburgh following the final preseason game, which was usually in Dallas. I knew he loved that dog. "She even took the dog," Brad said, referring to his divorce from Jo Jo Starbuck. We laughed. At some point, the laughter stopped. Players and reporters developed a distance between them. I'm glad I covered the game when I did.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Vic, I have enjoyed your article for your years writing for the Packers. As I understand, "Ask Vic" was inspired by explaining the salary cap to fans. How has the article evolved since the beginning?

It quickly turned into a column about people. I stopped answering questions and began participating in a conversation. That's how I view the column as I bid farewell this week to its daily grip on my life.

Zach from Honolulu, HI

Vic, no Packers in your non-quarterback top 10? Where does Clay Matthews rank?

That's what we're going to find out this season when he moves back to outside linebacker. The move inside was good for the Packers, briefly, but I don't think it was good for Matthews and I was never completely on board with it.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Why so acutely sensitive with respect to Bart?

Because he's one of those great players whose body of work (stats) doesn't tell the real story. Those players need advocates.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

Vic, this party of which you speak is not a retirement party, is it?

It's a "be new party." It's time for me to be new and it's time for to be new. This is growth for all of us. This is a week to live in the present and love the past.

Matt from Raleigh, NC

I find it interesting that most of your non-QB top 10 are defensive players. Do you think it's inherently harder to play defense in such an offense-happy league?

The quarterbacks are offense. They're the show. Antonio Brown, for example, is in my top 10 for what he does after he catches the ball, and also for what he does returning punts.

Jim from Chippewa Falls, WI

What ever happened to the Packers power sweep and why don't they use it anymore?

I've answered this question several times, but I'll answer it again because to not understand why the sweep is gone is to not understand or appreciate the difference between the game Lombardi coached and the one Mike McCarthy coaches. The sweep is gone because there are players such as J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald. They play in a penetrate-and-disrupt, gap-control scheme. In the '60s, they would've played in a hold-the-point, two-gap system. If you want to appreciate defense – I don't think Packers fans have as good a grasp on defense as they do on offense – try to understand the difference in the two schemes.

Sam from Mooresville, IN

Vic, I really admire your thick skin for insults and criticism. Your strategy of just saying OK to people who attack you is something I have adopted over the Internet. Where did you develop your thick skin? On the streets of Pittsburgh? At the gas pump in Green Bay?

This column has taught me more about people and about myself than anything else I've experienced in my nearly 65 years of life.

Mike from Portland, OR

Vic, please share with us your thoughts, then and now, about the shootings at Kent State University.

It's the worst thing I've ever seen. I pity the young men who pulled their triggers. Life cannot have been good for them.

Joe from Oswego, IL

I look at this receiving corps we have, provided we can get them all active on Sunday, and can't help but becoming giddy with all the personnel packages McCarthy can put together. Combined with Lacy running his tail off and Rodgers looking to prove No. 6 on the NFL countdown list was insulting (but true for last year), I can't help but get giddy like a child at Christmas. When pondering the offensive talent we have to work with this year, do you feel tremendous excitement for this season for the same reasons? I left defense out of this because that's another area of my tremendous excitement, but that's another conversation.

I have my "Sunday Ticket" ready to go. Yes, I'm excited for this season.

Mike from Pawcatuck, CT

Vic, which one is the flip and which is the flop?

Flip is left and flop is right. Flip fell off.

Shilo from Fallbrook, CA

Vic, what would it take for a commissioner today to match the impact Pete Rozelle had on the NFL?

The difference is the Packers didn't take the NFL to court when Rozelle suspended Paul Hornung.

Dan from Houston, TX

What is Vic Ketchman's Mt. Rushmore of memories, football or otherwise?

If it was otherwise, there wouldn't be any football memories on that hill. Life is bigger than football. Here's my Mt. Rushmore of football memories: The Immaculate Reception, the Jaguars' playoff win in Denver, the 2014 NFC title game, this column. Why the 2014 NFC title game, as bitter a memory as it is? Because I felt something that day I'll never forget. I felt a kind of sorrow for a team, a coach and its fans I didn't believe I was capable of feeling. I think that was the day I fell in love with the Green Bay Packers.

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