The regular writer of "Ask Vic," packers.com Editor Vic Ketchman, is taking some time off. Staff Writer Mike Spofford is temporarily filling in to answer your "Ask Vic" questions.
Gary from Puyallup, WA
Best wishes, Vic. I hope the mechanics get you all fixed up and back on the road soon! Don't most of the readers here agree?
They certainly do, and Vic appreciates all the well wishes sent in. They are too numerous to print here, but rest assured they've all been read, and I can tell you that Vic is doing just fine. He should be back soon, unless his dogs drive him crazy and he's back sooner.
Dayna from Jackson, NJ
Please tell me that when Mike takes over temporarily, your column will not lose that sarcastic edge I love so much.
What does sarcastic mean? Anyone? Bueller?
Erick from Cooper Landing, AK
Vic, call me crazy, but shouldn't the Packers wait to see Clay Matthews finish a season uninjured before they pay up?
OK, sure. You're crazy.
Josh from Chicago, IL
Hey Mike, do you and Vic agree on most topics, or are you two polar opposites who complement each other?
I don't think I can put a percentage on agreeability, but I think it's fair to say we've had a certain amount of influence on one another over the last two-plus years. Vic enjoys a spirited discussion perhaps more than anyone I've ever worked with, and he probably wishes I barked back a little louder, but I like to think I hold my own, in my own way.
Dan from Rock Hill, SC
Was looking at the draft order and the Packers alternate between the 26th and 25th pick each round. I thought the order was set, so I was wondering what the reason was?
As losers in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Packers and Seahawks had the same 11-5 record and were, in essence, tied for the 25th pick. The Packers got the 26th pick because their strength of schedule (.508) was slightly better than Seattle's (.504), but then the two teams alternate in those two slots in each successive round. For those wondering, the head-to-head "Fail Mary" result did not apply as a tiebreaker. The same rotation is occurring, in three-way fashion, with the 21st through 23rd picks amongst the Bengals, Redskins and Vikings, wild-card losers who were all 10-6. The Bengals' worst strength of schedule got them the 21st spot, followed by the Redskins (whose first-round pick is owned by the Rams, via RG3) and then the Vikings, with the three teams rotating in those slots throughout the draft. All of that explains how the Vikings now have two selections in a span of three picks right in front of the Packers in the first round. Their better strength of schedule in the three-way tiebreaker got them the 23rd pick, and they have the 25th pick from Seattle in the Percy Harvin trade. That's an intriguing NFC North angle to the first round that hasn't been discussed much.
Jason from Oshkosh, WI
I'm now resigned to the fact the Packers are probably going to trade out of the first round. I'm starting to buy into all the equal talent up and down the board. With the Pack's recent rash of injuries, I'm starting to think more picks is better. I do think if the Pack stays in the first round they will get the best big man available.
I don't know about trading out of the first round, but coming in armed with eight total picks (as opposed to last year, when the Packers had 12, with four compensatory picks), I could definitely see Ted Thompson turning those into more selections. I agree with you on the big man comment. It sounds like all the top offensive tackles are going to go really early, so maybe that leaves more defensive linemen for the end of the first round. Who knows? I think the draft is as unpredictable as any given Sunday.
Scott from Greensburg, IN
Mike, besides the obvious TV revenue, what factors will determine the future salary cap of the league? Vic constantly speaks of pushing the money off into the future when dealing with the cap. Do any of the teams guilty of this practice "count on" the future cap being significantly higher to "bail them out"?
A number of different revenue streams are used in the calculation of the cap, and TV is certainly a significant one. I do think teams count on the cap rising in future years when they push money out, but the cap has remained relatively flat in the first few years of the new CBA, so that led to the massive renegotiating efforts and releasing of veterans this offseason. By pushing money out, teams are also counting on other, expensive contracts running their course in the interim. The new CBA also has significantly less money going to rookies now, particularly first-round picks, so that makes it a little easier to push money out. Those teams, however, are still putting themselves at a disadvantage versus those teams with more of a pay-as-you-go approach.
BT from Ripon, WI
When a quarterback calls an audible, isn't that in effect the quarterback calling his own play? Is there really a difference? From a lot of footage, I see the coaches take a lot of input from their quarterbacks, and McCarthy and Rodgers seem to have a similar dialogue. Thoughts?
It's not exactly the same. When a quarterback calls an audible at the line, most often he's choosing an option of what to run that's built-in to the play called. McCarthy gives Rodgers tremendous authority at the line of scrimmage in this respect, and the offense is built around formations and play calls with various options, depending on the look from the defense. Interestingly, McCarthy has hinted at getting away from that a little with regards to running the ball – i.e., some run calls without as many different options at the line. I think the head coach wants the team to take on a different mentality running the ball.
Kylon from Talofofo, Guam
If I were the away team and I knew the home team was streaming video of their locker room during halftime, I would at least consider sending someone out onto the field just to know what the other team is thinking/feeling.
I have no doubt that someone from the visiting team will be watching, and I have no doubt that the home team will know that someone from the visiting team will be watching.
Adam from Niagara, WI
Mike, I am not buying the NFL's reasoning for mandating cameras in the locker room. It has been suggested that it is to enhance the game day experience for the fans in attendance. Though I agree that it will be an interesting and new part of the game, my guess is that it has more to do with "BountyGate." What are your thoughts?
I'm wondering if you, or someone you know, spent any time on the grassy knoll. Steve from Imperial, MO
Vic, don't you think that Tom Brady and the Patriots did something else, in addition to raising the bar for the other NFL teams? They took the St. Louis Rams "Greatest Show on Turf" from a potential dynasty to a "one-and-done" champion.
Mike Shanahan, John Elway, Terrell Davis and the Denver Broncos did the same to the Wolf-Holmgren-Favre era Packers. The difference was the Broncos put together their mini-dynasty at the end of Elway's career, and with no comparable QB to take over, it couldn't be sustained the way the Patriots and Brady have continued theirs.
Ned from Lake Forest, CA
If the read-option is the next big thing, why isn't there more interest in Tim Tebow?
Because for the read-option to really work in the NFL, the quarterback has to be at least as good a passer as he is a runner. If the defense has to spend equal resources defending a handoff, a QB run and a pass, the read-option is dangerous, but erratic passers like Tebow reduce a defense's worries by one-third. A similar question was submitted by Bill from White Lake, WI, about Denard Robinson from Michigan. It's the same answer. Quarterbacks like him don't measure up to the likes of Colin Kaepernick and RG3 in arm strength or accuracy. The threat to throw must be real and it must be respected if not feared. Read-option QBs in the NFL are passers who can run, not the other way around.
Matt from Watertown, SD
Vic, NFL.com over the past month or so held a bracket for the best NFL play ever. Needless to say DeSean Jackson's punt return against the Giants a few years back beat out plays such as the "Immaculate Reception," "The Catch" 1 & 2, and even the "Music City Miracle." What are your thoughts on this?
I think, as often happens with online voting, Packers fans overwhelmed the electorate and had their say.
James from Chicago, IL
I've noticed many of the Packers fans who do not agree with Ted Thompson's actions in free agency all seem to have two common traits. 1) An overpowering optimism that any big-name free agent signed will always perform to the level of their greatest season and 2) an overpowering pessimism that any current (non-superstar) player will never perform any better than the level played in the worst game of their career.
Now there's an analysis Vic would love. I'm not even going to comment on it. I'll just put it here for him to read. I think you just made his day.
Calvin from Seattle, WA
Vic, I'd love to see the progress of the new Lambeau Field addition. Any pics?
We're actually working on an update for the website. Here's a quick peek for now, but keep an eye out over the next week or so and we hope to have some more detailed visuals for you.
Charles from Statham, GA
Vic, championship game, fourth quarter, two-plus minutes to go, down by 4. Who do you want as your old school quarterback, your new school quarterback, your any school quarterback?
If the 1980s counts as old school, I'll take Joe Montana. If I have to go back further than that, make it Bart Starr. New school? I think the most overlooked playoff performance last year was Russell Wilson's in Atlanta, so give me him. Any school, I'll take Rodgers from the active list, Montana from the retired one.
Mitchel from Columbus, IN
When has Rodgers ever played his best football in the clutch? A large percentage of our losses the past three seasons are because of his inability to lead a comeback.
So a quarterback who is 40-12, including playoffs, over the last three years in games he has started and finished isn't good enough? No wonder y'all make Vic so grumpy.
John from Smith, CA
"I just want to contribute. I get sad when I hear a player say that. I refuse to use it in a story. Of course you want to contribute." Haven't you seen "Bull Durham"?
One day into this gig and I already need a rain delay. Have a good weekend, everybody.