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Week 2: Here comes Adrian Peterson

Who’s your pick for MVP of OTAs?


Jaye from Nurnberg, Germany

Vic, the coach of Arkansas has proposed undrafted underclassmen are allowed to return to their college team and play another year. I found this interesting. I was curious to what you think about this proposal?

I would remind the coach at Arkansas there's an investment of time and money that was spent scouting those players he's now taking back to college football.

Steve from Stanley, WI

Vic, what does it mean to say a quarterback can make all the throws? Is there a checklist with names for these throws?

It means he can dink it and he can drive it. Aaron Rodgers can make all of the throws. Terry Bradshaw couldn't. He couldn't dink it, but nobody could drive it better. Whatever it takes!

Jamie from Eleva, WI

Am I crazy to think Blake Martinez can be the next Luke Kuechly? Blake's numbers at the combine are not Luke's, but not far off, I don't think. Or am I just dreaming?

If Martinez turns out to be the next Kuechly, it'll have nothing to do with the combine. Jamie, I'm going to assume you're a young fan, and I'm going to apologize to you for the disservice the overkill on the combine and other such underwear league events has caused you. It's not football. It's never been football and I hope it'll never be football. It's a trumped up media event meant to drive the popularity of the game. The real importance of the combine is what you don't see and can't know, the results of the medical examinations and the interviews. If you want an appreciation for what Kuechly and Martinez do on the football field, watch them at the point of attack. That's football. That's where we observe and delight in the human confrontation that always has and, hopefully, always will define the sport.

Chris from Victor, ID

Vic, how many players can a team carry at top-of-market cap numbers and still have a good team and a healthy cap? It's starting to look like somewhere between two and three, but closer to two.

It's four: the quarterback, the left tackle, the premier pass rusher and the shutdown corner.

Gary from Topeka, KS

Any chance Mike McCarthy will give up play-calling this year, or is that gone forever?

There's a better chance I'll begin using my Royal portable again.

Markus from Joliet, IL

Vic, on this date in 1969, the Steelers, Browns and Colts went from the NFL to AFL, each receiving $3 million to move. What was your reaction back then? Still looking at it the same way?

We knew the two leagues were merging, so they weren't going to the AFL, they were moving to the AFC. I was an NFL guy all the way during the NFL-AFL wars, but I wasn't as bothered by the move as a lot of people were, mostly because the Steelers, Browns and Colts were the closest teams to me, the teams in whom I had the greatest interest, and as long as they stayed together I didn't care what the rest of the league did. Football wasn't the high-profile game back then it is today. It was much more regional in flavor and we clung to our geographic roots. Before Pete Rozelle negotiated a leaguewide TV contract, teams did their own TV deals. The Steelers and Colts had their own two-team TV deal. Those were the teams I watched as a kid. Cleveland, of course, was right up the road and everybody in Pittsburgh had family in Cleveland and vice versa. That was my little world and as long as it remained intact, I was happy.

John from Oshkosh, WI

Never understood wasting a roster spot on a long-snapper. If you gave any offensive lineman a thousand snaps in summer, he could do the job. Opens up another spot on roster game day.

Is that roster spot important enough to risk losing a game? That's what you'd be doing because the odds are you'll lose any game in which you have a punt blocked. You need someone who can throw that ball back with world-class precision and speed. Specialists work on their crafts during practice. It's all they do because what they do is of critical importance to the pursuit of victory. If your long-snapper is practicing his blocking with the offense, he's not practicing his long-snapping. That's a formula for disaster. Football is a game of specialization.

Kevin from Lake Forest, IL

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Tom Coughlin. I believe he gets the most out of his teams and over the past several years has done an excellent coaching job with a mediocre Giants team. Why isn't there more appreciation for him and his achievements?

Lombardi had a fully developed media personality, and it was pleasant, warm and inviting. He charmed fans with his romantic view of football and his willingness to express it. The tough guy coach melted when the TV lights went on, and the "other Lombardi" helped grow his fame. Tom never fully developed that other personality. He got close while with the Giants, but he would always revert, and it's a real shame because he's got one of the biggest hearts of any man I've ever known. When I had cancer, he had a game ball prepared for me. He called the house to check on me. His Jay Fund is one of the most heartwarming charitable events in all of sports. I would like to have coached him on the other personality. I look forward to his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Freddie from Edgemoor, SC

Vic, any player you have an eye on for underwear league MVP?

Jeff Janis.

Mark from North Bay, WI

Thanks for putting a little bit of yourself in every answer. I've been reading a lot about Blake Martinez. Great attitude, phenomenal production, versatility, etc. How did he last until the fourth round? Is the 40 time still that important to experienced GMs?

The third day is for run stuffers.

Rob from Aiken, SC

Vic, it seems like I am seeing more and more followup questions. Is everyone out to prove you wrong so they can feel better?

Yeah, I get a lot of that.

Christopher from Saint George, UT

Vic, I happen to be one of those Americans who love both football and soccer. Isn't there room for both in the world?

Not in my world.

Christopher from Deer Park, NY

Vic, do you get the sense fans may be expecting too much from Blake Martinez? There has been so much discussion about moving Clay back outside and who will fill that role. I feel he has been given a burden most rookies don't have to deal with.

Week 2 in Minnesota, Adrian Peterson staring right at Martinez as Peterson bursts through a hole. Martinez' job is to tackle Peterson. That's a burden. It's also the human confrontation.

Jeff from Peynier, France

Vic, are you serious about dumbing down college classes for jocks? What about 99.9 percent of the students who never make it in the pros? Are you going to give them a job?

Ninety-nine percent of that 99.9 percent consider college football to be one of the great and memorable experiences of their college days. In many cases, their donations after becoming doctors and lawyers will be impacted by their memories of those wonderful days in the old campus stadium as they cheered old U to victory. Somebody has to play those games, and I checked the kids in chemistry class and they look a little light in the pants. Jeff, college football is a big part of the college experience, whether we like it or not. Football has woven itself into the fabric of America. It defines us and our joy. We tell time by it. It's a tool for recruiting students to our universities. Yes, I favor making academic accommodations for the young men who entertain us on Saturdays in the fall. They are critical to the success of our esteemed institutions of higher learning, which have given us everything from a cure for polio to presidents of the United States.

Kyle from Fountain City, WI

Vic, many years ago, watching "Real Sports" with my dad, I remember Bryant Gumbel claimed the quickest way to get rid of concussions in football was to take away the helmets. Any thoughts on returning to the days of leather?

It's not going to happen so why discuss it? The rabbit is out of the hat and we can't put it back in. In this case, the facemask is the rabbit. As I watched the hockey game last night, I thought to myself: Why doesn't hockey have a concussion problem? Hockey players sustain concussions, but it's not the issue it is in the NFL. The answer is hockey players don't use their helmets as a weapon. The NFL has to continue its pursuit of changing the culture. It's the solution to its problem.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

Vic, Von Miller abused the Panthers' RT in the Super Bowl. It didn't appear the Broncos were scared of the Panthers running at him. It's nice when you have a player that can rush the passer and hold up against the run. How many teams have a Von Miller?

Congratulations, you get it. Reggie White played the front side because he could stop the run as well as rush the passer. It allowed him a pass-rush mismatch against right tackles that weren't premier pass blockers. Kevin Greene played the front side. You're talking about two of the best pass rushers in history, and their ability to rush the passer was aided by their ability to stop the run. It's not all about the blind side. If you can create a personnel mismatch for you without creating one against you, do it. Scheme personnel, not schemes. You're right about Miller, too, but something else was exposed in that game: The Panthers really didn't have a top running game. They had a running game that was driven by quarterback yardage, and that's not true run-the-ball yardage.

Dennis from Naples, FL

I am not sure of your age, but you are probably only 2-3 years away from playing those tees anyway.

Not true. I hit it long, I hit it straight and I don't hit it often. I play back and I play well.

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