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Ask Vic

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Donald Driver is about good things

Posted Oct 26, 2012

Mike from Salem, OR

Vic, I've grown up dancing most of my life. The first thing we learn is the importance of stretching and being very flexible (like close to splits flexible). I've watched pregame stretches, and while the players are clearly flexible, they are not as flexible as a professional athlete should be. I think if the players all worked to become very limber, the number of injuries would decrease. Your thoughts?

The problem is that one of Ryan Pickett’s legs probably weighs more than two dancers. Football players tend to have thick bodies. You’d probably have to tie most of them to two car bumpers to stretch them to your standards.

Doug from Champaign, IL

Vic, last spring you pounded into our heads that the Packers would never stray from their BAP philosophy. Then we watched as they chose one defensive player after another in the draft to try to improve a last-rated defense. Do you ever admit you were wrong?

Yeah, I do, but not in this case. We’ve discussed this several times. The Packers did not stray from their BAP philosophy because they fit themselves to the pick, instead of fitting the pick to where the Packers were in the order. The latter is needs-only picking and promotes reaching. The Packers did not reach for the purpose of addressing need. The Packers traded to re-position themselves to select Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward. They went to where the players fit, which meant the Packers picked from the top of their board. That’s BAP picking.

Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, assuming that the “Immaculate Reception” and the “Fail Mary” are the polarizing moments of your tenures with the Steelers and Packers, is there such a moment for the Jaguars during your time there, and if so what is it?

It’s “Morten’s Miss,” and it might be as stunning as the other two. I don’t know what it is, but wherever I go, crazy things seem to happen.

Jocelyn from Crawfordsville, IN

Vic, I remember back in the preseason you said Jarrett Boykin was cut by Jacksonville in the spring. He beat out other guys in the Packers camp and now, in Week 8, he gets a chance to make plays for the first time this season against the team that let him go. Football always seems to have some kind of karma.

It’s a game that has always promoted confrontation. When you cut a guy in rookie camp, you don’t figure you’ll have to play against him in the next season, but that’s exactly what might happen.

Jeff from Saint Paul, MN

The topic of the undefeated Dolphins came up yesterday, and it got me to wondering. You've talked about the rivalry between the Steelers and the Raiders, but what were the games between the Steelers and the Dolphins like? Those two teams spent many years jockeying for position as the best in the AFC.

When the Dolphins were at their peak, the Steelers were just becoming a playoff team. When the Steelers hit their peak, the Dolphins were gone. If there had been no WFL to steal Csonka, Kiick and Warfield, the Dolphins’ run would’ve lasted a little longer. That was the key to the Steelers’ run. When the WFL threatened to break them up, Joe Greene held them together by convincing his teammates they could achieve immortality.

Roland from Glen Cove, NY

Vic, are you excited for the division race to heat up after the bye week? It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many division games packed into the end of a season like this.

I like the fact that the big games have been pushed to later in the season, especially since we continue to employ a system in which the division champions are rewarded with automatic home field advantage in the playoffs. I want teams being at their best when they play these big division games. I don’t want division titles being stolen in September. This is a good system of scheduling.

Carioca from Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Espirito Santo

Vic, as the community of Green Bay got a bad season but now Rodgers this showing what is an elite NFL QB, sure that if Green Bay can go to the playoffs we'll be for sure Super Bowl what do you think? Excuse my mistakes I'm from Brazil don't speak English right.

You’re doing great. I don’t speak Portuguese at all. Yeah, I agree with you, I think.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

We all love Driver, but why did the team agree to sign him this year for $2 million knowing he would be sparsely used with no upside left?

Maybe the Packers wanted to make a statement about the value of loyalty, dedication and performance, and the team’s appreciation of it. Maybe they saw value in having that kind of player in reserve, in case of injury to other players.

Ryan from Fort Lauderdale, FL

I have always been intrigued by how players accessorize their uniforms and how it relates to their personalities. I always think of Jim Otto playing center with the number 00 and a single-bar facemask as an image of cockiness and no fear. What are your thoughts on how players reflect their individuality in a game of uniformity?

Otto wore a double-bar facemask and a loop. It was all the rage when Otto was a young player. Larry Csonka wore the same double bar and loop. It came with the advent of the Riddell suspension helmet, and the loop was the coolest thing I ever saw. I wouldn’t have cared if they had given me a piece of leather to wrap around my head, as long as it had a loop on it. Players tend to wear equipment that is a product of their generation.

Paul from De Pere, WI

The practice squad has been a revolving door. Why is that?

It’s because of the rash of injuries. The Packers use the practice squad the right way, to develop young talent, but when a team gets a run of injuries at one position, as the Packers have, it needs to fortify itself at the positions of injury by adding players at those positions to the practice squad. The Packers won’t quit on the guys they like and want to develop. They know where they are.

Shilo from Fallbrook, CA

You alluded to home-field advantage still being on the table for the Pack if we get to 6-3. That implies that we close a three-game gap on the Falcons. Are you implying a collapse in Atlanta?

I’m implying that 13-3 ultimately got the 49ers home-field advantage for the playoffs last year, after the Packers lost to the Giants. If the Packers get to 6-3, they will be perfectly positioned for a second-half-of-the-season run. It’s a long season with a lot of twists in the road. The Giants looked like road kill after they lost to the Packers last season. The Packers looked like toast late in the 2010 season. How did it turn out for those two teams?

Jack from Jacksonville, FL

I know you probably haven't seen him play much, but I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on Jags QB Blaine Gabbert?

I’ve only seen him play one full game, against the Ravens last year. My thoughts are that at some point he’s going to tune out all of the noise from all of the analysts that rate and rank his every mistake, and Gabbert will start to play the game as he knows how to play it, not as others say he should play it, and then we’ll find out if he really can play. Until then, Jaguars fans are just going to have to wait. Patience is a requirement of committing to a franchise quarterback.

Mike from Bussey, IA

Seems to me the commissioner was on the right track when he hinted the future of the Pro Bowl may be in jeopardy. Between the special rules and the apparent lackluster effort of the players, it really doesn't even resemble a football game anymore. Your thoughts?

I’m not concerned about the Pro Bowl game, I’m concerned about all of the other games. The sport is at a crossroads. Not in its popularity, but in its on-field product. Injuries are threatening its existence. I don’t know what’s happened that has caused players to drop at such an alarming rate, but it’s difficult to conduct business with so much lost money on the ledger, and that’s exactly what star players on injured reserve represent. I read a story yesterday on what men in the league said in 1979 when asked what football will look like in the future. “Players will look a lot different: lighter equipment, more formfitting shoulder pads, a different type of helmet, soft rib pads,” Dan Rooney said. Wow! Any thoughts on the stock market, Dan? So what will the game look like 30 years from now? I thought about it and I did everything to resist my inclination to answer that tackling will be forbidden. I can’t imagine football without tackling, but I’m absolutely certain that dramatic softening measures will continue because something has to be done to prevent injuries.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

We should have picked up Mario Williams. A hundred million was a steal.

Where do the I-want-to-ruin-the-team people go after free agency ends?

Tim from Indianapolis, IN

You mentioned the distinct customs you’ve experienced covering the Steelers, Jaguars and Packers. I know about the customs/history of the Steelers and Packers, but what are a few of the customs of the Jags?

The Steelers have the towels and the Packers have the “Lambeau Leap,” but those things are also the products of years and years of history. The Jaguars don’t have that kind of history behind them, so they tried to force some things and, of course, that never works. It has to happen spontaneously, as the “Terrible Towel” and “Lambeau Leap” did. In the very beginning, they distributed to fans at the game some kind of candy that turned everybody’s tongue teal. I thought it was cool, but apparently people didn’t want to have teal tongues. Then somebody in marketing got a brainstorm that they would brand the north end zone the “Cage of Rage,” to promote a kind of “Dawg Pound” atmosphere. The problem was there was no cage and there was no rage. They tried “Teal Curtain,” but it didn’t stick. It’ll happen someday. Somebody will say something or do something and it’ll blend perfectly with the moment and a tradition will be born. I’ll tell you this: Nobody was laughing in 1996 when that team ended the Broncos’ season. It’s paying the price now for having run a great coach out of town.

Steve from St. Charles, MO

What were those things on the field during “Video Ask Vic”?

Those are growing lights. I lie under them for a few minutes every day, but so far they haven’t worked.

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