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Ask Vic

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Great season opener, crummy management system

Posted Apr 24, 2014

The prediction season has officially begun


Jeremiah from South Bend, IN

Vic, you have mentioned in the past that teams that sustain success eventually run into a problem with talent due to always picking near the bottom of the draft order. What do you think a team can do to sustain success, given this problem?

Draft a great quarterback and keep him healthy for a long time. It’s the only way to beat the system, but even at that, the system will eventually win. He who is first shall be last, and he who is last shall be first. Just don’t be 8-8 because it keeps being 8-8.

Ken from New York, NY

Vic, our December friend includes only one divisional game? Pretty disappointing, if you ask me. Add to that a lot of divisional games in September when the teams are still finding their sea legs, and it adds up to something that feels a bit anticlimactic.

I don’t like that either, but I’m seeing it on other teams’ schedules, too. December football is fantastic and the league has done a great job in recent years at using the schedule to avoid the meaningless late-season games that had become a problem. Now, all of a sudden, I see schedules loaded with division games in September when, frankly, the football isn’t played nearly as well as it is in December. Boo on that. I think the schedule maker goofed.

Dean from Clarkston, WA

Well, Vic, you asked for it and you got it. Going against the reigning Super Bowl champs in the opener. It may help set the tone in training camp, but what if we once again lose to a great defense? It’s starting to get old seeing this happen time and time again.

What if the Packers win against a great defense?

Willie from Hayward, WI

I get it when you can’t post contracts on this web site until the ink is on the page, but at 7:20 I go to Packers.com to see the 2014 schedule and there’s nothing there. What gives? Khakis needed ironing? The NFL tells all sources the schedule will be announced at 7 p.m. and packers.com is nowhere to be seen. You got scooped by your own press release. Must have come from another department, I would assume.

As we prepared to announce the schedule yesterday, I was sure of two things: The Packers would open in Seattle, and the NFL’s CMS would crash at 7 p.m. CMS is supposed to stand for Content Management System, but I’ve come to rename it Crummy Management System. It’s headquartered in Los Angeles, where a lot of obviously inferior equipment manages the centerpieces for all 32 team websites. The Crummy Management System has been especially crummy over the last month, especially for the big events: the NFL Annual Meeting, release of the preseason schedule and, of course, release of the big-boy schedule yesterday. Remember the “Lost Vic” column? The Crummy Management System did that. My boss voiced her concerns to the Crummy Management System people on Tuesday. They responded with an e-mail I stopped reading when I realized it was already making excuses for what the Crummy Management System people knew was going to happen. I told my boss that I know a guy in Pittsburgh that could make this problem go away, but my boss is Midwest nice and will continue to work cooperatively with the people at the Crummy Management System. I am powerless to do anything but to apologize to you and to every reader that came to the site yesterday evening looking for the Packers’ 2014 schedule. We failed you.

Harold from Chippewa Falls, WI

I see the Packers’ bye comes during Week 9. When the bye first started, did you have a strong opinion about it either way?

I’ve never had a strong opinion about the bye because I’m not clairvoyant, which I think you have to be to know when your team will be most challenged by injuries, because that’s when you want to have your bye.

Spencer from Elgin, IL

Vic, the schedule for next season has officially been released, as have predictions for the season. Is it safe to say those predictions will change a thousand times before the season starts and that they’re quite likely to be inaccurate?

Welcome to the prediction season. It officially began last night and it continues right up to kickoff weekend. Yes, there will be many inaccurate predictions because the predictions won’t include injury predictions, but with the exception of the collapse by the Falcons and Giants, last season went pretty much as expected. Some would include the rise of the Chiefs, but I thought that was easy to see. The Seahawks and 49ers were the teams to beat in the NFC, and they played for the conference title. The Broncos and the Patriots were the teams to beat in the AFC, and they played for the conference title. I don’t think it’s that clear this year. I think age could start to take a toll on the Broncos and Patriots, and I think the 49ers have some issues. The Seahawks are the class of the league and poised for a repeat. Opening day will be a blast.

Justin from Rochester, MN

If you were Mike McCarthy and you could change one thing about the 2014 schedule, what would it be?

Make the Miami game a Sunday nighter. I’ll explain in an editorial later today, as long as the Crummy Management System doesn’t blow up again.

Anton from Ann Arbor, MI

Vic, I love the column and the unique insight it consistently provides. I wonder if you could discuss the Packers’ salary cap situation for 2015 and how Ted Thompson has handled this offseason with that in mind. The $15 million in excess space will carry over, as I understand it, but Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga need new contracts. Rodgers, Matthews, Shields and Peppers will eat a good chunk of the cap, and unless a young defensive lineman emerges this year, not even Peppers will be expendable. Thoughts?

I haven’t looked that far ahead, and maybe one of the reasons I haven’t done it is because I am absolutely sure there is no need to do so. There’s no need to ever worry about this team’s salary cap. Ted Thompson’s father was, indeed, a frugal man. “Ask Vic” was created 14 years ago as a means for answering cap questions for a fan base that needed to know why the Jaguars were dead team walking. I answered so many cap questions that I began to feel like an accountant. It’s refreshing not having to do that here. I can tell you the Packers have a plan for their future caps and if I studied it, I’m absolutely sure the structures of the preponderance of the team’s contracts would be flat and would allow the team a way out without killing the cap. Never worry about the Packers’ future.

Seth from Philadelphia, PA

Well, Vic, I’m starting to think you have your own crystal ball. Seahawks and Packers to open the season. How do you do it?

The issue was decided in the Super Bowl. Why would the league want to kick off the season with a rematch of that game? A 49ers-Seahawks opener would be good, but the NFL likes to cross division lines for its kickoff openers. Packers-Seahawks is perfect. The hype will be all about revenge of an injustice. In Pete Rozelle’s words, that’s good theater. It’s High Noon, Walking Tall and The Karate Kid all rolled into one. I just hope the Crummy Management System works.

Owen from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, is it uncommon in today’s league for players to come into offseason workouts out of shape?

Yeah, it is. These guys are in shape pretty much year round. Offseason conditioning takes them to specific heights they need to achieve.

Sam from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, after reading pretty much every “Ask Vic” since December, I am starting to feel like if the Packers don’t trade up/down in the draft, then they might be settling.

I don’t agree. If this draft is as loaded with talent as it is said to be, then there certainly should be a player worthy of selection with the 21st pick of the draft. I have no problem with trading up or down, but I don’t think it’s something you want to do just for the sake of doing it. To trade, you need a target. You need a player for whom you have a special desire to add to your team, and then you need to move to where that player fits. As I look at the players that are said to fit near the No. 21 spot, I see multiple prospects that could help this team.

Ted from DeForest, WI

Vic, who are the most important players to make that year-two jump?

Datone Jones is the obvious answer. He’s a first-round pick, which means much is expected of him. Johnathan Franklin is the guy I think could be the surprise of training camp. I think he struggled with the transition from college football to the NFL in last summer’s camp. They are very different games. What he showed in Cincinnati is that he has talent. This summer, I think he’s going to show us that he’s learned how to fit that talent into a specific role on this team. I want him to be James Brooks.

Robert from Alpine, NJ

I married my wife because she’s a good cook.

A.J. McCarron is your guy, Robert.

Michael from Osceola, WI

How would George Allen fit into the current NFL world, since he essentially traded picks for established players? Maybe the salary cap would have changed him?

The salary cap would’ve changed him; it would’ve changed Buddy Parker, too. They were smart enough coaches to know that what they did couldn’t work in today’s game.

Dave from Ft. Rucker, AL

Vic, I love the forum and check it 3-4 times daily. My wife always says “Vic time?” when I check my phone. My question is (and I feel I should know the answer) what is BAP?

It stands for best available player and it’s an old term that should be retired because it really doesn’t fit in today’s draft world. All teams want to draft the best available player, but all teams also want to address need, and that’s why we have so many draft-day trades now. In the old days, there weren’t nearly as many draft-day trades. Some teams stuck to a philosophy of selecting the best available player regardless of position, which often meant not addressing need, and some teams drafted for need, which often meant passing on better players to reach for players that addressed need. Back then, the difference between BAP and needs picking was distinct. Now, teams have blended the two by making draft-day trades that fit themselves to the pick.

Calvin from Seattle, WA

Vic, I’ve read Mark Murphy’s comments about the Packers being very close to bringing Brett Favre back to Lambeau. Can I suggest something? I think the best first step is for you to do an Alumni Spotlight video with him. Give Favre an opportunity to share some of his best Packers memories, to be posted on the official website of the Packers. Give us fans an outlet to remember why he is so special to this franchise. Then, welcome him back at Lambeau.

I have never interviewed Brett Favre. I’m really looking forward to it.

Scott from Downs, IL

I use what I call Vicisms all the time, quotes from your column that apply to life as well as football. Saying you married your wife because she’s a good cook is a classic, a top five in the Vicism library.

I don’t think Robert gets it.

Mark from New Brighton, MN

Vic, thanks for mentioning Rocky Bleier, who grew up in Appleton and fought with distinction in Vietnam. Rocky was a very effective old-school halfback. If you could transport Rocky into the modern era, what role would he play?

He’d be John Kuhn.

Jeff from Scranton, PA

Vic, in another column you talked about a friend of yours who hit a golf ball into a cement tee. Cement is just an additive in the making of concrete. It’s what flour is to a cake. You wouldn’t eat a flour cake, would you?

Are you the voice on Modern Marvels?


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