Zakk from Beaver Dam, WI
I got one for you. Do you think there’s any correlation between Crosby’s FG kicking success and the fact that he no longer kicks off? Maybe he screwed up his kicking swing trying to kick it out of the back of the end zone after the NFL moved the kickoffs up.
I don’t know the answer to your question, but I love the question. Frankly, I think it’s entirely possible that focusing on field goals only has allowed him to groove his swing.
Jon from Lynn, MA
You mentioned the Falcons bouncing back quickly. While Julio Jones is an outstanding player, all those draft picks they traded could have come in handy.
That’s the yin and yang of it. They took a swing for the fence and it got them in the NFC title game and a play away from the Super Bowl. Now, that trade might be compromising their ability to remain a playoff contender. It could even delay their recovery. I’m not big on picking wide receivers that high, and certainly not trading up to do it. You gotta get the big guys and premium-position players up there. That’s always been my position, but the game has changed and I acknowledge that change. The Falcons took a swing for the fence. If they can rebuild quickly, it will have been worth taking that swing. Everybody has to rebuild at some point.
Brian from Fond du Lac, WI
Vic, with all this convoluted talk about a team’s identity, I was wondering what you might call a team that can both run and pass equally well and uses each in situations that it makes the most sense to use them in.
The Cowboys of the early ’90s are one of the few teams I can remember with a dual identity. They could run and pass with equal effectiveness, or at least by creating equal fear for both in their opponents. Even at that, however, the Cowboys started the 1992 season 0-2 when Emmitt Smith was a holdout. Does that mean the Cowboys’ true identity was that of a run-first team? I covered the Steelers when they won four Super Bowls by winning two as a running team and two as a passing team. They were a Franco Harris offense until the rules changes of 1978, which allowed offensive linemen to use their hands to block and forbid defensive backs from chucking receivers beyond five yards from the line of scrimmage. Chuck Noll accurately envisioned how those rules would change the game and turned Terry Bradshaw loose. He was the MVP of the next two Super Bowls. Nearly all good teams have an identity that tilts to the pass or the run, but most of those teams can flip the switch on you if necessary. When you have that kind of balance, you can do anything you want.
Mark from Missoula, MT
Roger Goodell creates an expansion team in England, the London Time-Lords. The team’s owner pegs you as general manager. Do you accept?
Of course I do. Assuming I’ve been given the first pick of the draft, I trade down for extra picks and use one of those picks to select Tajh Boyd. I’ll have the Lords in the playoffs in three years or they can fire me and pay off my contract, and I’ll leave without any complaints. First, I’ll stop on the way home and play a round at Royal Birkdale, to help soothe my pain for having been fired at full pay.
Jim from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, in a recent Twitter post, the Denver Broncos posted that the 51 points they scored against Dallas is the same amount of points the Jaguars have scored all year. Is this creating a healthy edge or is this note unsportsmanlike?
I remember waking up the morning of the 1996 playoff game in Denver, picking up the newspaper and reading that the Broncos were playing a team called the Jagwads. Here’s the really funny part: The Jagwads won.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
Vic, how is it that the Lions waited until game day to announce Calvin Johnson was inactive because of a knee injury? A little gamesmanship there?
You are truly winsome, Gladdys. I want to be from Rolling Meadows. Do you think it would make me winsome?