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Ask Vic

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Power football has returned to NFL

Posted Jan 21, 2013

Teams will be trying to copy styles of 49ers and Ravens

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Do you agree with me that Donald Driver should be hired as a receivers coach? With his experience and intelligence, I think he would someday make a very good head coach. Now would be the perfect time for him to start learning.

Green Bay is the best place in the league to be a player; they never get blamed and they are forever loved. This truly is a special place for players. Be that as it may, coaching is a craft that has to be learned. I have no doubt Donald would tell you as much. If he wants to be a coach in this league, there’s a process for making it happen. He knows the process and he knows it would require climbing the ladder and spending more time away from his family than he ever did as a player, and for less money than he ever earned in his playing career. I can’t imagine why he would want to do that, but if he does, I have no doubt that opportunity will be available to him.

Matthew from Hiawatha, IA

I just had a conversation about the likelihood of Green Bay wanting Montee Ball. What are your thoughts on him?

He’s a cutback runner who would fit perfectly in the Packers’ zone-blocking scheme. Personally, I would like to see the Packers draft or acquire a different kind of runner. I prefer a pounder, a big, hairy, ugly pounder. I want a guy with a two-day growth, bad breath and a hell-for-leather personality. I want a guy who seeks contact, a guy who when he sees daylight looks for one more guy to run over. I believe the running game determines a team’s degree of toughness, and I believe that if you’re not running the ball with power, you’re not running the ball. Why do I believe that? Because the other kinds of runners can be schemed with schemes; power runners have to be schemed with personnel, and that’s exactly what you want your running game to accomplish.

Peter from Hamilton, Ontario

I see the defensive line as the Packers’ biggest need. Can this draft class help?

It’s loaded with defensive tackles, which is exactly what a 3-4 team wants. In a 3-4, all of the linemen are defensive tackles. The short ones are nose tackles and the taller ones are ends. There are several defensive tackles in this draft that are expected to be able to transfer their talents to a two-gapping scheme, which is what applies to 3-4 ends. I’m going to see some very good defensive tackle prospects at the Senior Bowl this week, guys like Sylvester Williams of North Carolina and Georgia’s John Jenkins, a massive 6-3, 358-pound player who has nose tackle written all over him. You can never have enough big guys, and when they’re available, as they are this year, you better take them because you don’t know when they’ll be available again.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

It seems Ted Thompson’s strategy is to draft and develop young players at a bargain price so they can replace veterans that are looking for a pay raise when their contracts are up. Can we honestly say this is working?

Every team wants to do that. It’s the only way you can maintain a healthy salary cap. It’s also the only way you can maintain a young, healthy roster. If you could spend this week in Mobile and see the kind of intense effort every team in the league is spending on the players in this week’s Senior Bowl, you would understand the critical importance for doing exactly what you’re questioning. The draft is where the bargains are, and you must find them because the salary cap won’t allow you to build a roster by overpaying.

Paul from Roseville, CA

How does the departure of John Dorsey impact the Packers?

First of all, I’m looking forward to seeing John at the Senior Bowl so I might congratulate him on his new job as Chiefs GM. He deserves this shot at the top. Yes, it’s a loss for the Packers, but all successful franchises experience these losses and I’ve always felt it’s one of the things that helps keep successful franchises successful. Change is good. It requires growth. A new person will join the team and he’ll bring with him new expertise and contacts for that region of the country that has been his domain. A new man can open new ground for a team.

Lucas from Menasha, WI

I was recently told it was cheating to intentionally hit a player late. I say it could serve as a calculated temporary loss of yards. If it makes a player like Kaepernick think twice about running, I say it’s short-term loss, long-term gain.

I am completely opposed to what you’re suggesting. The culture must be changed. I’ve changed, at least until next September.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I know you keep reinforcing the fact it’s a young man’s game, a game of replacement, and the Packers employ the draft-and-develop system, but it seems we are always young and developing. Other teams, like the Patriots, have experience and more age. I know they roll over players, too, but they’ll go for experienced players. Not sure, but shouldn’t we go after some proven talent once in a while? Woodson turned out OK.

In New England today, fans are complaining that the Patriots need to stop signing older players and start bringing in young players that can be developed, so they can provide long-term roster stability. Just win, baby.

Steven from Fresno, CA

Why is everyone calling for someone’s head?

Because it’s easier to do than having to be patient, calm and thorough.

John from Chesapeake, VA

This year is over and it’s time to look to next year. The Packers will be playing (in my opinion) the three toughest divisions in the league: AFC North, NFC North and NFC East. The team looks to have a very challenging year against teams that know how to be tough at the line of scrimmage. Will this coming year push the Packers even more to find a franchise running back and help on the lines?

Power football has returned. That’s the fallout from the 49ers’ and Ravens’ victories in their respective conferences. As a result, every team in the league will be trying to copy the 49ers and Ravens. Yes, I think this team needs a feature running back, a player who gives the running game an identity, and all teams are looking for big guys all of the time.

Randall from Zarczyce Duze, Poland

Vic, I've been thinking over a couple of your comments. You mentioned that the physical guys tend to get grabbed up early in the draft and the Packers consistently get a later draft due to their playoff appearances. Do you think maybe the Packers are caught in a draft trap, so to speak? I mean, with Rodgers at QB and the good talent the Packers draft relative to their draft positions, this is a team that’s going to win a lot of games and get to the playoffs consistently, and can’t ever draft early enough to get those big, physical guys to really anchor a dominant defense. Am I oversimplifying things?

You’re not oversimplifying it at all. It’s the whole intent of the reverse-order draft system. It’s meant to punish the winners and reward the losers. If you draft at the bottom long enough, you’ll eventually move toward the top. It caught up with the Steelers this season.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Vic, I find it very interesting how the 49ers played the Falcons. No quarterback runs? I know the 49ers defensive coordinator spent eight years with Coach Capers. Do you think he had a very good sense of what his tendency would be and attacked it?

I’m a little confused by your question. If you’re referring to the fact that Colin Kaepernick didn’t beat the Falcons with his feet, then I would say the Falcons made Kaepernick be a passer and he was successful at it. He proved to everyone he’s the total package. Kaepernick is special and he first flashed his specialness at the Senior Bowl two years ago. He was the star of Senior Bowl practices; he did it all. So why did he last until the second round? Well, he had a quirky throwing motion that dropped his stock. Isn’t it funny how nobody mentions that any more? Sometimes we can look too hard for things that are too small to really matter.

Thomas from Hopewell Junction, NY

Joe Flacco has had an interesting journey from being a Pitt transfer to an FCS runner-up with Delaware, to a sometimes maligned starter, and finally a Super Bowl participant. He’s been on big stages, but does he have all the tools necessary to beat the 49ers secondary?

He had all the tools necessary to beat Tom Brady.

Jake from Sacramento, CA

Ted Thompson’s ability to scout and draft should not be questioned. He is always on the road evaluating college players, and he puts more effort into the process than any other executive in the league. Following Wednesday afternoon’s East-West Shrine practice, most scouts and personnel men headed home for the weekend, with the real action wrapped up and only unpadded practices left. At Thursday’s afternoon practice, there were only eight NFL representatives in attendance. It was pouring rain and there was Thompson, sporting a rain poncho and closely monitoring every individual drill.

By title, he’s a general manager. At heart, he’s a scout.

Tony from Saint Paul, MN

Atlanta couldn’t stop the run, either.

It had been a problem for them all season. In the end, they were true to their identity. They’ll have a chance in this year’s draft to fix that. Thomas Dimitroff is a needs picker and this draft class will fit his needs perfectly. The Falcons are going to get better. They’re going to be around for a long time.

Tony from Roanoke, VA

I remember earlier you said this wasn’t a good postseason for uniforms. Is it just me or does it look like all the Baltimore players are wearing stretch pants?

It’s the worst uniform I’ve ever seen, but it looks good on them.

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Vic Ketchman

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Do you have a question for Vic? Your question could be posted on packers.com. Vic has covered the NFL through 42 seasons, including 23 years covering the Steelers and 16 years covering the Jaguars.

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