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Ask Vic


There is no one way; it's everybody's way

Posted Dec 4, 2013

Mike Tomlin fined $100,000 for sideline violation

Jeff from Colorado Springs, CO

Vic, Mike Tomlin is the kind of coach that I used to see as having the kind of esteem you talked about. That is until last week’s incident with the Ravens. Did Tomlin lose his opportunity to be one of the greats with that play?

He hurt his image. It’s unfortunate. Esteem matters. Honor matters. They define men and the organizations to which they belong. I can’t imagine Lombardi, Brown, Landry, Noll, Shula or Walsh getting involved in this kind of controversy. I’m not saying they were saints, but they knew where to draw the line. They knew they had to be a cut above to enjoy the esteem required to inspire the players they coached to greatness. Persona can be powerful.

Vaughn from Ottawa, IL

Coach McCarthy said, “We will continue to work our drills of coming to balance, setting leverage, sinking our hips.” Can you explain what these are?

Coming to balance means playing under control. Sinking your hips means assuming the proper hitting position; you want knee benders, not waist benders. Setting or playing with leverage involves everything from sinking your hips and striking the rising blow, to trapping a return man along the sideline with coverage pursuit. Leverage means making the ball go where you want it to go. Leverage pertains to everything in football.

Louie from Temple, TX

Vic, just wondering if you’ve seen Peter King’s MMQB piece on Gene Steratore? How do you feel about the pressures officials are under?

The pressures are unfair and the expectations are unrealistic. I don’t know how these guys do what they do. The rulebook is ridiculously overburdened with interpretation. Steratore is the best. He’s the Tommy Bell and Jim Tunney of our day. I watched him do the Denver at New England game and I couldn’t help but laugh at how cold Bill Belichick looked in his Alice the Goon outfit, while Steratore made it look like it was 80 degrees. He was moving around like he was working up a sweat. Steratore was loose and in full Ed Norton throat as he communicated his explanations on a viciously cold New England night.

Chris from Hillsdale, WI

But the 4-3 can control the line of scrimmage much better, and that is where the battle starts, in the trenches.

The 4-3 controls the line of scrimmage, the 3-4 attacks it. It’s all a matter of what you want to do, but wanting to do it isn’t the same as doing it. Play anything you want, but make sure you have the players that can execute the scheme. If you’re gonna play the 4-3, you need a lot of big guys that can maul and move. If you’re gonna play the 3-4, you need a lot of athletic linebackers that can run and hit.

Casey from Minneapolis, MN

Based on your experience, what would a GM consider a successful draft?

If he has a full complement of picks, and depending on where he is in the order, he’d like his first-round pick to become an elite player, his second- and third-round picks to become long-term starters, another player from rounds 4-7 to eventually develop into a starter, and the rest of his picks to provide depth and play on special teams.

Terry from Fort Knox, KY

Vic, how much does the loss of key staffers to GM positions like John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey truly impact the scouting capabilities of the Packers?

Success comes at a price. It hurts to lose men of their scouting ability. That’s the way it is in this league. Ron Wolf didn’t fall off a tree that grew in Green Bay. Wolf came off the Raiders tree. He helped identify great players such as Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Jack Tatum, Ken Stabler, Marcus Allen and Howie Long. The Packers capitalized on the Raiders’ success, and then Wolf began growing his own tree in Green Bay. The NFL is an homogenization of men and schemes. There is no one way; it’s everybody’s way.


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Vic Ketchman

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