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Ask Vic

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What team has taken the lead for the Super Bowl?

Posted Mar 31, 2014

What do the Packers have to do to get to the Super Bowl?

Barry from Glasgow, Scotland

Vic, you just spent a few days with all 32 coaches. If you were a player today, which coach, regardless of team, would you love to play for and why?

Tom Coughlin is the coach for whom nobody wants to play, and that’s often the guy for whom it’s best to play. Know what I mean? If I was a defensive player, I could see myself wanting to play for Mike Zimmer. I really enjoyed my interview with him last week. He relates well to players. Will they abuse that privilege or play for it? That’s the question. Ken Whisenhunt is another coach with whom I could feel a connection. He gets it, and I think that’s a very important quality in the coach/player relationship. There’s something magnetic about Jim Harbaugh for me, and I loved it when his brother John answered one of my questions with, “I don’t have that list in front of me.” I like playfulness. There are two coaches that would top the list of my selections: Mike McCarthy and Mike Smith. They are the most down-to-earth, regular-guy coaches in the business, and that’s what I would want in a coach. I want to know that there are no hidden agendas, and there are none with those two guys. I can say that because my job has allowed me to get close to each. To answer the question you’ve asked, I think you have to answer this question: What coach would I want to cut me?

Trailson from Zama, Japan

I know your stance on this poll already, but I must reiterate. McNabb making the elite eight; are you kidding me? NFL.com and the fans that voted this should be ashamed.

We do this over and over with the same disappointing results. Who’s the best ever this and who’s the best ever that? What does it matter? It’s all so silly.

Andrew from Dakota Dunes, SD

I remember not playing tackle football until the seventh grade growing up; I’m 33. The trend for pee-wee tackle football was a new thing for me until I had kids of my own. I want nothing more than for my two boys to enjoy the experiences that I had playing football but, as a physician, I do worry about the concussion threat at the elementary level. I think the solution for the NFL and the participation of youth is to encourage, or even mandate, that there be only flag football until sixth, seventh or eighth grade. Coordination is better and I think these kids could handle the transition better after years of fundamental instruction. What are your thoughts?

Let the kids find their own way. Let them find an old helmet and shoulder pads in the basement and organize their own backyard games. The adults should stay out of it. Peer pressure is the best organizer. Let the kids structure themselves willingly, instead of having it forced on them. The want to do something is always a better teacher than being told to do something. Give them a choice between football and soccer, instead of mandating which they should play. One bump on the head isn’t going to give them CTE. They’ll find ways to keep themselves safe and they’ll learn about their tolerances. We played football in an old man’s yard. He allowed us to do it and we killed his grass and turned his yard into mud, and I’ll never forget his name. That’s called an experience. I’m not sure driving a kid to the field and sending him out onto it wearing store-bought equipment is nearly as memorable. Let ’em knock on doors and find other kids that want to play, and find a field and find the time. Let them fall in love with the game on their terms. You can’t mandate love.

Neal and Highland, NY

I read your answer about kids being softer today than they were years ago. You are dreaming. I drive a school bus and kids today are meaner, less respectful and more brazen than they have ever been. They don’t have any fear because the discipline you can use on them is so restricted. So, you’re living in a dream world if you think these kids are softer in all ways than previous generations. Yeah, things have changed, but in regard to kids’ behavior, they are most definitely for the worst.

Is it all of them, or just a few?

Ross from Berrien Springs, MI

Why do you answer so many non-Packers questions? This is packers.com. Can’t we let nfl.com and espn.com cover the rest of the league, please? I’m not saying coverage of other teams that relate to our team isn’t newsworthy (like speculation of trades and free agent acquisitions), but why do you include so many fluff questions about other league things? Honest question. Can we please just stick to the Packers?

Sorry, Ross, no can do. This is the way it is and this is the way it will continue to be.

Steven from Kearny, NJ

John Kuhn was an undrafted free agent. In what I understand about compensatory picks, an undrafted player will not receive the pick. My question is how come we’re letting a guy like Kuhn go if we won’t be rewarded with the pick, not mentioning fullbacks aren’t that expensive?

The kind of compensation to which you are referring is for restricted free agents. John Kuhn is an unrestricted free agent. It’s all about price point. The Packers have a value attached to Kuhn. When he reaches that value, I suspect the Packers might attempt to sign him. Players are like water: They seek their own level.

Jeff from Pleasant Grove, UT

Football is a hard and nasty game, but having a sharp edge is completely different from lying, cheating and all the deception involved to better you or the team. The league received an A on its annual report card this past week, but the integrity of the game deserves an F. It has slowly been dismantling for some time now, despite whatever type of wave the game is going through. Greed will always follow money. It affects all of us from fans to players to coaches and to owners. Once upon a time, believe it or not, the league also stood on the principles of ethics. The game you and I loved growing up is gone. Perhaps Mr. Mark Cuban’s thoughts aren’t too far off.

That’s all mumbo jumbo. At no time in the 43 years I’ve covered this league has the intent been any different than it is today. The difference you might be perceiving is that the NFL has a more corporate feel to it today, and that’s the result of size and personalities. Pete Rozelle was a rare personality. He was a “big” guy who possessed the ability to be “small.” The NFL could use some of that these days, otherwise, it’s the same league in pursuit of the same goals.

Frank Kaminsky and Aaron Rodgers after Wisconsin's 69-52 victory over Baylor in the Sweet 16

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, please tell me you watched that game Saturday night. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to appreciate the drama and tension in that one.

I watched it and it was very exciting. I’ll make two observations: 1) Frank Kaminsky turned in arguably the best performance I have seen this season. 2) Wisconsin was very fortunate on that offensive-foul call at the end of the game. I thought the Arizona player should’ve been at the line with a chance to win it. Good luck to the Badgers against Kentucky. Wisconsin is impressive. They have a Hoosiers quality to their style of play. They have a great coach.

Larry from Ventreco, OH

If you had to pick between “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix, Calvin Pryor or C.J. Mosley, who would you take?

Mosley.

Mike from Keizer, OR

With the furor over continued use of the Redskins name and logo becoming an incessant embarrassment for owner Daniel Snyder, is a name change inevitable, as Sen. Harry Reid has suggested?

Yeah, it probably is. I’m not a big Dan Snyder fan but I’m sympathetic on this subject because brand is the biggest part of his purchase of the Redskins, and now he’s being forced to trash it. I’m also sympathetic to Redskins fans that’ve spent a lifetime in love with that brand. If I was Snyder, I would go to Roger Goodell with this proposal: I’ll change my team’s name to the Redshirts, but you will guarantee that my team will never have to wear anything but a red shirt – unless I wish to wear another color – which would become my franchise’s unique identity and brand. I would need something I might be able to sell to my team’s fans.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Is the locker room so fragile that one player can disrupt it? I feel DeSean Jackson is a very good receiver. Clue me in. I feel lost on this one.

Dime a dozen.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

Maybe people have gotten softer overall, but give me a jersey and I’m gonna hit somebody. We’re not all gone.

Call Neal in Highland, NY. He needs your help.

Malik from Philadelphia, PA

What do you think is holding the Packers back from getting to the Super Bowl?

They need to improve their defense; it starts with that. Once they’ve improved the defense, however, they still have to win in the postseason. Being No. 1 in the stats doesn’t guarantee a championship. You still have to win in January. It’s all about being the hot team then.

Jon from Bloomfield, NJ

Vic, is there a completed, unreleased “Ask Vic” column somewhere on your hard drive from the day last week when stories wouldn’t post?

It’ll forever be known as “Lost Vic.” It was a good one, too.

Eric from Raleigh, NC

I know your draft philosophy is BAP, but let’s pretend you work for the Raiders and you’ve got tickets to sell. Do you take “Johnny Football” or Jadaveon Clowney?

If my owner tells me to take Johnny Manziel because the team has tickets to sell, then I take Manziel and I immediately start looking for a new job because that kind of approach won’t work.

Nicholas from Las Vegas, NV

Aren’t the results from the best quarterback poll a clear example why fans should have no say in who makes the Pro Bowl?

It’s one of the reasons the Pro Bowl has become such a frivolous and meaningless game. If the league isn’t going to treat it seriously, why would the players treat it seriously? Letting the fans vote was a mistake. Just because that works for baseball doesn’t mean it would work for football. Football is a very different game. The Pro Bowl has done nothing but decline in importance and quality since the fans were allowed to vote.

Dan from Norwich, UK

Lovely interview with Rich McGeorge, Vic. Wow, did his eyes light up talking about the opportunities that some tight ends get today. There’s a man who thinks he could’ve caught more balls. The game has changed. Great work.

What I like most about the alumni-spotlight interviews is that they give us a chance to see these men in real life, instead of only as the subjects of adoration they were when they were players. We see they are real people with real problems, which means they are just like us. They always were; we just didn’t see it.

Jens from Duluth, MN

I think if Barclay can make the transition to center, we wouldn’t be losing much of anything with the departure of Dietrich-Smith.

Don Barclay worked on the move to center last spring, but it was canceled in training camp following continued struggles with the snap. I suspect he’ll try it again this spring. I’d really like to see Barclay master the position. He’s too good of a player to be on the bench.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Thanks to your work here I thought I understood most there is to know about the salary cap. Then I read a story that the Packers will receive a $350,000 credit toward their salary cap this year for an insurance policy on Rodgers. Can you explain how this works?

It’s not a cut-and-dried thing; it depends on how the policy is structured. A team purchasing an insurance policy on a player is charged the amount of that purchase on their cap. If the player is injured and the insurance company compensates the team, the team can receive a credit to their cap in the amount of the compensation.

Jeremy from Appleton, WI

Vic, based on the offseason so far, which two teams do you think are best positioned to meet in the Super Bowl next year?

I don’t see anything that’s happened in the offseason that would cause me to think a team has taken the lead for the Super Bowl. I might feel differently after the draft.



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