"Ask Vic will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Cassidy from Carlsbad, CA
The Packers at No. 1?
Why not? They're playing as well as anyone. I put them there to help stimulate analysis and conversation in "Ask Vic" during the bye week, but I probably wouldn't have put them at No. 1 if their next game wasn't against the 49ers. That game will define where the Packers belong. If they win, they're a true No. 1. If they lose, I'll drop them hard because that'll mean they will have lost two of their last three games. Also, the Seahawks are facing a daunting four-game stretch following their bye: at Eagles, Vikings, at Rams, at Panthers. It's that time of the season. Soon, the all-important power rankings won't be important at all. We'll know.
Derrick from Rockaway, NJ
Can we get a picture of the new rig (laptop) and your setup of where you enjoy writing the columns?
Mark from Wausau, WI
I know it's too early, but which of the AFC and NFC playoff contenders do you think are balanced and talented enough to win the Super Bowl?
I think being a hot team is better than being a balanced team, but being hot and balanced is the best. Go to the top of the power rankings: Packers, Seahawks, 49ers, Saints, Vikings. Those are the teams that can go the distance in the NFC. In the AFC, it's the Ravens and Patriots, but I can see several teams that could get hot at the right time and sweep through the AFC playoffs.
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
What's the hardest part of life?
Josh from Athens, GA
Vic, you scared me for a second. I once asked if you would invite your readers to your funeral; your answer was you'd let me know when you died, so I'm glad to know you didn't break your promise. With that said, it seems Kenny Clark is just as important as our outside pass rush. Whether against the run or pass, it seems his penetration really hides the lack of explosiveness and strength of our inside linebackers. Martinez makes plenty of tackles, but without Clark, he looks mediocre.
What you're describing is the job of a nose tackle. Joel Steed is the best I covered and he labored in near anonymity. Clark has talent beyond absorbing double teams and keeping the blockers off the inside linebackers. I can see the Packers moving him outside.
Joe from DeForest, WI
Maybe I'm spoiled from teams of the past, but to me this Packers team still doesn't pass the eye test. The offense is still a work in progress and to me the "bend but don't break" defensive philosophy means the team got lucky with a turnover. What happens when the luck runs out?
This is my bye-week evaluation of the Packers: The offense is top notch. It can beat you with the pass or the run. The defense is allowing too many yards; No. 28 in total defense raises major alarm bells in me. Yards are time and Aaron Rodgers needs to have the ball in his hands longer. I still believe the defense is destined to play at a higher level, but as it stands right now, the only thing it does well is rush the passer. In my opinion, ignoring the yards being allowed on defense by focusing on the points being denied is whistling past the graveyard.
Shawn from Kissimmee, FL
How do you see the NFC playoff picture folding out this year?
The Packers and Vikings will play for the NFC North title on Dec. 23; the winner will claim the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs. The Saints have a favorable closing schedule and will claim the No. 1 spot. The 49ers will be No. 3, the Eagles No. 4, the Packers-Vikings loser No. 5 and the Seahawks No. 6.
Wendell from Porto Alegre, Brazil
How do you compare Sean Payton and Mike McCarthy?
Payton has more influence and decision-making power in personnel matters than McCarthy did. That's the difference.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
This 2019 version of the Packers has new players, new plays, new coaches, new schedule, new luck (injuries, turnovers, etc.). How important are each of those categories to the 8-2 record?
When does new become old? When losing begins. I remember the feeling of newness when Bill Cowher replaced Chuck Noll. Cowher Power! Everybody was gaga, until the Steelers started losing home playoff games. "Chuck wouldn't have lost those games," fans and media began muttering. Here's why the Packers are winning: Rodgers is the quarterback of old. He's never played better.
Billy from Farmingdale, NY
Why is Fred Taylor not being seriously considered for the Hall of Fame? Additionally, why does It seem like the Jacksonville media only caters toward Boselli's candidacy (also deserving of that honor)? If neither of those two can get in, it begs the question: What does a Jaguars player have to do to be enshrined in Canton?
Let's do this again: Tony had a short career at a position defined by longevity and Fred has a lot of guys in front of him and they have better numbers than he does. In my mind, it's one or the other, not both. When I talk to my friends on the Hall of Fame selection committee, I try to get a feel for who they favor and I play to that guy. If I sense they're leaning toward Tony, I pitch the concept Tony was the best at his position for multiple years in his career. If I sense they favor Fred, I tell them he's the most talented running back I ever covered, and they know I covered Franco Harris. It's going to be a tough sell getting one of these guys in, but the Jaguars franchise needs representation in the Hall of Fame and that might be the best sales pitch of all.
Jon from Bloomfield, NJ
Vic, I'm not telling you anything new, but replay is being used more than ever before and all it appears to have done is make everybody more upset about the things that can't be reviewed. What will be the ultimate conclusion of this negative feedback loop, in your mind?
Football has always been a great teacher for me. Winning taught me restraint, losing taught me patience. Coaches such as Lombardi and Noll were the professors. They neither walked too tall nor bent in despair. The frustration I feel in today's game is teaching me to dismiss football's importance in my life. That might be a good thing, but it doesn't feel that way. I don't like this new game. I don't like replay review and I don't like the barrage of penalties that constantly nullify what I've just seen. It's become a terrible bait and switch that's toying with people's emotions. I won't permit it to toy with mine.
Tim from Normal, IL
Vic, QB Ken Anderson is up for the Hall of Fame via the seniors committee. Stat lovers point to his high completion percentage relative to his peers, being a pioneer of the West Coast offense and a Super Bowl appearance, yet, I don’t recall him ever achieving greatness and his one Super Bowl appearance was a loss to Joe Montana. Is that one loss the difference for him or is there just not enough there for him to get in?
Had Pete Johnson gained one more yard, Kenny would've beaten Montana and Kenny would already be in the Hall of Fame. He is the first "West Coast offense" quarterback and was as good as any quarterback in his era. He played in the same division with the Steelers and in the AFC when the AFC dominated the league. There is no quarterback in the time I covered the NFL for whom I have more regard for his talent and performance than I do for Ken. He absolutely should be in the Hall of Fame.
Curt from York, PA
Vic, I realize your power rankings are only semi-serious but I was surprised to see the Steelers only at 16 after beating the Rams. Is that because you think the Steelers are not for real or the Rams are not for real so beating them is no big deal?
It's because I think the Steelers are the 16th-best team in the NFL. It's illogical to expect to continue returning interceptions and fumble recoveries for touchdowns. The Steelers need to run the ball. That's what stands between them and their true identity.
Tim from Kennewick, WA
Now that we are a tad over halfway through the season, what appears to be the Packers' biggest needs? My take: 1) receiver, 2) inside linebacker, 3) defensive line.
1) Offensive tackle, 2) inside linebacker, 3) defensive end.
Brett from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Vic, what's your opinion on the college rankings the last two weeks?
The playoff system hasn't changed anything. The road to the national championship still runs through a subjective rankings that employs no system other than opinion. College football is a bad product.
John from Indianapolis, IN
You've taught us help is not on the way. That said, have you ever seen a team improve its run defense midseason, whether it be from coaching, scheming personnel or individual improvement in execution?
Why do I have the feeling you know the answer to this question and you're testing me. Yes, I saw the Colts go from a defense that allowed 375 yards rushing to the Jaguars late in the season to a defense that out-played Peyton Manning in the team's run to the Super Bowl title. What was the catalyst to that improvement? The return of safety Bob Sanders. Scheme? In the 1974 postseason, defensive line coach George Perles cocked Joe Greene at an angle over the guard and center in a defense Perles would dub the "Stunt 4-3." It turned a great defense into possibly the greatest defense of all time. Those examples are proof change can happen, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Maria from Jacksonville, FL
Who does Joe Burrow remind you of?
He's got some Bradshaw in him.
Roger from Auburn, CA
So how about the ending of that Browns/Steelers game? Do you think that ultimately happened because of a lack of leadership from the coaching staff? To his credit, Baker Mayfield blasted his teammate after the game.
I look forward to the rematch.
"Ask Vic will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Yeah, "Ask Vic" is back. The column left the island this morning to purchase a new laptop. Thanks, folks, for your concern. After preparing the new laptop for publishing, I put together an all-important power rankings for your enjoyment. Regular publishing will begin on Friday.
Here are the Week 11 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Packers -- Thanks for being patient.
2. Seahawks -- They win the big ones.
3. 49ers -- Riding too high in the saddle.
4. Ravens -- Feeling real good about themselves.
5. Patriots -- Eagles will be a tough out.
6. Saints -- What's with Brees?
7. Vikings -- They could get on a roll, too.
8. Rams -- Bring back Jeff Fisher.
9. Eagles -- Patriots, Seahawks back to back.
10. Texans -- Will they "arrive" in Baltimore?
11. Bills -- They let one get away.
12. Chiefs -- "Charmin Curtain" falls again.
13. Cowboys -- Not who we thought they were; they never are.
14. Panthers -- Establishing a future.
15. Titans -- Time to make a run.
16. Steelers -- Above .500.
17. Raiders -- They're in the hunt.
18. Chargers -- Can they take down the Chiefs?
19. Colts -- Just another team.
20. Jaguars -- Must-win game in Indianapolis.
21. Bears -- Trubisky comes to life.
22. Broncos -- Better than I expected.
23. Browns -- Late-season rally.
24. Lions -- It's over.
25. Falcons -- Where was that?
26. Bucs -- On the rise.
27. Cardinals -- They'll get hammered in San Francisco.
28. Dolphins -- Tank this!
29. Jets -- No, Sam, not a playoff contender.
30. Giants -- Arrow pointing sideways.
31. Washington -- The end is in sight.
32. Bengals -- Tanking for Joe Burrow.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Do you really think Marrone is on the hot seat and could be fired at the end of the season? He has guided the team through an injury to Foles, Ramsey quitting on the team and then being traded, and they're still in the hunt. Marrone manages the game well, is excellent using his challenges, and always seems to have all his times out at his disposal. Gus Bradley was the opposite of Marrone and he got plenty of time. What is your opinion?
You are the first reader in "Ask Vic" history to use the plural of time out correctly. If you did it to make me feel good, thanks. As for Doug Marrone, I agree with everything you say. I like him as a coach and I hope his team responds for him in what's left of this season because I have to believe that's what it's going to take to save his job. You know how these things go. Today's sports culture doesn't allow for justifying defeat.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
What has you so sure the Packers will be able to pull off the victory against the Panthers? McCaffrey is their biggest play-making threat, and that would go against the Packers' biggest weakness.
Being in the Charleston TV market, I see a lot of Panthers games. They just don't impress me other than for being a survivor. They've beaten the Bucs, the Cardinals and a couple of other teams struggling to find an identity. The Panthers were embarrassed by the 49ers. I think the game at Green Bay is just too big of a challenge for the Panthers.
Zach from Butte, MT
Vic, I was wondering what your thoughts on the MLB umpire situation are. People calling for automated strike zones and now they're trying it in the minor leagues. I'm getting fed up with all this nonsense in sports further removing the human element.
I was never a big fan of the "you didn't play the game" comment. I always thought it was a smug way for people who've played a sport to separate themselves from those who didn't play but still love that sport. I'm sorry to say I'm beginning to believe there's some truth in that separation. I've come to believe those who've played the game have a better feel for athletic competition, a greater regard for the integrity of the game and the feeling that goes with knowing you did your best and, therefore, are able to accept defeat gracefully. I wish all fans were of that mind. The crybabies are ruining sports.
Stephan from Vienna, Austria
Vic, what is a game plan? May you describe it for us readers who never played football?
I would be happy to explain it for you. In a normal work week, Tuesday is the players' off day. As soon as the coaches do the review work with the players on Monday and get them out of the building, the coaching staff goes to work on preparing a game plan for the next opponent. The process begins by evaluating tape of the opponent's last three games; the pro personnel department's advance scout, who has scouted the opponent in person, goes back even farther. The process is highlighted by determining where your team will enjoy scheme and personnel advantages, and then fitting the scheme to the personnel to create a design for the defense and a play-call sheet for the offense. The same is done for special teams. Tuesday is a long day for the coaches; it can stretch into the late hours. The following morning, the coach presents the game plan to the team. Figuratively and maybe even literally, he tells the team, "This is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it." That's what players want to hear, not a pep talk but a plan that makes it crystal clear what the expectation is for every player on the roster. That thing the coach uses to cover his mouth on game day is his play-call sheet. It includes the plays he and his staff have picked to be used in the game, and they are the plays that were practiced during the week.
Mike from Charlotte, NC
Vic, it was definitely not Capers and it definitely is not Pettine. The Packers are stocked but they still stink. Pettine doesn't play soft zone, so who is telling him he has to play soft zone? Who's the meddler in the team affairs that is not a coach? I know that sounds like a conspiracy, and I don't think it is direct meddling, but we've gone through multiple coaches and the problem is still the same.
I don't see soft zones. I see press man to man. That's what Coach Capers played and that's what Jaire Alexander was playing when he was beaten over the middle in Dallas but intercepted the pass because it was thrown behind the intended receiver. Was Kevin King playing a soft zone when he broke up that pass near the end zone this past Sunday? Please, everyone, believe me when I say scheme isn't the problem. It wasn't the problem when Capers was the Packers' defensive coordinator and it's not the problem now that Mike Pettine is the defensive coordinator.
Steve from Montclair, NJ
What kind of feelings do fans in your neck of the woods have on the current state of the Panthers and the game this weekend?
There's not a lot of interest in the Panthers where I live. This is college football country. Edisto Beach is the official beach of the Clemson Tigers. Their fans come here on weekends to gather and watch the Tigers on TV. They bring a five-dollar bill and a pair of underwear and they don't change either.
Ben from Albuquerque, NM
I was wondering how much coaching does a head coach actually do? I'm talking actual coaching, fundamentals and the like, not delegating responsibilities down the line, which I'm certain has to be most of the job.
Coach Noll was deeply involved in coaching the offensive line. He loved teaching pad level, hand placement, etc. Nobody could teach a trap play like Coach Noll did. Bill Cowher was hands-on when it came to defense and special teams play. Tom Coughlin was all about the passing game. In skeleton and two-minute drill, his voice could be heard above everyone's. Jack Del Rio was about defense, especially the front seven. Mike McCarthy was similar to Coughlin, without the booming voice.
Jeffeory from Bloomington, IL
With chatter of the NFL moving a team to London, how would home vs. away games work? Flying for eight games to the U.S. would surely be a huge disadvantage?
We've discussed this previously. A London team would be based in Florida, where it would have its headquarters and training facility. It would fly to London to play and then return to Florida to live and practice. In a two-home, two-away routine, a full-time London team would only have to make four trips overseas. Scheduling could be accomplished that would address and defeat distance and time zone issues. I don't think the NFL is ready to put a full-time team in London, but I expect the league to expand its presence and begin to establish a rooting interest in London. A full-time team in London is going to happen. It's just a matter of when.
Josh from Wilmington, DE
What happens if Foles doesn’t play well?
In that case, the Jaguars would be unlikely to trade him and competition at quarterback between Foles and Minshew would begin.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Why aren't the Browns living up to expectations?
Look at their opening schedule: Rams, Ravens (Browns beat them), 49ers, Seahawks and Patriots. I get the sense they weren't ready for that challenge. The Browns have talent. I expect them to win the next three.
Mike from Berlin, WI
Vic, everyone seems to be blaming the Packers defense for the debacle in Los Angeles. It seems to me in today's NFL holding the opposition to field goals until late in the game is a win our future Hall of Fame quarterback needs to take advantage of. What am I missing?
You're missing time of possession, but I would also agree the quarterback didn't play well. Hey, yards translate to time. The notion only points matter is baloney.
David from Jerusalem, Israel
Is this the beginning of a slump or a bump in the road?
The Packers will recover from this defeat. I'm not as concerned about a slump as much as I'm concerned about the Packers' identity. Are they going back to what they were?
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
I was just flipping through the channels when I saw the last 50 seconds of the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game. That was my first Game of the Century and I wasn't able to watch it at the time because we didn't have ABC. I have never seen the game and I am shaking my head now, thinking how close I was to finally witnessing history (50 years late). Dan Jenkins wrote about TCU-SMU from the '30's. I read a book about Carlisle-Army (Jim Thorpe-Dwight Eisenhower). I've read about the controversial MSU-ND tie. Do you have a personal GOTC?
I've heard tales of the Pitt-Fordham scoreless ties, three of the most brutally physical games in college football history, during which Vince Lombardi (Seven Blocks of Granite) lost his front teeth and then made the game-saving tackle on the goal line. Every era and region of the country has its game of the century. How about O.J. vs. Gary Beban in 1967? Texas vs. Arkansas in 1969? Nobody told that story better than Beano Cook, who arranged the game to be moved or it never would've been more than just another big game early in the season. For me, Notre Dame at Michigan State in 1966 will forever be my game of the century. No game ever enjoyed more hype. It began in the offseason. I waited a year with excitement for that game to be played.
Jimmy from Chicago, IL
Vic, give it to us straight. Do you feel this Packers team is soft, or does it have the grit to make a run?
It has the passing game and the pass rush to make a run. Everything else needs to improve.
K.C. from Miami, FL
Before it was the Jaguars who were moving to London, and maybe that might still be the case, but now it's the Chargers in talks of moving to London. Do you see the NFL eventually having a permanent team in London in the foreseeable future, perhaps within the next decade?
The Chargers are not moving anywhere in the foreseeable future. Down the road, maybe, but not for the next several years. Stan Kroenke isn't going to allow the Chargers to break their lease for the new stadium in Los Angeles. Kroenke absolutely must have a second tenant. That Chargers to London story, which was refuted in no uncertain terms by Chargers owner Dean Spanos, might've been planted by the Rams. The battle for LA is on!
Saif from Washington, DC
How would you rate Jacksonville's front office personnel in terms of drafting, free-agent acquisitions and letting players go? I'm specifically wondering about Caldwell and Coughlin.
They drafted Minshew in the sixth round and they traded Ramsey for two ones. I'd say they had a pretty good year.
Robert from Plymouth, WI
I bet a lot of questions are coming in about the Packers losing the game on Friday. I bet you have stories to share about players letting loose the weekend of the game. Any that you would like to share?
If I was a head coach, I would never fly to the West Coast on Friday for a game on Sunday. That extra day can be a killer. Friday is party night for the players. I remember a Jaguars trip to Seattle on a Friday for a Sunday game. One guy never made it back to the hotel on Friday night. He was suspended for the game, which immediately caused a distraction. I think Coach Cowher had a great idea. One year, the Steelers didn't leave for San Diego until it was late enough on Saturday that when they arrived in California it was nearly bedtime in Pittsburgh. They landed, they went to bed, they got up and beat the Chargers 23-6. That circadian rhythm stuff is baloney.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how do you expect the Packers to rebound against Carolina?
Stern from Cedar Rapids, IA
Vic, I'm willing to hear your point, if you disagree. Please allow me to respond to your global warming question with this: If Al Gore and other leaders really considered this a danger …
It was a joke, Stern.
Jackson from Wauwatosa, WI
The Packers played their worst game of the season on a day everyone else in the NFC North lost. Is the lucky streak still alive? The breaks keep falling Green Bay’s way, even after a game like that.
They have certainly been living a charmed life.
Paul Frase is a former Packers and Jaguars player whose son, Joshua, was born with a debilitating disease that cost him his life and committed Paul to the pursuit of finding a cure. I know Paul from our days in Jacksonville and Paul reached out to me this week and asked me to invite my readers to watch "Something's Killing Me" on CNN HLN this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Dustin from Seymour, WI
You shared how Packers fans were feeling about (or justifying) Sunday’s loss. What would you take away from that game?
It was a long flight, it was warm on gameday, and when my body clock gets out of sorts my morning coffee doesn't even taste right. A couple of nights' good sleep, cooler temperatures and some Metamucil should fix the Packers right up. I expect them to win winsomely this Sunday.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
Watching the Packers defense, a thought occurred to me. Somehow Green Bay has managed to transform two of the more creative blitz-happy defensive coordinators in recent history (Capers and Pettine) into guys who play soft zones and hope to bend but not break. After all those high picks and free-agent signings, are we still not good enough to play to their normally aggressive styles?
Halfway through this season, the Packers' pass offense is the team's only good offense/defense ranking. Not much has changed. It's still all on Rodgers. It's in the Packers' DNA.
Stuart from Minneapolis, MN
Just wanted to say kudos for calling the Ravens' win over the Patriots. What did you think of the game?
The Ravens dominated. The Patriots have looked really bad in their last two games.
Kevin from Destin, FL
Before the announcement I found myself thinking the Jaguars have to go back to Foles. Money aside, look at what sitting behind Alex Smith did for Mahomes. On top of that, you have Foles' playoff reputation from the past two seasons. What do you think of the decision?
The Jaguars have to showcase Foles to have any chance of interesting a team in trading for him and picking up his $20 million in guaranteed money. No team is going to trade for him without seeing him play following his collarbone injury. That's how I'm reading this move.
Ryan from Plymouth, MN
After the Packers/Bears game in Week 1, I remember you described the Green Bay secondary as "exceptional." After turning in several poor performances in the following weeks, I was wondering how your opinion of the Packers defensive backfield has changed. Is it a problem that may sink this team, or can they get back on track for the second half of the season?
Only the pass rush is as good as it was in Week 1. Everything else about the Packers defense has declined since the opener. The Packers pass defense is giving up big plays and that shouldn't be happening with the pressure the Packers are putting on the quarterback and with the high picks and free-agent money the Packers have spent on their back end. I continue to believe the defense will be a strength of the team late in the season, but we're turning into the second half of the year and the arrow is beginning to point south. Not even Jaire Alexander is playing at an expected level. The Packers rush the quarterback but don't stop the pass and that's a strange combination. I don't get it.
Eric from Seattle, WA
Do you think the Steelers got the Packers' guy when they traded up to get Bush? It seems like he was a logical choice for the Packers at 12.
The thought has occurred to me.
Tom from Rochester, NY
Everyone is giving the Packers a pass for Sunday. I think this is the week we find out what kind of coach LaFleur will be. He spent all offseason and training camp talking about making the job fun for the players. I see a team that was punched in the gut and now needs to find a way for the fun to transfer to "do your job." Is that a fair assessment?
I think that's overly dramatic. One game doesn't define a coach; not even one season defines a coach. A coach is defined by his career because it's likely to include good times and bad and how he coaches in the bad seasons will probably say more about him than the years when everything seemed to go as planned. Chuck Noll's 1986 team started the year 1-6 and finished 6-10. It was as good a coaching job as any of Coach Noll's four Super Bowl years because in that 6-10 season he proved his coaching mattered; the longer he coached them, the better they got. We spend too much time judging coaches. Their impact on their teams is cumulative. Let's wait until the season ends before we begin analyzing Coach LaFleur's impact on his team.
Taylor from Amarillo, TX
Your comment about very little venom after the Packers loss is interesting and has me wondering why. Do you think it's a product of the tough early schedule and picking up some extra wins in what could have been a very difficult start?
No. Packers fans know what it is.
Ben from Polk City, IA
What are the other goals of this column, if the first is to help readers achieve perspective?
Inform, entertain and anger.
John from Mattituck, NY
Vic, Packers fans are OK with the loss because it’s their guy. The wolves can’t howl so quickly after they’ve been fed.
Gregory from Milwaukee, WI
What can you tell us about the late, great Jim Murray?
Read his column about losing his sight.
Bill from Folkston, GA
Vic, I was wondering, in your opinion does something need to be done about officiating in NFL games?
Something has to be done about pass interference. The league has created a monster and it's frustrating all of us. Case in point: The Colts were facing a fourth-down play late in the game in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Brian Hoyer threw a desperation bomb that sailed 10 yards over the receiver's head. Defensive pass interference was called when the receiver and defender tripped over each other as they looked skyward for the ball. The ball wasn't catchable but the penalty resulted in a 35-yard gain for the Colts that would've won the game had Adam Vinatieri not choked with the game on the line. This PI crap has got to cease. The first thing the league should do is limit defensive pass interference to 15 yards. This is the least favorite season of my life and it's because of all the penalties.
Marcus from Kenosha, WI
During his postgame interview, Rodgers repeatedly referred to "decisions made within the last 48 hours" costing them the game. What do you think he was alluding to? Too much partying by the young guys? Not enough game planning? Adjusting the game plan at the last minute? Curious on your thoughts and speculation.
I'm guessing it was a curfew violation. Oh, boy, that's terrible. I remember covering a game in San Diego and the night before the game Jack Lambert roller skated into the hotel bar long after curfew. He rolled up next to a couple of attractive young locals, one of whom asked Lambert what his sign was. "Feces," he said. The next day, the Steelers kicked the feces out of the Chargers.
Isaac from Abiquiu, NM
Anything to be learned from this one or is it just something to move on from?
We learned the same plays that whipped the Chiefs failed against the Chargers. Why? Because the players didn't play as well against the Chargers as they did against the Chiefs.
Offense, defense rankings
Here are the Week 10 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. 49ers -- Three in a row at home.
2. Saints -- Soft schedule ahead.
3. Ravens -- Best in the AFC.
4. Seahawks -- They find ways to win.
5. Rams -- Interesting game in Pittsburgh.
6. Eagles -- Patriots' next loss?
7. Patriots -- Thump!
8. Packers -- No excuses.
9. Bills -- Gritty.
10. Texans -- Lotta style but not many points.
11. Chiefs -- Is that a heartbeat?
12. Vikings -- They find ways to lose.
13. Cowboys -- Critical stretch of schedule.
14. Panthers -- Staying alive.
15. Steelers -- In the hunt.
16. Chargers -- Raiders, Chiefs and then Broncos.
17. Raiders -- Gruden has their attention.
18. Colts -- Stop with the Vinatieri love fest.
19. Jaguars -- Playing for the coach's job.
20. Titans -- Not a great job by Vrabel.
21. Lions -- Not in the hunt, again.
22. Bears -- The bottom could fall out.
23. Broncos -- Fangio has them playing hard.
24. Browns -- In disarray.
25. Cardinals -- Helmets make them look like bobbleheads.
26. Bucs -- Almost good.
27. Giants -- Soft up front.
28. Falcons -- At New Orleans. Ouch!
29. Washington -- What if Haskins isn't "The Man?"
30. Bengals -- Sell the team to Burfict.
31. Dolphins -- Playing their best football.
32. Jets -- Fly them into the sea.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Stern from Cedar Rapids, IA
Last year, the Super Bowl champions lost to Detroit, Miami and Tennessee. Stuff happens. Better it happen in games that mean next to nothing. Plus the entire division lost. Our offense is clearly run through Jones and Williams. We didn't do that today, but we got Davante back; he was rusty. Also, with the President's use of Twitter, I don't think foreign leaders who have the power to do anything put much stock into what's there. Given our economic and military power, they will use diplomacy for any real issues. Twitter is theater. Nothing more.
But what about global warming?
Scott from Madison, WI
Vic, I've been a fan of Coach LaFleur so far, but he sure didn't have his players ready to play against the Chargers. What happened?
They ate the pizza.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
The Packers stepped in something and they no longer smell like roses. What I'm really asking is why did the Packers lose.
The Packers lost because Rivers threw for 294 yards, the Chargers rushed for 159 yards and possessed the ball nearly 12 minutes longer than the Packers did. So how is Football Outsiders going to spin that performance?
Steve from Watersmeet, MI
Vic, I’m not a fan of celebrations to begin with, but is there anything worse than Williams doing a celebration dance down three scores after that performance?
Former Jaguars middle linebacker Mike Peterson was a high energy player who angered his head coach, Jack Del Rio, when Mike celebrated a sack in a game in which the Jaguars were getting their butts kicked. Jack went off on Mike in a team meeting the next day, which caused an exchange that resulted in Mike being suspended from the team. It saddened me because Mike is one of my all-time favorite players, but Jack's point to Mike was valid: It's selfish to celebrate a personal achievement when your team is getting clobbered. I didn't like Williams' celebration, either.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, it seems the standard time change and the western time zone made the Packers sluggish. What do you think?
Bad circadian rhythm? That's as good an excuse as any.
Bob from Green Bay, WI
That's almost always a bad excuse, but I tip my hat to Anthony Lynn for having the courage to take points off the board and send his offense back onto the field for a fourth-and-goal needing to gain a full yard. There was a lack of respect for the Packers defense in Coach Lynn's boldness. That's what was most alarming about yesterday's loss.
Robert from Rotterdam, The Netherlands
It's November and I don't think the Jaguars are for real.
Losing to the Texans for a second time means the Jaguars have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker and it's difficult to imagine the Jaguars overcoming a two-game deficit and having lost the tiebreaker. I still think giving away a division home game was a huge mistake and I think it cost the Jaguars yesterday.
Eric from Hudson, WI
Bill Belichick is going to lose big to a scrambling quarterback with marginal passing skills? You are judging the Patriots because they got bored playing another bad team, hosting the Browns last week? I’m pretty sure New England will be ready for their first regular season game of the year this week.
Todd from Prairie du Chien, WI
I, too, get upset at the silliness of celebration. Why can't a player make a good play and go back to the huddle ready for another opportunity?
It's human nature to want to celebrate ourselves. I think we've always had that need inside us but it was repressed by a culture that frowned on such displays. Now, it's no longer considered to be in bad taste to celebrate yourself. These days it's considered to be entertaining. The celebration generation wants it and the NFL knows giving the fans what they want rings the cash register.
Alan from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, the Lombardi episode of the "Greatest Game Changers" series included Lombardi's players, not plays quote. "All plays succeed on the blackboard, but men make them work." One of the stories from the Lombardi legend is Kramer telling the defense the play and they still couldn't stop it.
The players, not plays philosophy is at the foundation of football's allure. If that ever changes, football will fail. That's the reason I so vigilantly guard the concept of human confrontation.
Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador
As the 2019 season began you were negative toward the Saints' prospects. What are the Saints doing you didn't think they could do?
I was negative because I was angry at the Saints for the pass interference pain they were causing all of us to suffer. From a performance standpoint, I didn't expect them to be as dominant on defense as they are.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
It's November, which means it's "Salute to Service" month. Do you think the comparison and relationship between the military and football is apt? How has it evolved since the 70's?
We were still involved in the immensely unpopular Vietnam War when we turned into the 1970's. Nobody was celebrating the military back then. These days, you can't get on a Southwest flight without thanking a member of the military for his or her service. What caused this change? It's 9-11. Terrorism has changed us as a nation and as a culture. It has militarized us. We want revenge.
Bill from Menominee, WI
Vic, Packers fans are told to be patient with Rashan Gary. Is that a reasonable request? Being a first-round pick comes with expectations. To be fair, though, for him to get enough snaps to make an impact, one of the Smith's would have to sit. Instead of being told to be patient, maybe we need to be told to recognize a happy problem.
It appears you've answered your own question. The '19 NFL draft doesn't strike me as having been a blockbuster. In retrospect, I think the first round looks especially weak. I was somewhat critical of the Packers having drafted a pass rusher with the 12th overall pick after having spent a lot of money in signing two pass rushers in free agency, but what player should the Packers have picked instead of Gary? The answer doesn't jump out at me.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Can you walk me through the decision to go from zero teams in Los Angeles to two teams in the blink of an eye? Was it a mistake or was it a work in progress?
I can remember it being talked about at the 2008 owners meetings. I didn't think then it would work and I'm still of that opinion. It's all about the need for a second tenant to help fund the new stadium. I have a feeling the Chargers are going to either go back to San Diego or be pirated away by another city. I don't think a second team will be successful in Los Angeles, which would mean the league would have to get more deeply involved in funding the stadium. Making that stadium the western home of the Super Bowl might be the solution to the problem.
Andrew from LaCrosse, WI
Vic, I'm struggling to unlock the penultimate pre-draft assessment factor resulting in sixth-round Minshew. Did he wear his jorts at the combine? I wonder what the skilled talent evaluators didn't recognize.
He was a one-year wonder, he played in an offense that hasn't translated to NFL success and his arm didn't wow the scouts. I like what I see but let's not be quick to judge. He reminds me of Brian Sipe. That's a good thing.
Howard from Homestead, FL
So let me get this straight. You offer a free, independent blog, answering questions with years of insight and experience, all at no cost to your readers, and people still get mad and send you insulting emails?
It's OK. It all provides a snapshot of us. Intelligent people use that snapshot to achieve perspective. That's one of the goals of this column.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
Vic, the Packers offense this year versus last year is like night and day, despite the personnel being similar, and the expanded use of Aaron Jones is what fans were calling for all year. This past offseason you were sure Mike McCarthy would be a head coach again and I'm wondering if you still feel that way. If not coaching, to what do you attribute the offensive improvement?
The fans? I get the sense you want a pat on the back. My answer to your question is Aaron Rodgers is the difference. He's playing the best football of his life, or at least he was until yesterday. Last year, other than for a handful of games, he was rather ordinary, relative to his standards.
Brendan from Denver, CO
What a rough game for my favorite team in green and yellow. Every cloud has a silver lining, or four in this case. 1) Packers lost to an AFC opponent. 2) 7-2 is still a great record. 3) Every team in the NFC North lost and the Packers are still on top of the division. 4) You learn more in defeat than you do in victory. Any silver linings I'm missing?
I'm more concerned about what was lost on Sunday: a game in the homefield playoff race.
Mark from San Diego, CA
Vic, I'm sure your inbox is just searing hot with Packers fans claiming the sky is falling, however, I think its a good thing we got punched in the mouth now. We are continuing to find ourselves during the season. Isn't the season just mainly about getting into/preparing for the playoffs? I think a slice of humble pie is good in that regard.
My inbox is largely echoing your sentiments. Responses have largely been understanding and supportive. There is very little venom today.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Kevin from Eau Claire, WI
You don't think the 2011 Packers were better than this year's team?
I don't. The '11 team couldn't run and couldn't stop anything. It was old and slow on defense and had a problem at the critical left tackle position. It was overwhelmingly good at passing the football. I remember writing "anybody but the Giants," and that's because I could see the Giants had the pass rush to play it straight and clog the passing lanes with defenders. We all know how that turned out. This team is well-rounded. The pass is still its best trick, but it proved late in the Kansas City game it can run the ball when it commits to it, and I think the defense is a work in progress and will improve as the postseason nears. There's a lot to like about this team; there was only one thing to like about the '11 team.
Chris from Minneapolis, MN
It appears both sides lost when Gordon held out earlier this year. The Chargers have lost games without him and really aren't a playoff contender anymore, and Gordon hasn't been sharp due to the lack of practice with the team. If you could wind back the clock, how do you think this should have played out for both sides to come out ahead?
Gordon who? Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'm changing my stance on malcontents: Trade them. Apparently, there's a market for them; previously there wasn't. Why hold a player hostage? Get draft-pick value for him in a trade and move on. The Steelers made the mistake of trying to hang onto Le'Veon Bell; they were smart in trading Antonio Brown. Times have changed. The malcontents are bad for the team, the fans and the franchise.
Jonathan from Southern Pines, NC
Responses about the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade like Samuel's on Wednesday are highly annoying to me. For one, the Steelers were never going to draft a QB, even if it's a top five pick. They love Rudolph and also fully expect Ben back next year healthy. Two, I agree, it's not going to be a top 10 pick and Minkah was the No. 11 pick. Three, safety was a huge position of need for the Steelers and would probably be a position they had looked at drafting in the first round. Four, the Steelers have done a terrible job drafting secondary pieces but, with Minkah, he's a stud and they know he can play. Cheap, three years left, young and a big-time playmaker. Fantastic trade.
No. 1, the Steelers have a roster to repair and a cap to fix, and the Fitzpatrick deal addresses both. I don't like trading first-round picks and I wouldn't have made the deal for that reason, but the cap room he's going to give the Steelers is the lynchpin in this deal. Miami is eating his $10 million signing bonus and the Steelers are paying his $1 million salary, and he's not a UFA until 2023.
Darren from Los Angeles, CA
The president needs to use Twitter or else the left wing media will continue to frame every move he makes in the worst possible light, with no direct outlet to the American people not watching FOX. Also, "world peace" is a naive utopia that leads down a path akin to the all-encompassing "equality" Stalin's communists promoted.
Joe from Chicago, IL
It sounds like you think the Packers are being cradled to victory by some sort of football “guardian angel” so far this year. Do you think they’ll need it to go all the way or can their talent take them there?
Everybody needs a guardian angel.
Jason from Austin, TX
You said you think the Ravens are going to "thump" the Patriots. I don't necessarily disagree but I'm curious why you think that's going to be the case? You're usually spot on with your predictions.
I watched the Browns-Patriots game and the Patriots didn't impress me. Minus the turnovers, I thought the Browns outplayed the Patriots. I felt as though I was watching the '79 Steelers, which is to say a team living on its mystique. I'm probably wrong but that's the impression I got. That's why I dropped the Patriots in my all-important power rankings.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
The NCAA voted to allow student athletes to profit from their likeness. Which programs will benefit from this change? Which will be hurt? Will this change the powerful teams in the NCAA or create a small set of powerful teams and render the rest obsolete?
I addressed this issue about a month ago. In my opinion, the programs that'll benefit are the ones in non-NFL markets, such as Alabama, Oklahoma and Clemson. I used Trevor Lawrence as an example. What do you think his endorsement value would be worth in a state that doesn't have a major league professional team? Programs in rural, non-NFL-market states should have a recruiting advantage for star players over schools where college players would have to compete with pro players for a shrinking endorsement dollar. Be that as it may, a long time ago I wrote in this column a college scholarship meets every IRS criterion to be considered income and, therefore, taxable. This battle is just beginning.
J.G. from Silver Spring, MD
Vic, how do you explain the use of Twitter by someone more deserving of respect, such as Vito Stellino? He has quite a following on there.
He's trying to be young and trendy; that can be the only explanation. On the serious side, Vito is as good a football writer as the sport has ever known. I was blessed to work alongside Vito for a lot of years and I learned from a master of his craft.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, I have not managed to watch a single 49ers game this season. I know they are playing great defense, but I know nothing beyond that. What makes them stand out? What do they do particularly well?
Heading into last night's game, the 49ers were No. 6 in total offense, No. 1 in total defense, No. 2 in rushing, No. 11 against the run and No. 1 against the pass. Well, I guess I shouldn't use those numbers because they're old-fashioned and misleading.
Dave from Savage, MN
What is fall like in coastal South Carolina?
It was in the low-80's all week, but I hear fall might arrive today. When it does, it's wonderful: shiny blue skies, temps hovering at 70, no humidity, warm and cool at the same time. What we really need is a night in the 50s. That's when the bugs go away.
Enrique from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, as a Jags fan, enough about the Packers! Can you tickle me more about Minshew?
I'm amazed at how many Jaguars fans are asking me to pick between Minshew and Foles. Foles only played the first quarter of the season opener before he was lost to injury. Minshew has carried the Jaguars to 4-4. There's no decision to be made. He's the Jaguars' starting quarterback because he has been since the second game of the season.
Tim from Madison, WI
Vic, who is the fastest football player you saw in person?
I guess it would be Bob Hayes. I saw him play at Pitt Stadium. Brady Keys must've done a good job against him because I don't remember Hayes having done much.
Brent from Dubuque, IA
Who is the most humble star-type player you’ve covered?
Donnie Shell immediately comes to mind. I remember doing a magazine story on Shell and talking to Ozzie Newsome about him when Newsome and Shell were twice-a-year rivals. Newsome said Shell never trash-talked, he just played the game hard and well. That's what I seek in football. I've always considered football to be a noble endeavor. I'm having trouble finding that quality in today's game. The bravado and silly celebrations make me long for another day. Today's players have a teenage girl-like need for attention and it saddens me.
Ramiro from Jurupa Valley, CA
Vic, maybe McCarthy will be back in the NFC North next season, but not in purple as you previously suggested. He could be wearing black and orange. Thoughts?
Nagy's not getting fired; he's only in year two. The same is true of Matt Patricia. Kirk Cousins has surprised me. I didn't expect him to play as he is. I agree, Mike Zimmer appears to be safe. Where are the jobs going to be open? Washington and the Falcons are the only two I can put my finger on right now. That'll change.
Mark from Regina, Canada
How many players can a team put on IR?
The 90-man roster is in effect year-round, though the rules that govern it change according to the seasons. In the regular season, the 90-man roster includes a 53-man active roster and a 10-man practice squad. That allows for 27 players that may be placed on the injured reserve list. More than that and you either have to reach a settlement agreement with one of your IR guys or subtract from either your practice squad or active roster. The CBA requires a team to carry 46 gameday players. Technically, a team could have as many as 44 players on injured reserve. Of course, that's ridiculous and would never happen.
Mike from McFarland, WI
Nothing like having to shovel the driveway so trick-or-treaters don't slip in the snow. Miss Wisconsin?
We don't do the door-to-door thing here. My neighborhood is a dense forest of live oaks and we have no street lights, so it gets really dark at night and a kid could step on a snake. Last night, Edisto Beach hosted its annual Halloween party at the marina for the Edisto Island kids. A lot of these kids are underprivileged and for them this is one of the big events of the year.
Heath from Piedmont, SC
I've typed and deleted my first-ever question to you numerous times, addressing my concerns with our defense. Instead, I'm going with a positive mindset. We are 7-1. Are there concerns? Absolutely! But again, we are 7-1. We could win every game 2-0 and I would still be happy we won. Success is not a perfect line pointing up. Success is a crazy zigzag line that encompasses the ups and downs faced along the way. If we want to hoist the Lombardi Trophy this year, we just need to win the games that matter the most. Doesn't matter what it takes to get there. Just win, baby! Agree?
We are fine.
Adam from Montgomery, IL
I look at the 49ers' schedule compared to their record and two things come to mind: The combined records of the teams they've played are 17-35, while the records for the teams moving forward are 43-26-2. The (remaining) games for them are going to be an absolute measuring stick and it will be interesting to see if they really are for real.
The time for measuring sticks is over. It's November. Now it's real.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
I went to the game Sunday night wearing my Green Bay laundry. I couldn't be more pleased how Kansas City treated fellow Green Bay laundry wearers. The parking lot was a frenzy of food being shared by red and green alike. What a night.
Ben from Alameda, CA
Any thoughts on the Kansas City blitz as a Hail Mary defense?
True blitz teams use the blitz to disguise coverage as much as to rush the passer. The Chiefs didn't use the blitz that way. They used it as a gimmick, a desperate way to rush the passer.
Blake from Normal, IL
Vic, just writing to say I would love an "Ask Vic" Twitter account; it would be amazing. Why are you so against it?
I pride myself in my ability to frame a story. Twitter is an insult to the English language. It's a series of rushed and random thoughts highlighted by coded words and poor grammar. It disturbs me greatly that our president risks world peace by using such an irresponsible forum.
Kirsten from Madison, WI
Do you think it was just time for the Packers to be new? I wasn't one of the people calling for McCarthy's head, but there's clearly a different energy under LaFleur. I'm wondering if the Packers did, in fact, need to get rid of Ted Thompson in order to go after guys like the Smith Bros., and they needed to get rid of McCarthy simply to clean the decks. Would the Packers be in the same position under McCarthy? Where does the coach fit into players, not plays?
Your guilt is palpable. Let it go. Coaches know they'll likely be fired. They sign up for that risk. They get paid a lot of money to suffer the hurt and indignity of dismissal. Weep not for Mike McCarthy. Soon he will be the enemy, no longer the forlorn. Would the Packers be in the same position if he were still the coach? I don't know how to answer that question, but this is what I believe a new coach has done for the Packers: It's made Aaron Rodgers directly accountable for the performance of the offense. Give the Sports Illustrated story an assist. After allegedly getting McCarthy fired, if the offense bombed again, the blame would fall on Rodgers, not the coach. This is Rodgers' offense; he owns it. Maybe that's what the players' council meant when it spoke of a need for accountability. I submit two plays as the difference between this season and last season. On a critical third-down play late in the game in Seattle last year, Rodgers threw wildly incomplete, but it was McCarthy who was blamed for punting on fourth down. Sunday night in Kansas City, in largely the same situation and on nearly an identical play, Rodgers threw a perfect strike to convert third down and clinch the win.
Taylor from Hull, IA
I know players over plays is how a team is going to win over the course of a season, but how much do you see the scheme being the difference for the Packers on offense this year, specifically the way the running backs are being motioned around and used in the passing game?
Don't scheme schemes, scheme personnel. That's what the Packers did on Sunday night. They created mismatches; a linebacker covering Aaron Jones, for example. I'm all for creating mismatches because it's a superior player defeating an inferior player, and that's how you win the one-on-ones. That play likely wouldn't have succeeded had the receiver been inferior to the defender.
Jeff from Ogden, UT
Who else in the present-day NFL could make the throws Rodgers made on Sunday night? Who else in NFL history could make those throws?
Aaron Rodgers is the most talented passer in the game today and no one in the history of the game has ever thrown a football more adeptly than he has. Rodgers defines the "he can make all the throws" scouting lingo. He can drop it in and he can drive it in. He can throw running to his right or left and he has the ability to throw from multiple arm angles. Rodgers would be a star in any era. What I respect most about him is his pocket courage. His eyes are always downfield. Sunday night in Kansas City was a clinic confirming his greatness. The touchdown pass to Jamaal Williams? Sorry, that was luck and it happens like that for a quarterback and a team when it gets on a roll. I felt this coming a few weeks ago. The Packers could step in limburger right now and their shoes would smell like roses.
Nate from Neenah, WI
Vic, seems like Robert Kraft didn't get the death sentence, not even a slap on the wrist. Besides the Super Bowl winner not opening the season, what penalty was put on the owner/owner's team?
They're banned from the Orchids of Asia Day Spa?
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, the Jags only have one week left until it’s decision time on who will be the QB. This game against Houston is going to be a major factor in the decision, but which way are you leaning right now?
Jon from Omaha, NE
Vic, how much fun are you having this football season?
It's not my favorite season. The penalties are killing my fun. Monday night's game was another example of it. Maybe it'll change in the second half of the season.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
"Achieve clarity at quarterback." It's too late for that, Vic, they traded their top 10 pick away, but at least they got a DB out of it, so that's nice.
The DB now has three interceptions and I don't think the pick the Steelers traded for him will be in the top 10 of next year's draft. Achieving clarity at quarterback means acquiring an understanding of the direction the Steelers must take to address their future at that position. That's what I hope the Steelers can achieve in what remains of this season. Is Mason Rudolph their quarterback of the future? He impressed me on Monday night by recovering from an awful start to the game and rallying the Steelers to a win.
Dan from Green Bay, WI
Vic, for decades I have wondered why so few coaches will pull a QB when he clearly is having an off day.
It's because the starter got nearly all of the on-field preparation for that week's game.
Offense and defense rankings
Here are the Week 9 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. 49ers -- The league's new power team.
2. Saints -- Brees back, defense overpowering.
3. Patriots -- I wasn't impressed.
4. Packers -- Best team in the Rodgers era?
5. Vikings -- Hitting their stride.
6. Ravens -- They're gonna thump the Patriots.
7. Colts -- Found a way to win.
8. Seahawks -- Took the second half off.
9. Rams -- Not sure who they are.
10. Eagles -- This team has heart.
11. Bills -- Not too far off.
12. Texans -- It's all on Watson.
13. Chiefs -- The "Charmin Curtain" defense.
14. Cowboys -- Can they make a run?
15. Panthers -- Failed the test miserably.
16. Jaguars -- Must-win game vs. Texans.
17. Titans -- Finally scoring some points.
18. Lions -- Just another team.
19. Steelers -- T.J. Watt leading surge on defense.
20. Chargers -- Rodgers doesn't do duck calls.
21. Raiders -- Competitive.
22. Bears -- Disappointment team of the year.
23. Browns -- Better than their ranking.
24. Cardinals -- Kingsbury isn't the guy.
25. Broncos -- Signing Flacco was a mistake.
26. Bucs -- They just don't get it done.
27. Giants -- Arrow wilting.
28. Jets -- They have no arrow.
29. Falcons -- Pilot to bombardier: We're over the target.
30. Washington -- Playing hard for Callahan.
31. Bengals -- Went all the way to London to lose.
32. Dolphins -- That might've been their best football.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Aaron Jones, wow! Jamaal Williams wasn't bad either. Have the two of them solidified themselves as answers in the Packers backfield?
I think that's an understatement. They're a good 1-2 punch and, best of all, they're each good receivers and that's critically important in an offense run by a quarterback who knows how to find a weakness and attack it. What we're seeing is a red-hot quarterback and a team on a roll. They're playing at a high level and the ball, figuratively speaking, is bouncing their way. The Packers should breeze by the Chargers and Panthers, which should set up one of the premier games of the season: Nov. 24 at San Francisco.
Min Shik from Seoul, South Korea
Ever think of creating a Twitter account for random musings throughout the week? I’m sure you’d have a good following.
I'd rather not.
Ethan from Ontario, Canada
I love the way this team always seems to find a way to win.
That's a great trait but I don't think that was the issue in this game. Truth be known, this game was a mismatch. Aaron Rodgers vs. Matt Moore? The Chiefs did a good job of scheming on defense, but they couldn't win the one-on-ones and late in games players win, not schemes. That's what happened in this game. There was never any doubt in my mind which team would win.
Jared from Sugar City, ID
Vic, the Packers closed out the last five minutes of the game with seven straight runs. I hope it means something because I'm excited about it.
Facing fourth-and-three near midfield, I said under my breath, "You better go for it, Andy, because you won't get the ball back if you punt it." The Chiefs ran out of plays on defense. Rodgers had them in his hip pocket. Throwing the ball on third down to clinch the win was so easy it was almost disrespectful. Remember the third-down pass in Seattle last year?
Aaron from Chesapeake, VA
I guess the Bears really don’t trust Trubisky.
They lost at home to a team that lost to a champion duck caller.
Jeffrey from Alexandria, VA
This year’s Packers defense looks a lot like other years’ Packers defenses.
This defense sacks the quarterback; that's the difference.
Hayes from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Vic, is this real? Did we find our franchise quarterback in the sixth round?
It sure looks like it.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
Can you further clarify the salary cap ramifications that occur during a trade? I assume the team getting the player assumes the salary, but what happens to the bonus money?
You pay it, you claim it.
Eric from Lansing, MI
A recent article claims the heart of the makeover of the Packers is work no longer feels like work. It's fun. There's music. The players socialize afterwards. But tell me, Vic, what is cause and what is effect? You seem to say any locker room culture can work as long as you are winning. So how important is fun at practice, in your experience?
Coach Noll said "whatever it takes."
Ben from Indianapolis, IN
What do you want to see from the three teams you covered?
Packers -- Homefield advantage for the playoffs. Jaguars -- Make it into the playoffs. Steelers -- Achieve clarity at quarterback.
Micah from Holland, MI
I was just reminded of a stat I heard last season, that Larry Fitzgerald has more career tackles than drops. Can you think of a more impressive stat?
Here's something more amazing: Fitzgerald finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting to a guy who wasn't even drafted by an NFL team. Best football player in America? It was an embarrassment for all of college football.
Lane from Orlando, FL
What’s your take on the Kelechi Osemele situation? In the past, has there been similar disputes between an injured player and team doctors? It seems the Jets may have opened a huge can of worms by releasing him.
It's nothing new. Tony Boselli and one of his Jaguars teammates sued the Jaguars team doctor.
Curt from York, PA
Vic, I read on-line an unnamed NFL team executive was quoted as saying the Rams cannot sustain handing out expensive contracts. Just how bad is their cap situation?
The Rams are on the tracks, the car is stalled and they can hear the train whistle. When it gets like that, a team has no choice but to restructure contracts and push money out, which delays the inevitable but worsens the problem.
Norma-Gene from Rolla, MO
Do you think there is any validity in the talk of the NFL offering the Chargers to St. Louis in lieu of paying a probable large sum of money in the lawsuit?
It makes sense but the new stadium in Los Angeles almost has to have two tenants, unless the league decides to make it the western home of the Super Bowl.
Dave from Madison, WI
The difference in talent between Ohio State and Wisconsin was glaring. How did Tom Osborne get top-tier talent to come to Nebraska during its heyday? Any lessons the Badgers could learn from that model?
You want a Lawrence Phillips? The outcome of the Wisconsin-Ohio State game was as expected. Nobody should be surprised. It could be worse the next time around. Frankly, I thought the Badgers matched up well for half the game and that should be encouraging to Badgers fans. What surprised me was Paul Chryst's timid game plan and his team's lack of edge for this game. I expected Wisconsin to pound the ball in the running game. What they did was a little bit of this, a little bit of that and not much of anything. I sensed no verve in their attitude; it was if Wisconsin had accepted defeat.
Brian from Newfoundland, Canada
What does jersey color do for how a team plays? Who cares what it looks like? Come on, man.
Uniforms are for the fans, not the players. Uniforms should be pleasing to the eye and good for the soul. The Packers' traditional uniforms connect fans to the Lombardi days. Color-rush games give heritage teams such as the Packers a chance to be new. I wish the Packers would do something bold for those games, such as wear all yellow or all green. I love the Steelers' bumble-bee jerseys, for example. Color-rush and throwback games give teams a chance to get wild, fresh and exciting, before they return again to their traditional looks. It's good for business.
Eric from Hudson, WI
You don’t like referring to a race by the color of their skin? What do you call yourself? Myself, as a white person, completely disagree with you. Oddly enough, black people seem to be fine with being called black. Did you really apologize for saying Redskin? I bet you think you’re progressive. I can assure you, you are not.
Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL
The Bears recently held a players-only meeting and the local radio was discussing their effectiveness, mostly saying they're useless. What are your thoughts on player-only meetings? Do they accomplish anything or are they more for show?
I'm OK with them, but they suggest dysfunction and that reflects poorly on the head coach.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, how do you like the color rush on Thursday nights?
I liked the Vikings' uniforms last night. I like colorful uniforms.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Do you give the Badgers any chance of beating the Buckeyes?
They have to run the ball, dominate time of possession and get some takeaways for them to have any chance of winning.
Loftur from Columbus, OH
Vic, you need to step into 2019 when it comes to your offensive and defensive rankings. Total yards is a completely useless stat! Context matters. Football Outsiders do great work in analyzing every play of every game and the actual effect the yards have. A 5 -yard run on third-and-12 isn't the same as a 5-yard run on third-and-two. This is all taken into account by them. Here are their rankings: Packers are third on offense (sixth run, fifth pass) and seventh on defense (19th run, sixth pass). Jaguars are 11th on offense (21st run, 10th pass) and 17th on defense (27th run, ninth pass). Steelers are 22nd on offense (24th run, 19th pass) and ninth on defense (15th run and 10th pass). These numbers tell me the Packers are very good across the board except in the least important part, rushing defense. The Jaguars have hope because of a decent offense, plus, being top 10 in passing and stopping the pass. The Steelers' plan of building their defense is working and it's a shame their offense lost Roethlisberger because who knows how good they would be there with him playing.
Lance from Phoenix, AZ
I don't know what they put in the water in South Carolina. The statement "the two ones the Jaguars stole from the Rams" deserves ridicule. Jalen Ramsey is a top 10 player in the NFL and is on a rookie contract. The Rams will probably make the playoffs, making the first pick a bottom-half pick. They traded a top 10 player on his rookie contract for two bottom-half first-rounders. Vic, do not visit any used car dealerships in the future.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Vic, did you ever think you would see this flurry of in-season trades like we see this year in the NFL?
It doesn't completely surprise me. It makes sense for a team needing to repair its roster and its salary cap, or for a team needing to patch a weakness, since the player's bonus amortization remains with the team that traded him. Provided the cost isn't too high, I think trading for a player is a better acquisition strategy than shopping in free agency, because it's cap friendly.
Rafael from Freetown, Sierra Leone
Vic, I see in your power rankings you use team names for all the teams except Washington, where you use the city instead of the name. Is it because you don`t agree with the approach of the owner in the battle over the team`s name?
I don't like the idea of referring to a race of people according to the color of their skin. There are times I absent-mindedly use the name of Washington's team, and for that I apologize to those who might be offended, but please know my position on this issue favors changing the team name.
Malcolm from Chicago, IL
It's pretty apparent the Bears messed up drafting Trubisky so high. They could have gotten Mahomes instead. How long would you give Trubisky before you look for another QB?
At times this past Sunday, I saw him favor his labrum injury; I suspect he's headed for labrum surgery. I wouldn't quit on him until he's healthy and he has a chance to hold onto his job. Be that as it may, I think the Bears need to consider all options in strengthening their quarterback position, including drafting one next spring.
Dave from Savage, MN
Were you around when the Steelers came up with their current uniform design? It seemed to be a big improvement back then and it still works for me now. Any stories around it?
I liked the uniforms of my youth, which included a yellow helmet with a black stripe. The current uniforms evolved in the 1960's, triggered by adopting the steel logo in the early '60's.
Steve from Graz, Austria
Vic, I learned your job as a writer kept you from being a fan of a sports team, but what were your most intense fan experiences, both positive or negative, joyful or heartbreaking in your life.
Mazeroski's home run in the 1960 World Series was my first and probably most joyful fan experience. I was nine years old and the '60 Pirates were my first love affair with a sports team. A couple of years later, my hometown's high school football team lost a game that broke my heart. I felt deep sadness for Packers fans following the crushing loss in Seattle in the 2014 NFC title game.
Ryan from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I will never be able to take a mainstream article about football seriously after reading your column. I read an article today about assistant coach of the year nominations and the top three contenders were San Francisco’s defensive coordinator, New Orleans’ defensive coordinator and Mike Pettine. It seems as though when you start to rack up first-round draft picks on one side of the ball, you become a better coach. Mainstream media is just fluff. Tell the real story.
Players, not plays.
Fred from Florida
There is some hand-wringing amongst my fellow Jags fans about losing Jalen Ramsey. I think this is a great trade. From your comments I believe you do as well. Can you elaborate on your feelings.
He lied to his teammates. He betrayed them. He walked out on them every bit as much as Antonio Brown walked out on the Steelers last season. It was over in Jacksonville for Ramsey. Betrayal is seldom forgiven and never forgotten. The Jaguars recovered full value and more for a player they had to move.
Brent from Nova Scotia, Canada
I feel as though the Packers are one player away from making a playoff push. What position would GM Vic choose or not choose to pursue with Saturday's trade deadline looming?
They should pursue any player who would make the Packers a better team and whose cost wouldn't damage the team's future.
Bob from Monticello Conte Otto, Italy
Vic, what do you consider the optimum weather to attend an NFL game in the stands?
Temperatures in the 50's, cloudy skies and no wind.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
Everyone is talking about how good a job LaFleur has done this year. Not to discount what he’s done, but how much credit should be given to Nathaniel Hackett?
Great credit should be given. Great credit was not given when Nathaniel's quarterback was Blake Bortles.
Doug from Union Grove, WI
You are at your funniest when you're serious.
Curt from Portland, OR
What are your early impressions of Matt LaFleur?
His teams have been ready to play. That's a coach's No. 1 responsibility and LaFleur has been equal to it.