"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the regular season.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Vic, do you think we can glean anything from this game?
I'm going to avoid attaching too much importance to what I saw last night. It was an important road win against the team to beat in the NFC North. It'll count two at the end of the season, when tiebreakers become as important as win-loss records. That's where I'll stop because I didn't think either team was ready to play a game of that importance. It was bad football.
Stern from Cedar Rapids, IA
Was that an enjoyable game for you?
No. It was, yet, another example of a rivalry that seldom seems to be the equal of its hype.
Daniel from Johnson, IA
That wasn't the sort of game that's popular these days, but I can't say I'm complaining about getting to watch good defense and special teams in Week 1. Of course, Aaron completed his end zone pass when he needed to, but what other differences did you see in the QB play?
Trubisky is beginning to appear as though he has a low ceiling. He doesn't have the look of a quarterback who can become elite. There's nothing sudden or special about him.
Drew from Woodinville, WA
How much of the Packers’ defensive triumph was just the Bears’ offense struggling?
The Packers defense is for real. The secondary is exceptional.
Marty from Louisville, KY
Penalties and punts. What are your thoughts on the fifth preseason game last night?
I'm kind of angry that after making fans endure four preseason games, the Bears and Packers gave us that dud of a football game.
Kale from London, Canada
Something has been said about silk sheets. With that, is your immediate reaction the Cowboys made the right move in regards to Elliott's contract?
It's silk pajamas and he's wearing them. Now, will he get out of bed? We'll see.
Shawn from Kissimmee, FL
What do you think about the Jared Goff contract?
He's "The Man." Once you pick him, you gotta pay him.
David from Calistoga, CA
Vic, what impressed you the most about the Packers defense?
The Packers finally have a fast defense. Brian Gutekunst has done an outstanding job of retooling the Packers defense. It runs to the ball.
Chad from Kansas City, MO
In regards to the Chiefs and Jags, the heat index this week in Kansas City was 116 with about 90 percent humidity. Remember, in the Midwest it's not the heat, it's the humidity. It's just different here.
Got it. The forecast for Sunday in Jacksonville is for it to be sunny and 98 degrees. I'm guessing it'll be a little on the sticky side, too. The Chiefs will be wearing red and positioned on the sun sideline. Coming out of a warm week of work will help them, but if the forecast holds true, they're going to feel heat and humidity they have never previously felt. It'll likely be one of the top storylines in this game. The formula for victory for the Chiefs, in my opinion, is get a lead early and try to nurse it into the fourth quarter. At that point, all the Chiefs will want is a burger and an aisle seat.
James from Jenkintown, PA
How can the Rams sustain their spending? Seems like the whole team has ballooning contracts.
The Rams will restructure contracts and push money out to make cap room, and that'll worsen the cap outlook for a team that's spent recklessly, especially at non-premium positions. I can only think of one high-dollar player on their roster who is worth the money they're paying him. Rams management hasn't impressed me since they've been in Los Angeles.
Dru from Lehi, UT
So the Kizer trade doesn't look so good now. Why do you think the Packers were so eager to give up on Randall and Kizer so quickly?
Randall was part of a housecleaning. Kizer lost in an open competition. New brooms sweep clean. There'll be more changes.
Nick from Owego, NY
How much does coach Vic expect from a No. 1 overall QB pick in his first year?
I expect him to prove to me he's the player I projected. The Cardinals will know whether they picked the right guy. The stats won't tell them; their eyes will.
Tim from Sun Prairie, WI
“We’ve given him all the freedom,” LaFleur said on Monday. “So, if he sees something, he’s got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play. We’re not going to take that from him.” Is LaFleur showing weak leadership qualities or adapting his scheme to put his team in the best position to win?
I don't think LaFleur is displaying a lack of leadership. I think he's strategically demanding accountability from his quarterback. No more complaints or sideways looks about the plays being called. They're Rodgers' plays now.
Ben from Chicago, IL
You've said scheme teams win early in the season and lose late in the season. Have the Packers become a scheme team?
What I said was plays can win early, players win late in the season. A lot of teams rely on scheme early in the season, when execution is lacking, but I didn't see an abundance of scheme from either team in last night's game. I thought it was vanilla football. The Packers won because they ran to the ball on defense.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What did you do for Dorian?
I moved the ball back in my stance.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the regular season.
Can the Packers beat the Bears?
The Packers can beat anybody when they play a little bit of defense and Aaron Rodgers is on his game. I expect the Packers to play a lot of defense this year, but can we expect Rodgers to be on his game in the opener after not playing a down in the preseason? I guess the answer to that question is yes because, well, he's Aaron Rodgers.
Yes, the Packers can beat the Bears, but I can't say that's my expectation. The Bears have a powerful roster and they are heading into this season with the belief they are the team to beat in the NFC North.
In the final analysis, the team whose quarterback plays best will probably win the game, and it's from that modern-day reality the Packers draw their hope for starting fast in their pursuit of reclaiming their hold on the NFC North.
Can the Jaguars beat the visiting Chiefs?
Absolutely! The forecast for Sunday's one o'clock start in Jacksonville is for scorching heat and suffocating humidity.
I talked to former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio last week for a story I did for jaguars.com on Jaguars home openers, and Jack said this: "I look at the schedule each year and I look at the games where teams are going to melt, and that could be one right there. It's huge for teams not accustomed to that heat and humidity. A one o'clock start is brutal for teams not practicing in those conditions."
The key to victory for the Jaguars is keeping the game close heading into the fourth quarter. That's when visiting teams run out of gas.
This is a huge game for the Jaguars. They play a somewhat disheveled Texans team in Houston in Week 2, and then host Tennessee in a Thursday night game. If the Jags can win their opener, they could get off to a fast start to the Nick Foles era.
I'm picking the Jags to win.
Can the Steelers beat the Patriots?
In New England? Probably not, but the Steelers finally played inspired defense against Tom Brady late last season, in an impressive win in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers defense is on the uptick. I don't think this is going to be a championship season for the Steelers, but young talent has the arrow pointing up after two seasons of discord.
Here's the "Ask Vic" Week 1 all-important power rankings:
1. Patriots -- Can Brady do it again?
2. Chiefs -- Is the defense fixed?
3. Bears -- Ready to roar.
4. Rams -- Could take a step back this year.
5. Browns -- OK, boys, show us what you got.
6. Seahawks -- Clowney makes them better.
7. Saints -- Are they done whining?
8. Ravens -- Unique team with unique approach.
9. Eagles -- Wentz is "The Man."
10. Vikings -- Zimmer in hot-seat season.
11. Chargers -- Was last year a fluke?
12. Texans -- Strange maneuvering.
13. Cowboys -- They need Elliott.
14. Packers -- Better plays or better playing?
15. Jaguars -- The Jaguars are 6-0 following hurricanes (I just made that up).
16. Steelers -- Not rebuilding but not reloading.
17. Jets -- Will Bell make them better?
18. Titans -- Last chance for Mariota.
19. Colts -- They might be deceiving.
20. Panthers -- Newton is breaking down.
21. Lions -- Nothing jumps out at me.
22. Bills -- Could be a surprise team.
23. Washington -- Season dedicated to Haskins.
24. Broncos -- What am I supposed to like?
25. Giants -- Jones takes over before midseason.
26. Dolphins -- Totally non-descript franchise.
27. Bucs -- Arians could fix them.
28. Falcons -- Ryan beginning to show some age.
29. Bengals -- This could get really bad.
30. 49ers -- Garoppolo at the test.
31. Raiders -- It's the Antonio Brown Show, starring nobody.
32. Cardinals -- What if Murray isn't good?
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the regular season.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, after looking at the Packers' new roster, what do you discern about the team, its focus and its direction?
The Packers' roster is dramatically improved from this time a year ago and I believe the team's arrow is pointing up, but I know nothing of its focus because there was nothing in the preseason that would speak of it. No problem, because we only have to wait until Thursday to find out about that focus. Thursday night, the baloney stops, but I won't say baloney.
Kale from London, Canada
I tried to find the "Ask Vic" but I couldn't. I remember you warning us about Andrew Luck coming out of college, not about his ability but his commitment/love of the game. He obviously played through a lot, and seven years isn't a flash in the pan, but do you remember how exactly you felt about him back then?
I don't remember the column but I vaguely remember writing Luck was a player who would have options. He's a Stanford grad whose father is at the top of administrative athletics. This is not a guy who had to milk the game for everything he could get out of it. He's someone who could leave the money on the table. Good for him and good for every player who used his college scholarship to put himself into that position. The Hall of Hanging On is also a sad football place.
Mark from Sheboygan, WI
All the best during the coming storm. Hope everything comes out all right!
Thanks to everyone who've sent their well wishes. My intent is to publish on Wednesday and Friday of this week, but the weather could change those plans. Power outage is likely. So, if there's no column, that'll likely be the reason.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
Years ago, legendary Black Hawks hockey player Stan Mikita was quoted after a playoff series loss: "I can't break a stick over a man's head one minute and shake his hand the next." I always marveled at football players going full bore with each other and then shaking hands or high-fiving at game's end. Was there glad-handing at the end of the 1975 AFC final?
I don't remember any. What's more telling is I don't remember any of those guys exchanging pleasantries in retirement. Swann and Atkinson never did a cutesy beer commercial. I think the Steelers and Raiders of the 1970's, many of whom are sadly gone, will dislike each other forever. No hype. They really did hate each other. It's the most real thing I ever covered.
Christopher from Hagerstown, MD
Vic, would you please put the last shovel of dirt on this Carli Lloyd nonsense?
Football players can be kickers but kickers aren't football players. George Blanda, Lou Groza, etc. were football players who kicked. A part of me would like to see kicking eliminated from football. Get rid of the goal posts, the whole bit. I think having to convert a fourth-and-one would be more exciting than seeing a kick decide a football game. I've just never been a special teams guy. There's something about it that seems to cheapen the game. Line up and play! No kicking!
Jon from Jacksonville, FL
The regular season is finally here! What do you think is more important for the Jags defense to regain that '17 magic, having Josh Allen or Nick Foles?
What happened in 2017 was a fluke, so forget about recapturing that '17 magic. Focus on a team with a proven quarterback and defense. If Foles and the Jags defense play to expectations, the Jaguars will be playoff contenders. It's not Allen or Foles, it's Allen and Foles, just as it was Brackens and Brunell.
Ryan from Morris, MN
I'm a smoker (I know it's bad; I'm trying to quit). I was wondering if you ever covered any players who used (tobacco).
The facing board that separated the locker stalls in the Steelers' Three Rivers Stadium locker room had mounted on it big bowl-type ash trays. You moved a lever and the butts and ashes fell into the bowl. I remember players chain-smoking on team flights. A certain linebacker would always sprint off the field when the first half ended. He wanted to get to the locker room and light up a Tareyton. I think one of the reasons Coach Noll didn't give pep talks is because he hated having to breathe in all of that smoke in the locker room. Those Steelers teams trained on cigarettes and cheeseburgers, and then kicked the you know what out of teams on Sundays. They didn't have to live healthy to do what they did.
Zach from Virginia Beach, VA
I'm sure I'm not the only one curious about your "deceived" answer in regards to Luck and the Colts. What did you mean? Do you think Luck knew he was going to retire and should have announced sooner?
That wasn't Luck's responsibility, but it was the Colts' responsibility if, in fact, they knew this would happen. Hey, if you want your fans to be loyal to you, you have to be loyal to them. When the injury talk started again in OTAs, I remember thinking to myself "he should retire." My suspicion is a franchise famous for deception deceived its fans for the purpose of selling season tickets. I'll be interested to see what the fallout from this will be.
Mark from Ventura, CA
Will Vic's power rankings start on Wednesday before the season opener between the Bears and Packers game?
Yes, I intend to publish my all-important power rankings this Wednesday.
Keith from Springfield, MO
Win or lose, I can't wait to see the player I think is the most talented QB to ever play the game go against great defenses in Chicago and Minnesota. Wanting to write a report postgame. What should I need to know to convert from fan to press?
I doubt you can make the conversion.
Pat from Seneca, SC
I want to send a pizza to your house before the start of Thursday's game.
Dorian is expected to arrive here on Thursday. Even if you could find a pizza shop that would answer the phone, they'd probably hang up on you when you said you'd like to order a pizza to be delivered.
John from Salisbury, MD
What were the popular sentiments shared by football insiders, players and writers the morning after the Colts' famous midnight departure from Baltimore? I live in Maryland and it's pretty apparent the anger still runs deep with that generation of fans. I was wondering if there were folks that saw the Colts actions as understandable. Love the blog!
One of my best friends is Vito Stellino, who will forever be famous for covering the Colts' middle-of-the-night escape. Vito got a tip earlier in the day, and he sat in the cold and dark outside the Colts' Owings Mills training facility as he watched the Mayflower moving vans drive away with Baltimore's heart and soul. The 15 moving trucks took different routes to Indianapolis to avoid being delayed by Maryland state police until the state legislature could pass the eminent domain bill. How's that for deception? It was disgraceful. I'll never forgive it.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
The Packers are flashing the stadium lights after touchdowns. They tried the fog horn. Guys taunt and then don't understand why they get penalized for taunting. Coaches don't ask too much of their star players (like playing or practicing). The league panders to the networks that want controversy and personalities more than competition and teamwork. The voices in the league and the media are more interested in self-promotion than the actual quality of the competition. I've been saying for the last several years the NFL is turning into the NBA. Can you explain to me where I'm wrong?
I don't know, I just wanted a free hot dog and a seat in an air-conditioned or heated press box so I could watch all of this in peace and quiet. It's all very entertaining.
Kirsten from Madison, WI
Vic, I finally found a benefit of the preseason games! We're season ticket holders, but with kids in elementary school and with the Packers playing so many night games, we rarely get to go to games as a family. But school hadn't started for us, so last Thursday night we all went together. It was great! Like "Family Night" but better because there's an actual game. Not a solid enough reason to maintain the current preseason schedule, but I don't think we should discount the joy of families getting to share the Packers game experience. It was pretty great.
Are you the von Trapps? Are you going to sing now?
John from Green Bay, WI
Please tell us your best Turk story.
I was interviewing Tony Dungy in the hallway of the second floor of the Steelers' training camp dormitory. Tony had just been traded to the 49ers. As I was interviewing him, the Steelers' Turk, legendary scout Bill Nunn, knocked on the door of veteran kicker Roy Gerela. When Gerela answered the door, Nunn said, "Roy, Coach Noll wants to see you, and bring your playbook." Tony saw the look on my face and smiled. "They really do say that," I said. Tony nodded his head.
Dave from Savage, MN
SI published 100 photos from the NFL through the years. Really good stuff. Do you have a favorite photo?
I have two: Y.A. Tittle's cracked head (the story behind the photo is as good as the photo) and Joe Greene carrying in his arms an unconscious Lynn Swann from the field in the 1975 AFC title game. I'm ashamed to say I have an attraction to violence. I'm not well-adjusted.
Linda from Waukesha, WI
Do you prefer the Packers coaching staff wearing gray pants on the sideline as was done under McCarthy’s direction, or navy blue directed by LaFleur?
Real men wear khaki.
Allan from Guatemala City, Guatemala
Vic, when is help officially not on the way?
It's official. The teams have been picked. The season is about to begin. The baloney stops on Thursday. No more talk about what you're going to do. It's time to do it.