Denny from Midvale, UT
My thoughts on the Packers quarterback situation are if they are playing good enough to make the playoffs with Hundley at QB, and Rodgers is healthy enough to come off IR and play, why not stay with Hundley? To bring Aaron in at that point could upset the turnip cart and ask too much, too soon of him. What are your thoughts on that?
Hey, Brett Hundley threw for 87 yards! It’s ridiculous for you to even consider that long-range scenario, but it’s proof fans love controversy. It’s the bye week, you’re bored and you want a quarterback controversy.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, there seems to be a lot of back and forth in the media between Aaron Rodgers and Anthony Barr in regards to the hit Barr put on Rodgers. Do you have an opinion? Are you willing to share it?
Every time Rodgers did "The belt," I cringed.
Marc from Hartford, VT
Hey, Vic, we needed the bye week to get healed and get our game plan for the most important game of the year cemented.
I agree. This is the big one. I can’t imagine the Packers winning the NFC North without beating the Lions on Monday.
Josh from Tucson, AZ
Hey, Vic, great to see you back! Looks like the Jags are digging into the past with an old Jack Del Rio proclamation: “We will stop the run.” What do you think of the trade for Dareus? My opinion is it’s a bold one with the idea the team has a shot, even with subpar quarterback play from time to time. Regardless, it’s fun to be excited about the Jaguars this time of year; the December friend is at the driveway, wondering if he should ring the doorbell or not. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t keep walking down the street.
It’s a no-risk deal. Marcell Dareus won’t decide the Jaguars’ fate this season, Blake Bortles will, but Dareus might help the Jaguars make December meaningful, and that’s most important for a franchise that’s been irrelevant since, well, since I left. There’s going to be a December in Jacksonville this year, and it’s going to re-light the pro football fire that burned in Jacksonville during the franchise’s whirlwind early years. Who knows? Maybe there’ll be another middle-of-the-night pep rally.
Ben from London, UK
Vic, if Rodgers recovers fully, is next season finally the time for the Packers to switch to a win-now strategy and take some risks with the cap?
I think next year will be a time for the Packers to begin thinking about drafting a quarterback in the first round.
Hank from Muskego, WI
Why do you do power rankings now? I thought you did not like them?
They can be made entertaining, which I try to do by getting a little wild with them and inserting cryptic comments. The problem with that approach is it can create bulletin board material if you’re writing for a team website. I don’t have to worry about that now. What I don’t like about power rankings is people who take them seriously. I think they should be for entertainment only. I think it’s about time for a real juicy asterisk.
Brian from Jacksonville, FL
Does Leonard Fournette remind you any past running backs? Can he be better than Fred Taylor?
Fournette reminds me a little of Natrone Means. Better than Fred? In my heart, nobody could ever be better than Fred.
Mike from Somerset, WI
Vic, I miss your questions during the coaches’ media sessions. How did you formulate your questions?
I didn’t formulate them, I just asked them. If you’re covering a team on a daily basis, you know what to ask and how to ask it, and the how is more important than the what.
Ben from El Paso, TX
Do the wolves howl louder or softer during the bye week?
They chew on a bone.
Wendell from Porta Allegre, Brazil
I've read an article about a possible change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 on the Packers defense. In base defense, it would be Nick Perry and Dean Lowry as ends, Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark as interior linemen, Clay Matthews as Sam, Blake Martinez as Mike, Josh Jones as Will. I like it. What do you think?
I fear it’s too light in the pants and would struggle in the running game.
Jeffro from Kenosha, WI
How do veterans like Bennett and Evans keep focused, under the circumstances? You would have to think they signed with hopes of playing for a championship.
It’s professional football, it’s about the money, and that means it’s about the tape.
Nathan from New York, NY
The Seahawks, a team once known for their defense, wins a wild shootout over the Texans, also a team once known for their defense. Has defense all of the sudden disappeared in the NFL?
It hasn’t happened suddenly; the league has long lobbied against defense. When the Seahawks and Broncos won Super Bowls with a defense-first approach, I said they were the last vestiges of a bygone era; they were flukes in a league gone wild with offense. The NFL won’t allow defense to dominate, as it did in the ’70s. Even low-scoring games, such as Sunday night’s Steelers-Lions game, produce huge yardage totals and big plays. The Steelers won the game with four fantastic goal-line stands, but the tight red zone is the only place where the field is level. At all other places on the field, it tilts to favor offense. It’s a trend the NFL is vigilant to continue.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Sometime in the fourth quarter of the Seattle-Houston game, the announcer said, “Players, not plays.” Also, as a Packers fan from the south, I find it humorous Packers fans always complain about play-calling, but UW Badgers are the perfect example of a players/execution, not plays team. Just line up and beat your man.
When you play Wisconsin’s schedule, you can win with plays, not players, too.
Danny from Kewanee, IL
Would you believe I still have my “thing?”
Always hold onto your "thing."
Here are my Week 8 power rankings:
1. Eagles – Defense is leading the way.
2. Patriots – Dominant in win over Falcons.
3. Steelers – If they begin finishing drives, look out.
4. Rams – Arrow pointing straight up.
5. Saints – No longer a one-trick pony.
6. Chargers – At Pats this week; now we’ll know.
7. Seahawks – Pete Carroll has them on the rise.
8. Vikings – New power team in NFC North?
9. Lions – Rested and waiting to ambush Steelers.
10. Bills – Showed some offense on Sunday.
11. Chiefs – Will rebound against Broncos.
12. Cowboys – How long can they delay Elliott’s suspension?
13. Panthers – Newton’s moodiness a problem.
14. Falcons – Something is terribly wrong.
15. Raiders – Carr’s back and hope has returned.
16. Broncos – Arrow pointing straight down.
17. Jaguars – Who are you? Who, who, who, who?
18. Redskins – Look out, Cowboys.
19. Dolphins – Still not convinced.
20. Texans – Watson gives them bright future.
21. Titans – Record’s good, but Titans aren’t.
22. Packers – Time to rest, make a new plan.
23. Bears – Winning with a magic wand.
24. Ravens – Flacco big hit, but on cap only.
25. Bengals – Burfict only added to their embarrassment.
26. Jets – Competitive, gritty.
27. Bucs – Must fix their defense.
28. Cardinals – No offense and no defense is a bad combination.
29. Giants – Headed nowhere.
30. Colts – Wheels falling off.
31. Browns – At least they play defense.
32. 49ers – Name one good thing.
Brian from Jacksonville, FL
Are you saying Lamar Jackson's skill set is the future, to mean we are going to see more run-pass option in the NFL? How do you see NFL defenses evolving if that were to become true?
Yes, I think Jackson’s skill set is the future of the position in pro football. When the quarterback is a true runner in a spread offense, the offense has a numbers advantage in the running game because defenses traditionally cover four with six. I think we’re already seeing how defenses will react: lighter, faster, more athletic fronts. Watch what defenses do against Dak Prescott. That’s the future.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
The NFL announces they will rearrange team rosters by holding a draft for all current NFL players. Who are the first three players selected?
Dak Prescott, Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack. They're all young and dominant.
Chris from Appleton, WI
Hi Vic, it seems as though the Jaguars may have, at least for the moment, crawled their way out of the hapless pits of the NFL. How do they stay out of it again? Blake Bortles can't be the answer, can he?
He has until the end of the season to prove he can be the future at the position. If he doesn’t prove he’s “The Man,” I would expect the Jaguars to spend their first pick on a quarterback. You have to have “The Man” to be a championship contender.
Andrew from Huxley, IA
Vic, the "Insider Inbox" comments sections have become unbearable. I know when you started the column you loved that fans were interacting. Any advice on how one can enjoy the inbox and interact with other fans without being turned off by the hate being spewed by certain posters?
Reason defeats emotion.
Zach from La Junta, CO
It is very evident anything can happen in any football game, but has there ever been a team so bad vs. a team so dominant there was no chance of winning in the NFL?
I saw it in 1976 when the Steelers hosted the winless Tampa Bay Bucs. In all of the years I covered Chuck Noll’s Steelers team, it was the only time I can remember Coach Noll avoiding conversation of that week’s opponent. The Bucs were so bad the outcome was a foregone conclusion, and to speak on the subject would’ve been in bad taste.
Kris from Stockbridge, WI
With no Packers game this weekend, which games should Green Bay fans be watching? Which games will Vic be watching?
The Steelers-Lions game is the obvious choice, as the Packers host the Lions the following week. If the Lions beat the Steelers, I will consider the Week 9 game in Green Bay a must win for the Packers. Vikings-Browns and Saints-Bears don’t interest me, but you never know. Chargers at Patriots has my interest; so does Broncos at Chiefs.
Haillie from Washington, WI
Hi Vic, in the absence of Rodgers, do you think the rest of the team is trying to do too much?
I think Packers fans are trying to do the same thing Coach McCarthy did: play around the quarterback. Defense wasn’t the issue on Sunday. I thought it played better than could be expected against a high-powered offense with a lopsided time of possession advantage. Quarterback was the issue; it’s just that simple. I’m not trying to be overly critical of a guy making his first start, but you’re just not going to win when you pass for 87 yards. Against Drew Brees? Again, let’s get real, OK? Packers fans love to blame the defense because they’re homers for offense. They love the passers and pass-catchers. The Packers’ passing game was a no-show and that’s why they lost.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Carlos and Smith were suspended from the U.S. team and banned from the Olympic Village. They, and their families, faced death threats for the protest on the podium. But we have hope. Carlos competed again in track and field, and Smith went on to play for the AFL. Each man has his proper place in the annals of U.S. track and field. History gives us perspective. It's a patient game. Thanks, Vic.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, after seven games into the season, what will the Packers need to do to make the postseason?
I think they need to win their remaining four NFC North games. I think it begins with that. That’s the way I see it, as I look at the schedule.
Brian from Kingston, NY
Since you have a penchant for comparing current players to players from other eras, who does Aaron Jones remind you of?
I see some Greg Pruitt.
Bill from Forest Park, OH
Give me hope, Vic.
OK, here’s reason for hope: In my opinion, if the Packers beat the Lions in Week 9, the Packers will make it into the postseason. Should the Packers lose that game, hope will be replaced by desperation. Use your bye weekend to get ready for the big game of the season, the next one.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, historically, how have NFL teams fared record-wise after losing their starting QB?
Let me be specific: In 2013, the Packers played five times in November without Aaron Rodgers and didn’t win any of those games. As I’ve said, you’re not hurt until your quarterback is hurt. The Packers are playing uphill now. This isn’t a feel-good, fill in situation as it was against the Patriots in 2010. This is for the long haul. It will take everything the Packers have inside them to remain a contender. I think Packers fans should lower their expectations and heighten their appreciation of the grit this football team is going to display over the remainder of this season.
Let’s take a whirl around the NFL:
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what does Green Bay need to do to help Brett Hundley be successful?
I thought the Packers did as much on Sunday. The bottom line is it’s nearly impossible to play around your quarterback and win in today’s game. Twelve of 25 for 87 yards and an interception won’t get it done. For the Packers to stay alive in the playoff race, they need to get more production out of the quarterback position. They can’t play scared at sports’ most important position. He’s “The Man,” whether you have him or not. The Packers ran the ball well. Their defense forced a couple of turnovers early that set the tone. Special teams made a major contribution. What we found out on Sunday is how the other half has been living through all the years Packers fans have enjoyed watching Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre tilt the field in Green Bay’s favor. Sunday, it tilted the other way.
Barb from Salem, OR
Coach McCarthy was quick to take the blame for the performance in the second half. What I saw was an entire team that failed to put together a solid performance. Were his words meant for his young QB?
His are the words of a leader.
Jeff from Asheville, NC
I think I speak for all Packers fans when I say I’m ready for the bye week. How did you spend the bye week during your career?
By going to work every day.
Eric from Colorado Springs, CO
So, who is the lead horse in the race of blame? McCarthy and the conservative play calling, Brett Hundley and his execution, the referees and penalties, or the announcers not being pro-Packer enough? I've got to know who is to blame for my sadness this week before I can move on to Monday?
Anthony Barr is to blame. I also think we're to blame. My inbox last week had a weird tone to it. It was almost as though fans were looking forward to a change at quarterback, as if the new guy would be better. I sensed it in the crowd on Sunday. There was excitement in the air. I think Packers fans set themselves up for disappointment. Hey, Drew Brees was the other quarterback. Let’s get real.
Betty from Flagstaff, AZ
Vic, I would like your opinion on the top three things a successful football team needs to develop and sustain to become a Super Bowl champion.
Coach, quarterback and a system for acquiring and developing/utilizing talent.
Kris from Stockbridge, WI
As help isn't on the way, what positive things did you see in the Packers on Sunday to give reason for hope this season?
They played with a sense of urgency. I felt as though they elevated their game.
Colin from Plymouth, UK
Aaron Jones looked like the present and future at running back. Has he done enough to secure the starting running back position from here on out?
I was asked a similar question about Ty Montgomery last season. There is no such thing as from here on out. Jones has done enough to be the starter in the immediate future. I think he’s a good-looking back.
Trace from Edisto Island, SC
What is your grade for Hundley?
He wasn’t good enough. I think he was more focused on not committing turnovers than he was on making plays. I think that’s to be expected of a quarterback making his first start, especially a quarterback replacing the best quarterback in the game. I think Brett Hundley needs to let it rip in the next game. Play to win, not to avoid losing. He has the talent to make plays. I think you’ll see a different player in the next game. I think more will be demanded of him. It has to be that way.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
The Steelers recently did a fashion show. Describe for us what a fashion show would look like if done by the Steelers of the ’70s.
Frenchy Fuqua would be dressed as a French count, replete with a swashbuckling hat, cape, cane and high-heel shoes. The top of the cane and each of the high heels would be made of glass and filled with water, and a goldfish would be swimming in each. I’m not kidding. He wore that outfit. Frenchy is one of the most colorful players I’ve ever covered. I remember interviewing him in his training camp dorm room, where he smoked cigarettes from a long-stemmed, jewel-studded cigarette holder.
Jon from Bloomfield, NJ
Vic, did you see the Bears won with Mitchell Trubisky throwing seven passes? Remember any good games from before the chuck rule when the winning QB threw seven passes?
I covered the Steelers in 1976 when they won nine consecutive games following the infamous Turkey Jones hit that sidelined Terry Bradshaw and left the Steelers to play with a rookie quarterback named Mike Kruczek. Kruczek needed to do little more than hand off to Franco Harris and Rockey Bleier, as the “Steel Curtain” turned in the greatest defensive performance I have ever seen. In the final nine games of the season, the Steelers scored five shutouts and allowed a total of 28 points. Those days are over. You can’t sustain winning with a handoff machine in today’s game.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Vic, how do you see the Packers season playing out?
If Mike McCarthy wasn’t the coach, I’d have reason for grave concern. Coach McCarthy will find a way to keep the Packers in the hunt.
Jesse from Anaconda, MT
What does Coach McCarthy mean when he says he didn’t let Hundley get comfortable in the pocket?
It means he tried to play the game for him. He was overly protective of his young quarterback. It won’t work. He has to let him play. Players, not plays.
Gary from Murrieta, CA
Vic, Colin Kaepernick had a contract with the 49ers and walked away. Doesn't that weaken his case with the NFL?
He opted for free agency because the new coach and general manager made it clear Kaepernick did not fit in their plans. John Lynch was quoted as saying as much.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
To me, surgery for the collarbone on the throwing shoulder sounds like no chance to come back for the playoffs. What have your years of journalism taught you about these injuries?
I’ve always sought the advice of the medical profession and training people. Former Jaguars trainer Mike Ryan, whose information I've always relied, recently described in his blog Aaron Rodgers’ surgery and prospects for recovery. I think you’ll enjoy the read: http://www.mikeryansportsmedicine.com/closer-look-at-aaron-rodgers-clavicle-fracture/
Here’s this week’s power rankings: 1. Eagles – Powerful defense. 2. Patriots – Beginning to hit their stride. 3. Panthers – Little girl with the curl. 4. Falcons – Better than their record. *5. Steelers – They can be special. 6. Rams – Beginning to build something. 7. Chiefs – Defense exposed as soft. 8. Saints – Look out Packers. 9. Packers – Season lost on one play? 10. Lions – Clobbered in New Orleans. 11. Redskins – They’re growing on me. 12. Texans – Houston does not have a problem. 13. Seahawks – Ready to make a move. 14. Dolphins – Looked great in Atlanta. 15. Bills – Can they find more offense? 16. Broncos – Headed for a fall. 17. Vikings – They’ll go as far as defense can take them. 18. Cowboys – Elliott is becoming a distraction. *19. Bengals – Look out Steelers. 20. Cardinals – Finally making a move? 21. Bucs – Defense falling apart. 22. Jaguars – Win over Steelers a fluke. 23. Bears – Trubisky showing upside. 24. Ravens – These Ravens are soft. 25. Titans – Nothing special here. 26. Colts – Future growing dim. 27. Jets – Not a contender. 28. Raiders – Chance to move up tonight. 29. Chargers – I’m on the verge of becoming a believer. 30. Giants – Impressive win in Denver. 31. 49ers – On the verge of winning. 32. Browns – Not on the verge of anything. *This week’s game for mature audiences only.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what is your opinion of Brett Hundley as a quarterback?
He passes the eye test. That’s all we know at this point. Can he play with poise and courage? That’s what we’ll find out over the next several weeks. He’s going to face every blitz known to man. Will he keep his eyes focused downfield? That’s the No. 1 question I need to answer about any young quarterback.
Matt from Lincoln City, OR
Just found the blog and I feel like I once again have a sports column to read. If Green Bay keeps the postseason streak going this season, do you see Brett Hundley fetching a first-rounder?
If Hundley leads the Packers to the postseason, he becomes the Packers’ quarterback of the future. Aaron Rodgers will turn 34. It’s not too soon to begin thinking of the future, especially considering Rodgers’ injury is to his throwing arm.
Paul from Chicago, IL
Vic, I remember reading your columns during the 2013 season when you wrote for the Packers, after Rodgers broke his left collarbone. I remember feeling lost at the time, like the season was over. Looking back through the 2013 season, it was one of my favorite seasons. What are your memories of that season?
My memories are of the daily drama. Would Rodgers play in the next game? It was a reporter’s dream. Every day was a repeat of the previous day, but it was still news. It was a seven-week drum roll. And then the cymbals crashed, and it was so very worth the wait. I likened the season finale in Chicago to “The Natural.” When the ball fell into Randall Cobb’s hands, I think I saw the lights explode. The 2013 season is one of my all-time favorites.
Jeffro from Kenosha, WI
I was surprised to hear McCarthy call the hit on Rodgers dirty/illegal. As much as I hate the outcome, it looked like good football to me. You?
It was a little late, but nothing flagrant. I saw much worse in the Steelers-Chiefs game later that afternoon.
Kenneth from Hell, Norway
Hi, just wondering what you think about Colin Kaepernick. I mean, when I watched him run for 181 yards in that 2013 playoff game, I thought to myself this guy will be the next big star. Now that solid 49ers team is gone and so is he. What really happened?
He has a long-arm release that telegraphs his throws, which made it critically important to learn to look-off defenders. I don’t think he developed that skill. The last time I covered him, he was still staring down receivers. As a runner, defenses were making him be a passer, which I predicted would happen.
Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD
With Rodgers now gone, the field no longer tilts. I'm finding parity has knocked expectations out of my vocabulary. Watch the game and appreciate the skills of some very well-trained and committed young men. Is this what perspective is all about? If so, it sure is better for my blood pressure.
I’m getting this crazy sense Packers fans are almost relieved they don’t have to worry about going to the Super Bowl anymore. If it’s come to that, then expectations have created pressure that's crippling fans’ ability to enjoy the game. If you’re reading this and you think I’m describing you, it’s time to achieve perspective.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Kaepernick made us think? Has anyone said anything thoughtful about police brutality since Kaepernick first remained seated? Has any congressman, governor or president initiated so much as a bake sale to do anything about disparity in our justice system? I'm afraid Kaepernick has exposed our soft underbelly: We simply don't care. This veteran mourns for his country.
Kaepernick’s message has gotten lost in the anthem uproar. John Carlos and Tommie Smith did it the right way.
J.G. from Silver Spring, MD
Vic, so glad I found your new site. Believe it or not, I still have an original “Ask Vic” mug from your Jaguars days, in mint condition!
I have one, too. One word of warning: Don’t put it in the dishwasher. There are reports of the words washing off the outside of the mug.
Kris from Stockbridge, WI
And when they say it’s not about the money, that’s when it’s really about the money.
George Young was talking about football players, not sportswriters.
Don from Roscoe, IL
Where's the limit for a QB like Brett Hundley? I mean, unlike our president, Brett has huge hands.
Phenomenal, tremendous. He’s a great quarterback. Believe me, you’re gonna love him.
Devin from Portland, OR
Vic, we do not have a large NFL sample size on which to base our opinions of Brett Hundley. As someone who has covered the team, I would expect you have a better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses than a typical fan, especially as they have evolved during his time in Green Bay. That said, what do you believe are some of his strengths and weaknesses? In what ways will McCarthy tailor the offense to play to his strengths?
His weakness is he’s inexperienced. His strength is his coach is a true believer in the West Coast offense, and what we’re going to see is a shift in the Packers offense from extend the play to get it out quick and on time. Truth be known, Aaron Rodgers is not a true West Coast quarterback. He’s too talented to be restricted to a three-step-drop, throw-it-away mentality. McCarthy will arm Hundley with a game plan that will protect him from the rush and demand little more than an accurate, intermediate range pass.
Dave from Saint Peters, MO
Vic, what is your take on protecting the QB, in light of how Aaron Rodgers was injured? It seemed the act of taking two steps after the ball was released, then leaving one's feet and applying full body weight on the QB as he goes to the ground, serves only one purpose, injuring him. I like toughness, but I don't like hurting people for the sake of hurting them.
Come on, he wasn’t trying to do that. Anthony Barr was playing football, just as Clay Matthews plays football. I don’t like the whining and crying I’m seeing about this play. How do you protect the quarterback? I said it years ago: Let him spike the ball to avoid a sack. If he chooses to extend the play, you’re on your own, big guy.
Steve from Minocqua, WI
Vic, just what is Colin Kaepernick trying to accomplish with his collusion lawsuit? His sideline protest made him a pariah that apparently no team will touch, and now he hopes to dismantle the CBA? What is your take on the situation?
He’s trying to get money, just as the baseball players did in the 1980s when they won a collusion suit that resulted in owners paying the players $280 million. Kaepernick is going to win, just as the baseball players won and Connie Hawkins won against the NBA.
Neal from Cheddar, UK
Steelers win, but is Big Ben still going to be chiming next year?
I think this is his final season. Fourteen seasons is a long time to play football, especially when you’ve been battered as he has been.
Let’s start with this for Steelers fans: No coach is better at challenging his team than Mike Tomlin. After last week’s pathetic performance against the Jaguars, he challenged his team to run the ball and play defense, and that’s exactly what he got yesterday. The final score was not indicative of the physical pounding the Steelers put on the Chiefs. That’s the hardest I’ve seen a defense hit all year.
Andreww from Woodville, OH
Vic, I know you tell us to enjoy the ride of the twists and turns of a season, but after a certain broken collarbone, are we wrong to be disappointed the ride is now much less likely to include a Super Bowl?
Disappointed? How about devastated? My heart goes out to all Packers fans today. I know how much you love your team. I know how much this hurts.
Tom from Wood River, IL
Do you think Packers fans are about to learn not to let hope turn into expectations? I will hope for a good game each week now.
You’ve achieved perspective. One win, any win, is good enough now.
Jerry from Wilmington, NC
Ok Vic, now that I know you are who you say you are, are the Packers who we think they are?
Not without Aaron Rodgers. That identity is gone. Now they must create a new identity. Now they must run the ball, stop the run, rush the passer, defend against the pass … they must do it all because they won’t have Rodgers to do it for them.
Joe from Colorado Springs, CO
Vic, first I'd like to apologize for any grammar or punctuation errors. I've never been much of a reader, but “Ask Vic” changed that for me and I'd like to thank you for the enjoyment I've had from your writing. It made me very sad when you retired; insider just isn't the same without you. I just discovered this blog while reading the inbox and I literally jumped for joy. I'm very glad to be able to read your work once again. You are truly unique and could never be duplicated or replaced by any means. Now, onto my question. Will you be bringing back the bans? Thank you for your time and all the joy you've brought me over the years.
Salvador from Metepec, Mexico
I found your column in the 2013 season when No. 12 went down. I came every day to packers.com to check. Do you expect any Week 17 heroics from Rodgers to keep the playoff streak going?
Expect? No. Hopeful? Yes.
Jimmy from Jacksonville, FL
In your vast wisdom, can you please explain what happened to Blake Bortles and how should GM Dave Caldwell be held accountable, if at all?
What do you want, a public flogging? All personnel directors are held accountable for their decisions, especially at quarterback. James Harris was held accountable for his decisions, and the ones in 2008 – Derrick Harvey and Jerry Porter immediately come to mind – did him in. Gene Smith was held accountable for Blaine Gabbert. Ultimately, Tom Coughlin was held accountable for the Jaguars’ salary cap problems. I wrote in this column last week the Browns are proof a team in need of a quarterback should never pass on a quarterback. That doesn’t mean you’ll pick the right guy, but you’ll never find the right one if you don’t pick one. Caldwell needed a quarterback. Bortles was largely considered to be the next guy up. Was Bortles overdrafted? Sure he was. So was E.J. Manuel, Christian Ponder, Tim Couch, Akili Smith and on and on. It’s the nature of the position. Bortles’ travails remind me of Byron Leftwich’s. It’s difficult for a quarterback to succeed if he has bad mechanics. The last pass Bortles threw in the Jets game nearly turned end over end. A decision will be made on his future by season’s end. There is still hope, but time is running short.
Tim from Madison, WI
Vic, you love Lamar Jackson. I do, too, but I don't see how he succeeds as a QB in the NFL. What am I missing?
You’re missing the evolution of the position on the pro level. Jackson’s skill set is the future.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the NCAA’s failure to significantly punish North Carolina?
The NCAA sent a strong message with its ruling on North Carolina. That message is: It pays to cheat.
Jeffro from Kenosha, WI
I constantly hear the media say the Packers have one of the least talented rosters in the league, sans Aaron Rodgers. The great Ron Wolf believed roughly a third of your roster needed to be Pro-Bowl caliber players to win the Super Bowl. Do you think we have those 15 players? Glad you're back!
Wolf said that? I find that hard to believe, especially in the salary cap era. You not only don’t need 15 stars to win the Super Bowl, you couldn’t afford to cap 15 stars. The Patriots are the proof of that. Yes, in the pre-cap years, you needed a deep and powerful cast of players to win it all. You needed the big three on offense (QB, RB, WR) and a dominant player on defense. The Cowboys had Aikman, Smith, Irvin and Woodson (among others on defense). The 49ers had Montana, Craig, Rice and Lott. The Steelers had Bradshaw, Harris, Swann and Greene (among several others on defense). The Packers had Starr, Taylor, Dowler and Nitschke (among others on defense). Today’s teams can’t afford all of those players on one roster. Look at Brady’s cast of receivers with whom he’s won Super Bowls; it’s been a revolving door.
Squirrelette from Bethesda, MD
Vic, with Aaron Rodgers possibly out for the rest of the season, how do you see the Packers’ chances to make the playoffs? I'm also worried about the defense.
The Packers’ playoff chances have taken a broadside hit, and now that becomes the storyline. Let’s play to that drama. It worked in 2013. It was one of the most thrilling Decembers I’ve ever covered. I do not want to lose my December friend. By the way, please use a real kind of name. I don’t want to start a trend of readers using tags. I won’t answer questions from people using tags.
Edward from Canton, SD
What do you think about signing Colin Kaepernick?
I’m not opposed to it.
Mark from Adelaide, Australia
Searching “Vic Ketchman” and “Ask Vic” on Google returned only your old work for the first two pages of search returns, so I thought I had misunderstood the mentions. A few nights later, I persisted by digging a little deeper and finally found your new blog on the bottom of the third page of Google search returns. Just thought you might want to know the path your former readers are taking to find their way back to you. Would you prefer the new blog flew a little under the radar, or would you be just as happy if everyone came flooding over to join the new conversation?
If no one reads this new “Ask Vic,” I make no money. If the whole world reads it, I still make no money. It’s still professional football, but for the first time in my writing career, it’s not about the money.
Kris from Copenhagen, Denmark
Vic, how much do you enjoy seeing the Jags finally having some success again?
It warms my heart. My early years in Jacksonville were my great adventure. I left home and a team I had covered for 23 years to live and work in a place I had never even visited. Everything was new. What followed were 16 wonderful years of learning new ways, and I learned more about myself in those 16 years than I had in the 44 years previous. That’s why I say change is good. It’s also why I left to go to Green Bay. Change is good. Now, I have all those memories to make me rich. They are memories of sweltering days in Jacksonville, and frigid days in Green Bay. They are memories of a team steeped in tradition, and of a team trying to establish one. Jacksonville allowed me to be a pioneer; I was there when it all began. I owe Jacksonville more than I could ever repay it. Go Jags!
Andy from Grand Rapids, MI
Vic, I know the only reason you never truly answered soccer questions on packers.com is because you were beholden by the big wigs to stick to football. Now that you are free of that burden, what are your thoughts on the USMNT failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup?
I’m OK with it because if they played the World Cup in my backyard, I’d close the blinds. If the soccer nuts broke into my house, opened the blinds and held my eyelids open and forced me to watch, I’d hold my breath until I died. If I was president, I would sign an executive order banning soccer, and I would propose a ban on immigration from countries harboring soccer.
Paula from Minneapolis, MN
Now that you’re able to watch football as a fan, do you focus on different aspects of the game than you did as a writer? If so, what?
No, I watch football the same way. I study what each team is attempting to do according to formation, motion, shifting and disguising coverages and fronts. Once I get a feel for the plan, I know what each team’s perceived strengths and weaknesses are, and then I just watch the ball and enjoy the drama.
Dustin from Seymour, WI
I was rooting for the Packers defense to get that last stop in Dallas. What's your opinion on the arrow of the defense?
It’s pointing sideways. Dom Capers is doing a lot schematically, and that always worries me. I like a defense that can line up, play it straight and win the one-on-ones. I don’t get the sense so far this season the Packers defense can play that way.
Mike from Niagara Falls, Canada
Do you find it a little too convenient a former USFL owner (who not only tanked the USFL with his ideas but was once denied ownership of an NFL team), is waging war on the NFL now that he has the most powerful office in the country? He seems petty enough to hold that kind of grudge.
Donald Trump will never get over the embarrassment of a $3 ($1 trebled) damage award to the USFL from the NFL. In his mind, he’ll always see the NFL people laughing as they left the courthouse. He pushed the envelope too far too fast. The USFL had developed a nice spring niche for itself, but that wasn’t good enough for Trump. He wanted to play in the fall. He wanted to wage war with the NFL. He made a big mistake.
Richie from Truckee, CA
How's that for another chapter in the Packers-Vikings rivalry?
It’s the best rivalry in the NFC North.
Today’s column begins a twice-a-week “Ask Vic.” I’ll post columns on Mondays and Thursdays, and as the volume of questions increase, so will the number of days this column is posted. Simply put, I hate wasting good questions. That’s why I’ve always contended the reader writes this column. So, let’s see what the reader has written for today.
Tom from Pine River, WI
I truly believe if TV cameras focused on the flag during our national anthem instead of players on the sidelines (and fans in the stands), no one would ever have noticed Colin Kaepernick. Now it's become our country's biggest stage for protest. Our need for constant entertainment is the real issue, in my opinion.
The media doesn’t hide the news, it reports the news. In my opinion, it’s what makes our country great. Kaepernick has done us a service, at a great cost to him. He has made us think.
Gary from Murietta, CA
Vic, you stated you were angry about the protest issue. As a veteran, I appreciate your comment about the first amendment, which I totally support. I'm not happy the players have chosen to use the national anthem as their soapbox. I believe that is what is hurting their cause and message the most. Now the commissioner is asking them to stand, and the owners may create a rule requiring them to. Where do you see this divisive issue going, and for how long?
I’m not an attorney, so I asked my friend, a southern-justice judge who considers spitting on the sidewalk to be the limit of peaceful protest, what his thoughts are on this subject. He said there isn’t a court in the land that’ll rule against first amendment rights. I respect the commissioner’s appeal, and I agree with it. I also think the owners should be very, very careful in how far they take this. If they end up in court, they will lose, or we will all lose. I think they should ask themselves: Do we really want to draw battle lines against players with whom we will be attempting to negotiate a new CBA in a few years?
Kenny from Anderson, IN
I'm so glad Vito shared your new column. This year, more than ever, I wanted to hear your thoughts. Thank you for sharing them with us.
There is no sportswriter I respect more than Vito Stellino. You can find him in two places: the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and at vitostellino.com. I love his blog. Vito was covering the Steelers as a veteran reporter when I was a young reporter trying to find my way. I watched Vito closely; I still do.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, since retiring, do you think you will ever go watch a pro football game as a fan in the stands. I don't think it would be easy to do.
I went to a sports bar during a bye week a few years ago. It was an awful experience. The people were insufferable. It really bothered me, and that’s when I began my campaign for fans to seek the proper perspective. I can tell you taunting fellow patrons in a sports bar is not the proper perspective. I prefer the press box because I enjoy civility.
Duval from Jacksonville, FL
When are you coming back to Jacksonville? We’ll welcome you back with open arms.
After Coach Noll retired, he was asked when he was coming back to visit. He said, “Cast no shadows.” Be that as it may, I watch with great interest what the Jaguars do.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
Now that you're not affiliated with a team, can you redeem yourself and post a power ranking with the asterisk?
1. Chiefs – Why did they draft a quarterback? 2. Falcons – I’ll overlook that loss to Buffalo. 3. Packers – Best quarterback in the game. 4. Eagles – Team on the rise. 5. Panthers – Newton rose above his critics. 6. *Patriots – They still have Brady. 7. Broncos – Cap beaters. 8. Lions – Better than their record. 9. Jaguars – I’m partial. 10. Bills – Play hard but not for real. 11. Steelers – Fate is in Big Ben’s hands. 12. Ravens – Not much here to see. 13. Bengals – Don’t count them out. 14. Raiders – Not a contender without Carr. 15. Seahawks – Yesterday’s team. 16. Saints – I see some things I like. 17. Rams – Who are you? 18. Jets – Not for long. 19. Bucs – Arrow pointing up. 20. Texans – Losing Watt hurts. 21. Titans – Any time, now. 22. Redskins – Middle of the road. 23. Cowboys – Terrible defense. 24. Vikings – Terrible offense. 25. Dolphins – I’ve barely noticed. 26. Colts – Will Luck ever recover? 27. Chargers – Could make a move. 28. Cardinals – Greatly disappointing. 29. Bears – They better hope Trubisky is the guy. 30. 49ers – Long way to go. 31. Giants – Rebuilding has begun. 32. Browns – A quarterback would make all the difference. * Cheated in many games but none this year, we think.
Sam from Jacksonville, FL
Do you think the Jaguars can continue winning despite not having “The Man?”
Yeah, but where are they going without him?
Dustin from Orlando, FL
Do you still read every question sent in?
Every one of them.
Evan from Rochester, NY
The other day you mentioned Rodgers needs two more Super Bowls to cement his legacy. My question is do you think he will get them?
Yes, if one of them is this season. The years are beginning to pile up.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL
Those oaks off the porch sure look familiarly peaceful. What do you think of these millennial players compared to football players you have covered over your career?
They’re bigger, stronger, faster, but not as tough.
Jeff from Chatsworth, CA
When people talk about the NFL Mount Rushmore, why does Teddy Roosevelt never make the list? He is the reason football is even still played.
His impact was mostly on college football. He invented the NCAA. Teddy, please come back, we need another invention.
Ronnie from Jacksonville, FL
It's been a while since I've read your column and I find out you retired to the beach? The beach? Back in Jax, you made me fall in love with the idea of finding my mountain, which I did; it is near Max Patch, NC. What happened to your mountain?
I found it at sea level.
Tony from Colorado Springs, CO
You've mentioned previously that when watching the 2007 preseason game against Jacksonville, you knew Rodgers was ready. What made you think that? Have you ever called it so well on other players? How about any big misses you've had on thinking a player was going to be the next big thing?
Rodgers made it look easy. That was the tip. I missed on Chad Henne.
Bill from Edisto Beach, SC
It was announced viewership for the Packers-Cowboys game was down 14 percent from last year. Some say anthem issue. Others say safety issues. What do you say is the cause?
Ratings were down seven percent in the first four weeks of last season. It’s just a trend. There are so many games on TV fans don’t feel compelled to see them all. As evidence, “Sunday Ticket” is great if you want to see the games nobody else wants to see. Don’t think pro football’s arrow is pointing down. America couldn’t live without it. College football? I watch too much of it. The majority of games are a waste of time.
Randy from Aurora, CO
Welcome back, Vic. Good to hear your opinions again. Can the Packers afford to keep Davante Adams? Love how he plays and glad he came out of that hit with no serious issues. But like you've said, you can't keep them all. He likely will command big money the way he has played the last couple of years. They already have Nelsen and Cobb making $10 million per year.
Young players on the rise always win out.
Gavin from Saint Paul, MN
What was your relationship like with former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer Bob McGinn? I always saw him as sort of the antithesis to your reporting style.
There’s no better reporter than Bob.
Andrew from Grand Cayman
Just back from first-ever trip to Dallas. Is Jerry’s World (mega TV screens, roof and glass walls, 20,000 fans standing, etc.) the model for future NFL stadiums, or just a Texas-sized outlier?
It’s the exception. It’s an event stadium. I think the future is for smaller, more intimate stadiums. I believe we’ve hit the saturation point in stadium size. TV continues to be the future of pro football. I see the few paying much so the many can watch for free.
Luke from Aiken, SC
Grits or hashbrowns?
I try not to eat grits in restaurants because they put milk in them, and milk doesn’t agree with me. I make my grits in water and prefer them to hashbrowns, but one of the restaurants near where I live serves hashbrowns on a bed of green peppers and onions. That’s a different ballgame.
Following the best game of the season, let’s take a whirl around the league.
Bob from Oosterhout, The Netherlands
Hi, Vic, is there any time you would let Prescott slide at the 1-yard line to keep the clock running? I know it is dangerous if you are not leading, but Dallas had to account for Rodgers.
As Dak Prescott was crossing the goal line, I looked at the time left on the clock and I whispered, “Game over, Packers win.” The kneel-at-the-1 play is going to become a part of every team’s playbook in this era of high-scoring games. Stopping the elite quarterbacks and offenses is nearly impossible in today’s game. You almost have to play defense with your offense by keeping your opponent’s offense off the field.
Colin from Milwaukee, WI
Rodgers tilts the field. Good to see you again, Vic!
He is the clear early-season leader for MVP. His value to the Packers is every bit the equal of Tom Brady’s to the Patriots. The Packers will go as far as Aaron Rodgers takes them. It’s just that simple. Every Packers fan knows as much.
Stephen from Chicago, IL
Hurt vs. injured. Do players make the distinction today? Do coaches? Do you think the point in the season makes a difference?
Late in the season, when there is no tomorrow, you play hurt. Until then, you rest and rehab so you’ll be ready to be at your best for those late-season games. Hey, yesterday’s victory was uplifting, but it’s the next game between the Packers and Cowboys that will likely determine the Packers’ fate this season.
Bill from Madison, WI
You love semicolons, don't you?
They eliminate a lot of unnecessary words.
Donovan from Baldwin Park, CA
Boy, is Rodgers the best there has ever been? With 1:13 remaining, I wasn't worried in the least.
He’s the best I’ve ever covered, but I think he needs to win at least two more Super Bowls before we can consider him a challenger to Brady and some others.
Jamie from Rhinelander, WI
Not a question but a comment. I kind of agree with you on Romo in the booth, except I think he's actually terrible at it.
He’s not terrible, but he’s not Troy Aikman, either. Aikman turned in yesterday what I believe is the best TV analyst performance I’ve witnessed so far this season. He was really on his game.
Michael from Hamilton, NY
Who's your favorite college prospect at QB right now? Is it the next Mike Vick in Jackson? The next Eli Manning in Rosen? The next Romo in Darnold?
I like Lamar Jackson a lot. He’s got the total game. I see him as the next Cam Newton.
Larry from Goldsboro, NC
Glad you are back writing. I think the protest has moved from the actual problem to protesting the protest of the protest. Everybody is reacting to what they see and hear. That being said, I do not agree with the way/timing of the protest during the anthem and was encouraged by the way it was handled at the game on Thursday night. You knew what they were doing but it was respectful and the fans’ reaction to the flag and anthem were fantastic. Any thoughts on the situation as it has developed over the last year?
I’m not offended by protest. I think it’s healthy because it makes us think. Now we have a new controversy: the vice president leaving the game as a protest to the players. I’m OK with his protest. I’m not OK with what it cost the taxpayers.
Jamie from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, now that you can do anything you want, what are you reading?
I’m reading “Use of Force,” which my Marine pilot neighbor gave to me. On deck is “Enemy of the State,” also on loan from my neighbor. After that, I think I’ll read something less violent.
Jack from Washington, DC
Welcome back, Vic! What, if anything, can we do as owners of the Packers to improve and encourage the transition to a player-safety culture?
Don’t complain when Blake Martinez is flagged for brushing a receiver’s helmet. It’s what happens when you become overly sensitive to enforcing a rule. I thought the roughing-the-passer penalty against the Cowboys late in the game was also an overreaction.
Tony from Colorado Springs, CO
Did you catch Al Michaels talking about how after 15 years with the Eagles it was time for Andy Reid to leave? I realize they are 4-1 with a likely franchise QB now, but was that a case of them getting sick of winning?
It was a case of getting sick of not winning it all. Reid’s Eagles teams had a reputation for not getting it done in the postseason. Marty Schottenheimer suffered from the same affliction. Will that change for Reid in Kansas City? So far, it hasn’t. Last year’s home playoff loss to the Steelers was a bitter pill to swallow. I think Alex Smith took the blame for it and that’s a big reason the Chiefs drafted Patrick Mahomes in the first round. Now Reid and Smith have the Chiefs on a roll again, and the more they win, the more expectations will increase for the postseason. Yeah, owners and fans can get tired of winning, especially if it’s followed by losing in the postseason.
Surprise! I woke up this morning in the mood, so I dashed downstairs for my morning coffee and my laptop.
The games that most interest me today are Panthers at Lions, Packers at Cowboys and Chiefs at Texans. I have a special interest in Jaguars at Steelers, for the obvious reason. It was on this date 22 years ago the expansion Jaguars upset the Steelers and scored the first home win in Jacksonville history. I remember the day as though it was yesterday. It was blistering hot. Chad Brown passed out and collapsed in the huddle. After the game, the locker room people swept the IV lines into a big pile in the Steelers’ locker room. It was an exciting time in my life and the Jaguars and Steelers would go on to play some of the most thrilling and memorable games I have ever covered. The Jags have always been tough on the Steelers.
T.J. from Tampa, FL
I made my first-ever trip to Lambeau during the shareholders meeting in July. While on a tour and overlooking the field, I asked an older guide, “Which end zone was it?” exactly as you once did. With no hesitation, he responded “Ice Bowl? Right there,” and pointed to the south end zone. While in the press box, I also asked him where you sat and he gestured to the vicinity. No question, just thought you might like to hear.
A hundred years from now, if you asked the same questions, the answer to the first would be the same, the answer to the second would be “Who?” Bart Starr’s game-winning quarterback sneak in the “Ice Bowl” is one of the two most legendary plays in NFL history – the “Immaculate Reception” is the other. Those two plays are the foundation on which the Packers and Steelers franchises are built.
Bob from Pocatello, ID
Great to see you back. My season just got better. I agree that in today’s NFL you need “The Man” to be a contender. But it is seemingly even more so now, with the nature of injuries. You need “The Man” and “the coach” to be able to get through the inevitable rough patches. Belichick and Brady might be the gold standard, but McCarthy and Rodgers seem to be showing up as their equals. Do you agree?
It’s been that way forever: Luckman and Halas, Graham and Brown, Starr and Lombardi, Griese and Shula, Bradshaw and Noll, Staubach and Landry, Montana and Walsh, etc. Rodgers and McCarthy are the equal of Favre and Holmgren. It would take a couple of more Super Bowl wins to jump up to the Starr-Lombardi, Brady-Belichick class.
Patrick from Tampa, FL
I am curious if you think we will see anything like what the FBI is doing to NCAA basketball spill into the college football world? I mean, this can’t just be a basketball issue, right? Let’s get it all cleaned up and try to make it a bit more of a fair fight.
I hope we see it spill over into football; maybe it already has and we just don’t know it, right? I mean, who knew about basketball? The NCAA is toothless. Neither coaches nor administrators are afraid of it. The FBI is a whole new ballgame. I hope they get the cheaters in football, too.
Hilmi from Ankara, Turkey
Hi Vic, you have no idea how happy I am you are doing this. It's like I've reunited with an old friend. Here's my question: What happens if the game never resumes because of lightning? Do they keep playing another day from where they left off? What if it was just the last kneel-down play of the game that was left? Can the refs just end the game with time on the clock?
I covered the beer bottle game in Cleveland; I’ll never forget the sound of those plastic bottles striking the ground. I stood in the tunnel next to representatives from the Jaguars and Browns, and the referee, as they spoke to the league office in New York. Both teams had left the field for safety reasons. Only kneel-down time was left on the clock, but the league told the ref and reps the game had to be played to conclusion, so both teams came back onto the field and the Jags took a few knees, as beer bottles rained down on a place where I once watched Eric Metcalf turn up field on a game-winning punt return, as the fans in old Cleveland Stadium rose to their feet and roared.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the Cam Newton controversy?
So, we vilify an athlete but elect a president who said much worse? What Newton said was sexist, but nothing about it was vulgar. The following day, he issued one of the most sincere apologies I can remember. It wasn’t a statement, it was a video, and I never saw his eyes drop to prepared language. My opinion of Newton rose as a result of what happened.
Merle from Wausau, WI
Vic, what message is the league sending by reducing Trevathan's suspension? Do you think the fact that Davante avoided a more serious injury swayed the decision to cut the suspension in half?
It didn’t surprise me. It sends the message the NFL is neither arbitrary nor capricious, which aids them in legal battles vs. the players. The NFL probably suspended Trevathan for two games knowing they would reduce it to one.
Jay from Gladbrook, IA
Vic, what is your favorite sports movie?
It’s probably “The Natural.” “Rocky” and “Field of Dreams” are right up there. They all have one thing in common: They’re more about art than they are about sports. Sports can’t be recreated, but sports offers a wonderful canvas on which to paint a picture. The lights exploding to the sound of that beautiful music is great theater. I think I saw the lights explode when Randall Cobb caught that touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in Chicago in 2013.
Gage from NB, Canada
Vic, great to see you back in the game. I don't care about scheme names, but are safeties playing linebacker, or are linebackers getting smaller?
I covered Carnell Lake, a college linebacker who moved to safety in the NFL. In those days, it was about getting run-support size in your secondary. These days, big safeties are moving to linebacker, because it’s about getting pass-coverage speed closer to the line of scrimmage. Don’t think position, think function.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
The Packers fielded their strongest post-Super Bowl offense, in my view, in 2014. It's not a coincidence that was the year Green Bay had a great running game. McCarthy is a great coach and Thompson is a great GM, so why has maintaining a strong running attack been such a sore spot for the team over the years?
It’s in these Packers’ DNA.
Patrick from Burlington, IL
Are the Bills and Rams for real, or can their great starts be attributed to the early season?
I’m not sure the Bills are for real, but the Rams are. It appears they have “The Man.”
David from Hallowell, ME
Vic, glad to see this project. I always thought it was odd when people said they had a favorite sports columnist. I understand now, having loved your time with the Packers. So, who is your favorite sports columnist?
Dan from Westboro, WI
Vic, now that you are retired and unaffiliated, why have you chosen to focus on the Packers instead of other teams you have covered, or just the NFL in general?
All fans of all teams are welcome here, and I’ll comment on anything pertaining to football, pro or college.
See you tomorrow.
With Week Four nearly in the books, let's take a whirl around the NFL. Here are my thoughts:
⦁ Micah Hyde might be this season's best free-agent acquistion. He's leading an impressive Bills defense and rebuilt secondary that upset the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. The Bills have my attention. Tyrod Taylor is showing gains and the Bills play hard.
⦁ The Patriots looked soft in losing to the Panthers. I can't imagine Bill Belichick will allow that to continue, but does he have the personnel to fix it? The Patriots are the best at patching, but I'm reminded of one of my all-time favorite Nollisms: "You don't build from the waiver wire."
⦁ Jim Caldwell has given the Lions a soul. The Lions got this one right.
⦁ The Week 3 anthem controversy might've cost the Steelers a 4-0 start. The team that sleepwalked to an overtime loss in Chicago is not the team that dominated the Ravens in Baltimore yesterday.
⦁ The Rams have arrived, further proof of what having "The Man" does for a team.
⦁ Don't bury the Bengals just yet. That's a talented team with a young, star running back. Joe Mixon is the real deal. He's what the Bengals need to beat the Steelers.
⦁ If there's an NFL team of the future, I believe it's the Texans. Deshaun Watson is the steal of the draft.
⦁ I've come to regard defensive pass interference penalties as a gift to the offense. Not one of the many I saw called yesterday was worthy of the yards and first down gifted to the offense.
⦁ Is Andrew Luck Greg Cook?
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Vic, I always wanted to ask you this question: After living in Green Bay for over five years, why do you consider Packers fans winsome?
In all the years I covered Packers games, including games against the Bears, I never saw a fight, neither in the stands nor in the parking lots. Conversely, I never covered a Browns-Steelers game that I didn't see a fight.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what did you think of the two-game suspension for Danny Trevathan after his hit on Davante Adams? Do you think he will win the appeal?
I think his suspension is in line with the offense and I don't think he'll win his appeal because the league wants to enforce the message his suspension sends.
Steve from Racine, WA
Do you think it's time to dissolve the NCAA and start fresh?
The FBI was wiretapping college basketball coaches and building a case that would take down some of the sport's top coaches and programs, and neither the NCAA nor the university's presidents knew anything about it until the FBI called the NCAA on the day the news broke. In my opinion, that is the epitome of oversight incompetence. If I was elected president of the United States, the first thing I would do is establish an FBI task force to clean up college sports. If the NCAA won't do it, I would. By the way, is the NCAA ever going to rule on North Carolina?
John from Sioux Falls, SD
Vic, glad to have you back. Missed having my Vic fix. Watching the Adams hit cemented in my mind the refs have to blow the whistle when forward progress is stopped. This thing where they push and shove the pile from both sides is just dumb and dangerous. Not sure when that started to be acceptable, but nothing good can come from it. Agree?
I completely agree. Once upon a time, it was against the rules for an offensive player to assist the ball carrier. Remember "The Bush Push" in the 2005 Notre Dame-USC game? Somewhere along the line, the rule's language was softened. These days, the ball carrier has become the ball.
David from Hilliard, OH
Vic, as a 60-year-old contemplating retirement after 26-plus years on the assembly line of a major auto company, what advice can you give me?
Make a plan.
Chris from Auburn, NY
Hey, Vic, longtime reader here asking a question for the first time. I know you don’t put much stock in the first few weeks of the season, but what are your first impressions on how the NFC North is shaping up?
It's a three-team race.
Patrick from Burlington, IL
How does Jacksonville look so far? Are they finally climbing out of the gutter?
The Jaguars' arrow is pointing up -- Tom Coughlin's presence guarantees it -- but the Jaguars' problem is they play in a division with two young, emerging quarterbacks (Marcus Mariota and DeShaun Watson), while the Jaguars continue to struggle with uncertainty at the quarterback position. Out of the gutter? Yes. Playoff contender? Not until the Jaguars can say they have "The Man." That's what it takes to be a legimitate playoff contender these days. Backed up against their goal line late in the overtime period on Sunday, the Jaguars went run, run, pass, which was largely a flag of surrender that would cost them the game. Why so conservative? They lacked confidence in their quarterback, and that won't work. As I watched the Jaguars yesterday, I couldn't help but think what a young Mark Brunell would do for them. It makes me wish I was young again.
Nik from Greenville, SC
Did your house make it through the Edisto flood?
It did. My house is 13 feet off the ground. That's the building code; this is the low country. We have storage rooms under our homes, and I had moved everything up off the floor in anticipation of Irma's arrival. She arrived exactly at high tide; that was the problem. At 11 a.m., I saw the water coming up from the marsh; high tide was at 12:11 p.m. I knew my storage room was toast, so I took my old friend Jim down to the landing on the steps under the house and had a hurricane party as the water rose. At some point in the proceeding I cried out, "You call this a storm?" The water level topped out at about a foot and a half in my storage room. It was much deeper in my outdoor shower and I was concerned it was going to be washed away. With aplogies to Steinbeck, by two o'clock it was all over. When the power came back on two days later, I went into the storage room with my pressure washer and wet vac. All is well again. Such is life at sea level.
Joe from Dundee, IL
Vic, glad you are back online with us. What was your impression of Ted's abundant signing of free agents and waiver wire pickups this year?
He had holes to patch. That's how a draft-and-develop team uses free agency.
"Ask Vic" will publish a special edition on Monday, to help readers get into the Monday reading habit. "Ask Vic" will normally publish once a week on the day following a Packers game, which it did on Friday, but I've got a lot of questions and I'm still trying to get the hang of this new website, so I'm gonna write one for tomorrow, too. That's the great thing about retirement: You can do whatever you want, and I wanna write a column for tomorrow.
On another note, there continues to be doubt I am the real Vic. I even got a phone call yesterday from a reader/doubter. I sang "Mood Indigo" for him, which erased all doubt. To help prove my identity, I will switch out the picture to include myself and scenes of my retirement home, Edisto Island, SC.
I hope you'll enjoy today's games. Let's talk about them in tomorrow's column.