"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Mark from Sheboygan, WI
Combined, the Patriots have played teams with a record of 7-23, including three winless teams. If the Packers win on Monday, they will have beaten five teams with winning records. You have them 1-2 in the rankings, but aside from the Patriots having a slightly better record, which would bode better for the future, 6-0 against little competition or 5-1 against winning competition? Also, shouldn't we recognize this is almost certainly the reason for the Packers' lower rankings?
Frankly, I think putting the Packers at No. 2 in my all-important power rankings reflects respect for the schedule the Packers have played and disregard for their unimpressive rankings.
Curt from York, PA
So how hot is Jason Garrett’s seat now?
Garrett is the only guy at MetLife who had a worse day than Chatty. This was, by far, Chatty's worst performance. Chatty began apologizing for the Cowboys as the Jets were about to score their first touchdown. "This is a tough schematic game for the Cowboys," Chatty said. Tough schematic game? The stinky Jets were No. 30 in rushing and No. 32 in passing. What could possibly have been tough for the Cowboys schematically? Flanked by his broadcast partner Jim "I love Texas" Nantz, the CBS No. 1 team blatantly led cheers for the Cowboys during their late-game rally. It was a truly embarrassing performance; they justified each of several consecutive penalties against the Jets that moved the Cowboys toward the goal line.
Mark from Eau Claire, WI
This Lions game could be huge. Do you think all four NFC North teams could finish with a winning record?
Oh, absolutely. The NFC North is the best division in football.
Andrew from Vancouver, Canada
How bad is a toe injury in football? I’m sure it's very painful and there is good reason to miss games for a toe, but it sounds a bit minor to an outsider.
If it's my toe injury, it's major. If it's your toe injury, it's minor. By the way, Jack Lambert's career was ended by a toe injury.
Justin from Canton, NC
How many of those first 11 AFL/AFC titles were from NFL teams that switched sides at the merger?
What does it matter? They were in the AFC when they won them. Bradshaw, Blount, Harris, Ham, Lambert, Swann, Stallworth, Webster, etc. were all drafted after the Steelers made the move, and Chuck Noll began his coaching career with the Chargers under Sid Gillman, who was the father of the AFL's wide-open game. There wasn't much of the old NFL left in the Steelers when they won four Super Bowls in six years.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Well said, Vic, well said. A screw loose pretty much derailed your career as a caddy. Yet, noticeable screws loose in another part of your anatomy has not kept you from continuing your writing career. The choice was obvious.
Keith from Columbia, SC
Searching some of those crowd shots for a Chargers fan, through black and yellow jerseys and whirling "Terrible Towels" made me wonder where's Waldo?
The Chargers left a place that cared about them and went to a place that loves someone else. It was a big mistake.
Robert from The Netherlands
After Swaim got knocked out in the Jaguars game, they first showed the medical staff attending to him, followed by five slow-motion, close-up replays showing his unconscious body flop to the ground in horrifying detail. If the NFL wants to change the culture, maybe they should stop replaying these plays over and over.
The culture can't be changed; I'm convinced of it. I see no decrease in the number of these Tatum-like hits. Thomas Davis (Packers fans remember him) was flagged last night for a hit on a defensive receiver that was every bit as frightening on the replay as the Swaim hit. Late in the game, a Chargers defensive player came in late with a deliberate head-shot hit to a running back who was stuck in a pile of bodies. The officials missed it but I have no doubt it'll be fined. In my mind, it's the worst example of the Burfict-like culture that wants to injure the opponent. This was not a high-speed play. It was an after-the-fact hit that clearly targeted the runner's head. Suspension? That won't change the culture. It's a game played by violent men. It's a culture of violence and it can't be changed.
Gunars from Iowa
It seems you were more patient with Packers fans while working in Green Bay. As an outsider again, does the privilege, arrogance, smugness of the fans bother you?
I didn't like the smugness I sensed in the question mocking Jaguars fans and their failure to sell out Jaguars games. So, the answer to your question is, yes, it bothered me. Every franchise has its dark days.
Gary from Panama City, FL
Vic, I don't know why but in college football offensive holding is almost never called. I mean, the officials seem to be just waiting for pass interference, and make such calls ad nauseam. I'm so confused.
You got a heavy dose of each against Penn State in the Iowa game, especially after a touchdown was reversed despite a replay that should've confirmed the call. That was an atrocious display of officiating by that crew. At the least, that crew should be reprimanded by the Big Ten. I am greatly impressed by James Franklin's ability to avoid a meltdown and to keep his team focused on the task at hand.
Sean from Arlington Heights, IL
Vic, nearly two years ago you said of the Big Ten championship game, “Ohio State won that game on national letter of intent day.” I believe you were right and that statement still largely applies. That said, through six games, are you seeing any realistic reason for hope this year for Badgers fans?
By asking that question of a 6-0 team, you're confirming the weakness of their scheduling. Wisconsin is what Packers fans hate about the Patriots: Weak division, weak schedule. Every time I look at the schedule, it seems Wisconsin is playing another weak opponent and the game is at Wisconsin. Of course, all we have to do is wait a couple of weeks and we'll find out if Wisconsin is the real deal or just a weak schedule impostor. The great thing about only having one good team on your schedule is you only have to win one big game. The bad thing about it is you only get one chance to win a big game. Based on what I've seen so far, Wisconsin is a powerful team, but nobody in the Big Ten is the equal of Ohio State. If Wisconsin played a stronger schedule, it would get the respect it seeks and deserves.
Kevin from Whitehall, WI
Vic, I agree with you, the AFL is what led to the NFL we know today, however, to say the AFL won 11 of the first 15 Super Bowls is misleading. It would be more accurate to say nine of the first 15 Super Bowls were won by teams originally in the NFL. That said, does AFL vs. NFL thinking still exist like it did around the merger? If not, when and why did it change?
The war is over. It ended in the '70's when the AFC wiped its feet on the NFC and the old guard realized it needed to be new.
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, is Gardner Minshew exactly what the Jaguars needed to reinvigorate the fan base? By that I mean not only a diamond-in-the-rough quarterback, but someone with a seemingly wonderful personality who can take the city by storm and put butts in the seats for the next decade or more.
Tristan from Chicago, IL
How would you challenge Tom Brady? Who do you think can?
Blitz him on every down in every way you can. He really looks slow to me. I think he can still stand in the pocket and find the open receiver, but I question his ability to move. The Patriots have consecutive games upcoming against Cleveland and Baltimore. I think those games will tell us what we need to know about Brady and this year's Patriots.
Patrick from Indianapolis, IN
Vic, can you explain why you think the Packers may be about to go on a run and why you think Green Bay will be 11-2 heading into the final three weeks of the season? Their next six opponents are a combined 20-11-1. That doesnt look like a cream puff slate of opponents and the Packers look to be banged up.
I expect the Packers to beat the Lions, then the Packers have three in a row against teams from the weak AFC. That should be easy stuff for a team from the powerful NFC, right? The game that intrigues me is the one in San Francisco on Nov. 24. I don't think I afforded the 49ers the respect they deserve when I initially made my prediction for the Packers. I have new regard for the 49ers. Packers at 49ers has become a circle game on my schedule.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
The Packers' rankings defensively are not flashy, but they are making the splash plays when needed most of the time. Do rankings matter?
Rankings don't matter but it has been my experience a team's record is usually (not always) reflected by its rankings on offense and defense. I'm not big on stats but I give credence to the rankings on offense and defense because they involve the largest of samples, which is to say every snap of the ball. The Packers' record is much better than their rankings. By season's end, I think we'll see one reflect the other.
Kyle from Phoenix, AZ
I'm a little surprised by the Packers’ defensive numbers. My eyes tell me it's a much better defense than last year. Have my eyes deceived me?
My eyes tell me the same and I think we're going to see the defense's rankings improve. Why? Because the Packers rush and cover and that's a very strong combination. Run defense requires far less skill. It's all about toughness.
Steve from Wisconsin
Rashan Gary gets a penalty for brushing the quarterback's helmet. After teams score, they head-butt each other. I don't get it.
It's not about Gary's head slap, it's about Earl Thomas' knockout blow to Mason Rudolph. The NFL is trying to change the culture. It's trying to discipline players to avoid going to the head. I think it's a failed attempt and the NFL is wasting its time. Wanna get rid of the head shot? Get rid of the facemask. Fixed! The NFL won't even consider it because it would decrease the game's popularity, and the fans don't want it to happen because it would dull their enjoyment of the game. If we were all truly dedicated to player safety, especially to eliminating helmet-to-helmet contact, the facemask would come off, or at the least it would be limited to a much-reduced size and protection.
Keith from Columbia, SC
Who can challenge the Patriots in the AFC? I noticed 10 of your top 15 are NFC teams. It seems they have an easy road to a first-round bye.
There are a lot of good teams in the making in the AFC. The Bills and Colts are two teams that intrigue me. I think the AFC is in a state of change. Change is good because change is usually young.
Connor from Greenville, SC
What do you think of the Packers' draft class thus far?
It's early. I don't want to rush to judgement, but I would usually expect more impact from a class with two first-round picks.
Anthony from Rockford, IL
When you speak to the culture of the NFL, you speak to the inherent violence in us that has been built on evolution. Do you want a timid person or someone who can flip the switch when it pertains to an aggressive tribe coming over the hill to pillage your lands? You’re right. The culture can’t be changed. It’s within us.
I have hope for the young people but, as it stands right now, the NFL can't even get its players to stop committing hands-to-the-face penalties. Vic to players: The face is the front of the head. It's the thing that can eat and watch TV at the same time. Don't touch it! Seriously, shouldn't this be an easy fix? Yet, it happens over and over, and have you ever seen a hands-to-the-face penalty that wasn't supported by replay? It's a game-changing penalty. Teams lose games because of it. These players aren't stupid, so why can't they stop shoving their hands into each other's faces? It must be the warlike culture that exists in us.
Joe from Pittsburgh, PA
The NBA receives 10 percent of its profit from China. What percent does the NFL receive from outside the USA?
This is what I can tell you: In 1993, I covered a preseason game between the Steelers and 49ers in Barcelona. An NFL executive told me the impetus of the game was the league did $43 million in jersey sales in Europe the previous year and it thought it could double that amount in the near future, and the Steelers and 49ers were hot jersey sales. That was 26 years ago and I have to believe the NFL has doubled its jersey sales in Europe several times over. Europe may not be a great American football market, but it has a great appetite for American fashion. That's why the NFL will put a team in London.
Ben from Alameda, CA
The Packers have a lot of tall, lanky receivers. Can that body type be an effective slot receiver? Do you have to have a Wes Welker/Randall Cobb body type to be effective?
Slot receivers play in traffic. They're punt returners in the passing game. You're looking for a guy who can fearlessly run through the catch and weave his way through tacklers. You're also looking for a tough guy who can take a hit. The body type that belongs to that type of player more closely resembles a running back than it does a jump-high boundary receiver. Hines Ward is my idea of the perfect slot receiver. He's the toughest wide receiver who ever played the game. He turned the hunter into the hunted.
Sean from Brighton, MI
After five weeks into the regular season, is it safe to say the Browns gave up way too much for OBJ?
I was stunned they traded a first-round pick for him. I thought John Dorsey had the same dime-a-dozen opinion of wide receivers I have. I still believe that was an owner's trade.
Tyler from Fargo, ND
While on the Jaguars official website I noticed a “Minshew Mania Mini Pack” promotion. Basically, you can get tickets to the Saints and Jets games for around $100 and receive a bandana and mustache so you can look like Minshew. Why is it so hard to get people to attend Jaguars games? Are gimmicks the only way to entice people? I really thought this Minshew promotion was a joke put on by some third-party website at first.
That's funny. You know, we can't all be as great as the Packers. I guess we have to be patient. These were the attendances at Packers home games in 1951: Chicago, 24,666; Pittsburgh, 8,324 (the Steelers didn't travel well back then); Philadelphia, 18,489; Los Angeles, 21,393; Detroit, 18,800; New York, 14,297. Why didn't the Packers give out free cheese?
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Does Mitchell Trubisky win that game?
I doubt it, but that's not my interest in Trubisky right now. When I saw the play on which he was injured, in which his arm was outstretched when he contacted the ground, I said to myself, "Labrum, he's done." He's said to have a slight tear of the labrum. Playing through that injury -- it's what ended Tony Boselli's career -- will be painful. I think it'll cause him to scramble far less often. I don't think this season is going to end well for Trubisky or the Bears.
Will from Stoughton, WI
I recently saw Gale Sayers was drafted by Kansas City of the AFL, but decided he’d rather play in Chicago after also being drafted by the Bears. Do you think he could have had a longer career in the AFL/AFC?
Would Joe Namath have had a longer career had he signed with the Cardinals instead of the Jets? I've detected a smugness among Packers fans for the NFL's superiority over the AFL. They're obviously ignoring the fact the AFL/AFC won 11 of the first 15 Super Bowls played.
Nicholas from Superior, WI
At one point during the broadcast on Sunday, I heard Aaron Rodgers had completed passes to eight different receivers. This is the type of thing I remember hearing about Rodgers quite a bit a few years ago. How much and what does the number of different receivers with receptions in a game indicate about the offense?
It indicates receivers are a dime a dozen.
Paul from Bluffton, IN
Vic, are you still working as a golf caddy?
My caddy days are over. I had surgery on my left shoulder two years ago, and then had to have it done again a few months later when one of the screws came loose. I had the right shoulder done in Green Bay. A caddy without shoulders is like a flute with no holes. If I had to choose a career other than being a sports writer, I would've liked to have been a caddy.
Scott from St. Charles, IL
I think it's fair to say the production at WR/TE below Adams is not what we had hoped. With Adams facing perhaps a lingering injury, should the Packers consider trading for a veteran (not named Antonio Brown)? Or do I have the fever again?
Fever in the mornin', a fever all through the night.
Adam from Madison, WI
Seems like there have been some huge rushing totals this year? Another unintentional result of the move toward passing with too many defensive backs on the field?
Nickel is certainly not a run defense but I think big rushing totals are more about the mania for rushing the passer. Nobody drafts run-stuffers anymore; everybody is looking for pass-rushers. J.J. Watt is the classic example of today's defensive linemen. They play the run on the way to the quarterback, and that's why running backs are exploding through holes untouched.
Pete from Green Bay, WI
Are you ready for the Mike McCarthy to Pittsburgh train? Seems like it’s right up your alley.
If Mike Tomlin wants to go home, I hope he gets the chance. He's a Virginia guy and I have to believe the Redskins would be his dream job. I guarantee, the Steelers would be McCarthy's dream job. Hometown guys are good for the game. I think the fans are more supportive of them. Be that as it may, I still hear a horn in the distance.
Darren from Alice Springs, Australia
If you had your choice of a fourth NFL team to cover, who would it be and why?
It just doesn't work that way in my profession. You don't cover a team because you're fond of it, you become fond of a team because you cover it.
Fred from Denver, CO
Is Gardner Minshew the long-term answer at QB for Jacksonville? What would it take for GM Vic to ship Foles away?
I'm in awe of Minshew's command of the game. I think he could be the next Drew Brees. This is an extraordinary story. The sixth round? He doesn't have a great arm -- he was high and late on a honey hole throw from the far hash against the Panthers -- but he makes up for it by consistently finding the open receiver. He makes completing passes look easy, and that's a trait usually reserved for great passers. If the Jaguars can find a team interested in trading for Foles, it's doable. Traded, Foles would be $18.75 million dead on the Jags' cap, but that would actually turn into a nearly $4 million savings from his projected $22 million cap hit in 2020. The difficult part would be finding a team willing to trade for the $20 million guaranteed to Foles over the next two years. It means the Jaguars would have to find a team looking for a starter.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
This drama is bad for football
The Mason Rudolph injury created another one of those medical dramas that are increasing in number in today's game.
Rudolph was knocked unconscious by a blow to the head from the Ravens' Earl Thomas. TV trained its camera on the motionless Rudoloph and shamefully added video of the Ryan Shazier incident. The facemask to the dazed Rudolph's helmet was removed, which allowed for a photo that begs the question, "Why would anyone want to play football?"
This is a bad look for the game and the NFL needs to find a way to attend to these players less dramatically. The league provides a medical tent for players who've strained a hamstring, but it leaves in full view to a frightened TV audience players with head and neck injuries.
I don't have the answer -- I'll leave that to higher minds -- but you're not going to convince parents football is a safe game to play by providing these gut-wrenching scenes.
Maybe the answer is football isn't a safe game to play and the NFL should stop trying to convince parents it is.
Packers, Jaguars, Steelers
Here are the Week 6 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Patriots -- Giants next crummy win.
2. Packers -- Time to roll.
3. Saints -- They are not toast.
4. 49ers -- Powerful, young, fast defense.
5. Seahawks -- Arrow pointing straight up.
6. Colts -- They don't miss Luck.
7. Chiefs -- Soft.
8. Lions -- At the test vs. Packers.
9. Eagles -- Offense is clicking.
10. Rams -- Showdown vs. 49ers.
11. Bills -- They deserve a rest.
12. Ravens -- I'm not impressed.
13. Bears -- Bye and then the Saints.
14. Vikings -- A phone call from the POTUS?
15. Cowboys -- Packers embarrassed them.
16. Panthers -- Winning with undrafted QB.
17. Browns -- Seahawks, Pats next two games.
18. Raiders -- They're in the hunt.
19. Chargers -- Who are they?
20. Bucs -- In London vs. Carolina.
21. Texans -- Struggling to beat bad teams.
22. Jaguars -- Defense gashed by Panthers.
23. Titans -- Good team going to waste.
24. Giants -- They need Barkley.
25. Steelers -- Fighting through tough times.
26. Broncos -- Tough schedule ahead.
27. Cardinals -- Murray flashes.
28. Falcons -- Where's bottom?
29. Washington -- Who's the next lucky coach?
30. Bengals -- Sinking in Cincinnati.
31. Jets -- Was it worth it, Le'Veon?
32. Dolphins -- Rested and ready to lose.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your thoughts on the Packers-Cowboys game?
The Packers were ready to play, the Cowboys weren't. The Packers were focused and prepared. They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They blocked, tackled and covered. Rodgers and Jones were an overwhelming 1-2 punch. I saw no weakness in the Packers' play, other than for sloppy defense late in the game that allowed the final score to be closer than the game actually was. The Cowboys? They didn't show up until it was too late to do anything about it. Prescott threw the ball all over the building. His first interception should've been a touchdown. Both lines were a sieve. The Cowboys fell so far behind they had to abandon the run, which is their strength. They punted poorly and kicked from placement even worse. If I was Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett would officially be on the hot seat. Lazy play is something I will not tolerate.
Stirling from Nashville, TN
Vic, it feels strange to say that was a defensive win. I guess I like it better than letting someone just run it down our throats all day.
That's not the kind of game I was hoping to see. I wanted to see something a little closer to the vest and hard-fought. I wanted to see if the Packers could stop the run. Instead, what I saw was another one of those wild games that have been the Packers' identity through the Rodgers era. The league loves it and so does TV, but I'm not a fan of it. I guess the trauma of the 2014 NFC title game still exists in me.
Brent from Dubuque, IA
Just win, baby. Right?
Yep. Whatever it takes.
Lance from Savannah, GA
It was tough to watch the hit on Mason Rudolph, but it’s become a familiar sight in the NFL. Did that image remind you of football of the past? Is that the type of violence that used to be commonplace in football decades ago?
No, the type of violence that was common in football decades ago was intentional; Earl Thomas said his hit on Rudolph wasn't intentional. Also, decades ago it would not have been flagged. Be that as it may, the protections being afforded the quarterback aren't working. They're damaging the game but they're not protecting the quarterback. Vic to NFL: The culture is not being changed. Think of something else.
Dave from Savage, MN
Well, the Packers have some talent and now they have an edge. I'd like to see a bit more poise (and fewer injuries). What do they need to do to take the next step?
They took a big step with the running game yesterday. Frankly, the schedule isn't real challenging. I'm going to make a prediction: The Packers will be 11-2 heading into the final three games of the season.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, what do you think of Coach LaFleur calmly getting in Aaron Rodgers’ face?
I think Coach LaFleur should stop pursuing Rodgers every time he comes off the field. It has a puppy dog look to it and TV has its camera trained on it, just waiting for a sideways glance or a stern exchange. Matt LaFleur is the coach. He's the boss. I'd like to get more of a sense of that.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, the Jaguars defense has been getting torched recently. The turnovers haven’t helped them, but they got gashed last week on the pass, then gashed this week on the run. Seems we have way too much money on that side of the ball to look like that.
The Panthers broke the line of scrimmage time and again untouched. The Jaguars defensive linemen and linebackers were freelancing. They weren't manning their gaps. A lack of discipline is the cause. Given the way Gardner Minshew played on Sunday, that's a game the Jaguars should've won.
John from St. Augustine, FL
Could you elaborate a little on PSLs and how the Jaguars' franchise history would be different for selling them?
A permanent seat license is an investment. A fan buys a seat with the agreement to purchase the ticket that accompanies it. If at any time the fan fails to buy the ticket, he loses ownership of the seat and the team is free to sell it to someone else. PSLs aren't cheap. The Panthers sold PSLs at the start of their franchise. The Jaguars didn't sell PSLs; they sold season-ticket contracts. The difference is the PSLs sustained the Panthers through some rough seasons -- the float also made for lucrative investing. The PSLs effectively sold the season tickets and provided the Panthers with a consistent revenue flow that allowed them to operate evenly. The Jaguars lost season-ticket holders when their contracts expired -- why sign a contract when you can pick and choose the games you want to see? -- and have faced constant season-ticket churn.
Gaert from Old Windsor, UK
Vic, this will be an unpopular take, but one has to respect how Jon Gruden had his team ready to play on a long road trip. Both tactically and on grit, the Raiders were ready to go in a surprisingly hostile environment.
Yes, we should acknowledge the Raiders' win. I think we should also consider it might all be falling apart in Chicago.
Sam from Tahunanui, NZ
You have been reading questions from non-professional writers for a long time. What have you learned about how this population expresses themselves?
I had to go to the DMV last week. It gave me new appreciation for my "Ask Vic" inbox.
Oscar from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, you've always said college football is dying. Assuming it goes away in the future, what would take its place in people's hearts and minds?
The NFL would take its place, and it wouldn't just be in people's hearts and minds, it would be on their TVs on Saturdays. That day is coming. The NFL will share Saturday with college football -- an NFL/college football doubleheader -- and it will improve college football's TV ratings. The NFL will put people in front of their TVs on Saturdays. While they're there, they might as well watch the stinky college game, too. College football would be a big winner in a partnership with the NFL, but college football is too stupid and greedy to think of something that innovative. They'll have to reach the point of desperation first.
Matt from New York, NY
You know who the Eagles, Rams and Seahawks remind me of? The evolution of the Packers from 2010-2015. Success equals less overall talent.
All teams remind me of all other teams because they all go through the same trials, tribulations and cycles.
Joseph from Ripon, WI
I know a head coach is only as good as his players, but what's the most important quality of a head coach to bring to his team? What separates the good coaches from the greats?
Second question first: great players. As for the first question, all coaches are good strategists. You can't get to where they are without knowing schematic football inside and out. In my mind, the successful coaches are the ones who are especially adept at evaluating, utilizing and managing talent. They have a big-picture leadership quality and it permeates the team's entire football operation.
Mark from Wheaton, IL
Vic, I know you rooted for Kent State as best you could and have previously written about the reason for these games. How do the players feel about them?
You're going to blame Kent State for that game? Vic to Barry Alvarez: Stop scheduling cupcakes!
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
I enjoyed your article on jaguars.com. Will you be doing more of those or was it only a one-time deal? I'm guessing they won't let you do a power ranking.
I'm doing a story once a month during the season, in conjunction with their 25th anniversary celebration. Power ranking? Oh, I remember the asterisk: "Cheated in one game." I was walking from the press box to the radio booth, which required walking through the Gillette Stadium concourse and the crowd that was pouring into the stadium, when a fan pointed at me and yelled out, "There's the asterisk man!" Maybe I should do an asterisk in my new "Ask Vic" power rankings.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what should the Bears and the Vikings do about their quarterback situations at this point in the season?
They have no choice but to coach around them. That's what Mike Tomlin did against the Bengals. He hit the Bengals with a wildcat package that incorporated some very imaginative jet sweep action. It added an extra dimension to the Steelers offense, decreased the number of plays Mason Rudolph was on the field and relieved some of the pressure on that young quarterback. Anybody who thinks Tomlin is an ordinary coach got an awakening on Monday night. I've never seen one coach more dramatically out-coach another coach as Tomlin out-coached Zac Taylor. I think we're going to see Matt Nagy do similar things as he looks for ways to play around his quarterback problem: a little Wing T, some misdirection, shifting, bunch formations, anything new that'll surprise the opponent and give future opponents more for which they must prepare. Mike Zimmer will probably lean harder on the running game. You can't play around the quarterback position forever, but you have to do what you can to get by. Find a way to win a game, then find a way to win another one.
Matt from Philadelphia, PA
You have stated the Jaguars need to receive at least two ones in return. Let's say they get that. Would the team trading for him be making a mistake in giving that much up?
Yes, and that's one of the added benefits: You weaken the competition. The Jaguars owner is saying he believes the best thing for the Jaguars is to have Jalen Ramsey be part of the team. I disagree. I think Ramsey has been and will continue to be a distraction and irritation to the team concept Doug Marrone is attempting to create. I'll also say this for Ramsey's impact on the Jaguars: His notoriety is creating interest in the Jaguars. Maybe that's what the owner means when he says "I think right now the best thing is to have him be part of the team."
Mike from McFarland, WI
In the alternate universe where McCarthy was still coach and the Packers are 3-1, are the wolves calling for his head after that Eagles loss?
Without a doubt. The wolves must howl, but they're smart enough not to waste a howl on a coach in just his fourth game, plus, the wolves know their howl is partly responsible for the new coach being hired, so they turn their howl on the quarterback. If the Packers don't stop the run this week, I predict the wolves will begin howling for Mike Pettine, even though the wolves' howl is partly responsible for Pettine's hire. Coaches coach, players play and wolves howl. For whom the wolves howl; they howl for thee.
Kelly from Ellsworth, WI
Can a team flip the switch and play big boy football, or is an identity forged during training camp?
How can you forge a run-the-ball, stop-the-run mentality in a training camp that doesn't include nine-on-sevens or half-line drills? That's why September is the new preseason; that's when you begin to forge your identity because that's when real football begins. Did we see the Packers forge their identity against the Eagles? That's a question that will be answered this week in Dallas.
John from Neptune Beach, FL
Are we one step closer to professional college athletes?
If you're asking me what the fallout will be from this new endorsement law, here it is: If the law is adopted nationwide -- the movement is on -- I think it'll further widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots of college football. I think it will further benefit programs such as Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma, which is to say schools in states where there won't be competition for the endorsement dollar with local professional athletes. Imagine what Tua could pull down in Alabama, or Trevor Lawrence in South Carolina. Jonathan Taylor would find plenty of endorsement money available in the Madison market, but the kid at Northwestern has no shot. Of course, this will help the schools in the minor league markets recruit the star players, leaving the schools in the major league markets to sift through the leftovers. More than ever, college football needs to agree to a strong central ruling body and Rozelle-like standardization, lest it become a game dominated by places where people don't live. We're already seeing signs of it and it's not good for the TV ratings. The endorsement law could be the kill shot to college football.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
Do you see any similarities between the 2019 Chiefs and the 2011 Packers?
The Packers were a one-trick pony. The Chiefs can do two tricks.
Ben from El Paso, TX
The Jaguars play the Panthers this week. What is your assessment of these two franchises since entering the NFL in 1995?
The Panthers sold PSLs, the Jaguars didn't. That's the difference.
Ben from Columbus, OH
Obviously, October is a big month here for the Jags. What is your feeling on this team a quarter into the season?
I like the Jaguars' schedule. They finish October with games against the Bengals and Jets. If the Jags can come out of October no worse than 4-4 -- I think they can be better than that -- they'll be poised to make a run in November when they play the Texans, Colts and Titans in consecutive weeks.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Is it OK to get excited over how Mason Rudolph played on Monday?
Not yet. His head is still swimming and I think he's going to struggle in the next two games. We're going to find out if he can be "The Man" following the bye week.
Dexter from Green Bay, WI
Half of the QBs in the league have at least a 2:1 TD:interception ratio. Twenty years ago, that would be unheard of. The NFL has made it easy to play QB. Is this really what we want?
As I've written, it's never been easier to play quarterback, and that's exactly what we want because it's devaluing the position. All of a sudden, you can find your quarterback in later rounds or by affordable means: Prescott, Minshew, Allen, Rudolph, Brissett. I hope this trend continues. It's good for the game.
Nick from Owego, NY
How does Burfict's suspension affect the Raiders' salary cap?
They'll get a credit.
Billy from Verona, WI
Vic, what did you mean by Gardner Minshew playing to the over and under throws like Drew Brees?
The safest places to throw the football are in front of the coverage and behind it. The tight-window throws -- the intermediate-route passes into the teeth of the coverage -- are where interceptions live. The Steelers are doing the same thing with Rudolph the Jaguars are doing with Minshew: in front of the coverage and behind it. They're high-percentage throws that allow a young passer to get his feet on the ground and gain some confidence. What the Bills did with Nate Peterman was abusive.
Adam from Cary, NC
I really love the AFC South this year. It genuinely feels like any of the four teams could win it, and I love that. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the four could beat the Chiefs or the Pats, but it should be a fun ride through December. Who would you take at this juncture?
When Mariota plays as he did last Sunday, the Titans are the best team in the AFC South.
Stacy from Bettendorf, IA
What was going on with Cam Robinson at the end of the game? He was hot and Leonard Fournette was yelling at him after the game.
They were arguing about who was going to get the aisle seat on the way home. I could read Fournette's lips: "You had the aisle on the way here," he said.
Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD
I asked a college QB I know pretty well about Tua, what he sees and is he worth tanking to get. The young man said no to tanking. He sees him as a lesser Dak Prescott but with a ceiling of Russell Wilson. Vic, does that broad look fit with what you see?
He's mobile, athletic and throws a great deep ball. At this point, he's not adept at making the other throws and, of course, he's lefthanded, which means a team picking him is going to have to pay left tackle money to two guys. Again, do you have to spend a No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback in today's game?
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
What makes a stadium great? Which have been your favorites over the years?
For me, a great stadium possesses an unmistakably unique feel to it. The college stadiums have that going for them, whereas the NFL has largely abandoned feel for comfort and revenue streams. Lambeau Field managed to preserve one and achieve the other. Heinz Field offers stunning views. My all-time favorite football stadium is old Mountaineer Field. It made you feel as though you were in the game.
Cassie from Darlington, WI
What are your thoughts on Vontaze Burfict and his suspension?
He didn't want to do it. He felt he owed it to him. Seriously, it was inevitable.
"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Here's what I want to see
You'll no doubt notice I've dropped the Packers below the Lions in this week's all-important power rankings. Why? Because the Lions are playing with grit, and the Packers showed me little of it in the loss to the Eagles.
Fifty-three passes isn't grit. Four passes from the one-yard line isn't grit. Allowing 5.6 yards per carry isn't grit. Your running back averaging 1.6 yards per carry isn't grit.
Against the Cowboys this Sunday, I want to see the Packers run the ball and stop the run. That's what I call "big boy football" and I need to see the Packers play it before I can pronounce them new and improved.
Why do the Jaguars agree to this?
In a weak-looking AFC South, the Jaguars are tied for the lead and, following games against Carolina and New Orleans, the schedule turns favorable with games against the currently winless Bengals and Jets.
Here's what I don't like about the Jaguars' schedule: A critically important division game against Houston on Nov. 3 will be played in London. Why do the Jaguars continue to surrender homefield advantage for division games?
Defense, defense, defense
Finally, the Steelers are playing it.
Yeah, I know, it was against the lowly Bengals, but the Bengals have put up a lot of yards and points this season and in the Steelers' 27-3 win on Monday night the Pittsburgh defense was suffocating. T.J. Watt and Devin Bush spent the night in the Bengals' backfield. The Steelers attacked the ball. Their secondary made plays.
Was it a sign of more to come, or just a one-night thing? Games against the Ravens and Chargers will answer that question.
Brady looked slow and old
I'm not predicting demise for the greatest quarterback of all time, but I couldn't help but notice Tom Brady looked especially slow and old in the Patriots' shouldn't-have-won win over the Bills. On several dropbacks, Brady couldn't get to the depth of the pocket before the rush was on him. He had a frightened look I'd never previously seen and threw the ball away at the hint of pressure.
He was 18 of 39 for 150 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. I have no doubt he'll recover statistically this weekend in Washington, but the tape of the Bills game is going to send a message to every defensive coordinator the Patriots face: Rush the quarterback.
Rankings for Packers, Jaguars and Steelers:
Here are the Week 5 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Patriots -- It's the defense, not Brady.
2. Chiefs -- Mahomes, offense unstoppable.
3. Saints -- Impressive grit.
4. Lions -- Playing the best football in the NFC North.
5. Rams -- Arrow beginning to sag.
6. Seahawks -- Will beat the Rams.
7. Eagles -- Best 2-2 team in the league.
8. Packers -- Soft in loss to Eagles.
9. Bears -- Better with Daniel at QB?
10. Cowboys -- Trying to find identity.
11. Bills -- They should've won that game.
12. Browns -- The real thing against the Ravens.
13. 49ers -- Fast start at test vs. Browns.
14. Colts -- Next loss, at Chiefs.
15. Chargers -- Did you enjoy your flight?
16. Bucs -- Arians making them tougher.
17. Jaguars -- Team to watch.
18. Titans -- Mariota comes to life.
19. Vikings -- They have one problem and it is great.
20. Ravens -- Should get back on track against Steelers.
21. Panthers -- Newton was the problem.
22. Giants -- Jones making them a contender.
23. Raiders -- They don't stink anymore.
24. Steelers -- Finally, they look like the Steelers.
25. Texans -- Nobody does less with more.
26. Cardinals -- Bengals will beat them.
27. Falcons -- No longer a contender.
28. Washington -- It's all about Haskins now.
29. Bengals -- Zac Taylor got schooled by Mike Tomlin.
30. Broncos -- This is going to get real bad.
31. Jets -- Next loss, at Eagles.
32. Dolphins -- Bye week? They don't need a rest.