Ask Vic will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Billy from Owensboro, KY
Is this the beginning of stand-in-the-pocket era for Aaron Rodgers?
Age and injury make pocket passers of us all.
Gabor from Budapest, Hungary
Vic, I still can't believe what happened (last night). Could you explain?
It begins with one of the greatest performances I have ever seen. Aaron Rodgers rallied the Packers to victory on one good leg, and we're not sure just how injured the other leg really is. I think there has to be concern for that injury as Rodgers heads into further medical evaluation. To put it into perspective, Rodgers stood in the pass pocket against a fierce pass rush on a leg that'll make it difficult for him to walk up a flight of steps. I admire Rodgers for all of his great talents, the greatest of which might be his courage. From the Bears' perspective, what happened last night is a lesson in trying to play around your quarterback. They turned the game over to their defense and that was a mistake. You don't win that way against great quarterbacks. Matt Nagy armed Mitchell Trubisky with an aggressive game plan to start the game, which got the Bears a 10-0 lead, but after that I sensed no theme to what the Bears were trying to accomplish on offense. They nipped and nibbled, doing little more than running innocuous and ineffective plays that would protect the ball and expire the clock. That might've worked against DeShone Kizer, but not against Rodgers. Nagy spent the night with his head buried in his play chart. Did he even know what was happening?
Zahir from London, UK
The Packers pass rush looked old and slow at times yesterday. Having seen the impact Mack made and what the Packers have at that position, could you blame fans for wanting to go after him?
No, I can't. Everybody wants a Khalil Mack, but at what cost? That's the only issue.
Matt from Eau Claire, WI
What is it about the two-minute drill that makes Aaron Rodgers take his game to the next level? I've never seen a quarterback that seems to have as much mastery of those kinds of situations.
It begins with his courage and confidence. It allows him to be calm in those situations. He has the courage to keep his eyes downfield in the face of a fierce the pass rush, and the confidence to know he can deliver the football to any spot on the field. One more thing: The Packers practice the two-minute drill more than any team I've covered. I think it's the trademark of their practices. They are built to want the ball with two minutes to play and a chance to win.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, the Browns should have won. How did you know?
I won't go so far as to say they should've won, unless you mean the Steelers handed the game to them with six turnovers. The Browns did very little on offense until late in the game. Defensively, they made plays, but they also gave up 472 yards. I picked them to win because they were certainly due to win and because they played their starters in the preseason a little more than most teams, for the obvious reason they're not as set in their cast of starters as most teams are. It was a terrible game. Neither team deserved to win and neither team did win. Even the kickers were terrible. The Steelers kicker missed a walk-off try from a comfortable range in overtime, and then the Browns kicker had his try blocked on the last play of the game. It was a game of true preseason quality.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, Jacksonville is not gonna win as many games as last year when you give up more yards than you make and you have so many penalties. Bortles looked mechanically improved in the first half, then it just fell apart when it mattered. They completely shut down the playbook in the second half without Fournette. The scariest part to me was that it looked like the play-calling dictated playing soft at the end. Did they not learn anything against New England? What are your thoughts?
The Jaguars have a mold for winning. They get a lead and they protect that lead with a very good defense. It's working for them. Can they win a championship that way? In my opinion, Bortles has to become a bigger factor. Maybe he will.
K.J. from Minneapolis, MN
Do you believe in the collarbone now, Vic?
It wasn't just the collarbone. The collarbone was a metaphor for a player who's getting older and injured more often. Would you like to take a look at my inbox immediately following Rodgers' injury? Here's one: "Well, this is premature, but one quarter in and what looks to be a scary injury to Rodgers. You were right, should have waited on the contract. This is me being irrational, but it's somewhat cathartic to ask. Season over?"
Adam from Chicago, IL
Is it just me or did James Conner look like a young Bell?
Conner is the anti-Bell. Conner is a pounder. He doesn't bounce, he bangs. He also has very good hands. I thought he would've been a great fit in Green Bay. With Le'Veon Bell behaving as a teenage girl, tweeting from afar as a jilted lover would, Conner is just what the Steelers need, which is to say a young back appreciative of the opportunity to play. If he hadn't committed that game-changing fumble late in yesterday's game in Cleveland, he would've been the star of the game.
Jerry from North Carolina
It's looking like Le'Veon Bell just held out himself out of a job this season.
He doesn't want the job, he wants the money, and I think he lost more than a week's worth of salary yesterday. I think he might've also lost some money in his next contract. How important is he if Conner could do all of the things Bell can do?
Dan from Grand Rapids, MI
Vic, what do you think about the state of college football? Two weekends in the books and only one nationally televised game that was close, Clemson vs. Texas A&M (Michigan vs. Notre Dame was in all actuality not a 7-point game). I’m sort of sick of watching top teams only have 3-4 challenges each year and 8-9 cupcakes.
By and large, college football is a bad product, but I think college football fans like it that way. I think college football fans like blowouts. It lets them chortle. College football fans are chortlers.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
Cris Collinsworth raved about Aaron looking off the secondary on the touchdown toss to Allison. He basically won the game with his eyes.
Rodgers is the best at it. I have to laugh when I think of something Terry Bradshaw said to me a long time ago, in the final year of his career. We were talking about looking off the safety and Bradshaw pointed at me and said sternly, "I never, ever looked off the safety." I didn't know what to make of it at first, but then I came to understand Bradshaw was telling me he didn't have to look off the safety because he had the arm strength to get the ball to its target before the safety arrived. That's the difference between Rodgers and Bradshaw. Rodgers is a technician. Bradshaw was all arm.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Le'Veon Bell was a no-show. Better to hold out until Week 10 or sign now and play to protect his body?
That's over $8 million Bell will have lost. I think his agent needs to rethink his strategy. Workload? Oh, I don't think that'll be a problem now.
Tom from Vista, CA
Just do it, or has Kaepernik already done it? Is protesting in the work place appropriate in the NFL?
I don't know what the answer is to all of these picayunish political questions. What I know to be true is this: Freedom is always the answer. If you're not on the side of freedom, you're on the losing team.
Andrew from Concord, NC
Vic, regular follower and occasional asker of bad questions (never succeeded in getting published). You mentioned Chuck Bednarik serving heroically in WWII, and I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t a hint about why football is changing so much. That generation knew so much suffering and so did their parents. They must have thought that’s just how life is, so people should suck it up and get on with it without complaining. Expectations are so different now and who could complain. But maybe that’s why we don’t like the old gladiators of the gridiron approach. It doesn’t reflect our expectations, so we don’t think we need that kind of hero any more. Sorry for the length of this post, but do you think that has any explanatory value? If it does, what does that mean for the football of the next generation? Arrow up or down?
A soft life is a good life. I thank my father and his generation for making my life softer. As for football, it's always been a reflection of our culture. Its arrow is our culture's arrow. I trust each is pointing north.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
Your response regarding the free play intrigued me. Are you against all free plays or just this particular instance? To me it is savvy manipulation of the rule while not being an illegal action.
I worry about savvy manipulation of the quarterback protection rules while not being an illegal action. Why make angry men angrier? This ain't a video game, coach. Those guys you hear coming at you are real.
Logan from Lino Lakes, MN
Vic, were the first games of yesteryear, after long training camps and solid preseason games, good football? Were they smooth and what we'd expect out of, say, Week 8?
They were a whole lot better than what I saw this past weekend. The Bears-Packers game was, by far, the best of all the games, and that's because of one man, Aaron Rodgers. He is a very special football player.