"Ask Vic" is published M-W-F through the football season.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
I'd forgotten how poorly Green Bay ran the ball against Tampa Bay in Week 6. Aaron Jones had five carries for minus one yard and a touchdown almost half an hour into the game and, as a whole, there were two big plays (20 and 25-yard runs). The best runs they had around end were four and five yards. Hopefully, Williams and Dillon are ready to go.
The Packers got an early lead in that game but the offense went cold, which allowed the Bucs to catch up and then impose their will with the running game. The formula for victory this Sunday, in my opinion, is for the Packers to get an early lead, keep the Bucs at arm's length and force them to abandon the run and become one-dimensional. That's been the Packers' identity for the past several games.
Elten from Pleasant Lake, IN
Very sorry to hear you had COVID. Hope you are doing well.
I did not have COVID. My neck surgery was delayed because the hospital was full of COVID patients. As a result, the problem lingered and the nerve damage was more severe.
Dave from Escanaba, MI
So what are the chances of what I think are the NFL's two smallest cities going to the Super Bowl.
It's doable, and if that happens, we'll have Pete Rozelle and Wellington Mara to thank. I doubt there would be a team in Green Bay today if it wasn't for those two men.
Joe from Santa Monica, CA
Vic, is Buffalo's lack of a strong running game a concern going up against the Chiefs?
Yes. Against powerhouse quarterbacks such as Mahomes and Rodgers, you want a dependable running game with which you can control the tempo of the game.
Jay from Wauwatosa, WI
Knowing what we know now, did the Packers do the right thing in extending Rodgers before the 2019 season?
Yes, but if they had delayed that contract, they would now have at least one more year on Rodgers' current contract, which would allow the Packers to do a salary-to-signing-bonus conversion and push the money out farther. I didn't see the need to rush into a new contract.
Taylor from Milwaukee, WI
What are your three-word descriptions for each of the remaining defensive units in the playoffs?
Packers -- Stop the run. Bucs -- Rush the quarterback. Chiefs -- Don't be soft. Bills -- Rough him up.
Chris from Lexington, KY
How would opting out of a season affect your evaluation of a prospect for the draft?
I wouldn't have up-to-date information on him, therefore, I would have to be skeptical in my evaluation.
Todd from Raleigh, NC
What would you ask Rodgers this week if you were still reporting for the Packers?
Nothing special. The obvious question doesn't have to be asked and can only be answered on the day of the game: How will history record him if he loses another conference title game?
Austin from Denver, CO
I'm not sure I can take much more of this wimpy attitude from my fellow Packers fans out there. Why are we looking for statistics proving we will lose? Seriously, people, please get some help. If the Packers should lose on Sunday, I will regret that loss on Sunday night and then go back to work on Monday. Please remember, this game is not about you.
The game is about the players and coaches. They bear the burden of proof and the responsibility for victory and defeat. If you truly want to enjoy professional football, be a student of it, not just a fan of it.
Neb from Belgrade, Serbia
I can't just watch the game. I have to cheer, shout, raise two hands when there is a TD. I don't have dog who I can thresh-talk to. If this is definition of watch, I am gonna watch.
Gil from Galt, CA
Vic, we don't expect you to be the final word on how everything will shake out and, obviously, you bear no responsibility for what happens. We simply ask questions because we value your responses. You give us an honest perspective on where a team is. It sounds silly we need someone to reaffirm what we see, but truth is we trust your eyes and want to look at the game the way you do. We want to learn to focus on the hidden indicators that are clues on how the game will go. Any advice?
The team that runs will win.
Johnny from Ft. Worth, TX
Vic, what is your favorite conference championship moment? As a Packers fan, most of my recent memories are not so pleasant.
My most distinct and lasting memory is of Lynn Swann lying on a stretcher and being wheeled past us in the hallway as we waited to enter the Steelers locker room following the 1975 AFC title game, the most vicious football game I ever covered. Swann had been knocked cold in the first half. His eyes were closed as he was wheeled past us. Two weeks later, he was the MVP of Super Bowl X.
Aaron from Blacksburg, VA
With Leftwich being the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay, any Leftwich stories from your time covering him? Did you see him choosing this route in coaching?
Following a game in the old RCA Dome, Byron described a key play to us in great detail, including where every receiver on the field was, what route they were running and what coverage the Colts were in. I remember thinking, "He's a coach." Byron is one of the finest and brightest men I ever covered.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
If Brady’s primarily limited to checkdowns and the middle of the field, would it make sense to put Jaire on an island, shade Savage toward King and use eight defenders for the rest?
I expect the Packers to over-play the run.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
What have you seen from the Packers defense that is driving the improvement we've seen over the last six weeks?
Mike Pettine has been nearly clairvoyant in guessing run or pass. The Packers' early leads have helped him predict.
Thomas from Appleton, WI
What can the Buccaneers do to stop the Packers?
Stop the run and rush the passer, which I believe means stopping the run on the way to the passer.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL
I know there's a big game for much of the readership this weekend, but what do you make of the Jaguars' GM hire?
Urban Meyer is in total control, which minimizes the importance of the GM hire. When a coach is given one-voice control, it's difficult to attract top GM candidates, nor is it necessary.
Martha from Phoenix, AZ
Vic, I was surprisingly emotional at the loss of Ted Thompson. How do you see his ultimate legacy in the NFL?
He drafted Aaron Rodgers and authored an era of Packers football.