"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
Have you ever seen a team intentionally try to be quiet about a player or reduce preseason game reps with the goal of getting them through waivers and onto the practice squad?
It was a common practice and I'm sure teams still do it, but it's nearly impossible to hide anything about your team in today's hyper-active media culture. Stealth is nearly impossible and the NFL's media platform is the major reason. It's like spying on yourself.
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, is there a sport you never played but you wished you would have?
It's cross-country running. I think it's a great sport, especially for kids who lack the size to play football. There are no starters or bench warmers; everybody runs and the top five finishers for each team score. What I like most about cross-country is its matches are often decided by the last-place finishers. Back in my newspaper days, a high school coach sold me on the sport. He invited/begged me to cover the county tournament. I was at his side when the runners disappeared into the woods on a beautiful fall day, with the leaves in full color and the woods oozing their scent of coolness. He led me to a place where the runners would briefly emerge and he told me who to expect to see in the lead. All the while, he looked at his watch. When the runners exited the woods for the final time and began their dash for the finish line, those who gathered for this sylvan event burst into cheers. The leaders finished, but the match was far from over. Still in the woods were the runners who would decide the county championship. And then they emerged, and the cheers were even louder. It's a wonderful "he who is last shall be first" sport.
Tanner from Cleveland, OH
Between the Browns and the Jets, which team's arrow is most pointing up?
They're different types of arrows. The Browns' is a now arrow and it's pointing straight up. The Jets' is an arrow for the future and, based on the little bit I saw of Zach Wilson, it's on the rise.
Baker from Winona, MN
How do you view home ownership and renting?
I've never considered home ownership to be an especially good investment. Taxes, insurance, maintenance, closing costs, commissions, etc. are a drain on the gain. Real estate is messy. It can be difficult to sell. Even in today's outrageous seller's market, your gain will likely be spent on a new house. It's difficult to sell high and buy low unless you have two homes and you can retreat to one when the market is high. The tax deduction is good and that's why I don't want to "own" my home, among other reasons. If I'm selling my home, after crunching the numbers I want to be able to say I lived in that home rent free. If I can say that, I'm satisfied. Renting? I like not shouldering the liability, but renting lacks permanence.
Mike from Wyalusing, WI
With injury settlements, what forces the settlement? In other words, what prevents a player from playing hardball and holding out?
The CBA provides for settlement costs.
Sam from Tahunanui, NZ
Teams/scouts/personnel departments seem to have preferred body types for each position. The Packers' cornerbacks come to mind. Is this preference so they can execute specific technique? Or something less technical? Help me understand why so many teams narrow the funnel in this way.
Teams fit players to scheme and philosophy. A team that plays press coverage wants corners that can jam and mirror. A team that plays off or zone wants corners that can read and close. Aaron Donald is the perfect example of fitting a player to a scheme and philosophy. His talents would've been wasted in a 3-4, two-gapping scheme.
Jon from Missouri
What is your prediction for wins and losses for each of your three teams? Also, the NFL should absolutely have fans. Life and society should go back to normal.
Until death do us part? I don't do win predictions. I expect the Packers to be a Super Bowl contender. I expect the Steelers to be a tough out in potentially the NFL's strongest division. I expect the Jaguars to identify building blocks for their future in what will likely be another losing season.
Kamen from Bethel, CT
I'm not reserving a table for the Jaguars in January anytime soon, but were the rumors of our death perhaps a tad exaggerated? They looked leagues improved from the first two preseason games.
The Steelers played backups against Carolina's starters and looked like the pre-Noll Steelers. The Packers played backups the whole preseason and didn't win a game. The Jaguars played starters against the Cowboys' backups and came away feeling better about themselves. Is any of this meaningful? No.
Patrick from Indianapolis, IN
Vic, what (if anything) have you learned about Jordan Love's ability/potential that you didn't already know?
Steve from Belle Isle, FL
I almost fell ill when I read Crosby had to punt because the punter had cramps. A young athlete (I'm 62 and work outside every day!) who sits and waits to kick, then can't? He has to go, right?
It's all about hydration, Steve. I never leave the house without a bottle of water. Going to the range? Hydrate. Riding my bike? Hydrate. Kayaking? Hydrate. I even hydrate when I watch TV. I don't know when man began to require such massive amounts of water, but apparently something in our DNA has changed and if we don't hydrate our legs will twist like pretzels.
Douglas from Binghamton, NY
The Bills looked fantastic and the Packers looked terrible. Is there carry over, for better or worse, to the regular season?
Robert from Oak Creek, WI
Vic, I'm really liking Kurt Benkert, but I realize we can't keep them all. Could you please explain for the umpteenth time how the Packers could sneak him onto the practice squad?
You cut him, he clears waivers, you sign him to the practice squad.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
What are your thoughts on the Minshew trade?
They used a sixth to draft him and they traded him for a sixth. The only thing that strikes me is the Jaguars could only get a five and a six for two of last year's starters. I guess that's why they lost 15 in a row.