"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
David from Silver Spring, MD
There's your trick play!
I've never felt greater joy. Finally, McCarthy gets it. He should listen to the fans more.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
You talked in the preseason about Graham being a big target down the seam, but most of his receptions this year have come on the outside. Is this what's causing the offensive woes; still no vertical threat down the middle?
It was my expectation Jimmy Graham would be the big receiver in the middle of the field Mike McCarthy said was critical to the passing game. After all, Graham's reputation is for being that kind of receiver. Well, he's not being used that way. Against the Dolphins, Graham caught one pass and it was along the sideline. I don't get it but it wouldn't do any good for a reporter to ask Coach McCarthy in a press conference why Graham isn't being used more in the middle of the field because McCarthy would say he doesn't answer questions that pertain to strategy. That leaves me with one of two answers for you: 1) The Packers don't want to use Graham as a big receiver in the middle of the field, or 2) they can't use Graham as a big receiver in the middle of the field. Take your pick.
Paul from Cumming, GA
What team outside of the "Ask Vic Three" are you most enjoying following this season?
I enjoy watching the Rams. Todd Gurley is a special running back and Aaron Donald might be the most dominant defensive lineman I've ever seen. The Rams are an exceptional team. They pound with Gurley and flash with Brandin Cooks in the jet sweep. They throw the ball with big-play explosiveness and they rush the passer with frightening force. The Saints will remain the No. 1 team in my all-important power rankings because they beat the Rams, but I think the Rams are the most talented and complete team in the league.
Dave from Madison, WI
What is your opinion of Aaron Jones? How would you describe his skill set?
He's shifty and explosive. He reminds me of LeSean McCoy. I want to see more.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
Put the win over the Dolphins into perspective for us.
It was a shouldn't-lose game. The Packers did what they were expected to do and they did it with impressive balance on offense and with resilience on defense. They put themselves in position to make a run at the NFC North title. They must win, in my opinion, in Minnesota and in Chicago to have any chance of winning the division title. I won't call Thursday's game in Seattle a must win, but a loss would probably force the Packers to have to run the table.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, this one hurt. The offense scored points. The fumble at the end hurt. Bortles has a good stat line. The reality is he was scared to push it downfield. Despite that, the defense looked lost. The only interception was blind luck on blown coverage. There were eight missed assignments on zone handoffs. That is even scarier to me coming off a bye. It is unraveling quickly now. Where do you go from here?
The Steelers are next on the Jaguars' schedule, and that's a positive for the Jaguars because they have always played their best football against the Steelers. It goes back to year one, when I was covering them. The Jaguars always got up for playing the Steelers. It was their biggest game of the year. I could never figure out why they didn't feel the same way about the Titans, and that includes Jaguars fans. Even all these years later, 16 years after division realignment separated the Jaguars and the Steelers, the Jaguars still play their best football against the Steelers and some of their worst against the Titans. The two wins against the Steelers last season defined the 2017 Jaguars. In most other ways, it was an ordinary season. So, will next Sunday's game re-energize the Jaguars and turn their season around? It wouldn't surprise me if it did. If it doesn't, Doug Marrone might be coaching for his job in what's left of the season.
John from St. Augustine, FL
I’m watching the Jaguars defense completely melt against the Colts. They don’t lack talent. What do you think the problem is? Have they quit on the season or is it coaching or what?
You're forgetting the first rule of today's NFL: Thou shall not play defense. Seriously, you win in today's game with offense, not defense. The Jaguars had the ball with plenty of time to score and win, and they fumbled it. That's why they lost.
Chenc from Gent Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
On Sunday, I got to stand on the same field that 100 years ago the last Belgian artillery shot was fired before the weapons fell silent. I hope everyone who reads this column remembers that 100 years ago today, people finally got the chance to wake up with hope in their lives. Let's never forget the privilege we enjoy today thanks to their sacrifice.
I will, even if it's raining.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Can anyone beat Alabama?
It would probably take an Oklahoma kind of team, which is to say a team that eliminates blocking and tackling with hurry-up, spread-the-field offense. I watched Oklahoma and Oklahoma State play a game that was an insult to the game I've loved since I first saw Bobby Layne's nose bleed down his shirt sleeve. If It's come to that, I'd rather not watch. It makes me sad.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, whatever happened to the goal line being around the world?
I think I covered the last around-the-world touchdown. It was on a catch by Jimmy Smith against the Jets. He reached the ball across the goal line as it extended out of bounds and it was ruled a touchdown. I think it was the game-winner. By rule, it was the right call, but I had never seen it called and I was told the league's officials were informed the following week that even though the around-the-world rule was still in the rulebook, Mike Pereira didn't want it called that way. Some years later, the around-the-world rule was officially eliminated from the rulebook.
Aaron from Wausau, WI
How do you notice what the scheme is for a game plan? If watching individual plays isn't helpful, what trends do you watch for?
Here's one: The Packers used extra wide splits in their offensive line on Sunday. Rich Gannon made mention of it late in the game, for which he has my respect as a true analyst. Wide splits are what an offensive line does when it wants to run the ball. The intent is to create wide running lanes, and they did, which allowed Aaron Jones to gash the Dolphins early before the Dolphins were able to adjust. The negative to big line splits is they create room for pass rushers to maneuver; they invite the rush. The Packers' game plan must not have been concerned about the Dolphins' pass rush; it was 29th in the league in sacks per pass play.
Nick from Owego, NY
When isn't it too early to watch Christmas Vacation?
It's not permitted in my house until Thanksgiving night, at which time I enjoy the cinematic traditional with kith and kin and a slice of shoo-fly pie.
Rich from York, PA
Do you think Patrick Mahomes can sustain this level of play over the course of the full season? He has a bit of a Nick Foles feel to me.
A lot of quarterbacks, including Aaron Rodgers, have been compared to Joe Montana, but Mahomes is the first one who truly reminds me of Montana. Mahomes has that delicate ease to him that defined Montana's style of play. Mahomes has Montana-like grace and panache. Does that answer your question?
Mark from Napierville, IL
Ugliest uniforms ever? Norte Dame, hands down! Why would they ever wear those uniforms?
I liked them. What I don't like are the gray uniforms I've seen this year. Northwestern's gray unis are depressing, especially on a gray day. I watched a lot of games on Saturday and I enjoyed the visuals. I'm not a fan of red, but Penn State and Wisconsin made for a handsome red, white and blue spectacle. Pitt's throwback uniforms might be the best in football. I love Texas Tech's flame-red helmet with the black stripe. West Virginia's gold is the best. Their midnight blue and gold colors and their numbers font are coal minesque. Florida's blue and orange are a sunset special. North Carolina and Duke was heaven for a blue lover like me. I love bright colors. It's a big part of my fascination for football.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
Do the Packers need to win the NFC North to make the playoffs?
They can win a wild card spot, but only if they win in Seattle this Thursday.
Matthew from Oshkosh, WI
Tell Adam from Cary, NC, the only whiny, petulant child is Cam Newton after each of his sacks. As a Packers fan, I really enjoyed watching the Steelers embarrass Panther nation.
Isn't that kind of silly?
Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD
I am impressed beyond measure with the play of Jaire Alexander. He took out a lineman so the linebacker behind him could make a play. Is he the future star of this defense?
He's the best player on the Packers defense right now.
Luke from Chattanooga, TN
Hope the guy is okay, but how could St. Brown have made the block on McCain legally?
Hines Ward made that block when it was legal to do so, and he was called dirty. A Packer does it after the block has been outlawed, and it's what else could he have done?
Simon from Norwalk, CT
I liked the EQ hit. He led with his shoulder and connected center mass, avoiding any head to head nonsense. Am I wrong? Didn’t those kinds of hits used to make the NFL promo commercials?
Yeah, it was great seeing the guy's head snap and then watching him lie motionless on the ground. I'll bet he lost consciousness before he hit the ground.
Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL
I know this isn't football related, but I mowed my grandparents' lawn on Thursday and woke up Friday to a couple of inches of snow. Felt good getting that last mow in. I'm sure you don't have the same problem down in SC, though.
This is the time of the year the temperatures dip low enough at night to make the mosquitoes go back into the rotted vegetation and take a nap. The next 5-6 months are heaven.