"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
John from Sioux Falls, SD
I know the Packers don’t value inside linebackers, but watching Tampa’s Devin White and Lavonte David run around and make plays, it made me wonder how long it’s been since the Packers had anyone remotely like them. Seems kind of weak to throw out names like Desmond Bishop or Nick Barnett. Does a game like that change evaluators' minds?
White was the fifth pick of his draft. It's been a long time since the Packers picked that high.
Joey from Huntington Beach, CA
Do you think Miami’s decision to bench Fitzpatrick was a coaching decision or a management decision?
I think it's a stupid decision. It sends a message winning isn't good enough. It puts Tua in a terrible position. He won't have the stress-free opportunity to grow his game, as Joe Burrow has. The Dolphins are a contender. If the Dolphins lose, Tua will be blamed and the wolves will howl for him to be benched. The Dolphins should've stuck with Fitzpatrick as long as he was winning, because nothing beats winning. Tua's time will come. This is reckless management of his career. He didn't earn the job. His first game will be against Aaron Donald. Good luck with that. What if he lays an egg? Are the Dolphins going to go back to Fitzpatrick? Ouch! I'll admit I'm wrong if this turns out differently, but I don't think this was the right decision, for the team or for Tua.
Mike from Pleasant Shade, TN
Vic, definitely laughed out loud at "Vikings can't blow their horn." Good one!
I was just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.
Nick from Owego, NY
Who is the Packer's second-best/important player?
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
Was that a good wince or a bad wince concerning one of Dillon's runs?
I texted my scout friend for a response to "Dillon doesn't have light feet." Yes, I was eliciting a reaction. This is what I got: "You will need him on muddy field to push, push the line of scrimmage."
Tom from Bismarck, ND
I like your "big boy football" references. For those readers who don't know what that means, I would ask them to watch a game between the Steelers and Ravens. For the Steelers, it's been 50 years of drafting the kind of athletes that will rip your head off. For the Ravens, it's been over 20 years. For just about every other franchise it seems to be hit and miss. Maybe the Bears? Maybe the Eagles? Some franchises have never quite figured it out and you rarely see them playing with that aggression. The soft teams, the pass-happy, offense-minded teams, teams like the Packers, unfortunately, well, they always put up good numbers, don't they?
I've gotten a lot of angry mail this week as a result of the Packers' soft performance in Tampa. Well, a few weeks ago the Packers out-finessed the Saints with cutesy tight-end-delay completions and everybody giggled. So, do you wanna giggle or do you wanna grind? Pick!
Wayne from Beavercreek, OH
Vic, how do you know when it's players and how do you know when it's coaches?
You evaluate each. Do your players win their one-on-ones? Do your coaches scheme personnel, creating matchup advantages? Do they get the most out of the talent available to them? Do the schemes fit the talent? Are the players self-starters? Are they motivated by love of victory? Is the head coach's message consistent? Does the head coach have a stable personality? Is he a leader of men? Is his staff capable of teaching technique? These are just some of the questions I would need to answer. Play-calling would be a minor issue.
Brian from Yakima, WA
Do you have to draft toughness or can it be coached?
You draft toughness. Bill Cowher went through a soft spot in the middle of his career. I was told he asked this question of a team executive: "When did we stop drafting tough guys?" The Polamalu years followed, and winning returned. In my mind, if a team isn't tough, winning doesn't even feel good.
Eric from San Francisco, CA
Why do you think fans have so much trouble with no cheering in the press box? I understand we were all kids who loved a team at one point in our lives, but is it that hard to believe that feeling can be turned off when it becomes a profession?
Justin from Waukesha, WI
What is the difference between Aaron Rodgers and Joe Montana?
Montana had a much better team around him.
Scott from Madison, WI
Vic, I have always respected Mike McCarthy, and I wasn't thrilled with how his firing went down. I'm the opposite of a Cowboys fan, but I found myself wishing him well (when he isn't playing us). Now it feels like the wheels are coming off in Dallas, and players are already making complaints. Do you think he will be able to right the ship? If not, will this be a major stain on his reputation, given how things ended in Green Bay?
He's only been the coach for six games. He was handed a team judged to have grossly under-achieved. Maybe it didn't under-achieve. I think Coach McCarthy knew he had a team in need of a rebuild on defense, but he was handed a great young quarterback and probably felt as though he could win with offense while the defense was being rebuilt. Now the quarterback is gone and owner Jerry Jones has admitted expectations should be adjusted downward. Here's my perspective: If Coach McCarthy can overcome circumstances and begin winning games, he'll be celebrated and he'll grow in esteem and strength. Should that happen, the bleakness of a 2-4 start will have been an opportunity to prove his skill as a coach. Should the fall continue, he'll be on the hot seat next season. That's life for an NFL coach.
Jason from Des Moines, IA
I think you'd like McAfee. His show is a self-aware jockocracy, so they don't take themselves too seriously. He's also a Pittsburgh native, and his humor matches. During one of his interviews, Rodgers was talking about a haunted house the Packers go to every year at the local train museum. McAfee cut him off in mid-sentence. "Wait a minute, did you say train museum? What on earth? That sounds terrible. Who would make a museum for trains?" He looked physically ill thinking about it, and Rodgers seemed confused about why he was so hung up on it. I take it growing up in a steel town you've seen enough locomotives for one lifetime?
I'm sorry I missed that episode.
Joseph from Winnabow, NC
Whose loss to injury will the Steelers have felt more, Bush or Shazier?
They were never able to replace Shazier. It appears Spillane likes to hit people. Ask me again in a couple of weeks.
Doug from St. Louis, MO
Seems like the Packers are being carried mostly by players picked by the previous regime. Brian Gutekunst's first draft is looking like a clunker. Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage so far in year two, meh. I'm just not seeing it with the players Gutekunst has added since he took over. At this point, it looks like the only draft picks he's hit on are Jaire Alexander and Elgton Jenkins. Out of the four big-money free agents Gutekunst signed, I see only one that makes an impact. At this point, I have huge concerns.
Gutekunst will sink or swim with his Jordan Love pick.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Similar to "big boy football," what are some things that will always have a place in the game?
Physical intimidation and crunch time power.
Matt from Missoula, MT
Is this the week LaFleur turns it over to the team?
This is the week LaFleur needs to take back the team.
Lane from Winter Garden, FL
Vic, Ngakoue was playing well for the Vikings. What does his trade to Baltimore tell you?
Rebuilding has begun.