"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Do you really think Marrone is on the hot seat and could be fired at the end of the season? He has guided the team through an injury to Foles, Ramsey quitting on the team and then being traded, and they're still in the hunt. Marrone manages the game well, is excellent using his challenges, and always seems to have all his times out at his disposal. Gus Bradley was the opposite of Marrone and he got plenty of time. What is your opinion?
You are the first reader in "Ask Vic" history to use the plural of time out correctly. If you did it to make me feel good, thanks. As for Doug Marrone, I agree with everything you say. I like him as a coach and I hope his team responds for him in what's left of this season because I have to believe that's what it's going to take to save his job. You know how these things go. Today's sports culture doesn't allow for justifying defeat.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
What has you so sure the Packers will be able to pull off the victory against the Panthers? McCaffrey is their biggest play-making threat, and that would go against the Packers' biggest weakness.
Being in the Charleston TV market, I see a lot of Panthers games. They just don't impress me other than for being a survivor. They've beaten the Bucs, the Cardinals and a couple of other teams struggling to find an identity. The Panthers were embarrassed by the 49ers. I think the game at Green Bay is just too big of a challenge for the Panthers.
Zach from Butte, MT
Vic, I was wondering what your thoughts on the MLB umpire situation are. People calling for automated strike zones and now they're trying it in the minor leagues. I'm getting fed up with all this nonsense in sports further removing the human element.
I was never a big fan of the "you didn't play the game" comment. I always thought it was a smug way for people who've played a sport to separate themselves from those who didn't play but still love that sport. I'm sorry to say I'm beginning to believe there's some truth in that separation. I've come to believe those who've played the game have a better feel for athletic competition, a greater regard for the integrity of the game and the feeling that goes with knowing you did your best and, therefore, are able to accept defeat gracefully. I wish all fans were of that mind. The crybabies are ruining sports.
Stephan from Vienna, Austria
Vic, what is a game plan? May you describe it for us readers who never played football?
I would be happy to explain it for you. In a normal work week, Tuesday is the players' off day. As soon as the coaches do the review work with the players on Monday and get them out of the building, the coaching staff goes to work on preparing a game plan for the next opponent. The process begins by evaluating tape of the opponent's last three games; the pro personnel department's advance scout, who has scouted the opponent in person, goes back even farther. The process is highlighted by determining where your team will enjoy scheme and personnel advantages, and then fitting the scheme to the personnel to create a design for the defense and a play-call sheet for the offense. The same is done for special teams. Tuesday is a long day for the coaches; it can stretch into the late hours. The following morning, the coach presents the game plan to the team. Figuratively and maybe even literally, he tells the team, "This is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it." That's what players want to hear, not a pep talk but a plan that makes it crystal clear what the expectation is for every player on the roster. That thing the coach uses to cover his mouth on game day is his play-call sheet. It includes the plays he and his staff have picked to be used in the game, and they are the plays that were practiced during the week.
Mike from Charlotte, NC
Vic, it was definitely not Capers and it definitely is not Pettine. The Packers are stocked but they still stink. Pettine doesn't play soft zone, so who is telling him he has to play soft zone? Who's the meddler in the team affairs that is not a coach? I know that sounds like a conspiracy, and I don't think it is direct meddling, but we've gone through multiple coaches and the problem is still the same.
I don't see soft zones. I see press man to man. That's what Coach Capers played and that's what Jaire Alexander was playing when he was beaten over the middle in Dallas but intercepted the pass because it was thrown behind the intended receiver. Was Kevin King playing a soft zone when he broke up that pass near the end zone this past Sunday? Please, everyone, believe me when I say scheme isn't the problem. It wasn't the problem when Capers was the Packers' defensive coordinator and it's not the problem now that Mike Pettine is the defensive coordinator.
Steve from Montclair, NJ
What kind of feelings do fans in your neck of the woods have on the current state of the Panthers and the game this weekend?
There's not a lot of interest in the Panthers where I live. This is college football country. Edisto Beach is the official beach of the Clemson Tigers. Their fans come here on weekends to gather and watch the Tigers on TV. They bring a five-dollar bill and a pair of underwear and they don't change either.
Ben from Albuquerque, NM
I was wondering how much coaching does a head coach actually do? I'm talking actual coaching, fundamentals and the like, not delegating responsibilities down the line, which I'm certain has to be most of the job.
Coach Noll was deeply involved in coaching the offensive line. He loved teaching pad level, hand placement, etc. Nobody could teach a trap play like Coach Noll did. Bill Cowher was hands-on when it came to defense and special teams play. Tom Coughlin was all about the passing game. In skeleton and two-minute drill, his voice could be heard above everyone's. Jack Del Rio was about defense, especially the front seven. Mike McCarthy was similar to Coughlin, without the booming voice.
Jeffeory from Bloomington, IL
With chatter of the NFL moving a team to London, how would home vs. away games work? Flying for eight games to the U.S. would surely be a huge disadvantage?
We've discussed this previously. A London team would be based in Florida, where it would have its headquarters and training facility. It would fly to London to play and then return to Florida to live and practice. In a two-home, two-away routine, a full-time London team would only have to make four trips overseas. Scheduling could be accomplished that would address and defeat distance and time zone issues. I don't think the NFL is ready to put a full-time team in London, but I expect the league to expand its presence and begin to establish a rooting interest in London. A full-time team in London is going to happen. It's just a matter of when.
Josh from Wilmington, DE
What happens if Foles doesn’t play well?
In that case, the Jaguars would be unlikely to trade him and competition at quarterback between Foles and Minshew would begin.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Why aren't the Browns living up to expectations?
Look at their opening schedule: Rams, Ravens (Browns beat them), 49ers, Seahawks and Patriots. I get the sense they weren't ready for that challenge. The Browns have talent. I expect them to win the next three.
Mike from Berlin, WI
Vic, everyone seems to be blaming the Packers defense for the debacle in Los Angeles. It seems to me in today's NFL holding the opposition to field goals until late in the game is a win our future Hall of Fame quarterback needs to take advantage of. What am I missing?
You're missing time of possession, but I would also agree the quarterback didn't play well. Hey, yards translate to time. The notion only points matter is baloney.
David from Jerusalem, Israel
Is this the beginning of a slump or a bump in the road?
The Packers will recover from this defeat. I'm not as concerned about a slump as much as I'm concerned about the Packers' identity. Are they going back to what they were?
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
I was just flipping through the channels when I saw the last 50 seconds of the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game. That was my first Game of the Century and I wasn't able to watch it at the time because we didn't have ABC. I have never seen the game and I am shaking my head now, thinking how close I was to finally witnessing history (50 years late). Dan Jenkins wrote about TCU-SMU from the '30's. I read a book about Carlisle-Army (Jim Thorpe-Dwight Eisenhower). I've read about the controversial MSU-ND tie. Do you have a personal GOTC?
I've heard tales of the Pitt-Fordham scoreless ties, three of the most brutally physical games in college football history, during which Vince Lombardi (Seven Blocks of Granite) lost his front teeth and then made the game-saving tackle on the goal line. Every era and region of the country has its game of the century. How about O.J. vs. Gary Beban in 1967? Texas vs. Arkansas in 1969? Nobody told that story better than Beano Cook, who arranged the game to be moved or it never would've been more than just another big game early in the season. For me, Notre Dame at Michigan State in 1966 will forever be my game of the century. No game ever enjoyed more hype. It began in the offseason. I waited a year with excitement for that game to be played.
Jimmy from Chicago, IL
Vic, give it to us straight. Do you feel this Packers team is soft, or does it have the grit to make a run?
It has the passing game and the pass rush to make a run. Everything else needs to improve.
K.C. from Miami, FL
Before it was the Jaguars who were moving to London, and maybe that might still be the case, but now it's the Chargers in talks of moving to London. Do you see the NFL eventually having a permanent team in London in the foreseeable future, perhaps within the next decade?
The Chargers are not moving anywhere in the foreseeable future. Down the road, maybe, but not for the next several years. Stan Kroenke isn't going to allow the Chargers to break their lease for the new stadium in Los Angeles. Kroenke absolutely must have a second tenant. That Chargers to London story, which was refuted in no uncertain terms by Chargers owner Dean Spanos, might've been planted by the Rams. The battle for LA is on!
Saif from Washington, DC
How would you rate Jacksonville's front office personnel in terms of drafting, free-agent acquisitions and letting players go? I'm specifically wondering about Caldwell and Coughlin.
They drafted Minshew in the sixth round and they traded Ramsey for two ones. I'd say they had a pretty good year.
Robert from Plymouth, WI
I bet a lot of questions are coming in about the Packers losing the game on Friday. I bet you have stories to share about players letting loose the weekend of the game. Any that you would like to share?
If I was a head coach, I would never fly to the West Coast on Friday for a game on Sunday. That extra day can be a killer. Friday is party night for the players. I remember a Jaguars trip to Seattle on a Friday for a Sunday game. One guy never made it back to the hotel on Friday night. He was suspended for the game, which immediately caused a distraction. I think Coach Cowher had a great idea. One year, the Steelers didn't leave for San Diego until it was late enough on Saturday that when they arrived in California it was nearly bedtime in Pittsburgh. They landed, they went to bed, they got up and beat the Chargers 23-6. That circadian rhythm stuff is baloney.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how do you expect the Packers to rebound against Carolina?
Stern from Cedar Rapids, IA
Vic, I'm willing to hear your point, if you disagree. Please allow me to respond to your global warming question with this: If Al Gore and other leaders really considered this a danger …
It was a joke, Stern.
Jackson from Wauwatosa, WI
The Packers played their worst game of the season on a day everyone else in the NFC North lost. Is the lucky streak still alive? The breaks keep falling Green Bay’s way, even after a game like that.
They have certainly been living a charmed life.
Paul Frase is a former Packers and Jaguars player whose son, Joshua, was born with a debilitating disease that cost him his life and committed Paul to the pursuit of finding a cure. I know Paul from our days in Jacksonville and Paul reached out to me this week and asked me to invite my readers to watch "Something's Killing Me" on CNN HLN this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.