"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Stephen from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, you’re well aware the good people of Jacksonville don’t much care for that professional football team from Nashville, and a win this week would be as meaningful as beating the defending AFC-champion New England Patriots last week. A loss, however, would move the Jaguars into second place behind the team that swept them last season. What do the Jaguars have to do this week to defeat the Titans for the first time since Christmas Eve, 2016?
Nothing special. It's hammer time. Jags win big.
Brian from Yakima, WA
Vic, I’m having trouble with the roughing the passer calls. I thought both the Kendricks and Matthews hits were legal; both were flagged. I believe in both cases the NFL publicly agreed with those calls, but the NFL came out and said the Myles Garrett flag in Week 1 was incorrect. That hit looked to me like a pile-drive style hit with full body weight on the quarterback (it was Big Ben so maybe that’s the discrepancy). Does the NFL have it wrong here?
The NFL has created a rule so difficult to interpret and apply, it's likely to create difference of opinion every time it's enforced. I don't like it, either, but this is the way it is and this is the way it will continue to be. Why? Because if the NFL doesn't take steps to protect its quarterbacks, it will lose them to injury, which means the highest-paid player on the team, the stars of the game, won't be on the field. Is this so difficult for Packers fans to understand? Think back to last year and how you whined and cried about Anthony Barr's hit on Aaron Rodgers -- Rodgers led the parade -- which ruined the Packers' season. That play is part of the impetus to this new rule. Know this: If you contact the quarterback, you're at risk of being penalized. The quarterback is "The Man." He must be tackled in a very specific way that leaves little room for error. The team that embraces this new rule and teaches the proper technique for complying with this new rule will be the winner. Everyone else will be whiners.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, the Vikings were No. 3 and the Packers No. 8 on your first power ranking list. They tie a game and the Vikings move down one spot to No. 4 and the Packers move back three spots to No. 11. Please explain.
I think the Vikings are the No. 4 team in the league and the Packers are No. 11.
Matt from McNaughton, WI
What are you looking for over the next two months that would make you think Green Bay's defense is complementary enough to Aaron to make a playoff run?
I need to see improvement.
Ben from El Paso, TX
If you were Washington's owner, would you change the team's name?
Loftur from Columbus, OH
Jalen Ramsey seems to always have a quote ready for the media. Would you have enjoyed covering him?
He would certainly have been a go-to guy for me. I always went to Fred Taylor, Tony Boselli, Keenan McCardell, Leon Searcy, Maurice Jones-Drew and Byron Leftwich when I covered the Jaguars. They were media friendly and I respected their opinions. Ramsey is certainly media friendly, but his opinions don't seem to be measured. If he tones down his rhetoric, he has a chance to become the voice of the Jaguars. I'd like to see that happen.
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
Are the rules themselves going to make the QB replaceable and less expensive? As you said, the NFL is at least trying to give every team a Rodgers or a Brady. So why am I paying $30 million for a player when the difference between the elites and the rest is getting thinner and thinner?
When I began covering the NFL, it was said it took five years to develop a starting quarterback. Now, we just plug them in and they're stars. That's what the league wants because what's good for that position is good for the league and for the game.
Adam from Wausau, WI
The feeling I get while watching these past few games is a feeling I cannot replicate elsewhere. The highs and lows of emotion can't be explained. Is there anything you can compare in your life that gets you as excited as I am to watch the Packers?
Yes. A good-news call from one of my sons. A round of golf with old friends. A trip down memory lane. A kiss from the one I love. Seeing a hurricane track turned out to sea. Most of all, the wonderfully secure feeling of knowing all is well.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
How bad can the Steelers be this year before Tomlin's job is in jeopardy?
He's at the test. Can he focus his team and dedicate it to improvement, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Defense is his specialty. It's where he can demonstrate his hands-on coaching skills. December will define the Steelers. If they play their best football in December, Tomlin will have proven his worth. I think it's going to take at least until December to improve that defense.
Morgan from Kaukauna, WI
Hey, let Clay know if he shoves the QB down in that situation he's clean.
Joe Namath once said, "We're the trophy." Al Davis said "the quarterback must go down and the quarterback must go down hard." I can remember saying "put the long coat on the quarterback." Those days are over. The NFL is determined to change the culture that would mount quarterback heads on walls. I think defenses can get more accomplished if they focus on knocking down passes instead of sacking the quarterback. Maybe it's time defenses make the ball the trophy instead of the quarterback.
Blake from Kettle Moraine, WI
Is there a circumstance under which a particular amount of whining does a body good? I whine for my heart.
I'm reminded of a 2005 playoff game in Indianapolis. Troy Polamalu intercepted a pass. At the end of his return, he fumbled the ball and then fell on it. The play was reviewed and the referee reversed the call to an incomplete pass. It was a terrible call that even incensed the commissioner. How did Polamalu react? He got right up off the bench and ran onto the field with energy and resolve. He remained focused to do his job. That's what needs to happen and coaches need to teach it. Whining accomplishes nothing. Do your job.
Don from Jacksonville, FL
What's your advice for raising sons?
Speak with your eyes.
Blake from Normal, IL
Why is Mitch Trubisky so slow at progressing. He’s good with a scripted play set but, after that, it’s one three-and-out after another. He’s not flashy, he’s boring. I know it’s going to take time, but how much time?
It's early in year two. His progress doesn't alarm me, but I saw something in the Packers game that's caused me to change my opinion of him. I saw him drop his eyes. Oh, that's bad. No great quarterback drops his eyes. Maybe it was just a one-time thing. I'll be watching for more examples of it.
Joseph from Dillon, MT
Thank you for your tie answer. Not only did I love it, but I am now wearing a tie that I first wore to a homecoming dance in high school. I agree completely.
I have a tie with a food stain from Commander's Palace in New Orleans. I love that food stain. Memories make us rich.
Ben from Albuquerque, NM
What is the reasoning behind the "inside two minutes a fumbled ball can only be advanced by the player who fumbled it" rule? It seems entirely arbitrary and outdated.
It's to prevent another "Holy Roller."
Kirsten from Madison, WI
You've mentioned several times about the Packers being a mediocre team without Aaron Rodgers. What would you need to see in order to believe they're more than that?
I need to see them run the ball -- especially on short-yardage plays -- and play better defense.
Robert from St. Paul, MN
Vic, what are your impressions of FedEx Field? Seems like most Washington fans hate the place.
It's one of those stadiums that was built near the end of the antiseptic stadium architecture era. The new wave of stadium architecture gives football stadiums a kind of warmth the game never enjoyed. FedEx Field is a tub.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
Do you know of a Super Bowl champion that had a tie on its record?
The 1974 Steelers played to a tie in the first-ever regular season overtime game. That team went on to win Super Bowl IX. I don't understand why Packers fans are struggling so much with this tie.
Aiden from Jacksonville, FL
How did the Buffalo Bills get so bad? They were in the playoffs just last year.
They are completely without identity or direction at the quarterback position. At least with Tyrod Taylor they knew what they had to do to win. Until they pick and stick, they won't have a blueprint for victory.
Aaron from Seattle, WA
It looks like the view is nearly unanimous that the calls on Rodgers and Cousins were bad calls. Mike Periera, Dean Blandino, Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Brett Favre, to name a few, have come out against the call. McCarthy even went so far as to say they are not changing the way the Packers train their players to tackle. It looks to me like the NFL is just being stubborn. Do you think all of these people are wrong?
OK, it was a bad call. Feel better?