"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Nick from Owego, NY
Imagine if McCarthy and Tomlin could add one past player (in their prime) from any year to help their team out this season, who would they add? For example, McCarthy could add, say, Kramer and Tomlin could add Greene.
I think Coach McCarthy would pick Reggie White and Coach Tomlin would pick Rod Woodson. The Packers need a disruptive, pass-rushing force, and the Steelers need a cornerback they can trust in man coverage.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, Mike Leach said creating offensive balance isn’t about having run/pass balance, but about distributing the ball evenly between your best offensive players. What do you think about that?
I disagree because you're exposing your quarterback to too many pass rushes and potential injury if you don't have a respectable balance between run and pass. Also, teams that don't run the ball tend to not stop the run and play tough defense. They tend to be one-trick ponies. When you're not a complete team, you can be schemed against. A team that can't run the ball allows the defense to ignore the run and intensify its pass rush, putting the quarterback at even greater risk. Even in today's pass-happy game, the running game is important and most good coaches are looking for a way to achieve balance between run and pass. In the Packers' case, I think better defense will help them achieve balance. They got behind early against the Bears, Redskins, Lions and 49ers, and it took them out of whatever plan they had to run the ball.
Jay from Minneapolis, MN
The narrative I hear is Aaron Jones gets limited opportunities because he can't block the pass rush. Is that what you're seeing?
He missed a block that allowed the rush to get home in the last game, and though he might have potential as a receiver out of the backfield, he doesn't appear comfortable, yet, in that capacity. As it stands now, I see Jones as a role back. He's an accomplished toss-sweep runner, and Coach McCarthy has confidence in Jones to execute that role. In time, that role will be expanded, but he can't become a three-down back until he can block and catch.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, which big game is on your radar this weekend?
I like Saints at Ravens. It's the immovable object vs. the irresistible force. Might this be a Super Bowl preview? I also like Patriots at Bears (the litmus test for Chicago), Texans at Jaguars (division hopes on the line for Jax), and Bengals at Chiefs (which fast start will fizzle?)
Bob from Australia
The main difference between the Patriots and the Packers isn't postseason Brady, it's the division they play in, allowing Brady to play with a week's bye and homefield advantage throughout most postseasons.
In the five years I covered the Packers, I didn't think the NFC North was especially tough. The Lions had that crazy record of not winning on Wisconsin soil, and the Packers dominated the Bears to the point I thought it was the most overrated rivalry in sports. The Vikings? The Packers were 8-2-1 against them. I don't understand why Packers fans struggle to acknowledge what Tom Brady has accomplished. He's the all-time leader in postseason wins, 27. You can use stats to build a case for or against anybody, but when a guy has played as well and for as long as Brady has in the postseason, the only reason to dispute his greatness is jealousy. I'll acknowledge he's played on teams that have had better defensive personnel than the Rodgers Packers teams. Ty Law, Darrelle Revis, Rodney Harrison, Lawyer Milloy, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau late in his career were standout defenders, but Brady has made a lot of average talent on offense look good. You're not going to win this argument with me. Brady deserves to be acknowledged as the greatest quarterback of all time, and without equivocation.
Rob from Washington, DC
Vic, after six weeks, NFL TV ratings are up while seemingly all other sports are down. For all those people who said they were going to quit watching due to rule changes and controversies, what happened?
I guess they got tired of watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate, 24 Ladders In One, and Do You Poop Enough? Seriously, I didn't put a lot of stock in declining ratings of recent seasons and I don't think the explosion in ratings this season is indicative of a shift. The NFL was king, still is king and will likely remain king for the foreseeable future. So what's happened to cause the improved ratings? I think the answer lies within the TV industry, not within the popularity of football. I'd like for a TV executive to explain it.
Mark from Eau Claire, WI
What's your favorite Bob Dylan song?
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right. I just love those words.
Steven from Yorktown, VA
I am a victim of the player safety era. My mother absolutely refused to sign the waivers to let me play high school football. I would lift with the team every spring up until my junior year, hoping my mother would relent. She never did. I will not allow my son the same fate. My point is to thank you for welcoming me into the fraternity of football, and for painting such a vivid picture that I can’t help but imagine having not played myself.
One of the great thrills of my life was hearing the coach call my name to go into the game. I never expected it. I raced onto the field and into a huddle I never knew other than in practice. All of a sudden, I belonged. I saw it in the other eyes in the huddle. I felt the greatest sense of worth I had known to that point in my young life. While watching film of the game on Monday, when it got to my play the coach said, "Welcome to the varsity, Ketchman." I'm sorry you were denied that joy.
Ben from Columbus, OH
Vic, what do the Jags have to do to get their season back on track? I know you always say "help is not on the way," but do you think Fournette can make a big difference for this team once he returns?
That would be the hope. They need to make defenses commit more personnel to stopping the run; I think it's the only way Blake Bortles can become effective again. The word is out: Make Bortles beat you. I don't think he can. Even when he played well last year, Leonard Fournette was the reason for it. The Jaguars win with Fournette, not Bortles.
J.T. from Charlotte, NC
Vic, I just watched the movie The First Man and was surprised to find the howl of the wolves so fierce with regard to NASA. What was your opinion of the Apollo missions?
Who could forget where they were on that night in July of 1969? I remember hearing the "one small step" words and then walking out onto the porch and looking up at the moon. Who didn't look at the moon and think someone's up there?
Kelly from Ellsworth, WI
Vic, does it take longer for a top corner to blossom than an impact pass rusher? If it does, maybe the Packers played it right, especially if, as I've read, the next draft class is relatively deep with pass rushers.
I think it does take longer to groom a corner. I think running backwards is more difficult than running forward.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
What do you think the next month holds for Le'Veon Bell? Do you see anything changing?
I think he knows he made a mistake and the situation will worsen if he comes in out of shape and plays poorly. James Conner is making Bell look very replaceable. Why sign Bell to a big contract when you can replace him with a third-round pick? I think the Steelers are lucky Bell didn't sign the contract they offered him.
Steve from Lake City, MN
I don't think we need the next three games to find out who the Packers are. I think we know.
Did you know who the Packers were in 2010 when they lost at home to the Dolphins?
Aiden from Jacksonville, FL
What’s going on with the Jaguars defense? Even after the loss to KC, you mentioned the Jaguars defense did not have any underlying issues. It’s baffling such a solid unit is playing like this. What are your thoughts?
They ran into an ambush in Dallas. Defense isn't the problem in Jacksonville. Maybe the beating the Jags took in Dallas will shut up Jalen Ramsey and allow that defense to play without the distraction he creates. Offense is the Jags' problem.
Mike from Rochester, MN
With respect to the howling of the wolves, how much harder is it for a modern-day GM and coach to keep their jobs than it was in the '70's?
Chuck Noll is the perfect example. He was 1-13, 5-9 and 6-8 before he turned it around in year four with an 11-3 record and a spot in the AFC title game. In today's game, Coach Noll might not have made it to year three, certainly not year four.
Nathan from New York, NY
Should the Jaguars trade for Nick Foles?
The Jaguars have to do something, if they really want to salvage this season and become a playoff contender. Foles didn't play very well early this season, and that might be to the Jags' advantage because it's probably lessened Foles' trade value. First-round pick? Absolutely not. Second-rounder? You'd have to hold me down. Third-round pick? Do it.
Mike from Somerset, WI
The AFC North and NFC North are tightly coupled after six weeks. What is your prediction for each division's champion?
Ravens and Vikings.
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
We haven't spoken much on the subject of college football this season. What are your thoughts so far with the top 10 teams?
Ohio State will beat Alabama in the national title game. By the way, I saw an interesting stat on Wisconsin. In their last 54 games, the Badgers have played just nine times against top 20 teams. They are 1-8 in those games. That's an example of what I don't like about college football. Too much fluff. I wonder how many other teams have built their ranking by beating bad teams.
Ray from Clark, NJ
Vic, what are your thoughts on the legality of the stiff arm? Of course, if someone jams a hand into your face, jolting your head, you will fall back. Seems like an unfair advantage for the ball carrier. It is illegal for any other player. Also, not very safe in the player safety era.
I'm surprised someone hasn't developed a technique for grabbing the arm and breaking it. A couple of those and I have no doubt the stiff arm would go the way of the head slap.
Adam from Wausau, WI
If you were Kaepernick, would you meet with President Trump?
Absolutely I would. It would be a chance for Colin Kaepernick to promote the real intent of his protest.