"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
With your history in Jacksonville, what are your thoughts on the Georgia/Florida game taking place there?
My first one was in 1995. I remember arriving at the stadium for work early on Monday the week of the game. The parking lot was full of trailers. It was like that for the 16 years I worked in Jacksonville, and it never quite made sense to me. Why would someone haul a trailer to Jacksonville and sleep in a parking lot for a week? It's not as though they were parked next to a beach or a golf course; they were parked under an elevated highway. During the day, they'd sit in lawn chairs outside their trailers. I guess it was the cocktails; that must've been the attraction.
Beaux from Los Angeles, CA
Who was better in their prime, Mike Peterson or Daryl Smith? Smith was probably the better and more versatile player for longer, but those 2-3 prime seasons of Peterson's are probably the best linebacker play Jacksonville has seen. Where do you stand?
Daryl is a good fit on an all-underrated team. Mike is on my favorite-players team. He's my kind of player. Mike got it. He understood what it meant to be a pro and how to give the most to the game and get the most from the game. He has one of those tough-guy personalities that is inviting, not threatening. Late in his career, I did a feature on him. I thought it was time to show a little appreciation for what he'd meant to me as a reporter, plus, I thought he could use some positive PR. The day after the story was posted, as Mike walked past me on the practice field, he winked at me and said, "Thanks." Those are the players I love. They helped me bring the game to my readers, and our appreciation of each other is mutual. Everybody wins! That's how you play the game.
Bob from Australia
Jealous of Brady? I'm really envious of Brady for not having to play at Arizona, at Atlanta, at Dallas, etc. in the postseason. Whilst recognizing the inadequacy of the NFC North, there has been nothing in all of football to match the ongoing exercise in futility that has been the AFC East. Brady may indeed be the GOAT, but I'm not prepared to usher him to the coronation chamber until I see him play where Rodgers has played in the postseason.
Tom Brady won two AFC title games in Pittsburgh. Does that count?
Aaron from Eau Claire, WI
Comparing the Rams and Packers defense, the Rams allow one fewer yard per game, 0.2 more yards per play, 0.3 fewer sacks per game, and a six percent worse third-down-stop percentage. Is the difference between these two teams actually the offense and turnovers?
That's a good question to answer on Monday. Let's wait to see what our eyes tell us.
Mark from Wausau, WI
Vic, is it me or are more teams than ever going into the win-now mode and trading draft choices for players? If true, why is the window shrinking for GMs and coaches to succeed?
Big salaries and their accompanying high expectations have created impatience. The long view has been replaced by a myopic demand for immediate results. At midseason, I believe 75 percent of the teams in the league consider themselves to be title contenders. Most of them probably believe one player could be a game-changer for them. The Packers need a pass rusher, the Steelers need a cornerback, the Jaguars need a quarterback. That's the mentality, driven often by job insecurity, that's causing teams to trade draft picks to the 25 percent of the league that knows it's not a title contender. The fans like it.
Antonio from Kimberly, WI
Even if the Raiders absolutely won the Amari Cooper deal, how will Jon Gruden convince his team this season is still important?
Players play for the tape. They play for their jobs.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
We know this next stretch of five games for the Packers will be difficult, but which of the next five opponents do you feel the Packers match up with best?
I think the Packers match up well with the Patriots. I think the Packers can win in New England. I expect the Packers to win at home against the Dolphins, and I don't see anything especially daunting about the game in Seattle. The Vikings? I'm not sure about that one. Aaron Rodgers will probably have to wear his Superman costume for the Packers to win in Minnesota.
John from Austin, TX
In hindsight, of course, the Titans going for two was the wrong call, however, I understand the mentality of running your best play to get two yards and getting the heck out of there (one way or the other).
If you go for two, two things can happen and only one of them is good. If you kick and go into overtime, three things can happen and two of them are good. This season is proving the value of a tie. Going for two is against the percentages.
Mark from West Allis, WI
A photo looking toward the peristyle end zone during Super Bowl I shows a paltry crowd. I assume the sideline crowds were packed in, but it's a stark contrast to the frenzy surrounding a Super Bowl game today. Tell us a story, Vic.
The price for a ticket to Super Bowl I was $10 and the game wasn't sold out. The NFL is the greatest success story in pro sports history and, in my opinion, Pete Rozelle is its author.
Matt from Georgetown, TX
Vic, I agree with your assessment of college football: too many meaningless games that were decided well before the first snap of the ball. I will give it one advantage over the NFL, though. You don't see NFL teams doing things like Iowa does when it waves to the patients in the children's hospital every home game. Seeing a whole stadium do that catches me.
I think it was last year I became aware of that story; I think it was the Penn State-Iowa game. I was moved to tears. The recent Ohio State-Purdue game provided a similar story. The young man at the center of that story spoke as eloquently as any statesman I can remember. Ohio State didn't have a chance. The heavens were calling Purdue's plays.
Mark from Ventura, CA
Thanks for making the day more enjoyable. Treat to read the power rankings. Just the right amount of spicy balance of bite and truth.
I like a day that begins with truth and ends with hope.
Mark from East Troy, WI
Vic, have the Saints given up on next year's draft? They will pick in the second round, and then not again until the fifth.
They're all in for what's left of the career of the most significant sports personality in New Orleans history. It's understandable because when Drew Brees hangs them up, football won't be the same for Saints fans and Katrina survivors alike. Brees is more than a great quarterback, he's a symbol of a region's pain and recovery from it.
Ryan from Bloomer, WI
I'm not a big metrics guy. Can you explain the 2-1-8 on offense and 7-12-9 on defense you referred to about the Rams?
No. 2 in total offense, first in rushing and eighth in passing; No. 7 in total defense, 12th against the run and ninth against the pass. When I look at the league rankings, I look across the rankings stat line for the teams that have true balance. For example, No. 3 in total offense, 32nd in rushing and No. 1 in passing could be the result of garbage-time yards. Or No. 32 against the run and No. 2 against the pass doesn't tell me much about that team's pass defense because they're so bad against the run nobody needs to pass against them. Balance says it all. The Rams run it and pass it with equal aplomb, and they stop the run, stop the pass and give opposing offenses little alternative in moving the football. In other words, they have no weakness. The great teams possess balance.
Ramiro from Mira Loma, CA
Vic, love this time of year! In my yard, the pomegranates are bright red, ripe and splitting open. The peaches are sweet and juicy, and the guavas are big, sweet and plentiful. The only barren tree is the edge rusher one. Any idea when and where the Packers could possibly find one?
They'll have to find one on the draft tree. T.J. Watt was on the draft tree.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Vic, you dropped the Bears quite a bit (below the Packers even) after a narrow loss to a Super Bowl contender. Did you see something in that game that's not reflected in the final score?
They've allowed a total of 69 points in the last two weeks. That's soft.
Sean from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Vic, with Clay Matthews in a contract year, being 32 years old and having 1.5 sacks this year, and the supposed depth of pass rushers in next year's draft, do you see the Packers re-signing him?
The rest of this season will certainly answer your question. At this point, my expectation is the Packers will move on at that position. They have to find a young pass rusher. They've spent too many picks on pass defenders. They need to go hard for young rushers.
Tim from Jacksonville, FL
I can't think of a reason Watson wasn't a top three pick. Was his performance against an Alabama defense in the biggest stage not a good enough indicator of what he would be? Caldwell should lose his job over this.
I loved him. Any question I had about him he answered in that national title game. Alabama decided to test his toughness. They hit him hard and they hit him cheap, and Watson responded with courage and talent not even Alabama could match. Earlier that season, I asked Brian Gutkunst what he thought of Watson. "I think he's got some magic," Gutekunst said. You bet he does. The Jaguars were committed to Bortles, so they passed on Watson; I guess that's the reason. It goes to show how sensitive that position is. The Jaguars were also committed to Byron Leftwich, so they passed on Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers. When you make a mistake at that position, you can pay a heavy price for a long time.
Ryan from Green Bay, WI
Vic, where would Seattle be if it didn’t draft Wilson and trusted Matt Flynn? Where would every team that signed Bradford or Osweiler be if they just drafted a QB instead of putting their faith in an injury-prone player or backup?
When you don't draft the best available player, you leave that player for your competition to draft. Then it becomes a double hit: You don't have him and now you have to play against him. That's what the Jaguars are facing with Watson.