"Ask Vic" will publish on Mondays and Thursdays through the offseason.
Eric from Hudson, WI
The sky is very bright in Green Bay. Minnesota overpaid a marginal QB. Trubisky, on a rookie contract, is the fourth-best QB in the division. Soon enough, Rodgers will own the North once again.
Or the Bears will use yesterday's bitter disappointment as a launch pad to a long run at the top of the division. The Bears have a powerful roster, and the "fourth-best" quarterback in the division made plays at crunch time. The Bears will begin next season with a strong sense of who they are and what they can do. They weren't going to win in Los Angeles or New Orleans. Yesterday, in my opinion, was going to be the end of the line one way or another. What the harshness of yesterday's defeat may accomplish is to fire the steel for next season.
Gidgit from Swasoulian, AZ
Where were Nagy's gadget plays?
He used one on the two-point try. It failed.
Jason from Thiensville, WI
I’ve heard it said good musicians know when to play and great ones know when not to play. Could you let Chatty know?
He said a bad word yesterday.
Mike from Des Moines, IA
The Chargers used seven defensive backs on 58 of 59 defensive snaps and were effective in stopping the Ravens downfield. Is this a sign of what's to come? Are the rules favoring the quarterback and the passing game making it so defense will prioritize speed over size?
The safeties playing linebacker were about adding more chase speed and mobility to defend Lamar Jackson's scrambling ability. The Chargers were able to make the strategy work by being able to stop the Ravens' power running game with a light-in-the-pants front.
Oscar from Santa Ana, CA
Should the Jaguars acquire Joe Flacco to be their starting quarterback, or even to be a veteran presence if they decide to draft one?
I don't like the mojo in a Jaguars trade for Flacco. They traded with Baltimore in 2008 to move up and draft Derrick Harvey; the Ravens then used the pick to move into position to draft Flacco. Trading a pick to Baltimore for Flacco 11 years later has a double whammy feel to it. I'd rather see the Jaguars use their high pick to draft their future quarterback.
Jim from New Berlin, WI
I read today the Packers' next head coach should run a modern offense. What does this mean?
I'm not sure what it means. Should the Colts run a modern defense, instead of that age-old "Tampa Two" (cover two) scheme they use? The Texans run a modern offense. How'd that work for them against the Colts?
Eddie from Midland, MI
Vic, do you think Ozzie Newsome was out in front of the NFL with drafting Lamar Jackson and creating an offense that fits the talents of the college game? The going rate for even average passing quarterbacks leaves little to surround him with decent players.
Where the Ravens selected Jackson, I thought he was an easy pick that didn't require much vision, just a sense of value.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
If you were the GM of a QB-needy team, would you sign Foles?
No, because the cost would be too great and he's only been successful in Philadelphia. If Foles goes on a long playoff run again, I'd ask the Eagles if they'd be willing to trade Wentz. I'd give them a one for him; maybe even a two, too.
Dan from Toledo, OH
As much as I rooted against the Bears yesterday, I can’t help but feel for Parkey. The only thing that makes missing that kick worse is being booed by your own fans as you jog off the field.
How about Ravens fans booing Jackson? He put that team on his back and carried it to the playoffs -- a 6-1 run -- and they booed him. Fans are great.
Leo from Dallas, TX
Any memories of Terry Bradshaw singing?
I remember sitting in Bradshaw's training camp dorm room, interviewing him for a story about his edgy relationship with his coach, Chuck Noll, whose dorm room was directly across the hall from Bradshaw's. With his door open, Bradshaw said, "He's in there taking a nap right now," and then he laughed, picked up his guitar and began playing and singing a deep-throated country song. It was classic Bradshaw.
Jay from Minneapolis, MN
Green Bay signing Bell or Brown would seem like a mistake to me, but what about Clowney? Is that even realistic, cap-wise?
I'd have to swallow real hard to sign Jadeveon Clowney after the way he played on Saturday. He ran around blocks, did nothing of much consequence, and was even pancaked on a play by the Colts' rookie guard. It would bother me greatly that on the biggest stage of his professional career, Clowney turned in an embarrassingly soft performance.
Tom from Vista, CA
Tony Canadeo and Ray Scott were a great broadcast team. Did you ever bump into them?
No, but I grew up listening to Scott, who was the radio voice of Pitt football before he joined the Packers. I can still hear Scott calling Mike Ditka's name.
Dave from Savage, MN
What would you focus on in interviewing Josh McDaniel? In my mind, he has a lot to overcome in building trust and putting a staff together.
There are questions you can ask a coach candidate that'll provide answers you need to more direct questions. For example, by asking a head coach candidate how he feels about sponsors riding on the team plane, you can get a feel for his willingness to work with others. As I've written, it's not all about the play he'd call on third-and-eight, it's mostly about the impact the coach is going to have on the personality and function of the overall franchise. The head coach is going to be the face of it, the heart and soul of it, and it's most important he represents the spirit and vision that's desired. I would not want a coach who wants to separate the team from the rest of the franchise. That kind of walling up breeds contempt and elitism. Figuratively speaking, I'd want everyone walking through the same door every morning. When that feeling is achieved, you truly will have everyone pulling in the same direction.
Mike from Whitefish, MT
I share your distrust of classical stats, although I did find it interesting that although the Steelers defense ended up ranked sixth in yards allowed, they were tied for 16th in points allowed. On the surface, it looks like a break but don't bend defense, but I'm guessing their 28th-ranked turnover differential of -11 probably explains most of the above. I've started following Football Outsiders' DVOA stats, where Pittsburgh is ranked 17th in pass defense and eighth in rushing defense. What are your thoughts on DVOA?
Stats are for people who haven't had a chance to visually analyze a team. I trust my eyes, and my eyes told me the Steelers defense nearly always collapsed at crunch time. It seldom got it done. It didn't create turnovers and it didn't protect leads. It was a yardage paper tiger. Eighth in DVOA rushing defense? Does that include the 51-yard run that defense allowed as it attempted to protect a three-point lead vs. the Bengals in Week 17? The Steelers had allowed only 71 yards rushing up to that point in the game but, with the game on the line, the Steelers' rush defense collapsed and allowed the Bengals to tie the game. I don't need stats to tell me what I saw, and I saw it nearly all season long: The Steelers defense was soft and cheesy, especially at crunch time.
Eric from West Salem, WI
I think it's funny eight coaches have been fired but only one GM, and that GM was forced to trade away two of his best draft picks. Apparently, all those crappy teams have good players but they are under-coached. Is this proof for the age-old debate of plays vs. players?
Coaches are being used as scapegoats. It's a fire-one-to-excuse-all strategy to quiet fans, ease the effects of losing and create hope for the future. Maybe it's a good business strategy, but I don't think it is. I think there's a strength acquired in showing commitment and resolve that makes winning feel even better and promotes loyalty within the franchise and the fan base. Firing is finger pointing, and finger pointing breeds more finger pointing. So when is it the right time to fire the coach? You'll know it when you see it.
Wallace from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, what is your opinion about Shad Khan's decision to stand pat with the front office and head coaching positions for the Jaguars? Seems after six seasons as GM, Dave Caldwell's resume isn't exactly impressive. The team has won less than 40 percent of its games over the past six seasons and has gone from far under the cap to having to make some hard decisions this offseason because of the salary cap.
Khan has given control of his team to Tom Coughlin. I think it's a sound decision. Coughlin will do right things. Jaguars fans must understand Coughlin inherited a team that doesn't have a quarterback. Punishing Caldwell for that fact won't fix the problem. Coughlin is calling the shots. I think Jaguars fans should find comfort in that.
Marty from Grafton, WI
Vic, which type of coach would you prefer to be running your team, the bring-all-the-players type or bring-only-those-that-can-help-the-team type?
Each way can be successful, as long as it's consistent with the head coach's personality. You can't give pep talks and then leave members of your team at home; the words begin to ring hollow. Chuck Noll was off the Paul Brown tree and Brown once said, "I'll tell you when you do it wrong because I pay you to do it right." Coach Noll's way promoted toughness and contribution. He motivated players by challenging their need to belong. He played to the desire in each of them to be professionals. Being left behind caused a lot of injuries to heal more quickly than expected. I think I like that way better than the "Love Boat" method.
Bob from Caserma Del Din, Vicenza Italy
Can you please remind me why the Packers chose not to re-sign Casey Hayward a few years ago?
He had a hamstring that broke like a guitar string. The Chargers got lucky.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
How crucial is the pick play in modern offenses? Is McCarthy's reluctance to use it part of his downfall?
Reluctance to use it? The Packers' bunch set in which Randall Cobb cut underneath and behind a pick was a goal line staple in Mike McCarthy's offense. I remember him throwing a fit because it was penalized. You need to stop reading whatever site fed you that garbage.
Zak from Madison, WI
How do you describe your football soul, Vic?
I have a deep love and reverence for a game I believe requires noble effort. I cringe with every cheap and tawdry player celebration.
Brian from Baltimore, MD
Eagles (4-4), Ravens (4-4), Bears (4-3), Packers (3-3-1), Cowboys (3-4), Colts (3-5) at Week 8. One of your mantras is it's how teams finish. In your view, what propelled these mediocre teams to finish in the playoffs that may have misfired in Green Bay?
There's no common reason, other than something clicked, which is a way of saying they found their identity and began playing to it. The Packers' identity had always been for Aaron Rodgers playing well enough to mask the team's deficiencies. In 2018, that didn't happen.