"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Brian from Ellicott City, MD
Vic, what are your thoughts on Jared Goff? Watching the game on Sunday night, he looks like any other guy and hasn't seemed to have progressed over the past few years.
The Rams appear to have the same problem the Bears have. I didn't like what I saw from Carson Wentz, either, and Baker Mayfield is also flashing warning signals. As I wrote a couple of years ago, replacing the great quarterbacks of a golden era -- Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Ryan, Rivers, etc. -- isn't going to be as easy as picking new ones.
Alan from Nixon, Ontario
In your opinion, why does the NFL have a PI challenge rule? They are not overturning obvious and egregious calls. I can't imagine the rule was put in place just to appease Saints fans. Why not just let the whole thing slide instead of making another rule?
I suspect you're referring to the flagrant pass interference committed in the end zone by the Ravens' Marlon Humphrey that wasn't flagged and the Texans' challenge didn't reverse. I agree, it was absurd and a very bad look for the league. The message would seem to be: Don't bother challenging pass interference calls or non-calls. If that's the case, the league is guilty of violating its own rules and should be flagged. This whole mess was created by one play and a gross overreaction to it by the league. It's how I'll remember this season.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
There are a lot of bad teams. Usually that translates into a lot of bad football on TV. What do you think? Not enough good quarterbacks? Not enough good coaches? Not enough good lineman? Most games on most weeks are unwatchable to a reasonable student of the game. I'm not seeing a very good product and, in the long run, that's got to hurt the league.
Too many penalties is the No. 1 problem. It's caused me to avert my eyes and my attention. As I've written, I'm not enjoying this season. In my opinion, the league either has to call fewer penalties or coaches have to do a better job of teaching their players not to commit violations. The latter is difficult to do when coaches are hamstrung by the practice rules. Be that as it may, how stupid does a player have to be to commit a hands-to-the-face penalty?
Dave from Savage, MN
I see the Bears are having kicking problems again. I'm not surprised, after the way Coach Nagy handled it, and not disappointed after the way he treated Parkey.
There's an old coach's saying: You get what you emphasize. Nagy emphasized better kicking, just as Mike McCarthy did when he put Mason Crosby into a training camp kicking competition with Giorgio "Don't Call Me Sergio" Tavecchio. It worked for the Packers, it didn't work for the Bears. Nothing has worked for the Bears this year. They're as terrible now as they were the night the season opened.
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL
What do you make of the state of the Jaguars? How do you assess the remainder of 2019 and how to approach preparation for 2020?
I think the Jaguars should continue to play Nick Foles with the hope he might get hot and become tradeable. If he doesn't get hot, the Jaguars are stuck with him and the $20 million in guaranteed money they owe him, and the approach to 2020 will be a competition for the starting quarterback job between Foles and Minshew.
Eric from Lansing, MI
The 49ers are a dead man walking. I don’t mean to say the Packers will beat them next week, but their schedule is brutal and they will not walk into the playoffs with fewer than four losses. Am I wrong, Vic?
The 49ers have a demanding finishing schedule, but so do the Seahawks. With a win over the 49ers, the Packers will have the inside track to homefield advantage for the playoffs, but there's still the matter of that Week 16 game in Minnesota. As it stands now, that's the big one. The Packers could beat the 49ers but still find themselves No. 5 in the postseason if they lose in Minnesota. There's a lot of football left to be played and penalties to be called in this season.
Mark from Daphne, AL
With Foles looking that bad, where do the Jaguars go from here? That performance sure didn't raise any potential trade value and he sure didn't give much reason for the fan base to have faith in him going forward.
Let's start by acknowledging the real problem in Sunday's loss to the Colts, which was allowing two 100-yard rushers.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA
"Winning taught me restraint, losing taught me patience." As a Jaguars fan, patience has run thin.
What's your option? Be calm or be gone.
Ann from Mountain View, CA
I enjoy your work. Would you please elaborate on why Rodgers is playing some of the best football of his career? I enjoy watching football but I'm not sufficiently educated to see details.
I think he's playing better because he's more deeply invested. This is his offense. He was given the keys to it and with ownership comes responsibility and accountability. If you're looking for genius in what Coach LaFleur has done with this team, look no further than his handling of Rodgers. A lot of the great players I've covered are control freaks.
Jon from Omaha, NE
Move Kenny Clark outside? OK, let me grab my notepad. So, if you have a dominant defensive lineman that has the size to play all three positions on the line, you would prefer to utilize his skills at one of the ends? How do those positions maximize his talent?
Nose tackles are chopping blocks. They spend most of the game taking on double teams and holding the point of attack, which means they play in a phone booth. You can find those guys in the middle rounds. They're plugs. Clark can move. He can get out in space and disrupt. Those guys are high picks, which Clark is.
Eric from Appleton, WI
It looks like you have a game ball on your desk. If so, would you tell us what game it's from?
It was sent to me with a note from Mark Murphy, thanking me for my service to the Packers and as a souvenir of the years we sat next to each other in the press box and shared our thoughts on what we were seeing. Memories make us rich and memorabilia helps us enjoy our wealth.
Tim from Lancaster, PA
Thursday night doesn't happen if there's no facemask. Is this the rallying cry we need?
The interest and TV ratings for the Browns-Steelers rematch will be intense, which says everything about what the fans really want, but Thursday's game was a feel-bad event that will drive more mothers and their well-adjusted children to the soccer field. There is no rallying cry. The beat goes on.
Rob from New York, NY
Why did Mason Rudolph not get suspended? He was trying to be a big man, but unwilling to face the consequences.
David from Washington, DC
I remember what you said when the Browns drafted Mayfield: "In the AFC North, the quarterback goes down hard and sometimes late." You just got the quarterback wrong!
Wait for it.
Paul from San Antonio, TX
Now that Myles Garrett is suspended at least for the rest of the season, what happens to his impact on the Browns' salary cap?
If you don't pay it, you don't claim it.
Josh from Madison, WI
After Thursday night, I imagine Browns at Steelers will be even more of a physical affair than your typical AFC North bout, but I don't expect the Steelers to take any egregious liberties or cheap shots, as Tomlin seems like the kind of coach to keep his squad focused on their jobs. He kept a firm lid on Antonio Brown for ages, after all. How do you expect this one to pan out?
Coach Noll said the worst thing you can do to a team is beat them.
Scott from Sauk City, WI
Thanks for the new picture! Can you walk us through some of your memorabilia? It looks like quite the collection.
You're only seeing one corner of the room. I also have a game ball from Coach Coughlin, for a game in Houston in 2002. I had missed the game due to cancer surgery. What you're seeing high on the wall are a couple of Christmas gifts from the Packers Media Group division, a picture of Fred Taylor that commemorates his 10,000 yards rushing (Fred personalized it for me), a Steelers helmet my media friends presented me when I went to Jacksonville (the helmet sits on a swatch of artificial turf from Three Rivers Stadium), a picture of Forbes Field that bears Bill Mazeroski's signature near the leftfield wall his home run cleared, and directly in front of my laptop is a picture of Three Rivers Stadium from its final game. Tucked inside the framing is my press box seat placard number, 37. My media buddies scraped it off and sent it to me.
Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH
The Packers defense looked great the first couple of games. What happened?
Up front, I think they got sack fever. They started running around instead of holding their ground. I don't know what the problem is in the back. Maybe I overrated the talent in the secondary.