"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what should the Bears and the Vikings do about their quarterback situations at this point in the season?
They have no choice but to coach around them. That's what Mike Tomlin did against the Bengals. He hit the Bengals with a wildcat package that incorporated some very imaginative jet sweep action. It added an extra dimension to the Steelers offense, decreased the number of plays Mason Rudolph was on the field and relieved some of the pressure on that young quarterback. Anybody who thinks Tomlin is an ordinary coach got an awakening on Monday night. I've never seen one coach more dramatically out-coach another coach as Tomlin out-coached Zac Taylor. I think we're going to see Matt Nagy do similar things as he looks for ways to play around his quarterback problem: a little Wing T, some misdirection, shifting, bunch formations, anything new that'll surprise the opponent and give future opponents more for which they must prepare. Mike Zimmer will probably lean harder on the running game. You can't play around the quarterback position forever, but you have to do what you can to get by. Find a way to win a game, then find a way to win another one.
Matt from Philadelphia, PA
You have stated the Jaguars need to receive at least two ones in return. Let's say they get that. Would the team trading for him be making a mistake in giving that much up?
Yes, and that's one of the added benefits: You weaken the competition. The Jaguars owner is saying he believes the best thing for the Jaguars is to have Jalen Ramsey be part of the team. I disagree. I think Ramsey has been and will continue to be a distraction and irritation to the team concept Doug Marrone is attempting to create. I'll also say this for Ramsey's impact on the Jaguars: His notoriety is creating interest in the Jaguars. Maybe that's what the owner means when he says "I think right now the best thing is to have him be part of the team."
Mike from McFarland, WI
In the alternate universe where McCarthy was still coach and the Packers are 3-1, are the wolves calling for his head after that Eagles loss?
Without a doubt. The wolves must howl, but they're smart enough not to waste a howl on a coach in just his fourth game, plus, the wolves know their howl is partly responsible for the new coach being hired, so they turn their howl on the quarterback. If the Packers don't stop the run this week, I predict the wolves will begin howling for Mike Pettine, even though the wolves' howl is partly responsible for Pettine's hire. Coaches coach, players play and wolves howl. For whom the wolves howl; they howl for thee.
Kelly from Ellsworth, WI
Can a team flip the switch and play big boy football, or is an identity forged during training camp?
How can you forge a run-the-ball, stop-the-run mentality in a training camp that doesn't include nine-on-sevens or half-line drills? That's why September is the new preseason; that's when you begin to forge your identity because that's when real football begins. Did we see the Packers forge their identity against the Eagles? That's a question that will be answered this week in Dallas.
John from Neptune Beach, FL
Are we one step closer to professional college athletes?
If you're asking me what the fallout will be from this new endorsement law, here it is: If the law is adopted nationwide -- the movement is on -- I think it'll further widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots of college football. I think it will further benefit programs such as Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma, which is to say schools in states where there won't be competition for the endorsement dollar with local professional athletes. Imagine what Tua could pull down in Alabama, or Trevor Lawrence in South Carolina. Jonathan Taylor would find plenty of endorsement money available in the Madison market, but the kid at Northwestern has no shot. Of course, this will help the schools in the minor league markets recruit the star players, leaving the schools in the major league markets to sift through the leftovers. More than ever, college football needs to agree to a strong central ruling body and Rozelle-like standardization, lest it become a game dominated by places where people don't live. We're already seeing signs of it and it's not good for the TV ratings. The endorsement law could be the kill shot to college football.
Jacob from Green Bay, WI
Do you see any similarities between the 2019 Chiefs and the 2011 Packers?
The Packers were a one-trick pony. The Chiefs can do two tricks.
Ben from El Paso, TX
The Jaguars play the Panthers this week. What is your assessment of these two franchises since entering the NFL in 1995?
The Panthers sold PSLs, the Jaguars didn't. That's the difference.
Ben from Columbus, OH
Obviously, October is a big month here for the Jags. What is your feeling on this team a quarter into the season?
I like the Jaguars' schedule. They finish October with games against the Bengals and Jets. If the Jags can come out of October no worse than 4-4 -- I think they can be better than that -- they'll be poised to make a run in November when they play the Texans, Colts and Titans in consecutive weeks.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
Is it OK to get excited over how Mason Rudolph played on Monday?
Not yet. His head is still swimming and I think he's going to struggle in the next two games. We're going to find out if he can be "The Man" following the bye week.
Dexter from Green Bay, WI
Half of the QBs in the league have at least a 2:1 TD:interception ratio. Twenty years ago, that would be unheard of. The NFL has made it easy to play QB. Is this really what we want?
As I've written, it's never been easier to play quarterback, and that's exactly what we want because it's devaluing the position. All of a sudden, you can find your quarterback in later rounds or by affordable means: Prescott, Minshew, Allen, Rudolph, Brissett. I hope this trend continues. It's good for the game.
Nick from Owego, NY
How does Burfict's suspension affect the Raiders' salary cap?
They'll get a credit.
Billy from Verona, WI
Vic, what did you mean by Gardner Minshew playing to the over and under throws like Drew Brees?
The safest places to throw the football are in front of the coverage and behind it. The tight-window throws -- the intermediate-route passes into the teeth of the coverage -- are where interceptions live. The Steelers are doing the same thing with Rudolph the Jaguars are doing with Minshew: in front of the coverage and behind it. They're high-percentage throws that allow a young passer to get his feet on the ground and gain some confidence. What the Bills did with Nate Peterman was abusive.
Adam from Cary, NC
I really love the AFC South this year. It genuinely feels like any of the four teams could win it, and I love that. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the four could beat the Chiefs or the Pats, but it should be a fun ride through December. Who would you take at this juncture?
When Mariota plays as he did last Sunday, the Titans are the best team in the AFC South.
Stacy from Bettendorf, IA
What was going on with Cam Robinson at the end of the game? He was hot and Leonard Fournette was yelling at him after the game.
They were arguing about who was going to get the aisle seat on the way home. I could read Fournette's lips: "You had the aisle on the way here," he said.
Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD
I asked a college QB I know pretty well about Tua, what he sees and is he worth tanking to get. The young man said no to tanking. He sees him as a lesser Dak Prescott but with a ceiling of Russell Wilson. Vic, does that broad look fit with what you see?
He's mobile, athletic and throws a great deep ball. At this point, he's not adept at making the other throws and, of course, he's lefthanded, which means a team picking him is going to have to pay left tackle money to two guys. Again, do you have to spend a No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback in today's game?
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
What makes a stadium great? Which have been your favorites over the years?
For me, a great stadium possesses an unmistakably unique feel to it. The college stadiums have that going for them, whereas the NFL has largely abandoned feel for comfort and revenue streams. Lambeau Field managed to preserve one and achieve the other. Heinz Field offers stunning views. My all-time favorite football stadium is old Mountaineer Field. It made you feel as though you were in the game.
Cassie from Darlington, WI
What are your thoughts on Vontaze Burfict and his suspension?
He didn't want to do it. He felt he owed it to him. Seriously, it was inevitable.