"Ask Vic" is published on M-W-F through the regular season.
Here are my all-important Week 11 power rankings:
1. Titans -- Should hold top spot at least one more week.
2. Packers -- Different kind of Packers team.
3. Cowboys -- Nice rebound.
4. Bucs -- Brady throwing interceptions.
5. Ravens -- Need FULL CONSISTENCY.
6. Cardinals -- Can't win without Murray.
7. Rams -- OBJ two catches for 18 yards.
8. Bills -- They win the blowouts.
9. Chiefs -- Are they back?
10. Patriots -- Fastest rising team in the league.
11. Chargers -- Herbert has bad game.
12. Saints -- Fading.
13. Raiders -- Turmoil taking its toll.
14. Vikings -- This is their chance.
15. 49ers -- Resurrection.
16. Bengals -- Crossroads.
17. Steelers -- Covid crisis.
18. Colts -- Tester in Buffalo.
19. Browns -- Mayfield battered.
20. Eagles -- Don't quit on them.
21. Seahawks -- Put a fork in them.
22. Broncos -- This could collapse.
23. Dolphins -- Now do it again.
24. Bears -- Is this the beginning of better times?
25. Panthers -- Newton energized them.
26. Washington -- Without Young now.
27. Falcons -- Blown out.
28. Giants -- 3-6 and at the Bucs.
29. Jets -- Need an identity.
30. Jaguars -- Lawrence has doubters.
31. Texans -- Favorite for No. 1 pick.
32. Lions -- A tie is better than a loss.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, I disagree with your take on Trevor Lawrence. This guy holds the ball and is an inaccurate passer beyond fixable. He’s not an NFL quality starter. If Kenny Pickett is available when the Jaguars select, they should take him. I remember when you thought they should have taken Big Ben the year after selecting Byron Leftwich. Am I right?
No, my point back then was the Jaguars needed to trade out of their spot and recoup the value of it. That's the BAP approach I favor. Reggie Williams was an insane reach with the ninth overall pick. The Jaguars said they tried to trade back but there were no takers. A GM friend of mine said he called the Jaguars to trade up but the Jaguars said their guy was there and they were going to take him. Quarterback is a unique position because you have to commit to one. My favorite scout friend says Lawrence is a talented player and believes he was the right pick for the Jaguars. My only knock on Lawrence is he's long-limbed and might be prone to strip sacks. The Jags picked Lawrence and they must remain committed to him as their future at the position.
Mark from Dallas, TX
What did you think of Carroll continuing to play his starters and try to score when the game was over?
It's not a big deal. I thought Pete Carroll's big mistake was starting Russell Wilson. He wasn't ready to play. He was terrible.
Guy from Waipahu, HI
With Aaron Jones out and Dillon taking much of the RB load, will we start to see a safety in the box more consistently? If so, the passing game might take off.
You're also going to see less nickel, and that's the real advantage of playing power football.
Dan from Silver Spring, MD
Vic, I've been hoping Mason Rudolph will show something to indicate he could be the next Steelers quarterback. Has he been given enough of a chance at this point?
Yes, I think he has, but that doesn't mean he's out of opportunities. I've seen nothing to suggest he's the Steelers' quarterback of the future, but he and/or Dwayne Haskins are likely to man the position until the Steelers are able to commit to a draft pick. The Steelers' future at QB might be in their building, on the Pitt side of it, but I don't think the Steelers are going to be high enough in the draft to pick Kenny Pickett. Trade up? It's possible, but I think Kevin Colbert knows he needs more than one player to fix the Steelers' roster. The Steelers are in rebuilding. Parity fools fans into thinking their team can win now but, truth be known, only the top third of the league is in a win-now position. The Steelers are not a top-third team. I think what you're going to see with the Steelers is similar to what happened prior to the Roethlisberger era. Rudolph or Haskins will be their Tommy Maddox as Colbert puts the pieces back together. It's going to take time.
Hayley from Jakarta, Indonesia
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Ryan from Green Bay, WI
I seem to remember the last few years of the Thompson/McCarthy era, you were a staunch defender of Rodgers. Over the past few years you’ve grown increasingly critical of him. Is there any moment you recall that changed your opinion of him? I specifically remember you defending him, saying something along the lines of "this is the QB that carried a team to the NFC title game on one leg a few years ago."
Past few years? No, the moment was the "beautiful mystery" postgame press conference.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Rodgers doesn’t seem to care about being criticized. Does that say anything about him?
He likes the attention and I think he's a confrontational guy. As I've said, I'm not sure where the real Rodgers begins and ends, but that's not a problem as long as he keeps winning games. He's an amazingly talented and accomplished quarterback.
Nicholas from Owego, NY
Do you like the Baker Mayfield commercials?
His play is not the equal of his hype. That's a bad look.
Mike from Somerset, WI
How do the Packers match up against the Rams?
In my opinion, the Packers should be the favorite in every game they play.
Andrew from LaCrosse, WI
Anything Packers fans should be acknowledging about Coach McCarthy? Is there a lesson about howling wolves, in both Green Bay and Dallas, to be learned? Still too early?
I get the sense the two teams are on a collision course.
Alex from Beaufort, SC
I love the column and have followed you on and off since you first started with the Packers. What do you think has made the difference for Joe Barry in transforming this defense into the elite one we all see now?
He's disciplined his players' execution of their roles. I see no freelancing. They're called fits. Everybody is assigned a gap responsibility, which means no running around blocks. I see defenders taking on and getting off blocks. That's toughness. Swagger isn't toughness. Winning your one-on-one is toughness. Jack Del Rio would often stop in my office and give me a preview of the upcoming opponent. It was always appreciated. A defensive guy, Jack would say: "We'll watch the tape and then fit it up." In my opinion, assigning run fits, which is to say gap responsibilities, is the biggest part of scheme on defense. Coverages are important but every team plays the same coverages. How you disguise them is more important than what you're playing. Run fits involve more defenders, more coordination and more creativity. Most fans know nothing about them, and that's because the media, even the all-22 jockocracy, rarely discuss them. The notion the ball is snapped and everybody runs to the ball is ridiculous. First, a defender must secure his gap or run fit, which is especially true in a gap-control scheme. Previous Packers defensive coordinators had sound run-fit schemes, but their players either couldn't win their one-on-ones or ran around their responsibility, as Za'Darius Smith did. Matador defense doesn't work; it's undisciplined. Barry has better players and his schemes are sound and realistic. Genius? No, just good player acquisition and sound coaching.
Chris from Jacksonville, FL
I know you are not a fan of Urban Meyer, but I believe he is beginning to clean up the locker room and build a winning culture. I saw a team in Indy that would have caved last year down 17 points but fought back and was in the game until the last drive. When they used a defensive tackle at fullback for a two-point conversion, we finally looked like a real NFL team. I think you underrate Urban’s football intelligence when you say his wins were just about recruiting. I’m excited to see how things in Jacksonville play out once he has a roster of his own. That’s all.
Eric from Fernandina Beach, FL
I think coaches should only publicly gripe about officiating when addressing an obvious blunder or a player safety issue. Fans and journalists can debate the other calls. What do you think about Pete Carroll's comments?
In my opinion, the officiating in the Seahawks-Packers game was bad. All of a sudden, it's a trend. The roughing-the-passer call in the Saints-Titans game is mind-boggling. What bothered me about the taunting penalty in the Bears-Steelers game is Tony Corrente appeared to intentionally bump into Cassius Marsh as Marsh was leaving the field. I said to myself, "Did I just see what I think I saw?" After watching the replay several times, I think I did see what I think I saw. I'm beginning to think the officials are reacting to the eye in the sky and the Mike Pereira/Dean Blandino/Gene Steratore oversight. I get it -- nobody likes having their every move critiqued -- but they have to be better and the NFL must expect better.
Matt from Schofield, WI
Hats off to the Packers coaching staff. That was a focused, prepared team committed to running the ball and getting pressure. Did you like what you saw?
Yes, I liked what I saw. I saw a team committed to playing a 60-minute game, instead of getting a big lead and coasting to a win. You win in the postseason with 60-minute football.
Hennison from St. Paul, MN
How's all-in working for the LA Rams?
We'll find out in January, if they make it that far. The Rams are another team that will be defined by the postseason.
Kier from Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada
How great is the Packers' greatness?
We'll find out in January.
Tony from Los Angeles, CA
Vic, do you think the Packers chose to offer their latest stock sale now instead of after the season to prevent it from coinciding with a possible divorce, if you know what I mean?