"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F during the football season.
Jesse from Bethlehem, PA
I sincerely appreciate a dose of optimism after the SF drubbing, but can you expand on where your confidence in GB stems from?
It stems from the Packers having Aaron Rodgers.
Mitch from Winston, GA
Did the Packers get blindsided by the 49ers' speed because speed didn't show up on the game films? Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Coach LaFleur played the martyr role, which is honorable and solid coaching technique for taking the heat off your players following a poor performance. LaFleur blamed himself for being outcoached. My opinion is teams usually need to experience speed to be able to respond and adjust to it. Often, that'll happen as the game progresses, but the Packers fell too far behind too early to be able to rally. I won't blame LaFleur for the Packers' seeming unpreparedness. Remember the thumping the Packers took in Arizona late in the 2015 season? The next time the Packers played there, in the playoffs, they took the game into overtime. I will blame LaFleur -- mostly his defensive coaching staff -- for not reacting to a scheme adjustment the 49ers made. I'm referring to the influence blocking the 49ers did to defeat the Packers' pass rush, which the 49ers couldn't block straight up. Slanting their linemen left or right got the Packers' pass rushers moving laterally instead of up the field, but the defensive fix is easy stuff: Rush off the back side; it should create a free runner. The 49ers' slant technique should've only worked once or twice, but the Packers never seemed to figure it out. If LaFleur is referring to that as being outcoached, I agree with him.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Do you think Tony Boselli will make it into the Hall of Fame this year?
I do. I talked to Tony yesterday and congratulated him on making into the semifinals, again. Fred Taylor also has my congratulations for making it into the semifinals. I think Tony's time has come. I have reason to believe he just missed making it last year. Tony loves football. This matters to him, just as it does to Fred. Both of them are already in my Hall of Fame of memories.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
How would you stop Lamar Jackson?
Make him be a pocket passer.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, I've come to think of the 4-3 as a disciplined defense based on beating your man and closing on the ball. The 3-4, by contrast, increasingly seems to me to be a blitz-happy, feast or famine, turnovers or touchdowns defense. Am I not seeing this clearly, or is this how the two systems have evolved?
The 4-3 is a straight forward scheme based on having four guys up front who can stop the run and rush the passer. Finding those players is the challenge. The 3-4 is a light in the pants, scheme-heavy defense that relies on four linebackers who can stop the run and rush the passer. I prefer the 3-4 because I believe the linebacker pool is deeper and less expensive than the front four pool. I also like the scheme creativity the 3-4 promotes.
David from Seattle, WA
I saw the Cowboys game and saw two tripping penalties on the Cowboys that completely influenced the game. I heard Mike Pereira defend the penalty calls. I realized I was being gaslighted. Just like the current presidential administration, the NFL was telling me something that was blatantly false. Then Davante Adams gets an unsportsmanlike on the opening drive and I said enough; Vic is right. The penalties are ruining the game. I turned off the TV and went for a run. Heard the Packers lost; soooo what? The NFL is not entertaining anymore, just controversial.
They were showing replay of a pass interference penalty. Terry McAulay said, "There's the grab." I thought to myself, "I don't see a grab. Why are you telling me I'm seeing something I'm not seeing?" I continued watching the game. One day in this column, I'm going to proudly proclaim I turned the TV off.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Loved the counterpoint reply. I can't answer your question about Myles Jack's knee, but we all know why he slid to the second round. I'd love to hear your take. Either way, it will take a lot more than his speed and suddenness for that Swiss cheese defense to stop the run. Brutal.
When you think you're smarter than everyone else, you're likely to look pretty stupid.
Joe from St. Paul, MN
You've often referred to defenses, and the Packers in particular, as soft. What do you mean by this? How does a defense stop being soft?
It's about defeating blocks. Soft defenses lose on the blocks scoreboard.
Cliff from North Dakota
The Packers drafted defense in the first round in each of the last eight years and twice in this year's draft. Nine first-rounders and all we have to show for it is what was on the field Sunday night? Clark is the only first-rounder with Pro Bowl talent. How could our GMs have whiffed so badly evaluating defensive talent for so many years?
Kevin King is a second-round pick and I believe Jaire Alexander also has Pro Bowl-type talent, but your point is well taken. I'm a huge draft guy, but I've spent time recently studying the drafts of recent years leaguewide and I'm seeing a lot more misses than hits. The trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick alerted me to this situation. The Steelers just don't do things like that. What gives, I thought to myself? That's when I began my research. I haven't reached a conclusion, yet, but I'm beginning to think a team needs to do more than sit and pick.
Ray from Clark, NJ
Why would you say there is a strong chance the Packers will have homefield advantage and be NFC favorites? Even if they win out (not likely), the 49ers will have to lose three out of five. Please explain.
At Ravens, at Saints, at Seahawks.
Aric from Oshkosh, WI
Vic, I was told that in the immediate aftermath of the shootings at Kent State, students had an hour to pack and get out. Were you there for this? Was the atmosphere one of confusion as people rushed to flee campus or did the student body know what had happened and what it meant?
We knew. The university dispatched a car with a loudspeaker to ride around campus and order students to leave. I went back to my room, packed a small bag, pulled my Pittsburgh sign out from under my bed and went down to the turnpike. A few weeks later we were permitted to return and retrieve our belongings.
Here are the Week 13 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Ravens -- Dominant!
2. 49ers -- Showdown in Baltimore.
3. Seahawks -- They're for real.
4. Patriots -- No. 2 on defense, No. 17 on offense.
5. Saints -- Not sure how good they are.
6. Vikings -- Big one in Seattle.
7. Packers -- Soft schedule after hard loss.
8. Bills -- On the rise.
9. Chiefs -- Still the best of the AFC West.
10. Texans -- Are they going to make a move?
11. Colts -- Fading?
12. Titans -- Running the ball.
13. Cowboys -- Lame duck coach.
14. Browns -- Big one at hand.
15. Steelers -- Quack, quack.
16. Rams -- Nobody wants the next Sean McVay anymore.
17. Panthers -- Losing the close ones.
18. Eagles -- Still in the hunt.
19. Raiders -- Must-win game in Kansas City.
20. Bears -- Have to win out.
21. Broncos -- Not a mile high.
22. Chargers -- No fans, no hope.
23. Jets -- Darnold turning the corner.
24. Jaguars -- Crossroads.
25. Bucs -- No. 4 on offense.
26. Cardinals -- Murray surging.
27. Falcons -- Future bleak.
28. Lions -- As expected.
29. Dolphins -- Settling into draft position.
30. Giants -- Shurmur is toast.
31. Washington -- Will Snyder make a run at Tomlin?
32. Bengals -- Peaking for Week 16 showdown in Miami.