"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Stern from Cedar Rapids, IA
Last year, the Super Bowl champions lost to Detroit, Miami and Tennessee. Stuff happens. Better it happen in games that mean next to nothing. Plus the entire division lost. Our offense is clearly run through Jones and Williams. We didn't do that today, but we got Davante back; he was rusty. Also, with the President's use of Twitter, I don't think foreign leaders who have the power to do anything put much stock into what's there. Given our economic and military power, they will use diplomacy for any real issues. Twitter is theater. Nothing more.
But what about global warming?
Scott from Madison, WI
Vic, I've been a fan of Coach LaFleur so far, but he sure didn't have his players ready to play against the Chargers. What happened?
They ate the pizza.
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
The Packers stepped in something and they no longer smell like roses. What I'm really asking is why did the Packers lose.
The Packers lost because Rivers threw for 294 yards, the Chargers rushed for 159 yards and possessed the ball nearly 12 minutes longer than the Packers did. So how is Football Outsiders going to spin that performance?
Steve from Watersmeet, MI
Vic, I’m not a fan of celebrations to begin with, but is there anything worse than Williams doing a celebration dance down three scores after that performance?
Former Jaguars middle linebacker Mike Peterson was a high energy player who angered his head coach, Jack Del Rio, when Mike celebrated a sack in a game in which the Jaguars were getting their butts kicked. Jack went off on Mike in a team meeting the next day, which caused an exchange that resulted in Mike being suspended from the team. It saddened me because Mike is one of my all-time favorite players, but Jack's point to Mike was valid: It's selfish to celebrate a personal achievement when your team is getting clobbered. I didn't like Williams' celebration, either.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, it seems the standard time change and the western time zone made the Packers sluggish. What do you think?
Bad circadian rhythm? That's as good an excuse as any.
Bob from Green Bay, WI
That's almost always a bad excuse, but I tip my hat to Anthony Lynn for having the courage to take points off the board and send his offense back onto the field for a fourth-and-goal needing to gain a full yard. There was a lack of respect for the Packers defense in Coach Lynn's boldness. That's what was most alarming about yesterday's loss.
Robert from Rotterdam, The Netherlands
It's November and I don't think the Jaguars are for real.
Losing to the Texans for a second time means the Jaguars have lost the head-to-head tiebreaker and it's difficult to imagine the Jaguars overcoming a two-game deficit and having lost the tiebreaker. I still think giving away a division home game was a huge mistake and I think it cost the Jaguars yesterday.
Eric from Hudson, WI
Bill Belichick is going to lose big to a scrambling quarterback with marginal passing skills? You are judging the Patriots because they got bored playing another bad team, hosting the Browns last week? I’m pretty sure New England will be ready for their first regular season game of the year this week.
Todd from Prairie du Chien, WI
I, too, get upset at the silliness of celebration. Why can't a player make a good play and go back to the huddle ready for another opportunity?
It's human nature to want to celebrate ourselves. I think we've always had that need inside us but it was repressed by a culture that frowned on such displays. Now, it's no longer considered to be in bad taste to celebrate yourself. These days it's considered to be entertaining. The celebration generation wants it and the NFL knows giving the fans what they want rings the cash register.
Alan from Albuquerque, NM
Vic, the Lombardi episode of the "Greatest Game Changers" series included Lombardi's players, not plays quote. "All plays succeed on the blackboard, but men make them work." One of the stories from the Lombardi legend is Kramer telling the defense the play and they still couldn't stop it.
The players, not plays philosophy is at the foundation of football's allure. If that ever changes, football will fail. That's the reason I so vigilantly guard the concept of human confrontation.
Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador
As the 2019 season began you were negative toward the Saints' prospects. What are the Saints doing you didn't think they could do?
I was negative because I was angry at the Saints for the pass interference pain they were causing all of us to suffer. From a performance standpoint, I didn't expect them to be as dominant on defense as they are.
Cindy from Los Angeles, CA
It's November, which means it's "Salute to Service" month. Do you think the comparison and relationship between the military and football is apt? How has it evolved since the 70's?
We were still involved in the immensely unpopular Vietnam War when we turned into the 1970's. Nobody was celebrating the military back then. These days, you can't get on a Southwest flight without thanking a member of the military for his or her service. What caused this change? It's 9-11. Terrorism has changed us as a nation and as a culture. It has militarized us. We want revenge.
Bill from Menominee, WI
Vic, Packers fans are told to be patient with Rashan Gary. Is that a reasonable request? Being a first-round pick comes with expectations. To be fair, though, for him to get enough snaps to make an impact, one of the Smith's would have to sit. Instead of being told to be patient, maybe we need to be told to recognize a happy problem.
It appears you've answered your own question. The '19 NFL draft doesn't strike me as having been a blockbuster. In retrospect, I think the first round looks especially weak. I was somewhat critical of the Packers having drafted a pass rusher with the 12th overall pick after having spent a lot of money in signing two pass rushers in free agency, but what player should the Packers have picked instead of Gary? The answer doesn't jump out at me.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Can you walk me through the decision to go from zero teams in Los Angeles to two teams in the blink of an eye? Was it a mistake or was it a work in progress?
I can remember it being talked about at the 2008 owners meetings. I didn't think then it would work and I'm still of that opinion. It's all about the need for a second tenant to help fund the new stadium. I have a feeling the Chargers are going to either go back to San Diego or be pirated away by another city. I don't think a second team will be successful in Los Angeles, which would mean the league would have to get more deeply involved in funding the stadium. Making that stadium the western home of the Super Bowl might be the solution to the problem.
Andrew from LaCrosse, WI
Vic, I'm struggling to unlock the penultimate pre-draft assessment factor resulting in sixth-round Minshew. Did he wear his jorts at the combine? I wonder what the skilled talent evaluators didn't recognize.
He was a one-year wonder, he played in an offense that hasn't translated to NFL success and his arm didn't wow the scouts. I like what I see but let's not be quick to judge. He reminds me of Brian Sipe. That's a good thing.
Howard from Homestead, FL
So let me get this straight. You offer a free, independent blog, answering questions with years of insight and experience, all at no cost to your readers, and people still get mad and send you insulting emails?
It's OK. It all provides a snapshot of us. Intelligent people use that snapshot to achieve perspective. That's one of the goals of this column.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
Vic, the Packers offense this year versus last year is like night and day, despite the personnel being similar, and the expanded use of Aaron Jones is what fans were calling for all year. This past offseason you were sure Mike McCarthy would be a head coach again and I'm wondering if you still feel that way. If not coaching, to what do you attribute the offensive improvement?
The fans? I get the sense you want a pat on the back. My answer to your question is Aaron Rodgers is the difference. He's playing the best football of his life, or at least he was until yesterday. Last year, other than for a handful of games, he was rather ordinary, relative to his standards.
Brendan from Denver, CO
What a rough game for my favorite team in green and yellow. Every cloud has a silver lining, or four in this case. 1) Packers lost to an AFC opponent. 2) 7-2 is still a great record. 3) Every team in the NFC North lost and the Packers are still on top of the division. 4) You learn more in defeat than you do in victory. Any silver linings I'm missing?
I'm more concerned about what was lost on Sunday: a game in the homefield playoff race.
Mark from San Diego, CA
Vic, I'm sure your inbox is just searing hot with Packers fans claiming the sky is falling, however, I think its a good thing we got punched in the mouth now. We are continuing to find ourselves during the season. Isn't the season just mainly about getting into/preparing for the playoffs? I think a slice of humble pie is good in that regard.
My inbox is largely echoing your sentiments. Responses have largely been understanding and supportive. There is very little venom today.