"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, Leonard Fournette ... was suspended by Marrone one game last season for breaking team rules. Now he’s suspended one game for leaving the bench and fighting/throwing a punch. Will taking away playing time and money finally motivate him to reach his potential? He could be the best pounder in the NFL.
The Jaguars need a dominant player and personality in their locker room that leads in a positive way. Fournette wouldn't have acted the way he did on Sunday if the Joe Greene I knew played for the Jaguars. Jalen Ramsey has been the dominant personality in the Jaguars' locker room the last two years, and that's a problem because Ramsey needs a positive leader even more than Fournette does.
Jason from Austin, TX
I keep hearing McCarthy doesn't change things up enough and his offense is too predictable. Is it possible McCarthy thinks the offense is good enough to take what it wants, even if the opposing team knows what's coming, like the Packers sweep back in the day?
I see a lot of change and innovation in the offense: bunch formations, double tight ends with a tight end split from the formation, no fullback, tandem routes. I loved the tandem route in which Aaron Rodgers threw to the trail receiver in the Vikings game. How about the blocking scheme? The Packers are doing a lot of double-teaming and drive blocking. I don't see nearly as much walling up. That's new! I'm beginning to think Aaron Rodgers doesn't like all of this newness. I'm beginning to think that's what he meant following the Buffalo game when he talked about getting the ball into the hands of the Packers' playmakers, as opposed to spreading the ball around to players that are new to him, which includes young receivers of whom he was critical in training camp. In fairness to him, he was handed a lot of change for this late stage of his career. It's difficult for a player of his esteem and with the clock ticking on his career to accept spending one of his remaining seasons teaching young receivers how to play professional football. Unfortunately, that's where the Packers are in their evolution.
Taylor from Amarillo, TX
Vic, I'm torn between a couple of thoughts regarding the Packers. Part of me wants to see them go big and bring in a dominant player, like a Mack, or the way the Falcons went for Julio, especially as Rodgers gets older. The other part knows the risk and how it's dangerous to think you're only one player away. How do I balance the two opposing views?
Think as though it's your job and your decision will determine how long it remains your job, instead of thinking as a fan with nothing to lose and no accountability for what you decide. So, let me ask you, do you feel lucky?
Frank from Wausau, WI
If you write one more blanket statement about Packers fans wanting McCarthy fired, I may drive down to Edwardo Beach, or whichever silly town you call home, and kick your door down. Coach McCarthy is our man and will be for years to come. Write it down, Vic.
You couldn't get past the herd of deer eating acorns in my front yard. They'd drag you into the marsh and feed you to the fiddler crabs.
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
What do you think about Notre Dame getting a bye into the college football playoffs, with every other team in contention playing in their respective conference championship game? How does it compare, if at all, to Alabama not good enough to make the SEC championship last year but getting into the playoffs over Ohio State? We could also throw in Ohio State getting in over Penn State, the conference champion who had beaten Ohio State during the season, the year prior.
How about Florida State winning the national title in 1993, despite having the same record as Notre Dame, which beat Florida State earlier that season? Inconsistency will continue to plague college football until it standardizes its product, and that'll require everyone to agree to the format. For example, will Notre Dame agree to join a conference? If it does, college football can make winning a conference championship a prerequisite for playoffs consideration. At the least, I'd like to see an eight-team playoff format, with the champions of the power five conferences getting automatic berths and three more teams selected at large. The current playoff system is an improvement over what we have, but it still has huge holes in it. For example, Pitt plays Clemson for the ACC title. What is Pitt's motivation, a banner and a bad bowl? The same goes for Northwestern in the Big 10 title game. College football is a bad product and I think it knows it is, but it lacks the unity and resolve to fix the problem. College football needs to study the Pete Rozelle leaguethink model and how it could take college football back to the heights it once enjoyed.
Eric from Hudson, WI
Why are you so attached to these coaches keeping their jobs? And don’t give me one of your glib answers.
Because Sean McVay is the exception, not the rule, and truth be known, he was handed a team Jeff Fisher built and was ready to go. How has a coaching change worked for the Titans? They were a playoff team last year. The Raiders? The Giants? The Lions were 9-7 under Jim Caldwell. They fired him to hire a savior off the Bill Belichick tree. Under Caldwell, I thought the Lions were on the verge of breaking through. Matt Patricia is making headlines for scolding reporters who slouch in their seats during press conferences. The Colts' dismissal of Chuck Pagano felt more like a mercy firing. What could the poor guy do without Andrew Luck? So the Colts hired Josh McDaniels, and McDaniels accepts the job and then has a change of heart and goes back to New England. It was a terrible embarrassment for the Colts, who had to go back to the scrap pile to find Frank Reich, who's turned out to be a great selection. That should tell you what a crap shoot this all is. In my time covering football, I have come to learn firing the coach usually leads to firing the next guy and continuing the cycle of failed coaching hires. The Browns have had eight head coaches since a restart of the franchise in 1999. How's that working for them? The Browns fired Belichick and the Jaguars fired Coughlin; they went on to win seven Super Bowls combined. The Steelers haven't fired a coach since Bill Austin following the 1968 season. The Steelers' reputation for standing behind their coach is so strong they don't even have a hot seat in Pittsburgh. That's the way you want it to be, instead of letting the fans and the media turn your team into turmoil. History tells me this: If the Packers fire Mike McCarthy, they'll fire the guy who replaces him in 3-4 years. At that point, the Packers will be on the coaching merry go round, and the merry go round goes nowhere but in circles. Is that a good enough answer for you, Eric.
Nick from Owego, NY
Any players on the Packers you're most interested to see how they finish out the season?
There's a collection of young talent in the Packers' secondary that has my attention. I'd like to see Kevin King join the party.
Will from Julian, CA
OK, we know your best fan bases now but what about the worst fan bases? As a Packers fan living in San Diego for 39 years, I commiserate with the former San Diego Chargers fan base, which I think has been given a bum rap as too laid back. My experience has been San Diego Chargers fans were every bit as supportive as Packers fans. I congratulate Los Angeles for not accepting the runaway Chargers. The Chargers can't even sell 25-yard line seats for $6 for the Arizona game. Large areas of emptiness were evident in that game in a 22,000-seat stadium. They only can fill it with visiting teams' fans, which dominate at every game! Are you kidding? And this is a top 10 team with loads of talent! The NFL has to think it was a huge mistake to let the Chargers move to LA. Obviously, the runaway winner for worst fan base is the runaway Los Angeles Chargers.
I think the NFL knew this would happen. San Diego wouldn't build a new stadium, so the NFL stole the Chargers back to Los Angeles to help with the cost of building a stadium there. The Chargers' time in Los Angeles will soften San Diego into building a new stadium and stealing the Chargers back. I predict the Chargers will be back in San Diego and in a new stadium within 10 years. It's a no-brainer. By the way, old Jack Murphy Stadium was one of the loudest stadiums in the league, especially for reporters. It was the only outdoor open-air press box in the league and it had a great old-time feel to it. One of the team's owners owned a pizza joint and they delivered boxes of pizza at halftime. They just spread the boxes out on tables and we dug in. I loved covering games in San Diego during the Air Coryell years. I thought Chargers fans were great.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Is it your expectation that whatever the Packers need to do to bring the joy back to Green Bay can likely be done in one offseason?
That's a question we'll spend the offseason answering.
Jake from Farmington, MN
Vic, you could not have been more right about the Packers this year. I honestly hated reading this site a couple of weeks ago because nothing is ever more offensive than the truth. I have now come to terms with this season being what it is. I have been looking around the league for help and I have two players I think could change this team: Jadeveon Clowney and Le'Veon Bell. If the Packers acquired these players in free agency, do you think that would be enough to be a contender again?
I wouldn't want either guy on my team. Clowney quit on South Carolina so he could protect himself for the NFL draft, and Bell quit on the Steelers to protect himself for free agency. If they quit on them, they'll quit on you.
Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA
It’s hard to compare, but what has Pettine brought to the Packers Capers couldn’t provide? Is Pettine really a better coordinator/coach or is he simply benefitting from a completely new secondary?
The rankings are nearly identical. Dom Capers' 2017 defense finished 12-9-13. Mike Pettine's 2018 defense is currently ranked 12-23-9. Pettine has a done a wonderful job developing a young secondary.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Do you think Mark Murphy’s unique position means he’s less prone to heed the wolves?
Murphy has a tough call to make, and the si.com story didn't make it any easier. The story paints the picture of a coach and a quarterback who are so at odds they can't even agree on what play to run. So, who do you fire, one of the most successful coaches in your team's history, or arguably the greatest quarterback in your team's history and a man to whom you just gave a contract that makes him a dead money nightmare? I'm reminded of a clash between Chuck Noll and Art Rooney Jr., who ran the Steelers' personnel department and drafted nine Hall of Famers from 1969-74. Dan Rooney, the team president, begged his brother and Noll to get on the same page. They refused. Dan Rooney fired his brother. Mark Murphy, for the Packers' sake and his own sake, needs to bring McCarthy and Rodgers to an agreement of cooperation and mutual respect. I think the Packers' short-term future might depend on it.
Ben from El Paso, TX
How does a balanced offense with a power running game disrupt an opposing defense?
How do you wish to die?
Tom from Suwanee, GA
Let's suppose GM Vic was true to his word and did not extend Rodgers' contract prior to the start of this season. What would GM Vic do this offseason?
A new contract would be a nice carrot to dangle. It could promote harmony, right? I fear the Packers played the contract card too early. What was the rush?