Here’s this week’s power rankings: 1. Eagles – Powerful defense. 2. Patriots – Beginning to hit their stride. 3. Panthers – Little girl with the curl. 4. Falcons – Better than their record. *5. Steelers – They can be special. 6. Rams – Beginning to build something. 7. Chiefs – Defense exposed as soft. 8. Saints – Look out Packers. 9. Packers – Season lost on one play? 10. Lions – Clobbered in New Orleans. 11. Redskins – They’re growing on me. 12. Texans – Houston does not have a problem. 13. Seahawks – Ready to make a move. 14. Dolphins – Looked great in Atlanta. 15. Bills – Can they find more offense? 16. Broncos – Headed for a fall. 17. Vikings – They’ll go as far as defense can take them. 18. Cowboys – Elliott is becoming a distraction. *19. Bengals – Look out Steelers. 20. Cardinals – Finally making a move? 21. Bucs – Defense falling apart. 22. Jaguars – Win over Steelers a fluke. 23. Bears – Trubisky showing upside. 24. Ravens – These Ravens are soft. 25. Titans – Nothing special here. 26. Colts – Future growing dim. 27. Jets – Not a contender. 28. Raiders – Chance to move up tonight. 29. Chargers – I’m on the verge of becoming a believer. 30. Giants – Impressive win in Denver. 31. 49ers – On the verge of winning. 32. Browns – Not on the verge of anything. *This week’s game for mature audiences only.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, what is your opinion of Brett Hundley as a quarterback?
He passes the eye test. That’s all we know at this point. Can he play with poise and courage? That’s what we’ll find out over the next several weeks. He’s going to face every blitz known to man. Will he keep his eyes focused downfield? That’s the No. 1 question I need to answer about any young quarterback.
Matt from Lincoln City, OR
Just found the blog and I feel like I once again have a sports column to read. If Green Bay keeps the postseason streak going this season, do you see Brett Hundley fetching a first-rounder?
If Hundley leads the Packers to the postseason, he becomes the Packers’ quarterback of the future. Aaron Rodgers will turn 34. It’s not too soon to begin thinking of the future, especially considering Rodgers’ injury is to his throwing arm.
Paul from Chicago, IL
Vic, I remember reading your columns during the 2013 season when you wrote for the Packers, after Rodgers broke his left collarbone. I remember feeling lost at the time, like the season was over. Looking back through the 2013 season, it was one of my favorite seasons. What are your memories of that season?
My memories are of the daily drama. Would Rodgers play in the next game? It was a reporter’s dream. Every day was a repeat of the previous day, but it was still news. It was a seven-week drum roll. And then the cymbals crashed, and it was so very worth the wait. I likened the season finale in Chicago to “The Natural.” When the ball fell into Randall Cobb’s hands, I think I saw the lights explode. The 2013 season is one of my all-time favorites.
Jeffro from Kenosha, WI
I was surprised to hear McCarthy call the hit on Rodgers dirty/illegal. As much as I hate the outcome, it looked like good football to me. You?
It was a little late, but nothing flagrant. I saw much worse in the Steelers-Chiefs game later that afternoon.
Kenneth from Hell, Norway
Hi, just wondering what you think about Colin Kaepernick. I mean, when I watched him run for 181 yards in that 2013 playoff game, I thought to myself this guy will be the next big star. Now that solid 49ers team is gone and so is he. What really happened?
He has a long-arm release that telegraphs his throws, which made it critically important to learn to look-off defenders. I don’t think he developed that skill. The last time I covered him, he was still staring down receivers. As a runner, defenses were making him be a passer, which I predicted would happen.
Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD
With Rodgers now gone, the field no longer tilts. I'm finding parity has knocked expectations out of my vocabulary. Watch the game and appreciate the skills of some very well-trained and committed young men. Is this what perspective is all about? If so, it sure is better for my blood pressure.
I’m getting this crazy sense Packers fans are almost relieved they don’t have to worry about going to the Super Bowl anymore. If it’s come to that, then expectations have created pressure that's crippling fans’ ability to enjoy the game. If you’re reading this and you think I’m describing you, it’s time to achieve perspective.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Kaepernick made us think? Has anyone said anything thoughtful about police brutality since Kaepernick first remained seated? Has any congressman, governor or president initiated so much as a bake sale to do anything about disparity in our justice system? I'm afraid Kaepernick has exposed our soft underbelly: We simply don't care. This veteran mourns for his country.
Kaepernick’s message has gotten lost in the anthem uproar. John Carlos and Tommie Smith did it the right way.
J.G. from Silver Spring, MD
Vic, so glad I found your new site. Believe it or not, I still have an original “Ask Vic” mug from your Jaguars days, in mint condition!
I have one, too. One word of warning: Don’t put it in the dishwasher. There are reports of the words washing off the outside of the mug.
Kris from Stockbridge, WI
And when they say it’s not about the money, that’s when it’s really about the money.
George Young was talking about football players, not sportswriters.
Don from Roscoe, IL
Where's the limit for a QB like Brett Hundley? I mean, unlike our president, Brett has huge hands.
Phenomenal, tremendous. He’s a great quarterback. Believe me, you’re gonna love him.
Devin from Portland, OR
Vic, we do not have a large NFL sample size on which to base our opinions of Brett Hundley. As someone who has covered the team, I would expect you have a better understanding of his strengths and weaknesses than a typical fan, especially as they have evolved during his time in Green Bay. That said, what do you believe are some of his strengths and weaknesses? In what ways will McCarthy tailor the offense to play to his strengths?
His weakness is he’s inexperienced. His strength is his coach is a true believer in the West Coast offense, and what we’re going to see is a shift in the Packers offense from extend the play to get it out quick and on time. Truth be known, Aaron Rodgers is not a true West Coast quarterback. He’s too talented to be restricted to a three-step-drop, throw-it-away mentality. McCarthy will arm Hundley with a game plan that will protect him from the rush and demand little more than an accurate, intermediate range pass.
Dave from Saint Peters, MO
Vic, what is your take on protecting the QB, in light of how Aaron Rodgers was injured? It seemed the act of taking two steps after the ball was released, then leaving one's feet and applying full body weight on the QB as he goes to the ground, serves only one purpose, injuring him. I like toughness, but I don't like hurting people for the sake of hurting them.
Come on, he wasn’t trying to do that. Anthony Barr was playing football, just as Clay Matthews plays football. I don’t like the whining and crying I’m seeing about this play. How do you protect the quarterback? I said it years ago: Let him spike the ball to avoid a sack. If he chooses to extend the play, you’re on your own, big guy.
Steve from Minocqua, WI
Vic, just what is Colin Kaepernick trying to accomplish with his collusion lawsuit? His sideline protest made him a pariah that apparently no team will touch, and now he hopes to dismantle the CBA? What is your take on the situation?
He’s trying to get money, just as the baseball players did in the 1980s when they won a collusion suit that resulted in owners paying the players $280 million. Kaepernick is going to win, just as the baseball players won and Connie Hawkins won against the NBA.
Neal from Cheddar, UK
Steelers win, but is Big Ben still going to be chiming next year?
I think this is his final season. Fourteen seasons is a long time to play football, especially when you’ve been battered as he has been.