"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Simon from Santa Clara, CA
The Packers offense isn't getting it done when it needs to. What's wrong?
The Rams and Patriots took their pass rushes to a higher level late in the last two games. I don't know if it's age or the knee injury, but Aaron Rodgers has lost some mobility. That's obvious on tape for opponents to see, so we can expect more pass-rush emphasis in the future. Giving Rodgers time to throw is, in my opinion, job one on offense.
Brian from Vancouver, BC
If Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery don't fumble those balls, how are we looking at the Packers?
Unrealistically, but happily.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Vic, please give your impressions and perspective on the Packers after the Patriots game.
To the casual observer, the Packers are still all about Aaron Rodgers, but to those who follow the Packers' every move, I think it's obvious it's a team defined by young talent on the rise. It's a team in the midst of change, which means repair. I like the rebuilt young secondary. I like the young backs and receivers. Repair requires patience, and I'm not sensing much of it in my inbox. This will be hardest on the fans, for there are many steps to be taken before the Packers are the team its fans have come to expect.
Luke from Rochester, MN
The Packers don't appear to be a Super Bowl team. Heck, they don't really even resemble a playoff team, and help is not on the way with the trade deadline already passed. What can we be hopeful for as fans at this point?
Be hopeful for patience and the wisdom that allows it.
Matt from Boomsgrove, UK
Vic, a 29-0 final for college football's mega-hype matchup on Saturday is very disappointing. How can the NCAA level the recruiting game?
Reduce scholarships so there are five-star players left over for everyone.
Phil from Madison, WI
Vic, as a young fan who is accustomed to seeing championship-level football teams, this season has been an adjustment for me. However, your messages over the years have taught me how to be a better football fan than the howling wolves who call for firings after each loss. What are some pieces of the team we can build around? What does this team need to point the arrow up again?
The Packers can build a genuinely strong defense around the young talent they have in their secondary. They might only need a couple of young pass rushers. I give Brian Gutekunst major credit for identifying the problem on defense, clearing out the dead wood and rebuilding the secondary. The Packers' arrow is pointing up because they finally have some young players on defense who can run and hit. They need to do the same thing on offense: find young players with impact talent. Gutekunst knows who those players are, and I believe he'll be picking high enough to draft them.
Jarad from Stevens Point, WI
Vic, I’ve remained pro-McCarthy, particularly since, as you like to point out, the talent on the Packers just isn’t there at the moment. The fans, however, seem to have settled on a scapegoat. Honestly, in your estimation, does McCarthy have the respect of the locker room right now? Can he weather this?
You're being overly dramatic. This isn't about respect of the locker room, it's about finding more good football players and using the time between now and then to develop the talent that exists on the roster. Yeah, Coach McCarthy can weather the storm. Can the fans? I think that's the bigger question.
Dan from Madison, WI
What has surprised you about the Packers this season?
I'm pleasantly surprised the Packers' young secondary has evolved as quickly as it has. That's about it. I'm not surprised by their record or their apparent struggles. I identified the need to repair their roster and I adjusted my expectations accordingly.
Jonas from St. Paul, MN
I feel emotional.
I'm sorry. Give it time; it'll pass.
Alison from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, you have discussed a winning team’s ability to make plays in crunch time. This Packers team seems incapable of doing so. Can you share your thoughts on why that is the case?
Crunch time is that point late in the game when each team's game plan has been diagnosed and the guess work is over. At that point, the more talented team plays with the confidence of knowing it's the more talented team, and that's the team that makes game-winning plays at crunch time. Aaron Rodgers masks a lot of deficiencies and he has always tilted the field, but he can't do it all. He needs more talent around him, and I think he'll get it.
John from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Any thoughts or stories in regards to Vince Manuwai? He passed too young and I’ll always remember him opening holes for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. What a joy all of them were to watch.
I was crushed when I saw the news of Vince's passing. I was immediately flooded with memories of Vince walking the rubber hallway, his flip flops slapping the floor with the distinctive sound of Vince's waddle. I would hear them coming and I always turned to look out my door as Vince passed, to exchange smiles and nods. He was a friendly man. Everybody loved him. Jack Del Rio thought he was one of the league's most underrated players. I am truly sad today for his passing. These are the days when I count most on memories.
Dan from Austin, TX
Battle of the GOATs? Color me unimpressed. Brady looks off a depleted secondary for one big play and Rodgers completes a couple of decent passes to MVS. These are not great defenses. Mahomes vs Wentz/Watson seems more exciting. Maybe the torch is being passed?
It wasn't what we expected, was it?
Kabir from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
The Packers got sloppy and got penalties at critical moments. More than the fumble, the roughing the kicker and the Whitehead personal fouls cost the game.
The Aaron Jones fumble was the game-changer. That was the play the Packers couldn't overcome. It changed momentum and there wasn't enough time left in the game to change it back. Jones is a good-looking back. I like him, but he's got to be a more dependable player. The fans see the talent; Mike McCarthy sees the flaws. McCarthy's job is to eliminate the flaws, develop the talent and fit it into the offense. That's how I judge a coach's performance. Time management isn't the benchmark; developing and utilizing talent is. Jones is a project. He's going to define McCarthy.
Mike from McFarland, WI
Did anyone get pencil whipped in that game?
Mike Pettine did a great job of disguising coverages and directing the ball. During Brady's incompletions streak in the second half, he missed a wide open receiver on a critical conversion down. It was very un-Brady like. Late in the game, Josh McDaniels did a good job of attacking Pettine's scheme and forcing the Packers' corners to support against the run, which caused some hesitation. I attribute the last touchdown pass to that hesitation. Last night's game was loaded with scheme.
Tom from Hamden, CT
Do you think Aaron Rodgers will ever win another Super Bowl?
I think the Packers can get back into title contention within two years; in my opinion, it'll take two drafts and free agency periods to surround Rodgers with the talent he needs. Will he still be on top of his game at that point? The answer to that question will determine whether or not Rodgers can win another Super Bowl.
Craig from Miami, FL
Fans will call for coaching changes, but the problems run much deeper than that. Rodgers misses throws he never used to. Will his contract inhibit the Packers’ ability to get much better during the duration of his contract?
No, because it can be re-structured to push money out and create room for free-agent signings. I'm not a fan of that strategy, but it's a common practice. The Saints have sold out for one last push with Brees, and the Packers can do the same thing with Rodgers.
Tyler from Augusta, GA
Players, not plays. I feel like we have a soft roster and Brian G knows it. We're definitely not a player away.
I think that's a healthy attitude.
Garrett from Knoxville, TN
What are your thoughts on how the Patriots play on offense?
It's a scheme offense and they execute the scheme beautifully. They were playing without Gronkowski and Michel and they still got it done. That's impressive.