"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Ramiro from Jurupa Valley, CA
Vic, love the nostalgia in the answer you gave Tyler. How do you feel you’ve done raising your own children in contrast to how your father raised you? I’m sure he approves of the job you’ve done, my friend. Stay blessed.
I've never taken either son to a professional football game. How could I? I was working.
Brian from Hilbert, WI
Been reading your articles since the Packers days. You mentioned this team reminds you of what it has always been; will go as far as Rodgers can take them. Does it remind you of the 2011 team or 2014 team? I’m hoping for 2010.
It has a running game; the '11 team didn't. It doesn't have the defense or the receiving corps the '14 team did. This year's team reminds me of last year's team, except Rodgers is better.
Sharon from Arbor Vitae, WI
Vic, before my football question, a quick thank you for promoting Covid safety measures. Around here, few people wear masks, and our little rural hospitals are stressed. My mom was taken by ambulance for a non-Covid issue, yet, had to wait nine hours for a room. That meant someone else in ER had to wait for her spot, a classic domino effect. It's not just about Covid, it's about the entire system! Thankfully, she's home again after five days, and got to watch her beloved Packers while there. We've both noticed Matt LeFleur getting more praise this week for his play-calling. The term often used is "flow." Did you sense that while watching, and what do you think is contributing most to it?
Packers fans and media love play-calling. This week, they're giddy about the play-action bootleg tight end delay pass completions. Everybody is giggling.
Joe from Banner, WI
One play showed me everything I needed to see about the run defense. Forget about staying square and standing up your blocker; he was washed out while pushing his backside into a tight end. Is Z. Smith above coaching or benching because he gets sacks?
In my mind, he's a pass-rush specialist who somehow has to be covered up or hidden in the defensive scheme. It's not natural for Smith to sink his hips, bow his back and, as Coach Noll would say, "strike the rising blow." That's why the Ravens let him go. He's not a Ravens type of player.
Nick from Arvada, CO
My dad asked me if I could explain how Matt LaFleur's offense differs from Mike McCarthy's. I'm not qualified. Little help? Thank you for the column, Vic.
Philosophically, McCarthy is a West Coast offense guy, which should mean a lot of short drops and get the ball out quickly. LaFleur's scheme allows for deeper drops and demands offensive linemen hold their blocks longer. In reality, Rodgers held the ball longer than McCarthy preferred, so I don't see a big difference in the finished products. Both schemes wall up and run bunch-set picks, which is standard procedure around the league. The differences are subtle and would require an insider to detail them.
Tim from Appleton, WI
Vic, I have to ask, what is a Marsh Wheeling?
It's a cigar. I can still see the blue and yellow box sitting in the kitchen.
Ben from Alameda, CA
Let's assume Aaron Jones signs a large second contract. Does his success and cap space make it more attractive to go with a younger and cheaper QB, and possibly shorten Rodgers' career as a Packer?
Sign the running back and get rid of the quarterback?
Barry from Hayward, WI
Vic, of the winless teams, which has the best chance of still making the playoffs?
Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD
I apologize for posting this very late. What does postponing the Steelers game mean as far as the league's approach to Covid?
It means the league's focus is on public safety, as it should be. It means as the weather gets cooler and we move into a predicted second wave of this virus more games will likely be postponed. It means we should enjoy every moment of football we're permitted and not attach too much meaning to anything, because postponements threaten the integrity of this season and it could end abruptly.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
Vic, does Derrick Henry have light feet?
I believe he does, but I checked with a scout friend, who said: "For a man of his massive size, I would say yes." The Titans use Henry in a lot of draw and slow-developing stuff, which requires a back to be able to bounce and slide. Henry has size 14 feet, so he's not Peter Pan, but Henry's feet better not stay on the ground too long or men bigger than him will stop him in his tracks. Few have.
Jack from Middleton, WI
As a former NFL writer, do you still get the stat books distributed weekly to all the writers, kind of like a retired national security professional keeps their security clearances? I could also imagine the books locked inside a cavernous Indiana Jones-style warehouse at the end of the season.
The weekly stuff is on the Internet and I know where to get it. I get the books from the PR guys I know.
Ben from DePere, WI
Thanks for taking a stance. You may not know it, but you show leadership qualities when you stand up for what is right. Speaking of what is right and wrong, I am curious to know if teams have ever selected a player specifically to prevent another team from drafting him? An example would be drafting a highly rated linebacker, even though your team is stacked at that position, so that other teams can't draft that player.
Linebacker? Sure. If you're picking best available player and you don't pick the best player, you're leaving him for your competition to draft, which means you'll have to play against him. Quarterback is the better example because you only need and can pay one of them. In the salary cap era, you only pick a quarterback if you need one or can afford where you're picking one.
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
Many years when you were in Green Bay, you would often write "it's not plays, it's players." Three weeks into the season, would you care to reassess that?
It's always players, not plays, because plays won't work if players don't execute them. It's a philosophy embraced and taught by every coach I've covered, and I believe it to be true. Early in the season, you can overwhelm an opponent with scheme, but only if your players execute it. The Saints have good schemes, but they didn't have Aaron Rodgers.
Paul from Cumming, GA
If you're the Falcons and you blow it up, do you keep Matt Ryan and hope to get one more run out of him, or is he just another chip that could be used to aggregate future assets?
Matt Ryan won't be around, so to speak, by the time the Falcons are rebuilt. If I was the Falcons' GM, I would trade him for what he would yield in rebuilding capital. I think he's an elite quarterback, one of the most underrated passers in NFL history.
Ben from Avon, IN
Vic, it's almost impossible to stay consistent in the NFL, but how have the Browns and the Lions been consistently awful?
They've drafted and managed personnel poorly. Paul Brown, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Belichick all coached losing teams. They were teams that lacked the talent to win. Winning begins with making the right moves in personnel.