"Ask Vic" is published M-W-F through the football season.
Richard from Clearwater, MN
Classic battle of the No.1 offense vs. the No.1 defense. What do your eyes tell you about the Rams-Packers matchup?
On paper, this is the matchup the Packers don't want. The Rams stop the run and rush the passer and they have a premier cornerback in Jalen Ramsey. They also have a top 10 running game, and that's without a running quarterback. What the Rams don't have is a quarterback who can play anywhere close to Aaron Rodgers' level. I think that'll be the deciding factor in the game. As much as the Rams are built to beat the Packers, I think Rodgers is playing at an unbeatable level.
Steve from Pueblo, CO
Vic, what do the Packers have to do to slow Aaron Donald and that Rams defense down?
Donald will be double-teamed. Sean McVay announced on Monday Donald will play on Saturday and McVay kind of downplayed Donald's injury. Why would McVay be so forthcoming with information on Donald? Most coaches would keep the Packers guessing. Is McVay using Donald as a diversion? Does he want to make sure the Packers dedicate full attention to Donald? It's just a thought.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
Are you suggesting quarterbacks are a dime a dozen?
I wouldn't go that far. It's the most premium of positions and finding the right guy is a daunting challenge because in many cases he requires a draft-pick and financial investment that can damage a franchise if he's not the right guy. I'm suggesting there are affordable options in today's game that allow teams to win without making wild draft-pick and financial investments in over-drafted quarterbacks. I think the supply also helps teams in rebuilding be competitive sooner than might be expected. A year ago, Duck Hodges took down Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, both of whom were first overall picks. Taylor Heinecke nearly took down Tom Brady on Saturday night. The Rams won a playoff-type game recently with a guy who looks like Kato Kaelin. Yes, those are extreme examples and you're not likely to win long-term with long-shot prospects, but I think they should open our eyes to what can be done with an open mind and a little creativity at the position. Most of all, I'm saying avoid the Trubisky-like picks and the Wentz-like contracts that devastate a franchise. Minshew may not be "The Man," but you can win with him until the right man comes along.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Following that ultra-competitive clash of Titanic proportions on Monday, how do people enjoy college football?
It's a game for people who like blowouts, I guess. It's also a game for rural Americans and state-pride people who revel in regional identity. The Dr. Pepper commercials clearly target that audience. It's their game and they love it. I went to bed before halftime.
Geoff from Janesville, WI
Troy Aikman said Aaron Donald is the best defensive player he has ever seen. Is that recency bias or is his view shared by others?
Yeah, the latest thing is always the greatest thing, but Donald does things that make me say to myself, "What am I watching?" I asked Tony Pauline that same question at Donald's Senior Bowl. Nobody could block him. I'll never forget the sight of Zack Martin kissing Donald on the top of his head following the final rep in the three-day pass-rush drills. Let's look at it this way: At Pitt, Donald won the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik trophies. He was clearly the best player in the country and should've won the Heisman. He turned in arguably the greatest performance in Senior Bowl history, and then followed with a killer combine. How was he not the first pick of his draft? Blake Bortles was drafted ahead of him. That's the classic example of what I mean by not over-drafting a quarterback.
Joe from Killeen, TX
I agree with you, the taunting and celebrations bother me, too. You often make the '70's and '80's seem like a vicious game in which teams really hated each other and people were legitimately hurt on cheap shots. As someone born in 1990, I am curious, when do you consider football to have been a noble endeavor?
When Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry, Paul Brown and George Halas wore coats, ties and hats on the sideline, and the players treated the game as though it was the show, not them.
Max from Hutchinson, KS
I'm watching the national championship and it's boring. Alabama is going to win and it's not even halftime. College football is so broken. It's only value seems to be to prepare players for the NFL. Do you think this can be fixed?
One more time: You fix it by limiting the supply of talent to the Alabamas, which then increases the supply of talent to the programs that currently can't compete with the Alabamas. The NFL does it with the draft. College football can achieve the same parity with scholarship limits.
Aaron from White Hall, AR
How do you think Keenan McCardell would fare as a head coach in the NFL?
I'd play for him. I'd play hard for him.
John from Charlottesville, VA
I'm excited to watch the matchup between Ramsey and Adams this weekend. Who do you think has the edge in this matchup?
In today's game, the receiver always has the edge. Ramsey will try to muscle Adams. You're going to see Adams complain to the officials early and often.
Shawn from Big Lake, MN
You’ve often said it’s never been easier to play quarterback. When was it the most difficult?
When the quarterback was live to the ground. Al Davis said, "The quarterback must go down and the quarterback must go down hard." Not anymore.
Benjamin from Vestal, NY
How about franchising Aaron Jones for a one-year, all-in move that shouldn’t cripple the cap forever?
First of all, I doubt he'd sign the tender, and then the ugliness would begin. Secondly, if you want to go all in, that's not how you do it. The franchise tag eats up too much cap room in the current year. If you want to go all in, you do a multi-year contract that's high in signing bonus that can be spread out over the years, and low in salary the first year so you create the most room in the current year. A year later, you restructure his contract by converting salary to signing bonus and pushing it out, too.
Tom from Sacramento, CA
Of the Saints and Bucs, whose rushing attack would be more hampered by the snow of Green Bay?
Rams, Saints and Bucs: It couldn't be better for the Packers if they were playing three teams from Vulcan. I've never seen the breaks go a team's way as they have for the Packers the past two years.
Bill from Fairfax, VA
Vic, surprised no one mentioned that shot of Ben Roethlisberger sitting alone on the bench with a very contemplative stare after the game was over, as if he was trying to soak it all in one last time; as if he was contemplating the upcoming blow it up and wanting (or not) to go through those growing pains of missed blocks, dropped passes and rushes/sacks with his aging body, only to go 5-11.
I knew the playoff game in Arizona was the end of the line for me if the Packers lost. I did my own little video just for me, to save forever. My press pass for that game is the only one I ever saved.
Colin from Onsted, MI
How can you state the football of yesteryear was a "noble endeavor" when you acknowledge the heightened violence and gamesmanship of the past? I think you need to accept that WWE-style trash talk and theatrics are part of this generation. It's better than actually beating people into severe head trauma like the old days.
Those are my choices: head trauma or trash talk?
Cletus from Washington, DC
Is that an outdoor sink? Man, life is good.
I have a house and an under the house. Under the house is good for me.
Dave from Madison, WI
If you had to choose between resigning Corey Linsley or Aaron Jones, which way do you go?
Linsley might be more affordable and his career would likely last longer, which means he would probably give the Packers more bang for their buck. I get the sense the Packers aren't going to sign either player.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
Would trading Love for a draft pick result in a higher or lower pick compared to where he was taken?
I would expect trading Jordan Love would result in a lower pick than what the Packers spent on Love, but maybe not. His amortization would stay in Green Bay and his salaries for the next three years are small potatoes for a quarterback, especially if you loved him on draft day and still need a quarterback. The Packers aren't going to trade him. What if he became a star? You'd be talking about the reverse of Brett Favre.
Rich from Chatham, Ontario
How does a shortened, Covid-influenced college season impact the 2021 draft? Do NFL teams picking lower in the order benefit from the lack of tape and definition to this class?
Mistakes will be made. It'll be a good year to be low in the order.