"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Cletus from Washington, DC
What happened within these three teams over the course of a few weeks that allowed the Packers to beat the Saints, the Bucs to beat the Packers and the Saints to steamroll the Bucs? They all had their star quarterbacks on hand.
The Browns beat the Cowboys 49-38 when the Cowboys still had Dak Prescott, the Steelers beat the Browns 38-7 and then the Steelers had to rally to beat the Cowboys when their quarterback was a guy from one of those leagues that stopped playing because they ran out of money to buy chinstraps. Don't try to understand it. It's just the ebb and flow of the season.
Robert from Chicago, IL
Since QB is easier to play than ever, do you think teams will or should have much less patience with their franchise QB?
When you draft a guy as high as the Bears drafted Trubisky, you have to give him every chance to succeed, but not one chance more. Get 'em good or get 'em gone.
Steven from Doctors Inlet, FL
I think that under Wayne Weaver the Jaguars were all about Tom Coughlin and his toughness approach. When Mr. Weaver sold the team to Shad Khan, it was supposedly written into the deal the Jaguars had to stay in Jacksonville. Mr. Khan seems to be doing everything but that. All of his projects have nothing to do with winning, which is the only thing that will keep the team here. I am a founding season ticket owner and have almost lost interest. This owner has no personality with the team. Is it possible while his investment is growing the team is neglected? Is there something diabolical going on?
Ultimately, owners are judged by the same standard coaches are judged: wins and losses. In a league that pools its revenues and shares its player costs, there are no have nots, only haves. There's only one reason for losing: incompetence. The Jaguars are headed for another reset. It'll further define the Khan era of Jaguars football.
David from Laxa, Sweden
Hello! I follow you for a long time and I want to thank you for teaching me so much and giving me some level-headed material to read in such a crazy time. I wanted to ask: If receivers are a dime a dozen, do the Packers not have a dime left?
OK, let's sort through this. Davante Adams thinks he's the best receiver in the league. He was the 53rd pick of his draft. I'm not Brian Gutekunst's PR man nor am I his apologist, but I can understand why he put a priority on premium positions in his first three drafts. The Packers need new blood at the core positions or the franchise will go dark when Rodgers retires. The Gary pick doesn't look great right now and the Love pick is a head-scratcher, but I understand Gutekunst's sense of urgency. Wide receiver? He could've picked D.K. Metcalf in 2019, but then you wouldn't have Elgton Jenkins. This year, the first wide receiver drafted after the Packers selected A.J. Dillon was 19 picks later. Chase Claypool instead of Jordan Love? OK, but Claypool would've been a major reach at pick No. 26; he was selected 23 picks later. I think you have to be fair to Gutekunst. He's trying to address major roster issues the outcome of which will decide the Packers' future. Wide receiver is a position easily addressed. Quarterbacks and big guys are not a dime a dozen. When Rodgers is on his game, the receivers are good enough.
Jared from Rigby, ID
Vic, what are your thoughts on how teams have to report injuries? Would you change anything?
I think the NFL is doing an outstanding job of promoting transparency among its teams. I think it's critical to the credibility of the league. Coaches won't volunteer information; they must be required to provide information. College football is the example of how not to do it. The coaches are allowed to hide everything, which is especially bad during these Covid times. Fans deserve to know. So does the media in its attempts to help provide information and perspective to its readers. To not provide information opens the door to inside information for gamblers, and that's a connection no sports league wants.
Jack from Middleton, WI
What's another example of a spirit waiting to be discovered?
We're getting a little goofy about this spirit of place thing. It's just a philosophy, not a fact. I brought it up because I find it interesting, but in a very broad way. It should not be put under the microscope or used as an excuse or explanation. Barry Alvarez was a perfect fit for Wisconsin and I get the sense from listening to Alvarez it wasn't according to some grand plan or design. What I would say in answering your question is: How many college football programs fail to tap into their spirit and true personality because they don't connect with their history and their fans. Syracuse has a coach who believes in Baylor-like offense. At a school that produced Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka and Floyd Little? It's square peg in a round hole stuff. I think it's important to play to your tradition because that's your personality and spirit of place. It's who you are and what you are when you're at your best. The Packers' truest tradition is their love affair between the players and the fans. That's the base ingredient in the Packers' connection with spirit of place and the team has been vigilant in maintaining that connection. The first question when interviewing prospective head coaches must be: How do you feel about players riding kids' bikes?
Ben from Avon, IN
I think Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches and talent evaluators of all time and Tom Brady may be the greatest QB ever. Why did they think it was necessary to constantly cheat?
It's the frog and the scorpion.
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
What is Jacksonville's spirit of place?
Jacksonville is neither Florida nor Georgia; it's Jacksonville. It's where the old South and the new South meet. People think of Jacksonville as a beach town, but downtown Jacksonville is 14 miles inland and I suspect the majority of people who live at the beach aren't from Jacksonville and have allegiances to other places. Jacksonville is a tough, gritty, largely misunderstood place in pursuit of the respect it's never been afforded. That's how I see Jacksonville. That's its spirit of place and that's the personality I would attempt to acquire for the Jaguars if I owned that football team. Stop trying to be Miami. Be Jacksonville! Be unique. Put one teal stripe down the middle of that helmet and get back to playing the kind of hard-edged defense the Jaguars did in 2017.
Braden from Milwaukee, WI
Should the PGA limit new technology that allows certain players to hit the ball farther?
The bigger question is this: Is the PGA and the USGA willing to see courses such as Augusta and Oakmont become obsolete?
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
I'm slightly surprised you're pulling for the Jaguars to tank, but what fan/retired senior editor with interest could seriously be pulling for wins right now? The positive? Home games vs. the Browns and the Bears look like the only games the Jaguars won't be double-digit underdogs. The negative? I'm struggling to find a win on the Jets' remaining schedule. Just lose, baby!
Buddy Parker said one day the Steelers would get lucky and it would last 10 years. Then came the 1970 draft and the Steelers won a coin flip for the first overall draft pick, which the Steelers used to pick Terry Bradshaw. The "Immaculate Reception" and four Super Bowl titles followed. The Jaguars need a little luck.
Ray from Jacksonville, FL
Big Ben is one of the most underrated QBs in NFL history? From the Jaguars' perspective, he's just another guy, as in just another guy they could have had at the position. Add him to the list of MVPs Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Oh, yeah, Deshaun Watson, too. Oh, well, all those catches by 2004 top 10 pick Reggie Williams will have to be enough for Jags fans. So sad.
You're forgetting Aaron Rodgers.
Dan from Marshfield, WI
Which receivers in today's game could have played and excelled in the NFL prior to 1978?
It would be receivers big enough, strong enough and fast enough to beat bump-and-run coverage, tough enough to take an El Kabong hit over the middle, come back from a devastating head shot and concussion to be the MVP of the Super Bowl two weeks later, and have the feet to tip-toe along the sideline and the hands to snag laser passes on a cold day without the aid of stick-um gloves. When you've found that player, let me know who he is. They weren't a dime a dozen back then.
Matthew from Las Vegas, NV
Much has been made about how the Packers don't value inside linebackers. Is that part of the reason their run defense is regularly bad, or am I over-complicating what is a lack of talent in stopping the run?
Good defense requires rushing the passer, defending against the pass and stopping the run. In 2018, the Packers drafted to defend against the pass. In '19, they drafted and used free agency to rush the passer. In '21, a year after a futures quarterback pick, I would expect the Packers to draft to stop the run. If that doesn't complete the puzzle on defense, criticism will be deserved.
David from Seattle, WA
Are the Vikings capable of finishing the season 6-2? Their schedule doesn’t seem too tough. Do you think 9-7 might qualify for a seven seed?
Seven seed? No. Eight seed? Yes. The Packers and the Vikings could play again. Wouldn't that be interesting? For whom does the horn blow? It blows for thee.
Mike from Tuscaloosa, AL
What was your takeaway from Super Bowl XIV?
Dash 30 dash.