Ask Vic will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Christopher from Maryland
Least likely upset of the week? Most likely upset of the week?
The Bears won't beat the Packers. The Browns will beat the Steelers.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL
Any comments on the Steelers linemen calling out Bell?
Maybe they felt betrayed. He told them he would be there. Maybe they felt something needed to be said to help unify the team and galvanize it against the distraction Le'Veon Bell's absence has created. So what happens when Bell arrives? They'll all hug and say nice things about each other. I learned a long time ago not to get involved emotionally in contract issues or you'll be the one feeling betrayed. It's all a big game they play to use us to get what they want.
Thomas from Williamsburg, VA
Last year was a fluke for the Jaguars? I don't think you fluke into coming a quarter away from going to the Super Bowl. Does Bortles need to improve? Sure. But I think it's disingenuous to say last season was a fluke. You're better than that.
Blake Bortles had a 54.1 fourth-quarter passer rating last year. He was at his worst at crunch time, and that's why the Jaguars tried to play around their quarterback in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game. I also saw it in the overtime period against the Jets. That has to change. The Jaguars have the roster talent to go deep into the playoffs, but not if their quarterback continues to play his worst football in the fourth quarter.
Steve from Phoenix, AZ
If the Bears try to use Mack as a situational pass rusher, can the Packers (Rodgers) disrupt their ability to use him as they want by going no huddle more often?
I consider the no-huddle to be the Packers' base offense, and I expect to see plenty of it on Sunday night. Khalil Mack won't be in playing shape. Getting him trapped on the field might be as good as getting him trapped on the sideline.
Max from Milwaukee, WI
Do the Steelers count Le’Veon Bell’s game salary against the cap if he doesn’t show?
No, they'll receive a credit to their cap for the games Bell misses. It's not money with which they can do much this season, but it'll carry over to next season and could help them be a player in free agency, depending on how many games Bell misses.
Christopher from Stuttgart, Germany
Vic, the Packers win if?
The Packers win if they protect Aaron Rodgers. I don't see the Bears scoring a lot of points, but Rodgers will if he has time to throw.
Eric from Clayton, MO
I am currently reading John Glenn's memoir and was shocked to read about his fellow pilot, Ted Williams, nearly dying after being shot down in the war. I cannot imagine a current sports star of that caliber being sent off to war, especially as a pilot. Do you recall any great football players going off to fight in the '40's or '50's?
Chuck Bednarik was a decorated B-24 waist gunner who flew on 30 combat missions over Germany in World War II.
Oscar from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, the Steelers are giving Le'Veon Bell good money to play running back. Why is he still holding out?
Apparently, Bell and his agent believe limiting his exposure to injury in 2018 will get him a big contract in free agency next March. I don't have a problem with what he's doing. He's playing by the rules and so are the Steelers. In the end, however, I think he's going to find out he's a running back and he's going to regret the nearly $1 million a week he lost by not signing the franchise tender.
Matt from Redacted, MI
With a generational talent at QB, why haven’t the Packers been able to draft or patch? Where does the buck ultimately stop? I understand respecting the cap and low draft picks. I don’t understand fielding a porous defense for the better part of a decade. It seems it’s always something. Maybe it’s just in the stars.
You say you understand but I don't think you do. The Packers have been a draft and develop football team. They haven't done a lot of patching, opting instead to rely on the young, drafted talent they've developed. It's kept their salary cap healthy and gave the Packers a long run of playoff seasons. Ultimately, drafting at the bottom caught up to them. Their defenses have been, in my opinion, undermanned. The Patriots are the best I have ever seen at patching. In my opinion, that's Bill Belichick's coaching genius. They find players on the scrap heap and get major contributions out of them. Dion Lewis is a recent example. So is Lawrence Guy. Remember him? The combination of Tom Brady's playing and Belichick's coaching makes the Patriots special. Of course, Brady helps make everybody around him better, including what has been an amazingly large cast of ordinary receivers.
Shane from York, NE
Vic, since the preseason is about evaluating talent and the first few games tend to be sloppy, what do you look for on opening weekend in the teams you've covered?
Offenses tend to sputter in the early going, mostly because the offensive line play is weak. The line play last night was awful. They couldn't even come off the ball together.
Lawrence from Jacksonville, FL
I recently went to a book signing by former Jaguars executive Michael Huyghue, and he relayed the story of the 1996 draft when they were set to take Lawrence Phillips second overall until the day of the draft. He indicated they drafted Hardy after discussing contract parameters on the clock. Can you confirm Huyghue's account?
The day before the draft, I heard the Jaguars were hot on Phillips, who was a controversial subject due to a violent episode with a Nebraska coed. I can confirm Jaguars security did exhaustive research on Phillips' background; I read the report. I got the feeling Phillips was the Jaguars' guy, until I got good information Wayne Weaver's wife was incensed Phillips was being considered. Delores Weaver is a good woman who put her heart and soul into running the Jaguars Foundation. There was no way she was going to allow Phillips to play in Jacksonville. Kevin Hardy became the pick. Kevin was a good player for the Jaguars, but I've always felt the Jaguars mismanaged that draft by paying a fortune to tackle Leon Searcy in free agency, when they could've spent that money on defense and drafted Jonathan Ogden second overall. Imagine Tony Boselli and Ogden as bookend tackles.
Scott from Wasilla, AK
What differentiates gimmicks from creativity?
Creativity is lasting.
Nathan from New York, NY
Vic, what is your opinion on the officiating of last night's game?
It was better than the line play.
Roger from Auburn, CA
It wasn't a pretty game but I sure enjoyed it. It felt like a 1970's grind it out game. Do you think it was just preseason rust or great defense?
I thought it was bad football, which is what happens when your starters only play a couple of quarters of the preseason. The game lacked flow; that's preseason football.
Henry from Jackson, WY
Was it just me or did Ryan lack some zip on his passes last night?
Matt Ryan has never been a big arm guy. I thought he looked slow and indecisive in the pocket, which is not as I would expect of Ryan in a few weeks.
Craig from Cedarburg, WI
It was mentioned in last night’s game the new rules change on hard counts drawing the defense offsides will be blown dead, and how that impacts Rodgers. How big an impact do you see this making?
I hope it eliminates the free-play crap. It's soft and cheesy football. Line up and play like a man.
Adam from Fond du Lac, WI
What's with the green screen? Isn't the first down yellow line enough for viewers?
I giggled when I saw it. My TV looked like a video game.
Bo from Iowa Falls, IA
Has your retirement made you softer? Did you actually say "baloney" this kickoff?
Yeah, I said it with a smile on the opening kickoff, except I didn't say baloney, and I said it again in the second half. "This is baloney," I said with a scowl, except I didn't say baloney.