"Ask Vic" is published on M-W-F through the regular season.
Here are my all-important Week 9 power rankings:
1. Packers -- Deserving of the top spot.
2. Rams -- All the way in.
3. Cowboys -- One of McCarthy's best jobs.
4. Bucs -- Not invincible.
5. Bills -- They can be better.
6. Ravens -- In control of AFC North.
7. Cardinals -- Will-o'-the-wisp.
8. Raiders -- Gruden who?
9. Saints -- Can they win without Winston?
10. Titans -- I'm sorry, but without Henry ...
11. Chiefs -- Struggling on offense, too.
12. 49ers -- Can they fix what's wrong?
13. Bengals -- Still Bungles after all these years.
14. Vikings -- Under-achievers.
15. Chargers -- Stats team.
16. Steelers -- Didn't even need a kicker.
17. Patriots -- On the rise.
18. Seahawks -- They won't go away.
19. Browns -- Arrow pointing straight down.
20. Broncos -- Irrelevant.
21. Colts -- Meltdown.
22. Eagles -- Not good but not bad.
23. Panthers -- Watson?
24. Washington -- They need a new owner.
25. Bears -- Fields coming to life.
26. Giants -- No signs of hope.
27. Falcons -- Losing is good.
28. Jets -- They have hope.
29. Texans -- I try not to watch their games.
30. Dolphins -- Shocking.
31. Jaguars -- Embarrassing.
32. Lions -- They quit.
Spencer from Lake Forest, CA
As if the Rams couldn’t be any more all in, they trade for Von Miller. Do they have what it takes to win it all? And are the fans ready for the misery that will assuredly follow in upcoming seasons, whether or not they win the Super Bowl?
Aaron from White Hall, AR
Vic, as a Jags fan, I get what this season is and I can deal with a lot of things. What I can’t deal with is having back-to-back plays of 12 men on the field. What is Urban doing?
He's failing as a coach and, in the process, he's destroying his reputation. College jobs will be opening soon and he needs to go after one, get back to where he can "recruit" his wins and, in the process, rehab his reputation. It's what Spurrier did.
John from Whitefish, MT
Can Lazard potentially fill some of the Tonyan route tree? What do you see as the main obstacle?
There's no obstacle, but that won't make him a tight end. The defense will cover him with an extra defensive back, not a linebacker. The Packers will scheme their way around this issue. I don't see it as a big deal.
Peter from Mount Horeb, WI
Can you explain the reasoning for having a trade deadline instead of allowing it to be an option during the entire season?
Without a trade deadline, the Colts could've traded for a quarterback the week of the playoff game in Green Bay, instead of having to play Tom Matte at quarterback. Without a trade deadline, a team is playing against the rest of the league.
Adam from Atlanta, GA
Vic, the Rams don’t seem to care about draft picks. How do you see it ending for them?
I can see them winning the Super Bowl and then the franchise going dark, but when and for how long? I'm always open to new ways.
Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ
The Steelers, game on the line, first and goal from the Browns two-yard line, they run on first down from the shotgun, then it's pass, pass and pass. What happened to lining up under center and ramming it home?
These aren't your father's Steelers. These Steelers can't take what they want. They are a complete rebuild on their offensive line. The good news is their rookie center is beginning to blossom as a drive blocker, their rookie tight end is emerging as a go-to receiver, and rookie running back Najee Harris is on the verge of becoming a star. The bad news is the rookie left tackle is wrapping himself around edge rushers and is a holding machine.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
Unfortunately, you are correct in that Mr. Khan knows nothing about owning an NFL franchise except the business side. He has no clue on how to hire or run the football side of the franchise. Also, you are wrong. They need draft picks and a new picker. They are totally devoid of talent and their 2021 draft was their worst ever except at QB. He is salvageable, but only if they have a talent infusion. This team has less talent than 1995.
I disagree. A good coach would have this team on the rise.
Chevin from Jacksonville, FL
Trent Baalke had bad drafts when he was the GM in San Francisco and then is promoted to GM in Jacksonville by new head coach Urban Meyer. Their first draft class (with over 10 picks, mind you) yielded a no-brainer at No. 1 overall, an injured RB at No. 25 overall, followed by a bunch of day-two selections who are, for the most part, barely even seeing the field on a team that has not won a game on U.S. soil in over 400 days. How does this man have a job?
I was told Baalke "hated" Joe Schobert and that's why he traded him to the Steelers for a warm six-pack. This past Sunday, Schobert led the Steelers with nine tackles. Yes, Baalke is deserving of hard scrutiny.
Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH
What’s so offensive about being lucky? The Packers were the better team, they should have scored more points and the game never should have come down to the final play, but they got lucky and won.
There's nothing offensive about being lucky. It's a sign of humility to acknowledge it. Denying it is arrogant.
Rich from Manitou Springs, CO
Vic, I consider you a reasonable and sensible man. What is your take on the comments made by Kaepernick comparing the draft to slavery?
His union, of which he is a member, agreed to the draft. His union also negotiated unrestricted free agency, which is football's version of emancipation. I think it's a good system. It's allowed the game and its players to prosper.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Do you think it's hubris that sometimes prevents NFL play-callers from just running the ball and getting out of there?
Yes. Today's play-callers would take Jim Brown out of the game to get an extra receiver in there. Scheme is necessary, but it should never require weakening your personnel.
Bill from Newnan, GA
I don't feel you claim to be all knowing, so why are people so quick to anger with your opinions and jump at the opportunity to point fingers and say, “You were wrong, Vic!”
Marcus from Superior, WI
If you're Minnesota, do you move on from Zimmer?
Evan from Green Bay, WI
What's wrong with Mahomes?
He lost his edge. He started playing like he has a magic wand.
Alberto from Raleigh, NC
What's wrong with being lucky?
Not a darn thing. I was lucky the Internet came along when it did. It changed my life.
Chris from Bloomington, IN
Vic, what are your thoughts on the fourth-down mania sweeping football? Ole Miss had three drives end in red zone turnover on downs. The Browns were stopped on a fourth down just across midfield in the second quarter, giving the Steelers a short field to assist them in picking up their first points. The Colts were up 14-0 and in full control when a fourth-down stop ceded momentum to the Titans. Analytics always say to go for it, but math doesn't seem to account for the momentum a stop provides. I guess it's not going away, but it seems like bad football straight out of Madden. Should I learn to love it?
Here's what I do: I break my silence by saying in a loud, husky, fan-demanding voice, "Go for it! You gotta go for it!" When they don't make it, I laugh and taunt Etta Mae.
Steve from Wisconsin
What do your eyes tell you about Brady? Age catching up or simply a couple of mistakes?
When Brady has time to throw, he looks young. When he's pressured, he looks like Roethlisberger. It's that simple. Immobile quarterbacks are expensive to protect. Brady has a star-studded offensive line in front of him. Roethlisberger is playing behind two rookies, a second-year starter, a retread and a young tackle who's more athlete than technician.
Hunter from Merrillville, IN
There is no such thing as luck, Vic. Either you win or you lose in life; luck has nothing to do with it. Luck is what lazy liberals blame when they try to explain our side's winning. They can't admit they're losers! Luck, as a concept, is for liberal cowards. The Packers are a winning football organization. Why is this so hard for some people to understand?
I think I understand.