"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Colin from Lansdale, PA
Matt Nagy, for better or for worse, is without a doubt buried in his play-call sheet.
What does he do when the Bears are on defense, step outside for a smoke?
Josh from Tucson, AZ
Vic, I don’t know how Tom Coughlin got conned into keeping Blake Bortles as his QB, but I can’t watch another performance like that. It was wonderful last year and I celebrated and hoped for the best, but it looks every week like that was a fluke and not part of a growth progression. On a day when the team rushes for over 170 yards and the defense finally shows up after a month-long absence, the better QB still made the play to win the game. Enough is enough.
One more time: You can't play around your quarterback and expect to compete to win a championship. Yes, last year was a fluke, and now it has become painfully clear to the Jaguars they've wasted a season because they chose to delude themselves at the quarterback position. I've never seen a game like yesterday's. The Jaguars dominated the Steelers for three quarters. The Jags ran the ball and intercepted passes, but they were so afraid of their own quarterback they ran the ball on third-and-10 in Steelers territory early in the game. It was in the game plan to play around their quarterback, and the best or worst example of that was running the ball on third-and-5 when one 5-yard completion would've clinched the win. So what happened to the defense in the fourth quarter? That question goes to the culture of the team. Ben Roethlisberger flipped a switch in the fourth quarter and, all of a sudden, a dominant defense became burnt toast: three touchdowns and 170 yards passing, which doesn't include a clang-clang drop by James Conner that would've been the game-winner. Why did the Jags melt at crunch time? That's a question that needs to be addressed. As for the Steelers, they proved their grit. They never quit and they have a great, great quarterback who's one of the all-time best comeback passers.
Andrew from New York, NY
With the Steelers on the 1-yard line and 15 seconds left, why didn’t the Jaguars just commit blatant penalties on every play until the Steelers were left with just enough time to kick?
That's kind of what the Jaguars did -- Walt Coleman is very fortunate he didn't wave off that facemask call; it was blatant -- but the Steelers scored. The review picture of the touchdown almost appeared as if Roethlisberger was posing: knee inches off the ground, both hands on the ball and the nose of it just across the goal line.
Ethan from Ontario, Canada
Alex Smith suffered the exact same injury, on the exact same part of the field, exactly 33 years to the day of Joe Theismann’s injury. And the game finished with the exact same score. X-files theme intensifies.
In the Twilight Zone.
Dave from Chicago, IL
Vic, the Nagy and Trubiski combination is beginning to make the Bears offense respectable and the defense is probably top three. Do you think the Bears could improve enough down the stretch to be a real NFC title contender this year?
Mitchell Trubisky is for real; he's becoming a true franchise quarterback. Matt Nagy, for all the play-call sheet joking, has authored the most creative running-game scheme I've seen since the days of the Wing T. I love, I mean I absolutely love his misdirection rushing offense. I liked the Bears last spring, and I like them even more now, but they are not, yet, in the Saints' and Rams' class. Who knows what will happen in what's left of the season?
Hill from Denver, CO
What are your thoughts on the UCLA/USC game with regards to both teams wearing their home colors every year?
It was beautiful! The colors lit up my old TV. I pushed back in my chair and admired the scene as I would a beautiful painting. For a few moments, I imagined O.J. Simpson and Gary Beban playing against each other. College football does a lot of good things with their uniforms; the NFL isn't doing enough. As colorful as USC's red and UCLA's blue were in the Rose Bowl, the Lions' all-gray and Panthers' all-black were drab in dimly lit Ford Field.
David from Quantico, VA
The 2007 playoff game against the New England Patriots was a tough loss. Such a great game. I sure miss David Garrard. Could they have really beat that Patriots team?
If Dennis Northcutt and Matt Jones hadn't dropped those passes, the Patriots' season would've ended that night, not in the Super Bowl.
Brad from Basalt, CO
Vic, the Packers have a play-calling head coach, an offensive coordinator, a run game coordinator and a pass game coordinator. Too many chefs?
No, too many theories for losing. The Packers are losing because they're in the process of repairing their roster, and because Aaron Rodgers is not having a Rodgers-like season. Heading into the Seattle game, he was No. 14 in the NFL's passer rankings. The Packers were 3-6 with Brett Hundley as their starting quarterback last season. That's not much different from 4-5-1. If you want to analyze the Packers' problems, you start with that.
Rich from York, PA
Vic, do you think the Chargers can actually win a few playoff games for old Philip Rivers? Or too early to tell?
The Chargers have a game coming up in Pittsburgh. The weather will likely be postseason-like. I think we'll get a good read on the Chargers in that game.
Nathan from Neenah, WI
I like how you defend your past occupation and appreciate the profession, however, I am finding it painfully hard to take it as a serious occupation anymore. I struggle to find objective analysis instead of blowhard, headline-grabbing articles that fill every site I look at. I think the state of the industry is the worst it's ever been in this click-bait society. I know it's our fault. Can you direct me and others to sites that provide insightful, thought-provoking articles so we can get them more traffic?
The mania for unique visitors has become a huge problem in the website business, and it's because readers are so easy to manipulate. The website people know fans love fire-the-coach stories, so they give the fans what they want in exchange for their click. I won't do that. It would be disingenuous and deceitful, plus, I don't have to do it because this site is not about the money; I sell nothing. My advice is to find sites that sell nothing. There are a lot of old guys like me who have freebie websites because their fingers won't let them stop writing. Don't let the angry, young, video-game fans tell you the game has passed these old guys by. It hasn't. They still get it. If you want the truth, find them and read them. You'll get the truth because there's no incentive for lying.
Joe from Menomonee Falls, WI
Vic, in regards to Mike McCarthy's decision to punt, sure, the offense struggled in the second half, but shouldn't Rodgers have McCarthy's confidence to lead a game-winning drive regardless of how the rest of the game is going?
I was surprised McCarthy elected to punt. He has a reputation for a lot of midfield go-for-its, some of which have backfired. McCarthy is not, in my opinion, a conservative play-caller, and I did not write in my Friday column I agree with his decision to punt. I wrote I could make a case for either decision. In defense of punting, it puts the ball back at the other end of the field, where the Packers defense effectively becomes the Seahawks' play-caller. In that situation, the Seahawks' playbook is cut in half because it's going to be all run. In my opinion, an NFL defense should be able to stop the run when it knows it's coming. Had the Packers gone for it on fourth down and failed, Seattle would've had the ball at the Packers' end of the field and the Seattle playbook is wide open. Three points are on the board, which means playing for overtime is out of the equation for the Packers, and Pete Carroll is going to try to deliver the kill shot. Punting was obviously the wrong decision -- we know that because it failed -- but there's logic to support what McCarthy did.
Axel from LaPorte, IN
Regarding the non-challenge, perhaps the coaches were reluctant to risk their last timeout with that much time remaining in the game.
I'm not as understanding when it comes to not challenging that call. The Kenny Clark injury gave the Packers more than enough time to review that play, discuss it and make a calculated decision. The play was big enough to risk the timeout. In fact, it might've been to the Packers' advantage to lose the challenge and the timeout; McCarthy would've probably gone for it on fourth down if he didn't have that timeout. In my opinion, the NFL needs to get rid of the challenge option before it becomes embarrassing. During the Clark injury delay, Mike Pereira said he thought the call would be reversed if challenged. So what prevents a team employee sitting in front of the bank of TVs in the press box from running to the coaches' booth and telling them what Pereira said?
Jeffeory from Bloomington, IL
I've defended McCarthy for years against the wolves. Is it time to be new?
Go ahead, howl. You don't need my permission. Howl until you get him fired. You'd probably do McCarthy a favor, because he almost certainly would end up as the head coach of a team with a young roster on the way up, low expectations from fans who welcome McCarthy's arrival, and a new contract that gives him a new lease on life. I saw this happen in Jacksonville. The fans cheered Tom Coughlin's dismissal. At the press conference that announced Jack Del Rio as the Jaguars' new coach, owner Wayne Weaver said "no more three yards and a cloud of dust." Never mind that Ernie Accorsi told me Coughlin had the best pass offense Accorsi had ever seen. Perception is reality, right? Yeah, and the perception is McCarthy has a tired playbook and he's a bad play-caller. That perception would be comical if it wasn't so irresponsible. But go ahead, howl. You need to howl to feel better about losing. You have been denied joy and the person responsible for denying you joy must be punished. Oh, by the way, old three yards and a cloud of dust Coughlin went on to win two Super Bowls as coach of the Giants.
Mark from Bettendorf, IA
When the Packers move on from McCarthy, will it be with a new coach already in mind? I feel like they have something special brewing with Pettine and that defense, but I feel like a new coach will upset that momentum.
Lambeau tried to move the franchise to Los Angeles. Lombardi left for Washington. Holmgren left for Seattle. McCarthy wouldn't leave Green Bay for anywhere. He's a Green Bay guy through and through, but you can't wait to get him out, can you? Yinze are a disloyal bunch and, frankly, I'm ashamed of you. Beware the football gods. If you anger them, they'll punish you. You think this is bad? This ain't nothin'.