"Ask Vic" will publish a special edition on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Isaac from Nashville, TN
Vic, for all the fretting about Rodgers, McCarthy, the roster, etc., I wonder if all Green Bay needs is more power, particularly in the running game. Thinking back across the years since the Super Bowl win, I had the most fun watching in '13 and '14 when Lacy was at his peak. Is the reason this team feels so frustrating is it can't dole out punishment?
The running game fixes everything. It protects your quarterback by quieting the pass rush and decreasing the number of pass rushes. It opens up the passing lanes by bringing an extra defender toward the line of scrimmage. It aids your defense by controlling time of possession. One more thing, the big thing: It makes a team feel good about itself. I love this quote by Jim Brown from Dave Zirin's book Jim Brown Last Man Standing. "Football is not about tricky plays. It's about dominance. Physical and mental dominance. And the best way to dominate is to run the football. If you can run on a team, shove it up and down the field, it means you're kicking (butt) and both of you know (it). Running is power." In watching the Steelers-Bengals game on Sunday, I felt the game turned when James Conner started pounding on the Bengals. The Bengals were in control until then. Yeah, the Packers win or lose with Aaron Rodgers, but Eddie Lacy is the guy they miss. The Packers need to run the ball with power.
Adam from Fond du Lac, WI
Did the heat get the Bears?
Florida is a tough place to play early in the season. I've seen a lot of good teams, Super Bowl teams, wilt in the Jacksonville heat. Here's Khalil Mack's line from yesterday's game: two tackles, one solo, no sacks, no tackles for loss, no passes defensed, no QB hits.
Josh from Tucson, AZ
The Jags were built to run the ball and play high-quality defense. The team can no longer play defense and the run game has been taken out of play before halftime in two consecutive games. The team loved to talk when things were going well, but we are about to find out how strong that locker room really is. How does it get fixed beyond waiting for people to get healthy?
Vic to Jalen Ramsey: Shut up!
Jeff from Asheville, NC
Vic, are we witnessing greatness in the Ravens defense this year? The stats they posted versus the Titans seem anachronistic. They had 11 sacks and Mariota only completed 10 passes. Does this performance put them in the driver’s seat in the AFC North this early in the season?
The Ravens are without a doubt in the driver's seat. They are going to make a big move up my all-important power rankings.
Vincent from Seattle, WA
Vic, I am sure you watched the Steelers' rivalry game against the Bengals. Did you think Brown's winning TD catch should/could have been flagged for being a pick play?
One covering two and nobody in the middle of the field? The Bengals should be flagged for choking away another one to the Steelers. Yeah, it could've been flagged. I saw a pick play earlier in the game that could've been flagged, but wasn't. I think there should be a rule forbidding receivers from crossing paths within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. While we're on the subject of postgame justice, I think Vontaze Burfict is a bigger issue than Brown's touchdown. If the league is really serious about sending a player-safety message, it should suspend him for the season. He did it again, another shot to Brown's head that forced him out of the game for analysis. I have no doubt Burfict will be fined, but that's not enough. He's a hopeless serial offender and he needs to go.
Benjamin from Jacksonville, FL
Shad Khan, Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone should all be thoroughly embarrassed by their stubborn refusal to address the quarterback position. Which do you think comes first this season? Do they fire Nathaniel Hackett or finally come to their senses regarding Blake Bortles.
The big fix can't happen until the offseason, but a change now might at least help clear the air. They have to do something. It's reached the point of exasperation.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Did anyone exemplify the adage "a tough game for tough people" more than Jim Taylor? He and Nitschke were my favorites.
I remember a picture from my youth, of Taylor in a three-point stance, his muddy sock drooping down his leg and exposing a thread dangling from a bloody gash. I wanted it to be my leg; the tough guys were my heroes. I loved Bobby Layne's bloody nose. I wanted to "be a Ditka," which was a popular phrase where I lived. Back then, football was about toughness. It was the game's charm. All the stars were tough guys: Bednarik, Unitas, Huff, etc. Lombardi and his teams defined toughness, and Taylor was one of their enduring symbols. I had a wonderful opportunity to sit and talk with Taylor at Super Bowl XLV. He was there to help celebrate what would be a Packers victory, but I sensed he had left his spirit and his joy back in Green Bay in the 1960's. Taylor was born to play football. He was born to be a tough guy. For those kind of men, life after football is a little empty, but what he gave us is a joy that'll last a lifetime. I love the old guys. I love the tough guys.
Adam from Chicago, IL
Would GM Vic ever take a punter in the fifth round?
In the '70's, yes. These days, no, not even if he's Ray Guy. A good punter is only valuable if you can play field-position football. Field-position football isn't a realistic strategy in today's game.
Tom from Vista, CA
Vic, did you cover high school or college football as a young reporter?
I covered high school football to my dying days in the newspaper business. I always went out on a Friday night to cover a high school game. It was my roots. I loved meeting with the high school coaches I grew up covering. I loved the wooden press boxes that were steamy in September and icy in November. I loved my system for keeping my own stats; I could still do it today. Covering high school football kept it real for me: racing back to the newspaper and batting out a story as the phones rang with scores from other games. It was a wonderful time to be a newspaper reporter in Western Pa. A lot of those daily newspapers are gone now. A lot of young reporters aren't growing up in those wooden press boxes. I'm thankful I did.
David from Newcastle, UK
Aaron Rodgers will keep doing Aaron Rodgers things. That includes another MVP. Mark it down. Until that happens, let your doom and gloom masked as realism keep you warm.
Todd from Brookfield, WI
Can you believe Game 1 of the NLCS ... was on cable? The NFL is taking care of the future by keeping most games accessible to a future fan base.
The NFL is on every channel. It can't be avoided if you turn on your TV. In contrast, I had to hunt to find the baseball playoffs on my TV. The NHL playoffs had better exposure than the MLB playoffs. Baseball is a regional game. It rides the wave of winning in its playoff markets. Everywhere else, baseball is dead.
Jason from Menomonee Falls, WI
It seems there are fewer and fewer reporters that understand how to ask a question. When combined with the disdain many athletes and coaches seem to have for the media, this makes for painful postgame interviews. You seem to cherish and reference those very moments that lack nuance nowadays. Can you offer some insight into how you you approached your questions in those situations?
It's comical how we've villainized the media and use it to assign blame we're afraid to express. I heard a college football broadcaster attempt to express a negative opinion about one of the teams in the game he was watching. He didn't say, "They stink." He said, "They're much maligned." I laughed. The inference, of course, is the media is maligning them, not the broadcaster. How about "there are rumblings"? Those rumblings, of course, are coming from the media. One of my new favorites is, "There will be noise in the system," which is a coach's way of steeling his players and the team's fans against certain criticism from the media, which the coach expects and probably deserves. Against all of that preconceived disdain for the media, a reporter needs to build relationships with his subjects to do his job. My way was to ask questions in a respectful and sensitive manner. Leave the sound-bite questions to the TV people. Theirs is a hit-and-run game. I wanted the coaches and players I covered to believe I wanted something more than a sound-bite reply. The coaches and players with whom I connected are the ones who wanted to communicate with the fans and respected the manner with which I offered them that opportunity. I'm thankful for them.
John from Jefferson, WI
I've been invested in the Chiefs by birth. What would your take on their uniforms be, Vic?
I don't like their uniforms and here's why: They're red. I don't like the color red. It's hard on my eyes. I'm OK with red as an accent color, but not as the main color.
Jake from Farmington, MN
Vic, I find your brutal honesty on the Packers refreshing but also very saddening. I have found myself annoyed at being sucked into all the hype for this team. I let my expectations for the season run wild but reading your recent answers on the team make me think I need to stop watching this season because watching games like the Lions game makes me too emotional. Is there any hope for this year?
Blame it on the media? Why do you need expectations? Here's my advice: Don't expect victory, don't expect defeat. Just watch the game. A loss takes you one game closer to winning; a win takes you one game closer to losing.
David from Moore, ID
In my opinion, fan expectation is the primary difference between the 2006 Packers and the 2018 Packers.
"Surprise, we're good" is a lot better than "Surprise, we stink."
Justin from Delray Beach, FL
How do you think Giants fans view McAdoo’s benching of Eli now?
The bearer of bide tidings? Don't shoot the messenger? Bill Belichick did the same thing in Cleveland with Bernie Kosar. People don't like the truth. They want the illusion. The first to speak a harsh truth is often punished.
Cassidy from Vista, CA
What one word would you use to define the various football eras you’ve covered?
The '70's: violent. '80's: NFC. '90's: Transitional. '00's: Brady. '10's: Soft.
Bret from Hertel, WI
Vic, I agree with your assessment of the Packers. If you were GM, would you trade players of value for picks such as a player like Ha Ha who likely will not be on your roster next year. To win in the draft, you want to be in the first round.
You couldn't get a one for Ha Ha. Packers fans need to stop assigning wild trade values to Packers players, as they did to Brett Hundley following his rookie preseason. The Seahawks couldn't get a three for Shaun Alexander when he was the best back in the game. The compensatory pick system is a wonderful means for discouraging talent dumping. The salary cap CBA authors did a sensational job of creating a system that would promote competitiveness and preserve the integrity of the game. In contrast, talent dumping is baseball at its worst. It's a white flag of surrender for the have nots and it disrupts the natural order. Ha Ha has incentive to play his best, and the Packers will benefit now and in compensatory pick consideration. I like that system.
John from Duluth, MN
Besides a prolonged period of losing, what can restore one's joy in winning?
Perspective. It allows us to watch and enjoy the story that is unfolding in front of us. None of us know what that story is, and I don't want to know what it is. I like the suspense. It's the unknown that allows us to appreciate victory and defeat.