"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Greg from Princeton, MN
Help is not on the way, so what can the Packers do to improve their run defense?
There's scheme stuff you can try. You can stunt your linemen, but if you do too much of it you'll run the risk of getting creased. You can play more of a penetrate and disrupt gap-control scheme, but you put a lot of pressure on your linebackers in that scheme and I don't think the Packers have the linebackers for that tactic. You can get a safety up into the box, which the Packers are already doing, but if you do too much of it you run the risk of getting beat deep with the pass. In my mind, the best strategy for the Packers is to run the ball, convert third down and dominate time of possession so they can keep that defense off the field. It's been a winning strategy for the Packers most of this season.
Nick from Milwaukee, WI
What brings a smile to your face nowadays?
Seeing an over-achieving tough guy such as Robert Spillane, his arm a painful pink from a slide across the turf, making big plays and hitting everything he can reach. He's just a guy, and that's what makes it feel so good. I love the tough guys. Google "Spillane-Alexander collision." It'll bring a smile to your face, too.
Greg from Danbury, CT
A defense built for a shootout is a fine idea if you can get the last shot off.
Cris Collinsworth had the line of the year and some people didn't get it.
Graham from Green Bay, WI
The Packers' run defense looked suspect again this week, sadly, and help isn't on the way. In your experiences, what does a defense being called soft need to do to stiffen up? Have you covered a team that was able to turn their defense around midseason?
Yes, the 2003 Jaguars, but they had two defensive tackles, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, who were the 13th and ninth picks of their drafts. Brian Gutekunst has to fix this problem. He's focused on rush and cover. The Packers need less flash and more crash.
Dusty from Waunakee, WI
Should offensive line be the biggest concern of the Green Bay Packers this offseason?
Big, tough guys on both sides of the ball should be the focus. You'll never regret picking them.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Watching the Packers attempting to play defense is a perfect time to remind ourselves of Einstein’s definition of insanity. The real question, however, might be, who is insane? Is it the defensive coaches and GMs who clearly haven't had an approach worth mentioning for most of the past 20 years? Or is it the fans who tune in every Sunday for the past 20 years and expect something different?
Or is it the sports writer who keeps writing the same thing over and over and expecting a different question.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Fourteen pass attempts. Can you name that tune?
What did I write for the Vikings in my all-important power rankings? "It's hammer time." That's the name of that tune.
John from Green Bay, WI
Being a football fan is brutal. I think I’m done with it.
John from Yakima, WA
High winds equal "big boy football."
He'll knock you 'round and upside down,
And laugh when he's conquered and won.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
We are losing too many of the important people from my childhood. Great team, great characters, great moment in time; 87, 89, 26 were my favorites and all played on the same defense. I think I need to watch some clips.
Reliving is better than living.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Why isn't football attractive internationally like baseball and basketball?
American football is uniquely violent to Americans.
Sam from Olathe, KS
You're certainly winning the debate of whether it was Belichick's coaching or Brady's skill, but I think people forget what makes Belichick so great: Belichick is the general manager. Very few people can be great general managers and great coaches. Many coaches want X but the general manager gives them Y. Belichick is unique in he can scout the players and anticipate how they can play with his style of coaching to get the most out of them. I'm sure that factors into his decisions. He's great at evaluating the upside he can harness in people. A recruit's raw potential is only good if you know you can tap into it. Anyways, do you know any other great coaches who were also great at scouting?
How's that general manager thing working for Belichick this year? Does that look like a strong roster to you? All of a sudden, Julian Edelman is just a guy. Yeah, I know of lots of coaches who are great evaluators of talent. Chuck Noll, Paul Brown, Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson and Sid Gillman were all great evaluators of talent. Everything I've read about Vince Lombardi suggests he was a great evaluator of talent. All coaches have to be great evaluators of talent because they have to create matchup advantages. Bill Belichick has always been the master of patching, but Tom Brady made it work.
Travis from Indianapolis, IN
Vic, after you mentioned the chuck rule I did a quick Google search to learn a little bit more about the history and reasoning behind it. Surprisingly, one of the first results was an "Ask Vic" column from 2011. I ended up reading the whole thing. In that column you mentioned mementos from your time covering all three teams, then said, "The idea is one day I can shut it down, surround myself with these mementos and make it all about the heart." I hope it's all about the heart for you now as you enjoy retirement.
It's certainly not about the money, and it feels great.
Jack from Middleton, WI
What happens when you mute the game?
I feel a sense of calm come over me. I return to the quiet of the press box.
Josh from Severna Park, MD
Vic, I just read a great article on the Bengals/Oilers 61-7 game and all the animosity between Glanville and the rest of the coaches in the AFC Central. You had a front row seat during that time. Any stories relating to Coach Noll and Coach Glanville?
Everybody knows about the infamous handshake, so I won't go there. One of my favorite memories from that time is from the pregame introductions for a game at Three Rivers Stadium: "Coach Gary Grandview and the remainder of the Houston Oilers," the PA man said. Those were fun times! "Handshake Sam" was fussing over not getting a handshake from Coach Noll, and then telling Bengals fans they don't live in Cleveland. After Gary Anderson's overtime field goal beat the Oilers in the 1989 playoffs, Coach Noll gently removed his headset and dropped it to the ground as though it was radioactive. It's the little things that mean so much to me.
Dave from Savage, MN
Maryland's social media person talks trash after winning their first game in nine Big Ten games. Oklahoma State projects vertical yellow lines on the video board behind the goal posts during an opponent's field goal attempt. I can't even imagine someone thinking that stuff is appropriate. How can we expect people to be able to get along in important matters when this is acceptable in insignificant college football games?
What price dignity?
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
What are your final thoughts on the eve of the election?
I think half of the country will be happy and the other half will be angry. Please, everyone, be advised this column will not permit taunting as a result of the election's outcome. The time for talk is over. It's time to vote and get back to the business of being a unified nation.