Jon from Bath, England
Vic, if you were allowed to rearrange all the 32 teams into eight new divisions, what changes would you make?
Not many. History and tradition are more important than geography. Miami not being in the AFC South makes little sense geographically, but the Dolphins have a blood oath with the Bills, Jets and Patriots that goes back to their days together in the AFL. The same is true with the Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers and Broncos. You would never break up the four teams in the AFC North, especially since two of them are the Browns and they’re the natural rivals of the Steelers and Bengals. That leaves what I’ve referred to as the “Leftovers Division,” which is the AFC South. The Jaguars, Colts, Texans and Titans were tossed into a division together, and even though that division lacked history and geographical closeness that would allow for its fans to travel, those teams have developed rivalries and tradition. If there’s one change I’d like to make, it’s the Rams. They just don’t fit where they are and I think it makes it difficult to root the Rams in St. Louis. I think we’re waiting for the future of that franchise to be decided.
Michael from Burleigh Heads, QLD
How did you spend your Sunday?
I spent the afternoon in my office watching the games on Sunday Ticket. It was enjoyable. If I was retired and had all of my Sundays free, I would want Sunday Ticket.
Tim from Schofield, WI
Good morning, Vic. It seems this defense was made for tweeners. However, I think the more appropriate title is versatile. What identity do you see the defense achieving coming out of the mini-bye?
The identity of the Packers defense will be determined by the defensive line. Everything else is in place for this defense to start moving up the rankings.
David from Vienna, Austria
Looks like September ended in New England just in time. They are playing two division rivals next. I am excited for the late November matchup, are you?
September has mercifully ended for all of us. After a week of blowouts, the first Sunday in October delivered several thrillers. Yeah, I’m looking forward to the game at Lambeau between the Packers and the Patriots, but that’s way down the line. I think we’ve got a good one coming up in Miami this week. By the way, Darrelle Revis is back, baby.
Brandon from Mililani, HI
Vic, what is going on with these fourth-quarter comebacks? League rule changes or teams not doing enough to hold on to the win?
It’s what the league wants. The rules have been structured to promote fourth-quarter comebacks. The days of taking the air out of the ball with less than an overwhelming lead are over. It’s just too easy to score to trade a few minutes of the clock for another possession. You must keep the pedal down on offense. Mike Tomlin might’ve learned his lesson. He had a third-and-5 against the Bucs and played it safe; he ran the ball and killed some time, and then his punter shanked a kick and the Bucs went right down the field. Yesterday, in a similar situation, Tomlin went pass, pass, game over. It’s the way you must play in today’s game. The league demands it. Mike McCarthy gets it.
Matt from Stillwater, OK
Why are so many teams wearing white at home? It seems like just a few years ago the Cowboys were the only ones doing it.
It’s the mind game southern teams play with northern teams coming down to play in the heat. The Jaguars put the Steelers in their black jerseys yesterday, which is par for the course, plus, if they didn’t do that, all of the fans would blame a loss on not having done it. I saw the Steelers were using hand-held awnings. Somebody finally figured it out that it wasn’t the color of the jersey, it was the sun.
Mark from Stewartville, MN
Vic, will the Packers have to wear their dark home jerseys in the heat this Sunday? Do you think the Dolphins will force them to do that? Is that just a psychological ploy or will the Dolphins really get an edge from that?
I would expect the Packers to wear green this week. Yeah, it’s a psychological ploy. Years ago, the NFL was involved in a scientific investigation on the impact of light and dark colors as they pertained to heat. The finding was color had no impact on the retention of heat. That’s when I was in Jacksonville and, of course, nobody believed the finding. Here’s what I can tell you about dark colors in the Florida sun: They keep the bugs away. I always wore a black shirt and a black hat when I played golf in Florida, and two things never bothered me: the heat and the bugs. It’s just my nature that the heat doesn’t bother me, but if you’re someone who is bothered by the heat, then the color thing will definitely play on your mind, so make ’em wear dark, right? I will now receive a thousand personal accounts on the subject of the effect of colors in the heat. That’s how we know it’s a psychological issue.
Jessica from Brooklyn, NY
Vic, September is over and yesterday’s games were exciting. Packers fans everywhere were smiling when the Lions lost to the Bills. What do you think about Kyle Orton in Buffalo? Does he give the team a legitimate chance to win the division?
The Bills have the goods. Do they have the quarterback? I think that’s the only question they have to answer to become a legitimate postseason contender. Maybe Orton will be the Bills’ Steve DeBerg. You might want to circle that game in Orchard Park in December. The Packers won’t have to worry about what color jersey they’ll wear in that one.
Richard from Madison, WI
Two teams entered the weekend undefeated (3-0); neither left that way. Is this the earliest the 1972 Dolphins have ever been able to break out the champagne?
I don’t know where to find a stat on that, but what the lack of an undefeated team means is this is a league of average teams, until December. Neither celebrate nor fret too much until then.
Adam from Sandown, NH
Glad to see you’re still doing the “Ask Vic” column all these years. I was a big fan when you wrote for the Jags and miss your dry humor. So I ask you about your old team: What are your thoughts on Blake Bortles?
Where’s the deep ball? I only saw one and it was flat and intercepted. That’s why the field shrunk on him. He has all of the other tools. He sees the field, is courageous in the pocket, mobile, instinctive, exciting, durable and accurate in a short area. He needs to hit the deep ball. When he does, the field will open up for him.
Tony from Aurora, CO
Can’t I chortle even a little bit at the Bears and the Lions, both losing games it looked like they were going to win?
Go ahead, chortle. Let me know how that works for you.
C.J. from Edinboro, PA
Vic, did you get the chance to watch the games this Sunday? What were your thoughts?
Great games. I saw the endings to Texans-Cowboys and Browns-Titans. I thought the Chiefs-49ers game was old-time football, and I loved it. The product this weekend was fantastic. The NFL is back, in spite of the excess of penalties.
Buck from Cedar Falls, IA
Vic, anybody who frequently watches professional and college football will hear “momentum” 5-10 times per game. Is momentum overrated?
It’s a real phenomenon, not just a buzz word. Momentum can be gained slowly by procedurally dominating your opponent, or it can be reversed quickly by a dramatic play. When it’s the result of the latter, there is an immediate loss of perspective that must be overcome. All of a sudden, a team that was playing to one mindset is forced to immediately play according to a different mindset. It’s not human nature for us to be able to change our emotions and attitudes that quickly. An adjustment period is usually necessary.
Greg from Conway, AR
Vic, how important do you think the losses by the Bears and the Lions to the Panthers will be to the Packers in their chase of another North title?
They’ll be huge, especially if the Packers beat the Panthers. There really is a chance the Panthers could decide the NFC North title.
Dan from Golden Valley, MN
It doesn’t matter that the Packers are now tied with Detroit for first in the North. All I can think of is Richard Sherman. Why didn’t the Packers challenge him (sarcasm)?
Think of all of the worry and angst that was wasted in September. I can’t help but think of all of the emails I received from fans that were asking me if it was time to push the panic button. What good was all of that? What did it accomplish?
Fariborz from Flower Mound, TX
I was wondering why the Packers don’t go down to Florida on Monday to acclimate to the heat?
From my days in Jacksonville I can remember that climatizing can’t be achieved that quickly. I remember something about your body slowly learning how to regulate its processes for retaining water and cooling itself through perspiration. If you pack up your team and kill its normal routine to go down there and get hot, all you’ll do is wear out. Get the awnings and the IV lines and tough it out. It’s all you can do.
Chris from Marshfield, WI
Vic, in reference to Lacy’s running style on Thursday night, some of the most exciting moments of the game for me were when he lowered his helmet and clobbered guys. Do you think the league actually will take that out of the game someday? That might cross the line for me.
It’s a rule that’s not being enforced. It’s in the book and the league can say it’s trying to protect defensive players, too, but that might be the only purpose for it. It reminds me of the around-the-world rule that was in the rulebook for eons, but I only ever saw it called once, and I think the official was reprimanded for calling it.
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