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Too much run isn't good for the Packers

Posted Aug 28, 2014

Message to NFLPA: Stop with the apologies

Ron from Rockford, IL

With Tretter out, what would you think about the Packers taking a look at Richie Incognito?

It would greatly surprise me.

Chris from Mancos, CO

Vic, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the start of a great season. What are you looking forward to the most in the coming months?

I’m looking forward to getting into the regular-season routine. I seldom enjoy the preseason, but this one was especially unenjoyable for me. I feel the league used it as a lab rat. It wanted to drive home a point about illegal contact and holding and hands to the face. It became the sole purpose of the preseason. Hey, what about entertainment? Aren’t the fans paying to be entertained? Between the 20-some penalties per game and the almost daily controversies of player suspensions, fines, etc., I felt as though football was the last thing on the preseason agenda. I need football. The fans need football. That’s why we’re all here. I hope the league still understands that.

Adam from Antigo, WI

Press the “View in Browser” button to read the article on the mobile app.

Adam is providing that advice to all of those who’ve complained about not being able to read the full story in “News now!”

James from Florence, KY

Vic, I totally agree with you on keeping three quarterbacks. My question to you is do you think our backfield has the chance to be No. 1 overall in rushing?

Yeah, but why would you want to commit that purposefully to the run when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback? Balance is what I want the Packers to achieve. They achieved it last year. The balance was perfect. Do it again. I’m looking for something along the lines of No. 5 in rushing and No. 3 in passing. The Packers are Rodgers’ team. He’s the star. He’s the best quarterback in the league and I want the ball in his hands the most.

John from Eagan, MN

Vic, didn’t the league begin to address the helmet issue with the new facemask grill restrictions?

That wasn’t as much a reduction as it was a restriction on enlarging. The league had to draw the line somewhere; weight was becoming an issue. When I refer to reduction, I’m talking about going from cages to bars and loops, and eventually down to double and single bars. I think we’ll see that day.

L.J. from Chicago, IL

Just watched your “Final Thoughts” video. Noticed in the opening that Mike had what appeared to be a Packers media guide and, lo and behold, Vic was staying true to his Pittsburgh allegiance with a Steelers media guide. Obviously, that had to be planned on your part. A bit of subtlety?

The creators of the script handed me the Steelers media guide. It wasn’t my idea. I didn’t even know what I had in my hands until I opened it and saw Steelers names in the records section. The creators are toying with you. If they had handed me a how-to-do-it guide to kitchen sink repair, I would’ve used it in the skit. I complained through the whole shoot. I just wanted it to end. In retrospect, the creators were masterful.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Vic, just wanted to know what’s the one thing you’d like to see happen in the season opener, regardless of outcome.

Other than win the game, I’d like to see the Packers defense play big-boy football, which it did the last time the Packers played in Seattle. The offseason was about improving the defense. I want to see improvement.

Stan from Jupiter, FL

The stories are legendary of visiting teams in Green Bay, especially during the old days, getting heat turned off in the locker room, or the short end of the stick in other ways. Does that stuff happen today, in Green Bay or anywhere else for that matter, or are there league rules against it?

Gamesmanship was still happening when I started covering the league. Paul Brown was a master of gamesmanship. The Steelers’ hotel room keys never seemed to be ready for distribution when the Steelers arrived in Cincinnati, and they were never on time for their pregame introductions, according to the Bengals, so they just ran out together. The big one was the scoreboard at Riverfront Stadium. It always seemed to malfunction in the fourth quarter when the Steelers had the ball. Chuck Noll played for Brown; he knew the tricks. They began at the airport. Sometimes the buses would pull up to the plane, other times we’d have to walk through the terminal. The Steelers PA guy once announced Jerry Glanville as “Gary Grandview and the rest of the Houston Oilers.” The Raiders were infamous for being late in delivering their film, or it would be of terrible quality and with plays missing. In the 1973 “Dirty Tricks” game in Oakland, Steelers center Ray Mansfield kept getting tainted footballs. One didn’t have air in it, one had grease on it, and then came a ball with bad words written on it. Those days are over. Now we have rules for that kind of stuff and penalties for breaking those rules. I almost like it better the way it was. I like a little gamesmanship and that’s why I still enjoy that sign that greets players leaving the visitors’ locker room at new Mile High Stadium by reminding them of the altitude at which they’ll be playing. Take a deep breath.

Mark from Warrensburg, MO

Vic, you seem to have to point out the differences between fans and media almost daily. I understand the separation between the two better now. If you decide to retire, how do you foresee your transition to being a fan, or will you remain an impartial media man?

I’ll sit and watch the games. Is there something else I should do? Scream at the TV? Cry? Why can’t we just agree that I’m me and you’re you and never the twain shall meet? I’m OK with that.

Max from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, you mentioned Tolzien is one of two quarterbacks you’ve covered who successfully altered his throwing motion. Who’s the other one and why is it such a difficult thing?

Mark Malone is the other one. I wish Byron Leftwich had been willing and able to change his throwing motion. He’s a great guy and he had all of the intangibles to be a great quarterback, but his mechanics were the obstacle. It’s difficult to change; habit creates comfort. Tim Tebow couldn’t change, either.

Ross from Salem, OR

Had sports radio on and listened to Colin Cowherd criticize Aaron Rodgers for his inability to win close games. I consider Aaron Rodgers to be the best quarterback in the game, so I am confused. Do you think Cowherd’s comments have any validity?

How do you make that kind of remark after Rodgers came out of a two-month injury to rally the Packers to one of the best close-finish wins of last season? Here’s what I think the problem is: There’s nothing in Rodgers’ game to criticize. He has no weakness. That’s unacceptable to his critics, so they use whatever they can to stir the pot.

Matt from Madison, WI

Vic, do you intentionally answer questions from people outside of the state? I noticed in your last column you had a 1:8 ratio of questions by Sconnies vs. questions from people outside of the state or country. The odds will be forever against me.

You’ll never get a question answered. Maybe you should change your hometown to something out of state.

Ian from Ossian, IA

Vic, I thought you made a promise to ban “What say you?”

Yesterday, I unbanned it. Today, it’s banned again. You’re banned, too.

Ethan from Farley, IA

I was reading an ESPN prediction for all 32 teams and it has the Packers at 12-4. Although this is a good record, it surprises me they have two of our losses to Chicago. Given Rodgers’ success against the Bears, is there any reason to think they would lose both games to Chicago this year? Not only that, but it has the scores 30-21 and 30-10.

This is an outrage. ESPN is way off on those scores.

Jake from Franklin, WI

Josh Shaw, wow! I’m disappointed to hear the truth about this kid; he (and all of the news stories) had me fooled. Any good hero stories to offset the bad taste in my mouth?

Joe Delaney.

Patrick from Latham, NY

I understand Josh Gordon had multiple incidents, but how does the league justify banning a player one year for marijuana use and another player two games for domestic violence? In 2014, how is that not a PR nightmare?

In the past month, as the substance abuse violations were announced, I’ve been getting official statements from the NFLPA two or more times a week. It’s a statement in which the offending player apologizes, and the language is similar in all of them, which lets me know the player had little to do with the words he’s allegedly authored. I appreciate the NFLPA’s attempt at accountability, but in some cases I would’ve never known who the player is if I hadn’t received the official-statement release. I’m sorry, he’s sorry, you’re sorry, we’re all sorry. Please, stop! It’s over the top. This whole crime-and-punishment thing is over the top. It’s made the NFL a courtroom, and that’s not why we’re here. The commissioner is tough on offenders – he made that a big part of his agenda right from the beginning – but the situation isn’t improving, it’s worsening. Punishment isn’t the answer; it seldom is. Avoidance is the answer. Identify the at-risk players in the scouting process and keep them out of the league. This has to change.

Nathan from Denver, CO

Vic, you’re pretty bullish on the Packers’ chances this year. Is there anything you’re watching for tonight that could justify increasing that optimism?

That’s not likely. The hay is in the barn. I think we know who the Packers are and what they can be this year. Yes, I have very high hopes for this team.


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Vic Ketchman

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Do you have a question for Vic? Your question could be posted on packers.com. Vic has covered the NFL through 42 seasons, including 23 years covering the Steelers and 16 years covering the Jaguars.

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