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How about a 'Lambeau Leap' ladder?

Posted Dec 14, 2011

Keith from Jacksonville, FL

What happens to unspent cap money in the new CBA? Is it use-it-or-lose-it or can you sign your third-string DT to a contract to get 15 sacks in the last game and roll that money over when he doesn’t do it, like in the old CBA?

Teams don’t have to do any of those shenanigans anymore. All they have to do is send the league a letter expressing the team’s intention to move the cap room into the next season.

Alex from New York, NY

How good was Roger Craig?

He was a very underrated pitcher. He lost 46 games with the 1962-63 Mets, one of the worst teams in baseball history. Do you know how good you have to be to figure into those many decisions with a team that bad? I think there was a football player by that name, too.

Allison from York, PA

Vic, I have a hard time tearing myself away from this part of the Packers website when I should be doing work at work. I had a question concerning the famous “Lambeau Leap.” When we were recently in Green Bay, we went on the stadium tour and that wall is much higher than I ever thought it was. This may be a dumb question but do the players practice their “Lambeau Leaps”? They make it look so easy when really it is quite a jump.

It gives you an appreciation for the kind of athletic ability these guys have, huh? Yeah, that wall is real high and if I scored a touchdown for the Packers and wanted to do a “Lambeau Leap,” they’d have to get me a ladder. I don’t think anyone practices their “Lambeau Leap.” It’s one of those things that you know whether you can do it or not, and if you can’t do it, then that’s when you need to act as though “you’ve been there before” and hand the ball to the official. You know, a “Lambeau Leap” ladder for those that can’t jump would be kind of cool.

Brent from Nashville, TN

Vic yesterday someone brought up the topic that they thought Harrsion’s hit on McCoy was dirty. I know incidental helmet-to-helmet contact isn’t flagged when it’s on a runner. I think what the guy was saying is that he thought it was dirty because Harrison clearly targeted the head instead of the body. Your thoughts?

OK, here’s the rule: “If a player uses any part of his helmet or facemask to butt, spear or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily…” The key word is unnecessarily. Everything in the rulebook is subject to interpretation. If the runner is going to the ground and a defender uses his helmet to spear the runner, that might draw a penalty because the hit was unnecessary. The league is not flagging helmet-to-helmet hits on runners, provided the hit is not flagrant. That’s the interpretation of the rule. We know that because Harrison wasn’t flagged or fined for his hit on Cribbs last year, which was helmet to helmet as Cribbs was going to the ground. The bottom line is that runners are not being protected from helmet-to-helmet contact in the league today. That’s a fact. Merely reading the rulebook isn’t enough. You need to know how the rules are being interpreted and applied. For example, the around-the-world rule existed in the rulebook for years and years until it was removed a few years ago, but it wasn’t applied even when it was in the rulebook. I asked a coach why it wasn’t being called as it appeared in the rulebook and he said, “Because Mike (Pereira) doesn’t want it called that way.” Folks, I’m not Mike Pereira and I don’t want this to turn into “Ask Mike,” so I’d like to discourage questions about officials’ calls and the rulebook unless those questions are intensely topical. It’s all about interpretation and I don’t have an open line to the director of officiating.

Ron from London, Ontario

I know Vic So’oto has a bad back, so why not shut him down for the season and bring Gurley up from the practice squad?

What you’re describing is a late-season tactic teams not in playoff contention use to stockpile their rosters for the offseason. They move a guy from their roster to injured reserve and then sign a guy off another team’s practice squad. It’s a way of pilfering talent from teams that are being held hostage by their own success. Those teams are very aware of this pilfering tactic, so rest assured they’re doing what’s necessary to retain talent.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

If college football has an army of spread-option quarterbacks, would a quarterback like Tom Brady be as effective five years from now if the NFL is changing quickly to adapt to this new type of quarterback?

I think pocket-passers will become even more effective if the move to running quarterbacks such as Cam Newton becomes a trend. Defense will have to adapt to that trend by shaping personnel to be more run-conscious, and that’ll play right into the hands of the pocket passers. Nothing beats a pocket passer. Nothing beats a guy that can distribute the ball to touchdown-makers, while limiting his exposure to contact and injury. Running quarterbacks are the new wildcat. It’s a phase that’ll pass, just as the old wildcat did. As time goes on, Newton will run less and throw more. The quarterback is a passer. If he’s a runner and not a passer, defenses will adapt by making him be a passer.

Audrey from Black River Falls, WI

What are the odds that we will face the Giants in the playoffs?

If the playoffs began today, the Packers would be the No. 1 seed and the Giants would be the No. 4 seed. If in the wild-card round three beat six and four beat five, four would come to Green Bay for the divisional round.

Jesse from Providence, RI

Any thoughts on the rules regarding the Saints fan the “Whistle Monster?” Should he be able to simulate a referee's whistle during play, or is that just part of home-field advantage?

Yeah, I heard that guy during the Giants-Saints game and I thought it was very annoying and unfair. In my opinion, that is not part of home-field advantage and the league should demand that the Saints put an end to it or it will be penalized. There are “Unfair Acts” and “Palpably Unfair Act” sections in the rulebook the league could apply with a broad brush to cover the whistler. I’m not speaking for the league but I don’t think visiting teams should have to deal with something as blatantly unfair as a whistle sound that would cause indecision. Enough is enough.

Danielle from Owatonna, MN

Do you think the injury to Jennings will have a big impact on the offense?

This is something to watch. Do the Packers have so many weapons that they can carry on without feeling a loss, or will having lost Jennings cause a ripple effect? Jordy Nelson is likely to receive more attention from defenses during Jennings’ absence. Will Randall Cobb and James Jones be able to pick up the slack?

Chris from Wyoming, OH

I agree completely that you can't fairly compare players from different eras. My wife asked me last night why there are three quarterbacks on pace to break Marino’s record all in the same year. I told her I think it’s because of the combination of the lost time during the lockout and the 14 full-pads practice limit during the season. This has resulted in very poor tackling and maybe poor communication in the secondary. Does my theory hold any water?

Yeah, it probably does. Just tell her this: It has never been easier to throw the football than it is right now, and a big part of that is how the league has hamstrung defense in defending against the pass. Figuratively speaking, they can’t hit the quarterback and they can’t touch the receiver and that’s a tough combination to overcome.

Kent from Appleton, WI

You said Aaron Rodgers is 11 touchdown passes away from tying Tom Brady for the best season of any quarterback ever. Is that your criterion? I thought you weren’t a stats guy.

Wadda you want me to use? Brady went 16-0 and threw 50 touchdown passes. Rodgers is three wins away from 16-0 and 11 touchdown passes away from tying Brady. You got a better standard than win ’em all and set a record?

Tim from Spring Park, MN

If the offense snaps the ball with 20 seconds on the play clock, is the helmet communicator turned off?

Here it is. Enjoy! Cutoff Device — When the play clock reaches 15 seconds remaining (descending from either its 40 or 25-second interval) or when the ball is snapped, whichever occurs first, the coach-to-quarterback transmission is electronically terminated by a league employee who is located at a cutoff device in the press-level area with the operators of the game clock and the play clock. The coach-to-player system will become available again when an official has signaled the ball dead. Each team has a cutoff device (approximately the size of a small piece of luggage) which it uses both at home and on the road. Because the cutoff device of one team cannot receive the signal of another team, there is no possibility of interference with an opponent’s transmission.

Thomas from Erie, PA

If B.J. Raji is having a good year, as has been said, why does he seem to have very few tackles?

A nose tackle’s job is to hold the point of attack by absorbing the blocking and allowing the linebackers to run free to the ball. That’s what Raji does.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

What did you mean that offensive linemen couldn’t use their hands to block when you described football pre-1978 in yesterday's column? How can you block without using your hands?

They used their shoulders and forearms. At the snap of the ball, offensive linemen grabbed their jerseys with their hands. At the same time, the defensive linemen clubbed the offensive linemen in the head with a legal tactic known as the “head slap.” It was outlawed, I believe, in 1977. If offensive linemen got their hands the least little bit away from their bodies, it was holding and holding was a 15-yard penalty, which was a sure-fire drive-killer in those days. That all changed for offensive linemen in 1978. If, again, Vince Lombardi came to life today and turned on the TV to watch a football game, I have no doubt that the first words out of his mouth would be, “Those linemen are holding.”

Nick from Water Mill, NY

Every Tuesdays with McCarthy column, I cringe. Is coach revealing anything that might help other teams get an edge against us? For example, practicing with wet footballs, lowering the temperature in the practice facility, piping in crowd noise, studying the referee crew, etc., or is this standard across the league?

It’s standard stuff. Never worry about coaches providing information to the competition. They are naturally paranoid about the flow of information to the competition. I’m thankful Coach McCarthy is as open as he is with the fans. I think his answer to the first question in yesterday’s column provides a treasured look at what went through his head in the final act of the 2007 NFC title game loss to the Giants, and how it still dogs him.

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