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    Packers fans 21 years and older are invited to bring the spirit of Green Bay to the Tampa Bay area a day early with two free Packers Everywhere Pep Rallies on Saturday, Dec. 20.

    The festivities will take place at two different locations in the Tampa Bay area Saturday. The main pep rally will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. EST at Ferg’s Sports Bar & Grill, located at 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, Fla. The second event will be held from 8:15 to 9 p.m. at The Varsity Club, located at 24091 US Hwy 19 N., Clearwater, Fla.

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How big was that win in Detroit?

Posted Nov 19, 2012

Green Bay Packers running back James Starks

Neil from Cheddar, UK

In your opinion, how good of a player is Ryan Pickett? He never seems to get the headlines, but appears to either be the one putting the pressure on that allows the sack, or is making the tackles. Is he the guy that underneath it all makes this defense tick?

Pickett is a classic two-gapper. He’s a wide-body, 3-4 defensive lineman that occupies blocks so athletic linebackers can roam free and makes plays on the ball. At the heart of every good 3-4 scheme are the two-gappers, the unsung heroes that do the grunt work. Pickett is one of them.

Nick from Water Mill, NY

Vic, I know it's a tough game for tough guys, but guys having tantrums? So help me gain some perspective on Nick Fairley's aborted body slam on Aaron Rodgers. Well after the play was over! Does the league act more aggressively if one of its marquee players is taken out for the season with a stupid action like Fairley's?

I didn’t see it, or maybe I did and I wasn’t offended by it. My tolerance for these things is greater than most people’s. I’ve never watched football games to see gentlemanly behavior. I accept and appreciate the fact that these are unique men who find enjoyment in physical confrontation, and I make allowances for the personality that accompanies that kind of rare pursuit. I’m also tiring of the weekly witch hunt to fine players. The Nick Perry fine frustrated me, the Ryan Taylor fine angered me, and I really don’t want to join a movement to fine Nick Fairley, who put on a clinic on how to dominate the line of scrimmage on Sunday. It’s football. In my opinion, it’s a game for people with thick skin.

Shay from Hattiesburg, MS

Do you think Peyton Manning will break Favre's touchdown record? He's only 87 TDs away.

I hadn’t even thought about it. My thoughts right now are dominated by the Packers’ pursuit of a championship. It’s the only thing in this season that matters to me. I’m not saying everybody should be like that, I’m just saying I’m like that. I’m not big on records because they tell me what I already know.

Calvin from Seattle, WA

Vic, I'm worried. We've got a case of the yips on our hands.

I don’t think it’s the yips. I think it’s a lost swing path. Those kicks were struck solidly. They neither hooked nor faded. They were missed because their paths were wayward. Crosby needs to rediscover his path to the ball. That is often the issue with soccer-style kickers because they come at the ball at an angle. That’s my opinion.

Conor from Milwaukee, WI

Hey, Vic, how about that shootout?

Didn’t happen, did it? If you had told me you knew for a fact the winning quarterback in yesterday’s game would throw for 236 yards, I still wouldn’t have believed you. If you had told me you knew for a fact neither quarterback would complete 20 passes, I would’ve laughed. Hey, I’m not complaining. I thought it was a great game, it just wasn’t the kind of game I was expecting.

Tony from Truckee, CA

Please come to Earth, Vic. The Packers are not getting hot. They are barely winning the games they should be winning. The Packers have only played good football twice this year, against Chicago and Houston. The rest is very uninspiring with no consistent execution from week to week. Whatever happened to up-tempo football? McCarthy seems to have given up on a successful formula. Go ahead and give me one of your I-feel-sorry-for-you comments.

I feel sorry for you.

Mitch from Sullivan, WI

Vic, on the play where Mason Crosby lined up for a 58-yard field goal, why was Crabtree called for a false start? The look on Coach McCarthy's face indicated it was supposed to be motion, however, was still flagged for it.

We’ll find out later today when we talk to the coordinators, but my guess is it was one of the Packers’ special teams trick plays, meant to draw the Lions offside on fourth-and-5. It reminded me of something from a game I covered in Chicago. On third-and-1 in the first half, the Steelers’ right tackle reported eligible and then reset back one step, drawing the Bears offside. The penalty, however, was on the Steelers for illegal procedure. They tried the same thing in the second half and, again, were called for illegal procedure. The next day, I asked Chuck Noll what the deal was, and he said the official told him that even though what the Steelers had done was technically legal, he wouldn’t permit it because it was an attempt to simulate a play. I thought about that for a second and then asked Noll why he tried it again in the second half. He said, “Why do people remarry?”

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

Seriously, how good was Nick Fairley in that game?

In my last reference to him in our live chat yesterday, I referred to him as “Big Daddy” Fairley. If there had been another reference to him, I was going to call him “Mean Joe” Fairley. I’m not sure what I would’ve done after that. Fairley had seven tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble. I wonder what Tommy Lasorda would’ve said he had been asked what he thought of Nick Fairley’s performance.

John from Grayslake, IL

I have to say, I am enjoying this season much more than last year because this year the games seem to come down to the wire. It does not matter how bad people think we played, it is still another check in the win column.

You know what that means, John? It means you’re a crunch-time guy. It means you’re a winner.

P.J. from Liberty Lake, WA

I was just thinking about the Calvin Johnson rule this weekend and the fact that a receiver must “complete the catch.” Why is it called a touchdown when a running back breaks the plane but fumbles after breaking the plane? Why doesn't he have to complete the run?

He’s already in possession of the ball when the ball breaks the plane, at which point he has completed the run because the moment the ball breaks the plane, the play is over.

Eric from Erie, IL

Would you comment on what seems to be the plan to force the running game, even at the expense of the passing game? Against the Lions: 27 pass plays, 29 run plays. MVP QB and he is throwing less than most of the quarterbacks on all of the other teams.

The plan was to mix run and pass so the Packers wouldn’t become one-dimensional and allow the Lions to tee off on the quarterback. Trust me, Eric, that’s not something you’d want to have happened because your MVP quarterback might be in a full-body cast today. Clearly, the first half of that game in Seattle and the second half of the game in Indianapolis have had an impact on the Packers’ new commitment to the run. Hey, they’ve won five in a row since then. Is that a bad thing?

Sean from Baltimore, MD

In your article, you were very optimistic about the Packers right now. I'm a bit confused. I saw a team that off a bye seemed flat. Their MVP continues to struggle this season. He had happy feet in the pocket, as well. He wasn't helped with awful play calling, but he's underperforming this year. Defense was the fortunate recipient of dropped passes and missed throws by Stafford. We were lucky to win this game, and I'm concerned about the poor football I saw out there. What am I missing?

You’re missing a quarterback that got it done at crunch time. You’re missing a defense that forced four consecutive incompletions while protecting a one-point lead. That was the game and you missed it. I feel sorry for you.

Alex from Long Beach, CA

Divisional road win: one of the more beautiful phrases in football. It was a great day to be a Packers fan.

I have a feeling tonight’s going to be a great night to be a Packers fan.

Paul from De Pere, WI

How big is winning this one?

I’ll tell you how big it is: If the Packers had lost that game yesterday, on the ride home I would’ve been looking at the remaining six games on the schedule trying to find four more wins. You know what I mean?

Cathy from Galesburg, IL

Hey, Vic, my husband walked away from the TV during the fourth quarter because it wasn't a blowout. I told him, Vic says just win, baby, and we did! Thanks for reminding us to enjoy the struggle.

He walked away! Are you kidding me? How could he walk away from that great game and with so much at stake? I wouldn’t let him forget it.

Darin from Owensboro, KY

I'm not going to call for Mason Crosby's head, like I'm sure many in your inbox are doing today. I am, however, wondering what the mood is in the halls of Lambeau regarding his poor performance. Will he be cut?

Help is not on the way. Crosby will have to figure this out and improve.

Jim from Columbus, IN

I find it hard to like linebackers and defensive backs always trying to rip the ball out of a runner’s hands. I know it is effective sometimes, but I just find it distasteful. Just make the tackle! What do you think?

I’m with you. Grab, grab, grab. I want to see a guy stick his helmet in another guy’s chest and cause the ball to come loose from the force of the blow. That’s the way I think defensive football should be played.

Chris from Voorhout, Netherlands

Troy Aikman said Jimmy Johnson at his peak would have changed kickers by now. Is that McCarthy's way, or will he take a more pragmatic approach?

Did Aikman happen to mention that Johnson didn’t have a salary cap to worry about?

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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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