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Ask Vic

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Packers wanted ‘transition opportunity’ at end of first half

Posted Jan 6, 2014

“Ask Vic Extra!” bids farewell for the offseason


Rick from Blaine, MN

I was not ready for the season to end yesterday. I really thought that this was going to be a win for the home team. Normally, I would have been really upset (to put it nicely) after the game, but reading your column for the past three years really changed me. I watched a great football game yesterday. I wish it would’ve turned out differently, but it was still a great game.

Those are my exact sentiments. I genuinely believed the Packers would win this game. Again, Colin Kaepernick surprised me. He continues to play at a level higher than I expect of him. In this case, he surprised me with his complete disregard for the conditions. He played as though it was a 70-degree day. At crunch time on the final drive, he appeared to have as much energy as he did on the first drive of the game.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Why didn’t McCarthy take a time out on third-and-short with 18 seconds left in the first half? We settled for a field goal but had time to run at least two more plays. That could’ve cost us four points.

When asked that question after the game, Coach McCarthy said: “It’s called a transition opportunity. The benefit is definitely to the offense there.” In other words, following the 11-yard completion to James Jones that put the ball on the 17-yard line, Coach McCarthy had a hurry-up play in mind he felt would take advantage of possible unsettledness in the 49ers defense. If it works, you’re a genius. If it doesn’t work, everybody wants to know why you didn’t call a time out. It didn’t work.

Bill from Louisville, TN

Why hasn’t anyone bothered to thank or even acknowledge the fans that sat through the entire game in such brutally cold conditions?

They don’t need to be thanked because even on a day as frigid as yesterday, Packers fans wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. They don’t try harder, they care more. What I will do is acknowledge their toughness and their passion for Packers football. I had to get gas for my car this morning and I nearly froze at the pump. Seriously, the wind started to blow, my eyes began to water, my head began to ache and I struggled to get back into the car. I don’t know how the players were able to do what they did and I am in awe of how the fans sat in Lambeau Field on Sunday night until the final frigid seconds of the game ticked off the clock. Packers fans are the foundation on which this franchise is built. I wish I was as tough as they are.

Tommy from Columbus, OH

Vic, why were we calling time outs at the end of the game? Seems like it just let the 49ers run more plays and get a better FG try.

The Packers began the drive with two time outs (it should be times out but I’ll surrender to pop culture) remaining. They used them to try to preserve time for their offense to counter with a score, but the defense couldn’t get a stop. In a perfect world, the Packers would’ve used one or both of those time outs in conjunction with the two-minute warning, to get the ball back with plenty of time to move down the field for a field goal, but they couldn’t get a stop. They still had both time outs remaining when Kaepernick scrambled for 11 yards on third-and-8 with 1:13 to play. If they could’ve tackled Kaepernick short of the first down, the Packers could’ve used one of those time outs there. They then spent time outs after runs by Frank Gore on first and second down, which would’ve left them with 25-30 seconds following a Phil Dawson field goal, but the 49ers converted third-and-three and that meant the 49ers would have the walk-off try they wanted.

Evan from Costa Mesa, CA

Kaepernick is a perfect example of players, not plays. At the end of the day, you can’t expect a 3-4 defense that is as depleted at LB as Green Bay’s to consistently defend one of the most athletic men on Earth. The only way to beat him is to match him up with men of similar talent and skill.

You’re right. He overmatched defenders in the open field. You might remember that the Packers tried to address that problem in last spring’s draft. It was a major reason for drafting Datone Jones in the first round. The Packers believed Jones is the kind of athletic big guy you need to be able to win in space against running quarterbacks such as Kaepernick. It didn’t happen for Jones as a rookie. The belief is that with time and development, it will. With that I’ll thank “Ask Vic Extra!” readers for their readership this season. It was added in the preseason to the “Ask Vic” daily regimen. “Extra!” will go away now that the season has ended, but “Ask Vic” will remain a daily staple of packers.com.


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