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Who's afraid of the big, bad Suh?

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Bret Bielema's decision to leave Wisconsin is surprising

Mike from Dallas, TX

Time to call Ryan Grant?

It might be. He knows the system and we’re down to a four-game season, which means there isn’t a lot of time left to teach the system to a back that’s not familiar with it.

Phil from Lollar, Germany

While watching the Alabama-Georgia game Saturday night, I couldn’t help but think this is the type of game Vic always talks about.

Yeah, that’s my kind of game: power football between two evenly matched teams, each trying to impose its will on the other. The Alabama offensive line was pushing the worn-out Georgia defensive line so far off the ball in the second half that the back was making contact with the Georgia defenders when they were still going backward. The Lacy kid is my kind of back and the Alabama center is for teams that truly want to run the ball. Notre Dame better bring its gold dust with it for the national title game.

Ryan from Algonquin, IL

Do you think the game will evolve more toward the read-option offenses?

We’re going through a wishbone kind of craze in college football right now. The difference is that wishbone quarterbacks couldn’t throw, read-option quarterbacks can, so they are far more adaptable to the pro game than the wishbone quarterbacks, which usually had to become safeties or receivers; Nolan Cromwell is an example. I think NFL teams are wisely adapting themselves to the read-option craze, and I think we’re going to see more of that happening, especially since the rules limiting the punishment a defense can inflict on a quarterback are not only hamstringing defenses, but tacking on yardage to plays in the form of penalties defenses are nearly helpless to avoid. Yes, I think the game will evolve more toward read-option quarterbacks, until someone stops it, at which point a new craze will emerge. It’s always been that way and it always will be that way, but the pure pocket passer will never go away. If you have one of those, you have gold.

Tim from Cincinnati, OH

Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles and now Titus Young are on injured reserved for the Lions. That should help the Packers keep “Megatron” double, maybe triple-covered.

Late in the season, teams out of playoff contention tend to load their injured reserve list with players whose injuries might not land them on IR if the team were in playoff contention. By loading up IR, teams can pick off players from other teams’ practice squads and begin the process of upgrading their roster for the offseason. As a result, the team you’re playing late in the season isn’t the same team you played or would’ve played earlier in the season, and that’s another reason to start fast and break that team’s spirit.

Benjamin from Saint Marys, GA

What's a snowy day at Lambeau like, Vic? Paint us a picture.

I don’t know. I’ve never covered one, but I have a feeling I’m about to find out.

Aaron from White Hall, AR

This is about my Arkansas Razorbacks and I'm pretty pumped up about Bret Bielema. I heard Matt Jones say he really liked the hire. So you used to cover him and if it’s good enough for Matt, is it good enough for Vic?

Money always wins, and I guess that’s the basis for this move, but in all other ways I find this to be a very curious move by Coach Bielema. He was Barry Alvarez’ hand-picked successor. Bielema was coach for life, so to speak, at Wisconsin. He’s going to a place where the expectations are very high, but the schedule includes few wins. I think it’s a good hire for Arkansas; I’m just surprised he wanted to leave Wisconsin.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Seems to me that every time someone asks for your feedback about a player who had a good game the week before, you respond with stats and an attitude. We are all aware of the performance; you don't need to tell me when someone has two picks in a game. Stats do not tell the whole story so why repeat them and let that be your argument? Sounds lazy to me.

I was doing my Tom Lasorda imitation from his infamous Dave Kingman rant, and nobody got it. How can that be? The Lasorda-Kingman routine is as legendary in baseball as the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on first?” routine, in a racy kind of way, of course. I searched for the audio yesterday, just to hear it again and laugh, but it’s difficult to find now because apparently somebody has copyrighted it and it’s been pulled from sites. I found the text of it, but it’s just not the same. Hey, I like cheese, but too much of it begins to bind me. I need a little variety.

Shalom from Austin, TX

Your comment this week on how the defensive players can be hit on the knees and other vulnerable places shows just how far the duality of the NFL really is on its tests.

There are 118 modern-era offensive players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as compared to 77 defensive players. Offense has always been favored. That gap has always bothered me.

Ryan from Virginia Beach, VA

The fact that Ndamukong Suh has been in the news this week for not getting disciplined by the league says a lot about the type of player he is. How long until he goes too far and ends a player's career?

“Fear of Suh” has returned. It must be Lions week.

Brian from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, I don't want to come across as being condescending. Can you explain how pro football players need to revisit the fundamentals of football? They've been at this since Pop Warner, but need refreshers? What gives?

They don’t need refreshers. They know the fundamentals. The execution of those fundamentals correlates directly with the men against whom those fundamentals are being attempted. If I’m running with the ball, a defensive player will have no problem sinking his hips, playing with leverage and striking the rising blow as he wraps his arms, lifts and drives me to the ground. He’ll have no worry that I will drive one of my knees through his ribcage, therefore, wrapping his arms will be an easy fundamental to execute. When it’s Adrian Peterson carrying the ball, however, all of a sudden those fundamentals tend to become more difficult to execute. I think you know why. It’s a game of human confrontation.

Thomas from Hopewell Junction, NY

As a Pitt grad, I am worried the football team may be looking for their fifth head coach in two years, now that Paul Chryst may go back to Wisconsin. Head coaches shuffling around seems to be common in the NCAA. Do NFL coaches ever aspire to be at other teams to the point where they would immediately jump to a new team?

Coaches can’t do that in the NFL because they are under contract and contract employees may not move for lateral positions. It would have to involve a promotion for a coach to do that. College football is a Wild West show when it comes to coaches moving from one school to another. Brian Kelly takes Cincinnati to the Orange Bowl, and then leaves for Notre Dame before the game is played. It happens all the time. Why? Because college football lacks a governing body with teeth. College football lacks unity. It’s a whole bunch of conferences wanting to govern themselves and, of course, keep their money instead of sharing it. Until college football develops an NFL-like approach to governing itself and sharing its wealth, it will always experience these problems, and they will limit college football’s popularity and reach. Every year college football declines to institute a playoff system, it gives December to the NFL, and the NFL appreciates the gift.

Steve from Bullhead City, AZ

Vic, I know it's early for playoff speculation, but do you get the feeling the NFC road to the Super Bowl leads through San Francisco or New York?

I’m not getting any sense of a “road” in the NFC, other than for Atlanta, and I don’t think that’s a “road” teams fear to travel. I think it’s wide open in the NFC.

Conor from Glen Mills, PA

Would you say there is a lot more parity in the league now as opposed to earlier decades?

Absolutely there is, and it’s the result of an age-old pursuit of parity. We have it in the NFL and we have it in college football, too. That’s why a 9-7 team won the Super Bowl last season, and that’s why a five-loss team is in the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl! The great thing about parity is it lifts the bottom. The bad thing about parity is it lowers the top. As a result, when was the last time you heard someone use the term, “Game of the Century.” Those days have passed.

Linda from Redington Beach, FL

I read an article about the Redskins and it said they were running an offensive set called the “Pistol” that allows more options in the running game because the back can hit holes in the line faster than in the shotgun. Is it too late in the year for such an adjustment?

It’s a minor adjustment. In a normal shotgun formation, the backs are positioned a step in front of the quarterback. In the “Pistol,” the backs are positioned behind the quarterback, which allows an offense to use a power-running scheme, as opposed to all running plays being draw plays. The “Pistol” is what a team uses when it wants its quarterback in a shotgun-type formation, but wants to be able to use the same types of handoffs and play-action fakes it would use with the quarterback under center.

Chris from Fort Hood, TX

Why don't or why can't NFL teams use a blue turf? Does it give an unfair advantage to the home team or is it because it simply looks unprofessional?

“The surface of the entire Field of Play must be a League-approved shade of green.” That’s in the rulebook. Why not allow other colors? Because the league is an organization with teeth, and it knows how to bite in the ways that are good for the game.

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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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