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Aaron Rodgers spoke truth, deserves respect

Rankings say something about the coaching


Ross from Stephenson, MI

Divine spark? Hero's Journey? What in the heck is going on around here?

I'm gonna send you a thing.

John from Hudson, WI

Vic, Packers lose and McCarthy gives straight answers. Vikings win and Zimmer is combative and evasive at his presser. What's up with that?

When you lose, you lie bare to the world. When you win, you have much to protect. It's the human condition and no sport exposes it as football does.

Jay from Chicago, IL

Do the next four weeks decide the NFC North?

No, December does, or maybe January does.

Chad from Germantown Hills, IL

Vic, the last time Aaron Rodgers lost back-to-back games the Packers won the Super Bowl. I'm not seeing an issue here.

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools.

Justin from Platteville, WI

With six Big 10 teams ranked in the top 15 in scoring defense, are they really that good or is it more a product of style of play in the conference?

Schedule some SEC teams and we'll find out.

Jeff from New Ulm, MN

Vic, did I hear you asking Aaron Rodgers in the postgame interview if he had pressure that blocked his view of a wide-open Cobb? It sounded like he didn't want to make any excuses, as he said, "All I know is I had Randall wide open and I missed him." I like his style, Vic. He takes the high road in the good times and the bad. Maybe fickle fans could learn something from their favorite player.

As I wrote last week, I'm part of the media that are information gatherers. We're the first wave, so to speak. We attach a name and a face to our questions, and we're responsible for them, but they are used by many whose face or voice we never see. I take my job very seriously, and so do the other reporters in the Packers media whose voices you've come to identity from press conferences. I feed off their questions and I hope I ask some that provide answers they might use. In the moments after a game, getting the information necessary to write a credible story is critical. When a player or coach assists in my pursuit, I am in debt to him, and I am going to repay that debt by treating him with the respect the truth deserves. Rodgers earned my respect on Sunday, as he does every Sunday, so to speak, by providing a direct and introspective answer to a direct and probing question. It is the way of a winner, especially in defeat.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

I think Jim from South Carolina is right. On third-and-long, put your pass rushers in, make the QB throw quicker, and don't allow him time to pass to the WR running past the first down marker. The third-and-7 you mention is possibly a better time to rush three because you probably can't get to the QB before he passes anyway. If the fans on the website are noticing a trend, wouldn't an NFL coach notice it?

Yes, he would. I would like you to consider the possibility men who've dedicated their lives to coaching football know more about how to do it than you do. I've dedicated my life to reporting on professional football, and I lack the skills to even understand what's being discussed in a strategy session, let alone participate in one. Madden and all of the TV scheme analysis shows have deluded fans into thinking they understand sophisticated football strategy. It's laughable.

Mike from Norfolk, VA

Noticed that 43 percent of the fans voting on whether or not the Packers will win a fifth straight NFC North title said no. Glad these fans weren't at Valley Forge or else we would still be subjects of the Queen. Have a little faith, will ya?

I'll cast my vote right here: Yes.

Matthew from Oshkosh, WI

Did Terry from McHenry, IL, see the first screen pass they tried on Sunday? Rodgers got clobbered.

You must be mistaken. The screen pass never fails. The screen pass is going to experience a revival in the second half of the season. It will lead the Packers to the promised land, and all the kingdom will shout, "I told you so, I told you so." Or maybe the Packers will begin blocking better, and tackling better, and executing their assignments better, and the combined force of that improvement will lead the team to the promised land.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Vic, last year the team struggled the first eight games but then fixed things and were a Super Bowl caliber team. This year, the Packers started out looking strong but have really dropped off the last three games. Do you see the Packers turning it around for the second half of the season as they did last year?

I do, but that'll depend directly on how they're playing when December arrives. I'm all for a fast start. It helps you accomplish the goal every team has when the season begins: Be a playoff contender in December. That's all I want. Then I'll turn my attention to the next goal: Get hot. I expect this team to get hot in December. The only Packers team I've covered that didn't get hot in December is the 2011 team. I look ahead and I see Eddie Lacy getting back to what he can be. I see important players returning to health. I see young players emerging. There are no midseason titles. You win titles in December and January. These are my beliefs. You don't have to agree with them, but you won't change them, either.

Andrew from New York, NY

Vic, I like to think we have an excellent team, even without Aaron Rodgers. Am I wrong in thinking this way, or is Aaron Rodgers the only player that has been keeping us a winning team all these years?

The Packers have an excellent roster, but you can't win without "The Man." The Patriots and Tom Brady? The quarterback is of irreplaceable importance, especially in the salary cap era because you can only afford to pay one quarterback at an elite level.

Zack from Miami, FL

Vic, some Mizzou football players were able to create real change in the face of injustice. They face another injustice in corporations and universities making billions off their unpaid, backbreaking and potentially mind-destroying labor. Did you ever think you would see real change in the power structure of college football in your lifetime?

I probably didn't, although I lived with the hope college football would one day create a playoff system. It's weak, but it's a start. The Missouri thing is about a social issue, but I think the players union movement has fueled it. All of a sudden, players feel empowered, and I don't think that rabbit can be put back into the hat. College players want a louder voice. I've confessed to being a college football junkie. I waste a lot of time thinking about it, and I have some thoughts about its future. Far down the road, I think the NFL and college football will experience a marriage of sorts. College football has always been the NFL's developmental league, but I think the league would like to see college football develop players more in line with how the NFL plays. I can see the day when college football separates itself from academia. I think it needs to happen. There is nothing about major college football that lends itself to the mission statement of an esteemed institution of higher learning. I'm sensitive to the Missouri issue, but I don't like the idea of the football team deciding the direction of the university. Frankly, I think universities need to get out of the football business, and I have some thoughts on that, too. I can see the NFL lending financial assistance, in exchange for some control or at least a voice in how college football is run. I think the draft eligibility issue is going to drive the marriage. College football can't afford to lose star players after years two or three, but to deny movement is to invite litigation. Let 'em all be draft eligible without losing college eligibility. If a player is drafted lower than he expected and he decides to remain in college football, the drafting team can be compensated with a pick at the bottom of the same round in the next year's draft. The NFL and college football need to work together. I can see it happening. Leave football to football people.

Patrick from St. Paul, MN

Vic, the play from Sunday that still sticks in my mind was watching Ripkowski lower his shoulder into a tackler and knock the other guy onto his butt. That's the football I love to watch, and that kid has turned me into a fan of his. Is he the future at FB for this team?

That's the idea of draft and develop. As young players emerge, your team evolves. It gets better. Patience is required.

Justin from Titonka, IA

What do you think of the college football playoff rankings?

I think they've got the right four, as it stands now: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. I would absolutely love to see a Clemson-Notre Dame rematch. I understand you're asking your question as it pertains to Iowa. I'm sorry, I don't think they belong. It is a marvelous program coached by a sensational coach, but I watched Iowa beat Pitt on a 57-yard field goal and, frankly, I thought Pitt outplayed them. We saw what Notre Dame did to Pitt last Saturday.

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