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Aaron Rodgers, Terry Bradshaw bear comparison

Green Bay has "spirit of place"


Kimm from Rice Lake, WI

Vic, can you explain to me why the Packers or any team with a strong running game decides to go empty backfield on first or second and goal? It makes me crazy when I see Lacy go to the bench and we go empty in these situations. Why would you make it so easy on the defense so they know they don't have to protect against the run?

Somebody has a plan and it probably involves a rub off. When you put five receivers and seven defenders in the same tight space, congestion becomes the defense's biggest problem.

Eric from Keene, NH

Do you think the decision by the University of Alabama-Birmingham to drop its football program is an outlier, or the beginning of a gradual winnowing out of second-tier major college football programs?

It's a harbinger. College football is shrinking. It's too expensive and threatening from a liability standpoint. Basketball is becoming the college game.

Kevin from Toledo, OH

Vic, I can't express enough how integral you, and solely you, have been to me achieving a real perspective on football, namely the Packers. That being said, what led to you helping fans achieve this?

Through the years in doing this column, I detected fans were suffering from football anxiety. Even in victory, they were expressing angst. Nothing was ever good enough. If their team lost, they went into meltdown. If their team won, they immediately began worrying about the next game. The play-calling was always wrong and the coach always needed to be fired. The word idiot was used to describe anybody with a different opinion or approach. That's when I began preaching the gospel of perspective, because you can't enjoy the game without achieving perspective.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, you say you want a team getting hot going into the playoffs. Do you think the first-round bye breaks the top team's roll?

I think it can, for a few reasons. The opponent is coming off a playoff win, which means it's on a playoff roll. It has momentum and the confidence of knowing it can win in the playoffs, and that becomes especially dangerous if the opponent won on the road. Now, you have an opponent with a road warrior's mentality, which describes the 2010 Packers. If the home team starts slow, look out.

Maximillian from Sydney, Australia

Vic, I feel this game against Atlanta will be a lot tougher than it appears on paper. Atlanta has won three of its last four games. On top of this, they need to win to stay on top of their division in order to make the playoffs. I sense a team in form playing with desperation might not be as cruisy as some might expect. Your thoughts?

Why would you think it would be cruisy? By the way, the Falcons will be playing at Lambeau Field on the same date they did last year, Dec. 8. Is that kind of weird?

Imera from McCalla, AL

Vic, you mentioned after we played Seattle in Week 1 that it showed the gap between the champs and the Packers. How fitting and exciting would it be to meet them again for the NFC championship?

I think that's what we all want, a rematch with the Seahawks, but this one in Lambeau Field.

Mike from Redondo Beach, CA

Vic, is home field in the playoffs really that important for the Packers? Their home playoff record is not good recently, and their Super Bowl run was on the road?

That was then, this is now. This team loves playing at home. I think homefield advantage is critical to the Packers' postseason success.

Rob from Moline, IL

I've read a couple of your columns in which you've made mention you feel Coach McCarthy is underrated. I was just wondering what you were basing your opinion on?

I'm basing it on three consecutive division titles, going on six consecutive playoff years, a Super Bowl title and a run of success that rivals the great eras in Packers history. I'm basing it on an acumen for offense that is now, finally, being recognized. I'm basing it on his ability to be a leader of men, which he expresses over and over. I'm basing it on his ability to develop talent, and plug that talent in as rookies and get reliable production. I'm basing it on his ability to build one of the best coaching staffs in the game, and on his ability to develop young coaches and promote their careers. If you can't see all of that, then you're probably just judging him on his play-calling and, of course, the fans always have a better play that should've been called.

Mark from Seattle, WA

Vic, you are a person who appreciates sarcasm. I can't help but chuckle every time Jon Gruden has facetiously professed his love of the replay system on air.

I love Gruden. He's the best.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Is the purpose of football to heal our lust for violence and power, our animal instincts?

It is for me.

Pete from Chapel Hill, NC

Vic, I get the feeling McCarthy does not get the credit he deserves because folks assume Rodgers is responsible for all of the success. Belichick has a similar situation with Brady, yet, Belichick seems to get more of the credit. How come?

His charming personality?

Dakin from Clearwater, FL

Does the emergence of Davante Adams make extending Randall Cobb less of a priority? I understand worrying about games now, but Cobb is too versatile a player to let walk.

The problem I would have with letting Cobb walk is that you'd be doing it in the prime of his career. That's not what you want to do in a draft-and-develop system. You let them walk at the end of their careers, and then replace them with young players you've developed that are coming into their primes.

Carey from Lafayette, LA

How will the Packers guard against a letdown this week against the Falcons, after such an intense and hyped game against the Patriots?

By focusing on preparing for the game and doing their jobs. You can't fire yourself up every week. You have to rely on your preparation. As long as you prepare as intensely this week as you did for last week, you'll be guarding against a letdown.

Wayne from Marion, VA

It's a thing of beauty when Rodgers throws on the run. He seems to almost be able to flick his wrist and get all the yardage/accuracy in the air he wants. What other quarterbacks you have covered have had this special talent?

Terry Bradshaw might be the best athlete I've ever covered, and he and Aaron Rodgers are head and shoulders the best quarterbacks I've covered. Bradshaw threw bombs flat-footed to Swann and Stallworth. His arm strength was off the charts. I've told the story of one of his passes in training camp having torn the webbing halfway up a rookie receiver's hand.

Sue from Centreville, VA

I just want to say I thoroughly enjoy your column. I participated in the conference call with Mark Murphy and David Bakhtiari on Tuesday, but didn't have a chance to ask Mark my question. Since you have been around the league a while, I think you might be able to answer it just as well. Do you think the hometown influence of a smaller city like Green Bay has a more positive impact on our Packers players than the big-city environment on other teams? Is it nature vs. nurture, or do we just pick more of the nice guys?

I think the Packers put a lot of effort into identifying players that'll fit in Green Bay, but I also believe strongly in something called "spirit of place," and Green Bay has it. It comes from the ground up, and you feel it when you live here. This is a kind and gentle place. It has a taming effect.

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