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Aaron Rodgers wasn't Aaron Rodgers after the injury

Attack football has made field position meaningless


Matthew from Brentwood, NY

Seeing Lacy that involved in the passing game was really fun to watch. Do you think that's something we'll see more of? Seeing Lacy with the ball in space is exhilarating.

I liked it, too. He was targeted nine times and caught eight passes for 123 yards. He brought another dimension to the Packers offense last night. I've never seen him run more powerfully. It's a shame the Packers didn't win for him in his homecoming game.

Jill from Guilford, CT

Stop the run. Don't fire Capers, just stop the run.

I think that's a slogan of sorts for this defense. It's all about stopping the run. When they do it, they play well overall. When you don't stop the run, everything becomes more difficult.

Greg from Atlanta, GA

I know a lot of people will be talking about our run defense and the play calling by Mike McCarthy, but what do you think of the run blocking by this offensive line? Against a two-high safety look, you have to be able to run the ball effectively and I haven't seen that all season, except the Vikings game. What do you think is the problem?

The problem is not enough attempts. Lacy averaged 4.5 yards a carry last night, but he only got 13 rushing attempts. The Packers ran the ball 19 times, and two of those rushing attempts belong to Aaron Rodgers. A couple of weeks ago, Rodgers said they need to get Lacy and James Starks more attempts, and I agree with him. Why isn't that happening? I don't know. Everybody wants to be aggressive, but that doesn't mean you have to pass the ball to be aggressive.

Justin from Virginia Beach, VA

Vic, I know there will be doom and gloom in the inbox, but not from me. I feel like every season has its bumps. The Saints were desperate for a win. What should we focus on during our bye?

Focus on perspective. Let's try to get a feel for where this team is and where it's headed.

Tom from Birmingham, AL

Fifteen years ago, if you told me a QB passed for over 400 yards, I would assume it was for a victory. This Sunday showed the most 400-yard-plus performances in NFL history in a day. Is this the new NFL? Will we ever go back to defensive stops and field position battles or are we in the arena league era of the NFL forever?

This is the new NFL and passing yards are only going to increase. That's the way the league wants it. I think what we're seeing is what I predicted back in the preseason, that defenses would start backing off their coverages to comply with the major points of emphasis, and passing games would kick into high gear. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns yesterday. That is not Steelers football according to their tradition. Last night's game in New Orleans was played at a frantic pace. I was manic just to keep up with the action. I sensed no thought for anything but moving the football. Field position was never an issue. When I began covering the NFL, field position was the No. 1 issue. That's how we can measure the difference between the game of yesteryear and the game of today.

Mark from Nottingham, UK

So, on a day when I guess your inbox is smoldering with fire persons X Y and Z, how are you?

I'm awful. Last night was no fun for me. The working conditions in the press box were pathetic. That's an open-air dome press box, which was fine back in the day when I covered the 1977 Sugar Bowl in the Superdome, but that was before an ear-piercing sound system was installed. My head was thumping from the noise. I could feel my heart pounding from the anxiety the noise was creating in me. I don't usually write with a jet engine roaring next to my head. I'm on no sleep and I'm still trying to get rid of my headache. It wasn't the fans, it was the manufactured noise that was the problem.

Mike from Cranford, NJ

I sure hope he who shall remain nameless is able to sleep tonight. Could we please have another refresher on chortling? I can't imagine a more perfect example of football-god smack down than what we saw. Fire he who shall remain nameless.

He's banned.

Randy from Des Moines, IA

Vic, I am not concerned.

You shouldn't be concerned. This is a good team that ran into an ambush. It happens. If you must be concerned, be concerned about the run defense. It concerns me. That's been my No. 1 concern all season. It has to get fixed and I don't know how you do it with schemes.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Do you think Rodgers' injury changed the game? If so, how?

Sure it changed the game. He wasn't Aaron Rodgers after he injured his hamstring. The Saints saw him limping and they turned up the heat on him.

Ryan from Janesville, WI

I know most people will bash McCarthy for going for it on fourth-and-1 in the third quarter on the Packers' own side of the field, however, despite the result, I loved the bold decision.

The vast majority of the emails in my inbox also love the bold decision, and that's why the NFL wants the game played as it's being played, because that's the way the fans want the game played. They want it played with boldness. They want fewer punts and more go-for-its. They don't want field-position football; they want all-out attack football. That's what we're seeing throughout the league.

Kona from Kailua, HI

Vic, what defensive formations did we use for the majority of the game? I'm just a caveman, but it seemed like a contain style or something used for a more mobile QB. We didn't pressure that pesky QB nearly enough, I thought.

You want attack football, right? Sure you do. All fans want attack football. The Packers threw everything they had at the Saints. I saw base, nickel, dime and the NASCAR, which had a bad night. Sean Payton deserves credit for the way he attacked the NASCAR. Hey, if you're going to play four linebackers as defensive linemen and leave one linebacker behind them, then screen against it, right? The Saints did. That's why you can't lean too hard on gimmicks; they're vulnerable schematically. You have to line up and beat your man. That's what works.

William from Salt Lake City, UT

Gee, why do Packers fans not trust their defense?

The Colts shut out the Bengals a week ago; knocked them all over the building. Yesterday, the Colts gave up 51 points. Welcome to the new NFL.

Brian from Kingston, NY

Vic, so much for special teams: no punts and every kickoff was a touchback. May as well just give the offense the ball at the 20 every time and skip the kickoff play. Seems like that's where we are headed in today's NFL. I don't like it.

I have never covered a game, I'm sure, that didn't include a yard of kick-return yardage. This is a first for me. This is the new NFL. It's a unique combination of player safety and attack football.

Zack from Boca Raton, FL

Refs? Coaches? Players? No one is to blame; it's just a loss against a good team.

That's the perspective we must achieve. There is no FULL CONSISTENCY. The viewpoint today likely won't last more than a week. This is not by accident. I am absolutely sure this is by intent.

Brent from Columbus AFB, MS

The more things change, the more they stay the same. To wit, if you can't run the ball and can't stop the run, you won't go very far. Haven't you been telling us that all along?

I don't think you have to run the ball to win championships anymore – I think it sure helps if you can – but I'm absolutely certain you must stop the run.

C.J. from Chicago, IL

Vic, why do you think the Packers would try a gadget play like the pass to Peppers so early in the game?

Mike McCarthy said they had been practicing it since training camp. Why practice it if you're not going to use it?

Brendan from Fort Collins, CO

Vic, should fans be more concerned the Packers are now a game behind the Lions, or more worried Rodgers was limping after that TD run?

As long as Rodgers can be Rodgers, everything will be fine.

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