John from Portage, MI
Did you see that Steelers/Colts game where even looking cross at a receiver drew a flag? Was it the crew calling it or a sign of the future?
That was John Parry's crew, which many consider to be the best in the league. They literally forbade defenders from touching receivers beyond the five-yard chuck boundary. What that tells me is Parry's crew was calling the game exactly as the league wants it called.
James from Hackensack, NJ
Just curious, how much of an effect do you think Madden football the video game has had on the game we see out there today? There used to be a time playing online I would yell at the guys always going on fourth down and never punting, that it wasn't real football. Now I can't say that anymore.
Art is supposed to imitate life. I think this is a case of life imitating art. Madden has had a huge influence on the game that's played for real. Young football fans might have a greater attachment to Madden than they do to the real game. Maybe that's why the game is being fashioned to resemble Madden.
Dwezel from Wetwang, UK
Do you think the Packers can get their run defense fixed before the playoffs? You say it's players, not scheme. If that's correct, then I don't think so. Your thoughts?
I think the answer to your question could define this season. Yes, I believe players are more important than schemes. So, the question becomes is the scheme not being executed because of technical reasons or physical reasons? Technical flaws can be eliminated. Physical flaws will almost always resurface.
Alex from Kaukauna, WI
Vic, I couldn't sleep last night so I decided to go out back and take a look at the 3-4 nose tackle tree. I didn't see any Wilforks, Hamptons or Atkins. Help is not on the way. I'll check again in April.
If I was made the GM of an expansion franchise, I would hang two signs on my draft room walls. One sign would read, "No wide receivers." The other sign would read, "Get the big guys." Wide receivers are plentiful, but you can never seem to find enough big guys.
Jim from Scottsdale, AZ
Vic, the Packers may have to play in Arizona in the playoffs and I assure you the sound system is deafening, similar to the Superdome. Why are teams allowed to create an artificial noise advantage?
What most concerns me is the exposure to the noise that's coming out of those speakers for three hours. I think the league needs to investigate this issue, decide what's unacceptable and then set volume standards. I was in discomfort on Sunday night.
Connor from St. Paul, MN
Vic, talk about Mike McCarthy's aggressive style on Sunday night led me to do some research on win probabilities and coaching aggressiveness. It turns out NFL coaches are far too conservative, especially with the decision to go for it on fourth down. Why might this be?
It's because Lombardi won five league titles that way and Noll won four Super Bowls that way. That's how great teams played. They were conservative and they played to the strength of their defense. What we're seeing is a changing of the game, and the rules changes that have favored offense so dramatically have caused coaches to damn the torpedoes, so to speak. Bill Belichick was the first to get it. Now, everyone's getting it.
Richard from Santa Ana, CA
Vic, is it safe to assume the losses of Shields and Burnett were big? It was such a close game early on, and then the hinges came off the door.
Your best cornerback and safety? You bet it was big.
Rob from Washington, DC
Vic, I hope you stayed up for MNF or else you missed a heck of a game. It had all the right drama and very little of the flag-happy, shootouts that so much of this season has been about. It certainly wasn't pretty, but it might be the best game I've watched this season.
If I had stayed up to watch the game, I would've completed 40 consecutive hours without sleep. I like football, but I don't like it that much. I didn't see a down.
Chad from Charleston, IL
Vic, yesterday you said there is no full consistency. I think most of us know that, but I think comments by yourself and Coach McCarthy have given fans lofty expectations for this season. Before the season started, coach said this was the best training camp he had witnessed and also said the offensive line is the best he's seen. You have praised the offense as one of the best you've seen and constantly tell us to look out. I think these types of comments have prompted fans to expect only the best this season.
I apologize. I'll try to be more negative.
Chris from Whitefish Bay, WI
Can you give us an honest answer? If you were in total control of coaching and management of the Packers, what would you do to try to amend our atrocious run defense? Free agents? Trades? Johnny Jolly? Putting Clay in the middle and using one of our many talented outside linebackers on the outside? I'm sure if you made a bold statement, the management would hear about it. The Packers' future could be in your hands.
I would go out back and check the quality defensive lineman tree. Upon seeing nothing of value lying on the ground nor hanging from the tree, I would remain patient as the young players I've drafted develop their skills. Not very bold, is it?
Paul from Green Bay, WI
Vic, I need your perspective. The Packers rank 22nd in total defense and 32nd in rushing defense. I know you are a proponent of waiting until December to make an accurate assessment, but I don't think the Packers can win consistently with this defense. Help me put this in perspective. Thanks.
You're right; the defense must improve, especially the run defense, for this to become a championship season. That's the perspective. A large segment of my inbox wants to call everybody out and make them accountable for their performances. They want immediate and dramatic change. It's become the fans' battle cry. They want accountability. It's also become a little whiny. Everybody is doing the best they can.
Ben from Saint Joseph, MI
Regarding all your readers calling out our coaches for the pass to Peppers and our onside kick, please remind them how livid Miami's fans were at Joe Philbin's conservative play calling when we played them. You aren't going to be successful with all the risks you take, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Just win, baby. The fans don't complain about winning.
Craig from Vancouver, WA
I think the Packers need to win six of their remaining eight games to make the playoffs. What do you think?
I think that's a reasonable expectation for what it might take to either win the division or a wild-card spot.
Kevin from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, the Packers seem to beat the teams they are supposed to beat, in the situations they are supposed to beat them. It isn't too often they defeat high-quality opponents. This is better than being a losing club, of course, but does the Packers' inability to win against tough teams concern you?
If Seattle, Detroit and New Orleans define the tough teams on the Packers' schedule to date, then I would also say the Packers played each of those teams on the road. You can build a case for anything you want to say. My eyes know what they've seen. This is a good team. It has championship potential, but it must repair a loose part or two. I don't think there's a team in the playoff race about which I couldn't say the same thing.