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Balance was in the game plan

Schedule too tough to call this a homefield advantage game


Matthew from Fayetteville, NC

Vic, you said most teams that beat the Packers don't do it with scheme, they play it straight. Is that because they have the personnel to play it straight and still win? I know you're a players, not plays guy, so are you saying they had the better players?

On that night, the Broncos' players were superior. I can also tell you the Broncos' players are good on any night, because that's a star-studded team that has focused its future on the present. Mostly what I'm saying is a result of what I've observed. The teams that have beaten the Packers have beaten them straight up because they've had the talent to play that way. The Giants rushed four and dropped seven, and they did it all the way to the Super Bowl title. The 49ers and Seahawks were immensely talented teams in recent years, and they represented the NFC in the last three Super Bowls. Go back to the game in Detroit last year. The Lions didn't win with scheme; they stopped the run with six and flooded the passing lanes. They were able to do that as a result of having a lot of talent up front. The Bills won the one-on-ones in the secondary. The bottom line is you're not going to pencil whip Mike McCarthy. I know that's not a popular statement because 99 percent of my inbox wants to blame the scheme for the loss in Denver. I wish 99 percent of my inbox could ask coaches and personnel people around the league what they think of Coach McCarthy and his staff, and their ability to create scheme. What they'd hear is there isn't a better game-planning staff in the league. That's the truth. My inbox wants me to lie to satisfy its need for a scapegoat. I won't do it.

Rachel from River Falls, WI

Rules Committee Chair Vic is tasked with rewriting the rules. How does he define a catch?

It's defined by possession and control. No more language than that. When you add language to the rulebook, you make it more difficult to justify the call. Judgment is the justification.

Colin from Tripoi, WI

I'm sorry, Vic, but you remind all too often of what's wrong with corporate America. You pander mindlessly to all your dittoheads with some warped hope of people believing your (baloney). It's become so laughable and obvious who writes your check. Tow the company line, you sheep. We have great coaching, right? Awesome GM for sure. We are contenders, absolutely. We're gonna be Super Bowl 50 spectators; no way. If people are constantly fed (baloney), they're sure to eventually start believing it. As for me, I'll have none, thank you.

Just read, baby.

Chris from Mancos, CO

Vic, we have the deep threat in Adams, the pounder in Lacy, a rising core of players coming up on both sides of the ball, and one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Once they are healthy, we will be in great shape. All is looking good going forward with this team the next few years.

The Packers are 6-1. The truth is the pure defense.

Eric from Greenville, WI

You say we need to convert third downs to commit to the run, and I agree, partially, but a commitment to the run could help. It's all execution, I know, but to start this game we ran Eddie twice, for four yards and then he busts one with hard running for 11 yards and a first down. I loved the start. Then we went 13 plays and two punts without letting him touch the ball again.

Nobody favors the running game more than I do. I want more runs, but balance is what's most important. The first series is scripted; we all know that. Looking at the play-by-play of the first series, I see run, run, pass, pass, run, pass, and then a false start that put the Packers behind the sticks at third-and-17. End of drive. Three runs, three passes; clearly, the script was intended to achieve balance. Again, it's third down that's hurting this team, and third-and-17 doesn't favor conversion. I think we're trying too hard to find fault with the scheme and play-calling. Whatever they run, it has to work. I have people in my inbox who want to throw it 60 times. I want balance. In my opinion, a team needs to run the ball and throw the ball. I believe an attempt at balance was in the game plan. The run sets up the pass and the pass sets up the run. The Packers didn't do enough of either.

Blair from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, Aaron Rodgers once said it's good to win all your home games and half of your away games. Am I a bad fan if I lowered my expectations for winning away against a 6-0 team?

If you're struggling with expectations, then don't have any. Expectations are for fans that can deal with disappointment without losing perspective. What I'm sensing is an inbox full of fans whose expectation was for the Packers to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. They've created their own disappointment. I gotta tell you, it wouldn't surprise me should the Packers lose another game before this season is complete.

Owen from Tampa, FL

Can you get McCarthy to stop talking about the number of plays? I know he's just trying to maneuver around some questions, but he can come up with something better. The low play count isn't a cause of the ineffective state of the offense, it's a result of it.

So what do you want him to do, start pointing fingers and throwing people under the proverbial bus? Do you want him to trash his team and the remainder of the season so you can feel good that everybody responsible for Sunday's loss has been punished? No coach is going to do that. I'll tell you what he did, he accepted full responsibility for not having his team ready to play. He threw himself under the proverbial bus so you could take your frustration out on him, instead of on his players, whose self-confidence is a whole lot more important than currying the fans' favor.

T.T. from Oriska, ND

Are we going to be able to keep up without Jordy?

They've won six games without Jordy Nelson. I say the answer to your question is yes. If I said the answer is no, then what do we do, forfeit the remainder of the season? What are we looking for this week, reasons for hopelessness? If you are, then this is the wrong place to go, because that would be a lie and I don't tell lies.

Joe from Clio, MI

Vic, big game Sunday, Steelers vs. Raiders. When was the last time we said that?

You're playing off the '70s rivalry, but that's a reach. This Sunday, the Steelers and Raiders will play a big game. What they played in the '70s weren't games. They were life-altering experiences. You had to be there to understand.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, how are players chosen to be interviewed in the locker room on Wednesdays?

They're not officially chosen or selected. They make themselves available to the media when they arrive at their locker stall during media time. If it's a topical player, the media assembles at the player's stall and the player submits to being interviewed. In the quarterback's case, it's his day to speak, so it is more of an official process.

Matt from Port Saint Lucie, FL

Vic, with Josh Norman likely covering Randall Cobb on Sunday, do you see either Davante Adams or James Jones in for a big day?

So, you've already conceded victory to Norman? That's good game-planning. The coach tells his team, "OK, guys, we can't beat Norman so we're not going to use Randall much this week?" That's what a leader does? I'll tell you what a leader does: He demands every man in that locker room, including himself, does his job. Everybody needs to win their one-on-one. That's the attitude that wins.

Bill from Hayden, ID

Peter King wrote after the Broncos loss the Packers could significantly improve their passing game if they used more rub routes and crossing routes, like the Patriots do, to get the receivers open quicker. What do you think about that suggestion, even though it would be a scheme change?

Didn't the Packers beat the Patriots last year?

Aumed from Moorhead, MN

The winner of this game will get homefield advantage in January. Too soon for this prediction?

That's not a good attitude for Packers fans. The Packers' schedule is too difficult to dismiss. Again, it's creating an expectation that'll likely create disappointment.

Adam from Wausau, WI

In your second-ever "Ask Vic" column you wondered whether there was a player worth the money of a No. 1 pick to the Panthers. Now we know that player is Cam Newton. Do you believe he is worth it?

Absolutely, he is. He's the face of the franchise. He's "The Man."

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