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Big beats little, fast beats slow

Packers rookies have provided immediate contributions


Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, to use sports talk parlance, which Packers rookie do you think has the highest ceiling in the second half of the season?

I think Ha Ha, Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers are each ready to take their game to a higher level. Corey Linsley has been amazingly steady throughout the season.

Kevin from Mundelein, IL

I have bought into the players, not scheme mantra you've been preaching recently (or more like forever), but in response to your "the Julius Peppers play was schematic genius," while I thought it was a good play design, shouldn't we be using the athletic abilities Peppers has and have him jump up over the smaller cornerback and catch the ball instead of running the slant?

Would that have helped him catch it?

Eric from Portage, WI

You said the gimmick plays require other teams to prepare for them, so wouldn't doing onside kicks at a variety of times and circumstances throughout the game make teams bring their front-line special teams guys up close to the 10-yard mark?

Yes, it would. When you give your opponent reason to fear the onside kick, its front-line players can't peel back to get into their blocking lanes as quickly, and that favors kick coverage. Just the threat of an onside kick will do that, not to mention how it might cause changes in personnel on your opponent's front line.

Jimm from Huntsville, AL

Vic, as a fan, I understand the desire to draft to fix our current issues, but I have a feeling Ted Thompson is drafting for 2-3 years down the road. Given our draft-and-develop philosophy, I would think that fits his MO. Am I off the mark?

I think you're on the mark, except that's not the way it's turned out. The Packers got major contributions from their rookie crop in each of the last two seasons: Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari and Micah Hyde in 2013, and Ha Ha, Adams, Rodgers and Linsley this year. That's rare in this league. Good drafting teams draft potential. They draft players for what they can become, not for what they are. We routinely see growth in the Packers' draft picks, but to get the immediate contributions the Packers are receiving from players selected near the bottom of their rounds is extraordinary.

Brad from Chippewa Falls, WI

When I played high school football, the fundamental of defense was to wrap up and drive the ball carrier to the ground. It seems this fundamental is ignored in the NFL, and even in college to some extent, particularly at the corner and safety positions. Rather, we see guys flying at knees with their arms tucked into their bodies instead of trying to wrap up. Is this a function of the higher speed of the game, or are professional athletes playing above fundamental football?

How many tackles did Eddie Lacy break on Sunday night? Twenty? More? Do you think that was a result of poor fundamentals by the Saints, or the fact Lacy was just too big and powerful to be tackled by one man? Don't live in the world of football science. Live in the real football world of human confrontation. Big beats little, fast beats slow.

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