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Biggest game of the season to date

No adversity, no story


Nate from Denver, CO

Vic, I've been reading your column since you've been with the Packers and the one thing you've repeated that has stuck with me time and time again is "help is not on the way." We have to win with the roster we have. While I'm confident our boys will find a way out of our slump, it's obvious many of our fans don't feel the same way. What do you see as our biggest obstacle to getting out of this funk?

The players or the fans? The fans will get out of their funk as soon as the players play their way out of theirs. I've given my answer to the "what's wrong?" question several times this week. It hasn't changed. The Packers lost a big chunk of their passing game when Jordy Nelson was injured. We all knew that. Right from the start, we all said somebody would have to replace him, and we immediately turned our attention to Davante Adams as Nelson's obvious successor. I think Mike McCarthy was agreeing with us last Sunday when his game plan targeted Adams on the first three plays of the game, and then 18 more times in the game. I think Coach McCarthy's game plan was confirming the need to replace Nelson and Adams has been targeted as the guy to do it. That's No. 1 in the "what's wrong?" game. No. 2 is the absence of Eddie Lacy. If I had told you on the day Nelson was injured Lacy would have 308 yards rushing heading into Week 11 of the season, what would your reaction have been? I know what mine would've been. One half of the formula for replacing Nelson is running the ball, and Lacy is the embodiment of that running game. The fix? Replace Nelson and get Lacy back in the groove.

Pete from Irvine, CA

Vic, in a World Series game with no strikeouts, do you think the catcher should have called better pitches?

I think Casey Stengel goofed when he didn't pitch Whitey Ford in Game 1.

Mark from Melrose, WI

Wouldn't a good, old-fashioned clothesline tackle fix all of this?

You know, it probably would. Bednarik would clothesline a Packers player, the team would get fighting mad, the fan base would bond with the team with an us-against-the-world attitude, and nobody would be worried about what's wrong; everybody would be focused on revenge. Maybe that's what the Packers need, a cause. Nothing bonds a team and its fan base like a cause. Look at what it did for the Charlestown Chiefs in Slap Shot. We need a Dickie Dunn.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, do you love writing about the season's drama as it unfolds, or is it something else?

I love watching it, I love writing about it and I love remembering it. I've never covered a bad season.

Andrew from Rugby, UK

Vic, I don't have any baseball knowledge, so what happened in the 1970s?

It began happening in the '60s with expansion and dilution of the talent, and then it climaxed in the '70s when football replaced baseball as the No. 1 sport in America. Baseball got lazy and greedy. It gave away its charm by agreeing to play in stadiums built for football, and it further sterilized itself with rules changes such as the designated hitter, and playing on artificial turf.

Chris from Waterbury, CT

Vic, I want this win bad. Worse than any regular-season game in recent memory. My desk at work is between two Vikings fans. How can I get perspective this weekend?

Think of all the times Vikings fans wanted a win over the Packers and didn't get it. Entitlement is the absolutely wrong perspective.

Samuel from Laredo, TX

How many things do you have left?

I have a whole cup full of them, but finance keeps calling wanting to know if the packages being sent are work-related or personal, so instead of giving them out in this column, I'm going to take all of my things and pass them out at the pep rally in Arizona on the day after Christmas. Merry Christmas from Vic.

Judy from Pembine, WI

Watching "Video Ask Vic" and I'm wondering what the plaque is sitting on your desk. Care to shed some light?

Packers.com was the No. 1 website in the league in 2011.

Daniel from Ft. Worth, TX

I see you reference swishing pom-poms at the Astrodome every once in a while, always with an air of foreboding, but I can't remember ever reading the story behind that. What happened on that November day in 1978?

It was "Luv Ya Blue," and it was the most charged atmosphere for a football game and one of the most physical games I have ever covered. I wonder what Ted Thompson's memories of that game are.

Josh from Minneapolis, MN

I took a writing workshop for work. In it they discussed Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. The middle portion of this narrative is defined by adversity. The hero must overcome some great struggle, making the battle and eventual victory that much more dramatic. For those of us who watch sports for the drama, rather than a guaranteed win, this season is set up for an epic storyline. As a journalist, Vic, I'd imagine this is the thing dreams are made of.

If there's no adversity, there's no story. Deflategate is the Patriots' adversity.

Martin from Tisovec, Slovakia

Vic, is this the most important game between now and Week 17?

I think the one on Jan. 3 will be bigger, but this is absolutely the biggest game of the season to date. Remember how big that Week 2 game against the Seahawks was? This one's bigger.

Beth from New Delhi, India

Vic, my son and I watched Aaron Rodgers' press conference after the game on Sunday. My son looked at me and said, "Mom, Aaron Rodgers looks so sad. When you tell me words can hurt, I really believe it now. I think Aaron Rodgers was sad deep down from what he heard from his fans." My son asks, "Do you think hearing such mean remarks hurt his ability to focus?"

Rodgers is a pro. He didn't lose his focus, but what he heard obviously bothered him. Maybe Skip Bayless should talk about that.

Brady from Los Angeles, CA

If given the option, should the Packers kick or receive the opening kickoff on Sunday?

I could make a case for taking the ball and challenging the offense to score.

Jeremy from Grande Prairie, Canada

"The offense needs a jump-start, but Rodgers does not believe it's going to come from acting out of character." Humble and grounded in victory, sober and measured in defeat. That's my kind of QB, and you and Mike are my kind of writers. Thanks for making it especially fun to be a Packers fan. Maybe you just need to give out more things to those not enjoying the ride.

Yours is a noble attitude. Me? Just win, baby.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, considering we were unable to pressure the quarterback, I thought the defense had an arrow-pointing-up performance on Sunday. That's my perspective.

I was more concerned about the defense than I was about the offense. I was expecting a high-scoring game. What turned it around for the defense? I think it was stopping the run, which you're supposed to do against the league's worst rushing offense. I think we saw an example of what this defense can do when it stops the run. Go back to the Seattle game for more proof of that. This defense has to stop the run for it to be successful. Now apply that statement to Sunday's game in Minnesota and I think the challenge becomes crystal clear.

Rob from Sturgeon Bay, WI

My fellow Packers fans may not like this, but I like this Vikings team. I despised the Daunte Culpepper era, and obviously the Favre era, but how can you not like Teddy Bridgewater or Mike Zimmer or Harrison Smith? I could name many more. This team has character. I'm not cheering for them on any Sunday, but I respect how they go about their business.

I like Coach Zimmer. He's an accommodating conference-call interview. He respects the questions and works to answer them. He doesn't brush them off, as I thought another coach did earlier this season. It bothers me when a coach doesn't make the time to talk a group of men who've arranged their schedules to talk to him. Coach Zimmer is a soft-spoken, measured man who's proof a coach doesn't have to be a tyrant to succeed.

Andrew from Des Moines, IA

Can't help but notice the offense's stagnation has coincided with Montgomery's absence. Is your feeling he's coming back soon and what do you think his return can do for the offensive production?

Maybe he's that receiver the Packers need to emerge. I hope he returns soon, but based on Coach McCarthy's reaction to a question on Wednesday about Montgomery's availability, I didn't get the sense his return is imminent.

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