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Charles Woodson gives Packers eyes, hands

Does Troy Aikman have a bias against the Packers?


Scott from Cumming, GA

When are coaches going to learn to stop using their challenges for inconsequential plays early in the game? Mike McCarthy used one of his two challenges early in the first quarter of Sunday's game and, while he was successful, that challenge only turned what would have been second-and-10 into second-and-16. The challenge was essentially rendered useless as the Vikings ultimately got the first down and scored a TD on that drive. I'm of the opinion that those challenges need to be saved for important, potentially game-changing situations. I know you don't like the challenge system but what are your thoughts about when a coach should use his challenges?

If he's going to use it early on something minor, he better be absolutely sure he's going to win it. Even at that, a coach almost needs to be clairvoyant in knowing how many challengeable calls will confront him during the game. He can save his challenges and end up never using them, and that's not good, or he can use them and not have one for the most important play of the game, and that's worse. It's a flawed system that lays the blame on coaches for not getting the call right. I don't think they should bear that responsibility.

Leonardo from Las Vegas, NV

Why don't more college programs introduce pro-style offenses as an incentive to recruit young talent?

There isn't nearly as many 6-5, pro-style prospects as there are 6-1 athletes that can run a lot and throw a little.

Nathan from Tumwater, WA

How much did we really show the Vikings of what our game plan will actually be and what kind of wrinkles do you expect us to throw at them?

I don't think the Packers held anything back last week, but every playbook has unused pages in it or, at the least, pages that haven't been turned often.

Ron from Vesper, WI

How hard is it to figure out that McCarthy will call a run on 98 percent of first downs. If all opponents haven't figured that out, they must have their heads in a bag.

By my count, the Packers ran the ball 13 times on first down and passed it 17 times. What I find most interesting is that three of the four times Aaron Rodgers was sacked occurred on first down. Apparently, the Vikings were expecting the Packers to pass on first down. What color bag would you like, green or gold?

Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, in the 1994 postseason, the Packers held an in-his-prime Barry Sanders to minus one yard, in part by moving Reggie White to the interior, as opposed to his natural position. Is Capers the kind of coach to try something unconventional like this? Or do you think he just expects better execution of the same scheme?

I think Coach Capers would know how to use Reggie White, if he had Reggie White, which he doesn't. Reggie White, not plays.

John from Holland, MI

It's been reported the Bears are asking permission to interview Tom Clements. Do the Packers have a general policy for interview requests for their coaches? What have they done with similar requests in the past?

The rules on this stuff are fuzzy, but if it's for a head coaching position, asking permission is merely a formality. If you deny permission, the league will quickly intervene.

Paul from Williston, FL

I see in the transactions that players are being signed to "reserve/futures" contracts. Is that sort of a practice squad and what do these players earn in the offseason?

Teams may sign players to "reserve/futures" contracts prior to the offseason roster rules being in effect. Once we are officially in the offseason, those players become part of a team's offseason roster and their contracts are subject to the offseason salary cap rules.

Hans from Tucson, AZ

I agree that the refs called fumble on the James Jones touchdown so they could review it, but the refs could have called touchdown or fumble, and both are automatically reviewed. Would calling this a touchdown on the field change the review rules?

Either one would've necessitated an automatic review, which tells me what they really weren't sure about was whether or not the ball crossed the goal line before Jones' knee touched down. If they had ruled Jones down before the ball crossed the goal line, there wouldn't have been an automatic review, so maybe that's why they erred on the side of fumble. As it turned out, it was a wise decision to do that, but what if replay review didn't offer a good view of either the ball or Jones' knee? That's the part about erring on the side of anything that bothers me. It's almost as though we intentionally made a mistake.

Greg from Madison, WI

Doesn't it seem like Aikman has a slight bias against the Packers when he has our games? I feel like he's always finding small ways to discredit what the Packers do, especially Rodgers, and I'm really getting sick of it. This is probably just my own bias talking, but do you think former players still hold grudges against certain teams after they become announcers?

No, I don't. There was a time when it was widely believed the TV broadcasters played favorites. That was in the years immediately following the merger. CBS did NFL games and NBC did AFL games and following the merger, CBS got the NFC and NBC got the AFC and, by and large, the TV broadcasters stayed in place. It was widely believed the CBS guys favored the NFC teams in games against AFC teams, and the NBC guys favored the AFC teams in games against NFC teams. In some cases, the bias was so obvious it was entertaining. I don't think that exists today. What you can hear from time to time is an edge in a guy's voice for a particular style of play he doesn't like. Maybe that's what you're hearing.

Bridget from Chicago, IL

I just skimmed an article that said the Pennsylvania governor is going to sue the NCAA for the sanctions it imposed on Penn State. Regardless of whether there is a legal reason they can sue, I feel like it looks bad to question any penalty given that relates to such horrible actions. What are your thoughts?

My position on this from the beginning has been that the victims must be compensated. That's what matters here, helping the victims. I don't see how punishing people that had no part in this helps the victims. The perpetrator is in jail for the rest of his life. The coach who enabled him is dead. The president and the athletic director are gone. Why do the 107,000 ticket holders have to be punished? Why do the players and students have to be punished? What crime did they commit? I think college football should take a look at all of those empty seats in the bowl games and ask itself: Are we doing something wrong?

Dustin from Salt Lake City, UT

In regards to the questions about the Packers using an extra DL or LB against the run, the Packers did line up in a 4-4 formation multiple times last week and still had trouble containing Peterson. Almost 190 of Peterson's yards came after contact. The Packers were there, they just couldn't bring him down.

That is an outstanding and astute observation. Players, not plays.

Tim from Tucson, AZ

What rule changes would you like to see happen this offseason and what rules do you think the NFL will change?

I'd like to see a complete overhaul of the replay review system.

Tim from Northlake, IL

Mike McCarthy recently urged fans not to sell their playoff tickets but go to the game and give their full support. With a 1-2 home playoff record, does McCarthy understand why the fans would sell their tickets?

You pushed one of my buttons, Tim. I find your remark to be incredibly unappreciative of the good fortune this franchise has experienced in recent years. The Packers have won 32 of their last 39 games, including a 4-1 postseason record and a Super Bowl title. That's not good enough for you?

Nick from Muskego, WI

Can we add to this movie plot that this running back is less than a year removed from major knee surgery? Talk about hokey and hard to believe. Am I right?

It's more ridiculous than when everybody sings at the end of "Remember the Titans."

Brad from Baltimore, MD

How would Adrian Peterson have done running the old Packer sweep of the 1960s? I think he would've been unstoppable.

He would've only needed one seal.

Bob from Colby, KS

Will getting Woodson back make much of a difference, considering he's been out of action for so long, or will it be more of a matter of leadership on the field that will make the difference?

Charles Woodson will give the Packers' young secondary a pair of veteran eyes to help see and react to things young players might not detect. Had Woodson been at safety on that third-and-11 play, he might've felt that throw going in Michael Jenkins' direction. That ball was in the air forever; somebody should've been able to close on that throw. I have to believe Woodson would've broken on it sooner. Also, Woodson had a big game against Christian Ponder last season, so Ponder will likely be looking for Woodson. There could be some intimidation factor there. The thing I like best about having Woodson in the lineup is that he can catch the ball. He has the best hands you'll ever find in a defensive back. He's an interception waiting to happen.

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