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Consistent pass rush will make the difference

The big picture remains clear and bright


Dwight from Davenport, IA

I'm not afraid to die either, but I, too, am afraid it will hurt. I hope you go in your sleep, but not for many, many football seasons.

That's a very nice thing for you to say. Thanks.

Matt from Fort Collins, CO

Vic, I like to read the column with a cup of coffee on my break after mowing greens at the country club every morning.

Recent "Ask Vics" have tapped into a grass-cutting culture that has clearly expanded this column's reach. Yesterday, my lawnmower quit on me. I remembered the three ingredients: gas, air, spark. I filled the tank and cleaned the air filter. No start. I pulled the plug, bought a new one and she's purring like a cement mixer again. My lawnmower lives. So do I. I am one with my lawnmower.

Adrian from Honolulu, HI

Vic, what are your thoughts on the Packers' defensive scheme? Made for takeaways, but I'd like to see more three-and-outs.

It's made for disguising coverage and rush schemes, and that's what you want in today's game.

Andrew from Madison, WI

Vic, how do we get more nose tackles and middle linebackers (and fewer wide receivers) into the Hall of Fame?

It's not going to happen. The selection committee is facing some very rough water ahead. A tidal wave of wide receivers is about to descend on the voters.

Troy from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, Donald Driver was a great Packer. Each year since he has retired, I miss his smile. Donald had perspective. I think we could all learn from him.

The first time I interviewed him, I could see he got it, and I was sure he got it very early in his career. The fans and the media are there to enhance the players' careers. It's such an easy thing to get the fans and the media in your corner. How can some not get it?

Adam from Washington, MO

Is guaranteed salary (not signing bonus) accelerated into the current year's cap if that player is released before said guarantee is reached?

All guaranteed salary accelerates into the current year.

Brian from Columbia, MD

Few and fewer today have ever had to confront another human being. Society demands accommodation, and that is spreading into sports competition, as fewer kids are allowed to risk injury playing football and other contact sports, and sportsmanship is holding down or not keeping the score. The world is a tough place and it's tougher when you don't understand how you have to show up and stand up. It's not just our football souls being lost.

The twins (Cicely and Clementine) from across the street presented me yesterday with welcome-home biscuits they had baked. They smiled and made cheerful conversation with me, and I felt the unmistakable presence of pure innocence. These two girls have never known an evil thought. They are pure joy. When everybody is as they are, we won't need football anymore.

Scott from Advance, NC

I met you three years ago at "Ask Vic Day." Any chance we could have a day to meet you in Edisto during the week of the Fourth? Our own "Ask Vic Day"? Will be 14 of us ranging in ages 6-74. Hope you can do it.

I can't do it this time, but I would very much like to host an "Ask Vic" gathering at my house someday.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, how long might it take until we ascertain whether last year's offensive struggles were an anomaly or this team's new reality? I love "The Man," but he needs the other men to consistently beat their man.

We'll know by the end of the preseason. It's all about the one-on-ones. If the Packers win the majority of them, I guarantee Aaron Rodgers will do the rest.

Jeremy from Appleton, WI

Vic, did you see LeBron James' parade speech? He had a lot of expletives, even on the telecast. I couldn't picture this happening in the NFL, could you? Isn't there some kind of conduct policy in place in these sports?

Yeah, it's called personal dignity. A player of his esteem should be above crass behavior, especially in celebration of victory.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, you said you have a lack of concern about the Packers at the moment. How could that be? Plenty of players coming back from injury, rookies having to step up, and the team overall must retake what they lost last season. It seems there is always a concern.

It's about leadership. When a team possesses the leadership the Packers do, there's a feeling it'll never get too far left of center. The Packers possess that kind of leadership. You can agonize over all of the cloudy little pictures, but the big picture remains clear and bright.

Brad from Marion, IA

Watch baseball. The third time through the lineup is the danger zone for most pitchers. Batters adjust. Same for football. The plays will win some of the time, but the players and coaches will adjust. Anyone who has played a sport knows it's the one-on-one confrontation that matters most. The better player will win, given time to adjust, despite the pitch or play call.

When all of the tricks have been tried, it's man vs. man. That's when it's crunch time and we find out who the winners are.

Ryan from Dubuque, IA

Rodgers' delivery has to be the best in the league. The way he uses his elbow as a pendulum and flicks his wrist seems unlike any other quarterback playing today. I think this makes up for his smaller stature. Are there any other quarterbacks that remind you of Aaron's release?

I see some Favre in Rodgers when he does that fall-away flick.

Matt from Marshall, MI

Vic, I agree in large part with you, the defense has been playing well the last couple of seasons. I must disagree with "unfair and whiney," though. The truth I saw to end the last two seasons was a defense that played well but crumbled at crunch time. Legacies are forged in crunch time, aren't they?

They are. The 2014 defense will be forever dogged by what happened in Seattle. Late in that season, it was becoming a crunch-time defense. The New England game? Last year's defense struggled at crunch time in some games and I blame it on an inconsistent pass rush. The Packers' pass-rush ranking is impressive, but it was built largely on feast or famine, and that's not what you want. You need your pass rush to be at its best when the game hangs in the balance. I'm hoping Clay Matthews' move outside will make the difference.

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