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Could the Packers run the jet sweep?

Vikings could be alone in first place


Ben from Hudson, WI

If you truly believed any person in the Packers organization was performing poorly, would you criticize such person in a news story or any one of your columns? Basically, what I'm asking is whether criticizing individuals within the Packers organization is within the scope of your job description? Thanks!

And thank you, Ben, for challenging my integrity. So, I guess I'm the target now. That's OK, I can take it. There's nothing in my job description that mentions being critical of Packers players, coaches, etc. That subject is covered by my personality as a writer, and it has never been within my personality as a writer to attack someone for not doing their job, unless I believe their effort was lacking, and that's something that's very difficult to judge. It wasn't in my personality when I was a newspaper reporter, nor is it in my personality now as a team website reporter. I'm old school, and that might be the problem; I know the young readers love attack journalism. That's not me, Ben. That doesn't mean I won't point the finger at a problem. I think if you go back to what I wrote immediately prior to the game and immediately after, you'll see that stopping the run was a concern and a criticism. Single out one guy? That's not fair because it wasn't one guy. I have no problem with my review of the game because it accurately represents what I believe to be true. That's the way it is and that's the way it will continue to be. I've been honest about and consistent with my beliefs. If they bother you, why would you continue to read them?

Kris from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, our defense is not getting the job done. It has been a problem since we went to the 3-4. I think it would be better to go back to the 4-3, or at least a hybrid of both.

They did use both last Thursday. I don't believe scheme was a problem against the Seahawks, but if you believe a change in scheme is the solution to the problem, stick to your beliefs.

Jonas from Fort Collins, CO

Guess who else has a dominant running back and can run the jet sweep with an explosive receiver? The 1-0 Vikings.

If the Lions lose tonight, the Vikings will be alone in first place in the NFC North.

Shaun from Las Cruces, NM

Vic, tackling is not an issue, or at least not the major issue. Vic, the Seahawks were winning the line of scrimmage, so Eddie Lacy could barely get through. In the extremely rare instance he actually got to the second level, he broke some tackles. The problem is that once he broke the first tackle, there were immediately more Seahawks to help make the tackle. With us, we have one guy there trying to make the tackle.

Gang tackling is a good thing. I heartily recommend doing more of it. You know what really interests me? The Seahawks dared the Packers to pass. Does that make any sense schematically? I guess it does if you think you can stop the pass. The Seahawks march to the beat of a different drummer. They know who they are and what they do, and they play accordingly. They're not copy cats. They're original. That's impressive.

Taito from Chicago, IL

Do you think the Packers could run that jet sweep with Cobb/Boykin and Lacy? Could that actually fit into their no-huddle offense to keep the defense on their heels?

It's called the jet sweep because you have to have a jet to run it. Do the Packers have a jet that can run it? Randall Cobb averaged 4.46 in the 40 at the combine. That's nice speed. Percy Harvin averaged 4.41 at the combine, but he ran on a bad ankle. He was said to have run 4.2 at Florida. Cordarrelle Patterson ran 4.42 at the combine but was said to have run 4.3 at Tennessee. I'm inclined to believe Cobb could run the jet sweep effectively, but I also believe Coach McCarthy is alert to any idea that might deepen the Packers' playbook and make the offense more effective. I trust the coaches.

Robb from Chelmsford, MA

Vic, you talk about how tackling can't be done in practice. So I guess I wonder, during practice, what does the defense do?

Based on the number of half-line drills I saw in the Packers' training camp this summer, the Packers probably conduct one of the most physical training camps in the league. If those half-line drills don't prepare a team to block and tackle, then I don't know what else can be done. Once a team gets to the regular season, practice is mostly dedicated to practicing execution of the scheme. If your game plan that week includes a cross-dog blitz, you practice the cross-dog blitz. That's what coordinators do. They design the game plan and the schedule for practicing it.

Chenc from Calgary, AB

Vic, I have been thinking about something you said regarding college football creeping into the NFL. Could part of the reason be the lack of practice?

College football created major reductions in preparation time in recent years. You might be shocked to see the lack of hitting in a college practice. Given the limited time coaches are permitted to spend with their players in a week, they have to use nearly all of that time making sure their players can execute the plays in the game plan. So, the lack of practice on the fundamentals of the game begins at the college level. Then they go to the combine, where they are judged by their ability to run and jump, and now the problem worsens. That's today's game. It's a tremendous challenge to identify prospects that can tackle in close quarters, yet, still have the speed and athletic ability to play in space. That's the challenge and the teams that win are up to it.

Matt from Bossier City, LA

People need to get some perspective on the situation. We had a bad game. It happens. Yes, the coaches will take responsibility; it's their job to do that. No, I don't think it's their fault. They can't make players wrap up and tackle properly. We will get better. It's time for everybody to calm down.

That's your perspective. It works for you and it's a sensible attitude. My perspective goes like this: Last Thursday's outcome was greatly disappointing and the instinctive reaction is to lash out, but that's something I won't do because it serves no purpose other than to create regret. Plus, after having covered 600-700 NFL games, I should be able to control my emotions. As Coach Noll was fond of saying, "We don't always like the cards we're dealt, but we never, ever complain about them." That's my perspective.

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