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Defense? Offense is the Packers' calling card

What is the proper perspective heading into the season?


Cary from San Antonio, TX

Vic, in the interest of examining this subject more and potentially extinguishing the life from it, when you hang up the keyboard and leave the press box, what team will you root for?

Yes, by all means, let's examine this subject in greater detail; I still see it breathing. When I am no longer writing football stories and covering games from the hushed solitude of the almighty press box, my one true home, I will spend my Sunday afternoons watching the Steelers, rooting them to victory as I twirl a "Terrible Towel" and chant, "Here we go, Steelers, here we go." I'll wear a black hard hat with a revolving yellow light on top, and I'll run around my living room howling with delight at every Steelers score. Hey, let's take it all the way. When I die, the funeral director will be instructed to bury me in a black coffin with a yellow lid bearing the Steelers logo, and with a "Terrible Towel" in my hands, and I want to wear a Joe Greene jersey to wherever I'm headed, up or down. Does that do it? Have we now exhausted this subject?

Gerald from Cincinnati, OH

Vic, at what point does a draft-and-develop team choose to re-sign a developed player over a project?

Among the circumstances that would cause that to happen, I would mention prominently the point at which the developed player is integral to the team's long-term success and he likely can't be replaced. In other words, he's a core player at a premium position.

Shawn from Mesa, AZ

Football has been bery, bery good to you? Don't you have spellcheck? Don't you have an editor?

Don't you watch Saturday Night Live?

Andrew from Cambridge, IA

The dog days of summer are about to turn into chilly fall nights. I think you have mistaken the anxiety you mentioned yesterday for a sense of excitement. Does it get any better than this?

I love football. My love for it has never declined. No matter how cold it gets during the season, I never really feel it until the season is over. That's when my life turns cold.

Tim from Atlanta, GA

Vic, I love your column. I have been a fan of the Packers my whole life, but you have made me a fan of football and the whole experience as well. I would like to know, what would make this year the ideal year for you? What expectations do you have for this year?

Give me four months of what we had last December. That would be football heaven for me.

Jered from Baton Rouge, LA

Defense wins championships. Our hopes of any championship this season clearly will rest on how our defense performs.

I don't completely agree. I acknowledge the defense needs to improve its performance for this team to reach higher, but the Packers are a team built on offense, and if that offense doesn't play to the high end of the league, the Packers won't win a championship. Offense is this team's calling card. If it wasn't, the coach wouldn't be talking about running more plays, he'd be talking about running fewer plays.

Garett from Medford, WI

Vic, just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for "Ask Vic" night. My wife and I felt like VIPs from the moment we walked in the door. My goal for the night was simply to shake your hand and tell you thanks for a great column. The evening was much more than that. My wife was amazed. Everything was top notch.

We didn't have a meeting at which it was ordered that everybody must be treated as a VIP. You were treated that way because that's our honest opinion of you. This column's readers are its VIPs. They are its most important people. I don't write this column; the readers do because their questions decide the subject matter. My answers merely lead off the comments section. In my mind, that's what a good mailbag column does. It takes its readers right, left and center, and it affords them the opportunity to explore all of the open spaces. "Ask Vic Day" is a chance for our readers to surrender their anonymity and identify themselves. I wish we could've filled Lambeau Field with our readers. Thanks for honoring me with your presence.

Eric from Mequon, WI

I'd like to know what you are looking at in a game. Fans tend to look at the overview of a play, trying not to miss anything. Do you get tunnel vision, meaning you only watch offensive line play a few plays and then move to wide receiver, etc., or do you watch the overall play and follow the ball?

I'm trying to feel the game. I'm trying to seize the moment, because "moment" is going to be my lede. First and foremost, I'm responsible for writing a story that captures the essence of the game. I'll leave the strategical analysis and evaluation for the ex-jockos. It's what they do and it certainly has a place in the media's overall coverage of the game. I perceive my responsibility in that coverage to be an accurate account of the game's importance, in a style that appeals to readers and enhances their enjoyment of the game. Give it a try. Forget about trying not to miss anything and make sure you don't miss the big thing. Seize the moment. It's how you'll remember the game forever.

Kevin from Des Moines, IA

You have talked about how excited you are to see the Packers match up with Seattle. Let's move forward in time. It's opening night in Seattle. Besides Rodgers, who do you think the Seattle defense would consider the biggest Packers threat on offense and why?

It's Eddie Lacy. Great defenses are first and foremost about stopping the run. It goes to their self-esteem. Their egos can't bear having the ball run on them. It tears at their core. If you want to shake the Seahawks, plant a seed of doubt in them, then run the ball on them. That's how you get their respect and that's how you quiet their crowd.

Chris from Madison, WI

Do you find yourself enjoying nice summer days more now after that brutal winter? I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life but I've reminded myself many times already this summer to appreciate this weather.

That's what I did on Wednesday night, as we all sat on the North Balcony at Lambeau Field and watched the Lombardi documentary. The air chilled as the sky darkened, and I thought to myself that I wouldn't have been sitting up here in January during that playoff game against the 49ers. I thought about the gas station where I nearly died of exposure. I thought about how wonderful this night was and how it'll probably be how I remember the summer of 2014. When you don't have a lot, you value the little you have.

Troy from Woodland, CA

Vic, would you trade Sammy Watkins for Joe Thomas?

It would be my tendency to value a quality, young left tackle over a quality, young wide receiver. Gotta get the big guys.

Nikhil from Washington, DC

Vic, I'm a fan and, no, I don't think it's a must-win season. I loved 2011, but I loved 2013 also. It still makes me smile thinking about Shield's interception of Romo, the end against Atlanta and, of course, the fourth-and-eight play. Give me another season as exciting as that and I'll be a happy fan.

That's an attitude that sets you up to have an enjoyable season. Congratulations on achieving perspective.

Grant from Dubuque, IA

I recently read a win-loss prediction projecting the Packers to go 9-7 in 2014. I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but Rodgers back for a full season is only a one-game improvement over Flynn and Tolzien?

You've failed to achieve perspective. All you've achieved is anxiety. It'll rob you of your enjoyment.

Tom from Syracuse, NY

My thoughts are that if the inevitable injuries are not too bad, and if Peppers can add substantially to the pass rush, this could be a sensational team and loads of fun to watch. With a little luck, even take a run at a Super Bowl. It is truly a great time to be a Green Bay Packers fan.

Well done.

Bram from Colorado Springs, CO

Vic, I love that you are not swayed by many readers who want you to change. In your career, were you ever encouraged (demanded) to change your style by your employers?

No one has ever given me writing-style advice. How do you think that might've turned out? I'm not even sure what my style is. People that write rough drafts think about style. Reporters don't have time to do either. We just write. What you see in my writing is real because it's spontaneous, and I write very quickly. My style is that I attempt to frame a story around a theme that is linked from top to bottom by facts of descending importance. Call it inverted pyramid form with a little sauce to give it spice. The sauce is the frame. Framing is of critical importance.

Rick from San Ramon, CA

What's the worst thing to happen to you as a reporter? Did you ever get punched?

I'm sorry to report I've never been punched. I know yinze think of reporters as wimps, but you might want to check out what Will McDonough did to Raymond Clayborn. Knocked him into a laundry cart! Anyhow, the worst thing that ever happened to me as a reporter was when I got locked in the parking lot at The Vet. I wasn't driving, just trying to walk to my hotel, which was across the street. I was covering baseball, had just filed my story and it was long after the game had concluded. With my Royal portable in tow, a high fence stood between me and my hotel. I decided to climb the fence. What I didn't realize, because it was so dark, was that the sidewalk on the other side of the fence was considerably below the level of the parking lot. As my reentry chute opened, I instinctively protected the Royal. It survived; I didn't.

Dan from Sioux Center, IA

How much would the inside linebackers' assignments change if the defensive linemen are allowed to play more one-gap football?

In a gap-control scheme, everybody in the box is responsible for a gap. Filling those gaps is called "fits." If you fit it up right and there are no missed tackles, gap-control defense is a beautiful thing. One missed tackle, however, and it can be Katy bar the door. Gap-control defense discourages creativity. I favor blending a 3-4 with a two-gapping scheme; it allows creative use of the linebackers, who represent the best combination of size and athletic ability on the defense.

Paul from Salem, OR

Vic, when the Denver Broncos, a team with unlimited pockets, hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the upcoming season, won't all of the draft-and-develop dinosaurs, including our Packers, be left with egg on their collective faces?

If the Packers should hoist that trophy, and should the "train" run over the Broncos and leave them a twisted wreck at the salary cap crossroads, will you return so we might scrape the egg off your face?

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