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Defense plays best when Clay Matthews plays best

Time heals all wounds, and it'll heal this wound, too


Dan from Baton Rouge, LA

Vic, how about a small shout out to folks like me who put in the same kind of time as the football players did while getting a degree. I wasn't talented enough to get a football scholarship, so I worked a 40-hour-a-week job while taking 15 hours of classes, and got no extra help to make it easier.

You da man.

Robert from Seattle, WA

Vic, Trevor Davis said he just wants to contribute and will do whatever they want him to do. Got to love that. Have you ever heard that from other players just joining teams?

I wonder who the first player was to say that to me. I wonder if he's moved up to the ladies' tees, yet.

Zane from Darlington, WI

How is there any way the color rush uniform game is going to be good for us?

We could use some new traditions. It would be good for our soul, and it might even be fun.

Angel from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Who has to have the best year on the defense this season?

In today's game, the answer almost has to be the team's premier pass rusher, so I'll say Clay Matthews. This defense plays its best football when Matthews plays his best football.

Kenn from Upper Marlboro, MD

If the Packers get hot late, it'll be up against what looks like a strong slate. Getting off a three-game road trip to immediately take on a Houston team that may have their franchise quarterback, a Seattle team that should be a good bet for winning it all, and three straight division games. I'm seeing a highly exciting December. How about you?

December will decide the Packers' regular-season fate, and three of the four December games will be played at Lambeau Field.

Lisa from Oshkosh, WI

Packers win the Super Bowl if everyone stays healthy.

I don't think it's realistic to expect everyone to stay healthy.

Lloyd from Albuquerque, NM

What impact do you think Jerry Kramer's book "Instant Replay" had on your profession, and did it influence the way you cover football today?

It helped sell professional football and contributed to the sport's rise. I also think it led to a genre of similar-type books – "Paper Lion" might be considered the father of such diary-type sports books – such as "Ball Four," a baseball classic that followed "Instant Replay." When I read "Instant Replay," I didn't know I would become a sportswriter, but I have no doubt it impacted my style of writing because I loved the book's verve. "Instant Replay" presented football in a fun and manly way. I've aspired to do the same.

Charlie from Philadelphia, PA

Vic, I thought of you as I hit the green on No. 14 at Grand Dunes yesterday. The Intracoastal Waterway provided a great backdrop for my three-putt bogey.

The pin was up and you got above it, right?

Ben from Houston, TX

Mike McCarthy's softer side has been bringing joy to my family for quite some time. My nephew has a rare undiagnosed illness that lands him in and out of the children's hospital on a regular basis. Mike McCarthy was there to visit recently and even played dinosaurs with him. A couple of years ago, my nephew had a make-a-wish day with the Packers organization and the outpouring of kindness by the Packers players and staff was touching. Clay Matthews played dinosaurs, too.

When it comes to kids, Coach McCarthy ain't so Pittsburgh tough.

Nathan from Sioux Center, IA

I'm sure many of your readers cringed when you mentioned Brandon Bostick's name. Even though his mistake contributed heavily to the Packers missing out on the Super Bowl, he's a human and he made a split-second mistake and had no chance to do it over. I feel bad for him and I hope he's doing well.

Time heals all wounds, but some wounds require a lot of time. Earnest Byner lived with such a wound. His fumble in the 1987 AFC title game in Denver made life difficult for him for a long time. Twenty years later, I talked to him about it. He had come to peace with what had happened. Whatever your hurt is from that game in Seattle, make sure you feel Bostick's, too. One day, the hurt will pass for all of us, and there will be a reunion. The will to heal is inherent in all of us. We will heal and, yes, I hurt, too.

Thomas from Park Falls, WI

Vic, what positions do you see as the most competitive for the final couple of roster spots, as things sit right now?

Wide receiver and offensive line.

Jayrone Elliott recorded 21 solo tackles, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble during his 2015 campaign. Photos by Shawn Hubbard, Jim Biever, Matt Becker,

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, with all this college talk, what are your thoughts on the NCAA as a governing body?

It's done a fantastic job with basketball.

Steve from Lexington, KY

In regards to the Marcedes Lewis reference, Chad Brown was also an animal lover, of reptiles. I'm sure all of the herpetologists out there would love to hear about any interactions Vic has had with reptiles, either in the locker room or in the low country of South Carolina.

I live on a tidal creek that empties into the sea at Jeremy Inlet. Behind me is a marsh. I have lizards on my porch – sometimes in the house – a family of skinks in the storage room and a skinny garden snake I've named Gino. I don't know why I named him Gino; he just looks like a Gino, or a Gina, maybe. All of our homes are 13 feet off the ground and open air underneath, so the carport under the house belongs to Gino as much as it belongs to me. Recently, I was working on something in the carport when Gino slithered toward me. He seems to do that when I go down there. I said, "Not now, Gino, I'm not in the mood." He stopped, turned and slithered away. I think I offended him.

Dan from Herriman, UT

Vic, just wondering if in the years you've been doing "Ask Vic," how have the questions and the fans evolved?

Among the regulars, they're more than just questions, they're a means of insinuating ourselves into each other's lives, and I invite it, enjoy it. "Ask Vic" is a fraternity and community of sorts. I love belonging to it and living in it.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Vic, the Packers win the Super Bowl if their passing attack returns to what it was two years ago.

I like that.

Luke from Toronto, Canada

Vic, can you share some funny stories from the golden years about the initiation rituals veterans had for rookies?

I don't like that stuff. I find nothing about hazing amusing. I would not permit it if I was a coach, and that especially includes the shaving of heads.

Gary from Columbus, OH

Do teams flip their tackles and pass rushers if there is a left-handed quarterback?

I haven't covered a team that's done it, and I covered a team with a left-handed quarterback. Tony Boselli was drafted to protect Steve Beuerlein's blind side, and then Mark Brunell won the starting quarterback job. Boselli remained at left tackle. Why? Because that's where the best pass rushers played. Tom Coughlin once said to me, "Do you realize what an advantage it is to never have to game plan for the opponent's best pass rusher?" Boselli stoned them all, including Bruce Smith, who didn't move to left defensive end to get on Brunell's blind side.

Tyler from Adel, IA

The Packers will win the Super Bowl if we win our one-on-ones.


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