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Does wildcat make sense for Packers?


Matt from Cupar, Scotland

What was the first thought that went through your head when you saw Rodgers diving in to recover the fumble?

My first thought was "get the ball." I never considered injury. When I started getting questions to our in-game chat about Aaron Rodgers going after the fumble, I think I responded that I would've been disappointed had he not done it. When Mike McCarthy said he wasn't a fan of what Rodgers did, another little part of me died inside. I hate to think the sensitivity for injuries has reached the point that we're playing not to get hurt. I can remember from when I was a kid a big sign at the mill entrance proclaiming how many days it had been since the last accident. Are we going to start hanging that sign at the entrance of football stadiums? Lombardi preached reckless abandon. I've always considered it to be the foundation of the game. With apologies to the commissioner, on this subject I will not change.

Steve from Paso Robles, CA

On the play where Clay was injured, I thought a Cardinals player stepped on him while he was on the ground. Did you see that?

I didn't, but I'm not doubting it happened. Football players tend to be mean-spirited, in a playful kind of way. I have no doubt Clay will return the favor someday, playfully, of course.

Jessica from La Crosse, WI

I was told you went to college with Nick Saban of the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide. How come you look so much older than him?

I dye my hair gray. Nick chose to leave his brown.

Andy from Oak Park, IL

Am I the only one who absolutely hates it when players push each other around after a play?

I hate it when they push each other around during the play.

Anthony from Incheon, Korea

Vic, there's something about the very extensive military pageantry in the NFL (and sports in general) these days that just doesn't sit well with me. I think there is a distinct line between a meaningful tip of the hat and propaganda, and the sports world's recent efforts feel more and more like the latter. I come from a family with a history of service, so I know our military is filled with many great Americans who are worthy of admiration and praise … but a lot of these sports tributes seem to be implying that anything military needs to be celebrated. Let's just tone it down a bit. What say you?

I say that you are a man who holds service to country in such esteem that you are vigilant in protecting it from exploitation. What I will ask you to understand is that most of us aren't as closely related to the military as you are, and for us the military is something we hold in awe and we feel a need to express that emotion. This has become especially true since the events of 9-11, because our homeland was attacked and that made war much more poignant and easily understood. It stimulated a surge in patriotism and appreciation for the military, and the best part about that surge is that there's never been a better time to be a soldier. If there's a military man or woman on a commercial flight, the pilot thanks him and the flight attendants treat him or her with special attention. That's what the NFL is doing. It's with all good intentions, Anthony, and here's the best part of that tribute the Packers paid on Sunday: As Mike and I were doing our "Final Thoughts" video on Friday, an army of volunteers were taping the placards to the seats in Lambeau Field that would provide that stunning visual salute to our military. I have a nephew who is a Navy pilot in Afghanistan. I hope he reads these words.

Justin from New York, NY

Is Eli Manning really an elite QB when he has only one touchdown pass in the last three games? I can't remember the last time Rodgers, Brees or Brady threw only one touchdown in a three-game span.

He's an elite quarterback because he has two Super Bowl rings. He's an elite quarterback because Eli Manning gets it done at crunch time, especially at the ultimate crunch time.

Derek from Boulder, MT

Would Mike McCarthy ever consider running the wildcat with Cobb?

Yeah, he might, but it's difficult for me to imagine what the gain would be. Don't the Packers pose a more significant threat of gain with Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb in the backfield together, than they would with just Cobb in the backfield?

Josh from Santa Monica, CA

Vic, what injuries are you nursing during the bye week?

I injured my right thumb on Sunday while doing the in-game chat. I missed the space bar and jammed my thumb into the desk top. I'll know more later in the week.

Chad from Janesville, WI

The QB-coach relationship was mentioned in your last column and as a fan looking in from the outside, I think Rodgers-McCarthy is the best in football. I almost enjoy watching the two of them interact more than the game itself. Always on the same page, constant communication, mutual respect. What do you see that we don't that speaks to the success of their relationship?

I see all of that, too. I also see two men that share a vision for how offense should be played. I think that's the biggest part of their relationship. I don't want to get too mushy about this kind of stuff because I'm not big on the love thing in football. I once interviewed Terry Bradshaw in his training camp dorm room, about his relationship with Chuck Noll, whose room was directly across the hall from Bradshaw's. The door was open and all of a sudden Bradshaw picked up his guitar and started singing real loud. When he finished, he smiled and said, "He likes to take a nap at this time every day." I kind of liked that. It's not a game for the well-adjusted.

Nick from Kiln, MS

I think the Packers should take Cobb off punt return duty, if not both return duties. I would rather have him playing for 5-10 great years than one or two spectacular years, not to mention Randall is a human being. You sounded very business end of footballish rather than looking at the risk involved with the extra wear and tear from all the plays scripted for him and the very high-speed collisions. I get that he provides a home run threat and will almost certainly give you great field position, but to me it is better to have him on offense alone.

In other words, don't try to be the best you can be. Save it for the prom, right? You might be right.

Caleb from Anamosa, IA

Do you think the Packers have enough depth to make a deep run into the playoffs this year, considering all of the injuries?

I expect them to make a deep run. I'll be disappointed if they don't.

Nik from Euless, TX

Vic, what did you think of the Packers fans booing at McCarthy's decision not to score again on the final drive? On TV it was noted and they focused on McCarthy's reaction to the booing.

Packers fans have a wonderful innocence about them. They wanted the Packers to score again because they like to see the Packers score. It's what makes them happy. In most stadiums, fans would've been satisfied that the spread had been covered, and half the stadium would've been empty.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

Why isn't Jon Gruden coaching?

I think he will again someday, but why rush it? He's got a great job. Jimmy Cannon said he chose to be a sports writer because he liked being in happy places. Every week, Gruden goes to a happy place. Coaching isn't always a happy place. Is Romeo Crennel having fun? Andy Reid? Mike Mularkey? Rex Ryan? I thought Bill Cowher would be back in coaching by now, but he doesn't appear to be in a hurry, either. TV is a good gig.

Andrew from Arlington, MA

Who do you think is going to get the most carries from here on out, Green or Starks?

Last year, James Starks had 133 carries and Ryan Grant had 134. In a perfect world, I think Mike McCarthy would like to achieve that same kind of balance with Green and Starks. They have very different styles, and that's a good thing in keeping a defense honest.

Sean from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I just found out I have an offer for a sweet job in Seattle. How can I accept it if the sight of a Seahawk now makes me die a little inside?

Now you're going to find out what it's like to be a pro.

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