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Dom Capers being creative with Datone Jones

Plays, not players is a dangerous message to send


Jeff from West Allis, WI

"That man traveled 15 hours by bus to say that?" Three references to Slap Shot in two days? Did you watch the best hockey movie of all time recently?

It's all part of the experience, Jeff.

John from Ashburn, VA

Vic, what's wrong with celebrating?

When you celebrate, you cash in your investment. Never sell; only buy.

Michael from Phoenix, AZ

Vic, I understand your view on patience; the season is long. My frustration comes from the appearance every season there are a number of games in which the team seems to just show up. I understand not every game will be won, but is it unreasonable to expect a full effort and proper preparation every game?

The Packers have been properly prepared and have given a full effort for every game this season. So have the other teams. That's why it's called a competition. As fans, we are entitled to nothing more.

Jay from Darien, CT

Vic, you referred to the Packers as a team in win-now mode. I thought we were the team with a draft-and-develop philosophy made to be good year in and year out.

OK, win now and win later, but the point I was trying to make is this is a team widely predicted to compete for a title this season. That might be on the line in the next two games. We can't know that for sure until the season is over, but it's possible we'll look back on these next two games as the games that defined the season. Pinch yourself before kickoff on Sunday. Now is the time to achieve FULL ALERTNESS.

Mark from Tuscaloosa, AL

Vic, I saw something about Datone Jones splitting reps at outside linebacker. Is there any truth to this and, if so, what do you think the plan is for him?

Coach Capers is being creative. He's trying to find new and different ways to get to the quarterback. As I've written recently, the Packers are in a tough spot with Clay Matthews on the inside. He's getting caught up in the wash and the Packers need to either find a replacement inside or find a rusher outside. Maybe Jones will be that difference-maker outside, as Matthews was the difference-maker inside last season.

Will from Bethesda, MD

Vic, you often claim the issues we're seeing don't have anything to do with the schemes or play-calling, but with the execution. I'm not saying I disagree with you, but I'm curious to know what things you look for or see to indicate it actually could be the plays or schemes. In other words, how do you analyze the difference between faults in execution and scheme?

If I see Lawrence Taylor isolated on a third-string rookie tackle all day, without giving the tackle help, that's a bad scheme. Scheme, in my opinion, is all about how you attack personnel. The kind of schemes and play-calling most of the critics in this column espouse are about scheming schemes. Good game-planning and play-calling schemes personnel, not schemes. The Packers' play-calling is not only not the problem, it's part of the solution. When the Packers win those personnel matchups, they'll begin winning the games again.

Mark from Roanoke, IL

It's been said after nine or 10 years players begin to tune out a coach, no matter how good that coach is. Do you believe there is any truth to that?

Absolutely not, as long as the message is sound and repeating.

Tom from London, England

"I'm seeing partly sunny and 35 at kickoff, but this is a late start so temps will drop and we'll finish in the dark." What a beautiful bit of writing. I'm not sure if you intended it to be. It has some Hemingway about it. Now tell us what the weather will be like in the style of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

To see a football game is to witness a man's life.

Mike from Noblesville, IN

Has a Tom Brady team ever gone through anything like what the Packers have the past three games?

The 2002 Patriots.

Bryce from Las Vegas, NV

Vic, I usually like and respect your opinions and enjoy reading "Ask Vic." I even send in questions on a regular basis, even though for some asinine reason you never post them. With that said, your answer to the "what rule would you change?" and your answer of offensive players helping the runner has to be the most insight- and perspective-lacking answer I have ever heard from you. Really? I find this ludicrous, especially after how many times you have lambasted the pass interference rule. Did you just grasp at the first unintelligent answer you could find to fill out your article?


Zach from Minneapolis, MN

Even when we were winning earlier this season, we relied on chicanery with free plays. It's troubling how many touchdowns were scored that way.

That's the problem with that stuff. You can't count on it.

Dennis from Cameron, WI

The Packers offense seems very predictable to my wife, who is not a football expert, and to me, a very watchful fan. Perhaps a few new wrinkles would be in order.

My problem is the Packers offense doesn't seem at all predictable; I don't know what they're going to run. When I know what's coming, everything will be fine.

Mike from McFarland, WI

Turn your lights on for when the team comes home, Vic.

The Packers charter should be passing over Green Bay about 2½ hours after the game is over on Sunday. I'll take a look. I'd love to see Green Bay leave the lights on, and I hope it's to celebrate a win. We need some of that old-time feeling to return. We've lost a lot of it the past three weeks.

Michael from Fresno, CA

Vic, someone asked if the Packers lose do you think they need to win out to make the playoffs. The Packers currently hold a two-game lead (and tiebreaker) over the seventh seed. The fans with midseason panic taking over should realize that.

I was asked in my chat on Friday how many games the Packers need to win to make it into the playoffs. It's the last answer.

Justin from Pasadena, CA

People keep mentioning receiver speed. Why not find a Usain Bolt with hands?

Speed is a precious commodity. It'll keep a guy in the league for a long time. I covered a player named Dwight Stone. He was a great guy and he was as fast as any player I have ever covered. I remember him catching a deep pass in Denver. He was all alone, nothing but green grass in front of him, but his feet began moving so quickly that he lost control of them and they ran out of bounds. We teased him about it and true to his humble nature, he laughed at his misfortune. Dwight began his career as a running back. He was insensitively known as "Hands of Stone," but he worked and worked on those hands and softened them enough to play 14 years in the NFL, most of those years as a wide receiver. The moral of the story is this: Big and fast is best; if it's big or fast, take fast.

Brian from Hopkins, MN

Do you think Coach McCarthy should take over the play-calling?

I answered this question in long form earlier this week. Here's the short answer: If he takes back play-calling, he sends a message to his players it's plays, not players. That's a dangerous message.

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