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Don't be fooled by Chargers' record


Robbie from Charlotte, NC

Tedy Bruschi was quoted as saying "the loss in the Super Bowl after going 18-0 was the worst loss of my career." What is the worst loss you have ever witnessed?

The loss of my father. Football is just a game. I think we need to keep our emotions for football in proper perspective. It's meant to give us happiness and entertainment. When it does that, revel in it. Don't allow it to give you sadness. Move on to something else until happiness returns.

Zach from Washington, DC

Watching this past Monday night game, it seems to me the best way to beat the Chargers is to shut down their pass. Do you agree?

Yeah, I would agree. They're sixth in the league in pass-offense. The Chargers' problem is they are 28th in percentage of passes intercepted. In other words, they're prolific, but not efficient. If they become efficient, look out. I wouldn't, however, overlook their running game, which is 13th in the league. That's very high for a team that throws the ball as much as the Chargers do. This is a good team. Don't be fooled by its record. This is a veteran, playoff-contending team with big-time weapons on offense. In my mind, this is a Super Bowl contender.

Bill from The Villages, FL

I know people on the practice squad come and go but it would be interesting if you could give us your thoughts on the story surrounding C/G Cecil Newton, who was in Green Bay such a short time.

He doesn't throw the ball nearly as well as his brother does.

Travis from Paddock Lake, WI

What makes certain plays unavailable for challenges from coaches? A lot of times, these plays are important and could be game-changers, but can't be challenged and we aren't told why. This doesn't make sense to me.

Black-and-white decisions are reviewable; penalties such as pass interference are not. Touchdowns and receptions and whether or not a passer had crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw a pass, for example, are reviewable because TV can offer conclusive evidence to confirm or overrule an official's decision. Holding and blocks in the back, for example, are not reviewable because they involve the judgment of the game officials and the league wants to maintain the philosophy of the officials being part of the game. Football is a human confrontation that includes human triumphs and human failings. We must accept both. This is a game, not a science.

John from Galloway, WI

I love how, in the team photo, Rodgers and Flynn continue the goofiness that they have started in the captain photos (it's there, you just need to look for it). It's hard to put a value on a good attitude but, based on these photos, it looks like our quarterbacks are having a great time. Do you think that factors into the feeling of team and, thus, the success of the Packers?

The Packers win because the quarterbacks goof around in photos? I can't help but think of something Chuck Noll liked to say: "Football is a scoreboard business. When you win, everything you say and do is right." Just win, baby. Nobody goofs around in team photos when you're losing, right?

Randall from Circus City, OK

Are we watching the most prolific Packers offense ever? It's amazing sometimes.

It's the most prolific offense I've ever covered and my guess is that it compares favorably to the Packers' 1996 and '97 teams' offenses. We must remember, though, that we are in an age of offense. A lot of franchises are setting records on offense. The Saints are averaging 43 passes a game. That's extraordinary. The Steelers threw 50 passes against New England. I covered a game when Franco Harris rushed 41 times, but 50 passes would've been cause for great shame back then. The winning team in the last two Super Bowls has scored 31 points. By comparison, from Super Bowl III-VII, both teams combined didn't score 31 points. The last seven Super Bowl MVP awards have been won by offensive players. Between Super Bowl V-XII, defense claimed three Super Bowl MVP awards. This is why I don't like comparing eras. We're talking about different games. If you use the stats of the offensive players of past eras as an argument for electing today's players to the Hall of Fame, then everybody gets in.

Sal from Philadelphia, PA

If one has the number of an eligible receiver but wants to line up in a position of a non-eligible receiver, does he have to report? Say a tight end has to play tackle due to injury, or some kind of unbalanced line scheme.

The rule is the same for players with eligible-receiver numbers wanting to play an ineligible-receiver position as it is for players with ineligible-receiver numbers wanting to play an eligible-receiver position. In each case, they have to report their intention to the referee before the play begins.

Julian from Memphis, TN

Clay is not having as spectacular a year as he did last season, yet, I feel he is just as effective. Do statistics play on a player's mind? Some contracts compensate you for stats. Is the coaching staff pleased with this year's performance?

Mike McCarthy has spoken glowingly of Clay Matthews' performance. The problem with living by the sack is that it becomes the gauge by which you are judged. I'm sure it preys on a player's mind when his esteem and identity are attached to the almighty sack and the sacks aren't coming. I know coaches that like to use the term "sack god" and it's become that. We judge a player in a sacks role solely by his sacks, and it just doesn't tell the story of his effectiveness as a football player. By the same token, I don't see any of the "sackers" saying don't judge me by my sacks total when they're getting a lot of sacks. It is what it is. Judge for yourself.

Brown from Ashland, WI

In regards to the whole trading Matt Flynn scenario, when the new league year starts in March, he won't be under contract. You obviously have to be under contact to be traded. My question is, would it be a good idea to franchise him and then try to trade him?

Yeah, that's possible, but you'd have to know you could trade him because the franchise tag for a quarterback is very, very high and the moment he signs the tender, that money is guaranteed.

Tim from Cincinnati, OH

Which division do you think is the best division in football?

I don't think there's one that jumps out at me. Five of the eight divisions have three teams over .500.

Trey from Jacksonville, FL

If the league is so worried about the safety of the players, then why are some teams like the Texans allowed to run zone-blocking schemes where they have to cut-block? I have seen a number of players go down with torn ACLs and broken legs.

All teams are allowed to run zone-blocking schemes. Teams that cut-block don't like being cut-blocked, so cut 'em.

Kaye from Beit Shemesh, Israel

With the Packers at 7-0 and the Saints struggling, do you think we can finally put the offseason player workout issue to rest?

We must've really been bored during the lockout because the player-only workouts debate is the most ridiculous story I've seen the media cover in all of the years I've covered the NFL. Every day, I got questions from fans panicked that the Packers weren't conducting player-only workouts. I'd say don't worry about it, and the next day the questions would increase in number and intensity. The media, and I'm talking specifically about the former players that are in the media because they're the ones that created this mania, did fans a disservice. The Packers are only one of the teams that are proof that an issue didn't exist.

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