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Give him the yardage, not the big play

Randall, Rollins could play big roles down the stretch


Robert from Madison, WI

The NFL just hired one of the best lawyers in the country to take on the Deflategate suspension appeal. I'm really surprised they're flexing their muscles so hard on this. Are you? What does this mean going forward?

I'm not surprised the NFL is pursuing this because, in my opinion, this is about precedent. The NFL lost some enforcement capability with the last decision. It needs to recover its mojo. It's been a broad-powers, centralized ruling body that has helped make this league great. College football doesn't have it and it's hurt college football.

Justin from Titonka, IA

How will the Packers overcome their offensive struggles against one of the best defenses in the league this Sunday?

Win the one-on-ones. It always comes down to that. If you're counting on hard count and trick plays to win for you, you're fooling yourself. Those are the little things that give you diversity. It's execution of the fundamentals that wins the big games.

Randy from Medicine Hat, AB

I found a quote that may interest you, from legendary Hall of Fame coach Steve Owen of the Giants. "You can have your fancy frills, your split-T formations, your reverses, your option plays," he told his players. "It doesn't mean a bloody thing if you can't get down there on the dirt and beat the gizzard out of the guy across from you."

Thursday is gizzards day at "Po Pig's Bo-B-Q." I love gizzards. Seriously, split-T formation a fancy frill? What was once fancy is now antiquated. No matter how much the game changes, it stays the same. It's still about beating the man across from you.

Anthony from Jamestown, ND

Vic, what adjustments do you make when a receiver like Allen is exploiting your defense? Do you go to a more complex zone scheme or do you simplify it with man coverage, or do you stick with the original game plan?

If a receiver has overmatched you, you do everything you can to fix it. Maybe you take your best corner off him and cover the receiver with your No. 2 corner and a safety in bracket coverage. Or maybe you play zone and pass him off from one defender to the next as he moves through the zones. The chess match is on and sometimes you have to play that game, but a defensive coordinator knows the more he tilts the coverage toward one receiver, the more he exposes his defense against other receivers. When one guy is beating up on you, the traditional reaction is to play conservatively and not give up the big play. Give him the yardage, but don't give him the big play.

Owen from Tampa, FL

Last year, we saw Matthews move to middle linebacker after the bye. There doesn't appear to be any part of this year's team that needs such a drastic move, however, is there any player that has caught your eye in the first few weeks you believe could have a bigger role following the bye week?

I have a feeling the rookie corners, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, are going to become prominent players down the stretch.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Vic, I was watching a clip of Hank Stram. Here's a guy, short and with a squeaky voice, but he just exudes football. What a great character.

One of my favorite lines was written in a Kansas City newspaper account of the firing of Paul Wiggin, Stram's successor. It was written that the same coach's office Stram used to adjust his toupee, Wiggin used to tuck in his shirt. When words capture life, they stick with me.

Tom from Pine City, MN

Vic, what is the best part of getting to cover Packers games?

I get to cover big games. That's why I came here. I'm going to cover another one this Sunday. Big games are fun to write, and it's gratifying to know they'll be read. This is going to be a fun week for all of us. If you're afraid of big games, I don't know why you're a football fan.

Travis from Indianapolis, IN

Vic, I read the Broncos will be wearing their throwback Super Bowl XXXII uniforms to commemorate the game against the Packers. Now we have reason for revenge.

Hmmm, I'm not sure I like that.

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