Skip to main content
Powered by

Great QBs, teams get it done at crunch time


Jeff from Jordan, MN

Vic, I think your take on deer hunting vs. watching the Packers is a little off. There is a saying that goes like this: You know you are from Wisconsin when you or someone you know has hit a deer. I have hit one, and most people I know have. I realize you are new to Wisconsin, but the deer all know one thing. They will go down, either by bow, gun, car or truck. Just keep in mind that when you are on your way to watch the game, you still got a pretty good chance of getting one for yourself.

The deer must go down, and the deer must go down hard.

Dave from Minneapolis, MN

I grew up in Green Bay and went to East High, where City Stadium was located, back in the day. I thoroughly enjoy your writing, in particular your off-the-cuff style and sarcastic sense of humor. As a journalist, do you prefer the immediacy, transparency and 24/7 nature of modern communications, or the slower, arguably more thought-out news cycle of yesteryear?

I like it the way it is now. The old way was painfully slow and cumbersome, having to drag all of that heavy equipment around. I think we are in the greatest age of communications in history, which is as it should be because each era brings new technology that allows us to reach more people with more information. There's a challenge, however, that goes with that increased speed and depth: responsible use of the technology. I'm not sure the ways we're using our technology is the equal of its capabilities. Way too much misinformation is making its way into the mainstream news cycle, and the main reason for that is that everybody has all of a sudden become a journalist. We don't seem to respect that there's a process for training people to be journalists. It's not a hobby, it's a profession.

Lori from Winona, MN

What's the difference between an All-Pro player and a Pro-Bowl player?

A player selected to the Pro Bowl is a player that's best in his conference; a player selected All-Pro is the best in the league.

George from Scranton, PA

My question is that if you were offered time to do television journalism, or even debate, would you do it? I think it would be very interesting to see you and Skip Bayless of ESPN go at it about the Packers. I think both of you do a good job of not getting too emotional about any team. Your thoughts?

I love "arguing" about football, but with one disclaimer: If I detect that at any time during the debate the person with whom I'm "arguing" is getting serious, that's the end of the debate. In other words, it's football, it's a game, and that means any kind of debate about it has to be lighthearted and easily dismissed when the debate is done. Debate about sports has to be playful to be enjoyed. That's what I seek in this column, which is to say fans that can give a shot and take a shot. This is a tough game for tough guys, and it's a tough game for tough fans, too. You have to be able to get up off the ground laughing, if you know what I mean. I would prefer those that come here angry to not come here.

Chad from River Forest, IL

I like Cris Collinsworth as a color commentator because he's willing to criticize players and plays. He, and Troy Aikman, to an extent, aren't afraid of offending anyone. What do you think makes a good color commentator?

I think a skilled analyst knows what he's seen and he's willing to tell the viewer exactly what it is he saw, without equivocation. I think it's very important that an analyst intend his remarks for the people watching the game, not for the people playing the game. That's why I like Collinsworth, who I thought was outstanding last night, and I absolutely love Johnny Miller doing golf, Scott. The golfers hate him, which is one of the reasons I love him.

Marcus from Breaux Bridge, LA

Vic, watching yesterday's game against the Bucs, there were a couple of very catchable passes dropped by both Jennings and Finley. Also, Aaron didn't seem to be as accurate as he normally is. Do you think that this is contributed by the colder weather, and can we expect to see more of this as the year goes on?

Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley got dinged late in the first half and played on. Aaron Rodgers was very introspective about his performance, and I've long considered introspection to be a quality of great players. I don't know if you can blame a not-so-clean performance on the temperatures, but I can tell you that it has been my experience that when that first cold day of the season arrives, there's a kind of shifting of gears that usually takes place, and I think that's what we saw yesterday. Balls drop out of hands and long-snappers miss the mark and kicks fade right, etc. You know what I mean? All of a sudden, a new obstacle to performance has been introduced, the cold, and players have to shift gears into cold-weather mode. Obviously, it won't be an issue in Detroit on Thursday, but the cold will likely be a factor, again, in New York in a couple of weeks. For the Packers, there's no escaping it; they play in Green Bay. As Lombardi said, it's cold, we're playing, deal with it.

Jordan from Antigo, WI

When the Packers punted, Jarrett Bush grabbed the football to down it at the 1-yard line, but because he initially touched it at the 7-yard line, they put it at the 7, yet, I've seen plays when the refs mark it as a touchback when a player has touched the ball at the 1-yard line but the ball has then gone into the end zone. What is the rule?

The spot of the ball goes back to the point of first touching. Between the 7-yard line and 1-yard line, any player from the Bucs team could've attempted to scoop the ball and run with it without risking of losing it; did you see the Bucs player hanging around the ball? As for touchbacks, the ball must be controlled without it landing in the end zone for it to go back to the point of first touching.

Cody from Griswold, IA

With Detroit's reputation as a dirty team, could you see them maybe trying to injure Aaron on purpose if they can get their shots?

No, I don't think they'll try to injure anyone on purpose, but I think they'll try to hit everyone as hard as possible on purpose.

Diego from South Gate, CA

What are your thoughts about players hurdling over other players? It seems like a defender can have a serious neck injury if caught underneath.

If I was Raheem Morris, I would have a conversation with LeGarrette Blount today that would heartily encourage, make that forbid, him from attempting to hurdle defenders. When you have Blount's power, you should always run through defenders because that's what they fear. When you leap into the air, defenders breathe a sigh of relief. I forget who it was, but one of the Packers' defensive backs was in one of those frozen-in-time moments on Sunday; it was just him and Blount in the open field and I thought to myself that he still had time to say a short prayer before impact. It's a terrible feeling. You know you're going to get mowed down like high grass, but you have to stand there and take it because football is first and foremost a game of courage. All of a sudden, Blount leaped into the air. I was so happy for the defensive back. Blount is a man. His 54-yard touchdown run was an Earl Campbell moment.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

With Starks potentially out this week, do you think Grant and Saine could surprise everybody with a respectable running game?

I have no doubt that Ryan Grant can carry the load. My concern isn't for who's doing it, my concern is for just doing it. I think the Packers need to get more out of their running game. I saw evidence yesterday that Tampa Bay ignored it and focused on the pass. I saw evidence that the Bucs were stopping the run on the way to the quarterback. It's Thanksgiving. It's time to run the ball.

Bob from Cedar Rapids, IA

I know the days of one bar across the face of a player's helmet are long gone, but when did the facemasks start getting really customized? Who would you say started this era of funky facemasks?

I saw a perceptible ramping up of the facemask in the '90s, and the helmet industry has started taking it to new heights recently, with the proliferation of so many helmet designs. It's getting to the point that some of the players might as well just put diving bells on their heads.

John from Fredericksburg, VA

Do you think Raji's touchdown was just a setup for later in the season, so defenses honor the threat of his carrying the ball when he's actually in to block?

I'm not sure what it is, but I know what it does: The moment he enters the game, the energy in the building goes up. Fans love it and the energy it causes creates a kind of sense of urgency that is just what a coach wants on the goal line. I don't think the design is any kind of big deal, but the energy it brings is.

Robert from Harvel, IL

Why do you think McCarthy chose to pass on first down with a nine-point lead when Rodgers threw the interception?

Isn't that what everybody wants to do, attack and put 'em away? Isn't that the way to finish an opponent off?

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

I've got a buck that says your email box is filled with doom and gloom today. I think Packers fans everywhere need you to talk them off the ledge. What did you like most about Sunday's victory?

I liked what they did at crunch time. For me, it's always about crunch time. Great quarterbacks and great teams get it done at crunch time. Rodgers and the Packers got it done. They answered the challenge. Nothing beats that quality in a quarterback and in a team.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.