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Here comes winter; time to run the ball

Let's take a look at the Packers secondary


Kent from Corning, IA

Is this an opportunity for the front office and the coaching staff to put players/schemes/ etc. under a microscope? This is still the NFL and the Packers are still an NFL team with 53 NFL players suited up on game day. Or does the loss of Rodgers really hurt us that bad?

The loss of Rodgers really hurts that bad.

Mason from Lowell, IN

Here is my prediction: Aaron wants to come back Sunday but he knows it will be better if he waits. Packers pull out a 31-30 victory over the Vikings and Aaron Rodgers comes back on Thanksgiving. Your thoughts?

I love drama. Can you guarantee that'll happen?

Travis from Chicago, IL

Does the winner of the turnover battle win the game this weekend? Is there more pressure on our defense to force turnovers or on the offense to not turn the ball over?

Turnovers are almost always the deciding factor in a game, but I also think rushing yards will be a deciding factor on Sunday. The weather forecast for Sunday is for the first true blast of winter. The Packers have the No. 6 rushing offense in the league. The Vikings are a dome team that'll be playing in the cold, but they have Adrian Peterson. The team that wins won't be the team that takes what the other one gives them, it'll be the team that takes what it wants. Run the ball. It's what you do when it gets cold.

Matt from Little Chute, WI

Does Sam Shields help change the Giants game at all, or does Victor Cruz still go for over 100 yards?

I'm not clairvoyant, but it's a fact that Shields is the Packers' best cover corner. It had to hurt. Injuries are a fact of football and they've been all too much a fact of this season for the Packers. At some point while this team is still alive in the playoff race, it needs to get healthy and stay healthy. Next man up? This team needs last man back.

Michael from Berlin, Germany

Vic, Tolzien seems to have a pretty strong and accurate arm. With the QB position being so overdrafted, how come he wasn't even a late-round pick?

It's my belief his mechanics were bad, and it cost him being undrafted. His mechanics are in the process of being corrected now.

Jeff from Sioux Falls, SD

In looking at the rest of the Packers schedule, it seems to me 10-6 is still very realistic, however, in looking at the schedules of the closest competitors to clinching at least a wild-card spot, a 10-6 record won't cut it. It seems we will have to win the division to make the playoffs.

I apologize for this repeating message but, as Tom Coughlin was always fond of saying, "I want to make it crystal clear." Win the three remaining division games, and finish no worse than in a tie for the division lead. That'll bring somebody to Lambeau Field in the first round of the playoffs. This is it, folks. If you're coming to Lambeau this Sunday, have your game face on.

Michael from Hampton, VA

I'm having a difficult time accepting the level of play from the defensive backfield this late in the season, even allowing for injuries. Are our defensive backs just that bad? What is your opinion of our defensive backs coach?

The defensive backs would seem to be this week's target for criticism, so let's take a deep look at the performance at that position. It has two coaches: Darren Perry is the safeties coach and Joe Whitt is the cornerbacks coach. Both are demanding, high-energy coaches. Shields has been one of Whitt's projects. Whitt challenged Shields to become a more physical player and better tackler last season, and that's exactly what happened. Under Whitt, Shields' career has blossomed. Currently, Perry and Whitt coach the league's No. 21-ranked pass defense. Last year, they took the league's No. 32-ranked pass defense in 2011 up to No. 11. So, if Perry and Whitt are to be blamed for the drop to No. 21 this season, should they also receive the credit for the move up from No. 32 to No. 11 in 2012? Did they all of a sudden become bad coaches? I don't think so. They've been without Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward for long stretches of the season. They lost Shields last week. Are injuries an excuse? No, they're a fact.

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