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Is football still first and foremost a running game?

Packers must stop the run in Arizona


Trevor from Waukesha, WI

In the 1948 season, the NFL made plastic helmets illegal. The rule was enacted because it was argued they were being used more as a weapon than for protection. I thought this was interesting. What major rule changes do you see coming in the future that could drastically change the game?

I don't think rules changes can fix the problem. The helmet has caused the problem, and the helmet has to fix the problem. Somebody will discover a cure.

Brian from Las Vegas, NV

Don't you think Rodgers has to play a near-perfect game for the Packers to win?

Yes, he does, and I believe that's his goal. This is a quality football team the Packers are going to face on Saturday. The Cardinals are the best team I've seen this year. I'm tingling with excitement for this game.

Joe from Clio, MI

Vic, the Redskins are exploring the possibility of building a new stadium. FedExField is 19 years old. Are stadiums more important than television?

That's not the issue. In my opinion, the location of FedExField is the issue. It's not easily reached, it offers little in the way of land development, and it's in the opposite direction of its fan base. The Redskins need to be closer to their Virginia fan base and the explosive growth in the north Virginia suburbs, the site of the team's headquarters and practice facility.

Brad from Frisco, TX

Vic, I love your great insight and quips. Did I understand you correctly, that if a team wins the opening toss and elects to take the ball, then in the second half they will get to choose which goal to defend? I always thought it alternated quarter by quarter throughout the game.

That's not what I said. Here's how the coin toss works: The winner of the coin toss has the option to kick, receive, defend a goal or defer its choice. Once the coin-toss winner exercises an option, it's the other team's turn to exercise an option. To start the second half, if the coin-toss winner hadn't deferred its choice to begin the game, the coin-toss loser has first choice, and then the coin-toss winner makes its election. The Packers won the toss in Washington. If Coach McCarthy had deferred his choice, he likely would've elected to receive to start the second half. The Redskins would then exercise their option, which likely would've been to defend a goal that would put the wind at their backs in the fourth quarter. Just remember this: I pick, you pick, and never, ever kick to the clock.

Ryan from Salt Lake City, UT

Vic, this question is submitted via Android. What is your eating schedule like?

I'm on a see it, eat it schedule. I don't know what the android's schedule is. I've never seen him eat.

Daniel from Fort Worth, TX

Vic, on the subject of college football and the draft will there be a QB in this draft worthy of a top-five draft pick?

Tony Pauline says his top-rated quarterback right now is Paxton Lynch of Memphis. Tony has a mid-first-round grade on Lynch but says he could rise quickly if he has a strong combine. Lynch is coming out as a junior. Tony also said the guy to watch at the Senior Bowl is Carson Wentz of North Dakota St. He has a lot of momentum and with a strong Senior Bowl he could begin a Joe Flacco-like rise.

Dustin from Jacksonville, FL

I'm confused by your answer to Tom. If nine of the league's top 10 run defenses are in the playoffs, doesn't that mean you better be able to throw the ball?

It means as much as the league attempts to tilt the game toward passing the football, stopping the run is still very important, and the Packers better do it on Saturday night. Maybe Lombardi is still right. Maybe all these years later, football is still first and foremost a running game. I don't think I believe that to be true, but the stats tell another story. Are they lying?

Ryan from Columbia, MO

If it's Brady, not plays, then it must also be Cassel, not plays?

OK, it's time to quash this ridiculous argument. No. 1, the 2008 Patriots didn't make it into the playoffs, despite having the easiest schedule in the league. That's right, No. 32 in strength of schedule. Their opponents were a scintillating 99-157. They only played five teams with a record of .500 or better. They played one of the easiest schedules in history. The league's most difficult schedule that year belonged to the Steelers, 153-103, and the Steelers won the Super Bowl and beat Matt Cassel and the Patriots in New England, 33-10. So, you wanna build an argument for plays, not players based on one non-playoff season against a schedule of stiffs? Sorry, not in this column. You may return to your Madden game now.

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