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It doesn't matter where Clay Matthews plays

Packers' fan base means never losing


Chris from Hannover, Germany

You risk the wind chill. Love your coverage of soccer. You won me as a daily reader from the start. Thanks for teaching perspective and opinion. Just win, baby!

As Joe Namath said, I'm just trying to get by.

John from Bloomington, MN

The Packers are pretty thin at tight end. What is the difference between lining up a bigger receiver who can block a bit (Jones or Adams) vs. one of the younger tight ends? It almost seems like with Lacy at RB you're better off forcing the defense to have extra DBs in the game vs. linemen or LBs.

If you line up a wide receiver tight to the formation, he'll get his head knocked off. If you line him up so he's not tight to the formation, he's not a tight end, he's a wide receiver. I get the feeling you're not looking for a tight end, you're looking for another wide receiver.

PackMan from Indianapolis, IN

I love khakis, helmets with revolving lights, shrimp, silk pajamas, Tony Boselli, loud cheering, running the ball, golf and old football players in general, but especially Steelers. I hate soccer, cold gas stations, excessive passing and replay review. Is that enough to get me a trip to the Thanksgiving game? What say you?

You're banned.

Greg from Appleton, WI

How is it Packers fans could get the Chargers to have to use their silent count in San Diego, but we have to be persuaded to make noise at home games? Get loud Lambeau.

This is why "Ask Vic" is the best daily sports column in football. Congratulations, you are the "Cenex Question of the Day" winner. Maybe it's the cheese.

Megan from Delafield, WI

The Chargers have several receivers averaging over 10 yards a catch. Our secondary has gotten burned on some deep balls this season, though mostly in garbage time. Who do you think the Packers have to worry the most about on Sunday, on our side and theirs?

You're actually looking for something about which you can worry? Why? I'm not worried.

Joel from Omaha, NE

Based on your appreciation of blue, do you prefer the Chargers' old blue or the newer navy blue? What is your favorite blue uniform of all time?

Why would they abandon that beautiful baby blue? It's so San Diego. The uniforms they're wearing now look like they're from the Northeast. The Chargers and Rams had the most beautiful uniforms in football, and they abandoned them for no reason. The Rams won a Super Bowl in those uniforms. Why would you change that identity? I liked the Rams' royal blue uniform a little better than the Chargers' baby blue togs, but they were both stunning. If I was made the president of either franchise, the first thing I would do is go back to the old uniforms.

Tyler from Park Falls, WI

Given how loud the Steelers fans were on Monday and the effect they had on the Chargers, how invaluable is it for a team to have fans that fill not only their own stadiums, but also their opponents'?

This is a relatively new phenomenon. Yeah, Steelers fans traveled when I was covering them in the '70s, but that was almost exclusively to Cleveland and Cincinnati, or other nearby places. Now, we have Steelers and Packers fans taking over stadiums in faraway places such as San Diego. Why is this happening? It's because the NFL has successfully marketed itself as a national product. There are more Packers fans outside Wisconsin than there are within the state. Fans are choosing favorite teams for reasons other than geography. The Packers are the team of the small town. They attract fans that identify with small-town values. The Steelers are the team of the blue-collar worker. They attract fans that identify with the values of an hourly wage. The true value these huge fan bases provide to teams such as the Packers and Steelers is an identity that puts them at the top of professional sports, even in years when they're not at the top of the standings. When you have that kind of support, you never lose and the future is always bright. How valuable was that kind of support to the Packers and Steelers in San Diego? Neither team wins without it. That's how valuable it is.

Kevin from Westport, WA

Vic, after the offensive concerns last year, Aaron came out and reminded us why he was the best. Do you expect that sort of thing this week?


Keith from Eagle Lake, MN

I've been a Packers fan over 50 years. I wasn't overly thrilled with the Favre departure and how it was handled. After reading your column the last few years, I respect your views and have come to respect the decision and those involved. Thank you. I do have a question. Rodgers said the offense has been struggling the last couple of weeks. What would Coach Vic do to get over the hump, so to speak?

Run the ball. Run it and run it and run it. The Chargers are No. 29 against the run. This is a perfect opportunity to get Eddie Lacy back on track and gashing his way back into the film rooms of the Packers' future opponents. This is the last chance to show the Broncos what No. 27 can do to you if you don't get that eighth defender down into the box. You wanna pass the ball? Then run it.

Dave from Nicholasville, KY

Explain the rash of illegal formation penalties. That seems like the most trivial waste of time in viewing a game.

The big reason for it right now is tackles setting too far off the line of scrimmage. They're trying to create some space between themselves and the speed rusher across from them. Everybody's trying to get an edge. The officials' job is to make it fair for everyone according to the rules. Who do the fans blame? The officials. Maybe the tackles shouldn't try to get an edge.

Michelle from Beaver Dam, WI

Vic, what will your lede be after the game?

Now, they rest, and then it begins.

Jason from West Allis, WI

Vic, the left side of the Chargers offensive line is in rough shape from injuries. Do you foresee Matthews playing a lot of time outside to take advantage, or spending more time in the middle to foster winnable matchups across more of the field?

You know what I've come to realize? It doesn't matter whether Clay Matthews plays inside or outside. Why? Because he's playing outside even when he's playing inside. What I'm saying is he's not being used as an inside linebacker is normally used. Inside linebackers don't rush the passer nearly as often as Matthews did against the Rams. Inside linebackers tend to be used as run-stuffers. They're also used to drop into coverage against backs and tight ends in the check-down zones. Outside linebackers tend to be the stars of a 3-4 defense, not inside linebackers. Matthews is the star of this defense wherever he plays. As I wrote the other day, he's being used by Dom Capers as Troy Polamalu was used by Dick LeBeau, which is to say in every way possible. Why didn't I get this? Don't think position, think function.

Json from Rockton, IL

What made the "Packers Sweep" so successful? I think it had to be the players because our opponents knew it was coming but we still found a way to make it work.

It was also Lombardi's unwavering commitment to that play. It was his and his team's identity. That play set the table for everything the Packers did. It was also the symbol of what it took to win and be a Packers player, commitment to execution. Great teams have such identities. The Steelers ran the traps. The 49ers ran "Sprint Right Option." The Cowboys ran the lead draw with Emmitt. Everybody knew those plays were coming, but nobody could stop them. That's what made those teams great. They didn't take what you gave them. They took what they wanted.

Eric from Denver, CO

Describe the style of play that has defined each decade in the Super Bowl era, using only a single word.

The '60s: Lombardi. The '70s: violence. The '80s: NFC. The '90s: change. The 2000 decade: Brady. This decade: safety.

Blair from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, what skills and attributes must a player possess to be considered a boundary or deep threat receiver?

Tall speed tends to define boundary receivers. The defensive back is likely to be on the receiver's inside shoulder. The receiver needs to be able to go up over the defender.

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