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Kaepernick has been good for the game

49ers have Packers' respect


Stephen from Chicago, IL

Was there ever an opponent you covered that no matter how poorly they may have been playing in the weeks or months leading up to a game, they always seemed to have Pittsburgh's or Jacksonville's number and played lights out?

I always felt Jacksonville had Pittsburgh's number. The Jaguars always played their best football against the Steelers. The first time they played, the Jaguars won. During the '70s, the Steelers had a lot of teams' number. The Patriots have had the Steelers' number since 2001. Why do you think that is? The Packers have had the NFC North's number in the years I've been here. Why do you think that is?

Jimmy from Des Plaines, IL

At 3-0 and atop the NFC, you are best suited to answer this question. Is it hard to be humble?

It really is, especially when you have such long arms.

Andy from Eau Claire, WI

With Kaepernick having burned the Packers in the past, do you think Capers will have a player be a Kaepernick spy?

The Packers tried it; Colin Kaepernick beat it. The difference between then and now is I believe the Packers are more athletic on defense now than they were in the previous three meetings against Kaepernick. We'll see.

Mark from Seattle, WA

Vic, was there a time when drawing a defender offside with a hard count or a quarterback capitalizing on the 12th defender not getting to the sideline fast enough was considered unsportsmanlike?

No, but there was a time when doing too much of that would've put the quarterback in danger. The culture is changing.

Mike from Milwaukee, WI

Keith from Texas should also note the NBA's salary cap is expected to drastically increase in the coming seasons, which has led more players to not take a payday this year, as they plan for more lucrative contracts in the future. Athletes playing with better teammates at a discount is a feel-good story, but it's just that. If my career were as short as an average NFL player, I'd cash in, too.

I interviewed Ron Wolf at his Hall of Fame induction. I asked him to talk about signing Reggie White to a free-agent contract, and Ron talked about the hard recruiting job the Packers did on White, and then Ron said with a smile, "I still think it was the money." You bet it was, and that's the way it should be, in my opinion. Professional football is a cold game, and that's what gives me such a warm feeling about it.

Mike from Cullowhee, NC

In your 44 seasons covering NFL teams, which player capitalized most on endorsements? What made him so marketable?

Joe Greene is the most marketable player I've covered. It's because he was a lovable tough guy. Ray Nitschke had that quality. So did Lombardi. It's the football personality trait I love the most.

Chris from Wickware, WI

Grudge match for Clay? Seems like he takes it personally that Kap runs all over this defense.

I think you take it personally.

Adam from Whitewater, WI

Vic, I just listened to the conference call with Colin Kaepernick, and it has to be one of the worst interviews I've ever heard. As a journalist, how do you deal with people who refuse to say anything of value? Also, do you think Packers fans have a strong dislike for Colin?

Fortunately, Kaepernick's coach enjoys talking about football. Jim Tomsula is a treasure. I hope he has a long career as an NFL head coach because he is a conference call jewel. Even better, he's a good guy. He gets it, and I like guys who get it. Do Packers fans dislike Kaepernick? Packers fans dislike being 0-3 against him and having lost two of those games in the postseason. What has Kaepernick done wrong? He's only done to you what you're trying to do to him. I think he's a sensational athlete. He's opened the door to a new kind of offensive approach in the NFL. He's been good for the game. He's helped it grow.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, what is one word you would use to describe this team through the first three games of the season?


Lyle from Stewartville, MN

There have been more penalties this year than ever. Is the problem the refs calling the game too closely, the players trying to get away with breaking the rules, the rules themselves, or is there no problem at all?

The rulebook is too thick and includes too many interpretations. It is in extreme need of revision. We still don't know what a catch is.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I think the reason a lot of fans hate the garbage time mentality our team sometimes plays with is a result of the loss in Seattle. Sure, there were some crazy plays we should've handled to seal the win, but the logic goes that if we had kept the pressure on for four quarters, the game would not have come down to a couple of plays.

These late-game complaints have jammed my inbox since the first year I covered the team. It's the result of fans that only care about the scoreboard. They don't see the big picture. They don't see the danger in remaining aggressive. A tipped ball can change the game in a snap. They also don't see the need for a coach to protect his players. The potential for injury is constant; don't invite more of it. There's a way to play. That's why all teams practice four-minute offense. It's kill-the-clock stuff and the Packers were very good at it last season. Monday night's game ended with the Packers holding a 10-point lead and having won time of possession in the fourth quarter. I've really had enough of this. I don't respect complaints about not having won big enough. That's college football. This is the NFL.

Aaron from Post Falls, ID

So, the Bears seem to be checking out of this season, trading veterans away for draft picks. Does that kind of action make it harder for the current roster to focus on playing, thinking they could be traded away at any time?

The Bears are moving into their future, and it's exactly what I would do if the decision were up to me. That approach carries with it a message: If you want to move into the future with us, you better play for it now. I've covered teams that have used that approach to salvage seasons and create an up-arrow feeling. They're teams that were dangerous late in the season because they played with the feeling next season had already begun. Hope is a wonderful motivator, and young teams are all about hope. I'll be interested to see where the Bears are when they play here on Thanksgiving. I have a very strong feeling they'll be a team brimming with hope.

Curtis from New Ulm, MN

Any team that can come to Lambeau in 23-degree-below-zero weather and win a playoff game can't be overlooked, no matter how bad they looked last week and regardless of how good we look.

The temperature hadn't dropped that far, yet, – that wasn't until the following day, when I nearly died pumping gas – but it was near zero and I was in awe of the disregard for the cold with which Kaepernick played. He was the difference in the game. He made the plays at crunch time, when the game was on the line and the temperatures were the coldest. The 49ers have my respect, and I guarantee they have the Packers' respect, too.

Jack from Chicago, IL

Vic, yesterday you spoke of reading vs. penetrating defensive linemen. I personally prefer attacking linemen because I favor an aggressive approach on the defensive line. Can you give me some examples of some great defensive lines that used either strategy?

The "Steel Curtain" was a read-and-react, two-gapping front. The 1985 Bears were all about getting into the gaps and attacking. That's your kind of football. The "Steel Curtain" allowed 29 points and scored five shutouts in the final nine games of 1976. You'd probably accept that, right? Players, not plays.

Mike from Pickerington, OH

Vic, my 22-month-old son is forming words at a rapid pace lately. He's even putting a few words together occasionally. At bed time he said, "Go Pack Go." It's the little things in life.

I'm calling baloney on that, but I'm not saying baloney.

Adam from Washington, MO

Best moment of the evening: me waving and you waving back. Thank you for acknowledging my family from your pregame show/stage. We were the group of seven wearing Packers jerseys and cheeseheads!

They moved us off the floor of the Atrium to a perch above it, but they can't take us away from the fans. I'm gonna get one of those little Pope hats.

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