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Linebackers define Chiefs pass rush

Halloween and Thanksgiving are the checkpoints


Tyler from Citrus Springs, FL

Vic, I'm not sure if you read other reporters, but I loved Peter King's interview with Larry Fitzgerald. He expounds on two things you've been saying for years: The real season doesn't start until Thanksgiving, and he doesn't resent young receivers stepping up, because it's a game of youth and replacement.

Fitzgerald finishing second in the 2003 Heisman Trophy balloting was an embarrassment to the voters.

Mark from Racine, WI

Vic, we're now into the second preseason. When do you think we'll see teams get into the season groove and see what they really are?

I've been impressed by what I've seen in the first two weeks of the season. The level of play has been much higher this year than it was through two weeks of last season. The Packers have to clean up the penalties, but just about everything else looks good. I've always considered Halloween to be the first checkpoint in the season. It's the football equivalent of Memorial Day in baseball. I think we begin to get an idea of who the championship contenders are. Thanksgiving is the football equivalent of the Fourth of July. If you're not in the hunt on Thanksgiving, December is going to be a very cold month for you.

Derek from South Point, OH

Week 1 was worry and Week 2 was revenge. What's the mood of the inbox this week?

The inbox ate the pizza. I'm glad it doesn't have to play the game.

Stephen from Bristol, UK

Vic, my question is this: Without the rules changes of 1978, specifically the 5-yard chuck rule, would quality wide receivers be a dime a dozen in today's game?

Did bump-and-run coverage put a greater premium on wide receivers? Yes, it did, because you had to find guys with the size and strength to bang with the big corners, and the speed to separate from them.

Ben from Alameda, CA

Best pair from Cal: Aaron Rodgers and Tony Gonzalez? Am I missing someone before my time?

Joe Kapp?

Nathan from Eau Claire, WI

What are you looking for most in the upcoming Packers game?

Continued toughness by the Packers defense. I really like the grit I saw in the first two games.

Ryan from Tooele, UT

Vic, I'm putting the Seattle win behind us and looking forward to the Chiefs. I'm feeling a bit nervous about facing that pass rush. What will you be looking for this Monday night?

Tamba Hali has one of the best motors I've ever seen. He's the energizer on that defense and he's been difficult for the Packers to block. On the left side, Justin Houston has three sacks. How the Packers play against those two linebackers, in my opinion, will define the game.

Don from Torrington, CT

Vic, any chance of a letdown on Monday night after the big win on Sunday?

In the four-plus years I've covered this team, I've never seen the Packers not focused and ready to play. If anything, the Packers were too ready for the opener in Seattle in 2014, and I think that was mostly the result of an entire summer of hype for the game. Mike McCarthy and his staff are masters of preparation. Coach McCarthy will have his team ready to play on Monday night.

Bernie from Chesterfield, VA

Why don't we see more quarterbacks use the pump fake?

It's one more beat the pass rush has for getting to the quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is the master of the pump fake. He's also been one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league.

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