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No team getting more respect than Packers


Robert from Orlando, FL

In a blowout such as the Broncos game, why doesn't Coach McCarthy play Matt Flynn more to give him more experience and keep him polished?

I've never covered a coach that would've pulled Aaron Rodgers much earlier in the game than when Mike McCarthy did. Why not? Because coaches are fearful of the message it sends, that the game is over and all that's left to do is go through the motions. Maybe there's not enough time for the other team to mount a comeback, but there's still the worry about letting up and getting injured. You're trying to engrain in your team the concept of 60-minute football, not 50 minutes' worth.

Bill from Asheville, NC

How come we still see coaches/players flipping through pictures of offensive/defensive plays on the sidelines? Wouldn't it be more practical to use something like an I-Pad? My guess is the NFL mandates what teams can use?

Your guess is correct. Videos aren't permitted on the sideline. The degree of visual-aid technology on the sideline is limited to still pictures. I guess the NFL doesn't want football to turn into a video game.

Ray from Bakersfield, CA

Rodgers is just as good as I thought. How lucky are we? Does he have any weaknesses in his game? I sure don't see them.

Of all the beautiful completions he threw on Sunday, the one that made me shake my head was a short pass to Greg Jennings that gained 18 yards during the Packers' touchdown drive at the end of the first half. Rodgers threw the pass flat-footed and with a flick of his wrist, but the ball was there in a flash and right on target. I've only covered one other quarterback that could throw flat-footed like that and flick his passes: Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw, however, was a bigger-looking guy. He had a powerful physique and you expected the ball to come out with that kind of force and quickness. Rodgers is bigger than he looks but, at first glance, you don't expect him to have that kind of arm strength, but he does. He has a great arm. I don't think his raw tools are appreciated enough. I see no weakness in his game, but I would sure like to see him take fewer hits.

Pat from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, you were right about the ground-and-pound game strategy when up multiple scores in the latter half of the game. The Week 3 Patriots, Week 3 Vikings and Week 4 Cowboys, among others that didn't necessarily lose the game but let their opponent back in through aerial mishaps, are proof that sticking with your successful passing game for all four quarters can turn bitterly sour.

If you can do it with the pass, go ahead and do it. Whatever it takes, but there are ways to play and one of those ways involves the execution of the four-minute offense. Great teams can do it all. They can attack and take the lead, and then they can take the air out of the ball and stick it down your throat. Here's another cliché: The more things you can do.

Hayden from Seattle, WA

Do you think it's the lack of pass-rush that is allowing the other team to pass so easily on the secondary?

Easily? The Packers intercepted three passes. They're tied for the league lead in interceptions. Only five quarterbacks in the league have thrown more touchdown passes than the Packers have intercepted passes. You're using one statistical category, yards passing, to make a blanket statement about the Packers' pass-defense. Hayden, that is so Madden of you. Please, look at the big picture; don't let the stats lie to you.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

Would you call Coach McCarthy's ultra-aggressive play-calling in the first quarter Madden-like?

No, I would never do that. I would call it fearless, confident. I would say Coach McCarthy's play-calling would suggest that he has supreme confidence in his offense to execute his design.

Ed from DeKalb, IL

When Shields caught his interception and his momentum took him into the end zone after the catch, would it have been a safety if he was tackled in the end zone, since he caught the ball at the two?

"It is not a safety if a defensive player in the field of play intercepts a pass or catches or recovers a fumble, backward pass, scrimmage kick, free kick or fair catch kick, and his original momentum carries him into his end zone where the ball is declared dead in his team's possession. The ball belongs to the defensive team at the sport where the ball was intercepted, caught or recovered."

Michael from Wauwatosa, WI

My dad and I were watching the Packers-Bears game and I believe Scott Wells was penalized for an ineligible receiver downfield. I asked my dad about it, but he was not sure of the rules. He did give me some very good advice: Ask Vic. How far downfield does the player have to be?

"On a scrimmage play during which a legal forward pass is thrown, an ineligible offensive player, including a T-formation quarterback, is not permitted to move more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage before the pass has been thrown. An ineligible offensive player is illegally downfield if: a.) He moves more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage without contacting an opponent; or b.) after losing contact with an opponent within one yard of the line of scrimmage, he advances more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage; or c.) after losing contact with an opponent more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage, he continues to move in any direction."

Aaron from Louisville, KY

I know this has been discussed before, but I still can't help being slighted by the national media. Even with the Super Bowl win, it still feels like other teams are getting more attention than us. I know it really shouldn't matter, considering our record and level of play, but it's like an itch you can't scratch, it's nothing to worry about but still quite annoying. Your thoughts?

You might have some kind of skin fungus because right now the Packers are the most celebrated team in the league. No team, and that includes Alabama, is getting the level of respect the Packers are being afforded by the media. The notion that this team is being ignored or even downplayed by the media is preposterous and I'm done with these kinds of questions because they are a cry for attention that I no longer can provide.

John from McCordsville, IN

Vic, from what I understand the difference between run-action and play-action is that in run-action the quarterback and running back come closer together on the play and the play could actually be a hand-off. In play-action, the quarterback and running back just go through the motions on the fake.

Play-action is a faked handoff. Run-action involves a play-action fake in concert with the movement of the offensive linemen to help sell the notion to the defense that this is truly a running play. For example, if you think you've detected that the safeties are peeking, meaning they're looking into the backfield or watching the guards, you might pull the guards or have the line drive-block. If the defense is playing off those kinds of keys, they'll bite on that kind of run-action. What the offense wants to do is force the defense to play its individual responsibilities. It wants defensive backs playing the pass so the box can't be loaded against the run, and the way you accomplish that is by burning a defense with the pass when it decides to load up against the run. In many ways, the run is still the best way to pass the ball.

Tony from San Jose, CA

When you put a young player on injured reserve and he heals after 8-10 weeks, is he able to work with the team, or is he prohibited from any contact until the season is over?

Players on the injured reserve list may not practice with the team. They may attend meetings but they may not practice.

Wayne from San Francisco, CA

Morgan Burnett just switched from strong safety to free safety. How are these positions different?

The strong safety has a little bit of linebacker in him; the free safety's skill set trends toward that of a wide receiver's. In other words, the strong safety will often come up to the line of scrimmage and be that eighth defender in the box to support against the run. The strong safety can bang with the big boys and is often used to cover the tight end. The free safety tends to be more of a good-hands guy, a guy that has the range to get to either sideline to defend against the deep ball, and the hands and the ability to play the ball in the air and intercept the pass. Strong safeties tend to be bigger, stronger and more physical than free safeties. What you want is a strong safety with the skill set of a free safety.

Jesse from Sun Prairie, WI

Maybe I am jumping the gun a little bit but, looking over the Packers schedule this year, we have four games in 18 days in the month of November. Do you think our team's performance in November will determine the season?

I'm beginning to focus on one particular day in November, Thanksgiving Day, if you know what I mean.

Andy from New York, NY

I've noticed that several NFL referees have admitted blowing calls during games in which they officiated. Without amending the number of challenges a coach has per game, what are your thoughts on providing coaches the ability to challenge a penalty call (holding, pass interference, etc.) in addition to a ruling on the field? P.S. Your column has redefined my lunch hour when I'm not in business meetings. Glad you're part of the Packers family.

I'm opposed to the challenge system. First of all, I don't like the word, challenge, in that I believe the officials' authority in applying the rules of the game should be unchallenged. I also believe coaches should not bear the responsibility of officiating the game. They have enough to do; coaches coach, players play and officials officiate. I prefer the system of automatic review. I like the idea of a review official up in the press box stopping the action when he deems necessary, as is the case in college football, just not as often or as frivolously as the system is applied in college football.

Garrett from New Knoxville, OH

Who was the first "New Age" quarterback? Who started the wave?

Several players contributed to it, going way back. I can't help but wonder how good Bobby Douglas would've been as a "New Age" quarterback. The guy that I think gave us the current version of the "New Age" quarterback is Kordell Stewart. He's the one that came into the game on short yardage to run out of the shotgun. He's the one that gave us five-wide, which included himself as a wide receiver and allowed two quarterbacks to be in the game at the same time. I was in Jacksonville in 1995 when Stewart burst onto the scene as the original "Slash" and I can remember Tom Coughlin telling me about the headaches Stewart was causing for opponents' preparation. Stewart was a rough-hewn version of what his role would become, which is often the case with prototypes.

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