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Not ready to lose Matt Flynn just yet


Tom from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Wrapping up when tackling is so fundamental, taught at an early age and all the way up. It seemed to be a very costly mistake this year and didn't have to be. I would have thought Dom Capers would have focused on this more. Why was something so fundamental overlooked so often?

It wasn't overlooked. In every training camp practice the Packers executed a half-speed tackling-technique drill. The defender would execute the tackle with proper technique and then he and the ball-carrier would fall onto a foam-rubber pad. It's a logical drill for teaching technique while avoiding the risk of injury, but it sure isn't real football, and that's where the human confrontation enters the picture. It's one thing to execute proper tackling technique at half speed and when you're falling onto a foam-rubber pad; it's another thing when you're playing on artificial turf or frozen turf at full speed and Adrian Peterson or LeGarrette Blount is dropping their pads on you and driving their knee through your face. Some players tackle better than others, regardless of how much the others practice at it. Wanna tackle better? Get better tacklers. I don't think it can be taught. At this stage of the game, you're either a tackler or a guy who misses tackles.

Eddie from Leesburg, FL

Did you notice how far off the line of scrimmage the Giants' tackles and guards lined up, almost in a slight horseshoe type of formation?

Yes, I did, and I thought the Broncos' offensive line assumed an even more exaggerated flex from the line of scrimmage in their game against the Patriots, and it's illegal to do that. It gives the offensive line an advantage in pass protection against a pass rusher's first step; it's cheating. I think the league should make it a major point of emphasis that offensive linemen not flex from the line of scrimmage.

Mark from Winfield, IL

Last week somebody asked about getting receivers that could catch or run like the wind and you were in favor of the latter. After having a few days to sleep on the Giants loss, some guys with fly paper on their hands would have been nice to keep the chains moving and could have changed the outcome of the game. Have you changed your position?

No, I haven't, and I think Hakeem Nicks is the perfect example of what a speed receiver can do to a defense. He took a relatively short pass and turned it into a 66-yard touchdown because he simply ran away from everybody. That kind of receiver is special because he's a game-breaker. What Nicks did was to have erased another 8-10 plays from that drive. Jordy Nelson did that for the Packers this season, and that's the kind of receiver I want. The catch-and-fall-down guys are a dime a dozen.

William from Jacksonville, FL

Excellent points on knowing how to lose and preserving stability. How many fans realize that of the 11 head coaches hired in 2009, only two (Lions and Jets) remain?

Fire everybody all the time. It may not produce a winner, but it sure makes the fans feel good after a loss.

Bill from Mesa, AZ

Vic, please help me understand the numbers. You stated that if you can't rush, then you better cover, and that the Giants believe in the principles of maximum protection, so the Giants protect with seven and send only three, and the Packers are rushing with three and covering with eight. So how is it that Manning was still able to complete passes for big yardage and first downs to keep drives alive?

If you go back to my in-game blog, you'll see a reference to a three-man-rush being executed perfectly against three receivers in the pass routes. I used that play as a perfect example of the Giants' obsession with protecting the quarterback. They incorrectly sensed a blitz on the play and went to a max-protect scheme. Every play wasn't like that, but that one is the perfect example of what you're describing.

Stephen from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar

Vic, I really enjoy reading your column and I hope you're around this organization for years to come. I got to watch the game the day before I deployed, which means I had 15 hours of plane ride to soak it all in, but I'm ready to move on now. I wanna know what you think about the idea of maybe drafting a good running back in the first round to complement our passing game.

I'm fine with it, provided that the back fits where he's picked, which I have no doubt he would. That's the charm of the BAP system for fans. If you wanna know who the Packers might draft, find the players who appear to fit where the Packers are drafting. I understand that it's not easy to do that because the Packers aren't going to share their value board with us, but you can get an idea from draftnik boards what players fit at the 28th overall pick. A few early rankings I've seen don't include a running back in that area of the draft, but I see a lot of corners and pass rushers.

Mike from Struthers, OH

Sometimes you can be so right on; other times so not. First, the Packers were flat when they played New York. Everyone saw it but you. There was very little emotion shown that game, not like what the team displayed last year with their playoff run. Very little high-fives, butt-slapping or strutting like the swagger they had last year, or even during their games this year. They looked like they were going through the motions. And don't say that playing with emotion doesn't mean anything. Even if all you have done in your life is played backyard football, nine times out of 10 the winners are the ones that show their emotion on all their good plays. I saw very little of that, even on the Packers' scoring drives. They were flat and their played showed it. And another thing worth mentioning is your flippant answer to the question of why kick an onside kick at that moment of the game. You said we wanted to be the hunter, not the hunted. With that philosophy, then every kick should be an onside kick, we should always go for it on fourth-and-short, and we should always go for two points after every TD. The fact is these strategies should be used in certain circumstances at certain times, not just to show everyone you are not the hunted. That was not the time to kick an onside kick. We had the momentum; our defense had been kicked around a bit prior to that drive. Why take the chance of giving them a short field to work with? It was a bad call. Man, I wish you'd be more objective instead of being afraid of ruffling someone's feathers. You can criticize, Vic. I'm sure the coach and team can take it.

I would've thought a guy that likes strutting would've liked being the hunter, not the hunted. I'm not a butt-slapper. Just win, baby.

Chandler from Jackson, GA

You say the current challenge system is flawed. Should the NFL have a system in place that is like the college system?

I'll accept all in or all out, just not the way it is. Either get rid of replay review or use it to its fullest capability. The coach's challenge system is a Ouija board.

Mike from Geneva, OH

Vic, after the loss, I went to the gym and benched 500 to take out my frustration. You wanna go with me next time?

No thanks. I pump iron at home.

Ernest from Burnet, TX

I notice our offense throughout the years used strong, hard-nosed types of running backs. What are the chances the Packers would consider obtaining a short, speedster third-down back?

If they were to dome Lambeau Field, sure. There's an old saying: Little guys fall down in the mud. They also fall down on snow-covered and frozen fields. When the weather gets bad, and it can happen early in the season in Green Bay, you want a big man carrying the ball. You want somebody whose foot makes a dent in the turf. Those are the plow-boys that move the pile on soft or frozen fields. I like pounders. I think Alex Green has some pounder in him.

Joshua from Oregon, WI

Just wanted to say I love your work and I do not believe I have ever disagreed with your opinions. I'm just curious as to whether you believe the Packers could or would sign a high-priced free agent this year, such as a Mario Williams.

Teams need to use every vehicle for player acquisition available to them, or they're at a disadvantage. I think free agency is a sound platform for player acquisition, but the first week of free agency must be approached with extreme caution because there are no bargains in the first week of free agency. In nearly every case, the team is overpaying when it signs a first-week guy. Sometimes it'll work for you because the player will perform up to the salary you're paying him, but I think we all understand that those players are the exception, not the rule. I like the bargain guys, the guys you get a little later in the free agency period. Charles Woodson was one of those guys.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, what is your view of the value of the Pro Bowl? Do you think the game has any merit?

The announcement of the selections is the value of the Pro Bowl. I think any sports league needs to identify and honor its best players. The game itself doesn't interest me.

David from Honolulu, HI

It was just reported the Packers signed eight free agents from the practice squad. What exactly does that mean?

Offseason rosters are expanded to 80 players, which is how many players each team may take to training camp. Practice-squad players are free agents, free to sign with any team in the league. The Packers have signed their practice-squad players to their 80-man roster, which means they are no longer free agents.

Jake from Billings, MT

What made you stop using your Twitter account on October 22, 2010?

It just wasn't me, so I stopped. I didn't think anybody would notice.

Troy from Stevens Point, WI

Of the Packers' upcoming free agents, who do you view as the most crucial ones to re-sign?

I'm not ready to lose Matt Flynn just yet. I keep thinking to myself, what if you knew another GM you could trust to do a deal with Flynn, as the Patriots did when they franchised Matt Cassel and traded him to Kansas City? If you could trust a guy, you could franchise Flynn and recoup some value for him. I know it's risky, but I hate the idea of just letting him walk. What you would decide about him would impact much about what you do with the others. You want them all back, but the salary cap system demands that you let people leave; you can't keep them all.

Josh from Phoenix, AZ

We keep hearing that poor tackling was a prime suspect in the Packers' poor defense this season. McCarthy said clearly that they practice this fundamental aspect daily in practices, so I'm not getting where the disconnect is. How hard can it be to tackle someone properly?

Who's the someone? Never, ever ignore the human confrontation.

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