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Now we'll know; I'm not afraid to find out

Cardinals possess most balanced offense in football


Kevin from Jacksonville, FL

Vic, you finally admitted what many fans have been saying for weeks: The big pass play is not there this year and won't be any time soon. The offense is not good enough to take what it wants. Are you willing to answer these questions? Do we have the play-caller willing to call and stick with calling little-play football for a full game? Do we have the quarterback willing to execute little-play football for an entire game? Take what we can get.

Whoa! I never said the Packers can't take what they want. I never said the Packers can't impose their will. They have the running game to do that. The Raiders loaded the box to stop the run on Sunday. They absolutely sold out to jam the line of scrimmage, as I predicted, but the Packers never gave up on the run, and they found a way to run it. After 14 games, it is what it is, and I agree it appears the Packers lack a beep-beep deep threat, but that doesn't mean they can't execute a drive-sustaining, underneath passing attack. Remember what I said following the major point of emphasis? It would favor the short-passing game, and it has. Tom Brady proved that in last season's Super Bowl. That's the Packers' next challenge, to marry a precision, underneath passing attack with a punishing ground game. They have the coach and the quarterback to get it done.

Eric from Oceanside, CA

Vic, this is the game of the year. We'll find out where we stand with playoff contenders, agree?

I agree. That's the great thing about being patient. By the time we reach December, we don't have to guess anymore. We'll know.

Jonathan from Wilmington, NC

My grievances: rain, figuring out the identity of this team, too little offense. Happy Festivus to you and yours!

Tomorrow is Festivus and this column will feature the airing of grievances, but they will be limited to one grievance per person. Your grievances are weak and too broad. Grievances should be more specific. For example, I am very upset with readers of this column for not being more understanding of my failure to deliver an "Ask Vic Halftime" on Sunday. I was working under the most adverse of conditions, yet, I continued my attempts to serve my readers. My efforts not only were unappreciated, they were mocked. So, there, I've aired a grievance. Thank you.

Peggy from Menomonie, WI

Awesome answer to Michele in Rochester regarding the rain. Are you Gene Kelly?

Gene Kelly would've stopped singing long ago. It rained again all day yesterday. It was a cold, almost-snow kind of rain. It was so gloomy the motion-detector lights on my garage lit up in the middle of the afternoon. When I came to work this morning, it was raining and snowing at the same time. The forecast for tomorrow is for more rain. I can't wait to go to Phoenix. Please don't rain.

Craig from Indianapolis, IN

If the Packers are going to make a deep run, they need someone else to emerge in the passing game, like Starks elevated the run game in 2010. Could Abbrederis be the guy?

That's the whole idea of draft and develop.

Andrew from Glasgow, UK

Do you still believe the Packers can claim a bye?

The formula is real simple: Win two and get help from the Seahawks. Doing it is the difficult part because it requires beating two very good teams. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be difficult to do? Without a doubt. The Cardinals team I saw against the Eagles on Sunday night was scary good.

Matt from Vancouver, BC

Would you agree the offense seems more complete when John Kuhn is involved and that he was under-used until McCarthy took over play-calling?

I don't understand that kind of thinking. Mike McCarthy is the head coach. He didn't have to appoint himself the play-caller to make sure Kuhn wasn't under-used. All he had to do was order Kuhn's use. I'm not going to buy into your intrigue. The head coach is the boss. Every play went through his ears. He owns everything, and that's why I think he took back the play-calling. I think he wanted to re-attach his voice to those plays.

Robert from Spokane Valley, WA

So, Woodson announced his retirement. It makes me sad to see him go. He wasn't a Packer for long but he was a beast. Will football continue after Woodson leaves the game?

Yeah, just as it continued when Reggie White and Brett Favre left the game, and as it'll continue when Aaron Rodgers leaves the game. They all leave the game, Robert. I've always viewed retirement as a happy time, a time for celebration. As Joe Greene said, "Now we can rest." Charles Woodson will rest on a great career, right to its final days. Why stain it with decline? As I watched him talk with Aaron Rodgers during pregame on Sunday, I thought to myself, "He's going to retire." He had the look of a guy saying goodbye. They send hints because they feel the warmth of a wonderful career pulling them to a kinder, gentler place. Having covered Charles Woodson is part of the warmth that'll pull me to that place.

Nick from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, I do not understand why so many people think the Packers are doing bad. They have 10 wins this season and are a playoff team once again. They keep finding ways to win. People have already written the Arizona game off as a loss. Why? Last I checked, the Packers keep winning.

It's because there's a paralyzing fear of losing within this fan base. I've never seen fans as afraid of losing as Packers fans are. They literally prepare themselves for defeat because they're afraid of being blindsided by it. They cheer blowouts for erasing doubt. We are a few days away from experiencing the biggest game of the regular season, and my inbox is a place of great angst. Not me, baby. I can't wait to see how this team reacts to the most demanding challenge it has faced this season. The Cardinals are No. 1 on offense and No. 7 on defense. They're No. 6 in rushing and No. 4 against the run. They play big-boy football. Bring it to me. I wanna know.

Drew from Grand Rapids, MI

I think Coach McCarthy is mistaking style points for improvement. Though I don't care for the idea of style points, it's the total lack of improvement that has me worried. The same breakdowns plague our boys week after week, sometimes with bigger consequences than other times. When it matters most, however, those issues will cost the Packers a season. It can't be, "Just win, baby." It has to be, "Improve or go home."

I sense fear in your words. We're 14 games into this season. It is what it is and they are who they are. Now we'll find out if it's good enough. I think it is, and I'm not afraid to find out if it is.

Don from Salina, KS

In my opinion, in order to win the Super Bowl the Packers need a fast wide receiver to stretch the field. Do you think we need one and, if so, who would be available out there?

Yes, they need one, but help is not on the way. Find other ways to win. They have and I think they will. Whatever it takes.

Tom from Onalaska, WI

Vic, on the one Raiders touchdown drive, Carr checks to "Teddy, Teddy" and he hits Cooper for about 35 yards on a fly route Randall didn't check him on and had no safety help. On the same drive, Carr again checks to "Teddy, Teddy" and the exact thing happens again, fly route to Cooper (for a touchdown this time), no check by Randall, no safety help. How did this go unnoticed by the defense, especially when it happened so recently?

There was no safety help because the Packers were in five-man rush. They used a three-man rush on that long third-down play in Carolina, and everybody blamed Coach Capers for not using a five-man rush. They don't stop the game and let you change your mind. It's either rush or cover, and one of the two has to work. Players, not plays.

Ted from Pittsford, NY

Vic, how do you feel about Beckham's suspension? I agree with it. Trying to injure other players is wrong.

It was a no-brainer. I'm waiting for a league reaction to the black baseball bat. In my mind, that's a prop, and the use of it is a menacing act.

Nathan from Oconto Falls, WI

Any stories or thoughts on the well-traveled Bruce Arians?

He's from the genius of old-school football strategy: Do one thing so well the defense has to overload to stop it, and then do the other thing. In the process, balance is achieved. The Cardinals possess the most balanced offense in football. They not only run and throw the football with equal aplomb, they use the whole field. They can attack you between or outside the tackles, and underneath or over the top. The Cardinals' rankings are 1-6-3, 7-4-16. The Seahawks are 5-2-20, 2-3-4. In my mind, the road to the Super Bowl goes through the NFC West, and that's where the Packers are headed this weekend.

Ed from New Philadelphia, OH

I'm going to try and work the phrase "go all poop negative" into conversation somewhere this week. This column is a highlight in my day.

I was just trying to capture the spirit of the thing, Ed.

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