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Offense needs to be able to count on defense

Protecting Aaron Rodgers will be daunting challenge


Aaron from Richland Center, WI

Vic, the Bills are my second-favorite team in the NFL. Not sure why; maybe something about a rugged run game (at least in years past) and rugged defensive line. Bring back the red helmets.

I didn't like the red helmets at all. I like the white O.J. helmets. I always felt they were the Bills' identity. I think teams make a big mistake when they tinker with their identity.

Adam from San Jose, CA

You tell 'em, Vic! Thank you for that. It makes your column stressful when constantly reading about people worrying and obsessing about a game. I come here to hear your opinion and learn, not watch you baby sit.

This column is about information and entertainment, and I think a healthy exchange of opinion is part of each, but this constant "fire everyone" harangue has got to end. I try to avoid it, because these are just people who can't control their anger and frustration, so they come here to transfer it to us. This week, it became unavoidable. Tuesday's and Wednesday's inbox were out of control; I barely had enough questions to use on Wednesday. It was all because of one half of a game that had already been "daggered" by halftime. You can't beat the Seahawks in the second half of a blowout against the Falcons. You can't prove anything in one game that would carry over to another game. The win over New England has certainly proven that. Every game is different and, in this case, every half is different. I love passionate fans, and the Packers have the most passionate fans, but there needs to be an expression of control that accompanies that passion.

Brandon from Easley, SC

Vic, while reading the Bills-Packers dope sheet, I noticed the Packers have had 14 seasons with 10 wins or more since 1995. Keeping in mind all the personnel changes from the ground up in the revolving door that is the NFL, what do you attribute to that level of consistency? Is it philosophy? Two all-time greats at the QB position?

The Packers have better plays than the other teams. Just kidding. Consecutive Hall of Fame quarterbacks is a pretty good formula for extended winning.

Brian from Yakima, WA

I would like to say the picture of the Bradshaw look-a-like holding the "A-Rod is my hero" sign is classic.

That guy gets it. I love those kinds of fans. They're all about having fun. They're not worried. They've having too much fun to worry.

George from Scranton, PA

I'm also ready to move on, Vic. I don't know much about the Bills. I do know their defense is ranked high. Can they slow down the Packers offense?

Yes, they can. The Bills stop the run, stop the pass and rush the passer. The Bills have a Seahawks-like defense, and that's why the Packers defense bears a greater burden this week. I don't think the defense can count on the offense blowing out the Bills. The offense needs to be able to count on the defense to limit the Bills' scoring.

Tracy from Minneapolis, MN

Coach McCarthy's response in Wednesday's press conference that he "will not apologize for winning in December" made me smile. I like this attitude going into the remainder of the season.

December isn't about style points or statements. December is about winning. Just win, baby. The Packers did.

Dee from Florence, WI

I love your column; wait for it every day. Will you tell me what a spy is? Do you have many women writing to you?

Connor Barwin is a spy. He's a linebacker the Eagles use to spy on the quarterback. In other words, Barwin's assignment is to mirror and hunt down the quarterback. If the quarterback scrambles, Barwin gets him. That's what spy technique is; it's one man assigned to defend against one player, the quarterback. The Packers used it unsuccessfully on Colin Kaepernick in the 2012 playoffs. I saw a lot of teams use it unsuccessfully on Mark Brunell. I've never been a big fan of spy technique. I consider it to be a strategy that largely wastes the talents of one player. Yes, women write to me.

Andrew from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, I'd make a case that neither of the last two games were as close as the score would indicate. Against the Pats, we went 0-for-4 in the red zone. That's a fluke and we won despite it. In the Atlanta game, the early lead caused Atlanta to start going for it on fourth down way early. They went for it three times on fourth down and converted all three. If I remember right, it resulted in seven points each time. That's a fluke, too, and we still won.

The red-zone problems against the Patriots were the story of the week last week. Did those problems carry over? No. We need to R-E-L-A-X. You know, that might end up being the theme of this season.

Jamie from Danville, KY

If Ted Thompson retired and you were named GM, and the Titans called you and said "we will give you every one of our draft picks for the next three years for Aaron Rodgers," what would you say?

I'd say no thanks because this run the Packers are on, which is defined by Rodgers, needs to be allowed to run its course. It's got a long way to go. This is a Brady-like run and I believe it's going to produce multiple Super Bowl titles.

Mitch from Sheboygan Falls, WI

Vic, after a hard-fought loss in Denver in which they held Peyton Manning in check, how good are the Bills? Does the fact the Packers have never won in Buffalo mean anything? What kind of homefield advantage with the Buffalo weather do the Bills have, given the fact Green Bay can hurt teams with both the pass and the run?

The weather will be no issue, as well as the Packers' inability to win in Buffalo in the past. The Bills defense is the issue in this game. The Packers offensive line is facing a daunting challenge for protecting Rodgers. That, as I see it, is the issue.

John from Saint Augustine, FL

I remember a long time ago when you said the modern defensive back would need to play the ball in the air, as opposed to attempting to separate the ball from the receiver with a big hit. Obviously, the rules are now in favor of this strategy. Do the Seahawks do this or are they still a team that will rough you up? If they are so physical, how do they get away with it? I think I read a stat that most teams lose the week after playing them.

Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman play the ball in the air as well as any defensive backs I can remember since Ty Law, who I always thought was the best at playing the ball in the air that I've ever seen. Kam Chancellor is the Seahawks' hammer. Apparently, the Seahawks play within the rules, which says a lot about their ability to adapt.

Andrew from Sun Prairie, WI

It was said McCarthy criticized the boundary communication on defense. What does that sound like?

That sounds to me like calls weren't being communicated from the sideline as effectively as Coach McCarthy would've liked.

Landon from Coeur d'Alene, ID

Peyton had his worst game of the season against Buffalo last weekend. What did they do defensively that caused one of the smartest to ever play the position to look so average?

They won the one-on-ones.

Scotty from Chicago, IL

When I think of the Bills, I am reminded of their great teams in the 1960s with Paul McGuire, Cookie Gilchrist and Jack Kemp. What are some of your memories of the Bills?

When I think of those Bills, I think of Cookie driving down Brackenridge Ave. in his Cadillac convertible, with the words "Lookie, lookie, lookie, here comes Cookie" written on the side of the car. Cookie was from my hometown.

Jesse from Eagan, MN

Denial isn't a river in Africa.

I get it. Begin the worry. Start the angst. End the enjoyment. Junk the joy. OK, I feel worse now.

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