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One win will change everything

It’s time for the Packers to “be new,” too


Josh from Loveland, OH

I loved the start of the Vikings game. Lacy had seven carries and we pounded the ball down the field. I said to my wife, "Looks like McCarthy has found the problem for man coverage; just line up big and make them tackle Lacy." But then Lacy only got six carries the rest of the game.

The balance wasn't there, and I'm not talking solely about the balance between run and pass, I'm talking about balancing the field. That's as important as the balance between run and pass. You can't allow a defense to play in a small area, which is exactly what the Vikings were able to do in the first half. At halftime, the Packers had completed only two passes to wide receivers. The field not only wasn't being stretched vertically, it wasn't being stretched horizontally. This offense has to begin winning on the perimeter. It did that in the second half. Randall Cobb caught six passes. James Jones and Davante Adams caught three each. The problem was that by then the Packers were down by 17 points. Balance is the key. The Packers need balance between run and pass, and balance between inside and out.

Adam from Green Bay, WI

Pessimism bothers me, especially at this time of year when we're headed into the dog days of winter. Regular stats and rankings no longer mean anything. Let's be grateful our team's season isn't over, and take this as the beginning of a new season. Playoff time, baby.

Be new. It's my motto for 2016.

Leroy from Charleston, SC

Do you think we will change up play-calling? It seems on first down we run the ball too much. Why not throw more passes on first down to pick up a few yards, like screen passes? Even though defenses see it coming, you can still get a few yards out of it and then run on second and third down. In my opinion, defenses almost know what to expect of us.

You want to throw; Josh wants to run. The Packers need to throw and run; that's the balance that wins on offense for teams that can't take what they want. This is an offense that has to be able to do one thing to be able to do two things. It can run, and it ran the ball well enough early in Sunday's game to make the Vikings focus on stopping it, and that should've opened the passing lanes. We know what the challenge is this offense faces. It has to begin making plays with its passing game. If that begins happening this weekend, this team can win in the postseason. By the way, I love screen passes, but they don't stretch the field.

Isiah from Portland, OR

How does McCarthy play a field-position game without sending a message he doesn't have confidence in the offense?

Messages are meaningless at this point in the season. The tape tells your opponent what you are, and there's enough tape for opponents to know exactly what the Packers are. Don't deceive, defeat. Do what you do best. A defense on the rise and a quarterback who knows how to manage a game and make plays at crunch time are the strengths of this team. Play to it. Sixty-minutes football. Win the close ones. It creates toughness and confidence a team can ride through the postseason.

Kirk from Goodhue, MN

Do you feel the spark that was there in the locker room in 2010 and 2014 is in the current locker room?

I'd be lying if I said I felt something special two days after a home loss to the Vikings, but one win can change everything. Just win one game. Just win this Sunday. It'll change everything.

Salman from Ventnor, NJ

Vic, Tom Coughlin's departure seemed to hit his players where it hurt. Have you ever seen a team that was so well connected to its coach? I don't think I've ever seen Eli so emotional. I'd like to think McCarthy is the same way for us. His grit, resilience and vigor are stamped all over this team. One day he, too, will be gone, but I hope that's not for a very long time.

I saw something new in Coach McCarthy during his press conference yesterday. He appeared to enjoy the adversity he was facing. He seemed to welcome it. I was reminded of Lt. Dan. "Come on! You call this a storm? Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me! You'll never sink this boat!" This team needs some of that kind of attitude. It's time to stop answering questions about what's wrong with the offense, and start moving the ball. Too much thinking. Too much talk. Just do it!

Jim from Woodman, WI

Did you notice on Micah Hyde's interception Mike Daniels was chasing the pass and was in position to make a grab for a batted ball? Because of work, my Packers season was your website. Thanks for making it the best it could be.

Daniels got a big contract and is playing harder. That's the kind of guy you want.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, have you ever seen an offense get a play off as quickly as the Packers did on the last play?

Coordinators do a lot more than call plays. They coach offenses to react instinctively in a situation such as the last play of Sunday's game. The Packers practice for that situation. They call it "last eight." A call is made and everybody knows what to do. That's what a coordinator does when he's not calling plays.

Derek from Appleton, WI

Sunday was the first game I've been to since 2010 (a game they also lost), and they became champions that same season. Coincidence? Maybe. But sitting in traffic after the game, despite the city lights of Green Bay, I witnessed a bright shooting star streak across the sky. I'm taking it as a sign of good fortune for the upcoming playoffs. Hey, at least I'm trying here, Vic.

I've nicknamed my inbox Sybil.

Brandon from Morris, IL

What is the one thing about "Ask Vic" you most take pride in?

It can take a punch, and it can throw one, too.

Wayne from Bellevue, NE

Davante Adams made a few nice plays on Sunday. If he gets hot, could he be the spark this team needs?

Sure he can. If this offense begins winning on the outside, look out.

Darrell from Leander, TX

Apparently, researchers at the University of New Hampshire have evaluated one-year results of a two-year study on head impacts in football. By taking away players' helmets only during tackling drills, they have observed a 30 percent decrease in head impacts. How does it feel to be a savant?

I hope they didn't spend a lot of money on that study. If they had bought me a beer, I would've told them what it took them two years to find out: The helmet is the major cause of head injuries. The problem is without the helmet, the game isn't worth watching.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

Vic, how do you think the defense has been able to overcome depth concerns and injuries, and is this one of Capers' finest seasons?

The Packers' last four first-round draft picks and seven of their last nine highest picks have been on the defensive side of the ball. They also signed Julius Peppers in free agency. Yes, this is one of Coach Capers' finest seasons. Do you think there's a connection between that and all of those draft picks on defense? You are what you draft.

Chris from Madison, WI

Vic, I admire your writing, but this is one question I've never heard you adequately answer. Let me set it up. When the Packers aren't doing well, we look for someone to blame. There can only be a few culprits: coaching, personnel, the front office choosing personnel, and injuries. Since all teams deal with the latter, where does the buck stop when we're humiliated? I've answered this question a "million" times. The inverse-order draft process is very difficult to defeat. When you spend a lot of time at the bottom of the draft, you find yourself trying to beat teams that passed on the players who are on your roster. Winning comes at a cost. I've never known fans willing to pay the cost of moving up in the draft. Eventually, all teams pay that cost. Who do we blame? Bert Bell.

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