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Opinion: Win the next four, win the division

Adrian Peterson’s 32 carries fatigued Packers run defense


Mike from Dallas, TX

This may have been the worst week of the year for the Packers to play a five-quarter game. Get what I'm saying?

I sure do get what you're saying and I applaud you for spending the hours following Sunday's game thinking, instead of foaming at the mouth about this play call or that play call. You have introduced worthy subject matter to this column.

Craig from Temperance, MI

I think they need to think about the 4-3 instead of the 3-4. Teams are running the ball down our throat.

The 3-4 is not a run defense; it's light in the pants. A 4-3, gap-control scheme is better against the run, as long as you fit it right, but it doesn't offer the pass-rush and coverage creativity the 3-4 does. If you wanna play the 3-4, and Dom Capers does and, I assure you, Clay Matthews does, too, then you need down linemen that can hold the point and get off blocks. I'm describing two-gappers. Two-gapping requires great discipline and endurance. It's the equivalent of spending an afternoon pushing against a brick wall. Late in yesterday's game, it was obvious fatigue had become a factor, and that's when Toby Gerhart started gashing the Packers with quick hitters, which is a completely different style from Adrian Peterson's. I don't care what scheme you use, make it work, and you do that by executing the scheme or finding players that can.

Chris from Dallas, WI

So the ultimate tiebreaker is a tie.


Joey from Rhinelander, WI

Vic, in your professional marketing copywriter opinion, what do you think the result of the game is if Matt Flynn played from start to finish?

I don't know. Would he have been as successful with the score 0-0? When the score got to 23-7, did the Vikings soften a little bit and begin trading yards for time? I don't know the answer to those questions, but I think there's a strong chance we'll acquire more information this Thursday toward answering your question. Detroit is No. 28 against the pass. The Lions certainly invite the pass.

Jay from New Haven, IN

Vic, every game is a must win. The tie changed nothing. We still must beat Detroit and Chicago. Most importantly, we must win the games in between. Nothing has changed. Win the division, go to the playoffs. It's that simple. The tie does not put confusion on the situation.

The tie changed some things. It throws the tiebreakers out the window. Pages 34-35 in my "Record and Fact Book" won't exist for me this year. Done! I also think you're wrong about having to beat the Lions and Bears. In my opinion, if the Packers win the next four games, they won't have to win in Chicago; they will have already clinched the division title. Winning the next four games, however, is a tall, tall order.

Josh from Green Lake, WI

Vic, I understand McCarthy being loyal to Tolzien and giving him the start, but it's obvious now that Matt Flynn is the guy and he always was. I can't help but think that if Flynn had started against the Vikings, we would have won that game. Let's face it, Flynn knows the system, he has real game experience, and he has better field vision. I'm afraid this season may be lost because McCarthy wanted to give a young kid a chance.

I think you're being overly dramatic and terribly unfair and dismissive of the coach's ability to evaluate quarterback play and what's best for his team. I also think you're drawing conclusions much too quickly. Why don't we let this play out before we assign blame?

Michael from Las Vegas, NV

The Vikings and others before them have gashed the Packers defensive line time and again. Who, what, why are they able to exploit so consistently?

You're asking a question that requires intense tape study to answer, and I am not qualified to provide that kind of evaluation. Here's what I can tell you: LeSean McCoy did it, and he's a bouncer. Adrian Peterson does it to everybody, and has certainly done it to the Packers, and he's a bouncer. The Packers have struggled against runners who are good at bouncing the ball to the outside, or even just bouncing it a hole or two to the right or left. Gerhart creased them but I truly believe that was because Peterson's 32 carries had fatigued the Packers. I'll also remind you that Peterson was last year's NFL rushing champion and McCoy currently leads the league in rushing.

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