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Packernation has begun its march on Denver

I've found the importance of Sunday's game


Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Vic, my favorite thing about your writing is you make it clear how badly you want us all to be able to enjoy and embrace the game. I've been reading your work for a few years now but there was something about the "Ask Vic" on Thursday that made me realize that. Thank you.

I want everyone to experience the game I love before it disappears.

Jordan from Norfolk, VA

Is there a chance the psycho defense resurfaces this year, or was that more of a gimmick?

It wasn't a defense, it was a formation. The intent was to disguise the rush and/or coverage. Every defensive coordinator is looking for a way to disguise rush and coverage. Disguising the strategy is more important than the strategy. It took some time to figure out where the psycho package was vulnerable, just as it did the wildcat, but as soon as it was discovered, it was over. That's the way it is with gimmicks. They make a big splash, but they eventually sink. That doesn't mean you shouldn't invent them. You should always try to find a way to give your team an edge. Gimmicks are also recyclable.

Gunars from Ames, IA

No loss is a good loss, but I often learn better from my mistakes than from my victories. Do you think there are certain things a team can learn about itself only from a loss?

Yeah, how it reacts to it. I think the Chargers learned something about themselves in how they played against the Packers, coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Steelers. You can build on that kind of grit.

Chris from Waterbury, CT

Vic, I always forget you're a "Christmas Vacation" fan. It always catches me off guard. My favorite part about your column is the balance of information and humor.

It's all part of the experience, Chris.

Al from Mountain Lakes, NJ

Vic, I miss watching NFL highlights with all the music in the background, like in the '70s. Wouldn't this be marketable for today's fan? I say it's time to bring it back.

You're describing the romance era of the NFL: John Facenda's voice mouthing Lombaaaaardi, a ball spiraling in slow motion to the strains of a symphony orchestra. Facenda made ice feel warm. I can still remember my favorite NFL Films episodes from that era: the magic bean, the "If" production, and the violent world of Bill Saul, the first player to be miked up for a game. These wonderful video productions sold professional football to America, helped make it our new national pastime. I think the romance era ended in the '90s with free agency, the salary cap, expansion and new stadium construction. All of that began what I would call the revenue era. Now, we're in the analysis era. If John Facenda's voice was put to today's highlights, he might say "the Packers won with an inventive cover two defense with man under principle, and a neatly conceived wheel-route reception." Oh, John, tell me more. Change is constant.

Travis from Chicago, IL

When people say the Broncos and Packers are only beating losing teams, do we forget the two teams are responsible for 12 of those losses? These two teams are pretty good so far.

Following Sunday's game, one of those two teams won't have to put up with this garbage anymore. I think I just discovered the true importance of Sunday's game.

Marc from Gainesville, FL

I just read your "10 things" column. Do you ever go back and see, either in wins or losses, how many of the 10 things the Packers accomplished?

No, but that doesn't mean the readers can't. Tell me on what I hit or missed. I have no doubt Brian from Fond du Lac will find the misses.

Todd from Saint Paul, MN

This is my last submission to "Ask Vic." You no longer field questions from clever, interesting people, but rather post only questions that fulfill your insatiable need to either deflate an obvious, dim-witted, diehard fan's question, or continue to promote a dinosaur's view of how great the game once was.

What's your point?

Jeff from Post Falls, ID

Vic, would it be wise to have the corners and possibly a safety jamming the Broncos receivers at the line of scrimmage to make it harder for Peyton to hit those quick-strike passes? I say make him throw it deep.

That seems to be the consensus strategy. I have a feeling the Broncos might be expecting that strategy, which probably means they've spent time planning a counter strategy. This is going to be fun.

Nathaniel from Hadar, NE

It's really going to stink if the screen game doesn't work.

No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm screen pass emergency here. We're gonna screen on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest football game since Eddie Lacy caught that screen pass against the Saints last year and tap-danced through half the darn team.

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

Vic, to add to your response about the snow piles, I always felt making the visiting team stay at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton was an advantage. Looking out the windows on the 30-minute bus ride up Highway 41, the scenery is barren and bleak, windswept and cold. Do you think the isolation and the in-the-middle-of-nowhere feeling to Lambeau gives the Packers an advantage?

In 2004, I was covering the Jaguars when they came to Lambeau Field for a Sunday night game. On the plane ride to Appleton, the pilot announced northeast Wisconsin was in the midst of a blizzard and we might have to land in Minneapolis and bus to Appleton. The pilot said he would try to land in Appleton before making his decision. Man, it was bumpy coming down. When we finally broke through the clouds and saw the ground, there was a groan on the plane, followed by stunned silence. It looked like we were landing in Siberia. I can distinctly remember thinking to myself, "They have no shot." The next night, the Jaguars beat the Packers, 28-25. The temperature at kickoff was 12 degrees.

Bill from Bloomington, IN

What do the Packers have to do to beat the Broncos?

Burn the boats.

P.J. from Minneapolis, MN

It's 4:35 a.m. here at the Minneapolis airport. There's a lot of Packers gear here headed to Denver. Why does this surprise me, Vic?

It shouldn't surprise you. Packernation has amassed and has begun its march on Denver, just as Sherman marched on Atlanta.

Noor from International, Indonesia

Vic, when was the last time you felt excited or upset over a football game? Do you miss being a fan rooting for a team? Or am I going to be banned?

I've never felt worse covering a football game than I did in the final minutes of last January's NFC title game in Seattle. I kept thinking to myself, "Those poor people." I'm referring to Packers fans. Now you're banned.

Nick from Los Gatos, CA

I get that balance is important for an offense, but is it important to be balanced in each game? Are the Patriots balanced if they pass nearly every down against the Jets, and rush the ball down the throats of the Colts in another game?

Some would call that taking what they give you. I'd call it taking what you want. There aren't many teams that can run it down one team's throat, and then throw the ball exclusively against another team. The Patriots are an amazing team, and they might have the greatest quarterback ever.

Randy from Lakewood Ranch, FL

The Oregon defense was on the field for over 100 plays last night. Have you ever heard of that?

I don't believe I have, but this is exactly what I meant this past summer when I referred to the way the Eagles play as the offense of the future. I wasn't referring to the Eagles as the offense of the future, I was referring to the high volume of plays and the reliance on matchups as the offense of the future. Just as I wrote a few years ago that the day of the 6,000-yard passer is approaching, I believe the day of 90 plays or more in a game is on the way, too. It's refreshing to see defense can still win in this league, but it won't last. The league will always favor offense, and the fan will always want more yards, more plays and more points.

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