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Packers must block Aaron Donald

"Batgate" mania continues

Nathan from San Diego, CA


I think it's funny all of the hub-bub about the ball out of the end zone is about there being no flag thrown. I would have thought it would have been more focused on the rule that gives the ball to the defense when it's fumbled out of the end zone. If the rule had been the ball must be recovered in bounds to gain possession, this would not have even been an issue.

You're overthinking it, too. If the right call had been made, this wouldn't be an issue. The ball would've been returned to the Lions, and everybody would be satisfied. It was an easy call. The official just blew it. No matter how we change the rules to suit our needs, they are vulnerable to error, both by the men making the calls and the system of oversight that continues to fail us.

Bruce from Las Vegas, NV

Thought you might get a kick out of this. A friend I worked with in Milwaukee texts me every week about firing Capers. This week, after the game ends, I text him, "What, no fire Capers today?" His response was he's on probation. Some people are really hard to please.

One of the things about this fan base that has surprised me is the disconnect between it and defense. This fan base has a strong appreciation and understanding of offense, but I don't think it has the same appreciation and understanding of defense. I've had to repeatedly explain the concepts of 3-4 defense and the two-gapping technique that is its trademark. I felt the same way about the Steelers fan base's lack of understanding of offense; it was all about defense for them. Tell your friend the Packers defense is No. 8 in the league, and the offense is No. 10, even though it has the best quarterback in the league running it. Maybe he'll understand that.

Jason from Hettinger, ND

Vic, if you could reincarnate a football stadium from the dead besides Three Rivers, which one would you choose and why?

In college football, old Mountaineer Field. It was the most charming, tight and college-like stadium I've ever seen. In pro football, old Mile High Stadium. I loved the way its cantilevered decks reached for the sky, I loved the view of the Rockies out the back, and I loved the white horse in the open end.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

What is the batting rule's purpose anyway? I mean, if a guy realizes it's his ball if the ball goes out of bounds, why should he be penalized for making sure it goes out. Calvin Johnson should have hung onto the ball.

This rule has been in the books for eons and nobody seems to have known about it but, all of a sudden, it's the subject of a controversy and everybody's an expert on the subject. My inbox has almost nothing else in it but angst about a bad call. Rupert Murdoch is a genius.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I'm interested to know how many people knew, at the time, a flag should have been thrown on Wright's illegal bat. Would there have been any complaints had the media not said a flag should have been thrown? Retrospectively, I think people are complaining just to complain.

I'm stunned the average football fan didn't know about this rule. We talked about it from the offense's standpoint last week. I would assume anybody who lived through the "Holy Roller" would understand you can't intentionally advance the football by batting it. We even discussed in this column something called a "one-point try safety," as it pertained to PAT kicks and batting the ball. I don't like the idea of an officiating expert in the TV booth second-guessing and pre-supposing its brethren's calls, but the viewing audience clearly needs to be educated on the rulebook and its interpretations.

Jerry from Fresno, CA

What will McCarthy focus on in Week 5 against the Rams?

I have to believe the Packers will focus on blocking Aaron Donald.

Ken from Kenosha, WI

On the controversial MNF play there was no flag, it wasn't reviewable and didn't involve a new or complicated rule. The official has to make a judgment call because the rules don't legislate the exact definition of batting and all of the potential nuances. It sounds like we should all be happy if we don't want excessive flags, excessive replay reviews and a garbled rulebook. If we want to err in the direction of simplicity, we have to accept the officials' instantaneous judgments.

Brian Billick made a point on TV last night that replay review is intended to correct the egregious error. Yes, this was an egregious error. Billick favors a rule that allows calls that are not reviewable to be reviewed because an egregious error has been made. OK, who determines an egregious error has been made and where do we draw the line? You see, at some point, it comes down to judgment, or every call has to be made reviewable.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

Vic, I'm really anxious to see how our offensive line holds up against the Rams' defensive line. The Rams are really an up-and-down team, as they have demonstrated this year. I picked this as a very tough game when I initially saw the schedule and I still feel that way. What do you think, aerial assault or a mix of run and pass?

If you can't run against these guys, and you become one-dimensional, your quarterback is in danger. That's what happened to Ben Roethlisberger. I do my 10 things on Thursday. I think you have a pretty good idea what No. 1 is going to be.

Jason from Roseburg, OR

Nick Perry is playing like his career depends on it. Agree or disagree, and why?

I agree. What have I been saying in this column for years? Players play for their futures. There is no greater motivation.

Elizabeth from Toledo, OH

Vic, I know you hate soccer, but do you know what soccer doesn't have? That's right, replay review. Bad calls by refs are just considered part of the game and barring an extreme situation, no one talks about it for weeks. Maybe you should reconsider soccer?

I did and I still hate it. We drove past a sparkling new soccer stadium across from the San Jose airport on Sunday. Seeing it upset me. If I could, I'd have all vans with soccer ball stickers on their back windows recalled and the stickers removed. You know how presidents get to do arbitrary and capricious things right before they leave office? I hope President Obama outlaws soccer.

Joe from Whitefish Bay, WI

Has there ever been a study done of the success of high-priced free agents like Suh going from the Lions to the Dolphins? I have to think the success rate isn't as high as people think, which makes the Packers' draft-and-develop approach even wiser from a salary cap perspective.

The success rate is abysmal. The risk is insane. So why do teams do it? Because they all think they're signing the next Reggie White.


James from San Francisco, CA

Who's got a better future in pro wrestling, Clay Matthews or J.J. Watt?

Matt Rotheram. He has the best pro wrestling hair I've ever seen.

Mark from Winfield, IL

Vic, is the "can the Packers go undefeated?" wing of the "Ask Vic" Hall of Fame filling up yet? Can I request a personal tour?

I was waiting for the first person to do the undefeated thing. You're it and you're banned.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, as a Pirates fan, you must have loved Roberto Clemente. What are your memories of him?

He was my favorite player. I checked his batting average every day. I loved his throws from the rightfield corner, the basket catches, the hat flying off his head as he rounded second and headed for third. He didn't slide head first. He went in feet first, hard and flat, hidden by the dust he raised. His movements on a ballfield were beautiful. He never crashed a wall; he kissed it. He was stylish. He was dramatic. His final hit was his 3,000th. It was as though he died that day, at second base, tipping his hat to a late-season crowd. He died as he lived, with mysteriousness. They never found his body. As a player, they never found his soul. There was something about him that made you watch, out of fear you'd miss what was going to happen, because you knew something was going to happen. He was one of those people who couldn't be boring if he tried. What I remember most now are his words in the clubhouse following Game 7 of the 1971 World Series. He was the star. He was the Series MVP, having put on a show that stole the spotlight from Frank Robinson. When Clemente was interviewed on TV and he was asked how he felt, he said he wanted to say something to his mother and father in Spanish. "On the greatest day of my life, I ask for your blessing." Nobody translated. Another mystery. Such a shame. It's good we're getting to know him now. David Maraniss wrote a beautiful book about Clemente. I thank David for helping peel back the layers of the unknown man I idolized.

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