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Packers need 'Dependability Mode'

Site familiarity bodes well for postseason


Dylan from Lacrosse, WI

If the stars aligned and a tiebreaker went to a coin flip, which team gets to call it?

The Jaguars were involved in a coin flip for something while I was in Jacksonville. I can't remember how it was decided who would call it, but I think the two teams drew numbered slips of papers or straws or something like that. One of the most famous coin flips was between the Bears and Steelers for the first pick of the 1970 draft, which turned out to be Terry Bradshaw. I couldn't find info on how it was decided who would call the flip. The Steelers won the toss, but the Bears would've won the pick outright had they not beaten the Steelers at Wrigley Field in the 1969 season. When it comes to the draft, losing is winning and winning is losing. It's the draft's inverse order of selection that was the brainchild of former commissioner Bert Bell, and it is at the heart of the parity that defines the league more than a half-century later. Bell is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated figures in NFL history. He guided the NFL through the war years and he set a course for the league's future, and he did it from his home in Philadelphia. He's a great read.

Tom from Stockton, CA

Vic, how do you feel about us returning to Carolina in the playoffs?

That would mean the Packers had won at least one playoff game, maybe two, and that would be fine with me. Do I think the Packers can win in Carolina? Absolutely, I do. I didn't sense a huge homefield advantage for the Panthers when the two teams met there earlier this season.

Chase from Camp Buehring, Kuwait

Vic, I just read an article that ranked NFL stadiums. What are your thoughts on their top five: 5. FedEx Field, 4. Soldier Field, 3. Heinz Field, 2. Lambeau Field, 1. Arrowhead Stadium?

The top three are good fits. I like The Linc and new Mile High, and several more of the newly constructed stadiums.

Jake from Franklin, WI

Vic, currently, we have or will have played most of the NFC playoff field. How important will familiarity be?

I think it would be a huge advantage for the Packers to have played in Carolina and Arizona this season, should the Packers have to play there in the postseason. In 2010, the Packers played in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago before playing at each of those sites in the playoffs.

Joe from Sherman, IL

Vic, my dear wife of 38 years wants to know if the Packers have what it takes to win it all.

Tell her I think it depends on the team's passing game. If it performs as it did in the second half of the win in Detroit, the Packers can go all the way. The other pieces of the puzzle are in place.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

Vic, Eddie Lacy is kind of a sly type, a quiet guy, but I have a feeling there's a storm brewing and this weekend he will redefine the term "Beast Mode."

The Packers don't need him to be "Beast Mode." They need him to be "Dependability Mode." The Packers need a four, four, four kind of running back, especially on third-and-1. I think we're going to see that happen.

Patrick from Seattle, WA

Vic, your answers of late have been punchy, no holds barred, take no prisoners, smash-mouth, right back at you, in your face. Can you please go to the locker room and infect each and every player with your fierce and positive attitude?

They've got the right attitude. Attitude has never been a problem. Mike McCarthy would never allow his team to leave the locker room without the right attitude.

James from Midland, TX

Well, someone called it that there would be something special last week. This week, I'm calling it. Nothing special coming from this game, just a downright gritty Packers win.

Winning is special at this time of the year. Style points are for September. December is about winning and winners. Whatever it takes. That's my motto for this team.

Kaveh from Tallahassee, FL

What's the story with your dad and Pitt?

Thanks for asking. It's a story for which I have a lot of pride and sensitivity, and I don't mind sharing it. My father was the youngest of three sons born to poor immigrant parents. When the Depression began, he was four years old. At 18, he was in the Philippines; all three sons were combat soldiers in WWII. So, for the first 20 years of his life, my father knew only poverty and war, and he returned from WWII with little more than the uniform on his back and something called the GI Bill. He used the GI Bill to become the first person in his family to ever go to college. He graduated from Pitt, a blue-blood school, as a commuter. He was intensely proud of his degree. He wore his class ring every day of his life. I have the ring now; the band is so thin from wear it's difficult to read its inscriptions. We watched Pitt games together. Even at a young age, I felt his pride. Since my father graduated from Pitt, every one of his children and every one of his grandchildren have graduated from college. Pitt and the GI Bill changed the course of history in my family, which is why I'm a fan of Pitt and social programs. In a few months, my youngest son will receive his PhD from Pitt. His grandfather would be very proud.

Rich from Citrus Springs, FL

Exactly what changed after the halftime break to turn the team around? Lethargic for the first two quarters, a different team came out in the second half.

I recently did a conference-type call with Packers season-ticket holders. Justin Perillo answered questions during the call and one of the questions was the same one you're asking. Perillo said nothing dramatic was done or said at halftime. I felt bad for the fan asking the question. He wanted so badly to hear there was a fire-and-brimstone speech, or a dramatic scheme adjustment. Oh, well. Sometimes the light just goes on.

David from Wilmington, DE

The Packers bumped the salaries of guard Matt Rotheram and defensive tackle Christian Ringo to a base level. How does the salary of practice-squad players affect the team's salary cap?

You pay it, you cap it.

Joe from St. Bonifacius, MN

Before reading your column, I played a game of Madden in which I passed 60 times for 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. Madden might be fun, but anyone who thinks it's an accurate simulation of football doesn't know anything about football. You aren't being presumptuous.

When they make a Madden that feels fear, pain and bleeds, let me know.

Tom from Pleasant Hill, CA

Vic, I looked it up. Fergus Falls and Auckland are sister cities. Then I dug further and every person you've banned is from a sister city with another banned person's city. Is this just coincidence?

I'm banning all sister cities.

Bobby from Green Bay, WI

Vic, how do I access the "Ask Vic Chat" while it's live? I couldn't find it on either mobile or desktop website.

We have an "Ask Vic" and we have an "Ask Vic Chat." The "Ask Vic" would be good for you, or you could click on the link in the centerpiece. The chat is new this year and I love it.

Ron from Round Lake, IL

I was sitting at a bar reading "Ask Vic" when I nearly experienced a Festivus miracle; beer almost shot through my nostrils. Free gluten?

Dec. 23 is the official date for Festivus. I will publish airing of grievances in "Ask Vic" that day.

John from Fargo, ND

What makes a great hotdog? Does it need a good snap or it is the toppings?

I fell in love with hot dogs as a kid at Forbes Field, but they were outrageously priced at 25 cents each, so buying a hot dog was reserved for special occasions. Maybe that's why I love them so much. There was something about the smell of a hot dog in dirty water on a hot July night that made my mouth water. I'll never get that scent out of my nose.

James from Carterville, IL

In your weekly chat, someone asked do you lead with run or pass against Dallas. You have taught us all to run, but is there I time when you prefer to start with the pass?

Teams that want to run, open with the pass. Teams that will run, open with the run. Those teams don't take what you give them; they take what they want. If I can't take what I want, I'll open with the pass.

Troy from Ashland, IL

Vic, as a fan, I'm having a hard time finding balance. Am I putting too much on Rodgers to make them win, or am I a fan who needs to find balance and learn from losses?

You probably need to find balance and learn from losing, but there is no such thing as putting too much pressure on the quarterback, especially at this time of the year. He's "The Man." His team will only go as far as he takes it.

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