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Packers need to make the cold their ally

Forget about style points; just win, baby


Roderick from Canandaigua, NY

What accounts for the significant improvement in the Packers run defense? It has evolved from allowing 153.5 yards per game in the first eight weeks to 83 yards over the last seven. Same personnel, same coaches. I love the improvement but do not understand it.

Practice and time together is the answer. The coaches get to know the players and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how they might be best utilized. The players become familiar with the schemes they're being asked to execute, and they become more familiar with each other and how they might complement each other. That should be easy to understand. I think we should also recall something I wrote a few weeks back, when Clay Matthews was moved inside, which also helped improve the run defense. I wrote back then that in December the Packers wouldn't be facing a lot of top rush offenses, which would probably mean more time on the outside for Matthews. The real litmus test for the Packers run defense would come in the postseason against runners such as DeMarco Murray and Marshawn Lynch.

Josh from Cincinnati, OH

Last year, I don't recall a single player from the 49ers really offering any concern about the cold before the game, but these Lions players sound scared. Johnson and Bush were both very vocal about not wanting to play in the cold. They're missing that edge, Vic. It's time for this team to play to its identity and win this one at home, outdoors in the cold.

The cold should be this team's greatest ally. I consider the cold, the numbing Green Bay kind of cold, to be far more intimidating than noise.

Ethan from Grand Forks, ND

Vic, I'm sure you have a healthy dose of worry in your inbox today because the Packers didn't blow the Bucs out, but they're in the playoffs and still one win away from the division title and likely No. 2 seed. Even ugly, a win is a win, right?

The time for style points has long since passed. This is it. This is "The Big Game." Just win, baby.

Christopher from Pompano Beach, FL

Vic, it was a pleasure to meet you at this weekend's pep rally. I asked you why some of the captains' insignias are white with one star and some are yellow. Well, here's the answer: The number of stars filled in on the patch represents the number of consecutive years that player has been named captain by that team. If they've been named captain for longer than four years, the "C" on the patch is gold.

You've answered several questions in my inbox. Thanks.

Tom from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, you saw this one coming from the time the schedule was set. You must have a sixth sense.

I never understood the Bears love in the preseason. I kept thinking to myself, "Why is everyone overlooking Detroit?" Mike McCarthy went out of his way at the 2011 combine to single out the Lions as a team on the verge. I knew after sitting at Jim Caldwell's breakfast table at last March's owners meetings that Caldwell would tame the Lions. The Lions have the big guys. Those are the teams worthy of attention.

Ryan from Green Bay, WI

Vic, do you believe Aaron Rodgers will win NFL MVP this year? I'm hearing talk of Tony Romo, all of a sudden.

Drum roll.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Because emotions exist in space and time and are ingrained in the physical world around us, is this what determines successful coaches and organizations from other? Do the good coaches know how to set the tempo and create a winning culture based on the metaphysics of sport?

Good coaches know their players and what buttons to push.

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