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Packers-Vikings rivalry intensifying

Yelling wouldn't work with today's players


Tim from Farmington, MN

With all of the pressure to fix what is wrong, how do the coaches keep this team from overthinking things and playing tight both in body and mind?

By being demanding but supportive. Demand and reprimand doesn't work with today's players. Coach Lombardi came from a generation of coaches who told their players as long as I'm yelling at you, everything's OK. That doesn't work today. Coach Lombardi would've had to change his ways, and I have no doubt he would've changed.

Bob from Rossford, OH

My Packers buddies are all saying the thing is going to be the best Christmas gift this season, but I don't know what it is? How far back in the "Ask Vic" archives do I need to go?

I'll send you a thing.

Tom from Neenah, WI

An 8-0 Cincinnati team was booed last night by the fans. I guess it could be even worse.

I looked in the bathroom mirror this morning and booed myself. It felt good.

Tom from Roseville, MN

Vic, I read an interesting story yesterday from an analyst at NFL Films who has spent the past week going over game film from all of the Packers games this year trying to figure out what has gone wrong. He said the one glaring thing that jumps out at him starting with the San Diego game is Aaron Rodgers started dropping his eyes at the snap of the ball to look at the pass rush, which is a cardinal sin for quarterbacks. This habit continued through last Sunday's game. I'm guessing he is getting a little tired of being crushed by the defense. Any thoughts on this?

I'm not sure what "at the snap of the ball" means, but I haven't detected a case of happy eyes. Aaron Rodgers is as courageous as any quarterback I have ever covered or seen play. The first time I saw him play a regular-season game, in  2008, I was struck by his calm in the pocket and his ability to feel the rush without taking his eyes off downfield. You'll know when a quarterback peeks because his facemask will drop. That doesn't mean happy eyes can't happen to a courageous quarterback. If he's protecting an injury, he might sneak a peek at the rush. Again, I haven't seen evidence of it. Rodgers has taken some hard sacks in recent weeks. He was upended hard from the blind side in Denver and he took a big hit face on in the second quarter of the Detroit game. If a guy's peeking, he doesn't get hit like that. He's usually bracing for the hit or already on the way down. It's still good to know we haven't run out of analysts.

Claude from Denver, CO

I read a story about how Coach Zimmer gave his players a shirt that said NFC North on the front and Beat Green Bay on the back. I think it's a good motivational tool for a team that has the hot hand right now. Do you think it would or will add to the pain of a loss to the Packers?

No, mostly it'll add to what I believe is the No. 1 rivalry in the NFC North.

Rob from Webb City, MO

Vic, I just saw a replay of the end of the Jacksonville-Baltimore game. Another obvious blown call to cost a team a win. Does the NFL need to fix its incompetent officiating to avoid losing fans?

I get the sense the league believes the controversy caused by exposing blown calls is actually strengthening the league's grip on fans.

Stuart from Madison, WI

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings, and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings, and never breathe a word about your loss." Vic, I don't know if anything else could be more fitting.

This week I would go with: "If you can dream, and not make dreams your master. If you can think, and not make thoughts your aim." I would add: If you can watch, and not go nuts.

Nick from State College, PA

Were you as disappointed as me to learn the Packers were booed at Lambeau? I wasn't there but it saddens me.

Green Bay blamed it on Milwaukee. I don't know how to tell the difference.

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