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Packers won with defense; Mike Daniels was dominant

Miami will present a different challenge


Dan from Andover, NJ

It seems there's more than one way to stop the run: Play with a lead.

That wasn't it last night. The Packers didn't win with offense playing defense. The Packers won with defense playing offense. The Packers defense dominated the line of scrimmage. It won the one-on-ones. It rendered the Vikings offense so completely ineffective that the Packers offense could do anything it wanted without fear of reprisal. Mike Daniels was off the charts last night. That's as dominant a performance by a Packers defensive lineman as I've seen in the four years I've covered this team.

Bob from Cambridge, Ontario

The Packers went on a 66-0 run before giving up a single point. Vic, is this finally a sign our offense is firing on all cylinders and our defense is finally looking like the defense it was supposed to be since acquiring Julius Peppers?


Yes, both units are playing at top end right now. Does that mean the Packers have arrived? Coach Noll said you never arrive.**

Brad from Green Bay, WI

Vic, did you notice the play of Matt Kalil? Last year, I thought he was going to be the premier left tackle in the league for years to come, and last night he looked awful. What would cause such a drastic change in one's play?

I knew he was struggling, but I was stunned by the depth of his struggles last night. I remember writing in this column that Kalil would be one of the three or four players I would pick to begin a franchise, being that you have to have a premier left tackle and he appeared to be that guy among the young ones. I don't know what's happened, but he's too talented for this to continue. I have a feeling something has caused him to lose his confidence and play tentatively. He'll get it back.

Ryan from Green Bay, WI

Vic, the Packers passed on Jim Brown when they drafted Paul Hornung in 1957. Should the staff have been fired for this? Seems like they did pretty well with five championships.

The staff was fired, except for the guy that passed on Brown, and Jack Vainisi was a great drafter who I'm sure deeply regretted passing on Brown until Vince Lombardi found a way to use Hornung. In 1958, Brown rushed for 1,527 yards and 17 touchdowns in a 12-game season. Think of what those numbers meant back then. He had a 5.9 yards-per-carry average. Scouting was grass roots back then. There was no combine. Even at that, they did a pretty good job. Look at the 1957 draft; it's impressive. I was asked about a Jim Brown clone. Imagine Brown playing for Lombardi. Wow!

Robert from Albuquerque, NM

I can live without football if it means standing up for my morals, which are more important than the sport itself or any amount of money or enjoyment anyone can measure. Doing the right thing is more important than watching football.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of free TV. These are the things for which I stand.

Tim from Schofield, WI

A running game and run defense with a chip on its shoulder gave this game an edge. Is this a launch game?

It can be, but it won't be without weekly challenges. Playing in Miami won't be easy. It'll present a whole new challenge.

Zaquery from Lexington, KY

Just watched our coach deliver his speech. How do you not feel good about what he has to say and his plan for the future? As a Packers fan, you have to enjoy having a great quarterback right now.

These are some of the most treasured days in Packers history. Aaron Rodgers is a quarterback that tilts the field, and he plays for the most underrated coach in franchise history.

Simon from Copenhagen, Denmark

Hate to sound spoiled, but as much as I enjoy a Packers win, I went to bed in the middle of the third quarter. I don't want dominant cruise control all the way to the Super Bowl. Give me a nail-biter every time. Guess I like to watch.

You're someone who needs competition. I'm the same way. I struggled to remain interested once I knew the Vikings had no chance, and I came to that realization in the first quarter.

Charlie from Destin, FL

Fifty-five plays per game, compared to 72.6 plays per game by the other team. Just win, baby? I don't care how many plays we run, as long as we win.

Coach McCarthy's 75-plays mantra is a metaphor for wanting to play fast. Don't take everything literally. Coach McCarthy believes playing fast is at the heart of winning football. The play count is nothing more than a symbol. The Packers are playing fast.

Christopher from Hastings, New Zealand

Is the longer break before having to play in Miami helpful for the Packers, compared to playing Sunday to Sunday?

The extra days of rest will help bumps and bruises heal, but it won't help the Packers prepare for the different weather conditions they're going to face in Miami. The predicted high temperature for Miami today is 88 degrees, which means the heat index will be in the 100 range. I lived in Florida for 16 years. It's all about the sun. If you're not accustomed to the Florida heat, you have to find a way to get out of the sun.

Luke from San Diego, CA

Not that it really matters, but do you think the Packers will ever win time of possession, and how important do you think it is for this team?

I'm a big believer in time of possession. I just think it's better to have the ball than for your opponent to have the ball. Now that Eddie Lacy has had his breakout game, I think you're going to see the Packers' time of possession improve. I don't think playing fast should be a big goal in Miami. I think eating some clock in Miami will be a big deal, and you can do that when you have two backs sharing the load in a productive running game.

Erik from Anchorage, AK

What's your love/hate Dom email ratio this morning?

Nobody's complaining about Coach Capers today. I guess his schemes were pretty good last night. I especially liked the scheme in which Mike Daniels whips the guy across from him. That's a great scheme.

Russ from Boise, ID

Am I the only one who feels like in the right system Christian Ponder would flourish?

I think you are. I'm not sure what that system is, but I'm sure last night's system isn't it. Ponder was playing in a system built for Teddy Bridgewater. That read-option play wasn't fooling anyone. All it did was create extra time for the Packers defense to react. I got the sense Ponder was handed a game plan that was created for Bridgewater.

Lucas from Columbia, SC

It seems Lacy is more effective when put in the backfield by himself, and Starks runs better when Rodgers is in the shotgun. I know McCarthy said no changes had been made to the offense, but clearly they recognized that going in. My question is if they decide to stick with that formula, which I hope they do, will that make it easier for defense's to scout them in the future?

What does it matter? When you have balance, you dictate to the defense, which is what good offenses do. When you have balance, you don't take what they give you, you take what you want.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Can we say the Packers have turned the corner and are done playing preseason football now?

Yes. The season has begun.

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