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Play above the X's and O's- Read Vic's Chat Editor Vic Ketchman conducted his weekly Friday chat


Hi, everybody. Are you ready for the greatest chat in the history of the world? Let's do it!

Comment From Canadian Mark

ALWAYS Ready for this chat! There seems to be a rather optimistic tone to Coach McCarthy's commentary the last few days. Now with a possible return of Sam, Ty & Quinten, would you say the mood of the team is also that way?

*It's not about being positive, it's about a weekly recommitment to a new opponent. The Packers left Denver behind and turned their attention to Carolina. They didn't obsess on a loss because they don't have time to do that. That's what you sensed.   *

Comment From Todd

How do you approach blitzing Newton - straight on or from the sides? With his size and speed is it better to keep him contained versus flushing him out?

*I'm not so sure blitzing is what you want to do with him. I think it's better to keep him in the pocket and make him beat you with his arm. *

Comment From Kevin

Is the receiving tight end a new concept that's picking up a lot of steam because of guys like Gronkowski?

You could've asked that question four decades ago when the Chargers made Kellen Winslow a WR at TE.

*Tom Clements said something to me yesterday that made me smile. We have a mutual friend, a renowned running backs coach named Dick Hoak. Tom said Hoakie would say nothing in this league is new. What's new now was probably done in the '50s. Everything is recycled. Hey, there are only two things you can do with the ball, run with it or pass it.       *

Comment From Mike

What do you think our defense needs to do to stop the run more effectively?

Get off blocks. It's that simple. Stopping the run is about toughness and imposing your will.

Comment From Tony

For anyone who thinks it's plays, not players: was it Sinatra, or the songs?

*Sinatra was a good strategist. He didn't try to do what he couldn't do. He could sing but he couldn't dance.      *

Comment From Jordy N.

Hi Vic, is it getting cold for you yet in GB?

This is nothing. But seriously, there's something about my body that just won't tolerate the cold. I really struggle in the cold.

Comment From Linda P

Vic, so what do we do if we can't run the ball?

You throw it. Not being able to run makes throwing the ball more difficult, but what option do you have? You play above the X's and O's. You're allowed to do that. You're allowed to play better than the scheme says you should play. You defeat the scheme. You rise to the occasion. I'm sick of scheme talk. A winner gets it done. The human condition is more valuable than the scheme. If you have to throw to win, then throw it. Whatever it takes, get it done. Win the game!

Comment From Balaji

I would love to see more details answers that you did today. We need more of that to get educated.

No you don't. Here's why: There's a counter strategy to every strategy. If you do this, they'll do that. If you do that, they'll do this. It's what you physically do that decides whether you win or lose. The Broncos were absolutely vanilla on defense. They played seven up front and four in the back. They overloaded against nothing. Against those numbers, the Packers should've been able to run and pass. But they weren't. Why? Because the Broncos played above the X's and O's. That's what wins.

Comment From T. Clements

Vic--I need your advice on the first offensive call for the game? What do I do?

In my opinion, the Packers play best when they open full throttle, take control of the tempo, and then settle into a pounding running game that shifts gears and begins to take control of the line of scrimmage. That, in my opinion, is Packers offense. I'd like to see them get back to it.

Comment From #36 Leaper

Will you have time to visit the homestead this weekend?

No, it's a long way from Charlotte.

Comment From Justin

How does Pittsburgh cold compare to Green Bay cold?

No comparison. I thought it would be similar, but it's not. It gets colder earlier in the fall and stays colder longer into the spring in Green Bay, and winter nights routinely go below zero. Pittsburgh is a kind of 32-33 half rain, half snow in the winter. It's 45 in Green Bay today. It's 70 in Pittsburgh. I was shocked by the difference in the two climates.

Comment From Paul W

How many meals do the players eat that are prepared by the Packers?

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Comment From Tom

How can the Packers generate a pass rush without the blitz?

You're really not blitzing until you send that fifth or sixth man, so try to get pressure with a linebacker. The nice thing about the 3-4 is you can disguise that fourth rusher.

Comment From Colton

Any chance for a Carolina hangover from their last game?

*I don't think so. The Panthers and their fan base are on a high. This is the highest point in the franchise's regular season history. The Packers are heading into a buzz saw. They know it. You need to know it, too. When you're playing on the road against 6-0 and 7-0 teams, it's not supposed to be easy. I think it's also fair to say you're not supposed to win. Get ready for a struggle.         *

Comment From Russ J

Does the offensive line create enough push to run the ball more?           

It's not about push nowadays, as much as it's about creating and identifying rushing lanes. Go to today's "Ask Vic" question about cutback lanes. The Packers offensive line is skilled in the art of zone-blocking.

Comment From Scott

When Carolina beats Green Bay are you just going to pretend like nobody could have beaten Carolina on that day like you did last week?

That's an unfair shot at me. If you're still angry about last Sunday, you need to do some self-examination, instead of taking your anger out on me.

Comment From Allen

What time does the team leave today?

It leaves tomorrow.

Comment From Pete Puma

Are you a fan of zone blocking, or do you prefer the "road grader" approach?

I've become a fan of zone-blocking. It creates more movement and I think that goes well with today's game.

Comment From tghn

Did fans go so off the wall after a loss back in the 70's? It's depressing! I don't know how you do it day in and day out.

*No, they didn't.               *

Comment From john

did jordy nelson really draw enough attention to free up everyone else or is something else not working here?

It's not just Jordy Nelson. The Packers have also been playing without Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery.

Comment From Jonah

Vic, what is the best thing I can tell myself right before the game starts so I can watch with the right perspective?               

Tell yourself the other guys are getting a pep talk, too.

Comment From Rubin

Thanks for interacting with the fans on a regular basis. You answer so many of our questions. Do you ever feel like the Shell Answer Man in the TV commercials of the '70s and '80s?

I enjoy doing this. I love football fans.

Comment From TAS

When they are all healthy how do the packers receivers as a group stand up to the rest of the NFL?       

Aaron Rodgers' receiving corps has helped him win two MVPs in the last four years. All of a sudden we're questioning the quality of his receiving corps. A couple of games? Let's be patient. If the Packers are still struggling to throw the ball a few weeks from now, then it's fair to question the personnel, but not now.

Comment From Paul W

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin other than the Packers?

I love that I can live so close to Lambeau Field that I can go home for lunch. I love that I never have to consider rush-hour traffic. People from here can't imagine how much that means to someone such as myself. It's a real luxury.

Comment From Robert

The Packers have struggled to throw the ball for four weeks, not two. And this isn't the receiving corps that got him the MVP award.

OK, I'm going to put you down a thumbs down on the receiving corps. Now, I've got a question for you: What do they do about it, now, not next spring?

Comment From Kyle

Vic, why do "fans" insist on trying to convince you that everything with the team has gone to pot?

For some reason, it comforts them. They are a small group of people that are comforted by hopelessness. It's a strange condition.

Comment From Robert

So what did people get all worked up about back in the 70s if it wasn't football?

Steel mills closing. They did, at least, in my hometown. They went to the game. They felt bad about losing. They didn't whine and cry about it. Maybe they were more conditioned to losing by hard times. I don't know. When are you going to answer my question?

Comment From Marc

bell bottoms

I had a multi-colored pair I wore in college. Everybody laughed at me but I loved them.

Comment From Marty

If we beat Carolina, we all forget about the anomoly in Denver. Do you agree?

Everything is instantly better.

Comment From Mike

Do you think the NFL needs a D-League to grow the next generation of franchise passers? Could it also function as a laboratory for rule changes? I think it does.

Yeah, but the liability is too great. It needs to be done in-house.

Comment From Jeff

What if the offense is under 200 yards again?

Keep working at it. What's the option? Folks, never have an attitude that you're above losing. Nobody is above losing.

Comment From Marty

I was looking at some of the Drifters songs. You are a romantic aren't you?

I still have some sand, in my shoes. I love that song. I love the Drifters, Sam Cooke, Ben E. King.

I'm a beach guy. Hot sand and a cold drink is the best combination in the world.

Comment From Guest

I am biased, but does cheese taste better here than in PA, SC, or FL?

I think it does. I'll tell you what tastes good: bouyah soup. I love it.

Comment From Chris

are you a James Taylor guy? You're going to Carolina in my mind.

*Darius Rucker   *

Comment From JustinV

Socks with sandals, sandals, or barefoot?            

No socks and canvas shoes.

Comment From Shane

The only way to address the receiving concerns this season is for the guys we have to perform better. As you say - "Help is not on the way!"            

Bingo! Good coaches don't quit on their players. They challenge them. They drive them to get better. They demand improvement. One of the best coaching jobs I've ever covered was by Chuck Noll in 1986. He had a lousy team that began the season with a 1-something. They finished 6-10 and they were on the rise at season's end. You don't forget those kinds of teams.

Comment From Scotty

Why did Carolina get a franchise before Baltimore?

It wasn't Carolina, it was Jacksonville. Carolina was a shoe-in for the first of two expansion spots. The second one was supposed to go to St. Louis, but they couldn't get their package ready in time. Eventually, Wayne Weaver made an impressive presentation and won the second spot for Jacksonville, which came out of nowhere. Baltimore deserved a franchise; I absolutely agree. I don't think Jack Kent Cooke wanted another NFL team that close to his market, especially since he was going to be playing in Landover, Md.

Comment From Joseph

So the fast start was a good thing, I think ?

Sure it is, but when are you allowed to have a slow time? December? Fast start was Coach McCarthy's way of setting a tone for training camp. Just get me to December in playoff contention. Then get hot and hot will take care of the rest. If you don't get hot, it won't matter anyhow.

Comment From Tony

This feels like 2011 (doing so well and then not having troubles), but this time we have the rest of the season to figure out how to pull it together to be ready for the playoffs.

*That's right. Don't get cold in December.            *

Comment From Scott H.

Do you think Green Bay should have made a move at the trade deadline for another veteran linebacker?

Such as?

Comment From Scotty

Carolina does not appear to have top wide receivers. Would it be reasonable to expect we will try to stop the run, and make Newton best us?

With his arm, not his feet, please.

Comment From Scott H.

A guy like say Paul Kruger

*OK, now the question is at what cost? A draft pick? No, I like draft picks, and I like the guys I drafted. They'll improve. You have to have that kind of belief in your players. You have to be stubborn about their development, or draft and develop won't work. What I've sensed in my inbox this week is a whole lot of people who want to change. Do this today, do that tomorrow; change, change, change. That won't work. That's weakness and weakness is a loser.            *

Comment From Salvador

Would you agree that the Packers have too much talent on offense to keep them contained again?

I agree the Packers have too much talent on offense for this team to play at the past two games' level over an extended period of time. I can't tell you how long a slump will last. You're asking for a prediction for this week. I don't do those because I'm unable to do those.

Comment From Herb

Hi Vic. Do you have a fav Mean Joe Greene story. Im also a north texas grad

"Tonight, they put the second number on our tombstone. Now we can rest." Where do you find that kind of eloquence in today's locker rooms?

With that, I'll rest. Thank you for sharing this hour with me.

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