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Biggest regular-season game in Carolina history?


Anthony from Durham, UK

Did you expect the Packers to struggle at wide receiver as much as they have without Nelson?

When the Packers lost Jordy Nelson, if you had told me through seven games Davante Adams would have 10 catches for 100 yards and no touchdowns, I would've told you the Packers would miss Nelson as much as it appears they have. Adams was to be Nelson's replacement. Adams is supposed to be the boundary receiver Nelson has been. Adams is supposed to be the back-shoulder fade receiver. I thought Nelson's injury was going to result in Adams' emergence as a star, but most of his season to date has been lost to injury, so the Packers have had to replace two of their top three receivers, and that's too much for most teams to overcome. The Packers need Adams to get healthy and be the player they know he can be.

Geoffrey from The Woodlands, TX

Vic, I have sent many questions. I have been a Packers fan for 54 years, lived through the great times and the bad times. I think the management and coaching of the Packers is outstanding, but they are way too predictable on both sides of the ball. It's great to say we have a plan – please execute it – but sometimes life doesn't agree with your plan and you have to adjust. Get Janis in the flow of the game with plays he is comfortable with until he is fully ready. Pound the ball into their noses with two fullbacks and Lacy until they respect your power. Whatever, just don't be so predictable.

So, you want to line up with two fullbacks and Eddie Lacy and pound the ball without being predictable. Got it.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

I don't know what the pass/run ratio is for the last three games, but it seems we're getting away from the running game too early. What do you think?

You have to convert third down and sustain drives to be able to commit to the running game. The Packers are five of 17 on third down in the last two games. There's the problem.

Marty from Platteville, WI

Vic, you mentioned you believe the answer to the Packers' offensive woes lies in running the ball. How do the Packers do this moving forward? Is it simply a matter of better execution?

Yes, it is, but execution isn't a simple matter. It's not as simple as doing what the playbook says to do. The guys on defense aren't blocking bags; they move, too. In the old days, a coach would run some nine-on-seven drills (half-line drills now) in practice, but you can't do that nowadays due to the fear of injury. I saw some things in the running game on Sunday night I liked. That's the best I can offer at this point.

Chris from Parker, CO

The AFC appears to be the stronger conference. What NFC teams would have a chance at defeating the top AFC teams in the Super Bowl, based on current talent at this stage of the season?

I agree, the AFC is the stronger conference, and there appears to be a gap between the Patriots/Broncos and the rest of the league. It's my hope the Packers will have a chance to prove they closed that gap. I think the Packers are as good as any team in the NFC.

Owen from Tampa, FL

I'm all for getting the run game going, but a Rodgers-led passing attack shouldn't require an eight-man box. I thought seven in the box was exactly what we wanted?

It is. Seven in the box is perfect balance. You should be able to run against it and throw against it. The Broncos did very little schematically that would suggest an overload. They just lined up and played, and they played very, very well. One of the things I've noticed from having covered this team for five years is the teams that are successful defensively against the Packers don't do it with scheme. They play it straight.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

Vic, it's really frustrating to get excited about having most of our starters healthy, only to lose 2-3 each game like we did against the Broncos, losing two of our key defensive backs and were lucky not to lose Matthews. I know it's next man up but don't you think when you lose starters your talent is just not up to par to compete?

Injuries are the top story in nearly every city in the league. That's the way it is in this league these days. Injuries were the top story throughout the preseason, and they're the top story in the regular season. How many times did you see a highlight of Le'Veon Bell injuring his knee this past Sunday? Yeah, it's reached the point that injuries are highlights. I don't know what the league can do to address this issue, but something has to be done. In my opinion, the twist-down tackle is wreaking havoc on knees. When the game was played with hips and shoulders, players went to the ground more suddenly, cleanly. Now, with the game being played with the hands and feet, players are being screwed into the ground. Once upon a time, tackling was all about leverage. Under and up were the words. Defenders were instructed to strike the rising blow. Now, defenders are coming in high and pushing the ball carrier down, which means the knees are absorbing a lot of weight and torque. Lombardi said everybody's grabbing out there. He's right, but nowadays it's acceptable tackling technique. I think the rules of the game are in desperate need of revision.

Trevor from Wausau, WI

What effect, if any, will Carolina having to play an overtime game on a short week play into Sunday's game?

It's a challenge they'll have to overcome, but I think we need to get an appreciation right now for what the Packers are going to be facing in Charlotte on Sunday. This could be the biggest regular-season game in Panthers history. The Panthers are 7-0 and about to host the 13-time, world-champion Green Bay Packers. Remember last year's game at Lambeau? That ain't gonna help matters. What did Coach McCarthy say last week about a tough stretch of schedule? Frankly, the whole rest of the season looks like a tough stretch of schedule. I think we need to get our heads out of the clouds and begin thinking about the next game, instead of the next Super Bowl.

Nick from Houston, TX

Vic, we saw Tom Brady throw the ball 50-some times against the Jets and the Patriots barely run it and win. For all of Aaron's talents, how come we never see the Packers do this? Your analysis is we have to have a strong running game. When we don't have that option it seems we lose. I know it isn't sustainable but why not let Aaron rifle it around 60 times in the games the running game doesn't work? If Brady can win a game like that, why can't Aaron? I don't understand.

It's difficult to throw the ball 50 times when you only run 46 plays.

Jeremy from Fort Wayne, IN

In all the years pre-Lacy, Rodgers and the passing game never had problems passing the ball down the field, even with a terrible run game. Why is it different now?

That's the question of the week. I don't know the answer but I'm absolutely sure Coach McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers know the answer to your question, and they're working on the fix. I didn't see open receivers on Sunday. Why? Maybe the Broncos' secondary is that good. I know why the Packers didn't throw for a lot of yards against the Chargers: The Chargers had the ball for 16 minutes longer than the Packers. We need more information and we'll get more information in Carolina. We're trying to answer the big question based on the Denver game. Maybe we need to give more respect to the Broncos. Maybe we need to consider the possibility the Packers aren't the only good team in this league.

Richard from Lakewood, NJ

Since Jordy Nelson has gone down to season-ending surgery, Green Bay's offense has not overcome that loss. Any trades on the horizon to get a speedy receiver?

The trade deadline has passed. The Packers will have to go out back to the veteran deep-speed receiver tree.

Alex from Madison, WI

I really miss seeing the back-shoulder throw, the play-action followed by the head cock for a deep bomb, the comeback with a juke for extra yardage, the quick slant that goes for 20-plus yards. Will we see these again this year?

Yes, as soon as we see the Eddie Lacy makes road kill of small defensive back again.

Ross from Hudson, WI

What are the odds if the Packers are held to 50 plays again Mike takes back play-calling?

It's always about the plays and the play-calling, isn't it? The team that won on Sunday night was beautifully basic. Clay Matthews left the game with an injury, and on the next play the Broncos ran the ball where Matthews would've been for a 28-yard touchdown. Everything the Broncos did was about attacking personnel.

Kyle from Delavan, WI

Vic, I read "Ask Vic" daily, and I have to give you kudos for being able to handle the emotional roller coaster fans go through. When we were undefeated, the sky was the limit, and with one loss the panic alarms are going off. Folks, we are 6-1.

I knew this was going to be scheme week, and it is.

Thomas from Stevens Point, WI

It takes a man to stand up and admit defeat and take full responsibility for the loss. McCarthy is a terrific coach and leader of men this team is fortunate to have. Given players, not plays, why are teams so quick to fire the head coach?

Teams don't fire the head coach. The fans and the media fire the head coach.

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