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Rams will try to win the old-fashioned way

Beware of Jeff Fisher's trick plays


James from Raleigh, NC

I used to let your weird, baseless hatred of soccer bother me, then I decided that of all the dumb old-man traits you could have, there are far worse than hating the beautiful game.

I wouldn't let it bother you. It doesn't bother me.

James from Spring Valley, MN

I just saw that Dan Campbell ran the Oklahoma drill in his first practice. I immediately thought of you. I guess there is still some old-school football left in the world.

I think it's the most pure and meaningful football exercise ever created. I have a feeling the players association doesn't agree.

Ron from Clifton, VA

Sorry for asking one more question about the bat rule, but why does the rule even exist? What is it trying to prevent? It seems to me a defensive player batting the ball out of the end zone is a completely reasonable action.

It's trying to prevent the defensive version of the "Holy Roller." Batting is not permitted. It sounds as though you would favor a rule that doesn't permit batting, say, on the 50-yard line, but permits batting in the end zone. That's one of the problems with the rulebook. There are too many exceptions.

Curtis from New Ulm, MN

If you don't possess the ball, you can't move the ball. Isn't that the underlying principle behind the no batting rule?

Of course it is. You can't have players kicking the ball all over the field. That's idiotic. That's soccer. We have hands. Use them!

Evan from Rochester, NY

I see a lot of similarities between the 2015 Patriots and the 2011 Packers. I think New England fans should worry a little bit come December.

Did we worry in 2011?

Adam from Hillsboro, KS

Will we see more screen passes this Sunday to slow down the Rams' front four?

Screening is something you do mostly against blitzing linebackers. For example, you plan to screen against Rex Ryan's defenses. You need to get that second wave up the field. If the Rams can get pressure with their front four, they won't have to blitz. It's all about blocking the front four.

Adam from Austin, TX

Vic, you know what I hate? Baseball. You know what I hate even more than watching baseball? Having to read about it in "Ask Vic." Is it possible to keep the content relevant to Packers football?

No. I like variety. Why don't you just not read it? Plus, I needed any question I could find this week that wasn't about the batting call. Let me say this again: Folks, if something major happens in the world of football, figure somebody else asked about it and then ask about something else. I thought we were going to have a one-question "Ask Vic" on Tuesday.

Zach from Delavan, WI

Vic, who does Clay Matthews remind you of from linebackers of old (minus the hair, of course)?

Mike Curtis.

Phillip from St. Paul, MN

Vic, how would you summarize Jeff Fisher's career, including his brief tenure in St. Louis?

I think he's an outstanding coach. I had the great pleasure to cover his teams twice a season during the years I spent covering the Jaguars. I always knew what Coach Fisher's teams were going to do: play tough defense, run the ball and throw to the tight end (Frank Wycheck). I also came to expect a trick play on special teams. Coach Fisher has always been a cooperative and flavorful conference-call interview. He has a wonderful calmness about him, and he uses it to answer questions, not avoid them. I think I like that most about Coach Fisher. He'll also take a playful shot from time to time, which always made for a good lede and headline. I'm not the least bit surprised at what's happening in St. Louis. Todd Gurley is the Rams' Eddie George, and Aaron Donald is their Jevon Kearse. It's how you build a football team, around a cornerstone player on offense and defense.

Steven from Seven Lakes, NC

Jeff Fisher spoke about keeping his defensive line fresh. Would this be a good week to run the hurry-up offense more often? Try to catch them subbing?

The kind of subbing to which he was referring can be accomplished from series to series; you're just trying to keep your big guys fresh. It's not critical to get defensive linemen on and off the field between downs, that usually pertains more to linebackers and defensive backs because their presence is dictated by down and distance, which changes from down to down. I don't think this is a catch-them-subbing kind of week. I think this will be a rush four, drop seven kind of game. Coach Fisher will put his players out on the field and dare the Packers to beat them. That's just my opinion.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Vic, to follow up somewhat on Patrick's question, at the first quarter mark of the season, how much improvement over last year do you believe the special teams have demonstrated?

The big improvement is in kickoff return: The Packers are No. 7. Punt coverage is No. 6. I like what I've seen, but the other rankings can improve. Hopefully, Tim Masthay is coming out of a summer slump.

Paul from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, what kind of QB is Nick Foles?

He's a pocket passer who'll take a hit and keep his eyes downfield, as he did in Arizona. You know where he is, but he's a big guy and he's tough to knock off the spot. The Rams have spent high picks on their two tackles in the last two drafts.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Vic, if the NFL rulebook is as long and thick as people make it out to be, how do you even start to condense something like that? It seems like you would need a few offseasons just to scratch the surface.

You turn it over to Dean Blandino and the competition committee with this command: Clean it up. When I began covering pro football, I could go into the rulebook and easily find the rule that addressed my question. I can't do it anymore. Rule this, section that, article this, and under the articles you'll get a,b,c,d,e,f, etc., and then there'll be "notes" under all of that, as if you weren't already confused enough. There's too much language. It's paralyzing the officials, and I think that might've been what happened to the back judge on Monday night. Let them call them as they see them and interpret them according to their own judgment and personality for the game. When they do, support them. The league doesn't want coaches criticizing the officials, but the league hangs them out to dry after they've made a bad call. Let the media do that. Support your officials. They need the support of their employer.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Vic, you said you expect the Packers to be 6-0 going into the bye week. Any reason to think Rodgers and the Packers don't have even higher expectations?

If they can get to 7-0 before the bye week, I'm all for it.

Barry from Hayward, WI

How will the Rams try to beat the Packers?

The old-fashioned way: Run the ball, stop the run, win time of possession and make a play on special teams. Watch that last one. Coach Fisher always has a "Music City Miracle" ready to use, and he loves to run out of punt formation from his own 40.

Dave from Rockford, IL

Vic, isn't how many points a defense gives up a better measure of how good they are than how many yards they yield? If that's the case, then the Packers are tied for the second-best defense in the league.

Yeah, it is, but don't completely dismiss yardage allowed as unimportant. Yards are time, and if the opponent is winning time of possession, your best player is spending too much time not playing. A good defense denies points. A great defense denies everything. Strive for greatness.

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