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Running up the score isn't professional


Terry from Raleigh, NC

So the news of Perry being placed on injured reserve means he's out for the season? I just get confused if it's the IR exempt or not.

Teams are only permitted to designate one of their players on injured reserve as qualified to return to active status. The Packers have designated Cedric Benson as being that player. Nick Perry's season is over.

Anthony from Baraboo, WI

Are the Bears a prime example of stats not telling the whole story? They have that vaunted Bears defense, but the teams they have beaten are collectively 21-36. That means the average team they have beaten is 3-5. Is it really fair to call the Bears defense the best in the league when they have yet to win against a quality opponent? Are the Bears being overhyped because they play in the third-biggest market?

Throw your stats away; you won't need them anymore. We're going to find out all we need to know about the Bears over the next two weeks.

Giovanni from Chippewa Falls, WI

It seems this season there is a large amount of rookie talent all around the NFL. Are college football programs doing a better job getting players prepared for the pro game or are we just seeing a very special draft class?

It's a trend. Last year, even without OTAs or an old-fashioned two-a-days training camp, rookies set an NFL record for starts. Why is it happening? I think it's for two major reasons: injuries and the salary cap. Injuries have reached epidemic proportions, which means guys that were targeted for slow and even development are being thrown into the action out of necessity. Also, players that occupy major chunks of their team's salary cap have to play or their team is at a great disadvantage. That means high-round picks are being rushed into action. When you put it all together, what it means is this: Football is a young man's game.

John from Port Edwards, WI

Can PUP players practice with the team before being activated?

Not until they reach the three-week window at midseason. By the end of those three weeks, if the player isn't assigned to the active roster, he's effectively on injured reserve and he's done for the season.

Eric from Grand Rapids, MI

I read an article that talked about Chip Kelly's strategy to almost always go for it on fourth-and-short, and math backs it up. It also said how he would thrive with the strategy if he did coach in the NFL. Your thoughts?

They said Steve Spurrier's "Fun and Gun" would be a big hit in the NFL, and the egg it laid was so big it was embarrassing. Defensive coordinators around the league were making fun of him. College football and pro football are very different games. They should never be compared. They should be enjoyed separately. I enjoy college football for its unpredictability, like the two No. 2s Notre Dame had on the field for the missed field goal that saved their undefeated season last Saturday. You won't see that happen in an NFL game. How could the back judge have missed it? He was staring right at them. It's his job to count the defensive team and check the numbers. An Irish blessing: May your team play with courage and honor, and the officials look the other way when two players on the field are wearing the same number.

Ricky from Beloit, WI

I like the idea for expanding one additional wild-card team per conference. The way it goes is only the No. 1 seed will get a bye in the first round.

It's a good plan because it deepens the TV playoff pot by two games, but doesn't add to the length of the playoff schedule. Eventually, it's going to happen.

Kevin from Orland Park, IL

We've now lost three starting linebackers for the season. Is there a conceivable point where these losses might be too great to overcome? When should I know to worry?

I think the Packers have reached the point of saturation at linebacker. You should begin worrying. Let me know how that works for you.

Jim from Rockford, IL

Vic, you side with the Packers' decision not to score last week when near the end zone, stating you shouldn't try to run up the score, nor do you want an injured quarterback. On the other hand, you state that players should waive the fear of injury to help the team. I don't think you can have it both ways. These men are paid quite generously to play a game we all love. Injuries come with the game they play.

You worked very hard to get home with that package of logic. I won't need to work nearly as hard to get home with mine. The goal is to win the game. That's all. If you can close out an opponent by taking a knee, then only a fool would do something more than that. By the way, I wasn't referring to the risk of the quarterback being injured while trying to score again, I was referring to the risk of angering your opponent so that the next time you face him he might, well, you know, take a shot. Running up the score isn't professional. It's not respectful of the men that play the game and their need to avoid unnecessary dangers.

Mike from Socorro, NM

With the legalization of marijuana use in Colorado, are Denver players now exempt from the NFL drug policy as it relates to pot?

No, but I think sports writers are allowed to smoke marijuana in Denver now.

Dustin from Salt Lake City, UT

Vic, did you hear Rodgers' response to hearing that McCarthy wasn't a fan of his fumble recovery? "Well, I'm not sure why he feels that way," Rodgers said. "But that, in my opinion, was one of the better plays of my career. It's one of those moments where you can surprise people, you can surprise yourself, by making an important play like that."

I wonder if Mike McCarthy was a fan of that tackle Aaron Rodgers' made in the 2010 NFC title game. How about that tackle Ben Roethlisberger made in the playoff win over the Colts? Where do we find those plays in the passer rankings?

Doug from Estherville, IA

Every year, the trade deadline comes and goes with a rumor or two, but nothing really happens. There has got to be a way the league can make trades easier to pull off in midseason, to add even more excitement to the season. Any ideas?

All teams should be required to make one stupid trade and one ridiculous free-agent signing that'll devastate the team's salary cap, just for giggles for the fans.

Ryan from Fort Collins, CO

Does Charles Woodson still possess the "young speed" that has contributed to the improvement of this year's defense?

As a player nears the end of a long career, it's not about whether he has young speed, it's about whether he has enough speed. The difference between enough speed and not enough speed is the cliff all players go over if they play too long. One day, it's over. It's that sudden and distinct. You'll know when it happens because you won't have to ask.

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

If you have a passing QB and a running QB on the field, what does the passing QB do on plays designed for the running QB?

He goes in motion, or he lines up far from the ball. The defense has to assign a player to him, which effectively means the passing quarterback has "blocked" that defender. This isn't new stuff, it's just not common stuff, but I think it's going to be common because college football is loaded with quarterbacks that can run and take a hit. Why not utilize the talent available to you?

Stifel from Barcelona, Spain

Reading McCarthy's weekly column is very insightful. He seems like a man that has unflappable moral fortitude and strong convictions. I would imagine someone that is in charge of 50 behemoth men would need those things. Is that why you call him a great leader of men?

All great leaders of men have the respect of the men they lead. It begins with that. Chuck Noll's players loved the fact that Noll treated them as professionals. It was new to that generation. They had tired of the drill instructor and win-one-for-the-Gipper silliness. They wanted to be treated as men who were playing this game because it's what they did for a living. Chuck never did endorsements because he believed endorsement money needed to be reserved for the players, because they had short careers and had to realize all the gains they could while they could. That's the kind of stuff Noll's players loved about him. Tom Coughlin was a taskmaster. He enforced ridiculous rules and fines that angered his players, but they respected him because he never asked them to do anything he wouldn't do himself. He asked his players to match his dedication, and that's not an unfair request. In their combined efforts, they found respect and mutual resolve. Mike McCarthy has his players' backs at all times. I've never heard him throw one of his players or the team collectively under the proverbial bus. McCarthy promotes a feeling of togetherness without allowing for softness. He's a players' coach who can flip the switch real quick if a player isn't a coach's player. Those are three different coaches with three different approaches, but they've all been successful because they have their players' respect.

Billy from Lafayette, IN

I asked my dad and he is unsure but maybe you know. What highway has the most stadiums on it? I know that I-65 has at least three: Chicago, Indy and Tennessee.

I can think of seven (New England, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Jacksonville and Miami) that are serviced by I-95.

Tyler from River Falls, WI

It seems like a receiver can get officials to throw a flag for pass interference by making the flag-throwing gesture. It has gotten to the point that whenever one of our defensive players defends a pass successfully, I automatically look for a flag.

I think fans should moan, groan and boo every time the home team throws an incompletion and a defensive player actually made an attempt to defend against the pass. Based on my statistics, a pass interference penalty results once every five times the crowd whines and cries. It worked for Notre Dame last Saturday. An Irish blessing: May your coach be bold and bright, and may the officials call pass interference on fourth-and-six when you're trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter.

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