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Simply amazing! Fans, not coaches

Clay Matthews is the Packers' new force on the inside


Dave from Savage, MN

Does it look to you like DuJuan Harris was back to full speed last night? He looked a step slower to me after his injuries.

His quickness last night was easily discerned.

Noah from Brisbane, Australia

Vic, why do you think the Packers didn't go for the touchdown in the dying seconds of the game? Was it out of respect for the Bears?

It was out of respect for professionalism.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Vic, do you think moving Matthews inside had as big an impact as the announcers made it out to be?

Yes, I do. The Packers used their best defensive player to fortify the weakest part of their defense. That strategy will almost always work, as long as you have players to replace the player you moved. Nick Perry was a more than competent replacement. The issue now is how much will Dom Capers elect to use Clay Matthews as an inside linebacker in future games? That's a lot of edge pass rusher you lose to stop the run, and it's likely the Eagles' response to that strategy will be to throw on run downs. Does that mean you're calling the Eagles' plays? This will be interesting to watch.

Nathan from Denver, CO

How about stop the run, force turnovers *and *score lots of points?

That'll work.

Don from Albuquerque, NM

What's going on? Seen more blowouts this year than ever. Bad for the game?

Yes, I think it is bad for the game. Why is this happening? I think it's a legitimate question the league needs to research and answer. Something is causing this.

Adam from Virginia Beach, VA

Last night was awesome, but I was dumbfounded by the Bears' offensive play-calling. We have a notoriously below-average run defense and you have Forte and that's how you start a game?

All I can guess is the Bears' game plan was to be aggressive early, get a lead and then turn to the run. It didn't turn out that way.

Kent from Eagle Grove, IA

Vic, I think the thing people are overlooking is how well Nick Perry is playing. If he isn't holding his ground and getting pressure, moving Clay Matthews to the middle wouldn't work.

Late last season, Perry was injured, Matthews was injured and Julius Peppers was playing for the Bears. Does that provide perspective on the challenge Dom Capers was facing?

John from San Francisco, CA

Do you think the Bears are that bad, or have the Packers turned the corner?

The Bears are struggling; there's no doubt about it. The Packers, in my opinion, are showing the kind of growth you want to see in the second half of the season. Players are emerging. Perry is one of them. Davon House and Casey Hayward are two more. Brandon Bostick arrives. DuJuan Harris flashes. Jarrett Boykin blocks a punt. Contributions are coming from many sources. That's a trademark of teams peaking for a late-season run.

Brian from Manitowoc, WI

Remember you were, or are, opposed to Clay playing inside. I hope his extended use at ILB in this game has helped you achieve some perspective.

That's not what I wrote. I wrote that I was opposed to Matthews making a wholesale move to inside linebacker. Why? Because pass rushers are special and inside linebackers tend to be in more plentiful supply. I wrote that there's nothing wrong with using Matthews in a creative role that would move him around, but he is first and foremost a pass-rushing linebacker, he is paid as such, and that kind of player is an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. What was the split on his playing time on the inside and on the outside last night? Maybe somebody knows the answer to that question.

Alex from Byron, MN

Vic, I understand the reasoning behind taking Rodgers out, but come on, he was one touchdown away from tying and two from breaking the most touchdowns thrown in a game. Why not just give him two or three more series?

Because breaking records for the sake of breaking records has a tendency to anger the football gods.

Jake from Slayton, MN

Is your inbox chortling with I told you so about moving Clay Matthews to inside linebacker? He had a pretty good game there.

The chortling is fantastic. According to my inbox, Coach Capers should be fired for taking so long to listen to the fans.

Morgan from Fort Collins, CO

What are the naysayers in your inbox whining about today?

The naysayers are complaining that it wasn't a win against a playoff-caliber team.

Alan from Fair Grove, MO

Vic, looks like some of those witless, rabid fans who know nothing and who you mercilessly mocked for suggesting Dom Capers should move Matthews inside might have been on to something. Well, I'm sure you know better; that it really comes down to players vs. plays and all that human confrontation jazz the rest of us don't understand. Just giving you that edge you enjoy so much. Gotta have some of that after a 55-14 win.

I told Coach Capers to call you.

Bruce from Washburn, WI

Wow! Who would have predicted Clay Matthews at ILB? Players, not plays.

It is easily the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed. Fans, not coaches.

Mike from Melbourne, FL

Vic, I think your constant argument of players, not plays was epitomized last night watching Matthews play in the middle. I would also like to remind all your readers that Coach Capers has his job for a reason.

When your run defense is last in the league and it's the subject of every interview you do, you have to do something to fix it. Coach Capers did something with Matthews last night that surprised and conquered an opponent that ran the ball with great success in the Week-4 game between the two teams. Is it a cure-all for the rest of the season, or will future opponents see the move on tape and scheme to take advantage of it? Remember the NASCAR defense? It was all the rage of my inbox following the win over the Vikings. A week later, Sean Payton screened the NASCAR to death. Let's not get carried away, again, OK? Let's wait at least two games before we pronounce this to be the answer to the Packers' run-defense problems.

Greg from Marquette, MI

Vic, in the past you said you disliked blowout games because they get boring. How difficult was it for you to finish last night's game? I watched it to the very end. It was refreshing to witness such a display on both sides of the ball for Green Bay.

I greatly enjoy seeing the Packers play at that high level, but I don't enjoy those types of games. I expected to see a highly competitive game between spirited rivals. That's not what I saw.

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