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Ten to get in, 11 to win the division Editor Vic Ketchman conducted his weekly Friday chat


Hi, everybody, and welcome to the chat. Let's go.

Comment From Guest

White or Dark meat? Stuffing or Gravy? Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie? #happythanksgiving

A little of all of that.

Comment From Hank

Do you ever miss Jacksonville? Especially when you see that team making strides like last night.

You don't live and work in a place for 16 years and not miss it. I'll miss Green Bay, too, just not in the winter after football season is over.

Comment From doss

Will Aaron Rodgers play on Sunday                         

Coach McCarthy made it perfectly clear Rodgers' sore shoulder will not keep him from playing.

Comment From Old Man

Who are you picking Sunday? Most pundants are picking the Vikes.

I don't make picks because I work for the Packers. To do that would be to invite controversy, and I don't need the angst and I don't want to be a distraction for Coach McCarthy's team. I would feel that way if I was working for a newspaper. What I try to do is give my readers a feel for my opinion on the matchup. I have a very strong feeling the Packers will play well and this will be a sensational game. I'll also tell you I believe the circumstances favor the Vikings, but I expect the Packers to play above the X's and O's, which is a way of saying above the circumstances.

Comment From Tony

If we do lose, do you think the Packers have to win out to get into the playoffs?

No. December is a wild month. Should the Packers not win in Minnesota, however, I think you're going to see the Packers and Bears play for positioning in the wild-card race on Thanksgiving. Who would've thought that a month ago. That's how wild it can get.

Comment From Scott LC

How did you feel before the playoff game against the Seahawks last year?

I was absolutely certain the Packers would win. I cautioned myself against expressing that opinion freely, but I think I got it across to my readers.

Comment From #36 Leaper

How does the TCF Bank Field treat the media guys?

It's an outstanding facility. It's no coincidence the Gophers football program is on the rise.

Comment From Tom

You may have answered this, what does your regular work day look like? Not weekends.

I'm here by 6 a.m. to do the column. Mornings are full. Afternoon schedules are loose. Coach McCarthy and his assistants don't do their Monday press conferences until 5 or 6 o'clock. Monday is a here-early, stay-late day. You catch a break where you can. The nice thing about Green Bay is I live close enough to go home and relax when the schedule permits.

Comment From C-Lee

Thoughts on the Olivia Munn situation, Vic? I'm sure you'll be getting a lot of those questions.

Aaron Rodgers is a pro. He's more focused than any QB I've ever covered.

Comment From Mike

Vic, I don't think Ty Montgomery plays this week, do you? Was it a major setback? A setback usually lands a player in the OUT status for the game.

I'm not getting a sense that his return is imminent.

Comment From Josh

McCarthy said he is more involved with the offense this week. What does this do for the players? Does it heighten the players focus or is he doing more scheme?

Would his increased involvement sharpen your focus? It would sharpen mine because he's the boss.

Comment From Ryan

Is it maybe a good thing that fans are upset/calling for heads/booing? Better that than disengaged. It seems like the real problem would be if the number of questions for AskVic started to drop.

I'll agree. Interest in the Packers is not declining, and that's a good thing, but I see booing as an act of betrayal. It bothers me that a fan base and a team with a love affair as loyal as this one should suffer the indignity of a public spat.

Comment From Daniel

How far & long does an established starter's performance need to drop for it to be worth giving an ascending backup the nod? Have you noticed differences in this among the coaches you've covered?

You want a rolling head, don't you? How about Jeff Saturday? Did you expect the Packers to replace him in the starting lineup? That kind of came out of nowhere, didn't it? It should've sent a message to you that the coaches are vigilant about evaluating the performance of their players.

Comment From Scott LC

If Peterson is held to under 50 yards, do the Packers win?

If he plays all four quarters, yeah. That's a very lofty expectation.

Comment From #36 Leaper

I don't see a big letters promise from Mike about the offense to be better. He knows that we're really close to turning that arrow back up.

*He owes us no promises. The Packers will speak with their performance. Coaches are judged by it. Coach McCarthy has acknowledged as much.      *

Comment From Guest

If Peterson is held to under 200 yards, do the Packers win?

*I'm drawing the line at 125.       *

Comment From Paul

Vikings fans are ready here, will we be?

The Packers will be ready to play. Does that guarantee a win? No.

Comment From Isaac

Vic, I've seen both Zimmer and Capers described as coaches whose philosophy emphasizes pressure over coverage. Who is an example of a great defensive mind that focuses on coverage over pressure?

*Rod Rust. Look him up. Bud Carson was the best when it came to power defense without pressure. He played cover two all the time and almost never blitzed.         *

Comment From Mike

Will the Packers be ready to play? They have been incredibly flat for the past few games.

What do you want to see, a celebration of a three-and-out? First comes success, then comes celebration. I'll take success without the celebration.

Comment From Environmental Nut

I understand that moving up in your career is important, but was there ever a time you thought you would be somewhere, besides Green Bay, until you retire?

*I never imagined myself covering the Packers. This has been an adventure and I'm a better person for it.          *

Comment From John

The Vikings seem to match up really well with the Pack and could take away the short quick pass while at the same time bringing a lot of pressure on Rodgers. What can the Packers do to open up their offense once again? Still trying not to P-A-N-I-C!

I don't like doing the scheme stuff, but in your case I'll make an exception. Coach Zimmer likes to get his linebackers up to the line of scrimmage and give an offense a seven-man front look. At the snap of the ball, the offense has to identify who's rushing and who's dropping. It's a good scheme from which to execute a zone-blitz scheme. The Packers offensive linemen need to be quick in identifying the rushers from the droppers.

Comment From BCVegas

Are you a better person because cold weather builds character?

If cold weather builds character, then I'm a wimp because I do everything I can to avoid cold weather. I knew it was going to be cold; I just didn't know it was going to be this cold. My body just isn't built for it. Be that as it may, I can play 18 holes of golf in Florida in July and not break a sweat. You don't wanna take me on in the heat. I'm a camel.

Comment From Hugh

Got your snowinator ready? You're going to need it!

*I sold it. Somebody's gonna plow the driveway.              *

Comment From Josh

Everyone is talking about the offense, but what about the defense? What needs to happen for the defense to get its arrow pointing up and stay there? They still seem inconsistent.

This Sunday, the defense needs to defeat and get off blocks.

Comment From Augusto

How It´s going to be the weather on sunday´s game against the Vikings?

I'm seeing partly sunny and 35 at kickoff, but this is a late start so temps will drop and we'll finish in the dark.

Comment From Guest

You like a contender that can beat their opponent doing what they do best (Packer sweep for example). How about a team that can do a variety of things well and can pick and choose to beat you by beating what the opponent is weakest to defend?

That kind of team will look great one week and awful the next. The best teams are the most predictable teams.

Comment From Syd

Did you ever cover a game at the old Met in MN?

*Oh, yeah. It's probably the worst NFL stadium at which I've ever covered a game.          *

Comment From Tyler S

Vic what do you think about all those funky formations that Hugh Jackson threw at Romeo Crenell on Monday night? Is all of that scheme garbage watering down the essence of Real Man football?

Joe Greene would've been yelling at the Bengals, "Hey, Kenny, when are you guys going to line up and play football?"

Comment From Johnny7

Not so sure about that Vic. N.E. does many things well, play a different game every week, and look pretty good doing it.

Gronk down the seam is how they beat you. The rest is window dressing.

Plus, the Patriots aren't the rule, they're the exception. Everybody wants to use the Patriots as the example. Hey, they have Brady.

Comment From Angeleno

Do you think this is the end for P Manning? Did the end for guys like Namath & Unitas feel similar?

I covered Unitas' last game. He was wearing his trademark high top black shoes, but he had lightning bolts on his shoulders and helmet. It was pathetic. I think the score was 35-0 at halftime. He was replaced for the second half by a young, unknown quarterback by the name of Dan Fouts.

Comment From Brien

If the Patriots are the exception because they have Brady and Belicheck knows how to use his talent; what is the difference between them and other great QB/coach combinations?

The difference is the Steelers had the same cast of players that won four Super Bowls. The Packers largely had the same cast of players, too. The Patriots have changed players every year, but one player has remained, Brady. Belichick was 5-13 and on his way to being fired when he made Brady his starting QB. One guy changed it all.

Comment From Tyler S

What are your thoughts on Andy Daltons response to JJ Watts pat game comments? I feel that with all the scandal going on around the league that was the most innocent friendly jab someone could give. Andy started talking about JJs integrity.

*He said he regretted it. Story over. Let it go. Why is everybody so angry? Life has never been better.  *

Comment From Joseph

Whoa there big fella vic...then why did A-rod state that the offense was not predictable.

I don't know what you mean but here's where I stand: I want the Packers to be known for something, just as the Lombardi Packers were known for their sweep. I want these Packers to be known for running Eddie Lacy on the stretch play, which they were last year. I want these Packers to be known for the back-shoulder pass, which they were until Jordy Nelson got hurt. You see where I'm going. I want this team to impose its will. When a team can do that, it can rely on its talent for execution, not for surprise.

Comment From Eric

What is the worst stadium right now? Is an old, run-down stadium reason enough for a team to leave town?

There's not a bad stadium in the league right now, relative to the stadiums in which I began covering football, but stadium issues will always be central to a team's ability to compete financially.

Let me say this about the stadium in San Diego: It's old, but I love it. I've always loved covering games there. I love it's open-air press box. The issue with that stadium is the lack of luxury box revenue.

Comment From Bill

Regarding the back shoulder throw route--What is Jordy able to do that he can be successful with it, that most of the other receivers are seeming to struggle with? Is it something learned, or an innate skill you just "have"?              

It's difficult to learn to do what your parents couldn't do. You know what I mean?

Comment From Toby

how many plays exist in the packers season playbook vs how many show up on the play sheet for the game plan?

The playbook is much thicker than the play list. That doesn't mean you can't pick from off the play list -- all plays have been practiced and installed -- it just means you haven't spent time on that play this week. I covered Super Bowl XIV, and the big play in the game was, I believe, "70 slot hook and go," or something like that. It was a play that hadn't been practiced in preparation for the game. Circumstances necessitated its use.

Comment From Joseph 

Vic, how confident are you that the offense will get back on track?

*I'm confident Coach McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers will find a way to gain yards and score points. That's as far as I can go right now. I need to see a big-play receiver emerge. I keep saying it.              *

Comment From Dane 

Why did the packers not try to trade for anyone before the deadline, we are obviously hurting and could have used someone. Possibly a receiver or more depth with our defense?

Such as?

Comment From Derk 

In reference to your comments about changing uniforms. I would love to see something like the all green uniforms they wore for one season. Something a little different, but doesn't have to look like a highlighter.

Hey, why hold back? Let it rip. I'd like to see something exciting. I'd like to see this fan base get wild a little.

Comment From Mike 

what do you think has made Tom Brady to great when he just seemed average during his playing days at Michigan?               

He wasn't average at Michigan. Did you see him in that bowl game against Alabama? That wasn't an average player. The scouts blew it. That's all. They should've seen the talent.

Comment From Cory 

Do you think establishing the run on offense, or containing Peterson on defense, is a bigger matchup this week and why?

Containing Peterson. This is a rare throw the ball, stop the run game, in my opinion.

Comment From Dane 

We could have traded for Greg Jennings, and brought him back. The Dolphins are not even using him as of now.


Comment From Joe 

Brady was too slow with an average arm. That was the scouting report out of college.

He does not have an average arm. They blew it. Period.

Comment From Kevin D. 

I'm not sure I understand the screen play to the TE. TE's are usually a bit slow for that sort of play aren't they?

It's a good play because it's easier to disguise, since the TE only needs to slide laterally a few feet to be in position to catch and run. I love the TE screen.

Comment From Matt 

Pats drafted him in the seventh round... It's not like they were high on him.

*Sixth round, compensatory pick. Let me clarify: They all blew it.             *

Comment From Matt 

Vic are you saying the Packers should use the screen more?

Use it when you think it can work.

Comment From Guest 

I shudder at the thought. If they go 8-8 this season, think there will be notable changes within the team and/or staff?

Teams that win make changes. Teams that don't win make more changes. The Packers are 6-3. That's pretty good. Let's be patient and see where this season takes us.

Comment From Raj S. 

How many games do you think the Packers need to win this year to make the playoffs?

This is the last question and answer. Ten wins will get them in, if those wins are against the right teams. Eleven will win the division if the Packers beat the Vikings twice. I'm a minimalist. I think those are the minimum requirements. Have a great weekend, everybody. Thanks for joining me.

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