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The Julius Peppers play was schematic genius

Is this the NFL or Ben Hur?


Michael from Newark, IL

Vic, how does a Game 7 of the World Series compare to a Super Bowl?

When I was a kid, the World Series was the No. 1 event in sports. Now, baseball has nearly become a niche sport. I know a lot of people who couldn't name two or three of the best players in baseball, but everybody knows the names Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. That's the difference. Game 7 of the World Series is something baseball fans will watch. The Super Bowl is watched by everyone, including those who know very little about football.

Luke from Minneapolis, MN

Vic, McCarthy and Capers keep talking about how the run-defense issues are correctable. At what point do they realize this team just doesn't have the horses right now to "whip the man across from him" in run defense? I know we'll just have to sit back and watch the rest of the season unfold to find out, but what does your gut tell you?

My gut tells me it's illogical to expect the head coach and defensive coordinator of the team to say to the media that we just don't have the horses to whip the man across from us, so we're going to stop trying and accept the inevitability of our limits. Hey, aren't we being a little naïve? You don't stop the run with schemes. There are basically two things you can do: You can play gap control or you can two-gap. Just pick one and do it. If you can't do one or the other, then you need more players. Between now and the end of the season, we'll come to know what the truth is, but nobody is going to stop trying.

Tony from Olathe, KS

You say every team from now on has to prepare for Peppers as a receiver. I think you are wrong. Why do they need to prepare for that? If they can cover Cobb, Nelson or Adams, why would they need to waste time thinking about covering a defensive player who is slower and doesn't catch balls for a living? Seems to me teams would be excited when Peppers comes in because they know it means a real receiver is on the sideline.

They have to prepare for it because the Packers absolutely pencil-whipped the Saints with that play. I mean, it was genius. You will never see a better example of plays, not players, than you saw on that play. By formation and personnel, the Packers completely compromised the Saints' defensive look by isolating a very large player on a much smaller player. Everything was perfect according to design. It should've been an easy pitch-and-catch touchdown, except one thing went wrong: The pass was dropped. That's why it's always players, not plays.

Ryan from Perth, WA

Vic, can you please elaborate more on your comments about the manufactured noise at the Superdome on Sunday? A friend of mine, who is a Saints fan, travelled from Perth to New Orleans a few weeks ago and denies your comments that any sort of artificial noise was being generated.

Recorded music played over a sound system isn't artificial noise? The sound of a siren played over a sound system isn't artificial noise? Tell your friend from Perth I don't understand what he doesn't understand. When I first started covering this league, the first loud sound you would hear was the cheer from the crowd as the home team came out onto the field. There was no announcement proclaiming their arrival. They just arrived and the fans cheered. Now, we have grand entrances. We have fire, and the Jaguars mascot got too close and his head caught on fire. I'm not sure if I'm watching the NFL or Ben Hur. I mean, I get the need for gameday presentation, but do we really need a siren? By the way, the siren sound exceeded its time limits several times, according to my ears.

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