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The Packers are who we thought they were

Forget about measuring the Packers; the season will do that for us


Darrell from Goldsboro, NC

Vic, for the last couple of years the team has emphasized tackling. Have they ever mentioned getting off blocks to make the tackles?

Of course, they have. Dom Capers also mentioned something else in interviewing him last week. He mentioned the importance of assignment football as it relates to a defense's run fits. Run fits are the gap assignments in the run-defense scheme. Every player in the scheme is responsible for a gap. When the scheme is executed, there are no open spaces. The runner is trapped by congestion and defenders can attack the runner more aggressively because the defenders know they have help. Tackling big, powerful athletes in space is a difficult thing to do. It often results in missed tackles. We blame a guy for missing a tackle in space, but the real blame should often go to all of the guys that weren't there to help trap the runner. Wanna tackle better? Get more tacklers to the point of attack.

Ryan from Kenosha, WI

To start the game, I didn't think the Packers had anything but a kicker to brag about. When it was all over, I gained confidence in a few more groups. What part of the team are you most impressed with and what part still has you concerned?


The Packers are who we thought they were and what they've always been during the four years I've covered them. The Packers are a team with an elite passing game on which they have always been able to rely to pull their you know what out of the fire. The running game and defense has had its ups and downs, but the passing game has almost always been this team's constant. It's the Packers' calling card and it confirmed that fact yesterday. What about the defense? Was its performance in the second half against the Jets the real thing, or was that a case of a young quarterback running out of plays? I thought the Jets spent too much of their scheme early in the game and had nothing left for crunch time. The story of the defense is going to be a weekly saga.

Jackson from Curitiba, Brazil

Vic, the Packers came back from an 18-point deficit, but Rodgers still won't be credited with a fourth-quarter comeback. People will still say he isn't clutch, but don't you think this is a stat that lies?

Those people are only showing their ignorance. They rely on stats because their knowledge of the facts is lacking. It's not important to me what they think because I know the truth. There was no doubt in my mind Aaron Rodgers would lead the Packers back. It wasn't if, it was when, and that would be determined by the defense.

Chris from Voorhout, The Netherlands

Vic, what did your inbox look like?

As I was doing "Ask Vic Halftime," my inbox had fired everyone. This morning, my inbox is wearing a smile as wide as my laptop's screen because the Packers are going to the Super Bowl. That's how dramatically the tides of football fandom rise and fall. The truth lies somewhere between the tides of the first two games. The Packers are a quality football team that is tied for the division lead with the other three NFC North teams. Nothing has been gained or lost. The issue will be decided in December. I'll wait.

Wick from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vic, do you believe Davante Adams will pass Jarrett Boykin on the depth chart during the first half of this season?

I don't know and that's not important to me because it's obvious the Packers didn't draft Adams in the second round to sit the bench. When you draft a guy that high, his day must arrive. He must be given a chance to prove his expected worth or you've wasted a valuable possession. He was given a chance on Sunday and I think he took a step toward proving his worth and validating his selection.

Dean from Bozeman, MT

It looks like the Jets focused on stopping the run and that opened up the passing. Why not start Lacy a step or two further back, so he has more momentum going forward?

You are what you are. Teams spend an entire offseason shaping themselves. The notion that you can shape and re-shape yourself on a weekly basis is for the weak. Adjustments must be subtle, and they must be limited. Great teams are predictable because they achieve identity and play to it. They impose their will. They are who they are and they refuse to be denied. Changing who you are in the second game of the season isn't how you achieve identity. I don't like surrendering, especially when it comes to the running game.

Greg from Danbury, CT

The Packers finally found their passing game, but I wonder how they did it without the running game. Or were the Jets loaded up against the run?

The Packers didn't have to find their passing game; they never lost it. They threw the ball without much of a running game in 2011, and also in 2012, and they can still turn to their passing game when times are tough. Were the Jets loaded up against the run? Yeah, because the Jets are almost always loaded up against the run. They crowd the line of scrimmage. That's what they do because it's the biggest part of Rex Ryan's attack-defense philosophy. It's their identity and it's the major reason Ryan drafted Calvin Pryor; it's because he attacks the run. Pryor put a low hit on Eddie Lacy at the line of scrimmage that frightened me. Darrelle Revis was the perfect cornerback for the Jets because he allowed them to play the way they do. If their cornerbacks develop, the Jets are going to be one of the power teams in the AFC because I think it's obvious Geno Smith has the goods.

Matthew from Vancouver, BC

About the time out Rex Ryan didn't call, should there have been any kind of penalty to the Jets for Mornhinweg running down the sideline trying to call a time out, as well as Sheldon Richardson telling the side judge they were trying to call a time out?

Apparently, the rules don't provide for improper signaling for a timeout; the officials are supposed to ignore everyone that isn't the head coach or a player on the field of play. Ryan knew the rule because he lost the Ravens a game against the Patriots a few years ago when, as the team's defensive coordinator, he did what Mornhinweg did on a fourth-down play. It was a big controversy. The Ravens whined and cried about it. In my opinion, it's as important for assistant coaches to know not to try to call a timeout as much as it is for the officials to know who's trying to call the timeout.

Daniel from Puyallup, WA

Vic, a former player now commentator said on Saturday he preferred his coordinator to be on the field, rather than in the booth. Thoughts?

It would've been to the Jets' advantage for Mornhinweg to have been in the booth.

Nate from San Diego, CA

I saw it, Vic. I saw the suffocating defense you've been saying the Packers can have.

They got the eighth man up into the box, his name is Morgan Burnett and he led the Packers in tackles. They made Geno Smith beat them with the pass. I haven't come across one question in my inbox about Burnett. Why didn't my inbox see his importance in yesterday's game? Sometimes I think my inbox sees what it wants to see.

Noah from Brisbane, Australia

Vic, you don't win games in the first quarter. Sound familiar?

Big leads do little more than set the bar higher. The Jets' 21-3 lead forced the Packers into chase mode, and good teams such as the Packers will usually catch up. It's what you do at crunch time that counts. That's why I'm not a big hurry up guy. Let's just get to crunch time with the lead or with a chance to win. That's when you find out who and what you are.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Why did McCarthy use so much no-huddle?

It was a decision made in the offseason to up the tempo, run 75 plays a game. Remember that? You make decisions in the offseason. You shape your personality. If you change it from week to week, you have no shape. Plan and execute, not plan and change.

C.J. from New Hampton, IA

I was pretty impressed with the comeback the Packers pulled off in the second half. I think the Detroit game will be a good measure of what this team really has.

I think we need to stop measuring. The season will be the measure of the Packers; it'll do the work for us. All we have to do is sit back and watch. We measured them in Seattle and we got a false read. What's the measure of their performance in yesterday's game? Can we trust it? Can we trust anything in September? December measures teams. It defines who they are.

Jon from Warsaw, Poland

Two taunting penalties? Kaepernick gets a foul-language penalty? The next thing you know, the league will make them wear a tutu.

These are big, tough guys and the league is protecting them as though they've never heard bad words before, yet, the league allows Muhammad Wilkerson to taunt the crowd, the ticket-buying customer, as Wilkerson leaves the field following his ejection. I want professional behavior. It doesn't bother me to know the players call each other bad names. It bothers me when players don't know how to be a pro.

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