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The second seed should be the next goal

Thoughts on Mason Crosby, the throwback fumble and the Packers' win in Chicago


Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, during the game, one of the TV announcers noted the Bears were playing one-high safety but did not elaborate. Did the Bears come out of their trademark "Cover Two" defense often and, if so, when did you first notice that in the game?

What would Monday be without a little "Cover Two," right? I first noticed a change in the Bears' defensive strategy when the Packers forced a change by going to some spread-type formations that required sub-packages such as nickel and dime. At that point, you're playing a lot of man-to-man stuff with a safety over the top. I don't spend the whole game calculating "Cover Two" percentages. I noticed the Packers began forcing the Bears out of double-high late in the first half, and that it stayed that way for much of the second half, but I can't tell you there was a noticeable difference. Hitting those passes in front of the safeties was the difference, and that wasn't as much a product of the coverage scheme as it was a result of Brian Urlacher not being on the field. His replacement didn't get the depth on his drops that Urlacher gets; not many middle linebackers do. I mentioned in our in-game chat that there was a hole in front of the safeties.

Daniel from Stolac, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rodgers said after the game they haven't been throwing slants a lot this year because they haven't seen a lot of "Cover Two." OK, now I'm confused.

I heard that, too. I've scheduled an appointment with a "Cover Two" therapist.

Joey from Green Bay, WI

What do you think of the Seahawks preventing the Giants from making the playoffs because of that win? Blessing in disguise?

Fate can be a powerful force. It is the ultimate decision maker.

Anthony from Toronto, Ontario

Vic, I know you have probably got this question a lot already but should we, as fans, be concerned about Crosby's kicking going into the postseason? Merry Christmas in advance and keep up the amazing work.

It's a problem and a concern. Maybe that's the first step toward a cure, admitting you have a problem.

Hans from Front Royal, VA

Vic, I thought one of the biggest keys to the game was when the Packers defense took the Bears opening shots during their first drive and forced them to punt. It was clear the Bears were energized and I thought the Packers met that energy for the most part. What was the big key in your eyes?

I think it was the Packers' touchdown drive that immediately followed the Bears' first score, which gave them a 7-0 lead. Randall Cobb got clobbered on the kickoff return and there was a lot of energy in Soldier Field at that point in the game, and I wrote in the chat that the Packers needed to do something on offense to put out the fire. That's exactly what the offense did. That drive was the first of two turning points in the game. The other was the outrageous interception Jay Cutler threw with 1:36 to play in the first half.

Nick from Maxwell, IA

We did it. Crown us again for back-to-back years. One question stands out in my mind. Once the final seeding for the playoffs becomes decided, do you rest your starters to prevent injury, or keep them in to stay hot rolling into the playoffs?

I'll go on record right now as saying I'm a rest-your-starters-for-the-playoffs guy. Risking injury unnecessarily makes no sense. It's illogical to think a team that's played 16 games can't maintain its performance level if it takes a week off. If that were true, then all teams should lose the game following their bye week.

Chris from Andrews, TX

Why do quarterbacks point out the middle linebacker?

There was a saying when I started covering the league: Look through the middle linebacker to the strong safety and you should know where every defensive player on the field is. Those are the two players on defense that usually define the scheme. By pointing to the middle linebacker, you have identified to what side of the field the defense might be tilted or strong.

Dan from Chippewa Falls, WI

If the Packers decided to go a different direction, could they place Crosby on IR to stash him away for next year?

What you're suggesting is a violation of the rules. A player must have a legitimate injury to be placed on injured reserve, and the league has a medical examiner to verify injuries.

Perry from Beloit, WI

What did you think of the throwback on the punt return attempt?

I couldn't have been more surprised if I woke up with my head stitched to the carpet. I agree with Coach McCarthy's postgame opinion of the play.

Robert from Saint Paul, MN

In a recent article, it was stated that the best coaching job in either the NFL or college football was none other than head coach of the Packers. Do you agree?

I agree that it's one of the best jobs in sports because Aaron Rodgers is the Packers' quarterback. Rodgers tilts the field. The Packers won yesterday and win most games because Rodgers overmatches the opposing quarterback. All of that wonderful history and huge fan base is great, but how good of a job was this before Brett Favre arrived here? Frankly, before Favre arrived, this was viewed around the league as a dead-end job. It's the quarterback that makes the job good and, in Rodgers the Packers have a great quarterback with a long career ahead of him, and that means this team is going to be winning games for a long time and sustained periods of winning is what makes jobs good.

Tou from Eau Claire, WI

How would you grade the running game? Does it look playoff ready?

I saw holes in the Bears' front yesterday. I saw running lanes. The Packers offensive line played well. What the Packers need is for their backs to get into the second level more often, as DuJuan Harris did to start the second half and as Ryan Grant did on the play that ended with him fumbling.

Mike from Des Plaines, IL

I was watching "Fox Chicago" after the game and Brian Urlacher said three or four times that he didn't care what the fans think or what they have to say. It really shows the difference between the culture in Green Bay and Chicago. What are your thoughts on this, Vic?

The difference is the Packers won and the Bears lost, and that's been a consistent theme in recent years. Winning and losing define cultures. Just win, baby. Winning will take care of the rest.

Tyler from Green Bay, WI

First, let me start by saying I am a huge fan of Mike McCarthy. That being said, I have to call into question his ability to game plan for the first quarter. Thoughts?

What the Bears did offensively was as predictable as anything I've seen all year. Dom Capers knew the Bears would try to run the ball; it was the only chance they had to win the game. Capers used the first quarter to "draw up" the scheme the Bears were using to run the ball, and then he and his players methodically schemed and executed to defeat it. The Bears rushed for 40 yards in their first drive; they rushed for 43 yards the rest of the game. I think you're being harsh on what was a beautiful job by Capers and his players. He drew it up, they executed it. Offensively, the Packers were hamstrung early by risky field position.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Division champs! What should we focus on next?

The obvious answer is the Packers should focus on improving their seeding position. The 49ers are No. 2 and the Packers are No. 3 right now. The 49ers have to go to Seattle and should the 49ers lose that game, the Packers can clinch the No. 2 spot by winning their final two games. I think the two hole is a prime spot. It gives you a week of rest and guarantees you won't have to win more than one road game in the postseason, and the possibility exists you won't have to play on the road at all. The 49ers were No. 2 last year and they hosted the NFC title game.

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

Don't get me wrong, I love what Randall Cobb has done for this team, but that man nearly gave me a heart attack.

As soon as I saw him put the ball in his left hand, I knew this would be a problem. Don't get me wrong, I love lefthanders, but that just didn't look right.

Howard from Sarasota, FL

Considering how many times Crosby has hit the goal post this year, maybe we should start calling him Bing.

A little humor always helps.

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