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We all belong to the fraternity of football


Ruben from Great Falls, MT

How would you grade Cedric Benson so far this season?

I thought he was close to breaking a few on Sunday. I think he's becoming a bigger part of the offense every week and it wouldn't surprise me if he hit the 100-yard mark this week.

Paul from De Pere, WI

In his press conference after the game, our coach is talking about how the refs allowed for the tempo the Packers prefer. He did not agree with some calls, but that was not the emphasis of his remarks. Impressive.

Here's a better one. In his press conference on Monday, he admitted regret for the coach's challenge he used on the Jordy Nelson non-catch. He then went on to say that had he been able to challenge Darren Sproles' non-fumble, he thinks he would've won. The coach is introspective. We also know he's clairvoyant, which is the only way to explain his fourth-down gambles, and he's obviously emotional, but capable of controlling those emotions. This is a coach you don't want to lose.

Jake from Madison, WI

Hey, Vic, do you think the trick plays against the Bears and Saints will give Cobb better looks on punt returns?

I don't know, but I have a strong feeling future opponents are going to see those fourth-down trick plays and try the old bait-and-switch on the Packers. This would be a good time to stop trying those fourth-down trick plays.

Ryan from Oshkosh, WI

Hey, Vic, I saw a lot more Erik Walden and less Nick Perry this week. I like Walden as a change of pace but don't see why Perry would have lost snaps.

Let him grow into his role as a professional football player. Osi Umenyiora was thought to be a bust early in his career. Justin Tuck was a special teams player. Perry is a sensational athlete. Let him learn his craft.

Dan from Columbus, OH

Vic, you asked why there was not more joy after a good win. As someone with many years involved with the NFL, what is your answer to the question? For a successful team like the 1970s Steelers, were fans generally more joyful after a close win or were they upset that it wasn't a blowout?

Steelers fans in the '70s were about the point spread. If the Steelers didn't cover, they got angry. Packers fans tend to be coachly. I know that's not a word, but it's the best I can do.

Alan from Elcho, WI

In describing the Packers offense of last season, you said: "Good teams don't take what the defense gives them. They take what they want." Great line, but this year the Packers appear to be taking what the defense gives them and forgoing the deep passes they want. Does this mean their offense has deteriorated or that we now know that even great offenses can be defensed?

You're a little off. I said good teams take what you give them. Great teams take what they want. I think the Packers are a good team. Great comes later.

Jeff from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, would you see any value in having all scores and end-zone plays reviewed by an NFL review headquarters that would oversee all of the games going on at any given time?

On Mars? No, I'd rather just live with the imperfections and see if the game might produce a champion capable of overcoming the obstacles in its path. Hey, I'm just a romantic that yearns for a true champion.

Gary from Kewaunee, WI

After watching this last game, why does Dom play so much zone?

Let me guess: The ex-player TV analyst for the Saints game said the Packers played too much soft zone, right? I don't know who it was but my guess is he harped on the soft zone thing, because I got a ton of e-mails about it and when I get a ton of e-mails from fans questioning a coverage scheme, I've got to believe an ex-player/analyst planted the seed. Am I right? Here's my answer: I trust Dom Capers' opinion of what his defense needs to do more than I trust an ex-player who just happened to watch some tape and fly into town to broadcast a game.

Josh from Iowa City, IA

Vic, my girlfriend is getting me tickets to a game of my choice and asked me where I want to sit. This is my first game. Where should I sit and which game?

Any game is good. If I had my pick of seats, I'd take a seat on the aisle in the last row of the bleacher seats. That way, I could lean back against the rail, stick my feet out into the aisle, sit back, sip on a beer and watch 70-some thousand Packers fans enjoy cheering for their favorite team. I like to watch.

Greg from New Britain, CT

I don't understand why you oppose correcting bad calls just because they can never correct all of them. As the saying goes, you're letting perfect be the enemy of good. The technology exists now to see and fix more bad calls. Why can't the review official see the camera angles that we see on the TV seconds after the play? Why don't they let whoever's picking the broadcasted camera angles help the official that's fumbling around under the hood? This is easily correctable in this day and age.

Maybe it's because the decision ultimately comes down to humans, and humans make mistakes, even when machines tell them what to do.

Leigh from Houston, TX

Vic, I know this was discussed some last year when we were winning all those games, but do you think that maybe being 2-2 isn't so bad? Maybe a little adversity makes for a stronger team down the stretch. It makes the players and coaches find new and better ways to get the job done.

There's nothing wrong with 2-2. Nobody is running away from anybody in this division or in this league. Eventually, all teams face the same demand: Win or your season is over. That's when we find out who the best teams are.

Chan from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Vic, you said it yourself: Packer fans are very intelligent and very knowledgeable about football. So if we show concern about an offense that's been playing below mediocrity or a defense that gets caught being flat-footed, it just means we care about our team. If we didn't, we would be spending three-and-a-half hours rearranging our sock drawers and pressing our khaki pants. As a journalist, aren't you required to be unbiased and objective? It doesn't mean you don't appreciate the team, as you are quite versed in football lore, but certainly not as a fanatic cares for the team. In the end, it's really just a job for you.

I think too many people try to tell me what I'm supposed to feel. I know what I feel. I have a good handle on football and how I relate to it. I enjoy it. It's an attraction in my life and I'm going to keep it that way. I love the game, I love the players, the coaches, the officials, the fans and my fellow media. I consider all of us who love this game to belong to the fraternity of football. It's my happy place. Give it a try.

Mathias from Holte, Denmark

What do you think the chances are that kicker Morten Andersen will make it into the Hall of Fame?


Ryan from Tallahassee, FL

The couple of plays right after the Sproles non-fumble, the crowd seemed so enraged. I thought the noise was really intense and focused. Packers fans everywhere were all screaming at once at the terrible call. I felt part of something bigger at that moment, and I was a million miles away. Why don't I feel like that after a TD anymore?

Nothing beats a bad call.

Randall from Green Bay, WI

Truth, now, Vic: Does working for the Packers allow you to be objective about this team?

Oh, no, I'm a shill. Can't you tell? I just love to tell it like it isn't. Or am I someone who loves football, speaks reverently of it and gravitates toward those who deepen my enjoyment of it? Which one do you think it is?

Pete from Perham, MN

While golf is a gentlemen's sport, there still is a strong sense of pride and emotion in it. I don't feel like cheering the UK's misses and chanting USA throughout the weekend is any different than cheering for my Packers on Sunday or cheering when the Saints missed a potential game-winning field goal. It shows a sense of pride and fanhood that brings golf to a new level of excitement.

I watched portions of the replay of Sunday's Ryder Cup play. I think the U.S. golfers were too concerned about joining the fans in cheering and not focused enough on winning. In the end, there was nothing to cheer. This has become a repeating pattern. Maybe we should change our ways.

Bryce from Iron Mountain, MI

Do you think all of this adversity being thrown at us will ultimately pay off in the long run? I do.

It strengthens a team by bonding it more tightly with its resolve to overcome what is perceived to be unfairness. When we rise above our scheduled challenges and overcome more than what we had planned to defeat, we grow in self-esteem. We believe in ourselves and we begin to perceive challenge to be opportunity. Be that as it may, I won't be offended if adversity goes away for a while.

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