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What about that national anthem?


Kurt from Atlanta, GA

Why did you leave the other two jobs where you covered the Jags and Steelers?

The moves I've made represented growth. Isn't that the goal in our lives? We're all trying to grow. Football teams are trying to grow. Moving doesn't mean detaching yourself from the past. You take the past with you and add it to your new experiences. That's growth. If I hadn't made the stops I've made, my life wouldn't be as full as it is.

Dave from Sacramento, CA

Vic, why do a lot of people think that getting another running back is going to magically cure our running game?

Because replacement is largely considered to be a quicker fix than practice and development. I know of no fan that prefers a slow fix to a quick fix. It has been my experience that the pursuit of a quick fix is endless. That doesn't mean it can't happen, it just means that it seldom happens. Usually, help is not on the way.

Brian from Durand, IL

Do the Packers practice indoors, outside or both at this time of year?

The Packers' outdoor practice field, Clarke Hinkle Field, is adjacent to their indoor facility, the Don Hutson Center. They use both at this time of the year. If the weather turns bad and disrupts practice, moving inside is as easy as walking through a door.

Peter from Toledo, OH

Vic, now that I've assumed grocery shopping duties, since my wife struggles with budgets, I've applied the BAP (best available product) philosophy, as opposed to needs buying. It's working wonders.

I actually invented BAP to describe my philosophy for buying pants, as in Best Available Pants. I never pass up a good buy on a pair of khaki pants. My closet always has pairs of old khakis waiting to be worn, but khakis are timeless and I've never failed to wear a pair out. Of course, there will come a time when some new ones won't get worn, but that won't be my problem then.

Richard from Lake Havasu City, AZ

What is the difference between the cover two defense and the "Tampa Two," or is there any?

They're essentially the same because they both employ two safeties in the deep middle of the field, and that's the foundation of both defenses, that they deny the deep ball. The subtle difference between the two is that the "Tampa Two" drops the middle linebacker into the deep middle of the field to help against the pass. Tony Dungy is the father of the "Tampa Two," just as Bud Carson is the father of cover two. Dungy played for Carson and Tony has been adamant in deflecting all credit for the "Tampa Two" to Carson, who often dropped middle linebacker Jack Lambert into the deep middle of the field. We weren't as fixated on the subtle differences of football strategy back then, so it went largely undetected. I wish we weren't as fixated on strategy today, because I think a lot of fans are missing some really good human confrontation.

Rene from La Habra, CA

All through training camp you were high on Alex Green and James Starks. Now you, of all people, are not opposed to trading away a draft pick for a veteran running back. Does this mean you have given up on the promising Green and Starks?

No, it means you're misrepresenting my position. As I explained, I'm not opposed to trading for talent that would make the team better, as long as such a trade doesn't damage the team's future, in terms of draft picks and salary cap structure. I think it's important to use all available forms of talent acquisition. I would also tell you that in most cases of potential picks-for-players trades, you'd have to call Luca Brasi to pry those picks out of my hands.

Moose from Seattle, WA

Why does draft and develop work in the NFL and not so much in MLB or the NBA?

I don't know about the NBA, but I can tell you that baseball spends more on player development than any professional sport I've ever known. Baseball spends millions and millions on farm teams and the development of prospects that will never sniff the major leagues. That's one of the reasons baseball trades players as much as it does. It's because their farm teams provide an excess of talent available to them. The NFL has long frowned on player trades for one obvious reason: It's a young man's game and trading away draft picks won't make a team younger.

Nate from Moody AFB, GA

Does anyone else think it's hilarious that all of the folks in London seemed to be cheering for the Patriots? Do they not realize the irony in that?

What if Notre Dame played there? Would they cheer for the Fighting Irish?

Brian from Durand, IL

When does the attempts, not yards philosophy not work?

It stops working when you don't gain enough yardage to make the opponent play run. At that point, it's about yards, not carries. The Packers reached that point against the Jaguars.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

Vic, my daughter and I will be at the game this Sunday. When do you walk through the crowd?

About an hour and a half before kickoff. I look forward to it for every home game because the fans I see are so much fun to observe. I see kids making their parents dig deep to buy snacks the kids should've eaten before they left home, and I see elderly fans, some with walkers, who might've been at Lambeau on Dec. 31, 1967. The cross-section of the Packers fan base is fantastic. When I was a kid, pro football crowds were dominated by middle-aged men. Now, I see as many women as I see men, and I think that's great. In all of the years I've covered football, this is the first time I've walked through the crowd. If this hadn't happened, I would've missed something.

Scott from Minneapolis, MN

Aaron Rodgers and Terry Bradshaw are the two most athletic players you've covered? When I think of athleticism, I think of speed, agility, quickness, leaping ability, etc. What do you take into account?

All of that and more. Bradshaw held the U.S. javelin record for a long, long time. He was a big, strong, fast man who could've played running back, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker or defensive back. When has Rodgers ever looked slow? Do you think he might have the hands and speed to play wide receiver? Do you think he has the instincts and smarts to play safety? He's not tough? Shortstops and quarterbacks have one thing in common: They were identified early in life as the best athletes in their hometowns, and I think that tag holds true throughout much of their professional careers. Joe Montana was recruited to play football at Notre Dame and basketball at North Carolina State when they were both national champions. Dan Marino was drafted by baseball as a shortstop. Joe Namath was a sensational baseball and basketball player in high school, a guy who was dunking basketballs when it was unheard of in high school games.

Kevin from Denver, CO

You mentioned Mike Webster yesterday as the hardest worker. Mike came from my hometown of Rhinelander, Wis. Are there any good stories you could share with us about Mike?

I was standing at one of the player interview platforms under the end zone grandstands at the Orange Bowl following Super Bowl XIII. There was a big crowd of reporters around Webster's platform and I was near the back of the crowd. All of a sudden, I felt myself moving forward through the crowd. It was Mike; as he walked past me he hooked his arm under mine and carried me with him toward the podium. You don't forget those things, especially when they're gone.

Tou from Fresno, CA

Why can Green Bay have success against the Falcons in 2010 and the Steelers in the Super Bowl using multiple receivers and spreading them out, but not this season?

Eventually, you get found out, the deck gets stacked against you and you have to do something else to balance the field. The Packers were "new" in the 2010 postseason. Nobody knew what to make of them. Everybody knows now.

Danny from Alameda, CA

The point about Green's return from ACL surgery just emphasizes what a superhuman athlete Adrian Peterson is.

That's right. For everybody else, it's a two-year injury. For Peterson, it's a one-year recovery. That's why Madden isn't football. Madden is programmed. Players play above the X's and O's.

Drew from Wayne, IL

Do you think Aaron Rodgers has a chance to win the MVP again this year? If so, why?

He's right there with the top candidates. The MVP will be decided in November and December. The quarterback that gets hot and takes his team to the top will likely win the award. I love late-season football. I love the drama.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

The Packers win the toss. What exactly are their options?

Their options are to kick, receive, defend a goal or defer their choice to the second half. Abner Haynes would tell you to never use the word kick, unless you really want to kick. At the start of the second half, the Packers' opponent will have the option to kick, receive or defend a goal. The Packers would then exercise their option. If their opponent elected to receive, the Packers would elect to defend a specific goal.

John from Junction City, WI

From a Vietnam veteran, I want to say how wonderful and uplifting the singing of the national anthem was prior to the Jacksonville game. It was by far the best I have ever heard. Please submit this info and thank you to the singer and team for having this person perform.

I agree. I loved it. I'm not a fan of vibrato. We've gone vibrato crazy in this country, especially when it comes to the national anthem. I have nightmares that my wife will hold me hostage and force me to watch endless episodes of "The Voice."

Jesse from Providence, RI

Vic, now that the Packers lead the league in sacks at the halfway point of the season, does it reinforce or validate the belief that the pass rush is the key to defensive success?

It's rush or cover, and I think most defensive coordinators would pick rush.

Zach from Woodstock, IL

Take this for what it is, but I recently heard the Packers are 30-2 under McCarthy when they run the ball 25 times or more in a game. What, if anything, does this mean to you?

I don't know that stat to be true, but if it is, then it means one of two things: 1.) The Packers achieved a run-pass balance that didn't allow opponents to load up against the pass. 2.) The Packers got a big lead and spent the late stages of the game killing the clock with the running game. Every game has to be examined individually.

Troy from Boulder, CO

Vic, I know you're a true admirer of Terry Bradshaw. Did he have Aaron Rodgers' capabilities or are they two unique, individual characters?

They threw and throw great deep balls. In my opinion, it always starts with that when it comes to the quarterback position. If a guy can't throw a good deep ball, I don't want him. I think you're wasting your time with a guy that can't go deep.

Tou from Eau Claire, WI

What do you think about the Lions trade for WR Mike Thomas? Do you think that was really a position they needed to fill?

Everybody's looking for the next Wes Welker. I think the Lions might see some of that in Thomas. He was drafted in 2009, which means part of the Lions' brain trust would've been involved in the scouting process that brought Thomas to Jacksonville. In other words, they likely remember something in Thomas they liked about him then and think the Lions need now. He just signed a big contract, so the amortization is going to stay in Jacksonville. That's a positive. Thomas is only in his fourth season, which means he's just coming into the prime years of his career. That's a positive, too. Will he fill the role the Lions envision for him? That's what we don't know and have to wait to find out.

Tyler from Minneapolis, MN

When does one find themselves to be as qualified as Troy to be calling non-trades in advance?

What if he's right? The truth is the pure defense.

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