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What about those low blocks?


William from Travis AFB, CA

During Rodgers' press conference after the Texans game, he stated the Texans were "playing a lot of one-eyed safety." What exactly is one-eyed safety?

Some people refer to it as single-high. Both references refer to one safety in the deep middle of the field. Cover two employs two safeties in the deep middle of the field. Cover two is considered to be a defensive alignment meant to stop the pass; it invites the run because it employs only seven defenders in the tackle box. A single-high or one-eyed look is a more aggressive defensive alignment. It invites the deep ball because the deep safety has to cover the deep ball on both sides of the field, and that invites the quarterback to run guys deep on both sides of the field and look the safety off to one side and then throw to the other side. That safety needs to be fast enough to resist being looked off and still get to either sideline. Single high is something a team would play to get an extra defender up to the line of scrimmage, to either stop the run or rush the passer. Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is a big believer in pressuring the quarterback.

Steve from Rochester, NY

Why didn't Wade Phillips utilize the dreaded cover two man under?

I love it when you talk like that. Hey, pass defense is a yin yang thing. It's rush or cover, and Phillips believes it's rush.

Ioana from Orlando, FL

I understand Benson is on IR with a chance to come back and Saine is on IR period, but I am curious why Green Bay picked the running back from Buffalo. On one hand I am happy, because it means the coaches are thinking running game, but on the other hand I wonder why they were not OK with Green, Starks, Kuhn.

Johnny White, the running back from Buffalo, plays special teams.

Jason from Dillsburg, PA

Stabbings over jerseys. Attacks on fans of opposing teams. Vic, do you think it's time for a return to noise-related flags and helping fans to realize they are, in fact, only spectators? Maybe that will curb the anger.

Yes, I think fans have become too much of a participant in today's games. I think they perceive their importance and almost feel as though they're playing the game, too, and that's a problem if it's going to result in violence. Through the years in this column, I've sent messages to fans by fielding questions from fans who've boldly announced they're going to a game here or there and want to know what the home crowd is like. I've encouraged fans to control their passion at road games, for their own good. I then advise against wearing their favorite team's apparel because it would make them vulnerable to being targeted by mean-spirited fans of the home team. Nearly every time I've done that, I've been deluged by fans angry that I've promoted a passive attitude, and they've gone on to tell me they'll wear whatever they please and they'll defend their team's honor against anyone who targets it. So, I don't do it anymore. The day and age of controlling noise has long since passed. It can't be done. At Sunday's game in Houston, the Reliant Stadium scoreboard actually encouraged fans to make noise to disrupt the Packers offense. We've turned fans into players. I have no solution to the problem you've identified.

Al from Arcadia, CA

Vic, have you noticed that James Jones makes the difficult catches but drops the ones that hit him in the hands?

No, I haven't noticed that. What I've noticed is that Jones had acquired a reputation for dropping passes in the years preceding my arrival in Green Bay. Since I've arrived, I think he's been one of the surest-handed receivers on the team.

Daniel from Evanston, IL

I know the Packers are a pass-first team, but when was the last time they had a 100-yard rusher?

It was James Starks in the playoff win in Philadelphia.

Bryce from Iron Mountain, MI

We've been alternating between wins and losses since Week 1. Is this just a coincidence, or are we also alternating between overconfidence and a must-win mentality?

It's neither. It's the result of a team searching for its personality and identity. A lot of teams are doing that right now. They're trying to find out in the first half of the season who and what they are and what their destiny is to be. Soon, they will hear a bell and they will know the time for finding out is over. The bell rings in November. That's when we begin to know who the teams of destiny are. All of this is a warm up for then. Nothing gets decided until the bell rings.

Agustín from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Vic, do you think the field was the key to the many injuries on Sunday? Or was it just bad luck?

I've covered a lot of games at Reliant Stadium, and I don't recall the field being an issue. Yes, it's a hard, Bermuda grass surface, and the turf on top tends to be a little loose because it has to be replaced so often, the result of the stadium being a domed structure, but I think Sunday's injuries were the result of playing against a team that likes to play low. D.J. Smith, Nick Perry, Brandon Saine and Sam Shields all sustained lower leg injuries. Those injuries are consistent with playing against a team that employs a zone, cut-blocking scheme. Saine, of course, was injured on a kickoff play.

Rob from Greeley, CO

You have made me a better football fan and it starts with my first pair of khakis. I sincerely thank you.

They're like a favorite play in the playbook. They're the back-shoulder fade.

Damone from San Jose, CA

Vic, I don't know why but with the injuries and the losses that should have been wins, this feels like 2010 all over again.

I'm getting that from a lot of fans, and I think it's only natural to try to find something from the past to which we can compare the present. We're all looking for a script and the 2012 season's script bears a resemblance right now to the script from 2010, and that's a favorable comparison since the Packers won it all in 2010. When all is said and done, however, I suspect this year's team will have written a different script and achieved a separate identity. Don't seek sameness, seek something new. The more new things we collect in our memories, the richer we become. I've long been intrigued by football fans' criticism of coaches for being predictable in their play calls, yet, those same fans have an obsession for predictable outcomes. Let it unfold. All you have to do is watch.

Sam from Waukesha, WI

That hit on Smith looked pretty questionable to me. What are your thoughts?

Mike McCarthy referred to it as an "ugly play." What I didn't like about it is that it was behind the tackle, which means it wasn't part of the action. The Texans play low. Coming off that low block in the Jets game that cost the Texans Brian Cushing for the season, I didn't expect the Texans to display any special sensitivity for low blocks.

Todd from New Richmond, WI

Last year we only had one significant injury but this year they're dropping like flies, yet, we still managed to have the sack lead. Who gets the credit? Drafting and better talent or better coaching?

Obviously, it's a combination of both, but if Dom Capers gets all of the blame, and he does, then shouldn't he get all of the credit?

Rob from Cincinnati, OH

Vic, in the past you have given small tidbits about how to reduce concussions in the NFL. What is the overall formula to reduce concussions in today's game?

Outlawing the facemask is the quick fix. Done! Concussions would be radically reduced in number because it's human nature not to use our face as a weapon. Head injuries, however, would not be reduced because there would be an explosion of broken noses, cut lips, broken jaws and eye injuries, so it's not likely we will ever see the facemask outlawed or even limited in its ability to protect. There are two fixes to the problem, as I see it: 1.) Design a helmet that protects the head from injury. 2.) Eliminate the contact that causes head injuries. If the solution is No. 2, then the game needs to undergo radical change, because I don't think the way the problem is currently being approached will succeed. I think it's unrealistic to expect men to hit a moving target without bumping heads. In my opinion, if the solution to the problem is eliminating the contact that causes concussions, then football needs to become a close-quarters game again.

Joe from Clio, MI

Do you believe in setting the tempo? Heath Evans on NFL Network said the Texans' plan to come out passing on the first two plays of the game set the wrong tempo for the game. The Texans ran 69 plays; did those two affect the rest of the game?

Gary Kubiak had been doing it that way successfully for five games. He knows everyone's game plan begins with stopping the Texans' running game, so he tries to force opposing defenses to play pass early; it's an attempt to balance the field, and it had been successful. I think the Texans' first two plays of the game set the wrong tempo because they were incompletions. Had they been completions, they would've set the right tempo. Players, not plays.

Niall from Offaly, Ireland

I was wondering if you could explain waivers to me.

When a player who is subject to the waiver claim process is released, teams have 24 hours to notify the league that they wish to place a claim for that player. When the 24 hours have expired, the claiming team highest in the claiming order is awarded the player.

Chris from Voorhout, The Netherlands

Have the balls changed at all? We regularly see super long kicks, but I also think there are more ball drops across the league, which makes me think something changed in the nature of the ball.

What balls? Balls to kick or balls to play with? I think the balls to play with are fine. I think the balls to kick are juiced.

Mark from Kingsford, MI

What is this pathetic attempt to run down the game clock by some of the lamest rushing attempts ever seen? With over five minutes left, the Packers go into their shell and the Texans get a couple of extra chances with the ball. Since the run game is horrendous, why not the short-passing control game?

When's the last time Coach McCarthy decided to protect the lead and the Packers lost the game? The goal is to WIN THE GAME! That's all. The worst thing you can do to an opponent is beat them.

Tim from Menomonee Falls, WI

With the television audience not being able to see the whole field, were the receivers more open against the Texans than they were against the Colts? Or was it more of the willingness of Rodgers to throw them the ball in coverage against the Texans?

The receivers were decidedly more open, and it was against a much more accomplished secondary than the Colts'. I saw it on the first drive of the game.

Joe from Sherman, IL

Vic, after a tough month we can relax and know the sun also rises.

You got it, Ernest.

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