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What is causing all of those hamstring injuries?

Turning the season around begins with one key


Terry from Plymouth, MN

Vic, I read an article about misaligned hips being the possible cause of the rash of hamstring injuries. Does the Packers organization provide chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists?

Yes, they provide all of that and more. In my time covering the NFL, hamstring injuries have been blamed on failure to hydrate, bad stretching technique, lack of sleep, consumption of carbonated beverages, fatty foods, tight pants, poor posture and, get this, platform shoes. Yeah, back in the '70s there was a popular opinion that platform shoes were shortening the muscles in the back of the leg, which was causing cramps and hamstring pulls. In one of those years, the Steelers did downhill running to help reduce hamstring pulls. They had a pretty steep hill next to their training camp dormitory, and they designed a course for running down the hill. It was thought that running downhill would stretch the muscles in the back of the leg. It didn't work. Here's what I think teams should do to reduce hamstring injuries: Don't draft players that get them.

Bill from Branson, MO

Vic It Really Surprises Me The Questions You Choose To Answer. I Asked About The Foreword Fumble Rule And You Chose To Ignore And Reply To Some Question That You Think Is Stupid and Then Give A Frustrated Retort. What Is It? Do You Want Good Questions And Comments Or Stupid Comments? What Say You?

Maybe I didn't want to use your question because I'd have to change a lot of capital letters to lower case.

Tim from Saint Paul, MN

Do you really think it's unfair to take note of a team that struggles to come back and win the game in the fourth quarter?

I'm a huge crunch-time believer and I don't think it's unfair at all, and I duly noted in my game coverage on Sunday that the Packers didn't get it done at crunch time. What I think is unfair is to hang it all on a quarterback who, in a lot of those games, rallied his team to the lead and would've gotten credit for fourth-quarterback comebacks if the defense hadn't allowed the opponent to rally for the winning points. Every one of those games needs to be examined individually to know what the truth is. Aaron Rodgers led the league in fourth-quarter passing in 2011 with a 114.3 rating. He was second in the league in fourth-quarter passing in 2012 with a 113.9 rating. Why haven't critics of his fourth-quarter play mentioned those stats? This is what bothers me about using stats to tell a story. It's often selective.

Paul from Los Ranchos, NM

Vic, on the fourth-and-inches play Sunday, I noticed that Franklin took his right arm off the ball just as he hit the pile. Every back is taught since Pop Warner to cradle the ball with both arms in traffic. I see this with a lot of backs and it just drives me crazy. Don't they work on fundamentals at this level?

First of all, this isn't Pop Warner. Secondly, I'm not a big fan of leaping. There is a natural tendency to soften your grip on the ball when you leap. I think that was the bigger issue.

Henry from Jackson, WY

Are three games too early to establish an identity?

A team defines itself late in the season. Usually, there's one game that defines the season and I thought the game in Minnesota was that game last season: an offense at peak performance that couldn't overcome a defense that couldn't stop the run. In my opinion, that game was symbolic of the season. The Packers will face that kind of game again this season. I don't think the Cincinnati game will be that defining game. I think there will be a game late in the season that will define this team, the challenge it faced and the level of performance it achieved, and that will be the identity history will record.

Paul from Zanesville, IN

Vic, there was a lot of talk about Aikman and Buck criticizing the Packers during the first couple of games this season. What I heard on Sunday was the exact opposite. Buck and Aikman praised the Packers and Aaron Rodgers during a game in which the team and quarterback played poorly.

I'm going to watch a tape of the game this afternoon. I'll give you my opinion of their coverage in Wednesday's "Ask Vic."

Mark from Radcliff, KY

What do you think will be the keys to turning around the season for the Packers?

It's not keys, it's one key: Beat the Lions. That's what the loss in Cincinnati is demanding. The game at Lambeau Field against the Lions on Oct. 6 is huge. I don't think I have to explain why it's so important. Turning around the season begins with beating the Lions.

Zebulon from Pittsville, WI

Vic, in the last two games the team has lost important players early to illegal hits, yet, neither drew flags. Is there a procedure the team must follow in pointing out missed calls to the league? Are the officials graded after games, like college crews?

Yes, there is a process for coaches to communicate their thoughts and questions to the league's officiating department. If you sat in on one of these conference-type calls, you'd be greatly impressed by the back and forth. Yes, officials are graded in evaluations of their performances. If their grades are bad too often, they get fired. Everybody seems to get fired in this league, and it can't happen often enough or fast enough to please the fans. The Browns fired Bill Belichick. The Jaguars fired Tom Coughlin. They would win five Super Bowl titles combined.

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