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What is the impact of the media?


Rob from Oshkosh, WI

I haven't heard that Nick Collins has been put on IR yet. Is there a reason?

What's the rush? It'll happen today or tomorrow, when the Packers sign a player to their 53-man roster. They know who that guy is now, but what advantage is there in telling your opponent who that guy is?

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

I enjoy reading your columns. I tend to agree with most of what you say. That said, I respectfully disagree that faking injury to slow down the game is gamesmanship. Targeting an injured player's weak point seems to be more about gamesmanship than faking an injury. Football is a tough sport; attacking weak points is important. Stalling the game with fake injuries is not right.

So, you condone malicious intent, but you oppose deceit. I gotta think on that one for a while.

Marky from Walworth, WI

I remember watching a video on with a few Packers defenders talking about running their "Psycho" package, with only one down lineman to cause confusion for the offense. I've been watching for this to pop up and I haven't seen it. Am I missing it, or have they not run this formation yet?

The last time I saw the Packers run their "Psycho" defense was during that stretch in 2009 when they gave up 503 yards passing to Ben Roethlisberger and 51 points to the Cardinals. What I don't understand is how taking defensive linemen off the field results in more passing yards. It's supposed to have the opposite effect, but we're seeing it happen again. The Packers are using two defensive linemen this season, and they have the league's No. 6 run-defense and No. 32 pass-defense. It doesn't make any sense.

Steve from Hazelwood, MO

On there has been no mention of the loss of Chastin West from the practice squad. Can you explain why?

Teams don't formerly announce the loss of a player from their practice squad because all practice-squad players are free agents and the team owns no rights to those players.

Marco from Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

How come the Packers wore their green jerseys while visiting Carolina?

The Panthers wanted to make it extra difficult for the Packers in the North Carolina heat by making them wear the dreaded I'll-die-in-this-dark-jersey jersey. The temperature at kickoff was 64 degrees.

Paul from Spencerville, IN

Would you be in favor of the NFL making a rule that forced a player to sit out for the remainder of a series if their injury caused play to be stopped? I've heard this proposed as a way to alleviate fake injuries.

It is a rule. If you're injured and the injury requires play to be stopped and you don't use a time out, the injured player must leave the field for at least one down. There's no way to remedy this situation. If the NFL becomes hyper-sensitive to this situation, to placate the fans, then coaches will merely cut back on the use of this tactic; they'll use it more discreetly and only at the most important times. Faking injuries to stop the clock is like the spitball in baseball: It's one of the tricks of the trade with which we have to live. How about coaches throwing challenge flags to stop the action, when they know the call they want reviewed is not reviewable? It's just another thing you have to overcome, like piped-in crowd noise in certain domed stadiums that shall remain anonymous. I come from a time that when a stadium got too loud for the visiting team to communicate its signals, the game was stopped until the crowd quieted down. Those days are gone. Now, fans are encouraged to obstruct the opponent for the purpose of providing a competitive advantage for the home team. Is that fair? Sometimes you have to live with injustice.

Brian from Redondo Beach, CA

When Lovie Smith took over the Bears coaching job, he said something like this at the press conference: "I will make it a point to beat the Packers." I hope the Packers' coaching staff posts his quote on every locker. With players coming and going, does the rivalry mean more to fans than the players?

What did you expect him to say, "I will not make it a point to beat the Packers?" Rivalry games are special to the players, and that's especially true for the older players, the guys who've been with the team a long time and have become part of the history of the rivalry, but players have to manage their emotions because all of that rah-rah stuff only lasts until the first time they get knocked on their wallet. After that, they're relying on their preparation. Hate won't help them get it done; focus and preparation will.

Ted from Madison, WI

When you write that someone is an instinctive player, what have you seen in his play that gives you that opinion?

It's what you don't see, hesitation. He flows to the ball or he senses a trap block and instinctively takes one step across the line of scrimmage and turns to the inside, instead of chasing the ball. He feels a wide receiver setting him up for a double move, so he doesn't bite on the first move. He's noticed something about the quarterback's posture that is different when he hands off from when he fakes the hand off, so he doesn't bite on play-action. He can look at an offensive lineman's knuckles and know whether his weight is forward or back, meaning run or pass. If he's a quarterback, he can look at the defense and feel the coverage they're disguising. They are the instincts of a player that never hesitates, and that's what allows a player to play faster than his 40 time.

Sue from Watertown, WI

You kill me, Vic. You think it's okay for teams to cheat (see faking injuries) unless it's in the Super Bowl, and tell us to stop over-reacting, yet, you, the tough guy advocate, feels it harms the innocent, young fan to hear someone like Hall of the Redskins say he'll be going after Romo's ribs. By the way, there are two ways for the Cowboys to address Hall: protect Romo and pop Hall in the mouth.

Where have you been all of my life?

Brian from Little Rock, AR

With so many young quarterbacks being taken early in this year's draft and more to come in 2012, do you think there will ever be a time when all 32 teams have a franchise quarterback?

In terms of commitment and investment, we're almost there. All four teams in the NFC North have a franchise quarterback, which is what I consider to be a high pick or a quarterback in whom a large contract has been invested. There are a few teams that don't qualify. Cleveland, Oakland, Miami, Buffalo, Seattle, Washington come to mind.

Mike from Algoma, WI

I heard a reference to a "Wide Nine" defense. Could you explain that to me?

Much as "zero technique" refers to a nose tackle that is playing on the center's head, "wide nine" refers to a defensive linemen that is lined up very wide, far to the outside of the tackle. It's about numbered gaps and it's a defensive alignment the Eagles use effectively. Why? Because they have quick defensive ends that can eat up that extra distance between them and the tackle very quickly, and the Eagles' ends have the athletic ability to use that space to their advantage. Clay Matthews might rush from a "wide nine" position.

Daniel from Evanston, IL

Just because Cam Newton was sacked four times doesn't mean he didn't have tons of time most other times he dropped back. The Packers tried rushing four defenders a lot last week and it rarely got any pressure.

Well, if sacks aren't an indication of a pass-rush, then why do fans attach such meaning to them?

Zak from Madison, WI

What impact do you think the media has on NFL football? Why are analysts considered credible when it's more like an opinion than it is about the facts?

If there was no media, there'd be no telecasts of the games, no radio broadcasts, no website or print account, or anything else that would offer a means of information about the league and its games. How would we know when or where the game was going to be played? Billboards are media, too. The impact would be that there would be no league. What I sense is that fans tend to refer to the media they don't like as media. That's not the way it works. You gotta take the bad with the good. That's the way it works in America.

Bill from Escanaba, MI

I've not seen or heard anything about Alex Green. Is he MIA?

He was out last week with a sore Achilles. He was listed on Thursday as a full practice participant.

Bryce from Milwaukee, WI

When the Packers made the playoffs, I struck a deal with the girlfriend. If the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, we'll get married. Well, I bought the ring in March and we've got the date set for June of next year. So we took engagement pictures in our Packers jerseys (I wore 52 cause my No. 12 home jersey's my game-day shirt and it was in the wash). Long story short: We owe our future to the Packers, who controlled our fate.

I'm assuming your union is not conditional on the Packers making it to the Super Bowl this season. That wouldn't be fair, Bryce.

John from Neptune Beach, FL

Three Hall of Famers and one who should be in the four players you can see in your lead photograph on Thursday.

Isn't that a wonderful picture? I found myself staring at it, studying it. Look at Gale Sayers pushing off his plant foot. Look at his lean and how his head is up and his eyes are downfield. Look at Herb Adderley setting the edge and fending off a low block. Look at Willie Davis, his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Look at Dave Robinson in pursuit. You can feel the fury in this picture. I'd love to know how this play turned out. I have a feeling Robinson made the tackle when Sayers cut back inside. I love that kind of football.

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