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What's not to like?


Terry from Colorado Springs, CO

When I played high school football (picture Al Bundy), I was a nose guard on a 5-2 defense who was coached to control the center and play both "A" gaps. When I coached high school, we taught a 4-4 with a gap responsibility. Are defensive linemen in the game today ever coached to stand up linemen and read the backfield?

You were a two-gapping, zero-technique defensive lineman in an "Oklahoma Defense." That's the modern-day nomenclature for what you were when you were a player. As a coach, you taught what's called a gap-control defense. Most teams today play the gap-control style, but some 3-4 teams still use their defensive linemen as hold-the-point two-gappers. That's why 3-4 ends tend to be wide bodies, not pass-rushers. The pass-rush in a 3-4 comes from the linebackers. The job of defensive linemen in a 3-4 is to hold the point of attack and keep the blockers off the linebackers. In a gap-control, everybody is responsible for a gap. They're called "fits" and when everybody fits a gap-control defense perfectly, there are no gaps.

Scott from Marinette, WI

Is there a way for an average fan like myself to find out which players will dress for an upcoming game, and who has to sit out?

The inactives are announced 90 minutes before kickoff. I'll have them in my game-day blog as soon as I get them. Usually, I'm doing a pregame radio segment and Mike Spofford gets the inactives.

Tyler from Pierre, SD

I didn't notice if Hester actually did call for a fair catch on that last punt, but one of the announcers said he did. Are there any rules on who can call for a fair catch, or what can happen after a call for a fair catch when the caller doesn't receive the kick?

I'm hazy on the whole thing. Hopefully, Mike McCarthy will shed some light on the subject when he meets with the media later today. Here's what I can tell you, per the rulebook, when a player on the receiving team makes a valid fair-catch signal and the ball is not touched by a player of the kicking team: "If the ball is caught or recovered by a teammate who did not make a valid fair-catch signal, the ball is dead immediately, but it is not a fair catch. The ball will next be put in play by a snap by the receiving team at the dead-ball spot (or at the succeeding spot after enforcement of any applicable penalties)." Reading that, it doesn't sound as though Devin Hester signaled for a fair catch.

Sergio from Canutillo, TX

Who did the Packers sign to replace Nick Collins?

They haven't signed anyone, yet. As I said, what's the rush? They'll sign someone when they find someone they want.

Zach from Woodstock, IL

I was unable to watch yesterday's game. How did the Packers pass-defense perform? That seems to be their only big concern right now.

I think that had several of Jay Cutler's passes not been so wild that they sailed over the heads of everyone, the Packers would've intercepted more passes. Cutler threw into tight coverage repeatedly. Yeah, I thought the Packers' coverage was much tighter yesterday. The Bears found a few soft spots, but they were forced to throw 37 passes and I don't think having allowed 302 yards passing is out of line when your opponent throws 37 passes.

David from Chetek, WI

What's your perspective on how the Packers are playing? Part of the time they seem unstoppable, but at other times they just look bad. They are 3-0, but it seems like there's still a lot to improve.

I think they're playing a dominant brand of football. They have a quarterback that is leading the league in passer rating. The running game is leaps and bounds better than it was a year ago. I saw huge holes in the Bears' defensive line on Sunday. The defensive line, which was my biggest concern heading into the season, is No. 1 in the league against the run. The secondary has given up a lot of yards but it has a lot of talent and I have no doubt that as time goes on, and as Clay Matthews gets his pass-rush cranked up, the secondary will become one of the team's strengths. Randall Cobb gives the Packers a legit return threat and the coverage teams sure looked good against Devin Hester, except for that fluke play at the end of the game. Again, I ask, what's not to like? If being 3-0, having the best quarterback in the game, the league's deepest receiving corps, the league's best run-defense and a running game that's on the verge of moving into the top 10 isn't good enough for you, I fear you've set yourself up for a fall. Here's my advice: Be happy.

Nathaniel from Pittsford, NY

Three of the major contributors were Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Morgan Burnett. All three players were on IR last year. How much do you think getting players back that knew the system is helping the Packers in the early going?

As I said, getting players back from injured reserve is like having a second draft class.

George from Mineral Point, WI

Why, with the no-huddle being so successful, wasn't it used against the Bears?

Mike McCarthy is the guy to ask and maybe someone will ask him. What I can tell you is that the Bears aren't a big sub-packages team. They like to settle into "Cover Two" and stay in it, so you really don't need to go no-huddle to trap their personnel into staying on the field. "Cover Two" is a pass-defense that'll work against most pass formations. What it doesn't do is get that eighth man up in the box against the run, and you saw how Ryan Grant gashed the Bears' run-defense. The no-huddle is best-used against teams that freely substitute. The no-huddle is perfect to use against teams that employ pass-rush specialists. You wanna get them in base with their run-stuffers on the field, and then go no-huddle and pass, or vice versa. The Bears aren't that kind of a defense.

Jake from Marengo, WI

I know you like it when teams get ahead early and then run the ball to close the game, but don't you think that for the Packers, who have such a great passing attack, it would be better to play more like the Patriots and continue to score the best way they know how, by passing?

Isn't that what the Packers did on Sunday? They had a 27-17 lead with 9:33 to play and Aaron Rodgers threw a pass that was intercepted by Brian Urlacher at midfield. At that point, the game was on. Why does this continue to be an issue, even when it's not an issue? Interceptions are passes, too. All passes don't result in receptions.

Robert from San Antonio, TX

When will the Packers finally say Starks is the starter?

I don't think this is the week.

Ted from Amherst, NY

Regarding Nick Collins not being on IR, yet, don't players on IR have their salary reduced? If so, keeping one of the class players in the NFL off IR for a week could be no more than a tip of the hat by Ted Thompson.

Only players that have something known as a "split contract" have their salaries reduced when they go on injured reserve. Collins does not have a split contract.

Bryce from Milwaukee, WI

I haven't quite yet figured out what priceless life moment to wager on this season. Most of the wedding is paid for so there's no point in wagering on actually saying "I do," but I'm open to suggestions. We also made a deal that for every playoff win she got a new piece of living room furniture.

She's very lucky to have a fiancé as sensitive and romantic as you are. Surprise her with a fondue set for yesterday's win. She'll melt in your arms.

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