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What should we expect from Packers defense?

Countdown at one day and counting


Grant from Dubuque, IA

Between Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, Nick Perry seems to be the forgotten man on the Packers defense. Will the Packers use him at end now that the line depth is so thin?

We'll find out tomorrow; we only have to wait another day. Yes, I think Perry will get time at end. I think we're going to see a lot of different looks, because the Packers have several defenders that can do different things. I don't think we'll see them all tomorrow, though.

Gary from Somerville, NJ

I've noticed that we, as fans, tend to create new things to worry about. The new issue seems to be smaller guys on the defensive line. I remember you answering a question a while back about switching to a 4-3 defense and you reminded a reader that a 3-4 front can still have some 4-3 principles. Do you think Capers is going to cut the guys up front loose and allow them to penetrate and disrupt rather than two-gap?


Actually, what I wrote is that you can play a 4-3 front and employ 3-4 principles, which is what Coach Capers did in Jacksonville. He used Tony Brackens as a down end/linebacker. Brackens would put his hand down and rush, and then he'd put his hand down and drop into coverage. I think we'll see some of that, which is effectively the zone-blitz for which Coach Capers is famous, but which I haven't seen him use a lot in my time covering the Packers. He just hasn't had the kind of linemen you need to zone-blitz. B.J. Raji made it work in the 2010 NFC title game, but it's your ends you want to use in the zone-blitz. Datone Jones is a candidate for it. I could see Peppers rushing from linebacker and Jones dropping into coverage.**

Walter from Long Beach, CA

Vic, wouldn't it be great if Rodgers had a night when he didn't have to throw for 300 yards to win? Wouldn't it be glorious if we could have 200 yards rushing instead? I truly think it's possible. I think we can just run over defenses this year.

That's not how this team is built.

Andrew from Davenport, IA

Vic, I feel good about the Packers matchup with the Seahawks but the one player I'm concerned about is Percy Harvin. How do you think he will impact the game on Thursday?

Harvin is the Seahawks' playmaker on offense. He's expected to make at least one big play a game. He's a player the Packers will have to identify in pre-snap on every play. There must be a concerted effort on every play to find him and deny him. At the end of the day, that's his real impact. He forces defenses to focus on him.

Alex from Centennial, CO

Thank you for sharing your unique insight and perspective on football and its far-reaching facets. I will be among those who adopt the run-up-to-the-ball mantra this year. I use the packers.com app daily and enjoy the content immensely. After watching several locker room interviews, my question is: At what point is a player afforded the basic human right to tell a reporter their question is, well, just plain stupid?

They can and they do. You know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see the media covering the Packers give their credentials to fans for one day. I'd like to see the fans ask the questions and the fans do the videos and write the stories. I'd like to watch those videos and read those stories. Oh, and by the way, you're on deadline. No rough drafts. You have an hour to hand me your copy.

Peter from Mount Horeb, WI

Vic, how does Mike McCarthy rank among the great plan-and-prepare coaches?

He's as good as any coach I've ever covered.

Colin from Lansdale, PA

So, what is your favorite college football game ever played?

It's 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State. That's the most hyped football game in my lifetime. I have never felt greater anticipation for a football game, and I have never known a game to cause as much controversy and debate. The 1987 Fiesta Bowl between Penn State and Miami is a close second. It was the confrontation of all confrontations. It was a dark hour for college football and it gave us the BCS, which is another dark moment that ended up being the beginning of the end for the NCAA. One of the best sports stories I've ever read is from that game: "The Night College Football Went to Hell."

Courtney from Butte, MT

I think you are starting your third year with the Packers. No doubt you have taught your readers a lot of insights to the game. Undoubtedly, you have learned as well. What would you say are your top five lessons and what do you think the top five are for your readers?

I'm beginning my fourth year and the experience has been too meaningful to limit to a top-five list. What I've learned from my time here is the ways of a culture that was new to me, and that's allowed me to grow. You don't live in a place for four years without its culture becoming part of your culture. I think I'm better for it. What have my readers learned from me? They'd have to answer that.

Joe from Saint Paul, MN

Why 17-17 for the "Ask Vic Extra!" scoreboard?

I had no say in it, but my reputation for being a defensive guy obviously precedes me. I'm not a points guy. I like hits. I keep a hits scoreboard in my head. I know which team won the hits game, and usually the team that wins the hits game wins the points game. Chuck Noll liked to refer to the "battle of the hitting." I think it's critical the Packers win or at least tie in the battle of the hitting in Seattle.

Tadd from Salt Lake City, UT

Vic, I am surprised to see a few big names in the national sports media pick Green Bay to be in the Super Bowl, but losing it to the Colts or the Patriots. Am I wrong to think getting through the gauntlet of the NFC playoff bracket will be much harder than anything the AFC can possibly put up against whoever comes out of the NFC?

This is an outrage! I guarantee that if the Packers make it to the Super Bowl, they will win the game.

Art from Edwardsville, IL

First off, how are you, Vic? Recently, Russell Wilson mentioned he wasn't expecting too many surprises from the Packers defense. For whatever reason, I feel the opposite. Is this gamesmanship on his part? What is your gut telling you to expect, Vic?

I am well, thank you. Russell Wilson is a very gentlemanly, friendly, cooperative and in every way impressive young man. When I finish a conference call with him, I feel wholesome. The problem is I come away with very little in my notebook to use in a story. I've used all the stuff about his work ethic several times. I've duly noted he's the last guy to leave the building and he continues to possess great humility. Frankly, those virtues don't make for great headlines. "Quarterback works hard and is humble, too" isn't going to attract a lot of readers. It doesn't surprise me Russell isn't expecting too many surprises because I didn't expect too many surprises in the conference call, and my expectations were realized.

Eric from Keene, NH

On Thursday, do you come out with guns blazing, or do you lead with the running game to keep the defense honest?

You lead with the running game and guns blazing.

Jim from Monroe, WI

Vic, I have to attend a wedding on Saturday. My wife asked me if I would lay out my wedding clothes. I said how about my khakis? Vic said they would go with anything. She gave me a look of disgust. I told her I am going to go right now and ask Vic. I bet you $100 he will answer my question and say khakis are OK to wear to a wedding.

Khakis are fine to wear, especially to a summer wedding, provided you're not part of the immediate wedding family. You must, however, wear the right kind of khakis and they must be accessorized properly. They should trend toward the dressy side; put a sharp crease in them. A cloth coat goes best with khakis. I'm wearing khakis, a blue Oxford button-down shirt, a yellow and blue striped tie and a navy blue sports coat to the game on Thursday. Freshly polished black or cordovan shoes (don't wear brown and belt and leather watch band must agree with shoes) complete the ensemble. A splash of Aqua Velva and your wife won't let you out of her sight all night.

William from Ahoskie, NC

Vic, how many questions do you average in your inbox each morning? Just trying to figure out my odds of getting a question answered.

They're not good.

Andrew from Jacksonville, FL

Vic, The game is hours away. Seattle is waiting. What kind of buzz are you sensing from the players? Impatience? Resolve? Anxiety?

You're describing my inbox, not the locker room.

Eivind from Nordfjordeid, Norway

Vic, I thoroughly enjoy the interviews on packers.com, but I have noticed the position coaches/coordinators are never interviewed, only the head coach. Why is that?

You got some serious consonants going on there, Eivie baby. We interview the position coaches/coordinators twice a week: the day after a game and at the end of the week to preview the next game. This afternoon, at about the time I'll be stepping onto the plane for the flight to Seattle, packers.com will post a story I did from interviews with the coordinators. I call it to your attention because the story will reveal the Packers' game plan.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

I was wondering if you thought UCLA was a good team having a bad day, or if they're really that overrated.

They'll be fine; it was just opening day. My concern for UCLA is for their uniforms. I talked to Johnathan Franklin about this. I always loved UCLA's uniforms. They wore those beautiful, stripeless khaki pants with the baby blue home jersey and the visiting whites. I watched every UCLA quarterback from Larry Zeno to Gary Beban to Mark Harmon and beyond wear those uniforms, and they were uniquely UCLA's. Now, they wear a different uniform every week. They're not UCLA anymore. By the way, those stripes on the backs of Virginia's pants are comical looking. When do the bobsleds arrive?

Gary from Puyallup, WA

I'll be watching what the Packers defense does versus Seattle's rookie right tackle Justin Britt.

Good one, Gary.

Blake from Little Chute, WI

Vic, I love your stories. Tell us all a story about a season opener from years past.

My most memorable opener is from the 1979 season. It was Labor Day night in Foxboro. Monday Night Football was king back then and Howard Cosell was at the top of his game. It was the night the Patriots honored Darryl Stingley. It would be difficult for me to describe what I felt as fans stood and cheered Stingley. The ovation lasted for seven minutes. It delayed the game. The emotion in that stadium was off the charts, and I struggled to fight back tears. I was coming off the "Holy War" years, and this was the final chapter in that terribly real and disturbing book.

Zachary from Holland, MI

The baloney stops now.

Yes, it does, Zachary. The baloney stops now, except I won't say baloney.

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