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Who is your first-quarter MVP?

Playing in the cold is about attitude; playing in heat is about hydration


Tyler from Columbus, OH

Coach Slocum and Coach Zook deserve some credit for the quality of special teams play so far, right? I remember Ron Zook doing some good things at Illinois during his time there. That hiring excited me.

Coach Zook played a big part in special teams rules changes. He coached a special teams player by the name of Orpheus Roye. He was a big, fast defensive lineman Coach Zook used as a wedge buster, and he caused some frightening injuries that raised wedge-busting awareness.

Paul from DeKalb, IL

Have you noticed there's far less clamoring for scheme adjustments, and little to no questioning of the play-calling? Weird how that happens when the team wins a couple, huh?

Winning tames the human spirit. Defeat inflames it.

Rebekah from Germantown, TN

Vic, I had an interesting conversation at the gym about NFL coaches vs. college coaches. Who do you think has the tougher job?

Recruiting makes college coaching more difficult, in my opinion. If you lose the recruiting war, you're cooked. I have great respect for the coaches at the colleges with the high academic standards that make recruiting difficult. Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern immediately comes to mind. He wins despite a lot of disadvantages.

Van from Collingwood, Ontario

Vic, what are your thoughts on the Bills carrying Jim Schwartz off the field after their win? Sure, the best way for the Lions to prevent that from happening would have been to win, but it struck me as a very classless act.

I don't like that kind of stuff. The Lions gave Coach Schwartz his big break, not to mention having put a lot of money into his pocket. Why the venom?

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

I know it's early, but if you had to pick a league MVP over the first quarter of the season, who would it be? I would select Philip Rivers.

Rivers is the logical choice. He tamed the beast, so to speak. Russell Wilson deserves some votes. He's taking the role of new-age quarterback to a new level. I think he might also be in the process of balancing the scales between offense and defense in Seattle.

Louis from Coral Springs, FL

Vic, I'm concerned about how the Packers think they are ready for the south Florida heat. As someone who has worked construction for 33 of the last 40 years here, I can tell you they are not. Please pass these words of wisdom on to the boys: Stay hydrated, bring their own sideline fans if they can, and the oldest trick in the book, a cool or cold cloth across the back of the neck. If they think they can just tough it out, they'll be as flat as week-old soda in the second half. Trust me.

Teams going north to play in the cold talk about conditioning their minds to ignore the cold. That's the key to playing in the cold. Playing in the heat is more than a mind game. It's a real physical phenomenon and hydration is the key. Did you know air travel dehydrates us? It does, and that's why players are told to drink plenty of water during a long flight on the day before the game. Bottles of water will be placed on their seat before boarding. The Packers will have all of the cooling gadgetry they need. They've planned for what they'll be facing since they saw the schedule. It's all you can do: hydrate, cool off when you can and hope for cloud cover.

Robert from Racine, WI

What compensation, if any, is there to teams that lose players from their practice squad to other teams?

There is no compensation. Practice squad players are free agents that belong to no one.

Ryan from Portland, MT

Vic, you always say Reggie White wouldn't have made it that far in today's free agency. Maybe it's early but I'm beginning to feel Peppers is in the same category as White.

Julius Peppers is not in the same category. The Packers signed White when he was in the prime of his career. Peppers is in the final years of his career.

Micah from Elmira, NY

Vic, I was going through the schedule to see potentially what our record could be; 11-5 is reasonable. I got chills when I saw the Lions for Week 17. What do you think?

When I first looked at the schedule, the opener in Seattle caught my eye. Then the Lions game on the final day of the season grabbed my attention. I remember thinking, "Yeah, I like that."

Dean from Phoenix, AZ

Vic, why are you opposed to coach trades if they involve cash?

It's a sell-off and it threatens competitive balance.

Jordan from Appleton, WI

Is it better to cover a team that's doing bad or doing good?

When you cover a winning team, you cover big games, and that's what I want. I want to know my stories are going to be read. Plus, the excitement that goes with covering a big game is exhilarating.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Would you rather have the season hanging in the balance when the Lions come to Lambeau in December, or would you rather wake up Christmas morning knowing the NFC North belongs to the Packers?

I know what you want, so I hope the Packers have the division title clinched before the final game of the season, but I'd be minus one great memory today if I hadn't witnessed that great football game in Chicago last season. I take it as it comes.

Maxwell from Daytona Beach, FL

I just heard Lacy compared to John Riggins. What do you remember about "The Diesel"? He seems like your kind of player; did you ever get a chance to watch him?

I don't see the comparison. Riggins ran in a drive-blocking, counter-blocking system. His talent was for hitting a hole and blowing it open. Eddie Lacy runs in a cutback system. Plus, Riggins was a sprint champion. In my opinion, Riggins is one of the most underrated running backs ever. Lacy reminds me of Ickey Woods.

Adam from Hillsboro, KS

Will the Packers continue to try to go full throttle on offense this Sunday, despite the heat factor? Or will they slow the game down with Lacy and Starks and try to control the clock and keep their defense fresh? I know I'm asking what the game plan is, and only the coaches know, but what would you do if you were game planning?

I'd do both. Up-tempo offense is the Packers' identity and I'd open the game in a hurry to get the lead. Once I got that lead, I'd pound a little and try to shorten the game.

Rebekah from Germantown, TN

Vic, I'm confused. Maybe you could help me understand one thing. If the point of a no huddle is to keep the tempo up, how do you bleed the clock?

The real point of the no-huddle, unless it's in a hurry-up situation, say, at the end of the game, is to keep your opponent from substituting. You can run the no-huddle as quickly or as slowly as you please; just be ready to snap the ball if your opponent tries to substitute.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

Vic, how much will the Packers' knowledge of Joe Philbin help the Packers this Sunday?

It's not about the coach, it's about the audible system. Coach Philbin likely knows the Packers' audible system. I doubt the Packers know his. What it could mean is the Packers might have to build in some dummy calls. It can make life at the line of scrimmage a little more challenging, but the Packers have the quarterback to pull it off. I had experience with this in Super Bowl XIV. Bud Carson was the Rams' defensive coordinator and he knew the Steelers' entire audible system.

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