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Why do fans overreact? Because they can


Matt from Bloomington, IN

What would have been the call on the field had Jordy Nelson knocked the onside kick out of bounds?

If he had batted the ball sideways or backwards out of bounds, it would've been the Packers' ball where it went out of bounds. If he had batted it forward out of bounds, there would've been a 10-yard penalty for illegal batting and a re-kick.

Cody from Racine, WI

The Green Bay Packers! Wow! They sure are exciting to watch; sometimes a little too exciting for me. Do you prefer a close game or one where you can sit back and relax and know your team's going to win?

I like football games to be intensely competitive. I like games to go right down to the wire. I like them to be hard-hitting and full of tense moments. Most of all, I like crunch time. That's when the cream comes to the top.

Tim from Tucson, AZ

Vic, have you been surprised by how many Packers fans don't understand how important it is to let guys leave to keep the salary cap/long-range goals achievable? They traded the face of their franchise with a few good years left to let a promising but unproven quarterback take over. That seems to have worked out well.

Fans wanna win now. They seldom think big-picture. They'll compromise the future for the present, to win a game, and general managers have to possess the poise and confidence to rise above the voice of now and listen to the voice of reason. A smart general manager protects the future of the franchise. He challenges himself to replace older players with younger players because that's how you protect a franchise's future. Look at the teams that consistently win. Look at the two teams in last year's Super Bowl. That's how they do it. Losers pursue today. Winners pursue tomorrow.

Brett from Rochester, MN

Vic, can you give your thoughts on McCarthy deferring to at least three teams (Carolina, Minnesota and San Diego) and then having it backfire when they scored on the first possession?

My main thought is that he was expressing confidence in his defense and the defense didn't reward that confidence. Mike McCarthy didn't elect to defer believing the opponent would score on its first possession. He expected his defense to get a stop and turn the ball over to the offense with the score 0-0. At that point, the thinking is that you're getting the ball for the start of the game and then you'll get it again for the start of the second half.

Jim from Dripping Springs, TX

Vic, along with many fans, I was dismayed at the defensive performance against San Diego. We were told going into the bye that things would be cleaned up and fundamentals emphasized. Now we hear from everyone that communication was the fundamental problem. Isn't that what the bye week was supposed to fix? It seems to have gotten worse.

What are you looking for, a guarantee? They did their best. It didn't work. They'll do their best this week. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. You're acting as though you've been deceived. I don't understand that attitude. It's a game. The other team is trying to win, too.

Jack from North Palm Beach, FL

In a recent article of yours you mentioned there were at least five elite quarterbacks in the Packers' past opponents. In your opinion, what qualifies a quarterback as being elite?

I don't like to get into hard criteria because it can trap you into naming someone something you don't believe he is. Sustained excellence is good enough for me. If a guy has won a title, that helps his cause. In the Packers' 14-game run, they have faced at least five quarterbacks I would consider to be elite: Brees, Vick, Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. They've all achieved sustained excellence and they represent four Super Bowl titles.

Austin from East Dubuque, WI

In responding to Daniel, you stated the weather curtain had fallen. This is the best time of year to go to a game.

Absolutely, it is. I love watching cold-weather football, from the press box. I take my hat off to the fans that brave the elements to cheer on their team. I enjoy watching them, from the press box. Wave to me so I know you're staying warm.

Jim from Rio Rancho, NM

Packers football during the "180 days" is what it's all about. Wouldn't you hate to miss another "Ice Bowl?"

I won't miss it. I'll be right there, in the press box. Don't forget to wave.

Jim from Lake Cormorant, MI

Love your column; look forward to it daily. The Packers' current winning streak is certainly noteworthy, but what is truly amazing is that nine of those wins have been on the road (including the Super Bowl). Five have been with the defending Super Bowl champ bullseye on their back. This may be the best road team the NFL has seen in some time, maybe ever. Your thoughts?

You might be right. You don't often see a team get in a zone as the Packers are right now. The Patriots had two long winning streaks in the past 10 years. The Colts have been in that zone, too. I think we have to remind ourselves, however, that only one thing matters: winning the Super Bowl. It's the singular goal and all of these wins and stats and honors are a means to the desired end, victory in the Super Bowl.

Ben from Chilton, WI

Who has surprised you most so far on this team this season?

I think Desmond Bishop is having a breakout year.

James from Champlin, MN

Considering how well the Packers play on turf and warmer climates to fully utilize the pass and the talented receivers, do you think that if the Packers do get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and the weather is in the single digits or below zero, that could be a disadvantage for them if they face a team with a good defense and can run the football?

An opponent with a good defense and running game is tough to beat in any weather, but I don't think the cold weather would be any kind of disadvantage for the Packers because Aaron Rodgers has the arm strength to deal with it, and he proved last year that he can win it. In fact, I think Rodgers' arm strength would put the Packers at a distinct advantage in cold weather against quarterbacks that don't have the arm strength to deal with it; let's say, quarterbacks that are better in domes and in warm weather.

Skip from Woodstock, VT

Have you ever seen a fan base with more paranoia?

All fan bases are the same in their overreaction to events. Why do they act that way? Because they can. When I was young, we didn't have the forums for expression that we have today. You could write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, but it probably wouldn't make it into print because space in newspapers had a price to it and access was limited. Now we have blogs and message boards and Twitter and Facebook, etc. Fans can have their thoughts, which usually mean their fears and complaints, published instantly. Good! I like it that way. I think expression is a good thing.

Alex from Long Beach, CA

Finish this statement: Aaron Rodgers is playing the best quarterback since...

Tom Brady in 2007.

Peter from New Smyrna Beach, FL

A friend and I were debating the position of a head coach. He said the head coach's job wasn't necessarily to call plays on defense or offense, but to motivate on gameday. I strongly disagree and believe the coach should call plays on offense or defense, as well as motivate. What's your take?

I believe a head coach's job is to lead. Assistant coaches coach, head coaches lead. If he can lead and call plays, go ahead, but make sure calling plays doesn't dull your performance as a leader. If I'm an owner hiring a coach, I'm going to make it clear to him that I'm not hiring him to be a coordinator, I'm hiring him to be my football CEO, the leader of my franchise. Some coaches call plays, some don't. Mike McCarthy does; Mike Tomlin doesn't. In effect, however, all head coaches are play-callers because they can hear every play-call come through their head sets, and all they have to do is say no.

Kevin from Jacksonville, FL

Like everybody else, I have my concern over the defensive performance. Is it safe to say the fast-paced offense we employ is causing our defense to be in the same situations we are putting opposing teams' defenses in?

Sure it is. Plays are yards; the more plays, the more yards. If you wanna play a close-to-the-vest game, you run the ball, milk the clock and play to field position. That's not Packers football. Hey, if favorable defensive stats are the goal, then Charlie Peprah and Tramon Williams should not have returned those interceptions for touchdowns. They should've dropped to the ground where they caught them and turned the ball over to the offense to let it score and take time off the clock, which would've reduced snaps and time for the Chargers offense. Is that what you wanna do? Win the battle of defensive stats? I don't think that should be the goal. Here's a story that might explain what you're describing. For a game in San Diego late in the 1985 season, with his team out of playoff contention, Chuck Noll told his offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, to "give me one of those offenses," meaning an offense such as the "Air Coryell" one the Chargers had. So Moore did it. Final score: Chargers 54, Steelers 44. After the game, we asked Noll what he thought of that style of offense. He said, "Never again." In other words, you can shape the game any way you please. It's all in how you wanna play and what fits your personnel. The Packers' offensive style is not conducive to high rankings on defense. Last year, when the Packers defense was at the top of the stats, the Packers offense wasn't nearly as racehorse as it is this year.

Eric from Edmonton, AB

I remember reading all the worried posts about the loss of Cullen Jenkins back in the offseason. You said the loss of one man wouldn't affect the defense, but it seems the Packers are having a hard time getting to the quarterback this season.

OK, I surrender. They should've signed Cullen Jenkins. If they had signed him, they'd be 8-0 now.

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