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Will Martz attack Packers secondary?


Kyle from Rockford, IL

How do you see this weekend's matchup unfolding? Mike Martz and Lovie Smith are being admonished for becoming one-dimensional against the Saints by abandoning the running game in the second half; yet, this weekend they face a Packers secondary that has given up over 800 yards of passing in the first two games. Smith wants balance, but do you think Martz will be tempted to exploit the Packers secondary again this week by going pass-happy?

Bears fans want more running and Packers fans want more passing; I think that's a perfect characterization of the difference in the two teams' styles and the personalities of the fan bases. Be that as it may, Martz has always been a pass-first guy; ask Marshall Faulk about the second half of Super Bowl XXXVI. Yes, I think Martz will try to exploit the Packers secondary.

David from Pasadena, CA

I'm surprised at how little criticism I have found regarding the Giants defenders dropping down with "injuries" during Monday's game. The Rams were driving well and had reached the red zone at a juncture in the game where they could have taken the lead. Is it accepted practice for defenders to fake injuries to stop another team's drive? Seems cheap to me.

I'm a defensive-minded guy so I like it when the defense fakes injuries and the offense cries about it. It makes me smile. You think it's cheap for the defense to fake injuries, and I feel the same way about offenses standing over the ball and doing nothing as they keep the defense from substituting. If I was a coach, I would tell my defensive players to fake injury.

Dustin from Dell Rapids, SD

OK, say we do move Woodson to free safety, but play him 50 percent in the box and 50 percent deep. In the safety position, wouldn't he have more freedom to move around and disguise blitzes? Would we then line him up as a slot cornerback when they went to a three-wide receiver set and play with one safety?

I don't know.

Steve from Racine, WI

Right before the snap the center points downfield. Why does he do that?

I assume he's gesturing toward the man he intends to block. The center does that so that all of the other linemen can count right and left and know who their guy is. If you're the right guard, you count one player to the right of the center's man and that's your man.

Danny from Jacksonville, AR

With Starks' recent success running the ball, do you see him becoming the official starter over Ryan Grant anytime soon? If so, do you think he has a chance to become more of a full-time back, with Grant filling in primarily on third downs?

James Starks has rushed 21 times for 142 yards; Ryan Grant has 15 carries for 65 yards. I think that gives us a pretty good idea of what's happening at that position.

Michael from Milwaukee, WI

What exactly is the hard count and why does it cause the defense to jump the snap so often?

It's like when your wife yells at you to take out the garbage. Why do you jump?

Adam from Chetek, WI

To my understanding, not all head coaches actually call the offensive plays. Can you explain to me what these head coaches do during a game then?

My guess is that most head coaches don't directly call the offense or defense, but they all wear a headset that allows them to hear all of the calls their coordinators are making and communicate with those coordinators. For example, on a third-and-goal play from the one-yard line, the head coach might say, "Run it here because I'm going for it on fourth down." He's not calling the play but he's providing the direction.

Zach from Derby, KS

Is the NFL turning into the college version of football? Which version of game play do you prefer?

It's clear to see that principles of the college version of spread offense are creeping into the pro game. I'm not against it. I think spread offense is fun to watch, as long as it's physical, but the problem is that it usually isn't physical. Teams that run the spread tend to be basketball-on-grass types and I don't like that. I can remember watching the Auburn-Northwestern bowl game from a few years ago. I had to turn the channel. It was making me uncomfortable. I need to see some defense. I need to see resistance to appreciate movement.

Jerry from Mosinee, WI

I have heard that for the most part the biggest difference between a receiver and a cornerback is that a receiver is a bit more athletically gifted at catching the ball. Is this truly the biggest difference between the two? And if so, why wouldn't a team that has such depth at the receiver position like the Packers do convert someone as gifted as James Jones into a cornerback? I always look forward to reading "Ask Vic," the best column in sports.

Terry Bradshaw is the first person I ever heard say, "If defensive backs could catch, they'd be wide receivers." Bingo! Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson can catch and that's why they also played wide receiver in college. That's one of two big differences between wide receivers and defensive backs. Wide receivers can catch; defensive backs can flip their hips. I don't see James Jones as a flip-his-hips guy.

David from Richmond, IN

I agree with you, I like coaches to be teachers not yellers/entertainers, but I like Vince Lombardi's yelling because it was used purposely and had great impact, and focused his players, right?

Vince Lombardi was one of those select few coaches who could make yelling sound loving. That's when it works. When it sounds like anger, it doesn't work. We don't respond positively to anger. We respond to love, encouragement, caring. Lombardi made "What the hell's going on out here?" sound sympathetic. He had that kind of rare charm. His players forgave him. They loved him for his faults. That's what's so intriguing about the man.

Matt from Toledo, OH

What people are ignoring about the Packers defense is that they are at the top of the league in run-defense. Couldn't that be a reason they continue to win despite the high passing yardage?

When the season began, the run-defense was the area of this team for which I had the greatest concern. That's why I think the Packers' No. 6 ranking against the run is the most positive thing about the season to date. This team must not permit opponents to dominate time of possession by controlling the ball with the running game and keeping Aaron Rodgers on the bench. That'll be an issue this Sunday.

Brad from Lincoln, NE

Now that Nick Collins is out, does his salary count against the salary cap?


Justin from Jacksonville, FL

With offenses shifting more toward the pass and needing to get the ball out quickly, do you foresee some variation of the "Pistol" offense making its way into the NFL?

It has made its way into the NFL because by positioning the backs behind the quarterback, offenses can apply a more traditional approach to the running game. You can still play power football out of the "Pistol," whereas in the more traditional shotgun formation everything is a finesse-type draw play. I think the "Pistol" is a good change of pace, but I would still prefer to have my quarterback under center for the majority of the snaps, because I think you can sell play-action better with the quarterback under center than you can with him in a "Pistol" set. There's something about the quarterback coming away from center that causes suspense that doesn't exist in the "Pistol" or shotgun formations.

Jordon from Fargo, ND

Love the way you write, especially in the recent point, counterpoint about the Week 3 Bears game. I agree that it isn't a big game, but can't all division games be considered important? We have a tough division and a division win-loss record can make or break a trip to the playoffs.

I gave Mike Spofford first pick and he picked it's a big game, which left me to write that it's not a big game, which I don't completely believe. What I do believe is that it's too early in the season to treat this as anything more than one game. Yes, division games are important because they go directly to the top two tie-breakers, head-to-head and division record. The point I wanted to get across in my counterpoint argument is that when this game is over, move on. That, in my opinion, is the most critical element about this game. Both teams must be able to move on emotionally when this game is over. It must not count two, only one.

Mario from Dortmund, Germany

I would like to know more about what to expect if there is a stock sale.

The Packers are hopeful to have a stock offering this fall and the team is working with the NFL to receive necessary approvals to sell shares of stock and hope to have that approval by the end of October. The team is also working through some regulatory matters for the offering and hope to finalize those in the next couple of months. The Packers have yet to determine the number of shares that would be available, or the price of the shares. The considered price would be at least $200, the price of the last offering, or possibly more. With that, let's do a poll: What is your opinion of that price, or should it be a little higher?

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