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Will Packers' defense force the issue?

We have a winner for fourth Rushmore head


Matthew from Mount Pleasant, WI

Vic, do you see this defense as one that will force more turnovers or cause more three-and-outs?

In today's game, a three-and-out is nearly the equivalent of a takeaway. I prefer a three-and-out defense because it makes a statement: You can't move us. I think that kind of statement creates a tough, hard-edged personality that runs throughout your team. There's something soft about opportunistic defenses. They have to wait for the opportunity. Three-and-out defenses force the issue. I think the Packers have accumulated enough talent to become the kind of defense that forces the issue.

Don from Brunswick, GA

Highest regards, Vic. Please add the "Ice Bowl" sneak to your list of iconic photos.

Nobody has noticed the thread that runs through the three photos I named yesterday: They all involve New York teams. New York is the media capital of the world. If Bart Starr had wagged his finger in the air after the "Ice Bowl," it wouldn't be an iconic photo. If Ray Nitschke had stood over a fallen Vikings player, it wouldn't be an iconic photo. It's the way it is when you're from a small town. We can't have it both ways. Being small is our identity; it makes us unique.

Robin from Flagstaff, AZ

Sanders. He doesn't have the postseason glory, but no other running back has caused me to freeze with awe since, or made as many defenders look foolish.

I expected Barry Sanders would be the people's choice for No. 4, and he's won in a landslide in my inbox. I favor Earl Campbell because I'm a power back guy, but I understand and appreciate the sentiment for Sanders. He was an amazing runner.

Matt from New York, NY

Be honest, Vic, you smiled a little when Mike Daniels referenced the Bengals-Steelers game as to what he wants his nasty defense to be.

He belonged in that game. You know, of all the players I've covered in Green Bay, I'm probably closest with Mike, or at least it feels that way, and I think it's because we're both throwbacks. I feel a bond with Mike. He plays the game the way it should be played, and he knows I like that.

P.B. from Minneapolis, MN

Short sentences are efficient and functional. They're dink and dunk. Long sentences require greater command and allow for more nuance; they're achievements of function and style. Too much of either isn't good. Bottom line: Vary syntax.

"By 10:45 it was all over." "Let him think that I am more man than I am and I will be so." That's dink and dunk? Sir, Steinbeck and Hemingway are not dink and dunk. They're the bomb. Faulkner was dink and dunk. By the time you get to the end of the sentence, you can't remember where the drive began.

Sean from Baltimore, MD

Thoughts on Jim Taylor as a player?

He was my idea of the perfect football player. I wanted to look like him, be tough like him. I felt the same way about Mike Ditka. I liked the chiseled, crew-cut look, and the reputation for being hardnosed.

Jim from Anthem, AZ

Vic, I enjoy your column and stop by most days. Is it me or have the questions and comments section gotten a little meaner over the last few years?

Familiarity breeds contempt?

Jeff from Farmington, NM

Vic, looking at Adrian Peterson's top 10 plays of 2015, none were against the Packers. I seem to remember some of his top 10 plays against the Packers in 2014. Does this show a better rush defense in 2015?

It says you get what you emphasize, and in the NFC North, you must emphasize stopping Peterson.

Scott from Brookfield, WI

Vic, a few days ago you referenced a book entitled "Burnt!" in response to a question posted. Can you elaborate who the author was and if there is a more complete title? You have made my offseason the best ever. I'm glad I found you. Cheers!

I'm not sure how to answer this. Do I apologize for misleading you, or do I play along with the joke? I know! I don't have that list in front of me. It works for the Harbaughs.

Adam from San Jose, CA

What do you think about players who let it be known they will not play for a certain team before the draft?

It bothers me. It's disrespectful of good fans in good towns. It says "I'm above you," and I don't like that attitude. Joe Greene hated having been drafted by the Steelers. He knew nothing of Pittsburgh except for its reputation for smoky skies and losing football teams. Then he went to Pittsburgh, turned the Steelers into winners, the skies brightened, and a love affair was born. What if Reggie White had decided Green Bay was beneath him? What would've been lost to each?

Alex from Bartlett, IL

I didn't even think of Thorpe. Why did you have him on there?

We need to know more about him. He might be the greatest football player ever. I'm an advocate for Jim Thorpe awareness, as an expression of respect for all of the great football players who pioneered this game but history has rudely ignored. Thorpe was the greatest of that generation. He is its representative.

Tal from Ascot, UK

How important are MVPs in evaluating greatest of all time at different positions?

If a guy has a league MVP and a Super Bowl MVP, he probably has the body of work and the defining postseason moment that'll make him a lock for the Hall of Fame. Aaron Rodgers is such a man.

Dallas from Medicine Hat, Canada

Rob Gronkowski? Can we not argue Tony Gonzalez has already become the best tight end in the Winslow era?

I would agree with that. When I speak of the Kellen Winslow era, I speak of tight ends that aren't always tight to the formation. Ditka and Mackey were always tight to the formation.

Greg from Parker, CO

How do you think social media has changed the NFL? In your opinion, do teams have a favorable opinion of their players being on social media? What would owner/GM Vic say to his team about the use of social media?

Teams want their players to bond with the fans; it's a good thing. My warning to my players would be: Don't make your problems your teammates' problems. When you invite the wrath of an opponent, or cause a controversy for which the team must answer, you make everybody's job more difficult.

Dave from Hartford, WI

It's also because Aikman hates the Packers and he makes it obvious every time he covers a game.

Bridget from Chicago, IL

Vic, how rare is it you've covered this game as long as you have and you've only covered five coaches?

One of them is in the Hall of Fame and three others are certain to be nominated for election. That's the quality of head coach I've been graced to cover in my 44 years covering the NFL. I am what I've learned from those men.

Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL

Vic, it's easy to forget the offensive struggles and woes from last season. What was the problem and how will the coaches correct it for this season? Why didn't the coaches do something about it last year during the season?

The Madden game is a wonderful tool for teaching formations and concepts. My problem with the fascination for Madden is it's blurred the line between it and real football. Real football is played by real men, and they are not chess pieces. The problem on offense last season, in my opinion, is the Packers suffered a key loss at a position where the depth was young and still in the development stage. I think we saw signs in the playoffs of those young players stepping up to a higher level of performance, but I suspect you wanted a quicker fix, and I suspect you think it could've been accomplished strategically. If it could've been, it would've been.

Steven from Milwaukee, WI

Can you clear something that has befuddled me my entire life? Ali is widely considered the greatest boxer of all time, but his record and numbers don't back that up, and there have been more than a handful of boxers who, in their prime, were much more unbeatable. There's no denying Ali had the greatest cultural impact, but taking his social relevance out of the equation, is he really the greatest boxer?

Does it really matter and who is in charge of making that decision and proclamation? The saddest act of Ali's career is one his last acts, his fight with Larry Holmes. In my opinion, Holmes is one of the most underrated fighters of all time. What if he had fought Ali in Ali's prime? Holmes fought in an era of weak heavyweights, which was unfair to how history would regard Holmes. Eras can't be manipulated. Pick your favorites and hold them dear to your heart. Every person makes his or her own proclamation.

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