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With Perry out, where will Packers find rush?

A.J. Hawk has become a splash player for Packers defense


OLB Nick Perry

Peter from San Antonio, TX

Vic, why do you think no one has made a big issue about losing Nick Perry?

The loss of Randall Cobb is dominating concern among fans. We're talking about a critically important offensive player. That's the answer to your question, but I would agree that losing Perry is also of major concern. He was really starting to come on. Finding a rush has become much more difficult.

Jonathan from Madison, WI

Vic, I think you got the answer to Mike's question wrong. If the blocked punt had not crossed the line of scrimmage, it would not be considered a punt and it would have been anyone's ball. Because it crossed the line of scrimmage, it was a punt, and the punt always belongs to the receiving team. If the receiving team touches the ball, then it's anyone's ball.

(Rule 9, Section 3, Article 1, Item I) On a fourth-down play (that's what it was in Baltimore), the kicking team may recover the ball behind the line of scrimmage and attempt to advance it, but it must advance the ball to the line to gain for the kicking team to be awarded a new series of downs. In other words, the kicking team doesn't receive a new series of downs by merely recovering behind the line of scrimmage a blocked punt the receiving team touched a second time behind the line of scrimmage.

Deepak from Chicago, IL

Who do you think has been the biggest surprise on defense so far this year? My vote goes to Johnny Jolly.

My vote goes to A.J. Hawk. I had come to regard him as a steady, durable and dependable defensive player, but I didn't expect him to be tied for the team lead in sacks five games into the season. Hawk has made splash plays this season.

James from LaCrosse, WI

Would you say there's an increase in injuries leaguewide this season? If so, should the NFL look at increasing roster sizes to account for this?

Yes, I would say the volume and severity of injuries appear to be on the rise leaguewide, but I don't believe the league should attempt to remedy that situation by increasing the size of rosters. In my mind, that would be illogical. You're talking about throwing more bodies at the problem, which would further increase the number of injuries in the league. The solution to the problem is to fix the problem, not find ways to live with it. The game needs to change. Players are too big. There's too much force being exerted to their bodies. The game, in my opinion, needs to get smaller, and that can be achieved by reshaping the game.

Wayne from Minneapolis, MN

Could artificial turf have anything to do with the increase in injuries? Cleats stick in the carpet, but grass sod at least has a chance to tear before the player's leg does.

We've been blaming artificial turf for injuries for far too long. I can remember when everybody was blaming ACLs on the old rock-hard artificial turf, and what followed was an explosion in grass fields, grass weaves and new artificial turf technology that mimics grass. Practice fields have never been better. The money that's spent on turf management around the league is staggering. Yet, torn ACLs are now an epidemic. Once upon a time, a torn ACL was considered to be a death knell. Now, players expect to get one at some point in their career. On what should we blame the problem now? How about blaming the game?  Bodies have become too big for their ligaments. Again, I believe we need to reshape the game to reduce the physical stresses on the body.

Ryan from Platteville, WI

Vic, what's your favorite type of offense? Mine is West Coast.

Mine is the Wing T. I'll always love the Wing T for the variety it offered. You could run power out of it, and then with that same power look and flow, you could counter with the wing back. The Wing T forced defenses to stay home, and you could throw out of it, too. The last team to run it in the NFL was the 1978 Kansas City Chiefs. New coach Marv Levy inherited the worst defense in the league, so he decided he needed to keep that defense off the field as much as possible, and he accomplished that by installing the Wing T and running the ball 60 times a game. It gave a bad Chiefs team toughness and respectability. In the process, it made them memorable.


Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

Alex from Byron, MN

In a recent question, you answered by saying you would pick Larry Fitzgerald as your top receiver. I'm just wondering who would you pick, Cobb or Nelson?

What I was attempting to explain is that even though I don't believe in drafting wide receivers in the top 10, I acknowledge that there are those special ones that are worthy of that high of a selection. I used Fitzgerald as an example. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson were both second-round picks. I would consider that a good place to begin drafting wide receivers, or maybe even late in the first round. Who would I pick? I don't know; does it matter? They're both pretty good.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Vic, enjoyed the media interview with Joe Thomas you posted on packers.com. Joe sounded like a true professional and it helped solidify my opinion of him as one of the great professional football players on the field, as well. I doubt it is very often you ask to interview an offensive lineman for the media interview.

The request was obviously based on his Wisconsin roots. Yes, he was a cooperative and enlightening interview. I particularly like his answer to a question about what a player needs to do to achieve long-term success in the NFL. Here's what he said: "I would say the most important thing is to try and minimize your weaknesses. In this league, which is different than college, they're going to watch the film and attack your weakness. So whatever you put out on film that you don't do well, every single team is going to see that and they're going to go at it. It may not happen in year one, but by the second year in the NFL, they're going to have 16 games or more of film on you and have a book written on everything you do well and don't do well. You can believe that every defensive coordinator will spend the whole week figuring out a way to beat the left tackle. They're going to figure out what that weakness is and try to exploit it. The only way you can have long-term sustained success in this league is by minimizing your weakness."

Tom from Konigs Wusterhausen, Germany

I believe David Bakhtiari is the real deal. Do you?

He's the best rookie left tackle I've covered since Tony Boselli, who is the best tackle I've ever covered.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

What's the benefit of putting Cobb on IR instead of PUP?

Once a player participates in a practice, he is no longer eligible for PUP.

Ahmad from Woodbury, MN

Vic, do you know the Browns also have a Vic and an "Ask Vic" section? What do you know about Vic Carucci?

Our backgrounds are similar. Vic was formerly a newspaper reporter who covered the Bills for a lot of years, and then made the move to website reporting. I think back to the days when I hauled around that Royal portable, and I'm amazed at where I am today. I can remember the tray table bouncing up and down as I pounded on that Royal. Now, I send my stories from 37,000 feet. Football has given me a treasure trove of memories.

Nick from Appleton, WI

With some of the questions you get asked, it's pretty clear head injuries aren't caused by playing football.

How about steeplechase riding? I wasn't expecting that one; I had to think about that.

Dan from Irvine, CA

The very first Packers game I remember when I was a kid was the 1965 NFL Championship game against the Cleveland Browns in Lambeau on a cold, muddy day. Where was Vic that day?

He was watching the game on TV, with his cousin from Cleveland.

Justin from West Allis, WI

I'm getting real sick of you not answering my questions. Now, for the third time, why doesn't this website report to us when a player has been signed off our practice squad to another team?

Teams announce when they sign players to their practice squad, but not when a player has been signed by another team. So, the answer is I didn't know the Browns had signed Charles Johnson until the Browns announced they had signed Charles Johnson, and it's not as though I was going to browns.com every day to see if they had signed Charles Johnson. I feel your pain, Justin. I think the conditions of the practice squad are ridiculous. In my opinion, they should not be free agents. I think they should also receive rookie minimum wage as compensation. I don't like the idea of these young men being used as spies.


WR Jarrett Boykin

Dan from Houston, TX

Vic, do you think Boykin will get a lot of opportunities this weekend?

I think Jarrett Boykin's role and prominence on this team are about to increase dramatically.

Paul from Staten Island, NY

Kevin from Chicago, IL

I've got a theory on injuries that goes beyond football. I'm looking at a guy like A.J. Hawk, who doesn't miss games. What is different about him?

I like where you're going with this. Maybe somebody should do careful research on durable players such as Hawk, find out what's common to all of them, and then make that player the model for the new game.

Brian from Johnstown, PA

After Nelson's third-quarter TD made the score 15-3, it struck me that a two-point conversion was in order. One point made the score 16-3. Two points would have made it 17-3, and a failed conversion would put the Packers no worse off at 15-3 than making the one-point PAT, in terms of a two-TD Ravens comeback. That point loomed large, at least in my mind, as the game came to its conclusion. Why did McCarthy not go for two?

I don't know why Coach McCarthy didn't go for two, but I know why I wouldn't have gone for two, regardless of what the chart would've said to do. I wouldn't have gone for two because John Fox went for two in Super Bowl XXXVIII and it caused him to go into what I call the "two-point death spiral." Once you go for two, you keep going for two to make up for the two you didn't get. If Fox had gone for one the first time, instead of trying to predict the future, Carolina would've likely done no worse than taking the game into overtime, and maybe they would've won the coin toss, scored and won the game. I believe the two-point conversion should be used sparingly.

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