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You throw to score and win


Richie from Truckee, CA

I have a friend from Pittsburgh and occasionally he will speak a dialect of gibberish that must only be understood in that region. Do you and Coach McCarthy ever speak "Yinzer" or Pittsburghese with each other?

I dunno what yinze means. He sahns finame.

Bob from Mount Joy, PA

You state pretty emphatically that a college team would have problems scoring on an NFL team. That may be the case now but in my father's day that was not true. Did you know about the College All-Star vs. NFL champ games years ago?

I covered the last one in 1976. It was a blowout at halftime and early in the third quarter a storm blew in, they cleared the field, everybody left and that was the end of the line for the College All-Star Game for a couple of reasons, one of which was money and the other of which was the game had become uncompetitive. The NFL champ had won 12 in a row and 16 of the last 17, and the college all-stars hadn't gotten out of the teens but twice in those 17 games. Here's the kicker: The college all-stars were playing at least half of the game against rookies, many of them undrafted guys that were anything but college all-stars. In your father's day and in your grandfather's day, football was the college game, as pro football struggled just to survive, but even as early as 1930, the New York Giants shut out, 22-0, a team of Notre Dame all-stars in a charity game during the Great Depression. It stunned the sports world. Notre Dame was the biggest name in football and the football purists expected Notre Dame would put the NFL in its place, but the opposite would be true. The gap between college and pro football today is even greater, yet, so many fans expect success on the college level to automatically translate into success on the pro level. It doesn't and that's why drafting is a crystal-ball business. The scouts have to be able to look at a prospect and see what he'll become, not what he is.

Joshua from Plainview, TX

If a kick is blocked, does that count against the kicker's conversion percentage?


Zach from Woodstock, IL

Is it hard to see a team you covered have a poor season? Even though you aren't allowed to cheer in the press box, you must develop a connection to the team and its disappointed fans.

I've always developed a connection with the team I've covered and its fans. You work with both and you develop a sensitivity for what winning and losing means to them. Plus, it's more than that. Writing a story about winning is more fun than writing a story about losing. You grow close to your subjects and the environment, you identify with the pursuit and you revel in it. It's just human nature. You also hope the team and its fans understand that you're in the business of providing information, and sometimes the information isn't happy news.

Tony from Big Pine, CA

With all of the pre-snap adjustments that are made in today's game, I often see offensive linemen come set for a few seconds and then relax in their stances and turn to look into the backfield at the QB as the QB makes adjustments. When a false start can be called for even the slightest movement or flinch by the offensive line, how is it that offensive linemen can get away with turning around after being set?

As long as that movement doesn't simulate a play, the officials will allow it. The two words you used are key: relax and flinch. A sudden movement such as a flinch is gonna get you flagged because it's the kind of movement that would cause a defensive player to think a play has begun and come into the neutral zone. Relaxed movement isn't likely to draw a defender offside, therefore, it is often allowed.

Joe from Des Moines, IA

I understand that you've been in the business a long time, but I can't help but find a good deal of insolence in the way you address the fans who are seeking you out. Why do you so often dismiss questions as invalid, silly and/or ignorant, and then post them? If you really are that annoyed with so many of the questions you're getting, why not just discard them entirely and spare us having to read of you chastising another fan for an honest attempt at a legitimate question? I mean no hostility to your football commentary, which is usually spot on. I just get the feeling there's a lot of grumpiness and impatience undermining the way you answer our questions.

I am who I am.

Leonard from Jacksonville, NC

Just wondering what attributes do scouts look at when scouting a nose tackle for a 3-4 defense?

They want a player that refuses to be moved, which is to say a defender that can old the point of attack. He's got to be able to eat blocks and blockers.

Ron from Seattle, WA

I noticed Graham Harrell on the sidelines during the Atlanta game. Is it standard to have practice-squad guys travel with the team?

No, but it's standard to have practice-squad quarterbacks travel with the team if the team only carries two quarterbacks on its 53-man roster.

Cameron from Rolla, MO

I was wondering how you are able to write the blog throughout the game and keep notes so you can write stories after the game. What is your secret?

You can't do both; you just have to keep it in your head. Fortunately, we are provided play-by-play scripts of the action. If I had to keep play by play, I couldn't do the blog.

Joseph from Long Beach, MS

What is the biggest cause, in your opinion, for our inability to sustain a reliable running game? It's there, it's just not very consistent.

This is not a pound-the-ball team. The passing game is the foundation on which the Packers' offense is built and the running game's function is to keep the defense honest. The running game did that in Atlanta when Ryan Grant broke off a 9-yard run on the second play of the game and James Starks followed with runs of 11 and 7 yards in the Packers' second possession. That's all it takes to make a defense play it straight. Gain some yards or show a commitment to the run early and the defense will have to respect run. That's all the Packers want to do; make the defense respect run. Aaron Rodgers will take it from there. You might say the old you throw to score and run to win has been changed to you run to throw and you throw to score and win.

Chad from River Forest, IL

Was there ever an explanation about the penalty that was called on the Packers' sideline?

Coach McCarthy explained it to the media on Monday. He said his sideline had been warned about sideline encroachment twice previous to the penalty being called. McCarthy accepted responsibility for the penalty.

Nick from Augusta, GA

I know it is still very early in the season but, if the Packers go 15-0, do you think Mike McCarthy would play his starters for the entire game to go for the perfect season?

Nick, the Packers have a critical game coming up against a young and hungry Rams team. It's the single-most important game on the Packers' schedule because it's the next game. Let's take 'em one at a time, with a singleness of purpose all championship teams possess. Focus, Nick, focus.

Gerald from Karlsruhe, Germany

Is it time now to bring in a big, experienced right tackle to catch the roster spot of Nick Collins? With a look on MNF and the pass-rush of the Lions, I have some concerns about Thanksgiving. The depth at offensive tackle is not deep anymore.

That question was also posed to Mike McCarthy on Monday and he acknowledged the possibility the team would use Collins' roster spot to add depth on the offensive line.

For more about the offensive tackle situation, click here.

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