Mike from Birmingham, AL

Aaron can run, Aaron can pass, Aaron can pass while on the run. Is there anything Aaron cannot do?

I have found no weakness in his game, and I think that’s why people are hitting on the fourth-quarter comeback thing, because they can’t find a weakness, either, and they feel as though everyone must have at least one weakness.

Mark from Bluemont, VA

Vic, was it not selfish in sorts that Mike McCarthy did not allow Aaron Rodgers to throw for 20 more yards to get that elusive 500-yard game? It’s kind of like Adrian Peterson not getting his extra nine yards.

I’m not built like that. I don’t think like that and I don’t enjoy that. When the score reached 31-0, I knew I had seen what I came to see, which is to say one team claim victory over the other. The Redskins were not prepared to play the game. I think they’re one of the teams in the league that are still in the preseason. In their case, it’s a result of RG3’s knee surgery. I don’t know what it would’ve accomplished to pile on the points and yards, other than to create a lot of ball-painting for the equipment department. For me, that kind of stuff only matters when it’s accomplished in the pursuit of victory, not in the pursuit of stats. Sorry, you got the wrong guy.

Tay from Greenville, SC

The NFL has some serious rule problems. No hitting high has led to hitting low, resulting in more problems. What can be done? Do you think we are watching the demise of the game?

We’re not witnessing the demise of the game, we’re witnessing a dramatic metamorphosis of the game and I’m not sure the league’s vision for how this will turn out is how it’ll turn out. You’re right, the league has a problem. Moving the target area lower is resulting in some rather gruesome injuries, the kind that make you not want to see them on replay. The whole don’t-hit-the-head campaign has also caused another problem: hesitation. In my opinion, Eric Reid was injured on Sunday night because he hesitated in his hit on a Seahawks player, to avoid hitting him the wrong way and incurring a penalty. Is it any more acceptable that Reid should sustain the injury instead of the offensive player? These are issues and they are problems that have to be worked through. What can be done? In my opinion, the target area has to be shrunk for blockers and tacklers, so that it’s below the head but above the knees. In doing that, the league will have to make some rules changes to favor defense, because shrinking the target area under the current rules will make it impossible to play defense. We’re going to see some huge changes in this game over the next 10 years.

Ezra from Frederick, MD

So you’re telling me that just because you were told it’s OK to head-butt people in football, that made it right to do so? I don’t like your mode of thinking. Just because that play was not penalized doesn’t mean people didn’t get concussions. It’s an unnecessary play, legal or not legal.

I’m happy to see that your culture has fully changed, but you don’t seem to understand how this game was played many years ago. Spearing was something every team practiced, and I’m talking about on the high school level, too. The first man in wrapped up the ball carrier, turned him and the next man in speared the ball. Gang-tackling was preached and tacklers didn’t lead with their hands. The culture was such that if a player had a chance to deliver a blow and he didn’t, he was vilified, maybe even humiliated, in film review. It wasn’t about avoiding penalty, it was about acceptable technique that was taught by all coaches, including the great ones. Can you imagine Lombardi telling Nitschke, “Don’t strike his head, Ray, you might hurt him”? The Oklahoma drill was more than a rite of passage, it was part of the practice regimen. Coaches used primitive teaching techniques. I can remember baseball backstops being turned upside down and used for cage matches. At the height of the Vietnam War, one of the drills in our high school practices was called “Viet Cong training,” and it was vicious. Coaches fashioned themselves as Marine drill instructors. It was the height of the “Baby Boom,” there was never a shortage of kids and never a worry about leaving your game on the practice field. That’s the period in which pro football rose to popularity, and that’s the culture that embedded itself in the game and is now being changed. It has to happen.

Floyd from Westfield, NJ

This is a passing league. Under the new rules, the only way to defend the pass is to rush the QB. The 3-4 is a run defense; it’s like trying to hit a baseball when you keep stepping in the bucket. Your thoughts?

The 3-4 is not a run defense. Its weakness is that it’s vulnerable to the run because it’s a little light in the pants; the 4-3 is a run defense. The 3-4 is a scheme defense. It allows for a lot of creative blitzing and coverage schemes, all of which are intended to defend against the pass.

Dom Capers

Eric from Milton, WI

I fully recognize that RG3 is nowhere near being back to himself, but that doesn’t completely negate his presence as a potential runner. That said, the Packers defense just held Colin Kaepernick and RG3 to 23 yards rushing combined. Is anyone being as complimentary of Dom Capers as they have been critical in the past? When it goes poorly, that’s all anyone seems to talk about.

If I had predicted in training camp that the Packers would hold Kaepernick and RG3 to 23 yards rushing combined, my inbox would’ve been filled with laughter.

Chance from Franklin, OH

Vic, do you ever tire from any of this?

This week has blindsided me. After Sunday’s win, I wasn’t expecting the edge that I’ve found in my inbox this week. I was expecting that last week, but what I found was calm. It was though everybody was relieved the Packers didn’t get blown out. This is one of the angriest weeks in “Ask Vic” history, and I’m at a loss to explain it. Maybe we all feel winter coming on. Yeah, there are times that I’d prefer a calm inbox, but then I remind myself that this column isn’t built on calm.

Aaron from Post Falls, ID

Vic, what was the deal on Sunday with the Packers winning the toss and electing to receive? It goes against everything I’ve come to expect out of this team.

It suggests to me that Mike McCarthy saw this one coming. I kind of detected as much last week in my interviews with the coaches. I didn’t sense any alarm. I sensed a lot of quiet confidence.

Mike from West Bend, WI

Why do fans need this constant validation from the outside? Announcers, national media, etc. Does Packer nation really have an inferiority complex? I don’t need anyone to tell me what I watched on Sunday was a thing of beauty.

I don’t need it, either.

Edward from Canton, SD

A serious question deserves a serious answer. I would also rather listen to Wayne and Larry than Joe and Troy. Why is the radio broadcast not in sync with the TV broadcast?

I gave you a serious answer. It’s because of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. It created a heightened sensitivity in the TV industry to delaying telecasts, for the purpose of allowing TV time to black out what shouldn’t be seen.

Ted Thompson

Bob from Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA

Vic, I have grown to appreciate Ted Thompson’s ways of keeping the Packers as a perennial playoff contender, especially after watching the Steelers on Monday night. They seem like a team that is dealing with the impact of not managing their cap as effectively over the years as the Packers have. There may be other factors involved, too. Your thoughts?

They had won two Super Bowls with the same cast of players and decided to keep the team together for one more run, and that meant ignoring the train’s whistle and re-structuring contracts and pushing money out. It also caused them to lose Mike Wallace and other players, and they could lose more players in free agency, too. They nearly won a third Super Bowl, but it was too late to get off the tracks and now the train has hit them. When do you pull the plug? It’s a tough question to answer. I’m big on pulling it earlier than later, but the fans aren’t.

George from Jacksonville, FL

Vic, that was not a good Steelers team the Bengals beat. That window started to close last year. Sad.

It’s not sad, it’s a fact of NFL life. The Colts’ window closed. You don’t think the Patriots have the look of a team whose window is closing? It happens to all teams. It’s not if, it’s when and how long? That’s the real issue: How long will it take to recover?

Matt from Roanoke, VA

It’s not a sensitivity thing at all. Aikman was downing the Packers in the 49ers game and in the pregame of the Redskins coverage. My wife, who doesn’t even watch football, noticed it. If you can’t announce the game without having a grudge towards a team, give up your play-by-play job.

Is there a rule against “downing the Packers”? Did you hear the hatchet job Tirico and Gruden put on the Steelers late in the Monday night game? I thought to myself, “Where was that for three hours?” I’m going to make a point of listening to this Sunday’s broadcast. I’ll give you my opinion of its fairness next week.

Erik from Raleigh, NC

Aaron Rodgers is on pace for over 6,400 passing yards this season. Is this where the game is headed?

I don’t think we’ll get there this year, but I believe we’ll see a 6,000-yard passer in the not-too-distant future.

Mike from McKinney, TX

Vic, read the column every day and usually end up laughing out loud at some of your responses. Then my wife just shakes her head. My question is can you please explain the new rule this year concerning running backs lowering their heads?

I really can’t, Mike, and I don’t mean that sarcastically or as a dodge. I honestly don’t know the rules anymore. Any answer I would try to give to your question would result in 500 e-mails that would all begin with, “I thought.” My advice to fans is don’t try to understand the rules too deeply. Just wait for the league and Mike Pereira to tell you what was right and what was wrong.

Dan from Sioux Center, IA

Thirty-thousand people on Facebook disagree with your assessment of Aikman and Buck. It is nauseating to listen to both of them.

I’ll judge for myself this week.


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