Bill from Manitowoc, WI

Vic, I’m wondering if I have been banned? I used to get several replies to my comments and now I get none. Or is it because I have gotten that boring?

You have not been banned.

Clay from Franklin, VA

I’d just like to encourage you to keep bringing up the punter getting his face stepped on. I laugh every time I think about it.

Maybe they can make a special helmet for him. It could come with a wire brush attached to the facemask so the punt returner can clean his spikes.

Marv from Marquette, MI

Los Angeles doesn’t have a football team because no one went to the games and they were blacked out. The more they were blacked out, the less fans supported the team. If they can still black out games, why should a team move to L.A. and why should the fans accept them? If they can’t see them on TV, they will have less enthusiasm for the team.

Your deductive reasoning fails to include the real reason L.A. doesn’t have a football team: It doesn’t have a stadium worthy of a football team. The Rams and Raiders played in the Coliseum, which was way too big to satisfy the critical balance between supply and demand. In the Raiders’ Super Bowl title season of 1983, they twice had crowds in excess of 92,000 for big games, but they also had crowds in the 40s for games that weren’t as attractive. That’s the result of having a stadium so big fans can pick and choose the games they want to attend, as opposed to having to buy a season ticket for all games to insure they’ll be able to see the games they want to see. L.A. gets a bad rap. I want to see what that market does when it has an NFL-caliber stadium with a seating capacity that promotes season ticket sales instead of walk-up sales.

Bob from Managua, Nicaragua

Vic, you answered a question about Coach Coughlin by saying teams lose because they lack talent. But often times you hear from insiders a coach has lost the locker room. Have you covered a team where that’s happened?

I was absolutely sure Tom Coughlin had lost the locker room in 1996 when he cut Andre Rison the day after a loss in Pittsburgh that left the Jaguars 4-7. When I walked into the locker room that day, it was clearly divided into pro-Rison and anti-Rison factions. There was a scary kind of tension in that locker room that day. I remember thinking to myself they won’t win another game and Coughlin might be fired. Instead, they won the next seven games and came a play or two away in the AFC title game from going to the Super Bowl. Lose the locker room? Players play for the tape. The tape is their career.

Alan from Woodland Hills, CA

I just read Seattle has the NFL’s lightest team in terms of weight. So much for the rationale for the Packers defensive front being pushed around because they weigh less than last year’s underachievers. Players, not weight.

Hey, the Seattle Seahawks didn’t invent the game. We’re perseverating. We need to move on.

Kelly from Minden, NV

In the 3-4 defense, if you rush two LBs and two are in coverage, it seems like the middle five yards open up and that area is consistently exploited. Seattle ran and passed there a lot. Does the 4-3 help that or is it still about players?

THEY PLAYED THE 4-3. IT DIDN’T WORK. Kelly, if you play this, they’ll attack that. If you play that, they’ll attack this. Players stop this and that.

Jim from Livona, MI

Did Seattle have more imaginative play calling than the Packers?

Early in the game, I liked the Packers’ play calling, but after the Seahawks established the run and were able to mix in their play-action game, their play calling was more imaginative than the Packers’, largely because the Packers fell behind and were forced to throw more often than they would’ve liked. At that point, the Packers lost their ability to sell play action. What happens when you stop the Seahawks’ running game, get a lead on them and force them to abandon the run and resort to the pass? I have a feeling that’s the formula for beating the Seahawks, but it’s awfully difficult to execute because the Seahawks are awfully good at denying it. That game wasn’t about play calling. It was about imposing your will. We really need to move on. This is becoming unhealthy.

Dallas from Ames, IA

Vic, I’m going to the game on Sunday. What should I try to watch for from the stands, opposed to watching the game on TV?

Here’s something I do that often times I can’t do when I watch a game on TV because the picture is too tight to the ball. I watch the linemen as a group during a running play. If the offensive linemen are standing around without being engaged with a defender as the ball carrier is being tackled, then the defenders got off blocks, which means they won. If the offensive linemen are still largely engaged with defenders as the ball carrier is running, or even as he’s being tackled, then the defenders didn’t get off blocks, which means the offensive linemen are finishing their blocks and that’s a win for the offense. It’s impossible to achieve detailed evaluation as the play is unfolding, and I don’t have time to go back over every play as I’m covering a game, so I look for broad indicators of what’s happening up front. That one has always worked for me.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

I forgot to mention that I spoke the words, “Well, the baloney stops now” on the kickoff on Thursday, except I did say baloney because I was with my young son. Thanks for welcoming me into your fraternity.

Next year, your son might say to you, “Well, dad, the baloney stops now,” except he might not say baloney.

Javier from San Juan, PR

I started watching and cheering for the Packers in 1994. I have been twice at Lambeau for games, been to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, and even went to MetLife to watch the Packers lose badly to the Giants in 2012. I am a happy guy who enjoys my beautiful family and practices a lot of outdoor sports-activities. I agree with you regarding enjoying the game for what it is. Still, it takes me until midweek to resurface from the sadness produced by a Packers loss. I won’t even watch TV for about 3-4 days. Does this have a reasonable explanation?

Yeah, you’ve lost perspective. Here’s something I got from Joe Greene a long time ago. “Happiness isn’t a constant. When you have it, enjoy it. When you don’t have it, wait for it to return.” Joe was struggling with perspective and he got that stuff from a book he bought at the mall; that’s what he told me. Hey, why ruin your week? Force yourself to let it go. Find something else to occupy your thoughts. The next game will come along soon enough, the Packers will win and you’ll be happy again.

Harry from Houston, TX

I was trying to find support for my argument Wilson’s low contract allowed Seattle to spend more on defense, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Information I’m seeing says the Seahawks spent $57.2 million of their cap on defense, compared to $68.1 for the Packers. In fact, it looks like the Packers spent more on defense than any other team in the league. The Jets are last with an astonishing $37.5 million of cap devoted to defense. I sure hope we beat them.

If those figures are cap hits instead of averages over the life of the contracts, they could be greatly misleading. Before you can use those kinds of figures as indicators of whatever it is you’re trying to prove, you have to know how much money was pushed out. The Packers aren’t a push-it-out team. I think we’ve gone beyond perseverating. This could qualify as stalking.

Mike from Kamloops, BC

I believe a fan asked you this summer if it was crazy to move Mathews inside and your response was yes. Matthews lined up inside in Seattle. Is Dom Capers crazy or desperate?

I think my response was that other than for a play or two to disguise a blitz or coverage, or to create an unscouted look, you don’t move Clay Matthews to inside linebacker because you don’t use or pay premier pass rushers to stuff the run. It was just one game. Let it go.

John from Helena, MT

Vic, I love my Packers, but I just can’t support a league that supports a guy who tries to cover for a monster like Ray Rice. If Goodell is still employed on Sunday, I won’t watch the game. The Packers are a publicly owned non-profit. The public is outraged. Mark Murphy should take the lead in calling for Goodell’s firing.

Why jump to conclusions? Let the next shoe drop. This isn’t going away. The media is on this now and it won’t get off it until all of the facts are out.

Steve from Traverse City, MI

You say you are a December guy for football. That is great but your team needs to win in the months of September, October and November to make December football mean anything, otherwise there is no drama.

Really? How many games did the Packers win last November? I’ll meet you halfway: You have to win enough games in the first three months of the season to give yourself an opportunity to get hot in December and carry it into the postseason. The first three months are for stats and building leads. What good are either if you don’t get hot when it counts?

Adam from Wausau, WI

Do you think it’s better for Clay Matthews to be used in more of a traditional linebacker role against better running teams? Seems kind of silly to put our best run defender on a specific side where teams can try to avoid him.

If you want to involve him more in stopping the run, and I’m all for it, then he should play left outside linebacker because most teams like to run right. That’s where Coach Capers had positioned Matthews early in his career, but then everybody wanted Matthews moved to the right side so he could be a blind side pass rusher. So, let’s see, move him to right outside, inside and left outside. I guess all Coach Capers needs to do is find out what play the offense is going to run.

Mike from Midway, UT

Vic, I feel strongly an elite QB is only as good as his offensive line. In his early years, Rodgers was fearless and he could pass or run out of any bad situation, but after a concussion and collarbone break, he seems antsy and scared anytime a defender gets near. Shouldn’t the Packers go find a veteran (tackle) to fill in to keep Aaron safe?

Wait, I’ll go out back and shake the quality veteran offensive tackle tree. Mike, I don’t agree with your evaluation of Rodgers. He’s the same quarterback I’ve covered for three-plus years, it’s just that he ran up against a defense last Thursday that has held two of the best quarterbacks in football history to 24 points combined in the last two games. Again, I think we’re guilty of making broad judgments based on one game against an opponent that is in no way representative of the competition the Packers will regularly face.

Jimmy from Great Yarmouth, UK

I’m not sure lifting the blackout is a bad thing; it might mean ticket prices become more affordable to the working class fan, raising the attendances. You can’t get that atmosphere and sound of hits at home, can you?

Yeah, you can, and that’s the problem. Repealing the blackout rule could lower ticket prices in small markets where tickets are available. I immediately think of the Jaguars, but check out their ticket prices. They’re already at rock bottom. How is lowering them even more going to help grow their revenue? In markets where teams have a waiting list for tickets, nothing’s going to change. So we’re talking about the possibility of the rich staying rich and the poor getting poorer, and that’s not good for competitive balance. I think it could put some small-market franchises in difficulty. I have a feeling eliminating the blackout policy will result in a lot of small-market franchises lowering ticket prices and still having tickets to sell, maybe even more than they have to sell now, and that would be a crushing blow to those franchises.

Steven from Masar e Sharif, Afghanistan

You probably get this every year, but where were you when 9/11/2001 happened?

I was in the Jaguars TV studio taping an interview with Wayne Weaver about the previous day’s game. A TV was on in the room and I noticed a concerned look on Wayne’s face as I was asking him a question. He was looking at the TV, which was showing the attack on the World Trade Center. I remember turning and seeing a picture of smoke pouring out of the top of the first tower.

Dan from Wichita, KS

I saw Steve Young on ESPN today. He said he won’t judge a team by what it does until later in the season because of the new preseason September has turned into. Looks like Steve reads your column.

It’s obvious. Here’s what I would say to the commissioner or anybody else in the league office that would care to listen: We now have a two-month preseason. Do something, please.

Chase from Sunnyvale, CA

I used to not like Rex Ryan very much, but I definitely enjoyed his humor this week.

You know what I liked? I liked that he had the guts to say what he believes to be true. We all knew Calvin Pryor was regarded to be the big hitter among the safety crop. Ryan wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know, but coaches aren’t supposed to say it, right? Baloney! Say what you believe to be true. Tell me the truth. Please, I beg, tell me the truth.


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