Nick from Anchorage, AK

Vic, we just love reading your column up here in the real frozen tundra. Do you expect Datone Jones to become the dominant force everyone seems to have thought he’d be? Will he see more snaps this week?

I would expect his playing time to increase as he becomes more comfortable with his craft as a professional football player, and I have no doubt he’ll be a good player for this team for a long time. Dominant? That’s not something you expect, it’s something for which you hope.

Evan from Oshkosh, WI

Could McCarthy have deferred the kickoff to make the Redskins start off with the new south end zone at their backs, to test how the new noise affects visiting teams?

The likely scenario for that to have occurred would’ve been: Packers defer choice, Redskins elect to receive, Packers elect to defend north goal.

Preston from Appleton, WI

Vic, do you miss the days when football wasn’t so overanalyzed? In a way, all that matters to me is that we make the playoffs and, hopefully, run the table.

I like moderate forms of analysis, so that I might get a fuller understanding of what happened, but too much analysis can dull my appreciation of the event. I like to read a story that’s been framed by the writer, as opposed to a mere transcription of press conferences and play-by-play results. I enjoy analysis of the event, especially as it pertains to the big picture. Every game has a specific feel to it. I gravitate toward those media people that can capture that feel.

Lynn from Diamond Bar, CA

I drew an analogy between your comment on the Steelers and pulling the plug and the classic quote by Branch Rickey: It’s better to trade a player a year early than a year too late.

My former radio partner in Jacksonville always accused me of being a year early with my predictions, and I don’t doubt that he’s right because I have a tendency to want to pull the plug at the first sign of decline, or get high on a team at the first sign of ascent. I’m very sensitive to the arrow’s direction. By the way, my all-time favorite Branch Rickey quote is from when Ralph Kiner was holding out for a big contract. “I finished last with you, I can finish last without you,” Rickey said.

Ryan from St. Louis, MO

Are we going to see a lot of no-huddle offense early and, with a lead, run it down your throat, or will we see the balance on offense throughout the game?

It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Packers open up in no-huddle and try to force the Bengals out of their patient personality by getting a two-score lead. The Packers are built for that kind of game. Running it down the Bengals’ throat is not something most teams have been able to do. I’m not expecting a big rushing total from the Packers in this game. I do think, however, that they’ll be able to throw it.

Ian from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, any memories of Lou Groza?

I was just a kid when I saw him play at Pitt Stadium. I will never forget how high his kickoffs sailed. The ball seemed to float in the air for an eternity, before dropping softly into the returner’s hands at the goal line. Every kickoff looked the same. He made kicking the ball look so easy. He had that kind of easy power great golfers have.

J.T. from Milton, WI

Vic, why is it that some teams seem to be in a perpetual state of rebuilding?

Because they lack commitment. They’re not committed to a particular philosophy, therefore, they’re not committed to the coach and/or general manager they hire. They’re constantly hiring the coach or general manager who favors the latest leaguewide trend. Good franchises are stubborn. They’re going to do it their way, they find the people they believe can do it that way, and they stick with them.

 

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