Mark from Seattle, WA

Vic, why is it OK for a quarterback to intentionally ground the ball outside the pocket but not inside the pocket?

The rules allow the quarterback to throw the ball away while out of the pocket, provided he does so in a manner that is agreement with the procedure for doing it. The intent of the rule is to protect the quarterback. The theory is that a quarterback that has left the pocket is under duress and is defenseless; therefore, he may surrender to protect himself by throwing the ball out of bounds without penalty. Within the pocket, where the quarterback has protection and is not considered to be defenseless, he must throw in the direction of an eligible receiver or he will be guilty of intentional grounding.

Cory from Cumberland, WI

I completely agree that the Packers’ offensive style is not conducive to high rankings on defense. Our defense hasn't lost any games for us and we are picking off balls left and right. What more could you want?

You’re basically echoing my sentiments through the first half of the season, but now we’re turning into the second half of the season and I think it’s critical that the defense allow fewer yards and third-down conversions. It’s time to tighten down. Why? Because defense becomes more prominent late in the season. Look at the scores of yesterday’s games: 13-12, 17-10, 17-3, 20-9, 22-17, 21-17; only five teams scored 30 or more points. Scoring is beginning to decline. Defense is catching up to offense and that’s a trend that’ll continue as the weather gets colder. We are heading into the season for defense. Allowing 400 yards a game won’t be as easy for the Packers offense to overcome in Nov. and Dec. as it was in Sept. and Oct. It’s time for the Packers defense to elevate its play.

Patrick from Hopkins, MN

How can the officials determine that a quarterback steps out of the pocket if the pocket is essentially gone, like with Tom Brady's pass early in the third quarter of the Pats vs. Jets game?

The pocket is determined by where the offensive tackles set when the ball was snapped. Inside the plane of the tackles is inside the pocket, and outside the plane of the tackles is outside of the pocket.

Ian from Los Angeles, CA

I know you love pound-and-ground football, so you must have loved the way the Broncos beat the Chiefs this week, but can you think of any other time a team has won a game when their quarterback only completed two passes?

Not two, but I am immediately reminded of Bob Griese completing six of seven passes for 73 yards in the Dolphins’ 24-7 win over the Vikings in Super Bowl VIII. We’re talking about a Hall of Fame quarterback. It was a different game back then.

Phil from Lollar, Germany

How does the practice schedule change for a team playing on a Thursday?

For the week of a Thursday game, Monday would probably be a Wednesday, Tuesday would be a Thursday and Wednesday would be a Saturday, which would probably be a Tuesday, along with Sunday. You know what I mean? I’ve done this for 40 years and I still don’t understand it.

Greg from Durham, NC

I enjoy reading your column, but I can't figure out if the comedy is intentional or unintentional. Are you trying to be funny in some of your answers?

Not at all. I’m a very serious person. This is football; it’s very serious.

Johnny from East Palatka, FL

How important is continuity to a team’s success? That is, should a coach who has spent years making a team be replaced because of poor play? After all, he isn't dropping passes, missing tackles, etc. And it seems to me that changing coaches just resets a team back to the beginning.

Look at the franchises that win: Do they hire and fire a lot of coaches? There’s something else you’ll notice about the franchises that win: They don’t have tickets to sell. It’s a huge advantage to have a fan base that guarantees you’ll be sold out. The franchises that have waiting lists for season tickets never have to make a decision based on anything but football. The franchises that have to fire coaches to satisfy angry fans tend to repeat that cycle. All of a sudden, the fans are calling the shots. They hold the team hostage with the unsold ticket. They start calling for a coach’s head after he’s lost a couple of games. Every time you fire a coach you change nearly everything about your franchise. You commit your franchise to big contract pay-offs, in addition to assuming new contracts for the new coaching staff. There’s more: You also send out into the league a whole staff of coaches armed with information about your players and your procedures. Continuity, in my opinion, is the biggest part of a franchise’s success.

Drew from Jacksonville, FL

I've been a long-time reader since the inception of “Ask Vic.” I'm sure you've gotten a lot of questions on this but, in your opinion, how well is Aaron Rodgers playing right now?

He’s playing at a level previously reserved for Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Doug from Raleigh, NC

What are your thoughts on the Packers running game? I've heard so much negativity surrounding our defense but personally I've been much more concerned with the lack of production from our starting running backs.

The running game is doing exactly what it is being asked to do: Keep the defense honest. The Packers are a pass-first team. The job of the Packers running game is to pose enough of a threat to make defenses play run and not load up against the pass.

Adam from Green Bay, WI

Who do you think gives the Packers the biggest run for the money in our division? I thought easily the Lions, but if the Bears actually block for Cutler, they could be dangerous.

If you watched yesterday’s game, you might’ve drawn a circle around the Christmas night game, too. The Bears are back, baby.

Jacob from Long Beach, CA

The only team that can stop the Packers are the Packers. True or False?

False; there are a lot of good teams in this league and the Packers’ second-half schedule is full of them. Your question suggests a kind of smugness I greatly discourage. This season is just beginning.

Steve from Evansville, IN

My question just might be the most important question you've ever fielded in your career. How come the players have someone else squirt the water bottle for them?

There are people whose job it is to squirt the water bottle. They might even have a union. Plus, what self-respecting professional football player would be seen squirting his own bottle?

Jesse from Duluth, MN

Who do you think is going to win, the Packers or Vikings?

I think tonight’s game plays right into the Packers’ wheelhouse, Jesse: outdoors against a dome team, in front of a rabid crowd energized by Monday Night Football. The Packers are kind of healthy, too. I respect and admire Adrian Peterson’s ability. He can beat the Packers, but I think the Packers know that and will be determined not to let that happen. I don’t have a score in mind, but I think the Packers will win.

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