Matt from Binghamton, NY

Vic, Stephan A. Smith criticized Ted Thompson this morning for not having a good enough backup quarterback in case Aaron Rodgers got injured. He also criticized the Packers organization for having the team too linked to Aaron Rodgers in everything they do. So what is your opinion?

A year ago, I might’ve agreed on the second part; that’s why I beat the drum so hard for a power running game. Now they have that power running game, so I can’t fault the Packers for being one-dimensional because they’re not one-dimensional. As for the backup quarterback, do you realize we’re beyond the backup quarterback? We’re down to the No. 3 guy. Tell me, how many teams in the league can win with their No. 3 guy? Hey, as Chuck Noll would say, when you lose, everything you say and do is wrong. There’s no defense. All you can do is take it. You have to have very thick skin to tough it out in this league. The smart ones understand that all of that criticism helps drives the game’s popularity, which pays their salary. It’s a scoreboard business. Just win, baby.

Tim from Portage, WI

How much of the Giants’ fourth-and-short attempts were attributed to a Rodgersless offense?

The fear factor isn’t the same. If Aaron Rodgers is in the game, you know he’s gonna make you pay if you don’t get the first down. So, do you feel lucky?

Lonny from Aberdeen, SD

Vic, has McCarthy lost confidence in the defense? Why else would he call the fake punt?

He was trying to make a play. He has an offense that’s struggling to score points. The field position was perfect for it. I felt it coming. I don’t think fourth-and-seven is too long. I think fourth-and-26 is too long, but not fourth-and-seven. Fourth-and-26 is one of the two worst calls I’ve ever seen, but one scored a touchdown and the other one won a Super Bowl. Players, not plays.

Derek from Woodbury, MN

Vic, reading your column every day has had an effect on my brain. On Sunday my wife complained the Steelers throwbacks are ugly. I responded, “They are only ugly if you are losing. If you are kicking butt wearing those uniforms, they look awesome.”

It’s not the uniform, it’s what the uniform is doing. When it’s doing nothing, it looks stupid. When it’s kickin’ butt, it looks very, very cool. It becomes stylish. It becomes that thing only a good team would have the nerve to wear. The Lions scored 27 points in the second quarter of that game, and the Steelers looked like escaped convicts. In the second half, the Lions scored no points and Matt Stafford threw for 35 yards, and the Steelers looked like runway models. By the way, I have to believe that second-half collapse is going to weigh heavy on the Lions this week.

Travis from Chicago, IL

Vic, do you think there’s a shot that anyone from the NFC North will grab a wild card?

I’m not familiar with the Lions’ and Bears’ tiebreakers, but I think it’s about winning the division for the Packers because they’ve lost too many NFC games. Look at it this way: It might take winning out for the Packers to win a wild-card berth, because the tiebreakers are bad, and winning out will win the North.

Pat from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Why do defensive backs and safeties get away with failing to tackle while the coach will sit an offensive player for a fumble?

Because everybody misses tackles but not everybody fumbles. I’m being serious. Missed tackles is what modern football players do. I saw something on Sunday I’ll never forget. A Giants defensive back sniffed out a play and flew up to make a tackle for a loss, except he missed the tackle. When he saw a teammate made the tackle, the guy who missed the tackle sprinted 10 yards into the clear to do a Gene Kelly-like dance. I looked at Mark Murphy at the same time he was turning to look at me. I couldn’t suppress my laughter. Hey, you missed the tackle. Why are you celebrating? It’s gotten to the point that tackling is beneath some of these guys. They won’t leave their feet to drag a guy down. If they can’t “sting” him to the ground, then somebody else is gonna have to do it.

Matt from Little Chute, WI

I understand Dom Capers’ scheme, but I wish we would press a little more on our coverage units. You can tell me all you want about how much bigger/faster/stronger their WRs are than our DBs, but all that tells me is you’re scared. Attack mentality is something we could use in our secondary. What say you?

I say discretion is often the better part of valor. I don’t know to what degree the Packers used or didn’t use press coverage on Sunday, but I know press coverage is risky and I saw enough of Victor Cruz to know that less risk was better than more risk.

Wayne from Janesville, WI

Vic, I think what really killed our chances Sunday was conservative play calling. I know balanced football is important, but I think we would have fared better if we set up the run with the pass, not the other way around. It was clear the Giants’ front seven had our number early on, but maybe we could get them on their heels if we picked on their corners and safeties more. Even after Sunday, I may be alone in saying, I still believe in Tolzien. Your thoughts?

I saw the Giants playing some cover two, and that’s not a run defense. I saw some holes in that line, too. I don’t think Eddie Lacy had his best day. I’m not the kind of guy that gives an attack game plan to a quarterback making his first start. I thought the Packers should’ve gotten more out of their running game. Play-calling people have a low expectation for the running game. They see it as a necessary evil. I have lofty expectations for the running game. I was disappointed.

 

Have a question for VIC?