Mike from Cullowhee, NC

No bye week for reporters, huh?

Not for “Ask Vic.”

Andrew from West Allis, WI

I know we lost by a big margin to the Saints this week, but I saw a Packers offense doing some great work. A couple of mistakes here and there and an unfortunate injury to Aaron Rodgers made it a loss, but overall I’m not ready to fire everyone. I’m excited for the second half of the season.

Once you step back from that loss on Sunday night, the only real concern is the Packers fell a game behind the Lions. Be that as it may, the rematch between those two teams is in Green Bay, which has been poisoned soil for the Lions. I think you’ve got the right perspective.

Owen from Portland, OR

What can Denver do better? I’m sure they have some weaknesses, but I’m not sure what they are.

They fixed their defense. I give them credit for having done that. But as bad as last year’s defense was, I don’t think it was to blame for the loss in the Super Bowl. The Broncos’ calling card, offense, is what cost them the game against the Seahawks. The Broncos’ offense was dominated by the Seahawks’ defense, which I believe is the major reason for these major points of emphasis.

Jerry from Huntington Beach, CA

Has anyone commented about the third-and-inches that turned into a stop? That was a great defensive stand. Who knows where the game would have gone if we would’ve turned that into seven points.

I’ll comment on it: How does the league’s No. 32 run defense stone the Saints on consecutive short-yardage plays? Or maybe the question should be how does a defense that stoned the Saints on consecutive short-yardage plays give up 193 yards rushing? There’s a disconnect there I can’t explain.

Alex from Antigo, WI

Obviously, the defense must improve, however, to put things in perspective, the team has played five of eight on the road, two of them against division rivals, two in the loudest and most hostile environments in the league, and one in a hot climate. With that said, the team is 5-3 at the midpoint and the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, with five home games remaining, could this perhaps be an encouraging sign for a strong second-half run and the team playing good December football?

The answer to your question is yes. Here’s my perspective on the first half of the season: The only game I can’t explain is the loss in Detroit. I didn’t think the Packers defense could do what it did to the Lions offense, and similarly I didn’t think the Lions defense could do what it did to the Packers offense. Every other game is explainable. The Seahawks and Saints are tough to beat on the road. On the plus side, I think the Packers might’ve stolen one on that hot day in Miami. I don’t see 5-3 as reason for disappointment.

Ryan from Salem, NY

What will it take for the Packers to step up on defense?

Stop the run. Just stop the run. It’s supposed to be the most fundamental aspect of playing sound defense, but it continues to dog this team.

Randy from Trophy Club, TX

I don’t buy your answer that everybody is doing the best they can. They’ve made one-on-one tackles before. They’ve covered wide receivers before and they’ve made blocks before. They may be trying but they’re not playing their best. Jimmy Johnson used to cut someone every year that had a bad game to get players attention and it worked, even on the most talented team in football. I say someone needs to be cut!

Ah, yes, a human sacrifice. Nothing beats a bye-week human sacrifice to soothe the savage beast in all of us.

Dan from Madison, WI

Somehow, the Lions are pulling off victories without two of their better players in Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson. Once they get healthy and the second half of the season comes, look out. I think we have to be somewhat worried.

Don’t worry. Worry is a waste of time and it just makes you feel bad. Be respectful. I think it’s a better way of worrying, if you know what I mean. I said it back in the spring and summer. Keep your eye on the Lions. I don’t know how anybody could look at that roster and dismiss them. They just needed someone to tame them, and Jim Caldwell has. Yeah, the Lions are going to be tough to overtake.

Maximillian from Sydney, Australia

Do you think the bye has come at the right time for the Packers? Do you think after a loss like that against the Saints the players and coaching staff would be relishing the bye or would you say they would rather be playing this weekend?

The bye couldn’t have come at a better time. The quarterback is nursing an injury.

Jon from Holdrege, NE

Are you a fan of the DH rule or do you prefer to see the pitchers bat? I think it’s more interesting without it. It offers more of a chance for strategy.

It ruined the record book. Taking the bat out of the pitcher’s hands changed the game in the American League. I think it’s a terrible rule, and it’s utterly ridiculous that two leagues within the same game are playing with different rules.

Austin from Fremont, CA

Vic, what do you think about trading a draft pick or two to Oakland for Justin Tuck? Isn’t that a good deal, or is it just me?

Most teams that trade at midseason regret the decision. If the player for whom you’ve traded a pick or two isn’t the difference maker you expected him to be, then it becomes a double hit the following spring when you don’t have that pick or two to select the difference maker you didn’t find.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, what will most of the Packers’ players do during the bye week?

Go home.

Mike from Green Bay, WI

Do you think the use of gimmick plays tells the team their coach is bold and pulling out all the stops to win, or does it tell them they aren’t good enough to win straight up?

They’re whipped-cream plays. A little now and then is fine, but they’ll make you fat if you eat too much. The key is using them in moderation so your players don’t begin to rely on them to save the day. The Julius Peppers play might not be used again this season, but every team the Packers play in what remains of this season will have to spend some time to prepare for it. That’s the real value of gimmick plays.

Mike from Eau Claire, WI

I think it’s clear the Packers have three positions they need to draft/sign for next year: nose tackle, inside linebacker and still tight end. Do you agree and who do you think the Packers should be looking at?

I haven’t taken a look at next year’s draft crop and I won’t until this season is over or I go to the Senior Bowl. Yeah, I can see the Packers drafting for defensive linemen and linebackers. They obviously still have need up front on defense, and those are positions that always have to be fortified. Mike McCarthy wants to feature the tight end position, so he wouldn’t be opposed to adding to that group, but I think Richard Rodgers offers star potential. I think the Packers have something in Rodgers.

Tim from Staples, MN

Is there ever a situation that warrants a midseason trade?

There’s always an exception to the rule. I would’ve never signed to an expensive free-agent contract a quarterback that was coming off shoulder surgery that forbid me to work him out before I signed him, but the Saints did and he beat the Packers on Sunday night. Exceptions happen, but try that 10 times and tell me how it works for you. Tim, your question reeks of desperation. I don’t think the Packers are a desperate team.

Jere from Lac du Flambeau, WI

I kept hearing a loud siren sound when we had the ball. Is that legal?

I’m still hearing a loud siren. Is that legal?


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