Brian from Pleasant Prairie, WI

“There is no magic play, there’s no magic scheme,” Brady said. “It is us as players playing better – a lot better than we’re playing.” Looks like Brady just doesn’t understand that with the right scheme, it doesn’t matter how well they play, right?

I was covering the Jaguars when they played a playoff game in New England in the 2007 season, which was the season the Patriots were undefeated going into the Super Bowl. I remember this playoff game most fondly as the “Asterisk Game,” but I also remember Mike Smith put together a game plan that denied Randy Moss the big play and forced the Patriots to throw underneath the coverage in long, sustained drives. Tom Brady completed 26 of 28 passes, and in the bus on the way to the airport after the game, Coach Smith regretted his soft strategy but said if he had been more aggressive, Brady would’ve thrown the ball over the top for big plays and long touchdowns. I immediately was reminded of something Chuck Noll was fond of saying: How do you want to die? The bottom line is, when the other team has better players, you’re probably gonna die.

Brian from Green Bay, WI

At what point do the Packers start to think about Rodgers’ replacement?

You draft his replacement when the expiration of the replacement’s contract won’t make him somebody else’s quarterback. In other words, you wait until you get inside the current quarterback’s final 2-3 years. Those things have to be planned. You don’t want your quarterback of the future to hit free agency or have to re-up him without knowing for sure he’s “The Man.” That’s why it’s almost a given you’re going to have some down years. There has to be a transition, even if your next guy turns out to be “The Man.” The quick transition the Packers experienced from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers is not the norm.

Dick from Saint Cloud, MN

In response to Matt from Cupar, Scotland, how about Tom Matte, 1965?

Matte would be the definitive emergency quarterback. He invented the wrist-band playbook in that playoff game in which Don Chandler missed, I mean made that field goal.

Jay from Janesville, WI

The weather forecast calls for rain on Thursday night. Will this force the Packers to try and get the running game on track, or will they keep with what worked against the Bears by having Rodgers sling it 28 times?

Rain shouldn’t be an obstacle in the passing game. Wind is bad for passing the ball – that’s when you want to run it – but I don’t see wind in the forecast for Thursday night.

John from Chicago, IL

I read that an offensive line full of former college left tackles lends itself to a zone-blocking scheme. Why is that?

It’s because left tackles are pass blockers, and that means they have to be light-on-their-feet guys, which means they have the movement skills to move laterally out in front of the ball on a stretch play, which is the definitive zone-blocking play. If you run a drive-blocking scheme, you want big, powerful road-graders. All of a sudden, right tackles are attractive. Some would say a road-grading scheme deepens the pool of linemen from which you draft, but zone blocking deepens the pool of running backs from which you can choose.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Vic, baseball was the first sport I really fell in love with. One of the main reasons I no longer follow it is because of all the champagne celebrations: clinch a playoff spot party, clinch the division party, win a one-game playoff party. When you watch NFL, NBA and NHL playoffs, there is no such partying until you are world champs. Does it bother you? I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for the great column.

The goggles are driving me nuts. Are you kidding me? Goggles to celebrate? Oh, my, don’t get that bubbly stuff in my eyes. It’ll sting. They look like clowns. The 1960 Pirates were the first love of my life. They clinched the National League pennant in Milwaukee and in the celebration that followed, Cy Young Award winner Vernon Law injured his ankle – I think Gino Cimoli stepped on it. Law pitched in the World Series, but the ankle injury forced him to change his delivery and that caused him to injure his arm and he never recovered from it. He was never the same again.

Ben from Hudson, WI

Pay-per-view NFL would be interesting. I think they’d simply see viewership fall off for casual fans. I would be willing to subscribe to all of the Packers games, but why would I care to pay for any other game? Overall, I’d bet it’s a bad idea for the game.

You think, huh? I think the money would flow like water. Enjoy the ruling, everybody.

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