Paul from De Pere, WI

Will the success of this defense hinge on creating turnovers?

Turnovers are unpredictable. I don’t think you can rely on them. That’s why I think a defense that creates turnovers is more of a result than a plan; it largely depends on the offense committing turnovers. I think it’s more important to plan to deny yardage because I think denying yardage is something you can execute without the offense’s help. Whatever it takes, I guess, but the 2011 defense was very good at creating turnovers and very bad at denying yardage, and how did that turn out? In my opinion, the success of the Packers defense hinges on denying rushing yardage.

Brian from Albertville, AL

I hope you don’t go to the Senior Bowl.

Because that would mean the Packers are in the NFC title game. I always tell Tony Pauline that I look forward to not seeing him at the Senior Bowl this year.

Erik from Naperville, IL

The best way for the Packers to improve tackling is probably to get better tacklers. I think Ha Ha is a move in that direction. Am I oversimplifying?

Not at all.

James from LaPorte, CO

If football is entertainment, are football players entertainers?

That’s a question for great debate. In my opinion, football players are first and foremost athletes and must be regarded and treated as such. If they also possess the qualities of an entertainer, the part of the game that relies on entertainment benefits and those players’ value to the game increases. The key is for those players and for all of us to know where the line is that separates athlete from entertainer. Football is a game of entertainment played by athletes. That’s the line. Greg Lloyd wore a T-shirt that said, “I’m not paid for my pleasant disposition.” In other words, if all a guy can do is play football, that’s good enough for me.

John from Ashburn, VA

Vic, I have good news: The Lions are still the Lions. It’s said the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but I’m pretty sure we can tack on the Lions blowing it down the stretch. If the Packers hold up their end of the bargain, I’m sure the Lions will do the same.

I think that opinion of the Lions is dangerously arrogant. Chuck Noll said “losing has nothing to do with geography.” He then went on to win more Super Bowls than any coach in history, in a place that had only ever lost.

L.D. from Little Egg Harbor, NJ

Vic, in what way has baseball become a niche sport?

It has failed to attract the casual fan to its TV ratings. The casual fan decides the reach of a sport. Hockey has the same problem as baseball.

Ronald from Columbia, SC

It’s easy to always talk about stopping the run, but when is Dom Capers going to design a defense to actually do it?

At this level, maybe at any level, design has absolutely nothing to do with the success or failure of a run defense. That’s how basic run-defense design is. You can play in the gap or on the nose; that’s about it. Whether you’re a gap-control or two-gapping team, every gap has a man assigned to it in every run-defense scheme. Do it! Execute the scheme. There’s nothing more to say or analyze. One team’s run-defense scheme is another team’s run-defense scheme. You can bring extra defenders up to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, but I think you know the danger that creates.

Greg from Westerville, OH

Vic, having grown up in the era, I share your enthusiasm for Johnny Unitas. At least as impressive is who I consider to be the greatest end of all time, Raymond Berry. Berry had 631 receptions and 9,275 receiving yards, both records for his era. He was famous for his precise route-running and sure hands. In 13 years, he was credited with only a single fumble and two dropped passes. In the 1958 NFL Championship Game, Berry caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a TD, and helped keep the final drive alive with key receptions. He was head and shoulders above every end of his era.

He was a 20th-round pick. Gotta get the big guys early; you can get wide receivers late.

Shalom from Austin, TX

We need bigger guys up front to stop the run. We need faster guys up front to stop the read option. What’s a coach supposed to do when the team can run and do the read option?

Get bigger, faster guys.

Mark from Dalton, GA

Out of curiosity, do you not do “Video Ask Vic” during the season because you do “Ask Vic Extra”? I miss seeing those videos.

“Ask Vic Extra” goes away at the end of the season. “Video Ask Vic” is an offseason feature.

Matt from Marshall, MI

Vic, I feel as though the organization needs to do what is necessary to field a good defense now. This is a once-in-a-lifetime gift, Rodgers. To not do what is necessary now seems arrogant. Yes, the Packers may be one of the best draft-and-develop teams in the league, but windows in this league are clearly small. You can’t prevent injuries, which we’ve had a lot of, but the fact that our defense has been gashed for years now is disheartening. I’m not lost in perspective when I say Capers has had plenty of time now to make it right. With a top 10 defense, one word comes to mind, dynasty.

So given the advantage of retrospect, what should the Packers have done, sign Jairus Byrd? That’s what the fans wanted to do last winter. Who could the Packers have acquired in free agency, other than Julius Peppers, that would’ve been a difference maker on defense? Go ahead, break the bank; I won’t even mention the future of the salary cap. As far as this notion that changing the man that designs the schemes would change the outcome, I won’t buy it. I’m not a football genius, but I’ve covered this game long enough to know what the truth is.

Tim from Normal, IL

Vic, what is worse, the ubiquitous artificial noise at every event or the overly loud and talkative PA announcers?

Normally, I’m in a glass-enclosed press box that is largely sound-proof to the noise outside the glass, so I don’t hear the stadium PA announcer, I hear a press box PA announcer. Sunday night, I was in an open-air dome press box, so I heard everything the fans heard, including the stadium PA announcer, who was as annoying as the siren.

Jeff from Elm Grove, WI

What specifically have you seen from Richard Rodgers that suggests he has star potential?

He can block and catch. That’s becoming a rare combination in tight ends. It means he can be an inline blocker and a deep-seam receiver. That’s a special combination and I think he’s going to become a bigger player in this offense in the second half of the season.

Dave from Savage, MN

I love the WYMM segments. I doubt the network pregame shows have anything as inside as this. Do you and Mike come up with the theme and the content on your own, or does the team give you some input, some guidance? Impressive stuff.

Mike is the sole creator of the feature. I think it’s a distinguished work.

John from Sykeston, ND

Vic, I, too, said during the winter that the Lions are going to be a team to be reckoned with. If we had some of their defensive linemen, one can only imagine how good our team could be.

Where did they get those defensive linemen? Ndamukong Suh was the second pick of his draft, Ziggy Ansah was the fifth pick of his draft and Nick Fairley was the 13th pick of his draft. It’s been a long time since the Packers drafted that high. The Lions started doing something right after years and years of having wide receiver fever: They got the big guys early. That’s why they’re winning.

Jim from Fond du Lac, WI

Thoughts on the Steelers retiring Joe Greene’s number? He was one of the all-time greats and I’m jealous you got paid to talk to him.

The Steelers had only ever retired one number previously; it belonged to Ernie Stautner, and that was a decision that was largely made by Dan Rooney’s father, founder Art Rooney. Dan’s never been big on retiring numbers because he’s always believed it can become a contagion. Where do you draw the line? Plus, the Steelers have just never been real interested in these kinds of things. Joe Greene, however, had to be treated differently. His number had to be retired because he re-founded the franchise. I’ll be interested to see what happens as a result of Joe’s number being retired. The Steelers might have to go to a ring of honor. That would be more shocking than the throwback uniforms they wear.


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