Mike from West Bend, WI

Veterans know an entire offseason and training camp come down to going 1-1 because the stats of teams that go 0-2 are horrible. What’s your experience with this?

Once upon a time it was futile to be a sixth-seeded playoff team, but then the ice was broken and look what’s happened since then for wild-card playoff teams. I know the Cowboys started 0-2 in 1993 and went on to win the Super Bowl, which proves that great teams can overcome the curse of 0-2. I covered a Steelers team that started 1-4 and lost its quarterback in that fourth loss. With a rookie at quarterback for the next seven games, it went on a run to the AFC title game that included five shutouts. In the Packers’ case, a 0-2 start would be potentially devastating because they’d then have to go to Cincinnati, which would be followed by a bye week, and I don’t think anybody would like the sound of that.

Susie from Two Rivers, WI

I love the respect. Do you feel it? I just read something Pierre Garcon and other players said about playing at Lambeau. They have to stay focused. FedEx Field is louder but you can tell the respect is there. London Fletcher said Lambeau is one of the best atmospheres in football. Rookies will be impressed. I think our fans need to appreciate the respect teams have for the Packers and Lambeau Field.

That’s nice, but the Redskins aren’t coming to Green Bay this weekend to praise Caesar.

Dave from Kaukauna, WI

Vic, I heard Herm Edwards say the other day that if you have an offense that’s strictly pass first, and your defense practices against that every week, it can make the defense soft. Do you see any validity in this?

That’s nothing new; that’s age old. Don Coryell is the architect of “Air Coryell,” but he knew one-dimensional football results in an incomplete team, so he acquired Chuck Muncie to provide a power running game. Bill Walsh is famous for the “West Coast Offense,” arguably the most creative finesse passing offense in the game’s history, but he knew his team needed a running game for the 49ers to become a great team, so he drafted Roger Craig and gave Joe Montana a power running game, and that’s when the 49ers became a great team on both sides of the ball. What was the knock on the Dolphins during the Dan Marino years? No running game. Was it any coincidence that they struggled on defense, especially against power teams? Mike McCarthy gets it. He’s a coach that favors the passing game, but he knows his team needs a running game for it to become balanced and drag opponents out of pass-heavy defensive schemes. The Packers drafted a power back in the second round and focused a lot on half-line drills this summer. Is it any coincidence they were able to stop the 49ers’ running game in Week 1?

Tom from Fairborn, OH

“Giving him the business.” My favorite call of all-time. Vic, do you have one?

My favorite referee is Gene Steratore. Every time he explains a call to the crowd, I hear Ed Norton from the Honeymooners. “After further review, Ralphie.”

James from St. Michael, MN

Vic, yesterday the NFL released a statement about an officiating error in the Monday game. I’m not sure I like this kinder NFL that admits mistakes and throws its officials under the bus. What do you think about this trend?

I saw a blatant hold that wasn’t called in Sunday’s game. Shouldn’t that qualify as a mistake that should be acknowledged? Where do we draw the line?

Ken from Washington, DC

The buildup begins on Monday. The hype grows throughout the week. The crowds form hours before the game. The announcers play up every angle. The game begins and the kickoff routinely sails out the back of the end zone. Can it get any more anticlimactic than that? Sure miss the excitement of kickoff returns. And you?

The ball flies farther every year. Even Phil Dawson is kicking touchbacks. Tim Masthay’s kickoffs go farther than the tee shots of the old guys at the Masters. I’m convinced that the ball is juiced. Yes, it’s a letdown. I think it’s a disappointing way to start a game, but I don’t know what can be done about it. If there’s a better way, the coaches will find it. They’re always looking for hidden yardage. Somebody will find a way to pooch it down there and move the opponents’ starting point back. The game evolves. Coaches always find a way to overcome its challenges.

 


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