Kyle from Kilauea, Atooi

Vic, love your service to the organization. I’m glad this game is over; too many loose cannons making too much from it. I do feel this will light a fire under every man on the roster, which I thank Seattle for. Arrow can only go up. Do you feel a loss, with so much hype, can be more beneficial and motivating later on down the road in crunch time when somebody has to swallow a tooth to win?

The first question in the inaugural “Ask Vic Saturday” comes from the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi, where it might still be Friday as I pen this column. Kyle, you learn more from losing than you do from winning. The Packers learned something of critical importance on Thursday. They learned there’s a gap between them and the Super Bowl champions, and they learned exactly what that gap is. They have 15 games to close that gap, and this team will be defined by those 15 games, or it’ll be defined by the first game. We’ll see which it is.

Stein from Oslo, Norway

I have a hard time putting it into perspective the motivation for Carroll going for it on fourth-and-1 with the game already decided. Help me, Vic.

It was Pete Carroll being Pete Carroll. He was being bold and I have no problem with it because that’s the tone he sets for his team and that’s the style with which they play. Mike McCarthy coaches with the same kind of aggressiveness. Near midfield in the third quarter, he went for it on fourth-and-5. It was a bold decision. He was expressing confidence in his team, just as Carroll did on the fourth-and-1. The difference is Carroll’s confidence was rewarded, McCarthy’s wasn’t. Players, not plays.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Is tackling about technique or want to? Seattle has the same restrictions but is a sure-tackling team. Maybe we need to borrow from their practice book, or is it players, not practice methods? Either way, the Packers have a problem that has been an issue for years, and they have not corrected it.

It’s players; it’s always players. Tacking is all about that tackling dummy hanging from the rope that’s fed through a pulley and connected to a bucket of cement. The goal was to pull that bucket of cement to the top at the pulley. To do it, you had to run through the dummy. If you lunged at the dummy and lost your feet, you’d only move the bucket of cement a few feet off the ground. Want good tacklers? Find the guys that run through the dummy and pull the bucket of cement to the top. In a league that almost forbids teams to practice tackling, it’s more important than ever to find players that are natural tacklers.

Corey from Fond du lac, WI

Vic, simple question, can our run defense be fixed with the players we have?

I’d be lying if I said I knew the answer to that question. I know what has to be done: Everybody has to do their job. It’s called fitting it up. In a gap-control system, everybody is responsible for a gap. In a two-gapping system, the down linemen are responsible for eating blocks and allowing the linebackers to run free to the ball and use their superior athletic ability to make the tackle. It sounds simple when I put it in those terms, but the execution of that scheme requires defeating blockers that possess a lot of size and strength. You have to beat the man whose job it is to defeat you. It’s not about scheme, it’s about human confrontation.

Jake from Tucson, AZ

Are modern defenses catching up to contemporary offenses?

Seattle’s defense has. I don’t see many others that have.

Glenn from San Antonio, TX

Your advice to enjoy the game for what it is kind of reminds me of a few facts of life. You are responsible for your own happiness. Some here worry too much of what others write. As heart wrenching as the loss was to some, the sun still came up and we still had to go to work on Friday and do what must be done. I just hope you were able to get some rest after staying up most of the night.

Yesterday was the day that wouldn’t end. All I wanted to do was get to bed. Well, I made it, and when I awakened this morning, I felt wonderful. I had a new outlook on life. It was Saturday, I was going to begin it by launching “Ask Vic Saturday,” and then I would cut the grass and finish just in time to spend the rest of the day and night watching college football. I am happy because I want to be happy.

Jake from Duluth, MN

Before we put this Seahawks game to rest and move our attention to the Jets, I’d like to say I want to see a team focus on Sherman rather than shy away from him. He shut down half of the field vs. the Packers and it was obvious. I want to run to his side, screen to his side, quick slants and stop routes. Make him hit and be hit. He is the key to their defense and I believe if you can rattle him you will rattle the legion. What do you think?

Lee used that strategy at Gettysburg. Longstreet said go around to the side, but Lee wanted to go up that hill.

Luigi from Syracuse, NY

Vic, I usually go to bed around 3-4 a.m. and I’m up by eight. Is it sad I expect a column from you by the time I wake up with more answers to Thursday’s beating?

Let it go, Luigi. It’s just one game. By midseason, so many circumstances from that game will have changed that the only thing that’ll matter will be the loss in the loss column.

Zach from Evansville, IN

Vic, Rodgers started the fourth quarter hot, the kind of elite-caliber run that can put up points in bunches. He marches down the field, Packers score and it looks like they’re going to get the ball back in both excellent field and clock position, but then comes the Brad Jones penalty. Let’s play a hypothetical and say that penalty doesn’t exist. Let’s say Rodgers gets the ball back. He drives, he’s hot, he scores. I’m not saying the Packers win, but it’s very possible that penalty is the deciding factor between a close game and the rout we saw.

Let’s say the Packers rally and win. What’s it like in this column? My guess is everybody would be happy. There would be much feel good and chortling, but other than for the win in the win column, would much have changed? There’s a gap the Packers have to close. The loss doesn’t concern me. The gap is what concerns me.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Vic, on Friday nights my wife and I go out to eat to a local burger joint and do a crossword puzzle together while we eat. Today, the answer to 38 across was “winsome.” It’s a small world sometimes. My question for you is this: For the Packers to go the Super Bowl, they’re probably going to have to go through Seattle. The talent gap between the two teams seems immense. Is there any reason to believe the Packers can beat the Seahawks the next time around?

We don’t know the Packers would have to go through Seattle. An injury at a key position can change everything. We know that from Aaron Rodgers’ injury last season. What would happen to the Seahawks if they experienced that kind of injury? Russell Wilson runs a specialty offense. You’re not going to run those plays with just any guy off the street. Why is everyone trying to judge a season based on one game? It’s exactly what we shouldn’t be doing.

James from Ilkley, UK

What is it you always say? Good teams don’t take what you give them, they take what they want. So why couldn’t the best player in the league take on Sherman? No cornerback is that good.

I’ve covered two Hall of Fame cornerbacks in the primes of their careers, Mel Blount and Rod Woodson. The guys opposite them, J.T. Thomas and Deon Figures, got thrown at a lot. I can remember when Ty Law was in his prime. I thought he played the ball in air as well as any cornerback in history, with the possible exception of Deion Sanders. Law’s reputation was such that few teams went after him. The Colts went after him in the 2003 AFC title game. Law intercepted Peyton Manning three times.

Carey from Corvallis, OR

Seems to me we did not expect any naked bootlegs, and letting Percy Harvin run around the corners on us was insane. I would expect that in college football, but against the Packers? Looks like McCarthy didn’t watch any game film on the Seahawks.

If Harvin ran a 4.5, those plays wouldn’t have worked. Get it? In my interview with Dom Capers on Monday, he spoke of Harvin’s impact with those jet-sweep plays. Capers knew they were coming. I have no doubt on paper all of the strategies stopped Harvin for no gain. I wonder what went wrong.

Stephen from Cedar Falls, IA

After seeing Percy Harvin’s performance against us, it got me thinking: Do you think next year we’ll start seeing teams go for a complete package, players that can block, catch and run.

We’re seeing the personality of college football creep into the pro game more every year. It’s happening because successful college coaches such as Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly are moving from college football to the NFL.


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