Charles from Lockport, IL

Is not having Jermichael Finley and his presence on the field hurting this offense? Seems like Aaron isn’t consistently looking at the tight end position in the pass. Finley seemed to always be a threat in the middle of the field.

I don’t think the tight end as a receiver is nearly as much of an issue as the tight end as a blocker is.

Paul from Wauwatosa, WI

I know the Packers have a tough September, but as my mentors always taught me, great challenges make for great character development. I believe the Packers will get better results as the season progresses. I also know we’re just about done with the September preseason. It’s all about perspective. You don’t crown winners in the first quarter of the season, but in the last. I see no reason to hit the panic button.

If I hit the panic button, will the Packers begin winning a lot of games? All the panic button does is make you panic. What good is that? I promise you, there’s a sense of urgency in the coaches’ offices this week. They’re not taking Sunday’s loss with ease. This is game-plan Tuesday and the coaches will be here into the night, planning and scheming to beat the Bears. They’re in their offices watching tape and studying tendencies and putting everything they have into one goal, victory. I don’t know what kind of button you call that, but that’s the button they’re pushing.

Richard from Yankton, SD

Vic, do you still believe coaching doesn’t play a huge part in a player’s success. I believe we have the players, now we need the coaches, and I’m not talking about Mike McCarthy. Great teams always have great assistant coaches. I challenge you to prove me wrong, Mr. Vic.

You’re absolutely right. Great teams have great assistant coaches, and that’s one of the reasons the Packers are three-time defending NFC North champs and one of the winningest teams in the league during Coach McCarthy’s time in Green Bay. The Packers have outstanding assistant coaches. I’ve covered so many teams and have been with so many assistant coaches that I know assistant coaches on every team in the league, and I think that qualifies me as someone who knows who the good assistants are. I know Mel Tucker is one of the finest defensive coordinators in the league, but last year they were “killing” him in Chicago. Well, the Bears drafted a corner that has become an immediate star and, all of a sudden, Mel’s a pretty good coordinator, right? Yeah, right. Richard, it makes me sad to see good fans such as yourself suffer so much from losses that cause you to lose touch with logic. Please, for your sake, try harder to be calm in defeat.

Jake from Fargo, ND

Vic, why don’t we see more screens or swing passes to Lacy? If they are rushing up the field for the QB, you are supposed to call a screen to relieve some of that upfield pressure. Why aren’t we seeing that?

The Lions were rushing with four; that’s why. Rushing with only four means seven would be in front of the man catching the ball. The odds don’t favor success against those numbers, especially if DeAndre Levy is one of the seven. You want to screen against a blitz. That’s when it works because the linebackers are rushing past the man who’s to get the ball, and that means you get a big back running downhill on little defensive backs. The Lions didn’t blitz.

John from Wrightstown, WI

Vic, I thought you would have been at the press conference asking some tough questions. Oh, that’s right, you work for McCarthy.

I was at the coordinators’ press conference, which was scheduled for a similar time. Mike Spofford was at Coach McCarthy’s press conference. I’ll include a link to my story.

Jason from Pine Island, MN

I’ve always been a supporter of Coach McCarthy. I especially like his aggressiveness with respect to onside kickoffs and fake field goals and punts. I think he’s a little off on the scheme vs. performance question, though. I agree, you can’t use scheme as a crutch, but if the scheme is putting certain players in positions in which they fail repeatedly, don’t you need to make a schematic adjustment? In your view, how did the two coaches you’ve covered that I respect the most, Tom Coughlin and Chuck Noll, handle similar situations? Please provide specific examples to support your answer.

They handled a loss completely different. Coach Coughlin would go to DEFCON 1, spending the night in his office watching tape and thinking of ways to fix the problem. Coach Coughlin had the most bloodshot eyes I have ever seen. The next day he’d start calling players up to his office and giving them an up-close and personal evaluation of their performance. Following a loss in Pittsburgh in 1996 that left the Jaguars 4-7, Coach Coughlin went to DEFCON 1, cut Andre Rison, challenged his team and ran the risk of a complete meltdown. The Jaguars won seven straight and nearly went to the Super Bowl. Coach Noll would become more intensely calm and resolute following a loss. He could be the most stubborn man in the world following a loss, because that’s when he was least likely to change. When his team hit bottom, he predictably announced it was time to “get back to basics.” It was always followed by winning. Toward the end of his time as coach, he hired Joe Walton as his offensive coordinator and what followed was the greatest play-calling controversy of Coach Noll’s career. The day after a loss that included some very unpopular play-calling, Coach Noll was unyielding on the subject in his press conference. I said, “So this is the way it is and this is the way it’ll continue to be, right?” He smiled and said, “That’s correct.” Coach Coughlin and Coach Noll are two men with opposite approaches but with similar results. They shared one common trait: They didn’t listen to the fans.

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