Keith from Corona, CA

My wife, a newly converted Packers fan, said to me, “Without Aaron, I feel our team wouldn’t even be a spot on the radar of NFL elite teams.” Is she right?

Of course she’s right. What would the Patriots be without Tom Brady or the Broncos without Peyton Manning? Would the Steelers have beaten the Colts and Ravens in consecutive games if Ben Roethlisberger hadn’t thrown 12 touchdown passes? Where are you going to find another quarterback to come in and throw 12 touchdown passes? This is a quarterback-driven league. If you have “The Man,” you can be elite. If you don’t have “The Man,” you got no shot.

Joel from Hebron, KY

What will the Packers have to do right on Sunday to win?

Stop the run or force turnovers or score a lot of points.

Michael from Dover, PA

Vic, sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but you are always a great read.

That’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten in this column. Being right or wrong has nothing to do with the success of this column. It’s about engaging you, the reader. That’s my sole intent. I want to communicate with you. The reader is the star. You write the column. I’m the foil.

Brandon from Green Bay, WI

Vic, if you would have told me the Browns would have a better record at this point than the Packers, I would have fallen on the ground laughing. That being said, with Gordon coming back in a week or so, does this make the Browns favorites to win in the best division (record-wise) in football?

Becoming a favorite often means you’re headed for a fall. Lightly regarded is what you want to be in this league. It’s crazy, but I think it’s the truth. Be surprised by nothing.

Brandon from Mililani, HI

Less gimmicks, more Matthews and Peppers imposing their will. That’s a formula for success.

If the Packers could stop the run on a game in and game out basis, so that Dom Capers could depend on it happening and not have to safeguard against getting creased, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers would dominate the action. I think that has to be the goal for the defense in the second half of the season. Be good enough against the run so Coach Capers might turn Matthews and Peppers loose.

Craig from Cedarburg, WI

The Thursday night game was hard to watch with all of the sloppy play, but I’m particularly surprised at Andy Dalton’s play. He was inaccurate, indecisive and showed a lack of pocket presence. He’s paid like “The Man.” Will he ever be?

I figured the new major points of emphasis were tailor-made for Dalton’s game. I expected him to have a big year.

Randy from Des Moines, IA

There have been a lot of positive signs from this team, but when do we achieve FULL CONSISTENCY?

This Sunday.

Kyle from Salt Lake City, UT

Since the rules favor offense, do you think college coaches will start putting their best athletes on defense?

No, because offense dictates to defense.

Chris from Indianapolis, IN

Joe Greene mentioned that angling himself at the line of scrimmage made a huge difference in slicing through the gap. No one is doing that today. Is this a function of better blocking or simply no one could do it like Mean Joe?

He’s referring to the “Stunt 4-3” that was created for him for the 1974 playoffs. The Steelers had been experimenting that season with a defensive tactic known then as “cross hands,” which stunted the defensive tackles for the purpose of achieving penetration. The Steelers were two-gappers back then and they began using the cross hands tactic as a changeup. The problem with the cross hands strategy was that you ran the risk of getting creased, so George Perles created the “Stunt 4-3,” which angled Joe over guard and center. It could create penetration but still hold the point by taking out the center with Joe’s head and the guard with Joe’s behind. Ask yourself, how many guys could do that?

Don from Torrington, CT

What did Coach McCarthy mean when he said Aaron Rodgers and the Packers strive to stay “ahead of the trends” in the league?

He was saying they try to push the envelope, create instead of copy. That’s where Coach McCarthy is most underrated. He’s possibly the most innovative coach I’ve ever covered. Of course, he has a quarterback that can execute more innovatively than any quarterback I’ve ever covered.

Paul from De Pere, WI

How do other players feel about the QB position and the men who play it? Respect, jealousy, hatred?

They understand he holds their fate in his hands.

James from Seneca, IL

Thanks for teaching more about the human confrontation of football. I never realized that part of it before. Secondly, I have watched the one-on-one matchups more closely since reading your column. You could not be more right that on defense in defending the run it’s about whooping the other man on the other side of the ball. McCarthy stated that in his Thursday afternoon press conference.

When did we start ignoring that fact? Is this the fallout from too many yards and points? Is it fallout from Madden? The old-time fans knew this about football. The Packers fans that cheered Lombardi’s teams knew football was a game of human confrontation. We dwell too much on strategy. We need to look deeper inside the men that play against each other.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Vic, we all have to admit, you were very right about not spending too heavy in free agency, most notably Byrd. I know you like the Guion and Peppers pickups. What other hits do you think teams made in free agency this year?

The Ravens are getting value out of Steve Smith. Kevin Williams was a nice signing by the Seahawks. Let’s go back to that Peppers signing. I presented the Packers’ side, especially the intelligent way Peppers’ contract was capped, and the potential ways Peppers might be used by Coach Capers. I never said I love this signing; don’t give me credit for that. I suffer from free agency phobia. I have difficulty signing off on any big free-agent acquisition. I think the Packers displayed a lot of courage with the Peppers acquisition, and it appears they got it right.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

How about this Packers storyline, Vic? The banged-up offensive line and Aaron’s hamstring. He says it won’t be a problem, but will it?

If he was to reinjure it, yeah, it would be a problem, but there’s nothing at this point to suggest Aaron Rodgers is experiencing lingering effects of the injury. He’s been a full participant in practices.

Dave from Seattle, WA

Vic, no question, just a thank you for doing this on a daily basis. I love watching professional football and also enjoy the void you fill during the week.

Two weeks since the last game has created a void in subject matter. This column needs some meat, some bear meat, huh?

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