Beau from Lancaster, PA
Vic, I assume the Packers would prefer to play in the Metrodome instead of TCF Bank. Do you agree? How big of an impact will the stadium have on the game?
I think the days of referring to the Packers as a dome team that plays outdoors are over. This team is now embracing its time-honored identity for being the team of freeze, and I think that’s a critically important development. Why fight for homefield advantage if playing at home isn’t an advantage? I think it is now. I think the Packers are proving it. This is a team that wants to play outdoors, and that’s why it needs to fight for homefield advantage. I don’t think there should be any reason for the Packers not playing well in TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Jay from Janesville, WI
I thought it was the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the NFL Hall of Fame. If you combine his stats in both leagues, he’d be fifth all-time in rushing yards. Shouldn’t Herschel Walker’s time in the USFL be counted?
Counted, but given considerably less weight because the USFL was an inferior league.
Greg from Bellevue, WA
Vic, I know you are not the college football fan you used to be, but do you remember the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game?
It’s one of my all-time favorite games. What I remember most is the hype for it. It was almost the equal of the 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State game.
Trevor from Atascadero, CA
A few years ago, read-option-QB teams were taking the league by storm. All of those teams are struggling somewhat this year. Is that a coincidence, or are defenses figuring out?
I think defenses are figuring it out and dealing with zone-read offense more effectively now than when it first surfaced. That’s the case with anything new; we saw that with the wildcat. I also believe zone-read plays and the quarterbacks that run them are here to stay. I don’t know if it’s a base offense, but it’s a wonderful change of pace if you have a quarterback with the athletic ability to run it. If I was a coach, I’d still love to have a zone-read kind of quarterback on my roster, just for depth of playbook and the preparation it demands of your opponents.
Sean from Arlington, VA
You call it “a time of exploration,” I call it boring. I’ve avidly followed the league since 1981. I can’t think of a season less compelling than this one. Sure, the division races are competitive, but I’ve only seen a handful of good games and no truly great ones. I saw at least five great ones last season. You keep sending your memos to the league so I presume you agree with me. Yet, I don’t hear any reports of a decline in ratings. That leads me to believe this kind of mediocre product is going to be the norm for a while.
This has not been the league’s finest season; the blowouts will be a problem if they persist. I’m hoping December will save the season. Isn’t that what happened last year? The reason there’s no decline in the TV ratings is because the hook has been set, and the American sporting public is on it. Pro football is deeply woven into the fabric of America, and it’s going to be that way for a long, long time. America needs pro football; it can’t live without pro football.
Tim from Conifer, CO
The Packers are sure looking strong right now, but discounting key injuries, which can knock any team down a few pegs, what do you see as the Packers’ greatest vulnerability right now?
I don’t see a vulnerability right now, but one will likely emerge. Vulnerabilities emerge and re-emerge on all teams. It’s part of the ebb and flow of the season. There is no permanent fix, and there’s no problem that can’t be fixed. The season is a series of adjustments and re-adjustments. The team riding an adjustment wave in the postseason is the one that wins it all.
Joe from Waukesha, WI
The Lions defense handled us early this year. Was it a straight cover two? Why aren’t teams following that blueprint?
Detroit played six in the box and overloaded against the pass. Another team tried it – I’m thinking it was the Vikings – and it didn’t work. Why did it work for the Lions? Well, they have Suh and Fairley and Ansah and a lot of high picks up front, and they made it work on that particular day. It might not work the next time. Blueprints begin with personnel.
David from Annandale, VA
Never kick to the clock. If you had to guess, what percentage of your readers do you think get that reference?
My inbox is full of fans that want to know what the reference means. I figured they’d just Google it, but I’ll help the research along by explaining “we’ll kick to the clock” are the words infamously spoken by Abner Haynes in the 1962 AFL title game, during the overtime coin toss. Never use the word kick unless you want to kick. The Haynes gaffe provides the best explanation of how to execute and not execute the coin toss selections.
Bridget from Chicago, IL
What’s harder to play in (and why), snow or cold?
If the snow is sticking to the turf, as it did in last year’s Lions-Eagles game, I think playing in snow is more difficult because it compromises movement and players’ abilities. I think wintry conditions are having less of an effect on performance now than they did when I started covering football. Players are better equipped and able to play in cold and snow. For starters, they’re warmer than the fans in the stands. They’ve got heaters all along the sideline, and gloves that keep their hands warm and provide a sticky surface, and the fabrics they’re wearing greatly lessen the cold’s bite. Be that as it may, I remain in awe of what these great athletes can do in the kind of conditions we saw late last season. I couldn’t even pump gas for a few minutes the day after the Packers and 49ers played a playoff classic in the same wind and cold.
John from Dirty Sturg, WI
Will Derek Sherrod give much inside info to the Pats?
Sure. What’s he going to say, no?
Charlie from Lubbock, TX
Vic, 10 games in, what differences do you see between this Packers team and the 2011 team?
The 2011 team was a one-trick pony. This team can do it all.
J.R. from Castle Shannon, PA
Back during the Jacksonville days, “Ask Vic” was a highly anticipated part of my daily ritual. Since the move to Green Bay, however, it has taken on a much more provincial tone. What used to be a great dialogue about football and sports in general, now feels more like a therapy session for anxious Packers fans, reeking of pandering: Yes, you’re the greatest franchise ever. Yes, Mike McCarthy is the greatest coach. Yes, Aaron Rodgers deserves a place among the gods. The only time I check in now is when something extraordinary happens in the league so I know you’ll be forced to comment, and even then your comment is usually tainted by a Packers reference or analogy. Sadly, another one of our sacred institutions succumbs.
Dave from Groton, VT
Could Mike McCarthy learn from some of your comments?
Jeff from Loves Park, IL
Vic, hypothetically speaking, of course, if the Packers replayed the Seahawks this weekend, what do you believe the outcome would be?
Where would the game be played?
Bob from DeMotte, IN
Sometimes I wonder where you get your answers to some questions. As far as this game is big, all games are big. Any team can beat you on any given Sunday. Play each game as if the title is at stake.
You’re right, Coach Bob, but I would add that this Sunday’s game in Minnesota is critically more important than the game against New England that has everyone gaga. Other than for the common games element, the New England game won’t have much tiebreaker importance, and I think the Packers will win the common games tiebreaker without needing a win over the Patriots. The Vikings game is about division record, and that’s the No. 2 tiebreaker, one ahead of common games. Don’t go to sleep on this one, coach.
Pete from Perham, MN
Could you elaborate on what was behind your nickname for Giorgio “Don’t Call Me Sergio” Tavecchio?
When I was in Jacksonville, the Jaguars had a player named Isaac Smolko. His position coach, Mike Tice, affectionately referred to Smolko as Ivan. After a preseason game, Jack Del Rio erroneously referred to Smolko as Ivan and I dubbed Smolko, who was somewhat of a preseason hero, Isaac “Don’t Call Me Ivan” Smolko. It got a lot of laughs. Well, last summer, when Mike McCarthy erroneously referred to Tavecchio as Sergio … you know the rest.
Brian from Fanwood, NJ
If you were the GM of the Vikings, what would you do in respects to Adrian Peterson? Do you stick with a talented player such as him, or do you let a player go based on off-field issues such as his?
First of all, I think this is an issue for the owner because this goes beyond football. If I’m the owner, and I strongly believe Peterson is doing what’s necessary to fix his problem and embrace and promote the fix, I’m sticking with him. He’s a big part of the Vikings’ history and I think his good name can be restored, if he attacks his mistake with the same fervor he attacks defenders. He can become a spokesperson against abuse.
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