Gene from Huntsville, AL

Vic, why is it that after eight years of drafting our defense doesn’t look like Denver’s or Carolina’s?

Denver’s defense is No. 1 and Carolina’s is No. 13. Yes, they are very good defenses. Denver spent a lot of money in free agency. The Packers are a draft-and-develop team. If the Broncos go into dormancy for a few years as a result of free agency spending, it would be a stiff price to pay, especially if it fails to produce a title. I’m a firm believer in being a playoff contender year in and year out. In my opinion, it gives you the best chance to win a Super Bowl. Carolina has a lot of high picks in its defense. Thomas Davis is a 14th overall pick, Luke Kuechly is a No. 12, Star Lotulelei is a No. 13 and Shaq Thompson is a No. 15. That’s a strong nucleus, and to that nucleus the Panthers added solid picks such as Kawann Short, Kony Ealy and Josh Norman. The Packers have been drafting near the bottom for several years. I think their drafts have been outstanding, especially when you consider where the Packers have been picking.

Dan from Colorado Springs, CO

Halfway through the season, 6-2 is a great start. If the Packers do the same in the second half of the season, they’ll be 12-4, and I’m sure they’d host a playoff game or two.

It doesn’t work that way. Teams got hot and then they get cold. Teams get hurt and then they get healthy. You endure the hard times and you ride the wave of good times as long as you can. You hope good times last long enough to get you into the playoffs and, if you get there, be the hot team. That’s my formula for winning championships, and my belief in it is absolute.

Trevor from Ottawa, Canada

I heard Coach McCarthy state he was confident they would score on that last drive, and they almost did, but would Coach Ketchman have considered the field goal and an onside kick?

No. You’d still have to score a touchdown. All you’re avoiding is a two-point conversion and overtime, and I see no reason to avoid overtime. Momentum was so decidedly in the Packers’ favor there’s no doubt in my mind the Packers would’ve won in overtime. If a field goal would’ve cut the Panthers’ lead to three or fewer points, yes, I would’ve kicked.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

The Panthers third-and-16 conversion in the early going seemed to turn the entire game around. Though I completely buy into players, not plays, I can’t help but wonder if our third-and-long personnel aren’t as good as our first down, second down or even third-and-short personnel. Could you enlighten me a bit?

Sam Shields and Quinten Rollins were out and Casey Hayward left the game in the third quarter. The Packers were pinched for defensive backs.

Aaron from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, are there more or less questions after a loss?

It’s about the same, but the email I receive after a loss is often disturbing. It saddens me because I sense great emotional stress, sometimes even suffering, from what I read following a loss. This isn’t something new, but it gets worse every year. That’s why I started a campaign to help people achieve perspective. Verbally attacking players and coaches following a loss is not healthy. It’s not good for our souls, let alone our personalities. I worry some of this might carry over into family life. We have to be able to calm ourselves, or we run the risk of alienating ourselves from our friends and family, and we also run the risk of embarrassing ourselves. For every game that’s played, there’s a losing team and a fan base of angry fans. So far this season, Packers fans have known happiness six times and sadness twice. That’s one of the best happiness to sadness ratios in the NFL. If I could change one thing about the game, it would be the struggle fans have with accepting defeat. The anger is beginning to worry me.

Jim from Columbia, SC

First quarter, Panthers third-and-long, Packers employ a three-man rush and get burned. Same as always. When is Capers going to learn?

The third-and-16 completion to Jerricho Cotchery for 59 yards was against a three-man rush and eight-man pass coverage. The Packers had a line of defenders at the first-down marker, but the Panthers receivers ran right by it. I’m without explanation. In the final minute of the first half, the Packers rushed five, including safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Jake Ryan, on a third-and-7 play. Six Packers dropped into coverage against three Panthers receivers, and Cam Newton found Corey Brown for a 39-yard touchdown. So, there was a 59-yard completion against a three-man rush and a 39-yard touchdown completion against a five-man rush. In each case, there were at least twice as many defenders as there were receivers. Jim, that doesn’t appear to be a scheme problem to me.

 

HAVE A QUESTION FOR VIC?