Alan from Nixon, Ontario

If you would have told me the Packers would lack receiver depth in the spring, I would have laughed at you. I guess you were right, you never truly do know what your needs will be during a season.

I missed on this one. I was so wired into the needs on defense, especially at cornerback and inside linebacker, I completely whiffed on the need at wide receiver. Ty Montgomery was the sixth pick at wide receiver in three years. I figured the Packers were more than set at the position. Development comes in fits and spurts, as do injuries, and that’s why you can’t predict your needs.

Dan from Houston, TX

What are your thoughts on the outcome of the game as it relates to the health of the offensive line? Losing Bakhtiari seems like it is the one domino that couldn’t fall.

He’s the left tackle. He’s your premier pass blocker. You don’t fully appreciate his worth until you lose him. Finding someone else with his hands and feet is difficult.

Sam from Lake Forest, IL

Vic, I want to take a look back at the Packers’ 2013 season. Rodgers went down and for the majority of the season the team was carried by the soon to be offensive rookie of the year Eddie Lacy. Teams knew we were going to run the ball but that didn’t matter. I remember the formation they would always use was the pistol with Eddie behind the QB and blockers on both sides of the QB. This shows a clear dedication to the run, but it worked. Why has this formation seemingly disappeared?

They played five games in November of that year. They didn’t win any of them. How good could whatever formation you remember from then have been?

Barry from Allegan, MI

Vic, I enjoy your column and your humor, but your philosophies confuse me. You chide fans for getting their emotions wrapped up in the outcomes of games, or fearing losing, or having expectations. Then, when someone turns in a cold-eyed analysis of our prospects (which I think are poor), you rebuke them for their hopelessness. I’m a fan, Vic, and I watch the Packers for all the passionate highs and the thrills that come with victory. My loyalty also grants me the permission to gripe about everything from coaches to color-rush uniforms. What is your dividing line between having expectations (bad) and having hope (good)?

I have no dividing line, only an opinion. You’re free to be as miserable as you wish. I choose not to be miserable.

Mike from La Habra, CA

Our run game is terrible, at the moment. Do you see some changes at the running back position in the near future?

It’s No. 10 in the league. It was stopped on Sunday in Arizona by one of the best run-defenses in the league but, mostly, by an inability to complement the run with the threat of pass. The Cardinals were able to play man-to-man against the Packers’ receivers, allowing their front people to focus on stopping the run. I think the Packers’ run game is their best weapon, and the rankings confirm that belief. What I will acknowledge is a need to stop fumbling the ball away.

Mark from Iron Mountain, MI

The Packers gave up on the offense after Nelson went down. You could see it during the first six games and it’s only gotten worse. Rodgers waiting too long to get rid of the ball. Very few planned rollouts. No incorporation of the fastest player on the team, particularly on fly routes. Not using Kuhn or Ripkowski, who always run north and south, instead of Lacy, who more often than not gets stopped cold on short-yardage plays. Running the same tired plays every year despite who calls them. This team would be better off losing this week and playing Washington, than having to play either the Seahawks or Vikings at home. By the way, getting Nelson back next year won’t be the cure-all most think it would be.

A game should never create this kind of misery, yet, you’re one of many in my inbox who are suffering this week. Despite your wishes, I hope the Packers win this Sunday, so you might experience some joy. You are in desperate need of it.

Ben from Northbrook, IL

Rodgers said “when it matters for all the marbles, we’re going to show up.” Does that mean when not all the marbles are at stake, these guys don’t show up, or are less likely to? Please interpret.

It means he was trying to find some words that would comfort the fans. As soon as I saw the quote, I knew many fans would find a way to turn his words against him. These are not happy times. I await their return.

John from Neptune Beach, FL

To your poster about getting beat badly and winning the Super Bowl, Jacksonville ran for over 300 yards against the Colts one December, and the only thing keeping them from getting more were the end zones. That Colts team sorted out its defense and beat the Bears in the Super Bowl.

In Week 14 of the 2006 season, the Colts allowed the Jaguars 375 yards rushing in a 44-17 loss. A few weeks later, the Colts began their march to the Super Bowl title, led more by its defense than by Peyton Manning. These things happen. They’re rare, but they happen.

Ryan from Madison, WI

Is there a chance the Vikings come marching into Lambeau next week overconfident and lose the game? I know these guys are professionals, but they probably feel pretty good about themselves after blowing out New York and watching the Packers play so poorly on Sunday.

I wouldn’t count on overconfidence defeating the Vikings. The Packers have to do it the hard way, by winning the battle of the line of scrimmage, which they did when the two teams played in Week 11.

Dave from Comer, GA

Vic, I am a shareholder. I have been a Packers fan since the early ’60s growing up in Wisconsin. I want them to win as badly as anybody, but please tell the fans, again, this is just a game. These are people making more in a year than most of us will in 20 years. It's a game, people. It does not matter. Whether they win a playoff game or not, whether they win the Super Bowl or not, it won’t affect how much you are loved by your family, how much longer your parents will live, nothing like that. It doesn’t matter.

It would be futile for me to preach that sermon. What I will say is this: The Packers will be here, playing football in Green Bay, for as long as everybody who reads this column lives. The Packers will be here for as long as their children live, and for as long as their children live. The Packers will win games and they will lose games. The secret to enjoying a lifetime of Packers football, in my opinion, is being able to turn the page when the words on the page hurt. When you can’t enjoy a 10-5 season and playing for a fifth consecutive division title, something is dreadfully wrong. Let’s move on.

Jacob from Kewaskum, WI

Rodgers seemed so upbeat in this week’s press conference, especially after last week’s. Some people I’ve talked to thought he just acted that way this week because people were upset at him after last week. Your thoughts?

It’s possible he saw the reaction last week and decided to avoid that happening again. His commitment to this team and to victory is complete. That’s all that matters. It bothers me that we now have a vision for how a player should perform in press conferences.

Kyle from Spooner, WI

Vic, I’m very amused by the Patriots’ coin toss non-controversy. It seems most sports networks don’t even understand the rule. As an avid “Ask Vic” reader, I’m grateful I do.

I never thought I’d see another Abner Haynes kick-to-the-clock moment. History truly does repeat itself.

Nathan from Baltimore, MD

Here’s my prediction, Vic: The Packers and Seahawks will meet in the wild-card round, and that game will either end the Packers’ season or launch it on a Super Bowl run.

I like that. Do you remember what I wrote in this column a few weeks ago? I wrote, “I think we all know where this is going,” or something to that effect. I could just feel it happening. I believe in fate. The Packers and Seahawks just seemed destined to play again. I would welcome such a game. This team and its fan base need to be reunited. A game against the Seahawks would do that.


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