Brian from Oswego, IL
The Rams scared me coming into this game because of their defensive front. Are there any better fronts the Packers will play this year, in your opinion?
There are several top fronts this team has left on its schedule. Denver is the top defense in the league, and it’s No. 5 against the run and leads the league in sacks. I think those numbers allow the Broncos to say they’re the best right now.
Tim from Minneapolis, MN
What is Aaron Rodgers so worried about? Does he need to R-E-L-A-X?
You are the “Cenex Question of the Day” winner.
Dave from Hayward, WI
Vic, I have not heard as much complaining about the play-calling this year.
Hang on, the season is young. Before it’s over, I’m sure my inbox will fill up with: They should’ve kept their foot on the gas, they need to run more screens, and why don’t they run more slants? The best play calls are the ones that work. Mike Tomlin made a great play call last night. What would they be saying about that call if Le’Veon Bell had been stopped?
Prashant from Charlotte, NC
Vic, I am very new to football and where I come from football has always meant soccer. But I love this game and I would like to say thanks to you and your column for it has helped me understand it better. With so many stats that get displayed, do you think it affects the players, so they are not able to enjoy the success on a given Sunday? Since it’s a team game, the only stat that should matter is the win-loss record, right?
It’s a team game during the regular season. During the contract season, it’s every man for himself, and that’s when the stats become very important.
Andrew from San Diego, CA
I was wondering what player you have seen, so far, make the biggest jump from year one to year two and from year two to year three?
I’ll give Jayrone Elliott the one to two nod, and Nate Palmer for two to three.
Eric from Milwaukee, WI
Does Davante Adams have the skillset to be the boundary and deep threat Rodgers alluded to?
That’s just about everyone’s expectation, that Adams will become the next Jordy Nelson.
Darrell from Goldsboro, NC
Why do you think the Packers gave up on running the ball against the Rams? It seemed they completely abandoned the running game.
They just didn’t run enough plays; 59 are far beneath Mike McCarthy’s target. Of the 59, 19 were true runs, and they were divided evenly between halves of the game. The running game wasn’t working, and I think the Packers lost some confidence in it and felt pressured by their inability to sustain drives. It was just one of those days; they were trying to find a way to win, and on this particular day they played to the strength of their defense. We saw a game like that last night. Be patient, be persistent and find a way to make a play at the end.
Bryan from Green Bay, WI
Do the Packers need a deep threat to open things up?
It’s not just a deep threat, it’s a deep outside threat. An offense needs to stretch the field vertically and horizontally. Jordy Nelson did that and, in his absence, Davante Adams is expected to be that guy. I have a feeling his return to the lineup will be the little nudge that takes this team to a higher level. Maybe Adams will be the guy who makes the Packers a hot team late in the season.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
What is the key to creating holes in the run game? I want to learn more about a successful run game.
It depends on the scheme. If it’s a drive-blocking scheme, the keys are pad level and push. You have to move the line of scrimmage. If it’s a zone-blocking scheme, the key is getting those defensive linemen moving laterally so the back can find a crease and cut back against the flow. Search “run-blocking schemes” and you’ll find a wealth of information. I’m glad you want to know more about the running game. I wish more fans had your interest in it. Running the ball and stopping the run are football at its purest.
Brady from Brookings, SD
Vic, I can’t express how impressed I have been with the play of the defense, especially with the youth that has been pressed into duty due to injury, suspension, etc. I feel this has been one of Coach Capers’ finest seasons. What are your thoughts?
Coach Capers was the same coach in 2011 he is this season. If I asked Coach Capers what the difference is, he’d give me that smile that says you know what it is, Vic, and then he’d dodge the question by talking about something else. He’s a master at it and I’ve enjoyed sparring with him like that for a long, wonderful time. He’s one of my all-time favorite interviews. I’ve never known a better coach.
Brandi from Franklin, WI
Vic, can you please explain to me what the gameday experience is like and why it’s so different from other venues? What makes Lambeau the best?
Patriots fans will tell you Gillette is the best. Seahawks fans will tell you CenturyLink is the best. What do Patriots and Seahawks fans, and a lot of other teams’ fans, have in common with Packers fans? Love for their team. That’s what makes Lambeau Field’s gameday experience the best for Packers fans. Some people don’t want to eat a hot dog in the snow – they wouldn’t consider that a great gameday experience – but Packers fans would eat a limburger sandwich in a Lambeau blizzard and cherish the moment. It’s all about love. Unfortunately, I’ve never been enough in love to eat limburger anywhere.
Tom from Georgetown, KY
Vic, based upon what you have seen so far this season as well as your years of experience covering NFL teams, what will this team look like on December 3?
It’ll look different than it does now. All teams change. They are forced to evolve, by injuries and scheme adjustments. If you run the ball too much or too well, your opponents will begin forcing you to throw the ball, and vice versa. How did last year’s Packers evolve? Remember the Clay Matthews move to inside linebacker at midseason? It was a game-changer. Will something like that happen this season? Probably. It might not be as dramatic, but injury often causes a player to emerge, as it did with James Starks in 2010.
Mike from Milwaukee, WI
Eighteen seconds trickled off the clock following the last kickoff and the first snap of the Steelers’ final drive last night. Something tells me it won’t be considered a big deal since Pittsburgh won on the last play, but I’m imagining a scenario in which Vick throws a Hail Mary at the end, the ball falls incomplete and we’re all talking about clock operators this week.
Clockgate? That’s exactly what would happen. Why? Because we love controversy, and we’re on a witch hunt to find errors in the officiating of games. I didn’t know time had trickled off the clock, but I’m glad it did because it would’ve been a shame for that game to have ended any way other than it did. That’s one of the most amazing games I have ever seen. The fourth quarter was fantastic. Philip Rivers willed his team down the field to take the lead, and then Michael Vick showed us one more time what he did with his feet a long time ago. Mike Tomlin’s last-play decision was even wilder than what he did against the Ravens, but it worked. As Coach Noll was fond of saying, when you win, everything you do and say is right.
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