Don from Buffalo, NY
I was just curious if the players get less frustrated with the national media than they do with the local media. When I see a player giving an interview to a national TV network, they seem very relaxed, but when the local media is interviewing them, they seem edgy at most times. Is there a reason for that?
It’s called being on your best behavior when the national TV camera is on you. As for the local media, have you heard the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt?” Yes, we’re very familiar with each other and we tend to ask the same questions over and over, which puts pressure on the players to find new ways to answer the same question, and I think that’s what you might be sensing. It’s been that way everywhere I’ve been. I don’t think the media dislikes the players and I don’t think the players dislike the media that covers them, it’s just difficult to question the same players every day and come up with new questions, and it’s just as difficult to be asked the same questions every day and come up with new answers.
Michael from Okinawa, Japan
With all the success Rodgers has had through the air the past couple of seasons, some teams are sooner or later going to take counter measures. As the cold months come and the running game becomes more of a dominant factor in game play, do you believe the coaching staff will move toward a higher percentage of West Coast style plays?
Aaron Rodgers has the arm to cut the wind, as we saw yesterday. I acknowledge the need for a quarterback to be an accurate passer but, for me, it always starts with arm strength. If he doesn’t have a strong arm, I don’t want him because I know what’s going to happen in the wind and the cold: half the playbook goes out the window. The weather didn’t stop Rodgers in Philadelphia or Chicago in the postseason last year. His arm strength and his accuracy for a guy with that kind of arm strength tilts the field; he gives the Packers a decided advantage over teams that have to dink and dunk in the cold. For those teams, the field shrinks. For the Packers, it doesn’t. Don’t worry about the weather; go back to your first comment about counter measures. That’s what we have to watch for. Who will be the first to author a game plan to beat the Packers? WILL somebody author a game plan to beat the Packers? Every coach the Packers face wants to be the first to do it. In my opinion, the Steelers had the right plan – run the ball – but they left the don’t-turn-it-over part out. This is a special team. I’ve never covered a team that moves the ball as this team does. Folks, do yourself a favor and make sure you get full enjoyment from having a team this dominant. Twelve in a row is a tremendous feat, especially when four of those wins are in the postseason. I think 12 in a row like that is far more impressive than 12 in a row in the regular season.
Carl from Oshkosh, WI
During the Rams game, I noticed the Packers defense playing a lot of single-high safety with Burnett deep and Peprah close to the line. I'm assuming that was to defend against Steven Jackson. I would think they would have had Peprah deep and Burnett closer to the line, considering Burnett's club on this hand.
Charlie Peprah is a strong safety and Morgan Burnett is a free safety and the strong safety is usually the one you move up toward the line of scrimmage when you’re trying to get eight in the box against the run.
Tony from Monona, WI
A win is a win, but I can't help but feel disappointed with the Packers offensive performance. What's your take on the second half, and was I unreasonable for expecting two more touchdowns?
Seriously, 24-3 isn’t good enough? You need 38-3? Why? Hey, at some point we all have to push ourselves away from the dinner table or you know what’ll happen. One of the dangers of this mania for offense is that our appreciation for winning has been blunted by our fascination for stats. When the lead gets to the point that the outcome becomes obvious, the goal shifts to finish this game as quickly and as safely as possible. There are 10 more to play. That’s the big picture. Just win, baby.
Leonardo from Las Vegas, NV
Since the start of the season, we have reaped the benefits of having the best quarterback in the league. Life is good, indeed, but let's be honest here for a second, Vic. The Packers also had the most comfortable pants in Sunday's game. Surely, that had to be our biggest advantage over the Rams.
Nothing beats a comfortable pair of khakis. How many times have you stood in front of the closet trying to decide what to wear and you finally just gave up and reached for the khakis? They go with everything: blue shirt, green shirt, white shirt. I love a white shirt with a pair of khakis and I can’t help but wonder what the Packers’ regular white jerseys would look like with yesterday’s khakis and a nice pair of green socks.
Cody from Elgin, IA
In my opinion, the second half of yesterday’s game was pretty boring. I'm sure you loved the run-three-times-punt-and-play-defense method, though, right? I'm not saying it was the wrong thing to do, because it worked and that is what matters. I'm just saying it was boring. Your thoughts?
You’ve exaggerated the play-calling. Rodgers threw 15 passes in the first half and 13 passes in the second half. The difference is that they didn’t finish their drives in the second half. Yes, I believe in the philosophy of get a lead, protect the lead. I believe that’s how a professional football team should play. That doesn’t mean you go into a shell offensively, but I don’t think you push the envelope offensively as you did when you were building the lead. Why hurry when time is in your favor? Why risk interceptions that would give your opponent an easy score or a short field? You protect a lead by making the game one of field position and forcing your opponent into long, time-consuming drives. That’s how a professional football team plays and you better be able to shift into that mode because you’ll need to play that way in January against the other playoff-caliber teams. It’s how the Packers marched through the postseason last year. Hey, when was the last time it didn’t work for them? I think we have to admit that it’s been a pretty good formula for success: Get a lead, protect the lead.
Sue from Watertown, WI
I was at the game and when I saw the interception by Sam Shields in the end zone and his attempt to bring it out, only to be leveled, I thought he blew it. I thought that if a defensive player intercepted the ball in the end zone and tried to run it out, only to be tackled in the end zone, I thought that was a safety. How is that ruled? Also, why wasn't a flag thrown on the player who leveled Shields?
A.R. 11:31—“Quarterback A1 throws a legal pass which is intercepted in the end zone by defensive B1. B1 tries to run it out and is downed in the end zone. Ruling: Touchback. B’s ball first-and-10 on B20.” I have it in my mind that, once upon a time, Shields would’ve had to surrender (take a knee or stop running before he was tackled) in the end zone, or the ruling would’ve been safety. I could be wrong about that. Maybe somebody can provide some information on it. As for the tackle, why should the defender have been penalized? He didn’t do anything wrong. There is no “defenseless runner” rule, Sue. Once a player establishes himself as a runner, he’s fair game. You can hit him anywhere you want, including the head.
Katie from Des Moines, IA
What do you think about the Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz incident? I think Schwartz made it into a bigger deal than it needed to be.
My thoughts are that if I was either one of those guys, I wouldn’t have slept last night. That’s just ridiculous for something like that to happen. Football is an intense game, emotions spill over and we should expect as much from the players, but coaches have to be above that. First of all, when you cross the field to shake the hand of your opponent, you do so respectfully. You don’t celebrate in his face and give him a slap shake. It would’ve been better had they each just gone to their locker rooms without shaking hands. Once upon a time, that’s what coaches did. “Handshake Sam” Wyche made a big deal about the postgame handshake and it’s become a ritual ever since.
John from Brookfield, WI
I really dislike the throwback uniforms. I find it more difficult to identify the players wearing them and have no nostalgic memories of 1929.
No nostalgic memories of the ’29 season? Are you kidding? You don’t remember that 0-0 thriller against the Frankford Yellow Jackets? You forgot about the 22 total points the Packers’ 13 opponents scored that season. They played four games against teams from Chicago and only allowed two points total. How about the 39,000 fans the Packers drew for their five home games? How about eight consecutive road games to finish the season? That’s some road trip. I guess nobody wanted to come to Green Bay after mid-October. In all seriousness, pro football has a wonderful history. When you examine a season such as 1929, you really get an appreciation for how far the game has come. Maybe that’s the intent of the throwback uniforms, to get us to take a look back.
Amy from Valparaiso, IN
As a sports reporter, I see you have covered a few teams in your career. Those who love sports grow up following and loving a particular team. As a huge Packers fan, I really don't care for the Bears, and I think I would have a really hard time writing about them for my job. What is it like to cover and write about a team you really don't have an affinity for? Does it make the job harder?
What about a player from Chicago who grew up a fan of the Bears? Would you ask the same of him? It’s his profession, Amy, just as covering a team as a member of the media is my profession. I’ll never understand why so many fans struggle with that concept. Your passion is for being a fan. My passion is for being a reporter. Each role requires a different skill set.
Rene from La Habra, CA
What position makes the best special teams players?
You find special teams players where you find special teams players, but I think linebackers and defensive backs probably top the list.
John from Holland, MI
You've mentioned several times that receivers are in plentiful supply and that they're a dime a dozen and I agree with you. I guess the Packers do so well because of good drafts and good coaching. Do you have any other insights, Vic?
Have you ever known a great quarterback that didn’t have good receivers? Maybe it’s the quarterback, and the Packers have had great ones.
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