Dan from Andover, NJ
You have mentioned in a few posts about teams scheming to stop Aaron Rodgers. I don't feel the scheming is really the difficult part; it’s the execution. Rodgers has proven to be incredible against the blitz. Schematically, it would seem you have to get pressure with your front four and lock down on receivers to try to stop getting dinked and dunked to death. It just seems that if you can't get pressure without blitzing, you can't stop Rodgers.
You’re absolutely right. Scheme can’t win alone; you have to have players who can execute it. Players, not plays, has long been the mantra of coaches. It’s their way of making their players responsible for the success or failure of the scheme. Players make the plan work, they get the credit for making it work and they must be accountable for its failure. The coach’s job is to give his players a scheme they have the skill to execute. Plays and players go hand in hand, but X's and O's don’t move, only players do.
Dennis from Indianapolis, IN
Would you give us your picks-for-players talk as it pertains to the Oakland/Cincinnati trade of Carson Palmer? Are we correct in thinking Oakland gave up too much and Cincinnati made out very well?
Picks, not players; that’s the philosophy of draft-and-develop people, and I am a dyed-in-the-wool draft-and-develop guy. That doesn’t mean you can’t execute a pick-for-player trade every now and then, it’s just that you better keep them to a minimum and be vigilant about guarding your draft picks because they are the lifeblood of a draft-and-develop football team; it’s how you keep your team young. Having said that, I can think of a few player trades that worked for the teams that got the player: Brett Favre was certainly a good acquisition, and Jerome Bettis and Matt Schaub were certainly worth second-round picks. There are, however, far more player trades that devastated franchises, and I gotta believe that Mike Brown is a very happy man this week. I would be.
Dave from Richmond, MO
The Carson Palmer trade reminded me that the Packers received a draft pick from the Jets in exchange for the rights to Brett Favre. Who did the Packers select with that pick?
It was one of three picks sent to the Patriots to move up and select Clay Matthews.
Alex from Sturgeon Bay, WI
Now that we know Christian Ponder is starting for the Vikings, how many carries do you expect Adrian Peterson to get?
It depends on the score of the game. If the Vikings defense can keep the Packers from getting a big lead early in the game, the Vikings can pound away with Peterson, which is what I’m sure everyone expects the Vikings want to do. The Packers offense, however, can change that game plan and decrease Peterson’s carries by getting a big lead. That would force Ponder to do more, and I don’t think that’s what the Vikings want to happen. The Packers win with Aaron Rodgers. Clearly, he’s the engine that drives this team. He tilts the field so dramatically that he impacts both sides of the ball.
Bart from San Diego, CA
I finally get the problem I'm having with your position of it's only about the win. It conflicts with the Lombardiism about chasing perfection and achieving excellence in the process. A lot of people give their best effort at work every day. Should we expect less from our team? I desire to see an effort to run every play as perfectly as possible. It's a waste of time watching people perform at a sub-optimal level at anything. That is the mindset of us who are being entertained. Yes?
I like to watch. I demand nothing. I just watch.
Walt from Peoria, IL
What number worn by quarterbacks has the most Super Bowl wins? Seems like number 12 might be high on the list.
Here’s a list of Super Bowl MVPs that wore the number 12: Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw (2), Tom Brady (3) and Aaron Rodgers. I’m not sure what the answer to your question is, but I suspect that it might be the number 12.
Scott from Minneapolis, MN
Your answer about matching up the 1978 Steelers against the 2011 Packers got me thinking. Do you think athleticism has increased on an individual level? Do you think skill players from decades past could still compete in the league today?
Scott, I suspect you’re a young fan and I understand that it’s difficult to appreciate what you’ve never seen, but this is a question that always bothers me because it’s so disrespectful of the talents of the men who pioneered this game. Read a little on Jim Thorpe. The guy was an Olympic gold medalist and a major league ballplayer. Do you think he had some athletic skill? Don Hutson could’ve played in any era and been a star. My question is, could Jerry Rice have done in Don Hutson’s time what Hutson did, which is to say be both a great receiver and a great defensive back? I’m sure Hutson could’ve played now; could Rice play then? Joe Greene is the greatest defensive lineman I have ever seen. I have never seen anyone his size with his quickness, and I have never seen a player as feared as he was. With his movement, Joe would’ve been a better player in today’s game than he was in the ’70s. How about Dave Robinson? He was L.T. before L.T. was L.T. Robinson is as talented as any linebacker that has ever played the game. Until knee surgeries caught up with Joe Namath, he was as mobile as Cam Newton. What would Namath’s career been like had he not been subjected to all of those unnecessary knee surgeries? Gale Sayers? Jim Brown? Are you kidding me? Aside from arguably being the greatest football player of all-time, Brown is without a doubt the greatest lacrosse player of all-time. He made them change the rules. Please, for your sake, study the history of professional football and the men who pioneered it. Don’t restrict your appreciation for the game by believing that everything today is better than everything yesterday.
Dennis from Sheboygan, WI
Being a pro athlete in any sport is now a year-round job. Do you think the increase in muscle injuries such as hamstrings, groins, pectorals and biceps can be somewhat attributed to today's athlete being over-trained?
I don’t know the answer to that question. I knew a strength coach whose philosophy was to do the least necessary, which was his way of saying don’t wear out the body on anything but playing the game. So, it’s a question people in the business are asking and exploring. I think we might get some answers to the question because the spring regimens are going to be reduced. We’ll see.
Nick from Conneaut, OH
I was just curious if you like games in domes. I love outdoor football and love the weather games, but there are points in the season when I do like the venue change and it’s pretty cool to see us play a game in the dome. Do you prefer all football games be outside or do you like the change of pace?
I prefer football be played outdoors.
Jesse from Sun Prairie, WI
I remember weeks ago, maybe even a month or two ago, a question asking about great teams and their identities and what was this Packers team’s identity. I believe you suggested the back shoulder-fade throw. I've given it a lot of thought; if you want to go with one play, I think I'd go with the roll out the Packers do. Over the past couple of years, it seems almost every time the Packers roll out of the pocket, Aaron hits a home run.
Sorry, that’s “sprint right option” and it belongs to the 49ers. Paul Hackett was Bill Walsh’s quarterbacks coach and Hackett, no doubt, passed the play on down to Mike McCarthy.
Kevin from Tempe, AZ
I have to ponder the Vikings’ decision to start Christian Ponder this week against arguably one of the league's best defenses. McNabb can still play and there is no doubt he gives the Vikings a better chance to win against the best team in the league.
Forget all of that best-chance-to-win stuff. I hate even having to write it. Here’s the truth: When you draft a quarterback in the first round, it’s not if, it’s when, and the Vikings have reached the point of when. It’s time to start doing what they have to do, which is to begin developing their quarterback of the future.
Danny from Jacksonville, AR
I don't have any numbers to back this up, but it seems to me that offenses across the league were scoring less often in Weeks 4-6 than in Weeks 1-3. Do you think this is because of the lockout or new player-practice rules, or does this trend of better defense as the season progresses occur every year?
Scores tend to flatten as the season wears on, pass-defenses begin catching up with scheme-heavy pass-offenses, and the weather starts getting colder, wetter and windier. I used to say that any athletic director that scheduled Brigham Young as an out-of-conference opener better have a good excuse. Why? Because they were going to throw the ball 60 times, your pass-defense wouldn’t be ready for it and your guys’ tongues would be hanging out by the middle of the second quarter. Pass-offense rules the early-season games; run-offense emerges late in the season, just as the Packers’ running game emerged with James Starks late last season. I think the lockout and softened practice regimen also had an impact on the Week 1 and Week 2 games, but what you’re describing is the natural progression of a season.
Jacob from Muskego, WI
After being in the business for as long as you have been, what is the best way you feel, as a fan, to experience the game of football?
Go to the game with friends. Go early, stay late, absorb it all. The last time I did it was a long time ago. I was in college and the guys in the dormitory put together a trip to a game at old Cleveland Stadium. It was cold and wet and wonderful. It’s the kind of day you never forget. I hope to do it again someday.
Eric from Woodbury, MN
With the trade deadline passed, does that mean teams can no longer make any moves with other teams at all? When can they start trading draft picks?
No more trading until the first day of the 2012 league year, which is tentatively scheduled to start at 4 p.m. on March 13.
Ari from Las Vegas, NV
I notice that the Packers have never played outside of the U.S. Is there any chance they would play in the UK or anywhere else where the NFL plays?
They’re not lined up for those games, if you know what I mean. The home teams for the games in London have tended to be teams that struggle to sell tickets. Playing a home game in London reduces that team’s ticket-selling burden and makes season tickets to their games at home more affordable because the season ticket has been reduced by one game. I can’t imagine the Packers would want to relinquish a home game to play in the “International Series,” but they would certainly make the game more attractive from a marketing standpoint, so the chance exists that they might be asked and agree to play in such a game as the visiting team.
Rusty from Rockledge, FL
I love your “Video Ask Vic” segments and watch them every week. This week I really enjoyed the half-eaten apple sitting on your desk while you talked about the Packers-Vikings rivalry.
I get hungry.
George from Scranton, PA
You have talked about statistics a lot in your blog. You have convinced me, an avid fantasy football guy, to care less about the numbers. You have conceded that some numbers do matter, like turnover ratio. I was wondering what you think about the new ESPN show, “Numbers Never Lie.” Do you think they will uncover the fact that some numbers do, in fact, lie and what will the impact be on us fantasy guys from the show?
I think ESPN is doing the same thing I’m doing, which is to say shamelessly preying on this mind-numbing fascination for statistics, for the purpose of driving viewership and readership. What will be the impact? The numbness will increase.
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