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We're looking too deep

Posted Oct 12, 2012

Kevin from New Brunswick, Canada

Vic, in your opinion, how much are the Packers missing Bishop on the inside? D.J. Smith is a solid young player but do you notice a significant drop off?

They miss Bishop; sure they do. He was one of the Packers’ two best pass rushers last season, and I think that’s where they especially miss him. Smith is learning his craft and he’s making plays. In the Colts game, he was the Packers’ second-leading tackler, and he had a sack, a tackle for a loss, two quarterback hurries and a pass-defensed. He nearly made a scoop-and-run fumble recovery, too. He might’ve been the Packers’ most active player. Do you see what’s happening here? In Bishop’s absence, the Packers are building young depth.

Wesley from Andover, KS

Someone asked about the Packers having swagger and you paired it with cockiness. I don’t believe that’s a correct way to look at it. Swagger is more along the lines of how you carry yourself. You can be humble and still have swagger. You can know you'll come in and open a can of you know what and not have to say a word about it. It’s just how you appear to carry yourself to everyone else. I believe the Packers do have and always will have good swagger because of the history and winning mentality.

I didn’t open a can of you know what, I opened a thesaurus and it said boastfulness, arrogance, bluster and conceit are synonyms of swagger. Webster’s makes no mention of humility. I’ll need to be informed in the future of revisions to the English language to accommodate the new double-chinstrap-pull football culture.

Donald from Melbourne, FL

I read regarding the Nick Perry hit on Andrew Luck that Nick was fined because he used the crown of his helmet and that is now illegal. Is this correct?

I think that’s it. I don’t know what he could’ve done differently, but I’m sure whoever gets his fine money will be grateful.

Mike from McHenry, IL

I always agree with you when you try to get people to relax and remember it’s only a game. I generally get passionate during the game and often get worked up in one way or another. When it's over, I calm down, maybe a little happy or sad for an hour or two, then it's time to move on. I'm marrying a Bears fan next week, and without that attitude we never would have come this far. People need to remember, there’s nothing we can do about any of it; no point in dwelling on it.

Hey, that’s great, but don’t go blaming any of this on me now. You know what I mean? I mean, I’m just a guy trying to get by. You’re on your own now, Mike.

Ken from Naperville, IL

Vic, Mike McCarthy recently said the team wasn't practicing well and Aaron questioned the professionalism of the rookies during practice. What's going on?

Coach McCarthy said the team practiced real, real well on Thursday. I had no doubt practices would improve this week.

Sarah from Bloomington, IN

I feel as though the media is blowing this into a crisis situation. We are five games in and only one is a division game.

Blame the media? You wanna take a look at my inbox, Sarah? By the way, it was very nice meeting you at the “Packers Everywhere” pep rally in Indianapolis.

Mark from Cleveland, OH

Vic, I just read the NFL article informing us Nick Perry was fined for his hit on Andrew Luck. I can understand how the play looked in real time, but I cannot find anything wrong with it. Is there some part of the rule I do not understand?

I don’t understand it, either, but the league said Perry definitely did a bad thing, and apparently it involved his head, so I’m starting to think that scouting departments need to become proactive in adapting to the new rules of the game. I think scouts need to start looking for defensive players that have small heads.

Guy from Prattville, AL

Are the Packers tough enough? I know you covered the Steelers of the ’70s. If they had a five-point lead with four minutes left in the game, that game was over. A team was not going to drive 80 yards for the winning score, and everyone in the stadium knew it.

This is a different game. Mel Blount couldn’t play today the way he played then; they changed the rule because of him. Joe Greene couldn’t spike quarterbacks today the way he did then; he’d be ejected. Jack Lambert complained back then about the league putting “skirts on the quarterback.” By comparison, today’s quarterbacks are wearing prom dresses. Glen Edwards hit John Gilliam’s head so hard on a pass over the middle in Super Bowl IX that when the ball popped several feet into the air, I thought it was Gilliam’s head. No penalty was called. L.C. Greenwood couldn’t use his head slap today. By and large, the physical intimidation with which that team played the game has been eliminated from the game and, given the new rules, I doubt that defense, which allowed only 28 points in a nine-game stretch in 1976, could stop anybody today. The degree to which defenses have been handcuffed by the rules of today’s game is extreme. If the old-timers were brought back to life and told what they wouldn’t be allowed to do in today’s game, they wouldn’t believe it. It’s never been more difficult to play defense in the NFL.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

Vic, who makes the decision whether the retractable roof of a stadium should be open or closed for a game? Will the Packers have a say about it on Sunday? Would having it closed suit the Texans more for noise value alone?

It’s the Texans’ decision and more noise would favor their cause, but I’ve been in that building when the roof was open and I didn’t detect much difference in the noise. It’s loud, open or closed.

Brett from Saint Cloud, MN

It's time for the big-time players on this team to start making the big-time plays in crunch time, if we want to start winning these close games and turn this season around.

It’s always that way.

Eli from Boston, MA

I had ESPN on for a few minutes and thought of you. They were picking their top four wide receivers of all time and Don Hutson wasn't even mentioned. Keyshawn Johnson said, “If I can't remember you playing, it don't mean nothing to me.”

At that point, I would’ve switched the channel. I wouldn’t waste my time considering the opinion of a man with such limited knowledge.

Stacy from Fayetteville, NC

Vic, according to Aaron Rodgers, he doesn't know why he's not as accurate, etc., and not getting the same results this year as last year with the same amount of work and time put in. I would say you don't want growing frustration and shrinking confidence. Tom Clements isn't playing the role he has in the past, and I'm not sure this new coach is getting the job done or pushing the right buttons with Aaron. Can they make some modifications?

You’re reaching, Stacy. This is Mike McCarthy’s offense, he’s its play-caller and Aaron Rodgers is its playmaker. None of that has changed. Everyone is trying to find a reason the Packers are struggling, but I think we’re looking too deep. I think the answer is obvious: The open spaces of last season have tightened.

Casper from Odense, Denmark

You say there’s no panic in the hallways of Lambeau, only in the fan base. As a fan, I am panicking a bit. Wouldn't it be useful for the Packers to panic just a little bit? It might get them up in a higher gear and make them play with a little more sense of urgency.

Would it make you feel better if they panicked? If in a media interview Charles Woodson broke down and said we have to win this game or we’re done, would that give you a greater sense of confidence in this team? Is that the one heartbeat kind of moment this team took with it to Super Bowl XLV? Don’t panic, Casper. It makes us feel bad about ourselves when order is restored and we realize we didn’t have the strength to endure the wait.

Amit from Bottineau, ND

What do you think about Mason Crosby's response about the missed field goal? He said the kick was “weird.” I guess I have never heard that from a kicker before and I was wondering what your opinion was and if you know what he is trying to say.

I think he was looking for words to explain the reaction of a ball he probably didn’t think he hit that badly. I’m sure he’s reviewed the kick several times since then and has a strong understanding of why the ball did what it did. My guess is he came over the top of the ball a little bit, which is something a golfer or kicker does when they’re trying to get a little extra into the shot or kick.

Matthew from Maffra, Australia

I see a lot of comments that Capers’ defense has been figured out. What are your thoughts on this opinion?

Have they figured out Dick LeBeau’s defense, too? In all of their losses, the defense was handed a lead and lost it. Is LeBeau to blame, or is it possible his defense has gotten old and is in the midst of change? How about the Texans’ defense? Wade Phillips’ defense is basically the same as LeBeau’s and Capers’. Phillips is using the same blitzes and principles he used when he was the coach of the Bills. Why didn’t it work then but it’s working now? What changed? Is he a better coach, or does he have better players?

Jim from Sioux Falls, SD

I heard Brian Billick say he thinks the Packers are going to be okay, but he thinks we may have underestimated the change with having Jeff Saturday at center. He said this is an important position and that it takes time for the line to coalesce with a new center. What do you think?

I think Billick is a skilled evaluator of talent and an outstanding scheme analyst, and I have no doubt that what he’s saying is the truth but, again, I think we’re looking too deep. I think the Packers’ problems are being overanalyzed. The Packers’ troubles didn’t begin this season. They began in Kansas City late last season, and Saturday wasn’t on this team then. Go back to the Kansas City game. Ask yourself, what changed?

Jacob from Green Bay, WI

If the Packers lose to the Texans, do you think the season is over? How many 2-4 teams have made the playoffs?

No, I don’t think the season will be over, and I don’t care how many 2-4 teams never made it to the Super Bowl or whatever. No team had ever won the Super Bowl that had to play three playoff games on the road, but we’ve had three teams do just that since 2005. October isn’t going to decide this season. Yeah, each loss will dig the hole a little deeper, but the fate of this season is going to be decided in November and December, in the division-games part of the season. So, Jacob, am I going to see you at the “Packers Everywhere Pep Rally” in Houston?

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