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What's it going to be like in Houston?

Posted Oct 11, 2012


Tou from Eau Claire, WI

Nick Perry got fined? Wasn't taking the sack-fumble away punishment enough? You can't hit the QB's legs, his head and now, apparently, his chest. What's the new proper technique?

If I was the recipient of Nick Perry’s fine money from NFL Charities, I’d call him and offer to give it back.

Andrew from Columbia, MO

You commented that you would like to see Randall Cobb used more like Greg Jennings. I have heard from a few sources that Jennings is an incredible route-runner. Does Cobb have that ability?

I don’t know, but Jennings isn’t running routes now so maybe it’s time to find out.

David from Las Vegas, NV

I would really like to see Green Bay mix up their uniforms. I'm digging the white helmet with a green G outlined in yellow, dark green pants, dark green jerseys. What do you think about a uniform change?

If we put what you’re suggesting to a poll question, packers.com might blow up. In a world that is constantly changing, we need to know a few things won’t change. This is one of them.

Curt from Atlanta, GA

Are there any other philosophers you really enjoy and recommend?

Life is the best philosopher. It gives us new philosophies every day. We try them and keep the ones we like and discard the ones we don’t like. Football is a great exercise in philosophy. We weigh the merits of passing the ball vs. running the ball, for example, and we decide how to blend the two. Some people weight one more than the other, and then we have a clash of philosophies we can observe and from which we can adjust our thinking. In time, we settle on firm beliefs. For example, after years of watching football, from the run-the-ball days to today’s pass-happy era, I’m convinced you can’t win a championship in today’s game without a state-of-the-art passing game, and that means you better have some balance with the running game. Why? Because if you don’t, your quarterback isn’t likely to last into the postseason. I believe very strongly that a strong running game is the best pass-protector.

Peter from Irvine, CA

Vic, am I crazy or are the Packers only two fluke missed field goals and one bad call away from being 4-1, and in their one loss they were in a position to tie in the last minutes. I think they are much better than their record indicates.

There’s a lot of truth to that. My perspective is that the Packers should be 3-2. I can’t count the loss in Indianapolis as a win.

Gabrie from Appleton, WI

Any comments about Alex Karras?

He was a great player, a true symbol of the tough-guy era he represents. More impressively, he was one of the players that helped cast the modern player in a new image. He was an intellectual, a very glib sports commentator and a sensitive and believable actor. He also authored one of my all-time favorite sports book, “Even Big Guys Cry.” Karras was a personality too big to ever die.

Norm from Libertyville, IL

When we rush three and drop eight and they complete a pass, fans say we should blitz. When we rush six and they complete a pass, fans say we should have dropped more into coverage. Why don't fans say we should have covered better or we should have rushed better?

Just win, baby. Then it doesn’t matter what they say. Seriously, I think we got a little too caught up last season in style points. Winning became so routine and so easily achieved that I think Packers fans reordered their priorities. There should only ever be one priority: Win the game. Don’t worry about breakout games and performance levels. That all comes in time. What you have to do in the meantime is win enough games so that when your performance levels reach a peak, you can use them to pursue a championship.

David from Paris, France

Did you catch the edge in McCarthy's voice in that press conference? He got my heart pounding. I'm excited for this one.

You bet I caught it. I caught it in Sunday’s postgame press conference and I especially caught it yesterday. His tone had an edge to it. He was much more direct in each press conference. I’ll give you a couple of examples from yesterday’s press conference. Coach McCarthy was asked about a competition at running back. “There’s no time for competition. We’re going to take the hot hand,” he said. Then he was asked about panic possibly setting in. “I’m not a panicker. I think it’s a punk mentality. I think it’s a loser mentality,” he said. Football is an edge game. As Tom Coughlin once said: “I don’t want guys walking around here with smiles on their faces.” I haven’t seen a lot of smiles this week.

Randy from Cherokee, IA

You have made mention a few times and explained what you mean by this team needing to find its identity. How do they get the swagger back?

I think swagger is a metaphor for winning. I don’t believe cockiness should be a team’s identity. That’s show-off stuff. This team will get its “swagger” back when it discovers a pattern of play on which it can rely to produce victory on a consistent basis. Hopefully, that’ll occur at a point in the season that’ll allow the Packers to ride that identity through the playoffs, because as soon as a team achieves that kind of identity, its competition goes to work in an attempt to defeat it. It’s inevitable that will happen, at which time the pursuit of a new identity will begin. That is the way of this game.

Harsha from Waunakee, WI

Vic, now that Brian Cushing is gone for the season, how should the Packers deal with Watt?

They can chip him, but I’m not real big on that tactic for a couple of reasons: 1.) It takes a receiver out of the route tree or it causes the back to commit to one side and that opens the door to a possible free run at the quarterback from the other side. 2.) If the Packers chip Watt, Wade Phillips will twist and stunt him and then there’ll be a lot of people running across the face of the quarterback, and that’s chaos quarterbacks don’t like. You block him. You have to win the one-on-ones. If it takes two to block one, then you’re leaving yourself undermanned somewhere else, and that’s when a coordinator can pencil-whip you.

Jim from Des Peres, MO

For the past two years, Ted Thompson has chosen not to sign one important semi-star player and the results have been quite negative: Cullen Jenkins in 2011 (no pass rush), Scott Wells in 2012 (loads of sacks against). Is this being penny wise and pound foolish?

Are you really trying to blame 2-3 on not having Scott Wells, who’s on injured reserve, by the way? The Texans lost several key players in free agency, but they’re undefeated. Gary Kubiak spoke yesterday about not being able to keep your guys in the salary cap era, and having to be able to replace key players every year. He talked about the need to be in a constant state of building. The Packers have a general manager who completely understands that philosophy. It’s how you maintain a healthy salary cap and give yourself a chance to be competitive every season, instead of killing your cap and having to go through periods of rebuilding every 4-5 years. If I could impress one thing on fans, it would be that they need to see the big picture. The pursuit of victory can be an intoxicant. The cap is sobering.

John from Superior, WI

If it’s a passing league now, why are the top teams in terms of wins also consistent running teams?

It’s always better to be able to do both, but if you have to pick between the two, you better pick pass because I don’t think you can win a championship in today’s game without a high-end passing attack. The Texans and 49ers have top running games. The Texans also have a passing game to which they can turn, if need be. I’m not sure the 49ers have that. We’ll see. It’s Week 6. No one has won a championship, yet. Let’s revisit this later in the season.

David from Janesville, WI

Vic, as a child in the late '70s, the Packers would lose badly and I'd react with, “Boy, a couple of more touchdowns and we would have had ’em.” Regardless of the outcome, I loved watching and couldn't wait until the next game. Now, I'm afraid I've become completely spoiled by the success of the last few years. How does one re-connect with the simple joy of watching and cheering for your favorite team and stop agonizing over every loss?

A coach I know is fond of saying the more a team wins, the more invested it becomes. I had never heard it put that way before, and I love those words because they are so true. The more we win, the more emotionally invested we become. It’s like the stock market. When your portfolio is looking good, you worry. When it’s in the dumper, who cares what the market does?

Corey from Lake Charles, LA

Hey, Vic, Sunday night will be my first NFL game I've ever attended. I will be sitting in the nosebleeds, but what can I expect? I'm looking forward to watching the Packers deliver the Texans their first loss.

I think you can expect in Reliant Stadium on Sunday the most intense atmosphere at a pro football game in Houston since Dec. 3, 1978. I was in the Astrodome that day, and so was Ted Thompson, who was playing for the Oilers. I’ll never forget the sound those pom-poms made as they swooshed to the strains of that horrible song they played over and over. It was one of the most charged atmospheres I have ever experienced. The noise level was crazy. It felt like it was 90 degrees in that dome. It was also one of the most physical games I’ve ever covered, which came to a head when the Oilers lost Earl Campbell to a torpedo shot in his ribs. Being from the NFC, the Packers don’t know much about the history of pro football in Houston. Fortunately, Thompson does, and he knows this will be a coming-out party for the return of the NFL in Houston. This will be “Luv Ya Blue!” all over again, and the Packers need to be ready for it. Packers fans planning on attending the game in Houston can get ready for it by attending the Packers Everywhere Pep Rally.

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