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Early announcement all about focus, avoiding distraction

Should the Packers have kept the Bears guessing?


Brandy from Green Bay, WI

Vic, I am in excitement overload right now. How do I get to Sunday faster?

Get it all out, and then come to balance. I think that's essentially why Mike McCarthy wanted to make this announcement to his team as early in the week as possible. The announcement itself can become a distraction. A team needs time to digest it, and I think that also goes for the fan base and the media, because they create an atmosphere in which the players must function. Calm is the best atmosphere for preparation.

Brian from Tampa, FL

Am I the only one who sees irony in the fact that Rodgers went out vs. the Bears and is coming back vs. the Bears?

Root for the story.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, let's say the Packers-Bears game this Sunday is going to be turned into a Hollywood movie. How would you write the script?

On the final play of the game, with the Bears leading by four points and Rodgers favoring his left shoulder, he tells Mike McCarthy, "Pick me out a good one, Mike." Coach McCarthy tells Rodgers to run "Spider Y2 Banana," which is that trick play I've been telling you about. Rodgers drops back to pass and then launches a pass high into the air. It floats through the night, spiraling back toward Earth, where it falls softly into Randall Cobb's waiting hands as he crosses the goal line. The columns at Soldier Field fall and the stadium lights explode, and there is great joy in Packerland and despair in Bearsville, but back up the field a yellow flag rests on the brown, frozen ground. All eyes look at it, and a great silence comes over the land. You'll have to go see the movie to find out how it ends.


Mel Tucker

Jacoby from La Crosse, WI

Vic, Mel Tucker must be freaking out right now. Your premonition is freaking me out.

It just hit me. Now I know why Mel was angry at me. I can hear him saying, "Really, you had to bring him back for this game? He couldn't have missed one more game?"

Chris from Andrews, TX

Vic, do you change the game plan now that Rodgers is back?

You can open the playbook a little more to include things that, frankly, we wouldn't even notice. I'm talking about things such as protection schemes. The pick-six Matt Flynn threw in the game against the Steelers was the result of a protection scheme with which Flynn wasn't real familiar. Rodgers is very familiar with it.

Drew from Madison, WI

I am grateful for a 17th week of meaningful football. I am hopeful for the most dramatic story a football season has ever told.

This is my second one of these. I covered Terry Bradshaw's final game. It was also the last football game played at Shea Stadium. It was late in the season and the playoffs were on the line, and Bradshaw decided to make a return after having been out all season due to arm surgery. It is one of the most dramatic events I have ever covered and it was a week-long saga that began with a magical myna bird sitting on Bradshaw's right arm, and ended with Bradshaw pitching wobbly touchdown passes to complete each of the first two drives of the game. At that point, he left the game and never played another down. This is different but just as dramatic. I love this stuff.

Alex from Orange, CA

It looks like the weather is for snow in Chicago. Could this be the white Christmas we were all hoping for? I think it just might be.

The Steelers game wasn't white enough for you?

Jay from Oakton, VA

Just hit, just run, just block and just tackle. It's still all they need to do, right?

We're going back in time this Sunday. We're going back to a simpler time, when men were men and football was first and foremost a running game.

Cody from Van Horne, IA

A good scheme needs great players and great players need a good scheme. Neither can thrive without the other. Is that safe to say?

Yes, but players are more important than schemes.

Patterson from Lynchburg, VA

Vic, from an article on ESPN, "The biggest surprise in the return of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Packers' starting lineup is that Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn't look happier announcing it." I have to agree with this statement. McCarthy looked and sounded run down. Do you think this past month has been an emotional drain on him? How does he put on his game face every Sunday so that his players will follow suit?

He has a terrible cold. He's not the only one. The Steelers were flu carriers. That's why Jarvis Jones missed the game. Once upon a time, press conferences were for providing information. That was before TV started covering them live, which turned them into entertainment. When I first started doing this, I didn't care if a coach had a cold. All I wanted was some information on the upcoming game and a few quotes to help dress up the story. Now, coaches are judged by their performance in press conferences. We're at the point that coaches are hired, to a degree, based on how they perform in press conferences. I don't like it, but it is what it is. Makeup!

Mark from Kingsford, MI

Vic, shouldn't you be warning Packer fans not to count their chickens until they hatch?

The euphoria for Aaron Rodgers' return will start to wear off today. By tomorrow, we'll be in full angst.

Nate from Rhinelander, WI

Vic, your comments about wanting more teams to make it to the playoffs so that getting to the Super Bowl is harder are misguided. Get in touch with your high school probability and statistics teacher if you want the details, but the bottom line is this: There are 32 teams in the NFL. Even if all 32 teams made the playoffs, only two go to the big dance. If they wanted to make the Super Bowl harder to get to, they would have to add more teams.

That's a big pile of baloney, and you can tell your high school probability and statistics teacher I said so. Ask any coach if he'd rather play two playoff games or three? Stats are baloney. Somebody invented them so they could lie to us. I know what the truth is and the truth is having to win two playoff games to get to the Super Bowl is an easier route to the big game than having to win three playoff games to get there. You're lucky I don't ban you for this insanity.

Jacob from Villa Hills, KY

Look out?

If it's gonna happen, this is the time to make it happen. Don't save look out for the prom.


Tommy Lasorda

Mike from Wauwatosa, WI

Vic, what are your early thoughts on the upcoming 2014 NFL draft?

What are my thoughts on the NFL draft? What do you think my thoughts are on the NFL draft? Put that in. I don't care. What are my thoughts on the NFL draft? We're two days away from the biggest game of the year and you ask me what my thoughts are on the NFL draft? The NFC North title is on the line. What do you mean what are my thoughts on the NFL draft? How can you ask me a question like that? I'm about to go to Chicago to cover the biggest game of the year and you ask me what are my thoughts on the NFL draft?

Bret from Port Angeles, WA

What is Randall Cobb's status for playing this week?

We'll find out later today when the official injury report designations are announced, but I have a feeling the Packers have just recovered another one of their wounded weapons.

Paul from Amelia Island, FL

I envision this matchup as a classic trip into Solider Field; light snow on the turf with an ugly field as the game goes on, and seeing every breath coming out of the helmets of the players in a good old-fashioned black-and-blue, run-the-ball (game) with the Packers emerging victorious as the NFC North champions. I'm so excited!

Come to balance, Paul.

Paul from Raymore, MO

Vic, why did the Packers have to announce "The Man" is back for sure? I have to agree with Teddy Bruschi when he talked about the Cowboys not being sure until late in the week or game time. Teddy's point was why not keep them guessing as long as you can? My wife asked me this and I think she's right. She usually is.

Tell your wife there are two trains of thought on this subject: 1.) You can keep the opponent guessing, and that's good for distracting them. 2.) You can keep your own fans and media guessing, which might create a distraction for your team. Even though your players know who the starting quarterback is, you don't want your team having to face media questions all week about who's going to play quarterback on Sunday. Somebody will likely spill the beans and then you've got a full-blown distraction. Mike McCarthy wanted to achieve focus. I can't argue with that approach.

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