|WR James Jones|
Sam from Tasmania, Australia
As disappointed as I am that we lost, it's time to turn our attention to the next part of the season. What are your thoughts on the Packers' pending free-agent situation?
Jermichael Finley, Ryan Pickett, Marshall Newhouse, Johnny Jolly, Kahlil Bell, Matt Flynn, Rob Francois, James Starks, Seneca Wallace, C.J. Wilson, Andrew Quarless, Mike Neal, Evan Dietrich-Smith, John Kuhn, James Jones and Sam Shields are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. B.J. Raji's contract is scheduled to void five days after the last game of the Packers' 2013 season, which would be Friday. A huge chunk of the Packers roster has expiring contracts. It's with decisions such as the ones ahead that we get an idea of what the Packers' plans are for the future. Jermichael Finley's injury allowed Quarless to emerge; his value has decidedly risen. Shields played for the contract and won. I suspect his value has also risen sharply. Fans wanna re-sign all of their team's guys and then sign other teams' guys, too, but that's just not realistic. In the salary cap era, you must be willing to let players leave. I suspect we're going to see some significant roster turnover this offseason.
Anthony from Vero Beach, FL
Why are people constantly stating if Green Bay's offense had the ball last they would have won? I saw it as a chance for our defense to step up on the biggest stage of all. Considering Capers and his knowledge and amount of draft picks he has had in two years, would it not be OK to expect more out of this Green Bay defense? And should Capers not be on the hot seat? If not, why?
That defense was in no position to step up at crunch time on Sunday. It was depleted by injury and undermanned. Ask yourself this: How many players on the Packers defense Sunday night would start on the 49ers defense? That's why Dom Capers shouldn't be on the hot seat.
Hayden from Palmerston, New Zealand
Vic, do you foresee much difference in our offensive personnel next year?
The core of the offense is structured and capped to remain intact. Offense built? Check.
Stephen from Cameron Park, CA
Vic, I think Micah Hyde was a really good pick. What do you think about Micah?
I think he'll be a long-term fixture in the secondary, and it wouldn't surprise me if he's moved to safety. He has the kind of ball skills you want in a player who's facing the ball.
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
Why was Lacy or Starks on the bench at such an important point in the game, and Cobb out there at running back? I really think Mike McCarthy botched that whole series. Yes, the 49ers made the plays but, dang, would like to have a do-over with Lacy pounding the ball. Your thoughts?
I'm a pound-the-ball kind of guy, but I'm also trying to come into the 21st century, and when I look at the circumstances surrounding the three-down scenario that capped that drive, I don't have a problem with what the coach did. It was first-and-goal from the 49ers' 9-yard line. You wanna pound the ball against the league's No. 4 run defense? Should there really be an expectation for running the ball into the end zone from 9 yards out with a packed-in, jumbo running formation that would've screamed out, "We're going to run the ball"? That's what happens when you go heavy on the goal line. There's no suspense. When you pound the ball, you bring in two tight ends, send one of them in motion on a wham block and it's big boy on big boy. Nine yards of that? Against the 49ers? If McCarthy had done that, my inbox would be full of fans asking: "Why did McCarthy think he could pound the ball for 9 yards on the No. 4 run defense in the league? No imagination! No creativity!"
Jeremy from Madison, WI
Ever been kissed by a coach during a press conference, Vic?
I get a kick out of Jim Harbaugh. I'll never forget his "I don't have that list in front of me" conference-call answer. That one goes into the conference call Hall of Fame.
Nikhil from New Delhi, India
Vic, I didn't care for the offseason last year. I'm giving it another try to get into it. What is the schedule of the lesser-known events, like the Senior Bowl, that I should be watching out for?
I'll be at the Senior Bowl in two weeks. The key days are Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 20-22. Those are the practices the entire NFL scouting world attends and values the most from the Senior Bowl week. Feb. 17 is the first day for designating franchise and transition players. Feb. 19-25 is the scouting combine in Indianapolis. March 3 is the last day for designating franchise and transition players. March 11 is the day all teams must be under the 2014 salary cap, all 2013 contracts expire, trading and 2014 free agency begin. March 23-26 is the owners meetings in Orlando, at which I expect there will be a few rules changes. April 21 is the day offseason conditioning may begin for teams with returning head coaches. May 8-10 is the 2014 NFL draft.
Hector from Pinellas Park, FL
Do you think Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson should take a look into free agency to bring in some more experienced players?
I absolutely think they should take a look at what's available in free agency. If they find somebody they like at a price they like, sign him. Price is what's most important. If the price isn't right, turn and walk away.
|CB Casey Hayward|
Mitchell from Saint Johns, MI
Vic, the season is over. I'm done being angry about the defense missing opportunities to win the game. That being said, this defense needs major work. How will the organization make this defense something to fear, rather than what it is?
I think the Packers need to add more talent on defense. Am I telling anyone something they didn't already know? There's no quick fix. If I said they need to switch schemes and everything will instantly improve, you should never read another word I write. Oh, everybody would read it; I'd get big views, but it would be a lie. The Packers need a player here and a player there, and they need for Casey Hayward to return to his rookie-year form, and for Jerel Worthy to make a full recovery, and they need Nick Perry and Datone Jones to become the players for which they were drafted. There's my plan. If all of that happens, the Packers will improve on defense.
Craig from Vancouver, WA
We are wasting Rodgers in his prime with a poor defense. Who is organizationally accountable and what changes do you think should be made?
Is this a board meeting? You make it sound so corporate. Get me somebody, and get me somebody while I'm waiting. I want you to walk down the hall to your finance department and ask them which side of the ball is the expensive side. Ask them how much of the money that was spent on defense was on the sideline this past year.
Cory from Green Valley, IL
So the Packers worked on scheme to defend the read option this year, and the coach says the right play was called on the third-and-8 run, even being down linebackers. Do you think you can find some 3-4 linebackers at the Senior Bowl?
I sent Tony Pauline this text this morning: "Is this a good year for linebackers?" This is what he sent back: "Good variety at outside linebacker but weak middle linebacker/inside linebacker."
Dick from Eau Claire, WI
Watching all season, it is time to go to a 4-3 with four 300-pound guys that can push the pocket and contain quarterbacks within it. Trying to convert defensive ends to play outside linebacker doesn't work. They don't have the lateral speed or swivel hips to turn on a dime in pursuit like a pure linebacker that has been doing it for years. What do you think?
I think if you can find four 300-pound guys that can push the pocket and contain quarterbacks within it, it's absolutely time to go to a 4-3. By the way, Aldon Smith was a college defensive end, and I think he has lateral speed and swivel hips to turn on a dime in pursuit, and it's working for the 49ers.
Matthew from Racine, WI
What now? I've been following this team this season very religiously and now I feel empty. I really don't care who wins it all, I just want it to be next season already.
Shift gears. It's time to go to the next phase of the "season," which is talent evaluation. Be a fan of the entire process. Join me at the Senior Bowl. You'll love it.
David from Columbia, MO
Good thing the Miami Dolphins spent all that money on free agents. It helped them improve from 7-9 to 8-8!
The bill on Mike Wallace is going to start coming due this year. His cap number in 2013 was $3.25 million. In '14, he's scheduled to be a $17.25 million cap hit. Here comes the first re-structure. I can hear the faint sound of a train whistle.
Eli from Boston, MA
Enough with this "need the ball one more time" stuff. The two teams had the same number of possessions. The 49ers scored more points with theirs.
I like that attitude.