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Inbox: It never took hold this year

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Tony from Eau Claire, WI

Will Mike and Wes still be writing the II on Monday morning? Change like this scares me and makes me question everything.

I’m still here. So is Wes. So is the column. Thanks for your interest.

Keith from Yorktown, VA

Thanks coach, but I think we can all agree it had to happen.

This isn’t all on McCarthy. Not by a longshot. But it’s how things work. I sensed after the Packers were dominated in the second half by the Vikings last week, with so much at stake, that recovery would be an awfully tall order. I didn’t foresee a loss on Sunday, but to play like that, at home, against one of the worst teams in the league, all bets were off. It’s not typical for it to happen this way here, but another offseason of significant change will soon be upon us.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

The wolves have been howling for McCarthy's head for a while now and, while I agree that a coaching change seemed to be necessary, it's still sad to see McCarthy go out this way. In an emotional moment, let's seek objectivity. What's the benefit of firing McCarthy now rather than having him finish out the season?

So you don’t lose any more time looking for the next coach. It’s really that simple. This spares McCarthy a month of rumors and uncomfortable questions, and it’s just better for both parties. If the decision has been made, finishing out the season would seem ceremonial. There’s something less-than-dignified about that with an ultra-competitive individual like McCarthy.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Two end-around/jet-sweep type plays this week, and it was still refreshing to see, but being that McCarthy is now out tells me that the play-calling was out of desperation. He needed a win for his team and his career and he gave it all he had. Just my opinion. He had a great tenure with the Packers and helped bring Super Bowl XLV and we all should appreciate what he brought.

Without a doubt. The McCarthy era should be viewed with respect and fondness. He won a lot of games here, including a title. I thought he showed immense leadership under some incredibly tough circumstances during the last dozen years. I know some fans never forgave him for Seattle four years ago. That’s their prerogative. I have a ton of respect for the coach and the man, as many others do. But this is the business, and I don’t expect him to be unemployed for long. Something was clearly off this year, and he wasn’t able to get it back on track like he had during difficult times in the past. The Packers showed some signs, here and there, of finding it, but it never took hold this year.

Jen from Poplar Grove, IL

So, in the wake of this huge news, will the Packers head-coaching position be the most sought-after job in the NFL this year? A HOF QB already signed for the rest of his career. How often does a job like this happen?

Dan Reeves, Broncos, John Elway is the first similar situation that comes to mind, though I don’t recall all the details surrounding that one.

Cris from Sachse, TX

Thanks for everything, Mike! Now where can I submit my resume? I'm really good at Madden.

There’s one in every crowd.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

I’m sad.

Many are, many aren’t. No matter the opinion, it’s the end of an era, and a very memorable, successful one. Would a lot of fans have traded a few playoff appearances for another title? Sure. But bargains are not part of the process. McCarthy gave it everything he had with the team he was handed every year, and the Packers played a lot of exciting, December and January football on his watch. Those who know me know I’m a just-get-in-and-roll-the-dice guy, because I think that’s the only way to approach it, and McCarthy did that far more often than not. That’s what I’ll remember, not how countless factors produced an unraveling in the end.

Jon from Fort Lauderdale, FL

So...now that it finally happened are you finally able to speculate on who the next head coach will be?

I honestly don’t know who it might be. I would think with Rodgers, a head coach with an offensive background would be the direction, but I want to hear what Mark Murphy has to say in the auditorium later today.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

Mike, does losing when the other results favor the Packers fit the identity of the team: self-inflicted wounds?

Pretty much.

Dan from Toledo, OH

I’m not even mad, I’m just disappointed. How far this team has fallen since the win at Dallas last year. Hopefully another strong draft and good offseason is ahead of us and we can be the next version of the current New Orleans Saints. It’s just too bad December football will have no intrigue for a second straight season.

It’s immensely disappointing. No way else to say it. There are low points in a season, and then there’s a loss like Sunday’s. The Saints stuck with Payton, the Packers decided to move on. When the frustrating losses keep piling up and none of them becomes the impetus for any kind of turnaround, but you actually fall further from past standards, it’s natural to question what you’re hanging onto. I expect major change with the roster in the coming months as well.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

Well, I thought this over the last couple or so weeks, that the various inexplicable mistakes (fumbled punt, return of kickoff, fumble at the end of a game, failure to go for it on fourth, epic place-kicking failure, and other events like Fitzgerald's catch) by individuals who never seem to make such mistakes resulting in lost games by one score or close to it, is some kind of karma or weird thing going on that borders on being mystical. I wonder what the end result or greater purpose of this is.

I guess we’ll find out. The season began with the Bears dropping a sure pick with the game on the line and giving up the game-winning TD. The season effectively ended Sunday with the Packers dropping a sure pick and giving up the game-winning points the other way. It’s nothing mystical. It’s the NFL. It’s hard enough to win without letting the games that are handed to you get away.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

The Packers have only scored once in the second half for three games in a row now, putting up a combined total of 13 points. That’s a recipe for disaster and is exactly what’s been served.

I thought the Packers put together seven pretty solid quarters of football in a row coming out of the bye week. It should have pointed toward bigger and better things. But instead, the inability to finish games down the stretch became getting routinely outplayed in the second half, mainly on one side of the ball but not exclusively.

Aaron from West Salem, WI

When is the last time an elite quarterback led his team to a losing record? I can't understand why Rodgers continues to get a free pass. We've got plenty of problems and Rodgers’ play is one of them, it's time to acknowledge that fact.

If you think I’ve given Rodgers a free pass and haven’t acknowledged his poor play at times you obviously haven’t read anything I’ve written this season.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Spoff and Wes sitting side by side critiquing ball spots on Thursday nights? Now I’ve heard everything.

It’s only on Thursday night once a year.

Charlie from Cameron, NC

I started thinking about past conversations about the spike in hits your analytics show. My question is in reference to said analytics, is the Inbox the biggest thing on the Packers’ website? Tooting your own horn is okay because you are tooting all of ours too! Are we the biggest thing on this site (see how I spelled it)?

There are other items that get more clicks, depending on the news surrounding the team. But I would say each Inbox posting generally falls among the top 12-15 articles clicked on during any given week.

Ben from Polk City, IA

Mike, I should have clarified I thought those defensive stats were "funny" because of the offensive explosion this year. League-wide QB ratings are up and points per game are up. Last year 15 QBs had a rating above 90. So far this year there are 23. I think we will need to re-evaluate what it means to be a "good" defense as the game continues to favor offense. More weight might need to be put on turnovers and red-zone percentage than before.

I think we’re on the same page. For as precarious as defense can be in the NFL, look no further than the Packers’ unit on Sunday, which was pretty solid for 2½ quarters and then suddenly started giving up huge chunk plays to the worst offense in the league. Five gains of 23 yards or more in the second half. It changed in a hurry.

Trent from Red Wing, MN

Do the two of you ever get time to read outside articles from other media outlets? If so, do you enjoy correlating the questions on here to the specific articles by those other outlets? “Oh, I see someone has been reading ESPN today!” I can usually pick out who’s been reading or watching those specific ones.

I read just about everything out there about the Packers from credible media outlets that have a consistent presence on the beat, so yes, it’s very easy to decipher what generates certain questions.

Robert from Glasgow, DE

Insiders: I have been a strong supporter of TT and MM. TT is getting flak even as he is going into the Packers Hall of Fame. Besides his greatest move of drafting Rodgers, in the face of Favre mania, I think his next greatest move was hiring MM. I always thought a great article would be how TT found and the process of his analysis in hiring MM. At the time, MM was an OC, but was basically a no name in the head coach hunt. TT's decision is worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Drafting Rodgers and hiring McCarthy are the legacy-defining moves for Thompson, along with trusting the head coach he hired when told the QB was ready in 2008.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Mike, I enjoyed your piece on Fitzgerald. The NFL could use more men like him playing the game. My son told me that Fitzgerald has more tackles in his career than drops. Is that true?

I don’t know, but if it is, it’s maybe the greatest stat ever, and says so much about Fitzgerald’s career, when you really think about it. He should have been forced to make another tackle Sunday. Instead, one snap later, he was making the play of the game.

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

With more high-profile cases of NFL players physically abusing women, does it suggest incipient mental damage that is beginning to manifest itself? Is there no way to assess the damage before it gets too late? Many of these players have been getting head hits since they were in Pee Wee football. It seems there must be an accumulative threshold which triggers the "blast." Is the NFL sponsoring research to look for any analytical clues?

I’m not putting this on the game unless there’s a definitive study showing a higher rate of domestic violence among NFL players compared to the general population. I’m not aware of any such data.

Matthew from Laurel, MD

To be clear, Hunt's actions are indefensible, but I'd like to see teams like the Chiefs suspend players rather than release them. Why? A parent can't throw away a child when they make a mistake. You need to punish them while also helping them grow as a person and to learn from their mistakes. Hunt is just 23 years old. I don't necessarily disagree with the Chiefs’ decision, but I think teams should stop and think if there is something more constructive than kicking a player to the street.

I don’t hold it against any NFL franchise that’s not interested in the parenting business.

Jim from Chelsea, WI

This is my first time voting for Pro Bowl players. I'll never do it again. I spent four hours doing it because the only team I know or care to know about is the Packers. I think fan voting is stupid, you aren't going to get the players who played the best. I think people who earn a living in pro football should do the voting. What do you think?

I see no egregious harm in letting fans own one-third of the selection process. I don’t get too worked up regardless.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

It’s been brought up a little, but even though his stats aren’t terrible Crosby has had some key misses where obviously the game could’ve turned out differently. Here’s to hoping he can get back on track during clutch moments.

He needs to. It’s been a tough year for him. He bounced back after Detroit, and I have no doubt he will again. A game-tying or game-winning kick sometime during this final month would be good to see before the year is out.

Tucker from Temple, TX

Saw on Twitter a Viking fan saying, “How this team starts so slow on the road every week astounds me. Also, Cook is a top RB in the league. WHY IS HE NOT GETTING MORE TOUCHES!?” So I guess it happens everywhere.

Of course it does. Green Bay fans can be different, but they’re not that different.

Austin from London, England

But what does it all mean, Basil?

From across the pond, no less. Stay tuned.

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