William from Hong Kong, SAR
Flynn played solid. Perhaps holding the ball a bit long? Does a QB have fewer progressions on a rollout vs. in the pocket?
First of all, I was hugely impressed by Matt Flynn's performance on Sunday. I favored Scott Tolzien in that game because I thought the weather conditions would've favored his strong and accurate deep arm, so I owe Flynn an apology because he played as well as you could expect any quarterback to play in those conditions. I saw him not see a wide open James Jones over the middle early in the game, but that was it. He saw everything after that. He was on his game and if he's the guy in Dallas on Sunday, I think we can all feel better about the Packers' chances after the way Flynn played against the Falcons. As for rollouts, when a quarterback rolls in one direction, he's cutting the field in half. The route tree can account for that by providing two receivers at different depths and running in the same direction as the quarterback, toward the sideline. The 49ers' famous "sprint right option" was pretty much a one-receiver route tree, with the quarterback having the option to run.
Jean from Eagle, AK
When Rodgers is on the sideline, what's going on with his headset? Is he talking to the booth and to the players? How much input does he have down there?
He's listening to the chatter; I don't know if he's participating in the chatter. It's important to remain involved in the process. Mostly, it's important for him to hear the play call being communicated to the quarterback. Hearing that allows him to imagine that call coming to him and how he would react to it and what he might do at the line of scrimmage given that call and what the defense is showing. It allows him to play the game in his head.
Mike from Algoma, WI
It's too bad McCarthy wasn't the fall-on-his-sword guy you say he is. The only answer to "do you regret the play call at the end of the first half?" is yes. I know he was trying to win the game. That's why I cheered the pass plays with seconds to go, and was booing (at home) with the rest of the fans after that foolish run play.
I had to go back and look at the play-by-play to understand what all the fuss in my inbox was about. It didn't register with me that fans were upset with the final play of the first half that resulted in Eddie Lacy sustaining an ankle injury. I'm just not built the way you are, Mike. I have long accepted that it's football and you WILL get hurt. Predicting when it'll happen is impossible. Why does a coach not take a knee on that play? Maybe he doesn't want to send any kind of message of surrender to his team or its fans as the team heads to the locker room trailing 21-10. That's just a guess. I think it's nit-picking to make a big deal out of that play. James Starks played the first two series of the second half. If Eddie Lacy had played those two series, can you guarantee he wouldn't have been injured and lost for the rest of the game? We've gotten to the point that we're questioning every play call that fails. I think we've lost sight of the big picture. Here's my view of the big picture: "It's a scoreboard business. When you win, you're right. When you lose, you're wrong. If you're wrong too often, you've got a problem." The Packers have made the playoffs four consecutive years. They've averaged nearly 12 wins a season during that time and in one of those years they won the Super Bowl. One bad month doesn't qualify as losing.
Thomas from Vienna, Austria
Vic, when looking at the playoff picture as of now, the 8-5 Cardinals would be out and the 7-6 Lions or Bears would be in the playoffs. In the NFC, the fifth- and sixth-seeded teams have a better record than the third- and fourth-seeded teams. Do you think the playoff procedure needs to be changed?
It's fine just as it is. Division races make December what it is. They add flavor. Division races also give the NFL the dash of regionalism it needs. You can become too big. Regionalism has always served college football well, and the NFL needs a little bit of it, too. Sports need an element of quirkiness. Perfection and precision are boring. Plus, scheduling is far from a perfect art. All teams don't play in a climate-controlled dome and all teams don't play all teams. It is what it is and I like it just as it is. Much would be lost if the division races were diminished in any way.
Jessie from Bangor, WI
Vic, if you could have one sure thing for Christmas, what would it be?
After health and happiness for my family, and lots of money for me, of course, I would want the season finale in Chicago to be a win-and-in game.
Mark from Seattle, WA
Vic, why would the Eagles go for a two-point conversion when they had just tied the game with a touchdown?
I guess the snow was too deep for the kickers. Does Madden have snow?
Jim from Crestline, CA
Will the Packers make the playoffs? I want the truth.
The odds are against them. I think that's the truth. I also think that if the Packers win their remaining three games, they'll make it into the playoffs. That's an opinion.
Kenneth from Honolulu, HI
You said in the past that Tony Pauline is the best at evaluating talent. It would be interesting to see how his 2013 draft looked vs. how the players actually panned out. Have you ever tested Pauline's evaluation skill?
I don't know what you mean by his draft, but I'll tell you what he said about the Packers' draft picks. He ticketed Eddie Lacy for the Packers in the first round, before the hamstring stuff dropped Lacy to the second round. Pauline said Lacy was the pounder the Packers needed to close out games. He told me Datone Jones could make the move to Okie end in a 3-4, but the Packers would have to be patient with him because it would likely take Jones time to settle into the position. Pauline loved Micah Hyde and said David Bakhtiari had the athletic ability to play left tackle and was being overlooked because he played in such a forlorn college program. I remember Tony saying Josh Boyd was a value pick but wondered where Boyd would fit in a 3-4. I think if you go back and read some of the draft stuff, you'll be impressed with Tony's work. I always have been. Justin from Watertown, WI
What is the latest on Randall Cobb? I haven't heard anything about him recently. He is on IR and was designated for return. Is it possible we will see him again this year?
He's starting to run and work out, but I didn't get the sense from Mike McCarthy on Monday that Cobb's return is imminent.
Brian from Cumming, GA
Rivalries aside, I am a big fan of Josh McCown and what he has done for the Bears. What do you think the Bears will do at season's end with the Cutler/McCown situation?
I was thoroughly impressed by McCown's performance last night, and by his performance in the game against the Packers. If I were the Bears, I'd let the salary cap make my decision for me.
Thomas from Hoboken, NJ
Pitt's Aaron Donald won the Bronko Nagurski Award last night for top defensive player. Could he play as an interior defensive lineman in the NFL, as he does now, or is he a 4-3 end?
If he wasn't undersized, he'd be a top five pick. Donald has the quickest first step for a defensive tackle I've seen since I can't remember. His highlight reel is eye-popping; he's a human tackle-for-loss machine. If you want your linemen to penetrate and disrupt, Donald's the guy for you, but the 3-4 isn't a penetrate-and-disrupt defense for linemen; that's the linebackers' job. Donald is a perfect fit as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3.
Dana from Las Vegas, NV
Boo, boo, boo. Man, has the world changed. I thought I would never hear the fans boo our own team. I was always proud of the fact that I had never heard our fans boo our team. What has happened to the Packers fans' integrity?
I'm OK with it. The fans pay a lot of money to attend these games. Do whatever helps increase your enjoyment of the game. Understand this, though: The mystique associated with Packers football and its fans is at stake. If you boo, you're no different than the fans of every other team in the league.
James from Wahiawa, HI
Vic, sorry, but could you explain in depth why the Bears winning against other teams doesn't matter?
It could matter, but it's far-fetched to think the Packers could win the division without winning their remaining three games. The point I was trying to make is that 9-6-1 beats 9-7, which is what the two teams' records would be if the Packers won out and the Bears won their next two. In other words, the Packers don't need help against the Bears, they need help against the Lions.
Brandon from Houston, TX
Vic, do you think Marc Trestman's success will bring about more coaches from the CFL?
I would've thought Bud Grant and Marv Levy would've done that.
Christopher from Hudson, WI
What is your fondest memory of Ditka?
He played in the first college football game I ever saw. He and George Sames were the stars of the game. Ditka was so dominant, so absolutely above everybody else on the field that I couldn't take my eyes off him. He played end on both sides of the ball. The game ended in a 7-7 tie.
Scott from Fitchburg, WI
Why do the fans who quit on this Packers team keep coming back to remind us they've given up?
I guess they're lonely.
Christopher from Deer Park, NY
If Lombardi had Rodgers, he would have passed more on first down. Players, not plays.
Not back then. It was a different game. Quarterbacks called their own plays back then, and if Aaron Rodgers had called more pass plays than running plays on first down, he would've found himself on the bench. As Coach Lombardi said, football was first and foremost a running game. While we're on the subject of players, not plays, I haven't received one question about the screen pass Harry Douglas dropped on Sunday. Talk about a great play call? The Falcons caught the Packers in a blitz. That screen pass might've gone the distance, but it went nowhere because Douglas dropped the ball. Great plays fail if players don't make them work.
Steve from Bradenton, FL
Vic, how can a defensive coordinator feel the pulse of his players from the coaches' box?
How can he see the field from the sideline? If I was a defensive coordinator, I'd want to be up in the box, where I can see the field and be alone with my thoughts. The head coach has his finger on the pulse of his team. Hey, whatever it takes. I saw Mel Tucker on the sideline last night. I had always known him to be up in the box. One defense needs its coordinator on the sideline, another one doesn't. When you win, you're right. The Bears won. So did the Packers.