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There's a message in longevity of coaches

It's time to develop that hard outer shell


Brandon from Morris, IL

It seems like the writers of most questions you receive have already accepted defeat, yet, they are still angered by it. Why?

That's Helen Dorsett. She can't help herself.

George from Manassas, VA

Vic, hope to see you at the pep rally. Hope to come with my wife and son in our shareholder shirts. I'll be the one with the canes and back brace (surgery Dec. 11), so don't know if I can make it or for how long. Couldn't say thanks at training camp, so hope I can Saturday.

The pep rally begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Clarendon Grill, 1101 N. Highland St., Arlington, VA, 22201. Please stop and say hello.

True from Greenville, SC

I've never been to a Packers pep rally. What is it like?

It's wonderful. It's a gathering of people connected by their love for the Packers. They arrive as strangers; they leave as friends. The gathering in Arizona was magical. I have memories of last year's pep rally in Tampa, and the one in Chicago when a car pulled up next to me and out stepped Gale Sayers. My greatest fear is one day I'm going to wake up and I'll be back in the sintering plant.

David from Seattle, WA

Vic, I just finished watching a documentary on Bo Jackson. I've come to the conclusion nobody has ever been as cool as Bo Jackson. Is this a proper conclusion to make?

It seems strange.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

Vic, like many others around the NFL, and especially in Tampa, I'm shocked to wake up to the news Lovie Smith got let go from the Bucs. They were 6-6 a month ago, after such a disastrous year last year, but then had a pretty bad month after that.

The insanity has reached a frightening level. Coach Smith took over a rudderless franchise and gave it direction. He took over a 4-12 team that signed Darrelle Revis, and then lost him after just one year. It was a team that finished last in total offense. Two years later, and in a year in which the Bucs were playing with a rookie quarterback, Coach Smith guided the Bucs to playoff contention and some of the most impressive rankings in the league. With a rookie quarterback, the Bucs were No. 5 in total offense. They were also No. 10 in defense. The future would appear to be bright for the Bucs. What will a coaching change mean to that future? I don't get it. I never will get it. The game I have loved and respected for all my life is changing too rapidly for me to comprehend.

Frank from Yamba, NSW Australia

In 2014, I wrote about the similarities between the Packers' start and that of the Australian Rules team I follow (Sydney Swans!). This year, they were hard hit by injuries and, from afar, I don't think you need to look any further than the Packers' injuries to explain their year. With 17 on the injury report and six on injured reserve, we should be happy to be in the playoffs and enjoy the ride as far as we can.

You make sense. I just wish your other favorite team wasn't named Swans.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Who do you like in the other playoff games being played this week?

Chiefs, Bengals and Vikings.

Jeff from Elm Grove, WI

The Packers have been seeing one-high safety often in passing looks. Against the Vikings, James Jones ran straight down the sideline and Aaron Rodgers threw a perfect ball that only Jones could catch, even though the corner was close. Can we expect to see more of this in the playoffs?

Yes, that's my expectation. I think the Packers have to take some shots downfield.

Bob from Bloomington, IL

What percentage of cap space should be unused? I know it rolls over to the next year, but with the cap continuing to grow, if we underspend every year it is like we penalize ourselves. Not saying to overpay the market, but spend what we have.

Every team has a long-term cap strategy. If you know you have some pricey contracts to negotiate in the next couple of years, you'll probably want to save some money from the current cap so you can use it in a future cap. It's not a year-to-year process. It's a many-years process. I promise you, the Packers will spend all of their cap money.

Brian from Strasburg, PA

I am a diehard Packers fan in the heart of Eagles territory. Eagles fans couldn't wait to run Andy Reid out of town. Where are the Eagles now and how is Reid doing?

That's Peggy Lou Baldwin. She does it every time.

Jeremy from Spearfish, SD

Why do they never have Starks and Lacy in on the same plays? Do you think that would be an effective way to cause confusion against defenses?

You could try it for a play here and there, if you thought you could package it in a way to create hesitation in the defense, but for the most part it's a blockerless backfield that would waste a man on being a decoy. Nearly all of the strategy suggestions I receive from fans involve not having to execute. They're all about deceiving or tricking the opponent in some way. It's time to block and tackle. That's my demand of the Packers this week against the Redskins. Forget about the free plays and the offsides and that kind of stuff. Line up and beat your man. That's what wins in the postseason.

Matt from Kula, HI

If I remember correctly, in 2010 the Packers faced 3-4 weeks of must-win games at the end of the regular season, which sharpened their resolve. This year, due to their fast start, they haven't had a must-win game all season. Until now! Do you think this may have been a factor in their poor performance at the end of this season? If this dynamic can be rekindled, perhaps they'll be able to flip the switch and play desperate now.

I love your theory. I think you might have something. This team's 6-0 start gave it a cushion it lived off through the rest of the season. If the goal is to make it into the postseason, you're right, this team never faced a must-win game. I'm not opposed to fast starts, but I think everybody knows I'm a December guy. December is the month that fires the steel. That's when a team develops its hard outer shell for the playoffs. I hope this week does it.

Dan from Livermore, CA

Vic, finding out you write all of your own questions and then add a fictitious name/city to them would be like the day I found out Santa wasn't real. It would be like the day Jordy Nelson went down with a season-ending knee injury. But it would explain why over the last four years not one of my questions has ever been posted in your column.

I wrote this one, too.

Russell from De Pere, WI

You were quite blessed to have such a wise father, sir!

He would walk into the living room, where I'd be sitting on the couch watching a game on TV, and he'd say, "That making you any money?" Just before he died, I went to visit him. He was sitting in front of the TV watching a football game. I said to him, "That making you any money?" He smiled. I said, "It sure has made me a lot of money, dad."

Bob from Melbourne, Australia

Vic, I sense a battle between two sides of you, the hard-nosed professional guy and the romantic journalist who appreciates the drama of a story. Thus, it's every player playing to maximize his contract, but it's also something happening to players when they don the Green Bay colors.

It's finding romance in being good at what you do. That's why I am not offended in the least by the concept of play for pay. I find it romantic for men to love their jobs enough to dedicate themselves fully to something that will almost certainly cause them bodily harm. That's the human confrontation. God, I love this game.

Jake from Billings, MT

Why are we content with one win in the playoffs?

Because that's all you can win this week, one game. I just want one win. Next week, I'll want one more. Right now, next week doesn't exist.

Tim from Green Bay, WI

Vic, it's getting to the point for me where I can't stand to follow the NFL anymore, with all of these head coaches being fired after just one or two years with a team. Why do people think that amount of time is enough to implement a system and turn a team around?

I guess it's because they don't understand what it takes to win. Let's examine a few of the teams in the playoffs: Mike McCarthy is in his 10th season as Packers coach. Bill Belichick is in his 16th with the Patriots. Marvin Lewis is in his 13th with the Bengals. Mike Tomlin is in his ninth with the Steelers. Pete Carroll is in his sixth with the Seahawks. Ron Rivera is in his fifth with the Panthers. There's a message in those coaches' longevity. The message is: Commitment wins!

Hunter from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Aaron said he's going to bring it. It's put up or shut up this week. Are words like his going to empower this team?

Words? No. Will? Yes. He was using words to give you a glimpse of the will inside him.

Jeremy from Houston, TX

I'm excited Gene Steratore is doing the Packers game. Should I be?

Wow! Gene "Don't Call Me Norton, Ralphie" Steratore and "Hail to the Redskins" all in one day. My ears are excited. Seriously, I think Steratore is the best in the game.

Mike from Chicago, IL

Vic, I don't like all these head coach firings. Where do teams think they will find a better coach?

They don't know. They lack belief in themselves, so they seek belief in others.

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