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You need linchpins for the long haul

There was no lack of commitment


Luke from Lake Delton, WI

In talking about the two most complete teams under Mike McCarthy, you mentioned the 2010 and 2014 teams. I agree, but I definitely think the 2007 squad is also worthy of mentioning.


For sure. Wes was barely out of high school then, so we'll forgive him.**

Bryce from Billings, MT

What are your thoughts on Jimmy Garoppolo? He has yet to lose a game.

He has potentially changed the landscape of the NFC West for years to come.

Dom from Durham, England

If the Vikings were to win (in the early game) Sunday, the Panthers would not be able to get a first-round bye in the playoffs. In the late games, the Panthers would need to beat the Falcons and have the Bucs upset the Saints on the road to clinch their division. Would they consider benching their starters on Sunday in order to prepare for the playoffs?

I think if you still have a chance to win your division and get a home game in the postseason, you have to shoot for that. The Bucs have played every opponent tough down the stretch since Winston came back at QB, and Tampa Bay is actually at home. So that game is no gimme for the Saints, even though I think New Orleans is the best team in the NFC. There's something to be said for playing to keep your division rival out of the playoffs as well. I'll always respect what Lovie Smith and the Bears did in Week 17 of 2010, because making the effort to keep the Packers out became, obviously, the right call.

Ben from Denver, CO

Mike, should I take this one? "I appreciate Wes's optimism in the Inbox yesterday. That said, the Packers need to address the pass rush this offseason. That probably means taking an edge rusher in the first round, as well as a second one by round 4. They cannot go into next season with this same group."

Sounds about right, though I don't get into specific rounds due to the unpredictable nature of who's available as the draft unfolds, and I reserve the right to change the answer based on any activity in free agency. I also would add that my view is looking at such a critical position long-term, not just for 2018. Nothing against Gilbert and Odom personally, but mainstays must be found. Over the years, the Packers have gotten occasional edge-rush impact with bargain investments (Zombo, Walden, So'oto, Moses, Lattimore, Mulumba, Elliott), but they proved to have little staying power in Green Bay. Peppers was a great addition, but we all knew it was temporary. Biegel and Fackrell were drafted where they were to step to the forefront, and time will tell, but to count on the unknown in a make-or-break aspect of the game is too risky for me. Rotational guys have their place, but you need linchpins at that spot for the long haul, and next year will be Matthews' 10th and Perry's seventh in the NFL.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

I don't understand all of the derogatory remarks concerning Clay Matthews. It's a different front seven when he's in the game. DCs still must account for him and I think it allows other guys to make the big play. Perry, for one, always seems to play at a higher level when Matthews is out there.


I totally agree, and it's why the Packers need to find the next Matthews sooner than later.**

Ryan from Littleton, CO

Sorry guys, but posting ridiculous questions/rants and then responding with a sane answer does not make the ridiculous questions/rants stop, it just lets the insane know they're being heard and prioritized. I'm so sorry guys, but you've now lost me as a reader.

Please don't go. I don't think posting the occasional nut job to expose the folly of his thoughts constitutes prioritizing. We must try to teach civil discourse, too.

Leandro from Lexington, KY

I understand that you guys won't be able to discuss the Martellus Bennett situation until the team's dispute with him is settled, but is there some indication or precedent as to when we might expect that process to be resolved and the results announced?

Not that I know of.

Bob from Crystal Lake, IL

Calvin Johnson didn't start the catch mess, he was one of the first to be a victim of the tweaking of the rule. In the 1999 playoff game against the Rams, Bert Emanuel of Tampa Bay dove, clenched the ball with two hands, pulled it against his chest, and fell to the ground. Even though he maintained control to the ground, the tip of the ball touched the ground and was ruled the ground helped make the catch. Incomplete. Let the tweaking of the rule begin. Can of worms, thou art open. Sorry Calvin, sorry Dez, sorry Jesse…

I appreciate your knowledge of history, but I haven't brought up Bert Emanuel because the Emanuel rule worked just fine for a decade on diving catches before Calvin Johnson came along. Now this idea of the catch never being complete if the receiver is going to the ground at any time during the process, even if he initially caught it several feet off the ground as Calvin and Dez did, has made Emanuel a footnote. Where we are now is far beyond just an extension or extrapolation of the Emanuel rule. It's a monster all its own.

Dan from Fort Wayne, IN

Regarding the catch/no catch rules, do you see it being helpful if replays were handled at full speed only? The over-analyzing comes from all the stop-motion, slow-motion and zooming in. If a replay official can't watch a replay at full speed and decide it's a catch or no catch, the play should stand. The confusion enters in when the perceived bobble, flattened buttocks or football move comes into play with the "for the fan" technology. Let's leave that stuff for us and give the officials real-time speed only. Keep up the great work guys, and Happy New Year.

Your suggestion is a popular one, but it's just not practical. You can't let the fans see what really happened in slo-mo and not make some reasonable effort to have the calls match up on the field. We'd have even more controversies on our hands, and the belief that the outcomes are simply not legit. You aren't going to tell the networks paying billions to broadcast the games not to show the HD slo-mo to the viewers at home, so you have to work with it.

Aaron from Herndon, VA

So then, let the NFL hire a group of 50 football fans from various regions of the country (to minimize subjectivity) to watch the game in the "NFL Bar," and when a review is required regarding catch-or-no-catch, the officials call the bar and ask them for a consensus? If it's 50/50, the ruling on the field stands.

In the category of absurd ideas submitted to the Inbox over the catch/replay issue, this one definitely qualifies, and I actually like it.

Tom from Westfield, MA

I think any replay review that lasts longer than 60 seconds should immediately be ruled inconclusive and the call on the field stands. Some of these reviews are talking upwards of three to five minutes it seems. If it's that difficult then it's inconclusive. Agree?

Many do. If the league wants the call on the field to matter, reinstituting the time limit that was tried many moons ago would be a worthwhile do-over of the experiment.

Brandon from St. Paul, MN

There is growing evidence that human growth hormone can help patients with traumatic brain injury. This is new science, so I don't want to jump to conclusions, but for the sake of argument let's assume this is proven to be effective. Should the league consider sacrificing the "integrity" of the game to improve player health?

Wow. At this point, all I will say is I hope this is a debate we get to have, and I will certainly stay tuned.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Hello guys, last year when the Packers lost to the Falcons in the NFC title game, Rodgers was quoted as saying "We need to go all in." Looking at what Ted Thompson did this year in the draft and FA, do you think the Packers went "all in" or were they just victims of bad luck and circumstance?

I believe the effort was there. Perry was re-signed. The Bennett signing didn't work out, the Evans one did. King and Jones didn't have the impact as rookies the Packers needed in the secondary, but that doesn't mean they weren't good picks. The running back position was successfully restocked. Veterans at corner (House) and edge rusher (Brooks) were brought in to address key defensive needs, but they couldn't stay healthy. It all went out the window in a sense when Rodgers went down anyway, but I don't think there was any lack of commitment to give this team what it needed.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Are the Browns the greatest 0-15 (possibly 0-16) team of all-time? I think they're a QB away from being a pretty good team.


The Lions drafted Stafford and went from 0-16 to the playoffs in three years. With the right QB, and with Dorsey calling the shots, the Browns can get there faster than that.**

Keith from Wallace, ID

I have been a fan for over 40 years, through the dark times of the '70s and '80s. I love to read everything Packer-related, it is usually enjoyable. I have had to stop following every Packer-related site online except this one because of the incessant negativity. "Fire TT, fire McCarthy, fire Capers!" I hope the board of directors and Mr. Murphy don't give in to the public pressure. Packer fans used to be the best and most knowledgeable in the league. What happened?

There's a large segment of the fan base that has known nothing but the Favre and Rodgers eras. It creates a sense of entitlement, and while it is disappointing the Packers have won only two Super Bowls (so far) with two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, my honest belief is, that's life. Owens-Owens-Owens, fourth-and-26, the sub-zero OT INT, the facemask-that-wasn't, the Nicks Hail Mary and Osi strip, the leave-your-feet slot blitz, Seattle, and Larry Fitz have produced a long, tough list to swallow, but it doesn't mean everyone should be fired. It's football. What the Packers went through this year is a good time for the reminder that Green Bay had back-to-back years of 8-8 and 9-7 in '99-00, and then 4-12 and 8-8 in '05-06, and the HOF QB Favre didn't miss a game. And please, with these thoughts I'm not advocating for the status quo. I've stated I believe change is coming. I just don't know to what scale and scope. I'm anticipating an active offseason.

Jim from San Antonio, TX

I've seen overreacting online petitions to fire Ted, Dom, or Coach McCarthy after the season. After reading the comments in such petitions, it is clear we really need a petition to make a change where the salary cap applies to all 31 teams in the NFL except the Packers. We need to be able to sign our own, and anyone else's free agents, without the technicalities of a salary cap getting in the way.

Good one.

Jeff from Hagerstown, MD

Everyone talks about "blowing up" the team because of their performance this year. All you have to do is look at the Falcons. They were dominant last year and probably should have won the Super Bowl, yet they may not even make the playoffs either – and they didn't lose their franchise quarterback for even one game. Are they going to blow up their team? Sometimes failure is an option.

No one need apologize for their success nor feel sorry for anyone's shortcomings in this league.

Dennis from Elk Mound, WI

If someone upstairs is watching for possible concussion-causing hits, why isn't the player that delivers the heavy hit ever pulled off the field and checked even when they don't show any physical signs of a concussion? We already know that indicators might not be present, but with the other player being knocked out, we know the force of the hit was hard enough to cause damage.

A valid point that should be part of the league's offseason discussion.

Marion from Oshkosh, WI

What was the exact time that Starr crossed the goal line in the Ice Bowl?

Interesting question. I've read the game began just after 1 p.m. CT, but I've never seen an official box score indicating time of game, or if the league even kept it statistically back then, to try to venture a reasonable guess.

Mike from Winfield, IL

Vic leaves packers.com and we miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Thanks guys.

Vic shows up right after the Super Bowl and the Packers haven't been back. Take your pick.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Big game for Bucky on Saturday night. If they can find a way to beat Miami in Miami's home stadium, I still believe that keeping them out of this year's CFP should forever put an asterisk on this year's championship game. Wisconsin lost one game to a team in the top six, and no other games. How many other teams can say that?


The Badgers have enjoyed a great season, and hopefully it ends with a big bowl victory. But they did not deserve a spot in the CFP. They had a win-to-get-in game and lost it. Simple as that.**

James from Wichita, KS

Is this season a fluke or is this the beginning of a downfall?

Neither. It's the NFL.

Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Nice "Seinfeld" reference, Spoff. Next thing you know you will be handing out temporary Inbox suspensions by saying "No Inbox for you, two weeks!" Happy New Year to you and Wes, and thanks for your even keel through the sometimes rough waters.

How tempting. Happy New Year, everyone.

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