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You're not the only one hurting today

Loss, losing streak will help shine light of evaluation on the problem


Justin from Newark, DE

I'm hurting today, Vic. I know you just watch, but that had to hurt you, too, right?

Sure it does. It hurts because that kind of catastrophic loss isn't fun to write. Fortunately, Mike McCarthy saved the day for me. He helped make it possible to tell the story of that defeat by being forthcoming with information on how it happened and what it means to him and his football team. Coach McCarthy is at his best after a loss, especially a tough loss, and I've found that to be true of championship coaches. Chuck Noll and Tom Coughlin were both at their best following a loss. They helped provide perspective, and the perspective Coach McCarthy provided after yesterday's game was that what happened on that field was embarrassing and unacceptable. The man was suffering in his postgame press conference; they are not admissions a proud man wants to make but they are admissions an honest and dedicated man makes. I'll also tell you this about Coach McCarthy: When the plane landed in Green Bay last night, he stood at its door and wished Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who departed. Defeat offers us a great opportunity. It affords us a chance to act with dignity. That was not lost in Detroit on Thursday.

Dave from Comer, GA

In your response to Alex from Chapel Hill you said: "Remember that as you watch tomorrow's game, you're going to get the best this team has to give." Well, if that was the best they have to give, their best sure wasn't good enough, was it?

Results aren't always representative of effort. That's true in football and it's true in life. I worried that this might happen. I don't like predicting winners and losers because I think that's too black and white and traps you in an opinion that doesn't fully represent your thoughts, so I usually beg off making picks, but I will provide an idea of what my view of the game is and in Thursday's pregame radio show I said it would be a huge upset if the Packers won. So, when I wrote the quote you attributed to me, I was attempting to caution fans against confusing results with effort. That team was ready to play. I saw it on its faces as it got on the plane on Wednesday. It understood the importance of that game. It was committed to victory. That's what I wanted you to know.


QB Matt Flynn

Mike from Green Bay, WI

Flynn wasn't the answer, was he?

There are only a few players in the game deserving of savior status. I thought it was incredibly unfair for fans to assign that expectation to Matt Flynn merely because those fans wanted to make themselves feel better by believing everything would be all right. The moment Aaron Rodgers got hurt, I think we all knew everything would not be all right. Sometimes time is the only answer.

Bill from Dayton, OH

So why didn't Jeremy Ross play like that for the Packers? All he did here was fumble.

Talent can be disguised by flaws, and flaws have caused a lot of players to resurface somewhere else where the flaws all of a sudden vanish. It's a fact of football that what one man discards, another man claims. It works for you and it works against you. There are several legendary examples of it having worked for the Packers. My immediate thoughts are Willie Davis and Brett Favre. Jeremy Ross taught us a lesson yesterday: The next time a talented player is struggling and we want to punish him by cutting him, we need to ask ourselves what it would be like to play against him.

Mike from West Bend, WI

Is this the kind of loss and losing streak that makes an organization look at itself in the mirror?

All teams shine the bright light of evaluation on themselves when the season ends. This is the kind of loss and losing streak that helps direct that light on the problem, just as the loss in San Francisco did last year. You know what would be nice for this team to have? It would be nice for it to have one of those run-around quarterbacks as a backup. I couldn't help but think as I was watching yesterday's game that a run-around guy would offer a lot of schematic variety and would be a stunning complement and contrast to Aaron Rodgers' style. A run-around guy would make it difficult for teams to prepare for the Packers, should Rodgers be unable to play. Instead of preparing for Rodgers Lite, they'd have to prepare for the anti-Rodgers.

Tom from Lake Mary, FL

Vic, I understand the importance of Aaron Rodgers to the team, but he does not do the tackling on defense, he does not do the offensive line blocking, he does not provide pass coverage on defense and he does not play on the special teams. Last time I looked, it was a team sport. I won't even comment on the schemes or play calling. That is secondary if guys cannot perform the fundamentals like proper tackling techniques, holding their blocks, etc. What do you say?


Lions RB Reggie Bush

First of all, thanks for not mentioning, kind of, the schemes or the play calling, because those weren't the problem. When you're trailing 563-56 in yardage, you don't have a scheme or play-calling problem, you've got a massive playing problem. Here's the deal with not having Rodgers: It's gotten worse each week and what that tells me is the Packers have lost the ability to instill fear in their opponents. With Rodgers gone, the opponents aren't afraid to let it rip. Go ahead, play cover zero. Go ahead, take a shot downfield. Go ahead, go for it on fourth down. The opponents can do all of those things because they don't fear consequences for their actions should they fail. It's probably become a mindset in their players, too. Everybody is playing against the Packers with more aggressiveness and confidence with Rodgers gone because the Packers have been without the guy who tilts the field in their favor. I will agree with you on one thing: It should have nothing to do with stopping the run. The rushing yardage this team has allowed the past two weeks is alarming and inexcusable for the attention this team has devoted to its defensive front.

Justin from Delavan, WI

My fellow Packers friends are sputtering vitriol on Facebook. They want to fire McCarthy, Dom Capers or Ted Thompson. They are even talking about holding back Aaron Rodgers and lose out the last four games in order to protect him and aim for a high draft position. Isn't that crazy?

Insanity now. It immediately follows defeat. It fades and then rational thought returns.

Thomas from Vienna, Austria

I would not be surprised if we do not see Aaron again this season. Let the collarbone heal. Start preparing for the next season with the man back at 100 percent and a better position in the draft. Your thoughts?

My thought is that what you're proposing is so utterly ridiculous that I wouldn't have even used your question if my inbox wasn't loaded with the same. You don't prepare for next season in December and you're still in playoffs contention. If he's ready to play, he'll play.

Spencer from Bassett, VA

Like many a business, the Packers need a revitalization program before next season. What say you?

The draft is the league's annual revitalization program.

John from Belle Plaine, MN

Vic, reading the comments on the site since the game has been very disheartening. I'll avoid them, which is a shame because I like the back and forth. We've been really spoiled, haven't we?

Coaches talk all the time about making winning a habit, but when it becomes a habit we take it for granted. It's just a natural reaction. I'll never forget a scene from Super Bowl XIV. It was the day after the game and on the bus headed to the airport, one of the coaches' sons said something like, "Dad, next year I want to …" I remember the coach looking at his son and smiling. When you win four Super Bowls in six years, we even start treating the Super Bowl as though they're on the schedule. The Packers were 47-17 with one Super Bowl win in the previous four seasons. That's big-time winning that provided a lot of happiness. These are not happy times. My advice is to be patient and wait for happiness to return. Is there another option?

John from Antioch, IL

I agree with you when you say Dom Capers is a great defensive coach, but do you think they should bring someone else in just to change things up? Troy Aikman even said that sometimes a change just for the sake of change can do something good.

Change can be very expensive. What if you hire a new guy and it gets worse? Aikman is wrong. Change for the sake of change is something bad franchises do. It's what franchises do when they have tickets to sell and they let their fans call the shots. Here's what you do: You evaluate yourself. You identity the problem and then you fix it. I strongly believe the Packers will do that in the offseason. In time, we'll know the results of their evaluation.

Thomas from Aalborg, Denmark

Hard road to the playoffs now. The Lions probably need to drop two games. They're at Eagles and Vikings and host Ravens and Giants. Which of those games will be the toughest for the Lions?

Packers win out, Lions lose two. If the Lions don't lose at Philadelphia on Dec. 8, I'll start to hear Dandy Don singing.

Kent from Eagle Grove, IA

Vic, is our December friend gone for this year?

It was my prevailing thought as I watched yesterday's game. I love December football. I live for the playoffs race and the tiebreakers and the weekly drama. I like it as much as the playoffs. Today I am sad because I'm afraid I have lost one of my very best friends.

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