Jacque from Milwaukee, WI
Now that the regular season is almost over, where do you put this Packers team on the list of teams you've covered?
Great teams aren’t judged by what they do in the regular season, they’re judged by what they do in the postseason. Check back in about a month. The season’s just beginning.
Wes from Hemet, CA
I don't know if you watched the Rutgers bowl game but I noticed after a receiver made a big play the coach came running up to him and said good job 19, but he seemed like he didn't actually know his name. I was just wondering if head coaches know their players’ names?
They know their names. It’s common for coaches, and players, too, to refer to players by number. I’m not sure why that is; it’s just football parlance. A player’s number becomes his identity. He becomes the owner of that number and he becomes responsible for the number’s image. Referring to a player by number is a way of personalizing the depersonalization of the game. It’s kind of warped, but football is not a game for the well-adjusted.
Cookie from Beloit, WI
How do you prepare for the first game in the playoffs?
You spend your bye week working on yourself because you won’t know who your opponent is until after this weekend’s games. Next week becomes a normal, in-season work week.
Erik from Racine, WI
As an owner, I feel it is my obligation to express my opinion of your column. I find it difficult and annoying to navigate through the sarcasm to get to an answer. The occasional decent nugget of insight is not worth the effort finding it. Also, I think you have grumpy old man syndrome because you're constantly referring to football that you covered decades ago. You seem to think it was a better sport back then, yet, TV ratings and fan support is so much greater now. So, on to my question: Are you retiring soon?
No, I’m not.
Bart from San Diego, CA
There are teams in the playoffs that would seem to have better balance than Green Bay, meaning they can run and play defense. Is this the Achilles heel of the Packers?
Being ranked last in the league in total defense certainly qualifies as an Achilles heel, but I think the Packers’ rush-offense is better than its ranking (27th). I can say the same about the Giants (32nd). Those rankings were decided early in the season, but both teams’ running games have emerged late in the season and that’s when you wanna be able to run the ball, in bad-weather games in the postseason.
Paul from De Pere, WI
Will we have an opportunity to trade Flynn, or will he simply leave in free agency and we end up with a compensatory pick in the draft?
I think that’s the likely scenario, and it would likely be a very good compensatory pick because Flynn is gonna get a big deal.
Peggy from Bloomer, WI
I'm confused over the call on Ryan Grant for his celebration after the touchdown. Did he carry on too long as opposed to similar celebrations from other players? It seems the only solution to all this nonsense is to ban celebrations altogether. Unfortunately, this would include the “Lambeau Leap,” and that would be sad.
Snow angel? I’m sorry, I won’t accept snow angels. Hey, the league is allowing Packers players to jump into the stands. I see no need to do snow angels.
Sam from Grafton, WI
What are your opinions on Matt Flynn? I think it has been previously established that he is a capable quarterback, but in the Lions game he was playing like a great quarterback. Do you think his performance in that game is an indication of his future in the league, or will he be just a one-game wonder?
I saw legit big-time throws in the wind. Flynn might be a “system quarterback,” but it’s not as though he’s coming out of a dink-and-dunk system. He proved on Sunday he can make all of the throws, and when you can make all of throws, you can play in any system. Yes, I think his performance on Sunday is an indication that he has a bright future in the NFL.
Garrett from Kearney, NE
With Flynn's contract up at the end of the season and given his potential to be a starter, which teams do you see going after him as a free agent with the intent of making him their starting quarterback?
Cleveland immediately comes to mind.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT
Not to take anything away from Victor Cruz, who had an incredible season, but he is living proof wide receivers are a dime a dozen.
Cruz, Donald Driver, Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, etc. You can find wide receivers later in the draft, or even in undrafted free agency, but you gotta get the big guys early.
Garrett from Austin, TX
Vic, I can't remember where I heard this, but I thought somebody in the media mentioned we may still be able to trade Matt Flynn just before free agency starts. I feel as though this statement is completely erroneous so I thought I would ask.
Free agency and trading begin at the same time, so Flynn would become a free agent before the Packers can trade him. The only ways to retain trade rights to him would be to do a new contract with him or franchise him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. A new contract would be very expensive and franchising Flynn would be risky. He could sign the tender and then fail to agree to contract terms with a team interested in trading for him, which means the Packers would be on the hook for the franchise fee.
Zach from Woodstock, IL
What are the Packers' biggest strengths and weaknesses heading into the postseason?
Their strengths are obvious: They move the ball with ease, they lead the league in interceptions and are tied with the 49ers for the league lead in takeaways, and they have a very underrated kicking and kick-return game. Their weaknesses are just as obvious: They give up yards at an alarming rate and they’re in the bottom third of the league in sacks per pass play.
Joe from Kokomo, IN
What are your thoughts on the NFC wild-card games and what team do you see coming to Lambeau Field in the divisional round.
The Saints and Giants are hot going into the playoffs and they’ll be favored to beat the Lions and Falcons. On paper, it appears the Packers are headed for a rematch with the Giants, but we always seem to get an upset early in the playoffs. I’ll say this: I think it’s gonna be tough for the Lions to recover from what happened to them yesterday. The Falcons, however, have a hot quarterback and I think they’re playing their best football heading into the playoffs, and they have the running game to win in cold weather. They could win in New York.
Rob from Chicago, IL
Do you think McCarthy let Flynn start the game against Detroit knowing it’s his free-agency year so he could show the NFL what he’s got and give him a chance for the big payday?
It’s possible that was part of Coach McCarthy’s motivation, but I think the bigger part of it was that he wanted to eliminate any possibility of injury to Aaron Rodgers, and I also think McCarthy wanted to give the league a look at Flynn because McCarthy is proud of Flynn’s development. Coaches take pride in their work and Flynn gave McCarthy, Joe Philbin and Tom Clements a chance to thump their chest a little bit.
Karen from Kaukauna, WI
Vic, there are starting to be some rumbles out there that Flynn's performance may have taken the MVP award away from Rodgers. That would be a truly sad consequence of such a great day for Matt. I hope all those whispers are wrong. What are your thoughts?
I can’t speak for the members of my profession that vote for the MVP awards, but I’ll speak for myself one more time, and then I wanna be done with this because it’s starting to chafe me. I believe Aaron Rodgers should be selected the MVP of the NFL because he was the game’s dominant quarterback from start to finish in this season. He was never anything but No. 1. In my opinion, Tom Brady should be the No. 2 MVP candidate because he continues to keep the Patriots at the top of the AFC, despite a defense that was last in the league nearly all season, until yesterday. I acknowledge what Drew Brees accomplished this season, but that’s a very good Saints team that is the No. 3 seed in the NFC and, frankly, that doesn’t say a lot. With that, I would like to get away from the MVP talk until the after the winner is announced.
William from Monroe, WI
What needs to be done to improve yards allowed?
Do what the Giants did last night: Rush the passer. I think we saw on Sunday what Clay Matthews is worth. Without him, there was veritably no threat of a rush, and when a quarterback can sit in the pocket without fear, you’ve got problems. The Giants’ defensive front is disruptive. Pierre-Paul, Tuck, Umenyiora, Kiwanuka and Co. are penetrating and disrupting and making quarterbacks move their feet and think on the run. That’s the kind of defense that wins in today’s NFL.
Shawn from Bowler, WI
I felt that after the New England game last year that we should have traded Flynn for draft picks. At the beginning of this year, some said Flynn was one of the top three backups that should be starting somewhere. Are we allowed any compensation if he leaves the team with a new contract?
If they had traded him, they would’ve been inviting injury to Rodgers. You know how that goes; it has to do with some kind of law about what you can’t afford happening always seeming to happen. As it stands today, if Rodgers should get something in his eye in a playoff game, the Packers can plug in Flynn and not expect to miss a beat. Jeff Hostetler won the Giants a Super Bowl, right? There will be compensation for Flynn and it’ll be strong. I think we’re forgetting a cardinal rule of the salary cap era: You must be willing to let players go. You can’t keep everybody; the cap won’t allow it. Sometimes friends move away and all you can do is wish them well and miss them.
MORE FROM 'ASK VIC'