William from Jacksonville, FL

In the spirit of the holidays and for the sake of complaints about your occasional sarcasm, is it time for Green Bay's first exposure to a “nice Vic” day?

I don’t think we’re ready for that, yet. Maybe when the season is over, if the Packers win the Super Bowl, but emotions are running a little too high right now to let “nice Vic” out of the box.

Christopher from Brentwood, TN

Would it be a good move to put the franchise tag on Matt Flynn? If I understand the process correctly, we would get a lot better trade out of him that way.

It would be a way to retain the rights to Flynn, for the purpose of trading him, but there are some negatives to doing that. First of all, the moment he signs the tender, the money is guaranteed, which means that he would become the highest-paid quarterback on the team. Secondly, by putting the franchise tag on Matt Flynn, you wouldn’t have it to use on another player you might want to retain. Thirdly, because you’d be on the hook for the guaranteed salary, it’s possible that tagging Flynn could drive down his trade value by giving leverage to a team that wanted to trade for him; in other words, they know you have to trade him. One of the tenets of the free agency era is that you have to be willing to let players go; you can’t keep everybody or your cap will quickly fall into disrepair. You have to be willing to let players go and challenge yourself to replace them. That’s what good franchises do to sustain success in the salary cap era.

Mike from Dallas, TX

What is more useful to a head coach, game film from the upcoming opponent's losses, or from their wins?

Coaches wanna see tape that shows them what to do and what not to do. For example, back in 2004, the Packers used a blitz-heavy scheme in a game against Peyton Manning, and Manning hung 45 on the Packers. I was covering the Jaguars back then and I remember Mike Smith, who was the Jags’ defensive coordinator then, telling me at least we know what not to do against Manning. Had that tactic worked against Manning, everybody would’ve been doing it. It’s what I’ve been saying all season long about the Packers: The defensive coordinator of every team on the Packers’ schedule is looking for tape that might provide information on how to stop the Packers’ passing game. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a win or a loss. It’s even possible that a defensive coordinator might see something that’ll work for him, based on his personnel, even though it didn’t work for the team on the tape.

Kevin from El Paso, TX

How is it a defensive and offensive player can get penalized for hands to the face, but a player running with the ball can do the same with a stiff arm to the face and not be penalized?

Runners are exempt from the same use-of-hands rules that apply to all other players. Rule 12, Article 2(a): “A runner may ward off opponents with his hands and arms. He may also lay his hand on a teammate or push him into an opponent, but he may not grasp or hold on to a teammate.” A runner may ward off a defender by applying his hand to the defender’s facemask. If the runner grasps the facemask and twists, turns or pulls the facemask, the runner is guilty of “grasping the facemask,” which carries with it a 15-yard penalty.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Am I the only sane person that thinks Denver's defense is being done a great injustice? Tebow this, Tebow that, Tebow saved his team from doom. That defense is what saved the Broncos and it is being ignored. I am so disgusted with everyone crediting Tebow and not the Denver defense. How useful would Tebow's late-game antics be if his defense allowed 30 points a game?

Fame is often inexplicable and usually fleeting. Tim Tebow is a phenomenon. Why? Well, he has what people like to refer to as “it.” He’s a big, handsome, charismatic guy and his deep religious beliefs engender him to a rabid element of the football fan base. He’s hot and everything he does is being hyper-analyzed. It’ll go the other way, too. What I find funny is this: On the short, game-winning drive against the Chargers, Tebow ran for 11 yards and a first down, Willis McGahee ran for 24 yards, the Broncos kicker ended the game with a field goal, and the Chargers immediately became the most recent team to be “Tebowed.” If Kyle Orton had led that kind of drive, would the Chargers have been “Ortoned?” No chance.

Rodney from Ogema, WI

Since you used to cover a team coached by Tom Coughlin, maybe you can tell us: With the Giants losing three straight now and in danger of missing the playoffs, what is Coughlin going to be like this week?

He’ll be intense, but that’s no different than any other week. I’m sure that when the Giants got back home from their game in New Orleans, Coach Coughlin went directly to his office and began working on his game plan for the Packers. I have never known a man that could work on no sleep as Coughlin can, and I have never known a pair of eyes that say I haven’t slept as Coughlin’s eyes do. He’s all football and by the time he delivers his 2,010 keys to victory to his team on Friday, he’ll have them ready to play. Coughlin’s teams are always ready to play. Mike McCarthy knows that; so does Dom Capers.

Mitch from Wausau, WI

If a team has a head coach, offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator, what exactly is the head coach’s job during games?

All teams have a head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators. On some teams, the head coach does the play-calling for offense or defense. If you’re asking what a head coach does that has delegated play-calling responsibility to his coordinators, the answer is that the head coach oversees and manages. He’s wearing a headset and can hear every call his coordinators make. On a third-and-two, he might tell his offensive coordinator, “Run it here because we’re gonna go for it on fourth down.” Or heading into a defensive series late in the game, he might tell his defensive coordinator that he’s going to call timeout after second down if they run it on first down. Ron Erhardt, who was Bill Parcells’ offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Giants, told me he’d have his play sheet in front of him and he’d be all set to start calling some of the juicy pass plays he had on that sheet, and Parcells would sense that Erhardt was starting to get big eyes and Parcells would walk behind Erhardt and say, “Run it, run it.” It’s not all about play-calling. Head coaches lead.

Mark from Boulder, CO

Going completely unnoticed this week is that if the Packers beat the Giants this Sunday, it will mark the franchise’s 200th victory since the start of the Ron Wolf era in 1992. Ron Wolf is responsible for taking a fledgling franchise and making it a model for the rest of the league. In the 20 years since Wolf’s hiring, the Packers have three Super Bowl appearances and an average of 10 victories per season. In the years between Vince Lombardi and Wolf, the Packers managed only 146 victories and 14 losing seasons.

Ron Wolf’s stamp is all over this franchise. He’s the father of the renaissance era in Packers history.

Lisa from Sacramento, CA

Vic, can I get your thoughts on Jon Gruden as a commentator?

I like his work a lot and I like Ron Jaworski’s work a lot, too, but they’re kind of the same guy and sometimes all of that technical analysis is overkill. The game-plan video of Sean Payton and Drew Brees was kind of cool, but it was obviously a made-for-TV shoot and it didn’t resonate with me. For me, the Monday night telecasts are just too heavy with play-calling analysis. Mike Tirico often senses the same and reels Gruden and Jaworski in.

Mike from Saint Marys, GA

Vic, just wanted to ask you to please pray for all the Jaguars fans out there, including myself.

As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well in the garden. Growth has its season. There is spring and summer, but there is also fall and winter, and then spring and summer again.

Adam from Rochester, NY

I'm sitting in the end zone for the game this Sunday. What are the chances that I get beat up or harassed for wearing my Clay Matthews jersey?

There’s a chance.

Jay from El Paso, TX

Is it wrong of me to put on the belt whenever I win arguments with my wife?

I’ve been doing the belt for years, except I do it back to front.

Eric from Keene, NH

Why are defenses ranked by yards surrendered rather than points surrendered?

There are roughly 19 major categories of defensive rankings. Two of my favorite categories are almost never mentioned: points per game differential and net yards per game differential. The Packers are No. 1 in the former and No. 13 in the latter. I like those two rankings, which appear among the defensive categories, because they give you a snapshot of your total team.

Babe from Siren, WI

My uncle and I were talking about the “Lambeau Leap” and was wondering if there is any record of how many leaps have occurred.

I don’t think so, but your question causes me to wonder what player holds the record for career “Lambeau Leaps.” My guess would be that it’s Donald Driver.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

I reeaaaaally look forward to “Tuesdays with McCarthy.” He gives me great insight as to why the team is the way it is and how they approach the game of football but, today, nothing. I am getting the shakes, Vic. What happened?

Easy, Koigi. Patience is a virtue. Yesterday’s “Tuesdays with McCarthy” was posted in late afternoon and it includes what I consider to be one of the best answers in “Tuesdays with McCarthy” history. It’s the answer to the question about mental fatigue. I think the coach really shared something with us in that answer. Here’s a link to the column.

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