David from Withee, WI

Do you think if McCarthy had to do it all over again he wouldn’t have given the players such a long break at the bye? It seems like the concentration hasn’t been there since then.

Mike Tomlin didn’t give his players the bye week off during Tomlin’s first year as coach. I think he wanted to let them know who the boss was and what the expectations were. The result was a team that had won four of its first five games lost five of its next 11 and exited the playoffs in round one. Several players, including the quarterback, blamed late-season fatigue on not having the bye week off. That week is perceived by the players as a week off. If you make them work on their week off, you run the risk of losing their loyalty.

Craig from Sheboygan, WI

Is it possible the rest of the league has figured out Mike McCarthy’s offensive philosophy?

Of course it has. The rest of the league has also figured out the Patriots’ offensive philosophy. Knowing something and stopping it are two different things. I can’t get my message across, no matter how hard I try. I want fans to feel this game and appreciate its human quality. What am I missing? Why does the fan want this game to be about something as dry as philosophy and strategy? Jobs are on the line. Careers are at stake. Bodies are being broken. Fears are being overcome. Don’t you understand, there’s an honest-to-God human confrontation going on out there? What could be more exciting?

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

What did you think of Teddy Bridgewater in college?

I didn’t like him, and I was wrong about him. I think the Vikings have a legitimate franchise quarterback. I love his calm.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Coach Clements said the Packers’ receivers need to make the Lions’ defensive backs flip their hips. Wouldn’t that open up the short, underneath pass and take away the deeper pass? Vic, can you explain the whole flip-the-hips concept?

It’s just a way of saying make him turn and run. If you do that, you will have defeated the jam. Once he’s on the run, it’s a matter of setting up your moves according to how tight or loose his coverage is.

Andy from West Des Moines, IA

Vic, the draft and develop philosophy is a phenomenal way to achieve continued success, and Ted Thompson has exemplified that to perfection, but at what point is it not enough? Sometimes, wouldn’t snagging a free agent for immediate fix be a better alternative than drafting and waiting for players who may or may not develop?

I advocate patching in affordable free agency, but those bargain guys are difficult to find. If your question is with wide receiver in mind, I would tell you wide receiver was not considered to be a position of need – certainly not by my inbox – during free agency. That was especially true after signing Randall Cobb. Again, my inbox was aghast at the Ty Montgomery draft pick. You never know what your needs will be.

Daniel from Portland, OR

Vic, I really enjoy listening to Dom Capers during interviews. He provides insight I don’t regularly get from player interviews, but I haven’t seen any in recent memory. Can I expect to see an interview from him soon?

You can expect to see one this afternoon in the “scouting report” story I did. You can expect to see one on the day after games – usually on Mondays; the schedule has been out of routine the past two weeks. I interview Coach Capers twice a week during the season, and I always enjoy interviewing him because he honestly and truly tries to answer the questions presented to him. He wants to talk to the fans. I respect that and I think fans should, too.

Tom from Bismarck, ND

Vic, it’s players, not plays. We get it. We got it. We know it. We are just trying to figure something out. If it’s players, and we are a draft and develop team, then we must not be drafting very well or developing very well. We have exactly one player on this team people will remember 20 years from now and he fell into our lap with the 24th pick. I know you can’t print this but we have not had a defense, running game or decent special teams since this regime arrived.

That’s just not true. Clay Matthews will be a Hall of Fame candidate. Julius Peppers (does free agency count?), Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy and Randall Cobb are certainly names people will remember 20 years from now. Here’s what you’re not getting: Six consecutive years in the playoffs, four consecutive division titles and one Super Bowl title in a six-year span qualifies as winning at a very high rate of success. My advice to you is that you start appreciating and enjoying the run of success this team is on, because the ’70s and ’80s everybody fears can return very quickly and hang around for a long time. You think these are tough times? For your sake, I hope you never see tough times.

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