Corey from Eatonville, WA
Vic, what are the reasonable expectations for this game?
The expectation is to win the game. Winning has to be the expectation in the postseason because there is no allowance for anything else. I like the way the Packers match up with the Redskins, as long as the Packers defense plays as it has played in recent weeks. I think we’re going to see the Packers score some points this week. That’s my expectation. I don’t guarantee it or wish to make it my readers’ expectation. What I will say to my readers is this: It’s OK to have expectations now. We don’t need to see into the future to know what should happen. The teams still playing have provided us with a large enough sample of what they are to legitimize our expectations for them. Go for it! Expect victory!
Mike from Luck, WI
How are you doing? I just wanted to mention and question you about Tom Coughlin. I have always been very impressed with him as a coach, as he always seems to get the most out of his players and make real relationships. How can you fire a two-time Super Bowl-champion head coach for a few bad years? The talent on their defense just simply is not good.
He’s the same guy who won those titles, and the same guy who guided the Jaguars to two conference title games in their first five seasons, and he’s leaving the Giants for the same reason he left the Jaguars, which is to say because the howl of the wolves became a distraction for the team. That’s why good coaches lose their jobs. Teams can’t live with the constant howl of fans and media. The daily hot-seat watch becomes an obstacle the team can’t defeat. The fans and media are very important. They fire the coach. I believe we have an obligation to treat coaches with the same sensitivity with which we’d like to be treated. I think it is morally wrong to treat the firing of coaches as entertainment.
Mike from Jacksonville, NC
What attributes do teams look at when hiring a head coach vs. hiring an offensive or defensive coordinator?
Assistant coaches coach, head coaches lead. When a team hires a head coach, it’s hiring a man capable of being the face and pulse of the franchise. He needs to be more than a play-caller. Most of all, he needs to be the voice of direction. If you’ve hired a head coach because he’s a good play-caller, you’ll likely be firing him soon. Mike McCarthy’s strength of character and will represent the personality of the Packers. When a coach has that impact on a franchise, the franchise has the right man.
Brian from New Port Richey, FL
Great line from CNN: “The Packers are hamstrung by organizational insistence on homegrown talent, even when a quick free-agent fix is warranted.” Is there anyone in the organization who can make Ted get off this stance, given the missed opportunity that was this year? As you say, when you're picking late in the draft, it’s hard to maintain your talent level.
I’ve also said quite often that when you pick in free agency, it’s difficult to maintain a healthy salary cap, but you’ve omitted that fact. The Packers have a full complement of draft picks next spring, and they’re likely to get nice compensatory-pick awards for their losses in free agency. In my opinion, that’s a winning formula and it’s provided the Packers with players who’ve helped provide the opportunity to which you’ve referred. You can’t have it both ways, sign free agents and get compensatory picks. I’m going to give you a chance to sign a free agent. Do it in the comments section at the bottom of this column. Who would you have signed in free agency last spring? I’ll trust you.
Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Vic, I woke up Sunday morning to the news my mom passed away. I watched football that day like I did when I was a kid, enjoying the game and the fact it was football day. I enjoyed football for what it is.
My father put sports in perspective for me. He knew how important sports were to me, and If I got loud or angry about the outcome of a sporting event, my father would forbid me to watch sports on TV. I can hear him telling my mother, “No more sports for him. They’re ruining him.” I still hear his admonishment. It grounds me.
Aaron from Muskego, WI
Is this team capable of winning four games in a row right now? Despite all of my questions, pessimism and periodic negativity, I say yes.
I just want one win. I feel absolutely no compulsion to answer your question beyond the next game. I’ll tell you I believe the Packers can win this week’s game. If they win on Sunday, I’ll be delighted. It’ll mean I can do it again. The joy I feel covering playoff games is indescribable. The despair I feel in defeat is manageable. Maybe my father’s voice trained me to manage defeat. I’ve never felt worse about a sporting event than I did leaving Seattle last winter, but what I felt was mostly hurt for all of the people whose lives would be devastated by that loss. Teach yourself to feel joy in victory, and to reject despair in defeat. Hear the voice of reason.
Greg from Downers Grove, IL
Vic, what are the intangibles that make our Packers the better team on Sunday?
The main intangible is they are the Green Bay Packers. If your players can’t feel what that means, you’ve got the wrong players.
Jordan from Walpole, MA
I happened to watch a video on Bleacher Report that discussed Mike McCarthy being on the hot seat. The main grounds were that our offense is 25th in the league in passing. The person saying it is Chris Simms. Shouldn’t a former NFL quarterback know better than to blame the coach for these failures?
I’m not familiar with his work or his media credentials, but he’s about to learn a very harsh lesson on credibility. When are you going to learn your lesson about credibility?
Nick from Seattle, WA
Vic, Tom Coughlin said in his final press conference that the game is lacking toughness. Do you agree with him?
It’s losing toughness. It has to be that way; the player-safety movement demands it. I’m struggling with it. I’ve confessed to being one of the last dinosaurs. It’s difficult for me to change my culture because I don’t want to change. I liked the game the way it was. I acknowledge it has to change to survive, and that means I have to change to enjoy it. I’m trying.
Dom from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, can you ever remember a wild-card weekend when both AFC and NFC games were played on the same day? Why the change?
The schedule is all about TV ratings. As soon as it was determined the Steelers would play the Bengals, I knew it would be the Saturday night prime-time game because it’s a game that can be hyped for the violence the bitterness between the two teams promises to deliver. It should produce a ratings bonanza. That’s where I struggle with this change-the-culture movement. The league is trying to change the culture, but it has no problem living off the ratings the old culture still delivers. The NFL truly is a national league; that’s why the schedule is the way it is. There’s no sense of the SEC vs. the Big 10, or the South vs. the North. The NFL doesn’t engender a lot of conference or regional pride. Frankly, I’d like to see some of the old NFL vs. AFL feeling creep back into pro football. I thought it was great for the game. I think the intense feeling between the two leagues was responsible for the game’s explosion in popularity. That’s why I’d favor an AFC vs. NFC playoffs format.
Courtney from Butte, MT
Not that it matters, but how did the Redskins fair against common Packers opponents this year?
They’re each 3-2 in common-opponents games.
Kari from Barrin, WI
Vic, I was reading the roster changes, they signed QB Ryan Williams to reserve/future. What does that mean?
It means Williams will become an active member of the Packers’ offseason roster, once the team’s season is complete.
Del from Sterling, IL
When you came to the Packers in 2011, did you believe you would have covered a Super Bowl by now?
My expectation was to cover big games. I have. My expectation late last season was to cover the Super Bowl. I didn’t.
Isaac from Riverside, CA
Nothing like win or go home to get the heart pumping, right? I’m extremely excited and nervous at the same time. What kind of emotions is your inbox giving off?
Sybil is tense. She’s timid and respectful, and then she’s aggressive and demanding. She’s not sure of her next mood. It could be great joy, or it could be great anger. Whatever it is, it’ll be to the extreme. She’s very moody. She’s not stable.
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