"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Justin from Boston, MA
Vic, what's your advice for 20-somethings or 30-somethings that are trying to find careers and jobs that make us as excited to wake up in the morning as sports journalism does for you?
Mike McCarthy had a sign in his office that read, "Find something you'd die for, and then live for it."
Charlie from Philadelphia, PA
When Gutekunst was hired as GM, I had no problem with the restructuring under Murphy, but I figured it would be temporary until the McCarthy era was over. I understand Murphy has more football acumen than owners across the league, but I prefer the football decisions to be in the hands of the GM. What are your thoughts on Murphy having the final say on the decision?
I like the restructuring. I think it's a mistake for football operations to be granted autonomy. How can you expect the players to be accountable if the department isn't accountable? Under Ted Thompson, football answered to no one, and I think that's why it got a little stale down there. I sensed a bunker mentality. Hey, everybody needs to answer to someone. Under Murphy's restructuring, he will oversee the top rung of the football ladder. Don't underestimate Murphy's football smarts. As athletic director at Northwestern, he hired Pat Fitzgerald, who is one of the best college football hires of the last two decades.
Skip from Wisconsin
Regarding the tweet by Winston Moss: Honesty is a great thing.
In my mind, the tweet confirmed the si.com story.
Daniel from Richmond, TX
Vic, was it you who said if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have one? If so, is that true for play-callers, as well? It seems to me, when a QB feels he is equal to the head coach, this can only work if the coach's specialty is defense.
Play-caller is a function, not a title. Maybe that distinction got blurred in the play-calling mania that became a suffocating soap opera in recent years. Head coach is a title, and if you have two head coaches, you don't have one.
Dan from Lindenhurst, IL
It wasn't McCarthy. It wasn't Rodgers. The Packers are 0-2 at making the playoffs after Vic retired.
I didn’t know until this day that it was Barzini all along.
Andrew from Grand Cayman
What are the signs of a franchise not deeply committed to winning?
It's like pornography. You'll know it when you see it.
Matt from New York, NY
I think Jim Harbaugh checks all boxes as a potential head coach for the Packers. Strong leader, tough, former QB and apparently the rumor is he wants out of Michigan. Your take?
I don't have that information in front of me right now, Matt. I couldn't resist. My concern is for Coach Harbaugh's reputation for not working well with others. That won't work in Green Bay.
Bruce from Greenville, WI
What happened to the Falcons?
I'm perplexed. All I can figure is they got hot late in the 2016 season and rode it to the Super Bowl, but that wasn't who they really were. They just got hot. Two years later, I see age creeping up on Matt Ryan, and the wear and tear has turned Julio Jones into a possession receiver. The Falcons are facing big offseason decisions.
Chase from Rapid City, SD
Vic, with all the struggles on offense this year, do you think Philbin could be coaching to keep his offensive coordinator job?
With McCarthy gone, we need a new guy on the hot seat, right? Chase, when a team decides to fire its head coach and hire a new one, the new guy usually hires a new staff. Coach McCarthy's staff is under contract to the Packers and will coach the team through the remainder of the season. When the new coach is hired, I would expect McCarthy's staff to be terminated to make room for the new coach and his hires. It doesn't have to be that way, but it commonly is. A new broom sweeps clean. I have to believe the current staff is already looking for their next jobs.
Dave from Madison, WI
From your time with the Packers, what was your opinion of Winston Moss?
Moss is intense. If there was a position on a coaching staff for a designated pep-talk-giver, Moss would be the guy. He's a get-in-your-face and get-it-done kind of coach, and he's a physically imposing presence, especially when he gets fired up. Moss is a fan's kind of coach because losing hurts him as much as it hurts the fans. He's one of those guys for whom football is about more than the money. Winston wants to be a head coach. The problem is today's trend is for hiring CEO-type coaches and that's not Winston. I hope he gets a head job. I'd like to know if there's still a place in football for a man of his style and personality.
Tony from Colorado Springs, CO
With Kareem Hunt clearing waivers and becoming a free agent, does that mean if/when a team is interested in signing him they can offer him whatever sort of salary they want? Or does it mean he has to be offered a minimum deal of someone with two years? If it's the former, the interesting thing is being cut by the Chiefs would stand to benefit Hunt financially if more than one team thought he was worth the risk.
Tony, do you understand there is a video showing Hunt attacking a woman? Your fans might get upset you've decided to bring that type of person into their community. Be that as it may, you can pay him whatever you please, but not beneath the minimum.
Nicholas from Toronto, Canada
Have you ever witnessed a defensive lineman play at a higher level than Aaron Donald is playing at right now?
I've never seen anyone like him. With four games to play, he has 16.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 32 quarterback hits, but watching him play gives you an even higher opinion of him. I can't believe what I'm seeing is happening. It's as though he can't be blocked. He flashes past blockers so quickly I have to watch the replay to see how he did it. He won the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik awards in his final college season, but he was being projected as a second-round pick. At the Senior Bowl, he abused a center who is a starter in the league today, and he sent the Outland runnerup through the air with the guy's arms and legs sticking straight out. Following the final pass-rush/pass-block drill of the week, Zack Martin kissed Donald on the top of the head. Second-round pick? He just turned in the greatest performance in Senior Bowl history, after winning the four most prestigious awards a college lineman can win. Sean McVay knew what he was doing when he drafted Donald. Oh, wait, Jeff Fisher was the coach of the Rams back then.
Randy from Medicine Hat, AB
Why didn't the Packers push out Aaron's contract like the Pats did with Brady, so they could bring in some difference-makers at, for example, the wide receiver position?
Ted Thompson was a flat-capper. He believed in protecting a team's future by not spending disproportionate amounts of future caps on the present. I also believe in that approach, but quarterback has become an exception due to its disproportionately high contract amounts. Aaron Rodgers' new deal is so expensive the Packers had no choice but to push a disproportionate amount of it out -- he's due a $19.5 million roster bonus in 2020 that could force a restructuring of the contract; that's when the contract reaches the back end and Rodgers' cap hit begins exploding. So why didn't they do this earlier in his career? Because Thompson didn't like free agency. Hey, why do fans ignore the dangers of expensive free agency? Jimmy Graham is due a $5.3 million roster bonus in March that threatens to end Graham's time with the Packers without any kind of significant contribution.
Paul from Brasília, Brazil
This long-suffering Jaguars fan stayed up late last night with the flu to watch that embarrassment. Looks like the Jaguars defense had the flu, too! Wouldn’t this defense look much better if the offense could score points? Major changes are coming, Vic.
The Jaguars are at ground zero at quarterback. Roster change begins there.
Mike from Chicago, IL
Vic, Henry had a great night and is a good guy, but that was a facemask on the first stiff arm. Drives me crazy this is allowed. It was not the equal to Dorsett's run. Seems there's a fabrication now (and for awhile) to generate excitement. I will probably continue to watch, but I miss the old NFL.
I don't like the exception to the hands-to-the-face rule running backs enjoy. Why do they get a pass? It makes no sense.
John from St. Augustine, FL
Jalen Ramsey just flopped after an offensive lineman gave him a little shove. It’s 30-9 Titans. He is an embarrassment.
He's a cancer that's killing that team.
Jim from Yulee, FL
What do the Jaguars need?
The Jaguars need a young Tom Coughlin. They need the ruthless discipline of his youth. In OTA's in the Jaguars' inaugural season, Coughlin was all about sending a message of discipline, beginning with the concentration line he had drawn across the entrance to the practice field. A young player had a Mohawk haircut. Coughlin ordered the player to get rid of the look, which he did. A few hours later, Coughlin cut him, and everybody knew who the boss was. Hair will grow back, but you only get once chance to make a first impression.
John from Merrimack, NH
Say what you will about whether it was time to move on from Coach McCarthy but, if nothing else, he is a class act all the way. I’m impressed with him addressing the team and staff. He’s said great things about the organization in a difficult situation and always did the same through his tenure as coach. It’ll be hard to find a better coach and even harder to find a better man. I’m pleased the Packers gave him the opportunity to show what a class act he is.
The Packers won't find a better coach, just another coach.
Jonathan from De Pere, WI
Vic, I saw Coach McCarthy asked and was granted one last chance to talk to his team on Wednesday. A well-deserved moment for a true "leader of men" that appears to have ended with a standing ovation from his players. I hope we all learned some life lessons during Coach McCarthy's era.
Loyalty is a lesson taught best by guilt.
"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Here's the "Ask Vic" Week 14 power rankings:
1. Rams -- League's best record.
2. Saints -- They can be stopped.
3. Chiefs -- What will losing Kareem Hunt mean?
4. Texans -- They have arrived.
5. Chargers -- A true championship contender.
6. Patriots -- Beginning to hit their late-season stride.
7. Cowboys -- Look out!
8. Seahawks -- Hottest team in the NFC.
9. Bears -- Nice trick play, but they lost.
10. Vikings -- Just another team.
11. Steelers -- Defense the problem again.
12. Ravens -- Defense reason for rally.
13. Eagles -- Impressive grit.
14. Broncos -- In the hunt.
15. Panthers -- Fading quickly.
16. Colts -- Shutout loss halts surge.
17. Titans -- Hanging around.
18. Giants -- They've come a long way.
19. Washington -- That's all, folks.
20. Lions -- Played better under Caldwell.
21. Browns -- Playing for next season.
22. Packers -- Sadness meets hope.
23. Bucs -- Good team waiting to happen.
24. Falcons -- How could they have fallen this far?
25. Bengals -- Signs of quit.
26. Dolphins -- Worst 6-6 team in the league.
27. Bills -- Playing hard.
28. Jaguars -- Scored six points and won.
29. Jets -- Better than their record.
30. Cardinals -- Not without hope.
31. 49ers -- Season ruined early.
32. Raiders -- They need the first overall pick.
Justin from Boston, MA
Vic, why did the SI article force Murphy into choosing between McCarthy and Rodgers? Why couldn't the two get in a room, hash it out, and then come out publicly and say we're OK? Rodgers went on the record this week saying he and McCarthy have a strong relationship.
Too many people knew too much about the problems in the marriage. The whole neighborhood was talking about it, and ugly rumors were beginning to surface. It was for the best for both parties to move on with their lives. Mike McCarthy will have a chance to relocate and get a fresh start with another team and another quarterback. Aaron Rodgers has a chance to put the stigma of a failed marriage behind him, find harmony with a new coach and become the quarterback he was before injury and discord derailed his life. Maybe the day will come when McCarthy and Rodgers will meet on the field, shake hands and share a smile for great days that were, on "As the Football Turns."
Andrew from Ettrick, WI
Mike McCarthy will be back to a Super Bowl before Aaron Rodgers. Mark it down! The question is which team will he be coaching?
What if it's Cleveland? I can't imagine a better fit for McCarthy. He'd be coaching a young quarterback who's desperate for a coach with whom he can bond. McCarthy would find Baker Mayfield willing for and appreciative of the stamp McCarthy would put on the young passer. Cleveland? They've never been to a Super Bowl. McCarthy would become a god in Cleveland if he took the Browns to the big game. The circumstances in Cleveland are perfect for McCarthy. He'd be within a two-hour drive of his family in Pittsburgh; in the same division with his hometown team. The Browns have lots of high picks and more high picks on the way. They're poised to become the dominant team in a division where the Steelers only have another year or two with Roethlisberger, the Bengals are headed for a makeover and the Ravens face uncertainty at quarterback.
Karl from Albuquerque, NM
How does GM Vic go about finding and evaluating a new head coach? Is picking one any better guess than drafting a player in the first round?
It's the same principle. You do exhaustive research on every candidate, you pick one and then you discover a weakness you didn't think the guy you picked had when he was a candidate. The first time he calls a bad play, he's like every other coach in the league who's lost a game and angered the fans. That's life in today's NFL. So, with that thought, I'll say this: As much as I like young coaches on the rise, I think the Packers' situation might favor a veteran coach who's adept at working with quarterbacks and whose skin has been thickened by years of ignoring the howl of the wolves. Bruce Arians interests me. He's a quarterback guru and he might be the perfect fit for Rodgers. I don't think this needs to be a long-term hire; it needs to be the right guy for right now.
Sean from Brighton, MI
Mike McCarthy is gone and an era is officially over. Will the Packers regret this?
If they lose, yes. If they win, no. Just win, baby. I know that sounds cold, but professional football's coldness is its charm. McCarthy is a pro. He knows how the game works. When I was in Jacksonville, McCarthy interviewed for the Jaguars' offensive coordinator's job. He was offered the job and had either accepted it or was about to accept it when Jack Del Rio changed his mind and withdrew the offer. It was a big disappointment for a young coach, but he rebounded nicely. We're talking about a guy who began his career as a grad assistant at Pitt, and who collected tolls at the Pa. Turnpike to supplement his income. He worked at a pizza place in my hometown! This is a tough guy who knows how to recover from adversity. Weep not for Mike McCarthy. Soon, he'll be the enemy.
Roger from Chesterton, IN
Vic, if the Packers had made it to the Super Bowl in 2014, does a lot of the angst against McCarthy disappear, or do you think we would have the same outcome maybe a season or two later?
The final 3:52 of regulation in Seattle became a bitter pill for Packers fans to swallow, and I think it embittered them to McCarthy. Here's my question: If Aaron Rodgers has complete freedom to change the plays -- the si.com story claims Rodgers was changing too many of McCarthy's plays -- why didn't Rodgers change the plays he didn't like in that 3:52? Do we know for sure those were McCarthy's plays? I'm not a plays kind of guy; I think everyone knows that. I'm having trouble wrapping my arms around this whole plays feud thing. In my opinion, the Packers are looking for a new coach because the talent on the roster has declined sharply from the talent on the roster in that 2014 NFC title game.
Chris from Minneapolis, MN
What do you think of the decision to promote Philbin to interim head coach?
It's a no-brainer. He's a former head coach and, as the offensive coordinator, he works directly with the quarterback. Joe's history with the team also gives him a baseline Mike Pettine doesn't possess.
Matt from Chicago, IL
Do you really believe Aaron Rodgers' comments about Mike McCarthy on Monday afternoon? I mean, this is a guy who has turned his back on his own family.
His comments were perfect for the occasion. They were calming and that's what the team and the fan base needed at this time. We all need to move on. Turning this into a soap opera is the wrong thing to do.
Adam from Winter Park, FL
What do you see about the Packer’s head coaching job that is attractive to a candidate? What would be the deterrents?
The attractions, beyond a lucrative contract, are a franchise that is deeply committed to winning, a championship quarterback who probably has more left in the tank than this season would indicate and who wants to play to 40, a young roster on the rise with high picks in next year's draft, a general manager who is talented, reasonable and cooperative, a team president who has made you his pick and will be committed to you and patient with you, and a fan base whose expectations have been tempered. I don't see anything not to like.
Kirsten from Madison, WI
Well, we're not used to being in this situation: Week 14, no playoff run and head coach out. So what's the Packers' goal for the rest of the season?
Find a new coach.
Joe from De Pere, WI
Vic, what is your favorite Mike McCarthy story from your time with the Packers?
It's from the season McCarthy took back the play-calling from Tom Clements. In a postgame press conference, Aaron Rodgers talked about how he couldn't understand the play call that was coming into his helmet from Mike McCarthy; it turned out to be a big play in the game. Rodgers said he had to rely on Alex Van Pelt's hand signals to get the play McCarthy wanted run. "You know, Mike has that Pittsburgh accent," Rodgers said. The following day, I was crossing paths with McCarthy in the hallway and we stopped to talk. I said, "The quarterback doesn't like the way we talk, Mike." He just stared at me with a little smile on his face. I felt like I was covering Noll-Bradshaw all over again. I felt young again.
Mark from Missoula, MT
All these suggestions about college coaches taking the Packers' vacancy got me thinking. Never mind his willingness to leave Iowa (or lack thereof), how do you think Kirk Ferentz would do at the NFL level?
Another Packers coach with a Pittsburgh accent? You better ask Rodgers.
David from Moore, ID
I am one of the few Packers fans who did not advocate McCarthy's firing. However, if I take Mark Murphy at his word, I found his Monday press conference even more disturbing. The admission McCarthy might have kept his job for another week had Crosby sent the game into overtime smacks of a plan that is event-driven on a daily basis, as opposed to a long-term plan to methodically rebuild the roster.
Firing a guy after a win sends a bad message: Win and you're fired. Come on, everybody, let's put our emotions aside and be reasonable.
Zach from Chicago, IL
Everyone seems to be expecting an offensive-minded coach to replace McCarthy. Why is no one considering a defensive-minded coach?
I'd be OK with it. I think the reason most fans haven't considered the possibility is Green Bay is the most plays-crazy fan base I have ever observed. When and how did this happen? This was the "seal here and a seal here" fan base of a franchise built on the fundamental execution of the most famously predictable play in football history, the Packer sweep, and now it's built on the art of deception? If I'm the new head coach, that's the No. 1 culture I would be determined to change. No more of this play-call crap.
David from Chillum, MD
Well, the Packers are now drafting in the top 10, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.
As much as it hurts, it's how you build a strong roster. The Rams didn't draft Goff, Gurley and Donald at the bottom of the order. The Saints needed some losing seasons to get back to where they are. The Packers are experiencing the inevitable. I wish Packers fans had been more accepting of that fact.
Brian from Kingston, NY
What the heck was Winston Moss thinking with that tweet? Was he trying to get himself canned?
Winston is an emotional man and he had something he wanted to say. It saddens me such a special time in my life and in the history of the Green Bay Packers has ended so divisively.
"Ask Vic" will publish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the football season.
Michael from West Des Moines, IA
Well, they did it. Why now?
I think the si.com story forced the issue. As I was reading it, I was struck by the number of leaks. My reporter's instincts said, "Uh oh."
Rod from Summerfield, NC
Well, the wolves won. It is unfortunate McCarthy's tenure was handled in this manner. I expected more from the Green Bay organization. I am now suspicious this was in the plans since Ted retired. Is it your opinion Aaron will be a part of the hiring process for the next head coach?
Players hiring coaches? It would be the ultimate in jockocracy. Not even Howard Cosell could have imagined it.
Kabir from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
What must the next head coach of the Packers bring to the team McCarthy did not have?
The next coach must have Aaron Rodgers' cooperation. The si.com story painted an ugly picture of a coach and a quarterback who were not pulling in the same direction. The next coach must be a consensus builder, especially when it comes to Rodgers.
John from Paxton, IL
Do you think this team quit on McCarthy and forced Murphy to make this move?
I think the si.com story made Mike McCarthy a lame duck coach, and players won't play for a lame duck coach.
Joe from St. Paul, MN
So much for harmony. I suppose we all knew this was coming but I'm surprised it was done before the end of the season. It feels like a very undignified way to say goodbye to a man who had treated his position with dignity during his time here.
I don't have a problem with how it was done. If the decision was made, then get it done. It's best for McCarthy that way. He'll now have a chance to rest, recuperate and achieve perspective as he begins considering his next move.
Kurt from Mariposa, CA
It seems like a very reactionary decision to fire Coach McCarthy after the loss. What benefits are there to making the decision with four games left?
It quiets the wolves. Now, there is peace. Nobody wants to live and work in angst and uncertainty. It's not a good environment for players to learn their craft and to prepare for the next game. Fans have tremendous power. The howl has cost many a man his job.
Kent from Pella, IA
Terry Bradshaw was very pointed in the postgame show last night, saying, "Aaron Rodgers, it's your birthday. You've turned a year older and you got your coach fired. Congratulations." He said he'd feel terrible if anyone ever associated him with getting Chuck Noll fired. Given your history with both teams, how do you feel about Terry's perspective?
They're harsh words. They're a product of the si.com story. The story was a killer. As I read it, I kind of knew Mark Murphy had to decide between McCarthy and Rodgers. It was one or the other, not both, and when your quarterback is nearly $60 million in dead cap money, the choice becomes rather simple. Rodgers' new contract was the beginning of the end for the Packers as we've known them for a very long and a very good time.
Julian from Menasha, WI
Shouldn't Rodgers be tilting the field?
Mystiques die hard.
Ron from Boise, ID
The Packers' road to the playoff is shut down. Do players play for new contracts?
The players need to play for the tape because the Packers' roster is going to undergo major change in the offseason.
Curt from Portland, OR
Vic, everyone is always trying to ascribe prophetic significance to phrases coming from Aaron Rodgers’ mouth. Maybe this year’s phrase came after the Monday night win against the 49ers when he looked at the tough schedule ahead and said, “We’re gonna find out what kind of team we are.” I guess we know, yeah?
If the Packers didn't already know what kind of team they were, why did they make all of those changes in the offseason? They knew, and I think Rodgers did, too.
Johan from Pembroke, ON
Do you believe the talent on the Packers is really that bad? What do your eyes tell you when they can't even beat a two-win team and converted only three of 14 third-down attempts?
The Packers were out-rushed 182-98 by a Cardinals team that was No. 32 in rushing and No. 30 in rush defense. That's what concerns me.
Craig from Anchorage, AK
The Packers losing at Lambeau in December to a 2-9 dome team forced Murphy's hand. Am I right?
I believe the si.com story that detailed the depth of McCarthy's and Rodgers' failed coach/quarterback relationship forced Mark Murphy's hand. The loss to the Cardinals made it the right time to do the deed. What intrigues me the most about the si.com story are all of the leaks. Somebody had a plan.
Roger from Auburn, CA
Seems like a fitting way for the Packers' season to end! Thoughts about where they go from here?
New coach, new ways, new hope. The offseason will be full of excitement and anticipation. That's what everybody loves about firing a coach following a losing season. The new coach will be better. He'll call better plays.