"Ask Vic" is published M-W-F through the football season.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
So, what's your decision, Vic?
The Packers have decided it's not going to be all out. For all intents and purposes, my friend Mark Murphy made that announcement this week. Knowing Mark and his penchant for poised and calm decision-making, I expected as much. Me? If I were the president and CEO of the Packers, Rodgers' postgame remarks would've set my jaw. I saw them as inappropriate. I saw them as pouting, self-centered and lacking leadership. I saw them as inviting controversy, which is the last thing the Packers needed following another devastating playoff loss at home. What would grate me the most is they were unsolicited; they were volunteered. There would've been no reassurance of his future with the Packers from me. Why did the offense go dead at crunch time, and why did its leader send such a weak message after the game? Where's the grit I expect of a champion? These are the questions I would be asking myself if I were in Mark's position. The last two seasons have been blessed by good fortune for the Packers. Injuries have been much fewer than when Mike McCarthy's teams couldn't break the constant curse of them. I can't remember Rodgers even being on the injury report in 2020. There were games when I think he could've played without a helmet. The breaks? They've been going the Packers' way for the past two seasons, since before those hands-to-the-face penalties against the Lions. If I'm in Mark's position, I'm thinking to myself it's not likely to stay this way. I'm thinking to myself, "If we couldn't win it all this season, why am I to believe next season will be any better?" I'm also thinking to myself, "Do I want to go down in Packers history as the guy who ran Rodgers out of town?" Maybe in a few weeks I'll calm down, but for now I'll let the phone ring, and if I get an offer I can't refuse, I'll take it.
Steve from Hudson, WI
When would you say the Packers have gone all in or all out? I see them as a constant something in between kind of team that has shown propensity to find "The Man" and keep a line in front of him. Reggie White was an all-in move, but that was a long time ago with an underpaid QB at the helm.
I agree with your assessment, but something in between can result in a team dying on the vine. I prefer all in or all out.
Ryan from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, with removing Rodgers from the equation, and I want him for the foreseeable future, where does the rest of this team stand?
It's an average-strength roster with a few stars at key positions. When special teams struggle, it usually means the bottom half of your roster is weak. Compounding the problem is the Packers are in danger of losing a big chunk of their upper-half cast in free agency.
Brady from Milwaukee, WI
I think it’s too early to decide on whether to go all in or to blow it up. We don’t know what the state of the NFC will be next year: Where will Deshaun Watson and Matt Stafford end up? What will the trade haul be for either, and will that increase Rodgers’ trade value?
I favor Indianapolis as the landing spot for Stafford. Watson? His contract is a nightmare for both teams in a trade. He knows it; he's just pressing his advantage. The Packers don't have to rush into decision-making. They can allow the dust to settle.
Milton from Monterrey, Mexico
Vic why the Packers abandoned the run so early in the game?
They don't truly believe in it. They see it as being the other thing they do, and they are easily persuaded to abandon it if it's not gaining big chunks of yardage. Some of that is the result of a lack of confidence the defense can hold the opponent at bay while the Packers pound.
Brandon from Lafayette, IN
Rodgers had arguably his greatest statistical season ever, but what would it take to transition to a run-first mentality?
The need to do it.
Ricky from New Haven, CT
What makes a player a fumbler? How do pro teams fix college fumblers? Any good examples?
Hold the ball high and tight. Tiki Barber was a fumbler. Tom Coughlin fixed him. Coughlin could not live with a fumbler.
Burt from Louisiana
It seems the Packer brass is falling all over themselves talking about how Rodgers is "The Man," their leader, and they're making him the focus of the future, all of which begs the question: Then why the heck did you draft Jordan Love? What am I missing, Vic?
I'm missing it, too. Drafting Love sent a strong message of who the boss is. Now, all this reassurance is sending a completely different message.
Timothy from New York, NY
My gut tells me to blow it up, but I keep coming back to your assessment after the divisional round: "The Packers are the only quality team in a conference dominated by teams with old quarterbacks, a conference that will be even weaker next year." If the NFC picture looked like the AFC, blowing it up would make total sense. But the Packers might actually have a chance next year, given the competition, no?
As the NFC North stands right now, the Packers could win it with Duck Hodges at quarterback.
Marcel from Bamberg, Germany
The Packers have the MVP at quarterback, one of the best receivers, a lockdown corner still ahead of his prime, a good pass rusher and the best blindside protector in the NFL. When does one go all in, if not now?
I wouldn't complain if they went all in. I favor all in or all out. I think something in between is the wrong choice.
Ryan from Freedom, WI
What do you think of Mike Pettine? Statistically, the defense has improved every year with him as defensive coordinator. His contract is up after this season. So, will the Packers sign him back this offseason?
I think he's a good coach and should be retained. I also think Pettine made a major goof in his coverage scheme on Tampa's touchdown pass near the end of the first half, but he wasn't the only coach on the Packers' sideline. Head Coach Matt LaFleur had plenty of time to communicate his thoughts to Pettine. This is why I don't favor head coaches being play-callers. If they're so occupied by their side of the ball they can't coach the whole team, the team is without a head coach in situations such as the Packers faced on that play near the end of the half.
Nick from Boston, MA
If you're the Jets or Jags, do you trade away Lawrence or Fields for Watson?
And acquire Watson's insane contract, which includes salaries of $35 million in 2022, $20 million in '23, $32 million in '24 and '25, and a roster bonus of $17 million in '23? Ahhhh, no.
Travis from Minneapolis, MN
Fans seem so eager to fire coordinators, even though it’s usually a talent deficit issue. What do you look for in signs a coordinator should be replaced?
Is he not getting the most out of his players; not utilizing their talent to the fullest? That's No. 1. Coordinators need to make the puzzle pieces fit. I think Mike Pettine did that this season.
Brad from Jacksonville, FL
Vic, I was reading how no one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the class this year. It got me to thinking, are the baseball writers that much more stringent, or is this more of a pompous/arrogant move?
Baseball treats its Hall of Fame as hallowed ground. The NFL treats the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a marketing tool.
Greg from Kingsport, TN
Can I start some offseason drama? One of the writers over at the Packers' team site said during Vic Ketchman's time employed with the team, he was "a transplant" and had "zero connection to this team or fanbase."