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Challenged by tough times, Packers determined to keep fighting

LaFleur discusses lack of turnovers, late-game failures, and confidence in QB Jordan Love “not wavering one bit”

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – As the Packers pored over their mistakes and regrets Monday from a third straight loss, Head Coach Matt LaFleur admitted the frustration has been mounting.

But so has the determination to get things turned around, even if the results haven't shown it yet.

"The thing that gives me a lot of hope is just knowing the response I see from our team in the locker room, in the meeting rooms, on the practice field," LaFleur said Monday. "These guys aren't afraid of a challenge, and right now we have a challenge.

"Going through some adversity, as long as you come out the other side of it, can be a positive thing if channeled and harnessed the right way and if you respond the right way. And so, that's the expectation I have for our football team."

Specific expectations extend to each side of the ball, too.

Defensively, while there were too many missed tackles in Denver, LaFleur reiterated holding the opponent to less than 20 points, as accomplished the last two games, should equate to winning. But there's also more the defense can do to help a struggling offense.

"I still think there's another level there in terms of our ability to find a way to generate some more takeaways," he said. "We've got to get those turnovers … just to set up field position to have a short field."

Rudy Ford's interception to start the second half in Vegas is the defense's lone takeaway in the last two games, and it did lead to a touchdown to spark a comeback effort.

The rally in Denver started with putting together some long drives on offense. But the similarity with the two defeats, other than the unproductive first halves, was the missed opportunities on final, potential game-winning drives.

For all that had gone wrong, and the first-half struggles had plenty to do with that, the offense still had its shots in crunch time, and those chances got away.

"We've got to find a way to make the plays, especially at the end of the game," said LaFleur, adding a reference to the Atlanta failure in Week 2 as well. "There's been three times this year where our offense has had the ball with an opportunity to go down and take the lead and we haven't gotten it done."

The last two opportunities have ended with QB Jordan Love throwing interceptions on deep balls, as the go-for-broke mentality has not paid off. While those moments are built into the growth process for any young quarterback, LaFleur said communication of the situation and the options available must be overemphasized to help manage the critical situations.

On balance, the passing offense has produced when the unit has been in sync, with protections and clean routes. When one element breaks down, there's too much burden on the quarterback to make something work.

"He's done enough for me, to show me, that it's all right there," LaFleur said. "The better everybody is around him, the better he's going to look.

"Our confidence in him is not wavering one bit."

Neither is LaFleur's belief his team can turn this around, no matter how trying the current times. Attitude and approach will matter moving forward.

"All it takes is you've got to find a way to win a game, and then you can move onto the next one," he said. "But by no means is this any fun going through this. It's a grind. It really tests you mentally and it can be extremely frustrating. I realize that.

"We're all frustrated because there's a lot of time, energy, effort that goes into this thing, and when you're not getting the results it can be demoralizing – if you allow it to be."

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