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Inbox: It's anybody's guess at this point

The Packers have nine days to get healthy and clean things up

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Dakota from Moline, IL

Why did you not run the ball that close to the end zone once?

Well, this is gonna be fun. Good morning!

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

Looking at the highlights, it's easy to see where we let the game slip away from us. What I saw was our secondary just not locking up like they have the first three weeks to allow the pass rush (which was in Carson Wentz's face but needed half a second more) to get home. The questionable roughing-the-passer call on Clark, and PI on MVS also would've stopped a drive and continued one, respectively. It was a good game on a short week.

I don't draw conclusions from Thursday night games, win or lose. As I wrote last week, it's not "true" football. There were missed opportunities and plays the Packers want back. They have nine days to get healthy and clean things up. Right now, echoing Spoff, I care more about how the Packers respond against Dallas than what happened Thursday night.

Neil from Sun Prairie, WI

That one-minute drive at the end of the first half was pretty incredible. Props to G-Mo for two very impressive catches. Now they need to do that at the end of the second half, too.

There are two things unfortunately lost in the final result: Aaron Rodgers' brilliant performance and how several complementary skill-position players rose to the occasion against the Eagles. Geronimo Allison, who had five catches for 24 yards through the first three games, showed a lot of moxie going across the middle of a Jim Schwartz/Andrew Sendejo defense to make the 31-yard grab on third-and-6. Then, he came right back on the 18-yard touchdown. The Packers and Rodgers have a lot of faith in the young wideout. On Thursday night, you saw why.

Jeremiah from South Bend, IN

You indicated improving run defense is easier than improving pass defense. Can you explain why?

Run defense is more predicated on fundamentals – not getting moved from your gap at the first level and fitting gaps at the second. That's an easier fix than if your secondary is hemorrhaging and cornerbacks are giving up big plays.

Dan from Wausau, WI

Everyone is freaked out about the run defense. I'm not. When Philly was forced to make a long drive, it couldn't consistently. The Pack gave them three short fields and a good team like Philly is gonna make you pay. Add to that first touchdown in five red-zone trips and you have the recipe for a loss. Gotta run it once on that one drive, Coach.

The Packers have the players they need to stop the run. If they can get Montravius Adams healthy, Oren Burks back and B.J. Goodson caught up on the defense soon, I think that will help reverse this early trend. They're better in that area than what the numbers reflect right now.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

I don't really understand why there is so much gripe about not running the ball on the two goal-line stands. Aaron Rodgers had never before thrown an interception from three yards or less and had previously thrown 64 touchdowns prior to the INT. This wasn't asking a third-year QB to throw it in an obvious run situation in the biggest game of his life.

Because the Packers didn't win. It doesn't matter what the run-pass ratio is – if the Packers don't score, the balance will be questioned. You gotta execute.

Michael from Clark Lake, WI

What happened to the red-zone offense?

Execution. The Packers had opportunities and didn't execute. To his credit, LaFleur walked the media through his thought process with the play-calling. I still think the outcome of those plays is different with Davante Adams on the field but it is what it is. The offense must learn from it.

Drew from Rogers City, MI

Reasons for the TNF loss to Philly are plentiful; however, I believe field position may be the key. Aaron's fumble, Mason's kickoff out of bounds and several huge returns allowed may very well have cost us the game. Thoughts?

There were so many layers to that game but field position and turnovers were the difference. Philly had the edge in both areas and the Packers couldn't close the gap.

Gregory from Milwaukee, WI

I knew things were going to be rough when Jamaal went out with only Aaron Jones and Danny Vitale left and it was a short week. Why weren't there any other running backs suited up for the game? Is there a rule there?

Teams have to make tough calls when picking their game-day 46. Dexter Williams had been a healthy scratch the first three weeks, so it wasn't a surprise. Vitale is trained the same as the Packers' running backs. Green Bay still had options if anything happened to Jones.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Cowabunga, dudes! There can no longer be any doubt, can there? Some players, or at least one of them, reads the Inbox, no? On Monday, you guys published my little character study of this year's team, wherein I said "Aaron Jones is like a cool little California surfer dude, even though he's from...Texas?" On Thursday, immediately after his first (very next) touchdown, Aaron Jones swam a few strokes, dropped an invisible 'board, jumped on and went...surfing! This can't be a coincidence.

Don't think that didn't cross my mind, Dan.

Kristen from Sacramento, CA

Hi Insiders! Tough loss, with way too many missed opportunities, blown calls, and flagrant penalties/dirty plays by Philadelphia. Given all of the bad moments of the night, I have to say one of the bright spots for me was when Maddox got called for PI on Lazard. Maddox was celebrating and wagging his finger at Lazard, and Lazard just looked at him and pointed to the line ref. It was classic. Were you able to see this from the press box?

I did. It was such a savage move by Lazard. I loved how he hopped to his feet at the end, too, and walked back to the huddle.

Deb from Green Bay, WI

I am very worried about Davante's toe. Didn't a similar injury keep Antonio Gates out for most of a season? Offense couldn't get into the end zone without him in six tries.

I know the organization is keeping its fingers crossed right now for the two-time Pro Bowl receiver. I know Adams was disappointed he couldn't finish the game but he's as tough as they come. You have to be smart and play the long game sometimes. Kudos to the training staff and Adams for not risking anything. We'll see how things look next week.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Wes, with all the supposed concern for player safety I have an interesting question. On the play where Andrew Sendejo laid out his own player, could the league fine him for that hit? If Big Bob does not duck as quickly as he did, he could have been the one on the ground.

The NFL can fine players on uncalled penalties or plays. We'll see what the league says about it late next week.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

Last night I caught a glimpse as they were prepping Avonte Maddox to be carted off the field of JK Scott leading a prayer with at least one other player. Is he developing into a locker room leader as well as a great punter?

Sure, but I think most of it is Scott is just a world-class human being.

Jeff from Naperville, IL

After looking so forward to watching the game, and then watching the officiating crumble on a national stage, when is the NFL going to wake up and make games not decided by the so-called "professional" refs? They even get a timeout to review the play on MVS and still blow the call. The entire planet watching the game knew it was PI. It's discouraging to have to watch this play out each week for all the teams. Your take on what you saw?

What's my take? My take is I need a beer…and I don't even drink.

John from Wausau, WI

With two timeouts left we should challenge pass interference on the play that led to the interception because it was.

All reviews must come from the booth under two minutes.

Burt from Hudson, WI

Last offensive play of the game for the Pack, when the interception occurred, I believe pass interference was mentioned by one of the game's announcers. I felt there may have been interference, as well. ML, I believe, still had available a challenge/red flag. Disappointing it wasn't thrown. Thank you for your insightful column!

As LaFleur stated, I don't think it changes anything because the New York office had its mind made up. The NFL has introduced an invasive species to the game with making pass interference reviewable and currently the league office doesn't appear capable of consistently officiating it.

Mike from Ames, IA

Do you think coaches will start becoming more resistant toward challenging interference based on games like Thursday night? Aside from the uncertainty of the call, it seems possible the Packers play the final drive differently if they still have three timeouts in their pocket. Does the possibility of losing the challenge and the TO outweigh the potential gain at this point?

I don't want to belabor this point, but it's anybody's guess at this point what's a catch or constitutes pass interference. While New York technically makes the final call on reviews, it's become clear through the first month of the season that the original call on the field is the law of the land – and that's OK. But if that's the way the game is going to be officiated, I think coaches, players, media and fans deserve a better explanation – not a video saying "the call stands" with a surface-level description. That's what was great about the Dean Blandino era – its accountability and clarity.

Israel from West Allis, WI

Glad you're blue in the face, too. Does the team have any recourse to complain to the league about officiating regarding the volume of uncalled personal fouls or the refusal to overturn a blatant PI? Might we get something similar to last year's Matthews' form tackle on Cousins, where the refs double-down and the competition committee sets them right?

The Packers can submit the play to the league to get a better understanding of why it was officiated the way it was. Until the next owners' meetings, that's it.

Zack from La Crosse, WI

Why even allow for the new rule of PI review? The refs are premeditated to let the call stand already. If the MVS play was not clear and obvious then please take away this new rule as it is causing teams to lose valuable timeouts. Thank you.

I think it's important to point out it was NFL owners and coaches who were in favor of replaying pass interference – not the officials.

Michael from Chanhassen, MN

You are really spot-on when it comes to the NFL and its commitment to safety. Unfortunately, it may only stop at lip service after a player goes through what Darryl Stingley went through, and although his was not a helmet-to-helmet hit, it was close to that and ultimately life-altering.

I stand by everything Spoff said Friday. We're over-officiating the ticky-tacky plays and under-penalizing the hits that are truly egregious. I'm not saying Barnett is a dirty player but he was out of control on that play. The facts are what they are – Jamaal Williams played one snap Thursday night. Derek Barnett went on to play 60 more, including potentially the biggest of the game on the strip-sack of Rodgers.

Tim from Marinette, WI

What would it take for the NFL to look into holding a coach responsible for a player's action? Jim Schwartz has had these same type of occurrences everywhere he has coached. Not the standard, in-the-play unnecessary roughness but late hits, cheap shots and such after a play is over. Look at his resume: Titans he was DC for Haynesworth's stomp, Finnegan cheap shots, Detroit Suh's stomp, Avril's cheap shots and others, Buffalo the same cheap shots, and look at Philly last night.

The league will never step in unless it's something like what happened with Greg Williams and bountygate in New Orleans.

Bob from Portland, ME

Well, I think the best of the Packers' season is over. The title of Friday's Inbox is "The response is all that matters now." I think the Packers' response will be getting their butts kicked in Dallas. I'll predict the Cowboys win by more than 20 points. This Packers team doesn't look any different than the past two or three years under McCarthy – they aren't as physical as the opponent on either side of the ball, they can't run the ball nor can they stop the opponents from successfully running.

Come on, Bob. Get a grip. You fell into my least favorite trap regarding fans. With that proclamation, you now can only be right if the Packers lose by 20 to the Cowboys. That's no way to cheer on a team. It's a losing mindset.

Jerry from Erie, PA

Good morning. The Pack has a solid fullback who can block, catch and is a decent runner. Why let him sit on the bench when a smaller RB just cannot get it done (although the line blocking did not help much)? This player is quick, strong and I would think at the least when down on the 1-yard line first-and-goal they would have a play to look pass, then using Rodgers and the big fullback run a rollout they would have the choice to make a pass, hand off or pass to the FB, or FB block so Rodgers runs in?

You realize Vitale didn't have an NFL carry before Thursday night, right? He's a valuable asset in this offense but Aaron Jones is Green Bay's bell cow. Size isn't the only thing that matters in short yardage. Just look at Jones' 2-yard touchdown run.

David from Oak Hills, CA

Mike McCarthy used to always say that he viewed the regular season in quarters. Now with the "first quarter" in the rear-view mirror, what stands out to you heading into the "second quarter" of the season?

A solid (but also mortal) defense, an offense that's made steady progress through four games and dozens of young playmakers who should get better as the year wears on. If you were told a month ago that the Packers would be 3-1 at this stage, I think most would have been thrilled.

Ted from Bruce, WI

Just a comment. Thank God the season is over. Now, I can be outside and enjoy the nice fall weather instead of watching overpaid, under-achieving, and overrated defense that is called the Packers.

I forgot how rewarding it is having to pen Inbox after losses.


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