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Inbox: It's clear nothing is going to come easy

The leadership challenge is significant

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Reed from Myrtle Beach, SC

NOW can we panic? Geesh.

The biggest challenge of the LaFleur era has arrived. Let's see how the team, collectively, handles it.

Bruce from Northford, CT

Okay everyone. Pour yourself another cup of coffee. Should be an interesting II today.

I'm not going to promise an overwhelming enlightenment here. We saw an incomplete team with visible flaws get to 3-1, but those flaws have grown to become too much to overcome the past two games. I believe the talent and coaching exist to turn things back around. The last six quarters do not represent everything this team has to offer. But it's clear nothing is going to come easy.

Trish from Columbus, OH

Well! Matt's and Aaron's press conferences were certainly interesting and uncharacteristically but unsurprisingly subdued. What was most striking to you?

All I was thinking about as they spoke was how much the leadership of this team will matter and how much of it falls on those two. There are other leaders, to be sure, but the locker room will be turning to LaFleur and Rodgers more than anyone else to right the ship. This is new territory for the pair, together. As I mentioned in my postgame editorial, the LaFleur era hasn't seen a third loss before late November until now. The leadership challenge is significant and I'm very interested to see how they go about it.

Andy from Austin, TX

I usually try to find something positive that I think the team can build off of from week to week, regardless if they won or lost. Today's game has left me stumped though. What can the team take from this week and build on?

I'm stumped, too. Even as well as the defense was playing for two-plus quarters, the rest of its performance left plenty to be desired. Sometimes it can take not even being close to good enough – rather than regretting a key moment here or there – to provide the collective shakeup needed. That's about all I've got for you after that game.

Pat from Pensacola, FL

I'll say this, there's a lot of really good football teams at 3-3. I believe the Packers can be one of them, but they've got to adopt a killer instinct soon. Let the back-to-back losses be a big opportunity to re-center and reload, and watch a lot of tape on motion/misdirection on defense.

If by killer instinct you mean seize the game when it's there to be had, absolutely. These last two games were imminently winnable in the second half, and the team fell flat on both sides of the ball (in the third phase yesterday, too). As I said in the first of my five takeaways in the game recap, it's soul-searching time. What will they have the next time a game is there for the taking?

Jake from Stockholm, MN

I picked up a carton of milk after the game yesterday and I saw Aaron Jones' face on the side. Was he injured? I sure didn't see much of him in the game yesterday.

Look, I understand the questions about player usage, but that game in my opinion had nothing to do with who was getting the ball. I thought this postgame comment from LaFleur said it all: "If we don't get it blocked up front better, it's hard."

Steve from Stillman Valley, IL

Don't think we can blame this loss on Adams being gone! Pretty hard when the O-line doesn't block anyone and the defense can't stop the run. This looks like a team not ready to play in any phase.

The special-teams blunders only added to the disheartening display because Rich Bisaccia's crew had come a long way in five weeks. But the third phase was responsible for 10 points in a game lost by 17. That stings. It should've earned some credit back for Wilson's blocked punt, but a three-and-out with a holding penalty and third-down sack on a possession that started on the edge of field-goal range just foreshadowed how bad the day was going to get.

Matt from Springfield, MO

I didn't see any passion or heart out there Sunday. It really looks like this team doesn't care; which I know isn't the case. However, they sure look like they don't care, which translates to performance. What needs to change?

Offensively, they need to find something they can rely on and build from there. There's no go-to concept, run or pass, that gets them going right now. Nothing to turn to in a tough spot. Defensively, they must find a way to rebound from a bad play. In yesterday's game, the defense was being forced to play perfectly, so psychologically I understand the big letdown after Davis gets behind the secondary for a 41-yard completion. But they have to fight against that and not let things snowball. Last week's game in London snowballed with five straight scoring possessions, the worst stretch of defense on the season. Yesterday, after allowing just three points through eight drives, the big pass to Davis began a stretch of 12 plays during which nine of the gains were 41, 20 (TD), 14, 16, 34 (TD), 12, 12, 25, 8, with three 1-yarders sprinkled in. That's 185 of the 278 yards in a span of 12 plays out of 53 total snaps. After a lot of good defense, one play broke the dam and they couldn't recover. They can't stagger when they get knocked backward.

Steve from Ellenton, FL

The Jets. The Jets. The Jets? I have nothing…do you gents?

If it's a week-to-week league, it's also a year-to-year one. The 4-13 Jets are 4-2. The 4-13 Giants are 5-1. The 8-9 Vikings are 5-1. The 9-8 Eagles are 6-0. The 13-4 Packers and Buccaneers are both 3-3. The two Super Bowl teams are also 3-3. The 11-6 Cardinals are 2-4.

Ben from Sussex, WI

I came across a post from the Pro Football HOF Facebook page celebrating Arnie Herber 53 years after his passing. As a three-time NFL passing yards and touchdowns leader as well as bringing the Pack four championships, any idea as to why he is never in the conversation of the Packers QB greats? That conversation always starts with Bart Starr. I hadn't heard of him until seeing that post, but now feel the need to learn more about him and those four championship teams.

There's plenty I plan to dive into when I get around to reading Cliff's anthology. Herber simply played in a different era, playing halfback in Lambeau's Notre Dame Box offense. He led the league in passing yards in '32, '34 and '36 – barely attempting more than 100 passes in a season until in '36 becoming the first in league history to pass for more than 1,000 yards (on 173 attempts). Even in the Lombardi era, Starr was throwing for 2,000-plus per year. Herber also wasn't a big part of the '30 and '31 title teams before becoming a star on the '36 and '39 champs. Two favorite fun facts about Herber: In the '39 title game (Packers 27, Giants 0), every pass he threw was caught, as he went 5-of-8 with three INTs. Then he was the opposing QB for the Giants in the '44 title game and threw four interceptions (Packers 14, Giants 7).

Richard from Woodstock, GA

Just a comment! Wes's response on the Packers beating the NY Giants 37-0 in the NFL Championship Game brought back the comment from the Milwaukee Journal that Ron Kramer, No. 88, ran around like a runaway beer truck. That's my 88 memory. The other stuff in the Inbox is a mystery to me!

Consider yourself blessed.

Bob from New Britain, CT

The entire game was one big technical difficulty for the Packers. It even leaked into the live blog, for crying out loud!

Yeah, talk about an all-around bad day. The interface glitches out sometimes, and we have no idea why. It's not an internal platform so we can't just fix it ourselves. I'm sure it wouldn't have been fun to read through all the venting going on, but even in tough times I appreciate those with a sense of humor and I didn't even have a little levity to get through the last quarter and a half.

Steven from Colorado Springs, CO

Asking what went wrong seems to be asking the wrong people. If you knew what all went wrong and had the answers to fix it, you'd be coaching your own team and having to answer questions to which you have no answers. Still, thanks for doing this. Keep up the good work.

I'm more useful with grammar and punctuation.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Chuck from AZ wrote "Douglas's" and Mike used "Douglas'." Which is the correct possessive usage? I vote for Chuck. If Douglas were plural then Douglas' would be correct (I think).

I'm not aware of a hard-and-fast rule, but a guideline I follow that makes sense to me is based on the syllables of the noun being made possessive. When it's one syllable, I add apostrophe-S (Wes's), but when it's more than one syllable, just the apostrophe (Douglas').

Heather from Green Bay, WI

After enduring a game like that, it's best for me to flip off all media. The notable exception is Mike's “5 takeaways.” Appreciate the honesty and perspective. Taking a deep breath, ready to watch what comes next. It's all we can do, after all.

Thanks for reading. I know this column is everyone's go-to, but it's nice to know the other work doesn't go to waste.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, a friend of mine has collected Raiders memorabilia from the time we grew up in Oakland. He sent me a black and white photo of Ted Hendricks "tackling" Joe Namath and taking his helmet off with a forearm shot. My how times have changed.

I saw several Namath jerseys on the walk from my car into the stadium on Sunday. For whatever reason, that just made me smile.

Scott from Milwaukee, WI

The Broncos have four nationally televised games in six weeks. Make it stop! Why would the schedulers do that?

Perhaps the networks are regretting their obsession with Russell Wilson switching teams.

Craig from West Bend, WI

Is it just me or is Elgton Jenkins really struggling out there? He really looks out of sorts these last two games. I think moving back to guard would help get him on track? Yosh couldn't be much worse than a struggling Elgton at RT could he?

It was a rough day for Jenkins, after I thought he played a really solid game last week, which I highlighted in my WYMM. LaFleur said everything is on the table as far as the offensive line configuration. As I've noted before, Stenavich said in training camp when Yosh Nijman moved to right tackle, it wasn't a smooth transition for him. But perhaps if they want Jenkins back at guard, they'll try Nijman there anyway now that David Bakhtiari played a full game. As usual, stay tuned.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

I thought for sure Rivers to Gates would be the oldest QB to TE scoring combination, but they were only 37 and 38 respectively for the last of many TDs. Brady (44) to Gronk (32) is up there, and Brady (45) to Rudolph (33) or Brate (31) could happen this year. Nothing I could find comes anywhere close to Vinny Testaverde (44) connecting with Christian Fauria (36) at Lambeau Field back in 2007.

Wow, you made me look it up. The Carolina game. Nicely done. My only memory from that game is when the Panthers pooch-punted out of field-goal formation, Tramon Williams ran back to scoop it up at the 6-yard line, and then took it the distance. It's still tied for the second-longest punt return in team history.

Jake from Orem, UT

Watching the Bears-Commanders game, and boy am I glad the Packers haven't ever gone with yellow-on-yellow jerseys in a throwback. What are your thoughts on the Bears orange-on-orange?

I've always thought the orange jerseys are a decent change of pace, but the orange helmets are hideous. Mercy.

Jimmy from Rockford, IL

Spoff, I feel as though IPAs are kind of played out, yet they are still my favorite beer. Any suggestions?

I began shying away from IPAs a few years ago when I used to really enjoy them. My tastes have definitely changed. I'm mostly a seasonal beer drinker now and find I'm always appreciating what's in front of me while also looking forward to what's next.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

I'm highly encouraged by ML's postgame comments. My money's on the Pack rising like a phoenix and finding their new form this week. What will you be eyeing in practice to hint at a fresh start? With all respect to Mr. Spofford, this week is about a heck of a lot more than just beating the Commanders.

This week is actually nothing about the Commanders at all. This week will be all about the Packers. They have a ton to get straightened out that has zero to do with whatever the Commanders bring next Sunday.

JP from Colorado Springs, CO

1. Take a deep breath and count to 10. 2. Things are never as bad as they seem nor as good, reality falls somewhere in between. 3. Given the Packers' success in the regular season the past few years and the law of averages, we all should have seen this coming. 4. Help is not on the way. 5. This team is a "mess" right now, but there's a lot of football left … that could be good news or bad news … stay tuned.

I believe it's good news. Happy Monday.

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