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Inbox: It's up to the men in that locker room

The Packers have to stick together, trust one another and weather this storm

LB Preston Smith
LB Preston Smith

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What's your way-too-early Super Bowl prediction?

Too close to call. Good morning!

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, it's been said (at least by me) that difficult times are great opportunities for learning. What have we learned these last few weeks? Or what can you teach us? I assume the lesson might take a bit longer for some than others.

The past month has crystalized just how difficult it is to win in this league. You have to work at it constantly and sometimes even that isn't enough. From a talent perspective, the Packers are better than a 3-6 team but that's why we said time and time again this offseason that games are won on the field, not on paper. Success is not preordained.

Anne from Newport, MN

What do you think is the best course of action for the Packers given their current performance, in order for them to maximize their chances to still make the playoffs?

Stick together, trust one another and weather this storm. The Packers have the talent, scheme, and coaches to compete with any team in the NFL. But competing and winning are two different things.

Kirk from Lubbock, TX

How are all the injured players doing?

According to eagle-eyed Mike Spofford, who attended practice Wednesday, Aaron Jones (ankle) and Christian Watson (cleared from concussion evaluation) both participated. That was great to see, each for their own reasons. However, Aaron Rodgers, Romeo Doubs, Sammy Watkins, Rashan Gary, De'Vondre Campbell, David Bakhtiari, Krys Barnes, Elgton Jenkins and Eric Stokes did not practice. That's a whole lotta vital pieces.

Eric from Appleton, WI

With Rashan Gary out for the year, how big of weakness is the OLB position?

It's whatever the Packers make it. I remember when the Packers lost Clay Matthews and Nick Perry for a time in 2012 and Erik Walden and Dez Moses stepped up. As Spoff mentioned, it's going to be go-time for Kingsley Enagbare. The training wheels will be off for the rookie fifth-round pick. More also will be asked of Jonathan Garvin, La'Darius Hamilton, and Tipa Galeai (who returned to practice Wednesday). This isn't all on the outside linebackers, though. It's up to the men in that locker room to pull together and bring the best versions of themselves.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Wes, every week, we discuss the most crucial mistakes from the game, and what can be done to prevent them in the future. The word "accountability" often comes up. What are some examples of said "accountability"? I'm not seeking a pound of flesh, like benching a good/great player because of an uncustomary bonehead mistake or an inexcusable penalty, but I am curious how players are specifically being held accountable. Is it simply calling a player out in the film room?

That's it. Most fans want their teams to publicly rip into players, coaches, and water boys for losses, but that does nothing to foster a good culture. It's like if my boss went in front of the entire floor and said, "Wes is holding us all back. Wes, this is your fault. It's all on you." Not only does that not make me want to work any harder for this individual but it also signals to the rest of the room it's OK to make excuses and point fingers. The film room is the NFL's truth serum. It's where position coaches keep it real with their players and show them where everyone can improve. On a football team, that's where coaches' corrections happen and that's where the coaches' critiques stay.

James from Ottawa, Canada

II, what do you think the message in the locker room is ahead of the upcoming slate of games? Obviously, we have dropped some recently that we were "expected" to win. Coming into the more daunting part of our schedule and firmly behind the 8-ball, what messaging do you think the coaches are (or should be) sending to the players? The guys are obviously professionals and won't get too far "down" – but what can be said to try and right the ship that hasn't been said over the past few weeks?

There's only one thing the Packers can do about the five-game losing streak: End it. And there's one team they can accomplish that against and it doesn't hail from New York, Washington, Buffalo or Detroit. Play the opponent in front of you.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning! Mike wrote about the Packers twice eschewing a 56-yard field goal and going for it on fourth-and-3. How much say does Crosby have in a situation like this? Is he there with coach to weigh in on the decision in the moment? Or does coach have this info pregame and go with his gut? Just curious since a decision has to be made fairly quickly and wondering how this process might work.

Crosby and Rich Bisaccia give their report about range after pregame warmups, but the rest is up to LaFleur. That's why you see Crosby and the specialists warming up on the sideline every time Green Bay is driving in opponent territory. They gotta stay ready.

The Green Bay Packers held practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Who is next up behind Amari Rodgers for punt returns now that Romeo Doubs and Randall Cobb are both out?

I'm not sure, but hopefully Cobb is back soon enough. He's eligible to be activated for the Tennessee game. Jaire Alexander has some experience with punt returns and the Packers could always just have a receiver go back and fair catch in case of emergency.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, with Doubs likely headed for IR, I can only assume Juwann Winfree will be elevated to the active roster, right?

I'm not sure who's going where at this time, but the Packers likely will have to make some roster decisions before Sunday.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

In response to not kicking a field goal on fourth-and-goal you said, "surrendering due to lack of faith in the offense isn't the type of attitude most teams want to foster." But isn't it more demoralizing for an offense to turn the ball over on downs at the goal line? At what point does the coach realize they're last in the league for fourth-down conversions and ANY points on the board is a good thing this season?

Sure, but you have to see the forest for the trees here, Luke. It's not just points. More and more NFL coaches and analysts are willing to risk it for the biscuit because of field position. While it might hurt to get stopped at the 1-yard line, the opposition has to start with its heels on the goal line. If you take the three points, then the opponent gets the ball at the 25 or better. Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario happened, and the ball got picked for the touchback.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

My favorite Mike McCarthy moment was how well he handled the "Fail Mary" loss. He took the high road. I think he actually contacted the official who made the call later in the week to see if he was doing OK. Apparently, the official was being harassed at his home.

Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl and a boatload of games during his 13 years in Green Bay. Still, for me, Mike's legacy is how he led with character and class. For how often pundits want to pick him apart, McCarthy doesn't get nearly enough credit for being a locker-room unifier. It's not easy to steer the ship in the NFL. Mike does it masterfully. He's exactly the coach the Dallas Cowboys needed. That said, the Packers need a win on Sunday, and McCarthy and his football team are standing in the way of that. Beat Dallas.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, I keep thinking if we just would have pulled out two of these last five games we would be in fine shape. Maybe we can win two of these games we are dogs and get back in it. No one but the Eagles scare me in the NFC.

Two words: Eat-bay Allas-day…and figure out the rest from there.

Tom from Winfield, WV

Good morning fellas. Vic used to say, "You are what you draft." I think it's true to our defense. Hopefully we can add to our struggling offense in the future drafts. BTW, I think the Pack beats Dallas on Sunday. Have a good week.

The three-game road trip didn't go according to plan. Now, the Packers have to defend Lambeau Field against a very talented Dallas team. Whoever's available has to step up.

Tim from Lemont, IL

If the Packers are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs early, would we see Jordan Love at starting QB?

"I'm not a fan of hypotheticals." – Mike McCarthy. The Packers are playing the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and their starting quarterback is the two-time reigning and defending NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Mackenzie from Peshtigo, WI

How many touchdowns does Marcedes Lewis have?

For the season? One. For his career? 38.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Just confirming: Our second- and third-string players get paid too, right? Heck, we probably even pay our practice squad. If so, we have to be able to count on them to step up in the face of injuries and poor performances. If last year taught us anything, when a star goes down (Jaire Alexander), the opportunity to rise with the occasion is there for a player (Rasul Douglas) ready to take it!

And it's all there for the taking after this recent wave of injuries.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Wes on Tuesday you made a comment that made me believe that you believe natural turf is safer. Did you see and read the article that states research has found that there is little difference for non-contact lower body injuries? Yes, turf is slightly higher. We need to use the data to make decisions. Yes, this is coming from a fan that would like to see all games played outside and on grass.

I couldn't care less what the studies indicate. I care what the players think…and there's plenty who are ticked off.

Kenny from Wild Rose, WI

Jeff Saturday was hired without any real coaching experience and the TV talking heads are all hot and bothered that it is a slap to all coaches working their way up in the NFL. A few years back Nick Sirianni was hired over other qualified candidates and those same people were calling out the Eagles for not hiring a minority. But the "No Name" Sirianni has Philly at 8-0, and those same folks are lauding him. Are the Eagles' and Colts' ownership so wrong to put their best choice at the helm?

Sirianni was an NFL offensive coordinator for four years and an NFL assistant since 2009 when the Eagles hired him. Jeff Saturday went 20-16 as the head coach at Hebron Christian Academy.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Excellent question by Brian from Urbana on which former or current coach would make the best President. My thought was Jerry Burns. How would you like to hear a President deliver one of Burns' famous F-bomb-filled press conferences?

Mike Tomlin was a good pick, but I'd cast my vote for Mike McDaniel. I wanna live in that dude's world.

Kevin from New Milford, CT

With regard to the question from Michael from Berrien Springs, in the WYMM articles the videos open with YouTube. Just click the gear in the lower right corner and select Playback Speed. Done and done!

I love how many readers stepped up to lend Michael a helping hand. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

The candlesticks couldn't hurt. I'm more worried someone drank Jobu's rum when everyone was in London, and no one noticed. Has anyone checked? Let's fill 'er up and beat the 'Boys.

We need a live roo – was it a live rooster?




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