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Inbox: It's what everyone has to figure out

This team keeps doing it to itself


Joe from Clio, MI

A wise man once growled "you are what your record says you are."

If I've heard it in this league once, I've heard it a thousand times. There's no argument.

Jared from Evanston, IL

The Packers are Charlie Brown and those fumbles are Lucy pulling the ball away right when we think we have it...

Pretty good analogy. I'd come up with something clever about fans being Linus and needing their blankets if I had gotten any sleep.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Unfortunately if I had to pick the identity of this year's team, I'd have to go with "self-inflicted wounds." They keep making huge mistakes at the worst possible times. Is this a focus problem? Dumb luck? Youth? How do you coach a team to not shoot itself in the foot?

Great question. One of many I don't have a good answer for this morning. All I know is the Packers need to walk out of a stadium other than Lambeau Field with a victory so they know what it looks like and feels like. They've overcome plenty of mistakes at home, but it's easier there. Their reputation right now is they can't win on the road, which won't lighten the load.

Anthony from Middleton, WI

I predicted the game would come down to which No. 12 touched the ball last. My buddy predicted it would come down to which offense turned it over. He was right, and unfortunately it was our offense.

I fully expected the game to come down to the last possession, but the Patriots avoided that by just being the superior team in the fourth quarter. Starting the final period with that fumble placed the entire weight of Gillette Stadium on the Packers.

Chris from Rhinelander, WI

Is Aaron Rodgers, at this stage in his career, one of the best QBs in the game? Is Bakhtiari one of the best left tackles in the game? Is Adams one of the best receivers in the game? Is Aaron Jones an above-average running back? I feel the overwhelming majority of viewers would answer yes to all of those questions. An elite-level player at each level of the offense, yet only an average, or slightly above, offense. Why is this offense not performing?

That's another million-dollar question. I don't have an answer for this either. I could make some grand suggestion as to what they're supposed to do, but it would just be hot air. It's what McCarthy, Philbin, Rodgers and everyone else has to figure out – what gets this offense in a rhythm, and how can it stay there? I know one thing that never changes in this game and that's being better than the guy across from you at clutch moments. Third-down sacks to cap three-and-outs with the game in the balance each of the last two weeks have done damage. You can't get beat when it matters most because it erases a lot of good you've done. Not entirely fair, but reality.

Richard from Milwaukee, WI

Special teams, turnovers and red-zone offense. Getting to be a broken record.

I'll be honest, I thought the RTK on Tonyan was going to flip the game. The Packers survived it. But they couldn't survive the fumble. You can't give yourself so many storms to weather. You're gonna get caught in one.

Phil from Madison, WI

Guys, tough loss for the second week in a row against a championship-caliber team. However, there are plenty of bright spots this team can build around and go on a run. How will this team adjust to play to their young talent to make the most out of this season?

It's not about playing to the young talent, necessarily. It's about playing to your best talent. Rodgers talked about looking for Adams more, especially in big moments. I'm sure he didn't want Graham's last ball to be the TD early in the third. He was getting at another meaning of "players, not plays."

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, honestly, I feel GB can only lose one more game. I also think it is possible. What is your take?

I'll always believe in possibilities. That's just my nature. But I'm not looking at the number of losses. I'm looking at beating Miami and then getting the first road win of the season. If that doesn't happen, nothing else matters. You have to walk before you can run.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Man that fumble changed everything …

Sure did. Wait, didn't you send that in last Sunday night, too?

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

Sigh. The games like the Patriots and the Rams are the hardest to accept in my opinion. The Packers are right there in it the whole game but can't capitalize on all the opportunities they need to in order to win. They're so close but at the end of the day it's still a loss.

I think these are hard to accept because we're past Halloween and into November. If the Packers had played anything like the first seven quarters of these last two road games when they went to Washington or Detroit, the season would look a lot different. But they didn't, and this team has done it to itself. No one else to blame, and nothing else to do but keep plugging away.

Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD

Will Patterson have to change his number?

Congratulations, I picked you. Now go buy your lottery ticket.

Caleb from Nashville, TN

It seems like this team keeps asking a lot of pressure on the D, and they have been answering, but the offense isn't keeping up. That puts more pressure on the D until something has to break. We've only scored over 30 once, against the 49ers. I didn't think the offense would be the problem this year, but it doesn't seem sustainable in today's NFL.

And the Patriots know just when and how to break you. Is there another team that can be running no-huddle/hurry-up and suddenly throw a trick play at you? I don't know of anyone else. They have it in their back pocket the whole game, and then without even huddling, bam, and they catch the Packers with a bunch of rotational players on the field, of course. That part was no accident. I'm sure it was Brady's recognition and call.

Bob from Winneconne, WI

Waiting impatiently for kickoff tonight, and reading Packer news. Why the addition of Kaser? His stats don't look measurably better than Scott's – a couple of yards on average, about the same percentage inside the 20. Scott's hang time seems amazing. Is this a reaction to one bad punt, or a move to bring more depth, possibly for kickoffs?

Apparently Scott's wife is due to give birth any day, so the Packers wanted to have a second punter available in case Scott had to fly home quickly. There was a plane ready for him in case he got the call.

Matt from Waterford, WI

How close is Jaire Alexander's confidence to arrogance? What really delineates the difference in the NFL?

The difference is whether you're foolish enough to believe you're going to make every play. Alexander is smart enough to know he can't, but he has the classic short memory required to keep playing.

The Green Bay Packers faced off against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football

Mark from Cumberland, MD

Have either of you had any contact with Jordy Nelson since he left? I'm wondering if he has any regrets on signing with Oakland. I can't imagine the current situation there is what he had in mind. Gotta feel for the guy.

No doubt. I have not had any contact with Nelson, but unfortunately it's seasons like these that can end veterans' careers. He's had only one game with more than 50 yards all year, and it'll be hard for the Raiders to justify his salary for next year unless he has a big second half. A roster overhaul is certainly not what he signed up for.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Insiders, I feel our defense is not far off. Seven straight stops on goal-to-go plays, forcing a three-and-out after a roughing the punter, this despite all the injuries. However, our offense/special teams are clearly not holding up their end of the bargain. The little mistakes this team makes week in and week out are so incredibly frustrating. How do we turn this around?

I don't think getting ejected for slapping a player in the facemask is a little mistake. Same for running over the punter on fourth-and-21. Whatever you think of the calls, the mistakes are significant, ridiculous and inexcusable, but this team keeps making them. The Packers had the ball at the 31 on the roughing-the-punter play. After the second three-and-out, they got it back at the 7. That's 24 yards of field position. The next drive ended with the fumble, and where did New England recover? At the 24. Go figure.

Les from Las Vegas, NV

Now I'm picturing Aaron with a hard spiral taking out a drone.

We don't know he hasn't. Regular-season 11-on-11 work in practice is closed.

Mike from Beloit, WI

Hey Wes, if you are indeed eating crow today for lunch, does Mike still take it?

Nicely done.

Joe from Tosa, WI

In response to Spoff's response to Tom's response to Mike from Stevens Point about the ball crossing the plane on a punt. Another way a kicking team can recover after touching the ball first is to have that kicking team be the Lions...

Also nicely done.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

What percentage of game time have the Packers trailed this year? They are just not making the plays needed to get on top and dictate things.

Rodgers brought this up a couple of weeks ago, too, and it's no way to live. They trailed for more than 38 minutes against the Patriots, the fourth time in eight games they've trailed at least that long or longer, and the sixth time they've trailed for at least a quarter of the game. It makes life tougher for sure.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The Inbox earlier posted a great observation about Thursday night games that visiting teams traveling multiple time zones have consistently under-performed. Seeing this week's 49ers/Raiders contest must spring the idea of making the Thursday night match a local game; a local derby as they call it in European soccer. The teams wouldn't have big travel and most locals are division rivals so prep time is less needed for a common opponent. Pack/Bears, Giants/Jets, Colts/Bengals etc...

That's what the majority of Thursday night games were for a while, division games, but now that FOX has stepped in with the new TV contract for Thursday nights, the matchups are more varied and targeted for ratings. Minnesota went to L.A. Carolina at Pittsburgh this week. Green Bay at Seattle. The league didn't do the Packers any favors flexing the Miami kickoff next weekend to 3:25 p.m. CT, either. Green Bay loses 3½ hours of recovery time on its short week prior to a long flight.

Ian from Owatonna, MN

Beaten by a running back with a WR number two weeks in a row. Which of our backs can we convert to a wide receiver to restore balance to the universe, and lift the curse we have brought upon ourselves?

Is it possible Patterson has been miscast in the NFL and should have been a running back the whole time? How crazy is that?

Bobby from Green Bay, WI

The "catastrophic failure" narrative to me is exhausting. Take away two fumbles in two consecutive games and the Packers likely have two wins in two games they had no business winning. Football is a weird game. To blame this all on underperformance or bad coaching just seems so ignorant to me.

But it is underperformance, isn't it? I don't know what else to call it. I'm not going to parse whether more falls on the players or the coaches. I'm sure there's plenty of blame to go around. There always is. But I don't know what to label it other than underperformance. They're capable of better because they've shown it, but only in spurts, not for consistent stretches, and their record reflects that.

Mike from Charlotte, NC

How did offense become a mystery that the Packers have to solve so that they can "learn how to win"? (Their words, not mine.)

I don't know. When I asked Rodgers about the third-down troubles at his locker this past week, he used the word "simplify." They went from 2-for-9 last week to 6-for-13 this week. Not bad. Maybe the whole thing just needs to be simplified. I don't even know if that's possible, but I'm just thinking with the keyboard.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

There are days when I think you guys have a really cool job and I think "I'd like to do that." This is not one of those days. On to Miami.

Indeed. To be honest, the only submissions that really get to me are the ones where people say "put lipstick on that pig," or something to that effect. I defy anyone to show me when and where I've sugarcoated any loss in a Monday Inbox. That would be insulting to you, so please stop insulting me.

Keith from Andover, MN

Well, Mike, show us the fork.

Maybe that's what this team needs, for everyone to write them off.

Scott from Wetumpka, AL

I'm so tired of the Packers underperforming and coming up short. This feels worse than last year. That is all.

The last word from Wetumpka sounds like it should be a title to something, so that's how we will end for another Monday.