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Inbox: It says he's the leader and the buck stops with him

Packers’ defense dictated how the game was being played and it was beautiful to watch

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Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Dale from Port Washington, WI

In regards to Mike's reply, can you pass this on to the special teams? Maybe it will help. I'll keep it II friendly. "Jobu…I go to you. I stick up for you. And you no help me now... I say the heck with you Jobu. I do it myself."

Any day we can work "Major League" into Inbox, it's a good day.

Fredrick from Bluffton, SC

If Matt LaFleur keeps feeling like he's responsible for the team not being prepared, what does that say about him as a coach? I can see why he's not being considered for coach of the year. He needs to do a better job. The game plan he put together was pretty bad.

Some of you want to take LaFleur's post-game words and hold them against him. That's fine but understand the message he's sending is intended for that locker room as much as it is the public. You ask me what does it say about LaFleur as a coach? It's says he's the leader and the buck stops with him.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Good day Wes, I just wanted to comment on the great game the defense had in KC. With so many key pieces missing and the depth stretched to the limit, I thought Joe Barry's unit had their best day in recent memory. I'd also like to commend the play of Kevin King after his extended layoff. I've been a critic of King in recent years and when I saw Eric Stokes was out, I very much feared the worst. Well done Kevin King and the defense.

The Packers were without Za'Darius Smith, Jaire Alexander and Kingsley Keke, and lost Stokes and Kenny Clark during the game. Yet, Green Bay still held Kansas City to just 237 total yards, its lowest output in the Patrick Mahomes era. The defense did its job Sunday and it wasn't just sacking the quarterback and turning over the football. It dictated how the game was being played and it was beautiful to watch.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Just when it appears that Tyler Lancaster is dropping down the depth chart he steps up big and when the D really needs it. He appeared to flash at some key times yesterday. How did he grade out overall against KC?

Lancaster graded out well in my book. Frankly, the entire defensive front did. The Packers finished with just 18-ish players, depending on how you'd categorize Dean Lowry only being available as an injury replacement in the second half. They still gave KC all it could handle. Once Clark left, I felt like Lancaster, T.J. Slaton and rookie Jack Heflin played their tails off and held their own against the Chiefs' O-line.

Dave from Comer, GA

If you would please let Coach LaFleur know...when in doubt...RUN THE DANG BALL. Thanks.

LaFleur said again on Monday that he wished the pass-run ratio would've been closer to even. I cut LaFleur a bit of slack there because of how KC was loading the box heavily, which caused Love to check out of a few runs (including the one when the offense was backed up at its own 2). To the credit of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, those two backs were having success regardless. Hindsight being 20/20, I can see how you look at what Arizona did against San Francisco, running the ball 39 times to make Colt McCoy's job easier, and lament not running the ball more. But again, Love's first start was something everyone, coaches included, can learn from.

Mike from Algoma, WI

Why are so many focusing on "10's" failures? Didn't we all know he's not "12"? Jordan Love's poise in his own end zone rolling right and hitting his receiver was enough for me to have hope in the future after Rodgers is gone (which I do hope isn't any time soon).

Love looked like a 23-year-old quarterback making his first NFL start. I liked that he kept battling and biting down on his mouthguard until the final whistle. The final result was disappointing but that was an invaluable experience for Love to play 63 snaps in an NFL regular-season game.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Maybe your Inbox was angrier than what you actually posted, but just in case there are any people out there still hollering that Love needs to go after one NFL start, let me leave these thoughts. The Packers have lost two games this season. One was started by Aaron Rodgers, and one was started by Jordan Love. One of those games was much more winnable for the Packers, and it wasn't just because the defense was better. This team can win with anyone at QB. Doesn't mean they will, but they can.

The Packers bought themselves breathing room with that seven-game winning streak, which softened the blow of that loss somewhat. More importantly, I didn't hear dejection in the voices of LaFleur or that locker room afterward. They were as confident walking out of Arrowhead as they were after the bus parked. The Packers weren't anywhere close to full strength and still nearly found a way to win that game.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

To put the Chiefs game in perspective, I'm sure many of us who go through the schedule in advance, to prognosticate wins and losses, had this circled as a loss anyway. 'Tis one game. And if there's a positive, the loss occurred in a non-conference game, so in a tiebreaker situation we've got that going for us, which is nice.

The other positive is the Packers weren't alone. The NFC went 1-6 against the AFC on Sunday with the New York Giants pulling out the conference's lone victory with a 23-16 win over Las Vegas. It's also important to note Green Bay plays five of its last eight at home with a bye week in the middle. The Packers are right where they want to be.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

One of you two said something to the effect, "If you don't beat yourself, they still have to beat you." Well, we beat ourselves. They didn't beat us.

To which I would say that is an accurate statement.

Roger from Deltona, FL

How would you compare Rodgers' first start to Love's? Or Brett Favre's?

Favre and Rodgers played well in their first starts, though both quarterbacks also took their lumps prior to those in-game relief appearances. Speaking strictly of starts, though, Favre completed 14-of-19 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh on Sept. 27, 1992, while Rodgers completed 18-of-22 for 178 yards and a touchdown vs. Minnesota on Sept. 8, 2008.

Tom from Lincoln, NE

Based on the game, I can note issues with Love's play. However, was he really much different than Rodgers when he was thrown into the 2007 Dallas game? I would point out that he was off in timing on many throws, but he also had limited time to work with Davante Adams, and once adjustments were made, he was more efficient in what was there for him.

I'm not sure if any of you caught that TikTok video Jordan Palmer put out, but it puts into perspective how difficult it is to be a backup quarterback in the NFL. Physically, you're 100% but mentally it's a grind because you're hardly ever taking meaningful reps with your featured skill-position players. Those reps Love banked with Adams and Co. will pay dividends if he's called upon again this season.

Ricardo from Ventura, CA

I remember after Rodgers was drafted, he and Craig Nall used to play in garbage time for Favre. Nall clearly outplayed Rodgers in those moments. If you look back to those opportunities, Rodgers played like garbage. I thought Ted Thompson made a huge mistake. And that is why I'm not a GM and I'm sitting here writing to the Inbox as a fan.

Again, there's no reason to rush to judgement about what happened Sunday. My takeaway was how Love didn't run from the fire. He embraced it. The youngster was hit seven times and sacked once but remained unfazed.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

For all Love's struggles, the infographic just prior to KC's last drive showed Mahomes' stat line was almost identical. Step back and see what happened to Josh Allen, Dak Prescott and others and I am thinking Halloween just came a week late for NFL QBs...

We can talk about Love until we're green-and-gold in the face, but the fact is the Packers had multiple opportunities to seize control of that game and didn't get it done. NFL defenses are holding their own right now, including the unit here in Green Bay.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Another game against the Seahawks with Russell Wilson being medically cleared just in time. Judging by our history with Seattle, I'm expecting another weird game. It seems like there have been a bunch of weird games this year, so I guess we shouldn't really be surprised when things somehow get weird this Sunday.

There are two things you can count on anytime the Packers square off with Wilson and the Seahawks: something weird happening and a football game that's entertaining as (heck). At 3-5, Seattle's back is against the wall coming out of its bye week. I expect Wilson will come out firing.

Ken from Blue Mounds, WI

When players (e.g. Rodgers) are in COVID protocol and away from the team, are they still involved in Zoom meetings and game-planning?

It sounds like Rodgers and the coaching staff are going to be in for one heck of a week on Zoom. While players on the reserve/COVID-19 list are not allowed in the building, they can be involved in the game-planning process remotely. So, the Packers will install the offense with Love here and Rodgers from afar, and see where the chips fall Saturday.

Nathan from New York, NY

In the McCarthy era, the Packers used to practice on Saturday instead of Friday. Will the Packers do the same this week if Rodgers can't return until Saturday?

I wanted to follow-up on this same question because LaFleur was asked about this scenario on Monday. It is worth noting the team still does a walkthrough on Saturdays. The players don't just come in, eat breakfast and watch "Cheers" reruns. While I wouldn't expect the Packers to push their entire Friday practice into Saturday, LaFleur said they "potentially" could adjust some things if Rodgers is back.

John from Rhinelander, WI

With all the issues the Packers are having that affect the making of field goals, does that start to get into Mason Crosby's head even though he is a proven professional?

I'm not worried about Crosby's headspace. He's been lights out throughout his career despite having numerous snappers and holders. The bigger issue is finding an answer for these lingering issues on field-goal protections and now holds. It just didn't seem like Steven Wirtel and Corey Bojorquez were on the same page.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

The snapper-holder kicker rhythm was really off. How much practice time do those people get?

There's only a select number of special-teams periods in practice, but the specialists get a fair amount of work off to the side. Wirtel has been with the team all season. The Packers didn't just sign him off the street. So, he's been getting some work with Bojorquez and Crosby all year. You would hope it's just some early jitters and Green Bay can iron out those issues.

The Green Bay Packers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in a Week 9 matchup on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.

Hap from Graham, WA

Hey Wes, not a math question: How many reps, compared to "normal," will special teams get this week? < >, or = to 100% of norm? Asking for a friend.

Knowing how LaFleur, Maurice Drayton and the Packers' coaching staff attack things, I would imagine there will be an extra practice period or two this week.

Charlie from Brookings, OR

I remember practically crapping my football pants returning punts in high school. It's hard. At the moment, Amari Rodgers looks like he's not confident at all. I realize Randall Cobb is a veteran but doesn't the team deserve the best players out there making plays? Do you feel Rodgers is the best returner currently on the team?

LaFleur thought about making a change after the muffed punt but reconsidered after discussing it with Drayton. The Packers are showing faith by sticking with Rodgers. It's up to the rookie third-round pick to reward them for that vote of confidence. Because yes, Cobb has been there and done that on returns.

Troy from Cloquet, MN

I have a question about the false start penalty in the fourth quarter. Third down, Jordan Love was moving forward and the ball was snapped early. He was called for a false start and I believe the Chiefs declined the penalty to make it fourth down. Isn't that a dead ball foul? I never seen a false start get declined because the play is dead. What happened there?

The call on the field was for an illegal motion, not a false start. That's why Kansas City was able to decline the penalty and accept the result of an aborted play after the ball was snapped to the unsuspecting Love.

Zach from Madison, WI

I have so much confidence in the Packers this year, I thought they would win yesterday and they should've. Having a defense we can count on makes such a big difference. Is this what the past two Packer teams have been missing? Is this defense what will finally get us to the Super Bowl?

Mayhap. The Packers had decent defenses in the past but I think the difference this year is the production they're receiving from the inside linebackers. De'Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes are both playing at a high level, which has allowed Joe Barry to use more traditional nickel packages instead of needing a hybrid safety/linebacker. The Packers are winning with five DBs on the field, which helps the run game.

Drew from Windsor, Canada

Jordan Love's family had terrible seats for the game on Sunday. Can't somebody find better seats for the family of the starting QB?

That's an unfortunate reality for the family and friends of opposing teams. I requested tickets for a buddy of mine at MetLife Stadium a few years ago and the Giants put him on the moon.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Excited about: 1.) The amazing and consistent play of the defense, especially in the face of many injuries. 2.) The potency of our two-headed running attack. 3.) Jordan Love's fourth-quarter efforts. 4.) ML's leadership and accountability. Disappointed in: 1.) The consistent lack of anything "special" about our special teams. 2.) The continued "regrets" about abandoning the run game after a loss. 3.) No answer to a Chiefs' D game plan when everyone knew it was coming.

That pretty much sums it all up. When I look back on that game, it probably comes down to the miscues on special teams and KC getting consistent pressure with its blitz packages. The latter will change if Rodgers is back Sunday but the Packers need to clean up their miscues on teams.

Paul from Sturtevant, WI

Was Yosh Nijman injured against Kansas City? He played only a few snaps Sunday.

Uh…

Mike from Somerset, WI

What changes on offense when a five-time All-Pro gets added to the lineup?

I cannot wait to find out.

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