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Inbox: It usually benefits the soul

They have to take care of that on their own

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Packers' defense

Lewis from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Are you kidding me?

The only good news is they've been here before. But that's literally the only good news.

Bill from Center Valley, PA

First game egg laying, again. Some sort of diabolical plot?

It's hard to fathom, but if the head coach can't explain it, nor can the quarterback, I sure as heck don't have the answers.

Jared from Rigby, ID

Hey guys, I don't get upset about the first 2-3 games each season. Thanks to free agency it's a glorified preseason and shouldn't contain any division games in my opinion. However, the defense better carry a different tune after failing to cover the No. 1 receiver on wayyyy too many snaps. The offensive mistakes didn't surprise me, but the defense has no excuse.

Jefferson's a great player, but the Packers made it wayyyy too easy for him, and that's the biggest mystery to me as to how this game unfolded.

Todd from Valparaiso, IN

The defense needs to stop talking their game and start living up to their own hype. I know it's the first game but 184 yards?!?!

I've never known humble pie to taste good, but it usually benefits the soul.

Susan from Santa Cruz, CA

There are only four-plus months left in the season, so should I be panicking? Actually, given the limited coverage I could hear and read via Mike's blog, it seemed like Romeo Doubs had a good game. Since I couldn't follow the game closely, how was the impact of the rookies on offense? Did it look like they were shaking off the jitters?

Rodgers talked about mental errors galore on offense. There were some good moments but the former vastly outweighed the latter based on Rodgers' comments.

Paul from Grandville, MI

Morning Mike, obviously not the start we were hoping for. Vic always used to say that help is not on the way. Is the silver lining for the Packers that this statement doesn't apply in this case?

Perhaps. But getting back to full strength offensively, or at least close to it, won't be a cure-all. A lot of the same guys are still going to have to play significant roles, and their games won't magically get better because of others returning. They have to take care of that on their own.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

Maybe we should let 12 keep sitting out the preseason, huh?

This narrative is getting so old. Aaron Rodgers said it himself. "It's different when it's real," and preseason is not real football. Anyone who's played in this league for a couple of years knows that. I wish Christian Watson would've been able to play in a preseason game, because then maybe he doesn't drop the deep ball early, but Rodgers taking game snaps in August would not have changed what that looked like. Not one iota. "It's different when it's real." People have to understand that.

Tim from St. Louis, MO

I'm sure there will a lot of "playing starters" in the preseason talk, but that game didn't feel like the Saints game last year and the final score was misleading. Watson, missed preseason with injury, drops a likely TD, the offensive line that played in preseason can't make a hole for AJ Dillon fourth-and-goal, rare INT from Rodgers. Watson and Dillon score, it's a completely different game. What were your thoughts?

Of course it's a completely different game, but you have to make the plays that are there. If you don't, all you're doing is chasing after more opportunities, and that's all that game was after Dillon got stuffed at the goal line.

Mike from Algoma, WI

I am going to choose to believe that one day towards the end of a spectacular career, we will say, "Remember the first pass thrown to Christian Watson?", and smile. Perspective? At least we're not Cowboys fans. Looks like Dak is out for awhile.

Nicely put on Watson. That news on T.J. Watt didn't sound good for the Steelers, either. This is a tough business in so many ways.

Steve from Bloomington, IL

At least the special teams didn't lose the game for us, so there's that I guess.

Pat O'Donnell is the real deal, and Amari Rodgers looks so much more confident fielding punts. Baby steps.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

Can you please identify some bright spots from an all-around disappointing game?

I thought Kenny Clark was a beast, and it was great to see Robert Tonyan back and involved. He's going to be a big factor in this offense.

Matthew from Green Bay, WI

"They're [Dillon and Jones] peanut butter and celery. Pineapple and pizza. Chocolate and grasshoppers. It doesn't seem like they should go well together, but they do." I get what you're trying to say, but you lost me with the second and third ones. If I were Spoff and saw those things in your lunch, you'd still have most of your lunch.

I ate peanut butter and celery a lot as a kid. Should probably get back to it.

Dave from Comer, GA

I read the "5 things" article after the game and it drives me nuts when the guy who calls the plays says, "We didn't get Aaron Jones involved enough." For Pete's sake...you are the one calling the plays! You want him involved more, then call more plays for him! That being said, the team was again not ready to play Week 1. You and Wes always say that the motivation for these elite athletes has to come from within, so why does the coach say it's on him?

There's a difference between motivation and preparation. I don't think there was any lack of motivation. But something was missing in the preparation for the opener for the second straight year, players and coaches, with plenty of blame to go around.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Requesting permission to overreact, sir.

You can react, or overreact, however you want to. My reaction is I don't believe that performance was an accurate representation of the talent on the team. It doesn't change how disappointing it is, or how head-scratching some of that was to witness, but that's not what the 2022 Packers are going to be, in my view. If it is, I'll stand corrected.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Hi guys, thanks for all you do. Can you tell me the reason that Jaire can't shadow a guy who lines up everywhere? I'm assuming it has something to do with Barry's defense, but I'm not sure.

Because Jefferson lines up everywhere, LaFleur explained after the game a shadow locks the defense into playing man coverage exclusively, which the coaches didn't feel was the right approach. There's no wiggle room to vary the calls if you don't know where he's going to be.

David from Riverwoods, IL

I may be dense, but if you have Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, and Eric Stokes on the field, why in the world would you ever run zone pass coverage? Seems like the Vikings couldn't believe their luck!

To continue the previous answer, defenses generally don't like to line up and play the same coverage all game. They'd prefer to mix it up so the QB can't just pick out matchups. Were the calls tilted too far one way? Was there a particular coverage they didn't play well and got exploited? That's for the brass to decide.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

Goodness gracious! Did OC Adam Stenavich really mean it when he said it might be like 10 weeks before Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari would be back to normal? Did I understand that correctly? And can we really wait that long?

I think he was exaggerating a tad as a way to suggest when they do return to action, there shouldn't be external pressure for them to play immediately like the All-Pros they are, because that's not realistic. But these guys will be pushing themselves internally to the extent they would scoff at Steno's timeline, I believe.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

I am mildly surprised that we have not heard much about any potential contract extension on the eve of the first game of the season. Which extension does your crystal ball expect to get done first: Gary or Jenkins?

Based on health, I would guess Gary. But regardless, it takes two to tango on any contract and the player has to be as interested in the timing of a new deal as the club.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

I see Soldier Field is in midseason form. I picture the Chicago grounds crew as the Homer Simpson "sinking into the bush" meme. Love the job our crew does. Can't wait to see it on Sunday.

Quagmire football is fun football, to play and to watch, if you ask me.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

It really is a shame if the Bears end up building a dome. But you have to wonder if half the reason is just to be able to host a Super Bowl. That event alone would probably pay for a good portion of it, and all you have to do is follow the money.

Venny from Montgomery, AL, suggested exactly the same thing.

Larry from Keyser, WV

What is the Packers' Week 1 record during the Aaron Rodgers era?

10-5, now 2-2 under LaFleur.

James from Farmington, NM

Good morning Insiders, I know Packers nation is both disappointed and needing some reality checks, but I wasn't surprised with the result. We didn't get a bunch of veterans like someone would in Madden, we are rolling the dice on our young players. There were growing pains and we have to be patient. To put it into perspective, five out of the seven NFC playoff teams lost in Week 1. It's a long season.

Very long. The Packers blew an opportunity to put a vice grip on the NFC North. A 2-0 start against the Vikings and Bears would've done that. Now there may be nobody in command of the division for a couple of months, who knows. But that's all that was lost on Sunday.

Evan from Fort Drum, NY

Obviously an embarrassing opening yet again. I think the worst part for me was how far off the defense was compared to the story we were sold all offseason. It's only one game, although an important one against a division rival, but is there still a chance we'll see that dominant defense even after this terrible beginning?

The talent is there. This defense has all the pieces. I'm confident they'll fit together soon enough. I cautioned not long ago how difficult it is to play great defense week after week in this league. There are going to be days like this, but now a prideful bunch will have to prove this is the exception, not the rule.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

That was bad, but at least there are reasons to think it will get better. What can we realistically hope will be improved by next Sunday?

Plenty. Today's film review will show the players individually where they can get better, and it'll show the coaches collectively where they did and didn't put the players in position to succeed. The evolution begins.

Don from Boise, ID

So, do we now know 15 teams that aren't making it to the Super Bowl? Bring me back to reality.

Last year, six of the 14 teams that made the postseason lost in Week 1. The two No. 1 seeds (Packers, Titans) lost by a combined 76-16. Nothing's been decided except half the teams are happy and half aren't.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Déjà vu anyone?

If 0-1 is going to turn into 7-1 again, sign me up.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Mike, I gotta know what you think about the baseball changes for '23. I'm OK with the clock. But shift limits? Bigger bases? What on fantastic earth is going on here?

Bigger bases are fine by me, probably safer. The pitch clock makes sense. Minor-league games using it had game times reduced by an average of 26 minutes. That'll be good for the game. The shift? I was hoping some team would take a "Moneyball"-like approach to building a roster/lineup to beat shifts and make defenses play honestly, but absent the boldness of such an approach, the league really had no choice.

David from Sheridan, WY

Going to my first Packers game this weekend. I don't know anyone in Green Bay, will it be easy to jump in the tailgating?

Just be sure to ask nicely.

Andrew from Concord, NC

My daughter is about to get married. I'm not thinking about the Packers. Am I still a fan?

Lombardi himself would approve.

Janet from Auburn, WA

Wow! Watching football all day long today just felt so right.

Let's do it again next week, shall we? Happy Monday.

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