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Inbox: Of course there's hope

The Packers have six opportunities to prove they’re better than their record says


Jim from Lima, OH

Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is...that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Jim, you are the real MVP. Thank you. Running on 2½ hours of sleep, I really needed this. Good morning!

Marvin from Olympus Mons, Mars

Wes, I haven't been this angry since that Earth creature stole my Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator! [Heavy, angry breathing] Very angry indeed!! What's a Packer fan from Mars supposed to do now?!

Breathe and be thankful the Packers aren't in the NFC West. The North is still within reach, but there can be no let up from here on out. The margin of error is gone. This team can play with anybody, but it has to start winning.

Jacob from Kansas City, MO

Wes and Spoff, thanks for all that you do with the Inbox. It's not easy on you guys to go to Seattle on a short week, have the Packers suffer a tough loss, then try to answer questions and fans' concerns after a late night. I'm sure the Inbox is full of doom and gloom, but silver lining: The last time we made the playoffs, we started the season 4-6 and turned it around. We're already doing better at 4-5-1. Chicago and Minnesota still play twice, and the Packers get a crack at both. I still have hope.

I liked what Rodgers said after the game when he was asked if there's still hope – of course there's hope. This isn't some fly-by-night operation or a comet burning through the NFL atmosphere, raising and falling every season. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have been at this for a long time. They're not giving up. The Packers have six opportunities to prove they're better than their record says.

Dave from Minneapolis, NM

I'm not mad, just disappointed. And, also mad.

All fine emotions to feel. Road losses are frustrating, but three by a combined 13 points even more so. I still refuse to dismiss this as a bad team, though. The Detroit loss was a tough one to take. I won't argue against that, but the other four came against quality opponents.

Eric from Bloomington, IN

In the third quarter this year, with the exception of the Rams game, our defense has never given up more than a field goal and have shut out opponents six times. It seems like those would be golden opportunities to bury opponents, but the offense has scored more than one touchdown only twice in those games. What does the offense need to do to come out of the locker room humming like the defense? Putting opponents away in the third quarter would solve a lot of our fourth-quarter issues.

Rhythm. Tempo. Execution. The Packers teased that Thursday night with the 18-yard pass to Davante Adams after halftime. However, the Achilles heel of the offense this year has been negative-yardage plays and third downs. Equanimeous St. Brown drew the illegal block in the back on first down and Green Bay just wasn't able to rally back from the first-and-20.

Josh from Sherman Oaks, CA

Mike's answer in II sparked this question regarding third downs, and since I don't play Madden, I'm not an expert: If Aaron isn't "finding the first or second read open," is that a matter of Aaron misreading the defense, receiver not beating his man, or scheme?

You probably won't like this answer, but it's all of the above. It's never one thing when you have 11 players trying to execute situational offense. There are too many variables.

Ricardo from Ventura, CA

The one thing McCarthy said coming out of the bye after self-scouting was "we need to run the ball more." That wasn't super insightful, but at least it was simple to do. So why can't the Packers do the one thing it decided needed improvement? Jones gets 15 carries out of the bye, does great, and then runs the ball 11 times the next. With leads of 14-3 and 14-10, why not feed Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams?

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I didn't have a problem with the pass-run ratio. The Seahawks loaded the box all night. They were selling out to stop Jones by opting to keep a single safety over the top. That scenario screams pass and you have to take advantage of that. The Packers did at times with the long completions to Davante Adams and Robert Tonyan, but they didn't do it enough to put Seattle away.

Al from Pasadena, CA

Mike hit a grand slam home run today. Perfect responses walking the fine line that your job requires. Bummer about the late replay on the other big Seahawks pass play. One view showed it clearly being incomplete more than the one you headlined, and the announcers said as much. Now, Robert Tonyan as the stand-in for Jimmy Graham if he can't go?

McCarthy wasn't lying when he said Friday there wasn't enough information available to throw the red flag. There isn't much help inside the stadium and access to replay was limited on TV. It is what it is. It's all part of playing on the road. Tonyan has a lot of ability. He's young, but you have to think he'd be in line for snaps if Graham misses time.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Guys, I thought the expectations were too high for our roster and for a new defense. Continuing to talk about the playoffs at this point is just crazy talk. I'm looking forward to another good draft and free-agency period by Gutekunst. Just like New Orleans, we needed a couple stutter-step years to get back on track. Am I the only one that thought this period was inevitable?

The Packers have been an outlier for years in the NFL when it comes to winning consistently. Those eight straight playoff appearances were a franchise record. I wouldn't say it's inevitable to be in this position, but Green Bay needs to rally back from it. Yes, the future is bright with this 2018 draft class, but the Packers are still about the here and now.

Thomas from Ludwigshafen, Germany

Hi Insiders. All mistakes aside it came down to a few fourth-quarter plays that the opponent made and we didn't. But I still don't think the decision to punt was right. If we fail and they kick a field goal, the decision was still good if we win with a touchdown. Only if we fail the fourth down, they kick a field goal and we make it in field-goal range, but not to the end zone, the decision was wrong. And even then it would have been only overtime with a banged-up defense.

McCarthy was pretty transparent on Friday about the decision to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 33. As an offensive-minded coach, McCarthy said **his first reaction was to go for it**, but the game-management decision was to punt, try for a three-and-out and get the ball back to Aaron Rodgers and the offense with two minutes. Whatever your opinion, that was the thinking.

Rob from Adelaide, Australia

In another very disappointing loss on the road did you guys notice the shining light of Trevor Davis? Had a terrific game decision-making, returning and coverage. The importance of a premier returner?

Davis was exceptional in his first game back from the hamstring injury. I know he has larger goals as a receiver, but Davis is going to play in this league for a long time with what he does on special teams. The 54-yard kickoff return that was negated by a holding call after Davis broke free is only part of it, too. He forced a couple fair catches as a gunner on punts, made a tackle in kickoff coverage and was steady on punt returns.

Dan from Appleton, WI

Just before the half at Seattle, why didn't the Packers' timeout keep the 10-second run-off from happening, and make the Seahawks need to punt rather than just run out the last two seconds, and thus give Davis at least a chance for a heroic return?

I have no issues with this one. Michael Dickson is already one of the league's best punters. The Packers were leading 21-17 at the time and getting the ball to start the second half.

Mark from Amarillo, TX

Hey Insiders, I would love to see if your stats guys could find the Packers' record when Crosby misses his first FG attempt. It seems that is always a precursor to a loss.

Please tell me more about my so-called "stat guys." I have no people. I'm lucky if I can convince one of my co-workers in Brand & Marketing to take my order when they go on a coffee run.

Pete from Caledonia, MI

I respectfully disagree about the play that changed the game. I felt, immediately, that having to settle for a Crosby FG attempt, which he missed, instead of scoring seven, was huge. It left no margin for the overturned call or the other miscues after. Just my opinion. Great work, by all, at Inbox!

The Crosby miss didn't change the game. Obviously you want the points, but the defense getting stops and Robert Tonyan catching that 54-yard touchdown pass pulled all the momentum back in the Packers' favor.

View photos of Packers fans representing their colors for Green & Gold Friday.

Mike from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers and their fans made a lot of noise about the controversial roughing-the-passer calls early in the year. Since then, they have been on the wrong side of numerous judgement calls at critical points in their games. Coincidence?

The calls are what they are, but I think we're all in agreement the ball just hasn't bounced Green Bay's way in that regard this season. Like Mike, I thought Bobby Wagner made too much contact with Adams down the sideline and should have drawn the flag.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Even though I, along with the refs officiating the game, knew Moore didn't catch the ball, I was certain the NFL would make the refs overturn the call in an attempt to get the score closer and pique viewership interest (make more money). The question is how long do we have to keep pretending the NFL isn't tampering with these games right before our very eyes behind the guise of parity (making more money)? NFL games feel like WWE matches more and more. They are losing me as a viewer.

I understand your frustration, Josh. I wish I could say something to make you feel better, but I share similar frustrations. After the incompletion was overturned, I made the same WWE connection in my mind. Every time, the Packers seemed to have the Seahawks on the ropes, it's like the ref got pulled out of the ring before the count of three.

Dave from Sturgeon Bay, WI

In retrospect, in your opinion, has the review replay added anything to the quality of the game or just added another controversial aspect to it?

Who knows, but I haven't the slightest clue what the New York office is going rule on these replays anymore.

Benjamin from Delray Beach, FL

Bottom line, the Packers are in a tough spot but can still win 10 and have a shot at a wild-card spot. Given how good the Packers have shown they can play, if they can pull out 10 wins on the season, I wouldn't bet against them in the playoffs. If.

Before you win six in a row, you have to win one…and then two…and then three. Davante Adams is right about the Packers needing to assume a win-out mentality from here, but consistency is the key to that – at home, on the road, at practice and everywhere in between.

Ryan from Prescott, AZ

I really appreciate what you guys do. It is a mostly thankless job, I'm sure, especially writing for a team that has had as many ups and downs as the Packers have had this year. My question has to do with injuries with regards to salary: Does the team recoup some salary through insurance if a player is hurt some or most of the year? Or do they just have to eat that cost?

You eat the cost during the season until they can pass a physical.

Patrick from Oconomowoc, WI

Just curious about Marcedes Lewis; he didn't play on Thursday and no mention was made that I could find of his being injured (or not available for any other reason). Did he not make the trip to Seattle?

Lewis made the trip to Seattle. He played 10 plays on offense.

Wes from Fishers, IN

Hey Insiders, in the past you have discussed which stats are the best indicators for determining the outcome of the game. I recall QB rating of the teams and turnover ratio being on that list – two stats the Packers held the advantage. What stats do you believe enabled Seattle to defeat us?

I've stated in the past how time of possession is often overblown, but I felt the differential Thursday was a factor (34:18-25:42). When Seattle needed to move the ball and control the clock, it did.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, how do you handle Inbox adversity?

Covering an NFL team every day grounds you, especially with how things fluctuate week-to-week and season-to-season. Take Kyler Fackrell for example. Everyone was down on him for the past two years and suddenly he's one of the top playmakers on this defense. We don't know everything – you don't and I certainly don't. We can only watch and see how things play out in real time. I take the same approach with wins and losses.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Must have been a rough night. 10 a.m. Friday and the insider Inbox still not posted. Today you're earning your pay.

One final reminder – Inbox doesn't post until 11 a.m. after night games. It's going to be the same drill after the Vikings game, so be prepared. As much as we love having our entire department work through the night, we do need to get at least a couple hours of sleep. By saying that, I'm sure I just invited a rash of submissions from Mr. "I've been a Shareholder since 1923 and haven't slept more than two hours a night since the Eisenhower Administration," but so be it.

Keith from Truro, CA

After that loss do you think it's now necessary for the Vikings to beat Chicago on Sunday to give the Pack an outside chance of making the playoffs?

Whatever it takes to stay within striking distance.

Tom from Minneapolis, MN

I don't care who's injured/doesn't play – we're beating Minnesota.

You gotta do it. Week 12 is here. It's time to kick things up a notch.