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Inbox: That is the story of the season

Neither side of the ball could get out of its own way

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QB Aaron Rodgers

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

"Inbox: That was not the statement the Packers needed to make."

Instead it was a statement we've heard all too often.

Tim from Rochester, IL

Is it too early to start talking about what we need to do to beat the Cowboys?

Never. But there's plenty of time for that and lots of folks have lots to say.

Nicolas from Melbourne, Australia

Gut reaction: This team is its major opponent. We keep making self-inflicted mistakes that cost us games.

That is the story of the season. No argument from me.

Donna from New Auburn, WI

Extremely disappointed with this loss. Not sure where this team is going but the season isn't going to get any easier. I feel the play-calling needs to improve. Also, we absolutely need to clean up the penalties. They were so costly. How can we do that?

The penalties rank up there among the most inexcusable mistakes that keep recurring. The flags on Jaire Alexander, Keisean Nixon and Krys Barnes were all game-changers, and purely a lack of discipline in my opinion. I'll absolve Kingsley Enagbare for his RTP, because Goff was literally falling down to avoid contact and his lowered head ran into Enagbare's hand. There's nothing he can do about that, and the fact that there's no recourse in the rules for something so incidental and practically unavoidable is annoying, to say the least.

Robert from Escanaba, MI

Mike, thank you for a professional summary of the game with your 5 takeaways column. It has to be difficult to organize your thoughts after such an event-filled, disappointing and chaotic game. I tried to describe the outcome to my adult son who lives outside the broadcast area but just fumbled it. Ended up sending him a copy of your summary.

Glad to be of service. There's a lot in there that isn't covered here, for those who are searching for something to be addressed.

Matt from Kula, HI

I'm sure that Aaron Rodgers' demeanor during the game mirrored that of many fans. But he is supposed to be a leader out there and I can't see how his negative body language can be helping, especially with the younger players. When things go wrong perhaps an encouraging "get the next one" would be more helpful than what he's been doing.

I think people have to let go of Rodgers' demeanor and emotions in the heat of battle. He's an ultra-competitive guy who is not going to fake anything for anybody. He's going to be himself, and everyone should be used to it by now. I think in the moment he feels great about certain throws when they leave his hand, and when they don't work out as expected, he expresses frustration to no one in particular, whatever comes out of his mouth. That's just my take. He wasn't shirking any responsibility postgame Sunday. He dropped the s-word a couple of times about his own play. His two mistakes at the goal line were too much for a banged-up, struggling team to overcome, and he knows it. But asking him to be someone he isn't won't fix things.

Mike from Hammond, IN

Mike, please don't use "mustn't" again.

OK, I shan't. But at least I jinxed the shootout with Saturday's column.

John from Yorba Linda, CA

The Packers completely whiffed at the trade deadline. I can't believe they didn't acquire at least one more doctor.

Not sure that would get things covered at this point. Mercy.

Mike from Madison, WI

Do you and Mike still feel you can continue to defend this team or do you agree they are just really bad and you concur with many other folk with what we see on the field every week?

I don't feel I've been trying to defend anybody, just explaining why and how certain things have happened. These games regularly come down to just a few plays. Winning teams make those plays, losing teams don't. That's how this league works. I don't think that's defending anybody. I admit I've been hanging onto hope, believing they would turn it around, just a question of whether it would be soon enough. It may be too late now, with the games they've let get away and the schedule that remains. But I think everyone might find out more about this roster and the players in the locker room now than in other circumstances. Whether or not the season can be salvaged, this is new territory around here. Who's going to prove what?

Kevin from Onalaska, WI

Do the '72 Dolphins have to worry about the Bucks now?

Ha, I doubt it, but if the 2015-16 Golden State mark is going to be threatened, it might actually be worth paying attention to the NBA regular season for once.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

Did aliens in fact steal Rodgers' and the Packers' mojo?

I wish. Then at least the question of where it went could be answered.

Elizabeth from Cornelius, OR

I've been a Packer fan since the days of Bart Starr. Over the years I've been elated, angry, disappointed, frustrated, and amazed. But today is a first. I'm sad. Injuries, bad refereeing, penalties, interceptions and missed catches are so dis-spiriting. Do you have anything to make me feel better? I could use a laugh.

I've never seen a team score nine points while having eight possessions end in opposing territory. One more would've meant a set of steak knives.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

Paint me intrigued. What color does "curious" most resemble?

Viridian.

Jeff from Hagerstown, MD

Who would have ever thought the Packers could hold a one win-six loss team to 15 points…and still lose the game? The dictionary doesn't have enough words to explain this fiasco.

It has a lot of unusual color names, though. But yeah, that was a defensive effort that should've been good enough to win, and yet the breakdowns and miscues it did have were just as self-inflicted and frustrating to watch as the offensive ones. Neither side of the ball could get out of its own way.

Chad from Waterdown, Canada

I said to the boys during a review … "Mark my words in the next few years, they will be allowing the TV audience to listen in on the referee and video replay booth's conversations." What do you guys think?

We discussed this briefly when the USFL broadcasts included that. I have my doubts the NFL would ever go that far.

Richard from Janesville, WI

Greetings. I hope you don't mind a different point of view on the officiating issues. Has illegal contact replaced what is a catch as either a bad rule or just a poorly written one? Perhaps they need an English major to write rules.

I'd happily volunteer. I'd insert the word "discretion" into the rule book a lot.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

Did Aaron Rodgers play well? Did Matt LaFleur call his best game? The answers are obvious. How many Week 1 starters were missing due to injury by the end of that game? I'm not sure I even want to know the number. These games and these seasons are difficult, but this is not a broken franchise by any means and I'm tired of hearing that it is. Teams have bad luck. We've had more than our share this year.

True enough, but this team also has a plethora of experienced players and coaches capable of overcoming all that bad luck at least a time or two over the last month, and that hasn't happened. The injuries have gotten ridiculous, I realize, and I've read the word "snakebit" a lot in various submissions, but there's plenty wrong that has nothing to do with luck. How do two players get the ball stripped on back-to-back plays on a potential game-winning drive? Which team is trying to make its own luck in that scenario and which team is subjecting itself to it?

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

Considering the injuries and considering the mental side of things, (in hindsight) should we have taken the bye week after the England game?

A popular question, and it's easy to say now. I remember uttering often when the schedule came out it would be a long road to the mini-bye following the Thursday night game, and an even longer road to the full bye. The Packers were going to have to survive that, and they haven't. Mentally, you still have to find a way to reset regardless. That's internal fortitude. Injury-wise, it was a bad draw either way because of the large number of games in a row without a break.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

Nine teams in the NFC have three or four wins after nine weeks, and only five teams have a better record. Maybe the Packers got that going for them.

I'm not convinced anyone in the NFC is all that good except the Eagles, but there's still a lot of time to change my mind. I am curious to see the Cowboys in person next week. Kevin O'Connell's first season in Minnesota is looking a lot like LaFleur's first in Green Bay – winning every close, one-score game, and always being the better team in the fourth quarter. Credit where it's due, but sustaining that isn't easy because the season/postseason is such a long haul. Just when I think the Bills are about to separate themselves in the AFC, they stumble and open the door to a wild second half of the regular season as teams jockey for position. Nine teams in the AFC are above .500, so 10-7 might not get in over in that conference while 9-8 very well could in the NFC.

Ben from Brainerd, MN

At this point, what is there to play for other than a draft pick?

Professionalism. Careers. Opportunities. I'm not going to sit here and say the Packers have a great chance to get to nine or 10 wins at 3-6 with the schedule that remains. But I also remember my first season here, in 2006, covering a young 4-8 team that won four straight to end the season. Not for the whole team, because change is inevitable, but for a lot of returning players, that mattered heading into 2007. Front offices find out all kinds of things about players in all circumstances.

Derek from Poynette, WI

To quote Bill Parcells, "You are what your record says that you are." Well, our record says we stink, and our play has done too good of a job of supporting that. With a pretty daunting schedule remaining, the only way getting out of this mess is to take it one game at a time, one day at a time, one play at a time. My question is, especially when factoring in the growing injury list, how does a team, that doesn't appear to be any good, turn things around?

You just keep working at it, and you keep playing. The context shouldn't be about turning it around anymore. The entire focus has to be about getting one win, and then seeing what comes next.

Evan from Durango, CO

27 years a Packers fan, I will always root for the Green and Gold. Next week, next year it doesn't matter. Like Wes I've been fortunate enough to only be subjected to the Favre/Rodgers years. I didn't have to live through the '70s/'80s down decades. This is the worst TEAM I've seen in GB. Worse than 4-12. The level of talent on this squad is what disheartens me the most. We are better, yet we are what our record says we are. At this point I feel like the coaches should shoulder the blame for this.

There's plenty of blame to go around. I don't think there's anyone on the roster, coaching staff, anywhere capable of a direct impact on wins and losses who doesn't think he could've done something better to help the team over the last five weeks.

George from North Mankato, MN

Attitude, consistency, discipline, execution…did I miss anything?

Desperation perhaps. Moments on Sunday felt like that and I haven't felt that way watching the Packers with Rodgers in a long time.

Zach from Las Animas, CO

I don't think we have another foot to shoot. This year's team is very frustrating to watch. We are too talented to be this bad. I don't even know what to ask.

And I don't have much left to say.

Steven from Colorado Springs, CO

Lucy is on our own team but keeps pulling the proverbial ball away. Good grief.

I needed some Charlie Brown to start a new week. Thanks. Happy Monday.

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