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Inbox: That's the way it goes sometimes

There’s no time for a hangover with a hungry Texans team on deck

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CB Josh Jackson

Malcolm from Fennimore, WI

That was ugly. Let's hope they re-focus for a better showing next Sunday.

After a loss like that, you gotta remember what you did well the first four weeks and move onto Houston. It's a learning lesson, a wake-up call and a punch in the mouth, but this is the NFL. These things happen. You can't let it snowball. That quality separates good teams from the rest.

Bill from Manitowoc, WI

Having read many comments from several articles I realize how OVERLY emotional most fans get after a loss! My question is: What are your thoughts knowing what's in store after an epic loss such as this?

First, I check how much remaining PTO I have and stare at the computer for a few minutes, debating whether to press "Submit." I soon realize I'd only be throwing Spoff back to the dogs again by doing so. So I take a sip of strong coffee and bravely step forward into the darkness with only two possessions – a small gas lamp and hope.

Dean from Princeton, WV

The biggest thing I can comment on in the games we have lost in Matt LaFleur's tenure is every time it's a huge loss, as in both San Fran games last year and this Bucs loss, yet I can't panic and say, "Oh, we can't win big games." This coaching staff has been willing to admit when mistakes were made and attempt to make better from them. With that being said what does a team do in practice to recover from a ton of dropped and missed passes, poor tackling and low energy on the field?

This was a particularly weird blowout, because the Packers dominated the first quarter on the scoreboard and time of possession. But the Bucs made their adjustments and sailed from there. Again, Green Bay must use this as a wake-up and realize there's still plenty of work to be done. I wrote last week about how the Packers need to keep the train rolling and that didn't happen Sunday. It's simple as that. Now the Texans await.

Jonathan from Muenster, Germany

Who would have thought that the one injury the offense couldn't compensate for was Tyler Ervin?

The Packers compensated for Ervin's absence early on by using Aaron Jones on motions. Those plays were part of the first two scoring series. Jamaal Williams even picked up 25 yards up the middle off a fake sweep to Jones. But Green Bay got away from the pre-snap motions after the back-to-back picks and never really got back to them in any meaningful way. There's no question the Packers missed Ervin. He does what he does very well in this offense.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, usually every team has a clunker except the '72 Dolphins but many fans are relating this season to last based on the play of defense, especially against the 49ers. How do the Packers improve from within since it is very unlikely they trade for a player by the deadline?

By counting the few blessings that came out of the game. Neither Kenny Clark nor Davante Adams had a setback. Clark had played only 15 snaps prior to Sunday, so you'd hope those reps will help him work into a groove. Most importantly, it's learning from the film they watched Monday.

Dave from Gordon, WI

I thought Tampa Bay's defense was getting a running start when Aaron Rodgers let the clock run down to zero. This will be an ongoing problem if they don't fix it.

The Packers have actually done a much better job this year of not draining the play clock, but the Buccaneers made them pay for it Sunday – maybe more than any other opponent I can recall. When an already fast-and-physical defensive front can pin its ears back, watch out. And hats off to the Bucs' secondary, too. Tampa did its homework and was prepared for the quick outs to Adams and perimeter screens.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

I missed the replay discussion that lead to the overturned Aaron Rodgers touchdown. What is the definition of "giving oneself up" rather than "diving toward the end zone and preparing to get smacked"? A running back that tripped on his own feet and went to the ground would still be able to advance the ball and would have been awarded the touchdown, right?

LaFleur said the Packers are going to ask the league about the rule, which was expanded two years ago. While well-intended to protect QBs, I don't think if it was thought all the way through. The touchdown was overturned because Rodgers "gave himself up" when his knee hit the ground. So if he was giving himself up, that should make the hit illegal. But if you're the defender, you're trying to prevent Rodgers from getting in the end zone. The league probably needs to modify that rule to take away the QB protection when he declares as a runner inside the 5-yard line.

Jeff from Dorr, MI

My bright spot from Sunday would be Krys Barnes . He seems to always be around the ball and when he goes one-on-one looks like the other player hit a brick wall! Do you think he still plays when everyone is healthy?

Barnes has earned a starting role on defense with how well he's played on early downs. Without knowing the severity of Christian Kirksey's chest injury, the question the Packers will have to decide is if Barnes stays in that every-down role moving forward or they take a look at Kamal Martin there once he returns from IR.

Mary from Dublin, OH

Why did the Packers wear their home colors instead of their away ones? They were the visiting team.

The home team gets to choose which uniform it wears. Since Tampa Bay wore its white jerseys (due to the heat), Red Batty had to pack the home greens.

Nathan from Lino Lakes, MN

I did not think a man of AJ Dillon's size could go up and over, but here we are. I assume he was the one doing the moving throughout his college career. Was this a "Welcome to the NFL" type of moment for him?

Sure, but Dillon popped right up and went back to work. He even came away with the 20-yard carry. He's built for it.

Tom from Mt. Juliet, TN

The best part of Sunday's game was the "Diehard" commercial.

Some days you just get beat. My question is...would you rather get blown out or lose a heartbreaker on the last play?

The former. It's been my experience you'd rather get blown out of the water than have your chest ripped open on the last play. For example, I recall precious little from the 2016 NFC Championship Game but I can remember almost every detail of the 2014 title game in Seattle.

Bob from Racine, WI

Comment from the loss on Sunday. It appeared that Rick Wagner took over DB's spot at left tackle. If it was Wagner, he seemed lost. Defenders blew past him to get to Rodgers. Did you see that as well?

Playing left tackle in the NFL is tough enough when you take every snap in practice. The difficulty multiplies when you come in cold off the bench, so I didn't have any problem with how Wagner played. Hopefully, David Bakhtiari's chest checks out OK. Whatever the case, I expect Wagner to be sharper should he get more work at left tackle this week in practice.

David from Jerusalem, Israel

On the bright side, it's better to lose a stinker like that coming out of a bye week than going into one. Can't imagine having to dwell on this downer for two whole weeks. Question: On the second interception, it clearly looked like one and even two Bucs defenders jumped offsides. Did you see that, and was there a way to contest it?

I also noticed Shaq Barrett hop into the neutral zone but the play clock was approaching zero, so my guess is the side judge gave him the benefit of the doubt in jumping the play clock. It is what it is. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

The Green Bay Packers faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 6 matchup on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.

Nic from London, UK

When was the last time anyone blitzed Rodgers this much? Guys like him and Tom Brady normally clean up against the blitz, and the most effective strategy to slow them has historically been rushing four who are able to consistently get home (no small feat). Was there something different about this defense or our offensive response? Or just a bad day at the office?

The Bucs were able to win every area of those last three quarters, on both sides of the ball. Pro Football Focus charted the Buccaneers for 21 blitzes on Rodgers' 41 drop backs and they were effective, by and large. Both INTs came with Tampa sending an extra rusher.

David from Phoenix, AZ

After watching the Bucs' fast inside linebackers, Devin White and Lavonte David, I'm hoping the Packers see the value in investing a higher draft pick at inside linebacker in the near future. White and David disrupted virtually everything the Packers tried to do.

That was the most impressive showing I've seen by a pair of inside linebackers since Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright a few years back. Perhaps even more eye-opening is the speed and explosiveness with which David plays, even at nearly 31, and White is just an absolute beast.

JR from East Moline, IL

I hope the way things went after it doesn't deter Rodgers from funny celebrations in the future. Fun to see him having fun. This game kind of reminded me of the 2011 NYG playoff game, I don't know why. Maybe it was the late scores in the first half and the miss to Big Dog.

Football is a funny, funny game. There are days it feels like an NFL team can do no wrong and others when it seems impossible to get a first down. That's the way it goes sometimes. The Packers have to dust themselves off and put on a pot of coffee. Because there's no time for a hangover this Sunday against the 1-5 Houston Texans.

Eric from Denver, CO

Deshaun Watson has been outstanding since the Texans made their head coaching change. What will the Packers need to do to contain him and the Texans' offense?

Heat up the pocket and not allow him to get comfortable. Because Watson, regardless of what Houston's record says, is one of those QBs who will rip a defense apart if it allows him to establish an early rhythm. I expect Mike Pettine to dial up the blitzes a little more this week, considering how Watson has picked apart four-man rushes this season.

David from Janesville, WI

Insiders – the Packers' defense has taken the approach that their middle linebackers are clean-up men, and not necessarily playmakers. Thus there has been limited investment in the position. If that is the approach fine, but it would be easier to accept if we didn't have to see what Tampa's duo did to our offense. I understand they had nine other guys helping, but holy moly did they fly around.

Is that the Packers' position or are you just taking old quotes and forming them into written law? The Packers need players to make plays at every level of the defense. And no one did Sunday night. Period.

Brooks from Moore, OK

Insiders, it appeared to me that the Bucs were more motivated coming off of a game they should have won in Chicago. I still think the Packers are too quick to give up on their running game when they are down more than one score. Your thoughts?

The Packers didn't entirely abandon the run but I was surprised they didn't keep powering it up the middle a little more after breaking that 25-yard gain with Williams on an inside-zone. They ran it all the way up until they needed to start throwing it once the clock became a problem.

Steve from Wellington, FL

Perhaps more than ever, it's not so much who you play week to week, but when you play them. The Bucs come off a hard loss and Packers had relaxing bye week with everyone saying how great they are. Often it is injuries that influence things, but it's also intensity after a hard loss. Packers need to bounce back with a focus this week, if not, then hang them up.

Exactly. Just look at what unfolded with Minnesota Sunday. The Vikings play their best game of the season against Seattle but come up short, and then lay an egg against the previously winless Falcons. That's why these next six days will be critical for the Packers to move forward.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

It was pointed out about the rule inconsistency of the QB giving himself up yet the refs picking up the flag for a late hit. Another inconsistency in NFL rules is where a regular penalty and a personal foul offset. When Rodgers was trying to throw the ball away before a sack and then Suh definitely hits him late, the rule allowing offsetting penalties basically gives players an incentive or free opportunity to commit a personal foul after the first penalty occurs. Why not impose both?

That was another bizarrely officiated play. The referees must have determined the ball didn't get back to the line of scrimmage – it was hard to tell on TV – because otherwise the ball was traveling in Adams' direction. You're right, though. Offsetting penalties sometimes result in an eye-for-an-eyelash tradeoff.

Terry from Rochester, MN

After the exchanges with Suh, would Rodgers ever want Suh on the team? It appeared to me there are deep feelings of not being "friendly" between them. Would Murphy ever acquire Suh (or anyone like that) because of those feelings and say, "Deal with it"? What do you think?

Why does everyone think Mark Murphy makes personnel decisions? For the 1,000th time, Brian Gutekunst is the general manager. Murphy is the one working day and night with the league to make sure the train stays on the tracks. He doesn't go home at night and say to himself, "Hey, we should sign Suh." You pose the hypothetical of all hypotheticals. It's unanswerable, but I'll say this – I saw the same Ndamukong Suh on the field Sunday afternoon I saw back in 2011. And that's disappointing.

Mark from Green Bay, WI

In the salary cap world, you can't have a great defense and great offense (unless you hit on some great late-round and free-agent picks). Which would GM Wes strive for: Great offense and so-so defense, great defense and so-so offense. or better than average on each, but neither great?

It's definitely not Option C. Every team needs to hang its hat on something. There needs to be one characteristic about your team that teams point to and say, "Yeah, Spoffordville Spidercatz do that really well – maybe better than anyone." I tend to favor offensive football but that doesn't mean you can neglect the defense, either. You gotta strike a balance.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

As a Packer Backer across the purple border, I must give due respect to local sports writing legend, Sid Hartman. In your sports writing careers, do you have any Sid stories to share?

I never had the pleasure of meeting Sid but his reputation preceded him. I saw a statistic that he had more than 20,000 bylines for the Star-Trib. What an incredible life well-lived. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Matt from Sea Girt, NJ

Not a question but more as a voice of reason. Every team has a clunker and the reset button always seems to work (in more than just tech). Self-evaluation is a good thing. BTW, the Bears the next three weeks have Rams, Saints and Titans. Their true test. So R E L A X

We're about to learn a lot about the Bears, that's for sure…and probably the Rams, too.

Hannes from Milwaukee, WI

I'd be okay with a 1-1 record at Raymond James Stadium this season.

Hey, now that's the spirit.

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