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Inbox: They've been a crunch-time team

That’s how this league works

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh

Ed from Windsor, CO

The Packers had a bad half and folks are jumping off the train. About 15 teams had a bad half, or more; just ask ex-Packers Hackett or Adams how their week was. Let's get back on track and enjoy the ride. Now, about those Jets…

They're a young team that's believing in what they're doing. Two comebacks on the road will foster that. They've been whipped in the third quarter (outscored 34-3) but have turned the tables in the fourth (58-20). They spread the ball around, with six players posting 16 or more receptions on the season, and don't let the defense's 10 sacks fool you. They've piled up 32 quarterback hits over the past three games, including 16 last week. They get after QBs.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Moving on to the other New York team, it seems that the Jets have found some fuel. What's behind their improvement that may give the Packers headaches?

They've been a crunch-time team. They needed key plays late to rally at Cleveland and at Pittsburgh for wins, and they simply dominated the Dolphins in the fourth quarter last Sunday.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's one factor about the Jets that's not being talked about?

Their defense has seven interceptions, one off the league lead, and six different players have a pick.

Thierry from Metz, France

When will we know if the NFL issued fines for the shockingly brutal sacks of Grady Jarrett and Chris Jones?

Usually the national reporters get word of those on Fridays. I can't get my brain around how anyone thinks the Jarrett sack is roughing of any kind, especially after Tua getting whipped to the ground two Thursdays ago was nothing. On the Jones play, the full-body-weight rule is just a poor rule, period. But was I the only one who thought the Jones penalty occurred after the change of possession? Jones had that ball, rather securely, before he landed on Carr. Call the RTP if you must by letter of the law, but to me that was no different than an intercepting team committing an illegal block or any other penalty after the INT. The turnover still stands, and that one should've, too, though I'm obviously missing something.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Davante Adams looked a lot happier when he was working in Green Bay. And that's all I have to say about that.

In his entire time in Green Bay he never experienced a fourth loss in a season until November, and the Raiders were tagged with their fourth on Oct. 10. That doesn't excuse what he did walking off the field, and discipline of some sort is coming. But that's not the Adams I know, and I give him credit for apologizing publicly, immediately, and not doing so a day later via some prepared statement.

Loughlin from Indiana, PA

Are we going to see more Christian Watson on deep routes soon? He seems to be built for the long ball, but we are only using him on jet sweeps. With the issues we have had throwing the deep ball, could we see him getting involved more?               

He has to stay healthy first.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

We have become accustomed to seeing certain body types that play particular positions. For example, most receivers tend to be long and fluid. Does Quay Walker have the type of body type that typically plays inside linebacker. He appears tall and trim, but does he have the girth that seems so important in defending the run? I only get to see him on TV so perhaps I'm mistaken.

Walker's listed weight is nine pounds heavier than De'Vondre Campbell's (241-232).

Scott from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, did the coach explain how Barkley got so wide open on that crossing pattern? I would think Barkley would be No. 1 & 1A on the list to cover.

I don't know who's to blame because I don't know the intricacies of the scheme, but the film showed three second-level defenders covering two players – one on the tight end crossing over top of Barkley, and two jumping toward a running back leaking out of the backfield.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

What do you make of the fact that the Packers have given up the second fewest pass yards in the league but by far the most pass yards in the league on crossing routes? Seems to me there is a neon light pointing at the problem but so far it hasn't gotten fixed.

And that vulnerability is going to keep getting tested until they prove it's no longer a vulnerability. That's how this league works. It's a tale as old as time. (RIP, Dame Angela)

Brian from Rochester, NY

I assume after a loss like last week there are some frustrated fans with overreactions. You make a good point that players need to execute. I feel like you're letting the coaching staff off the hook. Between the New England game and Giants game it appears we have been outcoached. Players aren't being put in the best positions to succeed. Move Darnell Savage into the robber role and Rasul Douglas back outside. Zach Tom earned a role over Royce Newman out of camp. Take my bait and let's put more on the coaches.

LaFleur has admitted to being outcoached and as I've said before, I'm sure that doesn't feel good. But there's way more that goes into personnel and lineup decisions than you or I will ever know. When a loss like London happens, the coaches scrutinize everything that much more as they game plan for the next one, but they have to decide whether it's better to make a change or demand more from what they have. In LaFleur's words Monday, I heard demand, from both the players and the coaches.

Todd from Palmyra, WI

I believe someone used the word salty in regards to the 49ers' defense on this forum last week. Do you think the Packers are missing a bit of that ingredient on defense? I have not witnessed it very often.

Some may disagree, but I believe results foster attitude more so than the other way around. The 49ers are first in the league in both yards and points allowed.

Miranda from Rochester, NY

Good morning all. This isn't a knock or insult, but I can't stand the "they haven't played their best football yet" sentiment. How could anyone know this? I get being an optimist, but being an optimist doesn't help anything. At some point, we have to be realists in order to properly analyze this team, instead of the shrug and the ol' they'll get better. This team has shown us who they are and without some major adjustments whether coach or player acquisition, it's up to us to accept it or not.

If that's your take, you're entitled to it. I've been around this sport long enough to know teams don't stay the same, they get better or they get worse over the course of a long season. Most of the time around here they've gotten better, but not always (2008, '15 and '18 went the other way). If this team has already played its best football, I'll stand corrected.

Robert from Verona, WI

Tuesday's Insider Inbox was tough to read due to the amount of negativity. I can only imagine what it's like to sift through the countless submissions the readers aren't seeing. Being disappointed seems fully justified, but I don't see a reason to panic yet. The team is pretty healthy, we've got young starters who should continue to progress, and we have some veterans returning from injury that haven't reached their ceiling yet. I really believe they're going to right the ship.

I do, too. Right now the product on the field doesn't match the talent on the roster, but I don't see that continuing unchanged for another three months.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, teams daring the Packers to pass seems counterintuitive with a future HOF QB. Is that a reflection on our WRs and TEs, or is 12 not as mobile, or effective in extending plays? Would it be fair to say our head coach is biased towards the pass to move the ball? It goes against his nature to run the football? Appreciate a coach willing to face the music after a loss. Would appreciate closing out an opponent more.

I'm sure he would as well. I think defenses see Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon as the Packers' most dangerous weapons, as do I, and they defend accordingly. I believe the Packers need to be both stubborn and creative in making sure their most dangerous players get the ball, in whatever fashion they want to get it to them. It wasn't a problem when Adams was here.

Herbert from Palm Desert, CA

Goodness, it gets tiresome reading fans' comments after a loss; I can't imagine what the ones you don't publish must look like. For most of the last 15 years, it was up to Aaron Rodgers to win the game. Changing that mindset into one where he hands the ball off in key moments can't be easy. I was calling for the run on those last two plays, but let's be realistic, I had no idea what the defense presented in those situations. And to think that the coaching staff doesn't reflect and learn is ridiculous.

I'll apologize in advance for the long answer, but I said I wanted to look at the film on those two late short-yardage plays, and I did, so here goes. The Giants presented different eight-man fronts on both, and run-wise the Packers were blocking 6-on-8 both times, so I can understand not running it. Third down was an eight-man box (six up, two off ball), and the Giants rushed six, bluffing a seventh. Unfortunately, Rodgers didn't see Tonyan leaking out to his right with enough space to reach the sticks, maybe score. I think the protection held up better than he thought, and not wanting to take a sack he didn't anticipate having time to come back to the right, so he kept his focus left and fired for Cobb. On fourth down, the call is an RPO and the Giants' eight-man front was all on the line of scrimmage. LaFleur mentioned the difficulty that presents with the run – the two unblocked players on the overloaded right side could crash hard and get the running back from behind. As it turns out, Myers got a huge push in the middle that would've cleared enough space for Dillon without worry about the backside pursuit. But Rodgers pulled the ball out of Dillon's gut and tried for Lazard, who's getting absolutely mugged. An obvious flag would've given the Packers a fresh set of downs, but the ball got deflected at the line, negating any potential penalty. Why did nothing work out? Because that's football. And while some would rather have Rodgers not overanalyze the look and the options, that's how and why he's a four-time MVP, and you can't just tell him to turn that off in certain situations. That's not realistic. The track record shows his decisions succeed far more often than not. Does it stink when it doesn't work out in a big moment? Absolutely. But again, that's football.

Barry from Langhorne, PA

Recognizing the obvious that an NFL season is a marathon not a sprint, one has to question the overall leadership. Leadership creates Culture. Culture drives Behavior. Behavior produces Results. Is there an issue with our overall leadership? Our culture? Because on the surface, it looks shaky at best.

The Gutekunst-LaFleur partnership has produced a 44-15 record, including playoffs. That doesn't fit my definition of shaky leadership and culture.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

I was lucky enough to attend the game, and the experience was sensational. I think the best word to describe it is AESOME, because the only thing I missed is a W. As Vic used to say: "memories make us rich", and I feel myself much richer thanks to last weekend. And I want more. When do you think the Packers will play their next game in London, Mike?

I'm afraid it could be a while. I agree with Wes that the Packers' next international game will probably be in Germany, provided the NFL's debut there next month goes smoothly. The same conundrum that led to such a long wait for the Packers to get to London will still apply in the coming years – the Packers aren't going to give up a home game (unless forced to, which can be once every eight years) because they're too important to the local economy, and opponents won't be willing to give up hosting the Packers because they're a huge ticket draw.

Andrew from Placentia, CA

As forgettable as the outcome of that game was, the event itself was very memorable for me. I'll always remember waking up at 5:30 California time to make bratwurst breakfast sandwiches for my wife, kids, mom, and sister. I'll always remember my toddlers coming downstairs before kickoff wearing their Packers jerseys over their orange Halloween pajamas. I'll always remember cracking open my first "root" beer at 7 a.m. (hey, it was 3 p.m. London time!) What will you always remember about this event?

Covering the game from an open-air press area that was the equivalent of a primo seat, hearing an entire team being vociferously booed during pregame warmups, and listening to the royal anthem of the UK before kickoff.

Steve from Milwaukee, WI

Sometimes a good old-fashioned butt kicking is needed to deflate the ego and strengthen the resolve. It's how one responds to adversity that makes the cream rise to the top. A marathon does not go to the swift of foot, but to those who persevere. I can't believe my ears that some fans are ready to write this team off! It could be the Jets are walking into a hornet's nest. How do you see it?

I wait for noon Sunday with great anticipation. Happy Wednesday.

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