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Inbox: Those are times when you look for the most growth

Green Bay must regroup and rally for a different outcome against the Lions

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

That was a moral victory if not an actual one.

There are no moral victories but that was an encouraging performance. I wouldn't say it was as illuminating as the 2016 loss in Washington before "Run the table," but it was good to see the young receivers step up and the Packers build the passing game off the run. It's been a season full of curveballs, but you still need to hit 'em.

Clipton from Pasadena, CA

Call me Mr. Brightside but there were positives from this game. We played credibly against a vastly better team on their home turf and were only a bad call on Robert Tonyan and a missed field goal from possibly pulling off a huge upset. More important, after three years I think ML has finally learned not to panic and abandon the run when behind. By sticking to it we kept Josh Allen off the field and our defense fresh. I don't think it's an accident that the defense had its best second half of the season.

That's the most difficult part of this loss. Because the Packers could've been 7-0 entering this game and still been the underdogs to an extremely talented Bills squad. But when teams lose close games like they did in London and Washington, it becomes an uphill battle when facing the league's elite. The reality is that performance has no bearing on next week's game in Detroit. Green Bay must regroup and rally for a different outcome against the Lions.

Walter from Minnetonka, MN

II, which of these are truer: Is a game against the Lions exactly what the doctor ordered for the struggling Packers? Or is a game against the Packers exactly what the doctor ordered for the struggling Lions?

Again, it has to be. The Packers don't need 400 total yards, five takeaways or a kickoff return for a touchdown. They need a win – and all three phases contributing to that goal.

Mike from West Bend, WI

Morning to our voices of reason this glum yet promising Monday. The backfield did its part to help us get something going even if it wasn't enough to pull off an unlikely win against a phenomenal opponent. Wish we would've used them to this extent the previous few games and we wouldn't be in the jam that we are today. NFC North may be getting out of reach, but we are not that far in win-loss standings to give up a playoff berth yet. GPG!

What I love most about Aaron Jones, the football player, is how he continues to get better at a position where regression tends to hit elite players earlier than most others. I've been watching Jones run for 5½ years now and he's looking more explosive now at 27 than he was at 22. The Packers need more from the passing game to win consistently but Sunday night showed Jones still can be "the man" when the team needs him to be.

Dan from Wausau, WI

I know people have wanted the Packers to run more, myself included. And they did against Buffalo and had success. But running back is such a brutal position, is it realistic to expect Jones and AJ Dillon to be able to take on that workload, which does not include the plays on which they pick up a blitz?

I mean, that's the job description. We can't sit here and call for Jones and Dillon to get more opportunities, and then crow about the heavy workload. In my estimation, 31 combined carries for Jones and Dillon are manageable. It's not like the Packers suddenly morphed into the 2006 Kansas City Chiefs, running Larry Johnson into the ground.

Levi from St. Paul, MN

Hey II, great job as always. I'm curious if the Inbox from today (Monday), which seemed very optimistic was the true representation of questions asked. Because I for one was encouraged by the way this team played. Not very happy with this overrated defense but they played hard to the end. I believe if Elgton Jenkins can get healthy and the O-line comes together in pass protection then the team is trending up. Let's just hope it happens quick. And keep feeding "33." Go Pack.

I was pretty impressed by the general tone of the questions. Readers were critical but also rational. There were very few submissions for Insider Man-Yells-at-Cloud…box.

Steve from Englewood, FL

I knew this was going to be a tough game to walk out of Buffalo with a win. But our men played their butts off and did have their chances. It's the first time in weeks I've been able to sleep after a game. I saw the Aaron Rodgers of old in the second half and especially in the fourth quarter doing his magic. I feel this is the way to success so he's not a sitting duck in the pocket. Let THE MAN roll out and do what he does best.

Rodgers made some of his best throws of the season in Buffalo, including the 19-yard touchdown and 26-yard corner to Romeo Doubs. He also extended the play to hit Samori Toure on the touchdown. I felt like it was important for Rodgers to mention those plays, too, during his postgame news conference. Those are times when you look for the most growth.

Peter from Orland Park, IL

The talk surrounding Amari Rodgers and the punt returner duties is one thing, but in the past few games I have been paying attention to his play as a receiver. He does have talent as a receiver, is it possible he is being asked to do too much and his punt returner duties are limiting his development as a receiver?

Not sure, but I like what I've seen from Rodgers the past two weeks. His catch down the sideline in Buffalo was nice. That's the Amari we saw in preseason and training camp. Aaron Rodgers also commented after the game that the deflected pass was to a wide-open Amari on another play that probably nets at least 10 yards. As far as punt returning goes, it's pretty obvious Rodgers is the guy. If not him, I'm not sure who else? Randall Cobb is on IR and Tramon Williams isn't walking through that door.

Scott from Milwaukee, WI

Packers' run game looked good when the Bills' defense went light in the box. Help me find the silver lining other readers saw in that performance…

David Bakhtiari played the entire game and did well against Von Miller. Jaire Alexander also was lights out in coverage.

Jeramiah from Greenville, WI

I have a question regarding Stefon Diggs getting in Jaire's face as players walked through the tunnel: How is that allowed? I understand getting in an opponent's head is part of the game, and these are grown men, but it's also a professional sport. Players should get to the field and settle it out there.

In the postgame locker room, Packers players downplayed the "both teams coming out of one tunnel" thing but it still is weird. I'm sure the media's antenna was up because of the Michigan-Michigan State skirmish.

Chase from Citrus Heights, CA

It's certainly frustrating when you're just looking for a break to go your way and you get some of those calls/no-calls, but it is what it is – we still could have won. My two points of emphasis after that are pass protection, and enough with the self-inflicted penalties. I'm with Matt LaFleur on the no tolerance for Quay Walker's penalty, but I would have gone a step further and benched him till at least halftime. The league took care of that, although I did think an ejection was a bit much.

Officiating has been poor the last two weeks. Remarkably, I took more issue with Ronald Torbert's crew than I did Clay Martin's because I felt there were some real player safety issues that needed to be addressed. Still, the Walker incident was unacceptable. It not only resulted in a 15-yard penalty but also removed one of the Packers' starters from the game. That can't happen. The game is bigger than heat-of-the-moment emotions. To Walker's credit, he waited in his locker for the media and took ownership of it. He'll learn from it.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

In response to Jesse from Las Vegas, NV, Mike stated that Watson suffered his third injury in three months. An old adage about players says something about availability being their best attribute. Are the continued injuries a lack of conditioning or just bad luck? I'd hate to see the kid get the injury-prone tag so early in his career, but if the shoe fits...

So, does that make Nick Collins injury prone, too? You can fit shoes all you want, H.R., but I saw a receiver lay motionless for several minutes after taking a helmet-to-helmet shot from a hard-crashing NFL safety. It was a scary scene. Rush to whatever conclusions you want but I was just happy to see the kid walk off under his own power.

Rich from Fargo, ND

It seems like the Packers are in between two crests right now. The offense regressed from a personnel standpoint in the offseason, stressing the defense early in the year and causing mental regression. In the second half last night, the offense started to move the ball, and the defense created two turnovers immediately afterward. Maybe rock bottom is behind us now, and we just witnessed a young group figure out one piece of the puzzle.

The Packers have lost four straight, are 3½ games back in the division and now face one of the two remaining one-win teams in the NFL. All the respect in the world to the Lions. They fight for their head coach and play well at home, but the Packers entered this season with Super Bowl aspirations. You have to put your best foot forward this Sunday, take a step and get this win. Because the job won't get easier.

Hannes from Glendale, WI

Looking at how the Lions got to 1-6, it appears they either score a lot of points or none at all. Will it be key to avoid a shootout against them and if so, how did the Patriots and Cowboys do that?

Again, those were both road games. The Lions are a much different team inside Ford Field, a place where they came three points from beating Philadelphia in Week 1. Dallas and New England both played clean, physical football and established the run in those lopsided wins over Detroit. That's going to be essential for Green Bay.

Kevin from Savage, MN

Regarding challenges. I learned about a new rule this year in college hockey. Unlimited challenges. But after some initial limit (two, I think) a failed challenge results in a penalty – meaning potentially a power play. That's a pretty high risk for a challenge, ensuring a challenge won't be taken lightly. I kind of liked the idea. Thoughts? And what do you think would be an appropriate penalty?

Interesting. I'm not sure how it would apply to NFL. Maybe a 10-yard delay of game penalty? Doubtless I've long been in favor of two challenges for the entire game and you lose them when you lose the challenge. I don't get why a coach runs out of challenges after getting the first one correct (e.g., a drop that my 4-year-old child could've called on what was ruled a 3-yard pass) and then no longer has the option after the second fails.

Fred from Grandville, MI

So, the loss of this game, as you suggest, was execution. Question: How do highly experienced, highly paid, professionals, who have been playing the game since puberty not know how to execute? And if they don't do what they were hired to, why pay them? Bring in anyone that can remember and execute.

Because there's highly experienced, highly paid professionals who have played the game since puberty on the other side of the line of scrimmage, too. What part of this is difficult to understand?

See scenes from the Sunday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on Oct. 30, 2022.

Jeff from Athens, WI

Lots of talk about needing to get a receiver or two before the trade deadline. I would prefer to get one and also look to see what can be done to add some depth and experience for the offensive line. Zach Tom is playing well, but his inexperience is showing a little too often and injuries to the offensive line seem unavoidable. Depth is never a bad thing in the NFL, is it?

It all depends on the cost. I'd love to drive a Porsche, but those monthly payments are a bit out of my price range. My only request today – please keep your wits about you. The Packers will make a move today or they won't. Either way, improvement must still come from within to make a run. As much as I'd like to entertain more trade questions, I don't like to talk about them because it creates unrealistic expectations among the fanbase. Just watch and see what happens.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Mike posted my submission on the live blog for the first time when Big Dog scored in London. Since then, we have played very poor in 3½ games. If Mike promises to help break the bad mojo by posting me on the live blog again, I will submit something before kickoff on Sunday. Just trying to do my 1/12th.

I'll have my people talk to his people.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Happy Halloween, men. Is it a trick or a treat? God bless.

God bless you, Dan. You truly are one in 11,515…and treat, always treat.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

I believe AR12's comment about getting one win. From my uninformed point of view, if we can gain a little bit of health (especially along the O-line and at WR) and have one solid performance where the young guys gain a confidence boost (as well as AR12's confidence in them) and come out with a solid W (Detroit?), the rhythm can be established plus a foundation of success to build upon. That seems reasonable given so much dependence on our youth. The second half could be really fun! GPG!

The hardest thing to do in this sport is play a complete game. There are so many players, injuries and other variables you cannot account for. But my goodness, if the Packers ever do play a full 60, it could really splash rocket fuel into the engine. Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong so far this season. At some point, you gotta hope the tables turn.

Joe from Swansea, IL

I saw one of your brethren characterizing this as a lost season. Isn't it a bit early for that? Especially if the Packers can settle on an offensive line, get healthy in the receiving corps, and find an identity on both sides of the ball. Yeah, that's a big ask and it's been an ugly patch, but in a 17-game season Halloween is too early to raise the white flag.

Nothing is lost. The Packers went 3-of-8 on their first eight opportunities. There's nine more to go. You either start making up ground or allow the league to trample over you. I don't know about you, but I'd favor the former over the latter. I bet that locker room would, too.

Chris from West Allis, WI

At what point do you two start receiving hazard pay for running Inbox?

My father worked in a papermill for 30-plus years, pulling all-nighters whenever a machine was shut down. My mom blew out her labrum after 39 years printing napkins at the same mill. I'll be fine – and so will you. I'm guessing all of you have had setbacks in your lives, physical and/or mental. I count myself fortunate that my "bad day" is dealing with a few negative emails and some angry folks hurling insults. Losses make the victories that much sweeter…and the Packers need a win. The good news is October is over. It's a brand-new month. Make it a great week, everyone.

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