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Inbox: You know what they say about adversity

This game humbles the best and brightest every week

Team huddle
Team huddle

James from Chicago, IL

"What's left to play for? A draft pick?" Is Ben from Brainerd kidding? These guys are competitors and professionals whose next contract is dependent upon what they put on film today. They're not just playing for bragging rights. These guys are playing for financial security and that won't happen if they aren't giving it 100%. Never root for the draft pick! Play to win or don't play.

There are still eight games left to be played and the Packers have to keep pushing – not only for the victory that's eluded them for more than a month now but also to see who responds in a positive way in these trying times. From a coaching perspective, I'll echo Matt LaFleur's comments at the end of his news conference Sunday – they have to take a good hard look at everything and get ready for Dallas.

Lynn from Machesney Park, IL

Where do the Packers go from here? Do you think it's true that one win can turn this around? I've been a fan all my life growing up in the GB area, this past Sunday almost felt like I was watching the Packers in the '70s and '80s again where winning was hard to come by. However, I feel that this experience may make us a force next year?

The Packers simply need to win. Then, we can talk about the rest of the season, playoffs, future, etc. Mentally, I think everyone is locked on picking up that fourth win of the season. That's the only thing that matters right now.

Paul from Eau Claire, WI

Bill Parcells said, "You are what your record says you are." Watching games around the league, this looks like a 3-6 team. What can be done immediately to not get a winning season, but to just get a win coming into the hard part of their schedule? Are we being out-talented? Out-coached? Out-disciplined?

Just out-executed. It's not fancy. It won't make the ESPN crawler, but that's it. In each of the past five weeks, the opposition has found a way to win, and the Packers have come up short. They have to find their win condition again.

Randy from Klamath Falls, OR

Something is terribly wrong with this offense and the most frustrating thing for me is that we'll never know what it is. I'm sure the Packers know, and they will never tell us, for good reasons. I saw a lot of Aaron Rodgers' passes going where there was no receiver. Can it be as simple as the receivers not running the right routes even after all this time?

The Packers have been too inconsistent this season, in all three phases. There are things Green Bay does well one week but then can't replicate the next. When a team doesn't have things to hang its hat on, the mountain grows taller. And so, the climb continues.

Chase from Citrus Heights, CA

I'm starting to feel bad for our defense. Look, I know they've had their miscues, but as difficult as it is to play consistent defense in the league, I ultimately want to see critical plays to either put a team away or to keep your team within striking distance. For the most part, I think they've done that this year. There's no doubt in my mind that the Packers turn things around if this offense can figure things out.

Measure the defense however you want to measure it, but that unit has given the Packers opportunities to win games. The defense is sixth in total yards, second on third downs and fifth in red-zone defense. The INTs and pressures might not be as plentiful as you'd want, but Green Bay has yet to give up more than 27 points this season.

David from El Segundo, CA

Hi guys. Rough week. It seems that Matt LaFleur was calling for someone to step up after the half, and Jaire Alexander did just that, and then they gave the ball right back. That has to deflate the defense for sure. Going back out and digging deep again was so great to watch.

Alexander continues to back up his words with his play. He had one regrettable penalty on the sideline but otherwise was one of the best players on the field for either team.

Jess from Oconomowoc, WI

Given this is his second concussion in as many weeks, on top of his other injury struggles this season and the team's dwindling chances of making the playoffs, should the Packers shut Christian Watson down for the year? If not just to protect him (and their investment) from early retirement?

Fortunately, LaFleur confirmed Monday Watson did not sustain another concussion. He took a big hit and got the wind knocked out of him but cleared all the protocols. The team held him out for precautionary reasons. Now, some people have asked, "Well, why then didn't he return?" I think the Packers did the right thing erring on the side of caution here. First, a player can still pass a concussion protocol and have lingering effects a day or two later. Secondly, it comes back to everything you guys were writing in before LaFleur's news conference. Watson has been through a lot this season. When you draft a player in the second round, it's a long-term investment in the player and the person. Watson's health and wellbeing are paramount.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

Wes, TV kept showing Rodgers rubbing his thumb and shaking his hand. Will he ever admit if it is really affecting his throws? Some were good but too many were awful and way off the mark. Should he voluntarily sit out a game to heal his hand and we can see what Jordan Love might bring in the future?

Again, I'm not a doctor. That decision is up to Rodgers and the medical staff. He's the ultimate competitor. We saw Rodgers' physical and mental toughness in 2018 when he broke his leg. Win or lose, Rodgers is the face of the franchise and leader in the locker room. He'll go out on his field for his football team.

Rick from Frankfort, KY

Is there any time frame for Randall Cobb's return?

He's out at least one more game.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Who are two or three players on each of the three teams (O, D, ST) who you think have either performed well this year, or at least bettered your preseason expectations?

Offense – Aaron Jones (incredibly), Romeo Doubs and Zach Tom. Defense – Kingsley Enagbare. Special teams – Pat O'Donnell, Isaiah McDuffie and Tipa Galeai.

Jim from La Crosse, WI

Insiders, the goal is just win baby, everyone can agree to this. Whatever happened to the conservative approach to just settle for field goals (and extra points). I could be wrong, but I calculate three FGs and the extra point would have given the Packers great odds to (just) win.

That's kind of the direction the entire league has headed in recent years. I don't know if that's analytics or a new wave of coaching.

Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA

Does there come a time when footballers get too big and too strong that their bodies simply can't endure the punishment without incurring injury? Surely the human body has its limitations, particularly its joints!

It's easy enough to say that, but then how do you explain a massive tight end like Marcedes Lewis hardly missing a game over the last 16 years, or 340-pound Ryan Pickett playing 207 games over 14 seasons? Every player/body is different. But there's no question some predestined durability is part of the longevity equation.

Mackenzie from Fort Worth, TX

Remember when we were "winning ugly" a couple of years ago? I believe this is the other side of that coin.

It's yet another reminder of the parity in this league and the paper-thin margin for error. Just look at Minnesota.

Tom from Draper, UT

Do you agree or disagree? The player that is more confident in his assignment and more physical than his opponent is far less likely to be injured.

Jones, Romeo Doubs and Rashan Gary all looked pretty darn confident to me on Sunday.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

I think the negative Nancy's are right. We should let II devolve into a forum of complaining and encourage everyone to pack it in this year. Wes, Mike, your job description is being updated in the latest memo. You are no longer allowed to provide thoughtful insight. You must help stoke the fire of fan disgust moving forward. Go home everyone unless you have something negative to pour on the fire. We don't do hope around here anymore. There...I feel so much better now.

As I've continued to say, I don't begrudge any Packers fan for being frustrated. Their favorite team is 3-6 after being a presumptive Super Bowl favorite. But I'm also not going to turn the column into 2,500 words of finger-pointing and blame-spamming. There's enough negativity in cyberspace and it's all there for your ingestion if you are so inclined. LaFleur knows this hasn't been good enough. Rodgers knows this hasn't been good enough. You know what they say about adversity. True character is revealed during times of adversity and Green Bay is in the thick of it.

Erich from Pewaukee, WI

Good morning gentlemen, after the game against the Lions and with all the injuries, I got to wondering. If the NFL cares so much about player health and safety, why don't they mandate all stadiums that games are played in must have natural grass? I believe that most all players prefer to play on natural grass because artificial turf tends to create more injuries, both in contact and non-contact. This shouldn't be such a daunting task considering the amount of money made and technology available.

You'll hear no argument from me on that one. We saw two of Green Bay's last five first-round picks go down with potentially significant injuries on Sunday. I do think we have a large enough sample size now to recognize the NFL needs to figure out a better solution if it wants to keep healthy players on the field. Thankfully, that's the Packers' last turf game of the regular season.

Pat from Hudson, WI

The same people calling into the Packers Radio Network "whine line" calling for heads to roll over the Rodgers signing are the same people who would be calling for heads if they hadn't signed Rodgers and the Packers were still 3-6! 13 wins three years in a row was our open window and we failed to go through it, so now it's time to take our lumps and look to the future! I will continue to watch and support. I can guarantee you that!

When teams win, fans celebrate. When teams lose, fans question. It's part of the gig. The Packers have eight more chances to figure out what kind of football team they are.

Dave from Hollywood, MD

Winners win. Any number of the last five games could have landed in the win column yet didn't. At this point, does it become more of a head game, and they are trying more not to lose rather than playing to win?

Perhaps. The one thing I know for certain is the Packers haven't lost because of a lack of effort. They're trying. It just hasn't worked well enough to come out with a win.

Jim from Edgerton, WI

What kind of explanation or defense could be given for that fourth-and-1 tackle- eligible pass play intended for Bak? Was the original call an RPO (I would doubt that)? I was absolutely dumbfounded when that was the play call.

The Packers had it on the call sheet. They thought it might work and it didn't. I don't know what else to tell ya.

Sam from Rochester, WA

What now?


Richard from Greenwich, NY

Act Ten of this unscripted drama unfolds next Sunday. Mike McCarthy returns to Lambeau with his Dallas Cowboys. Can't wait!

The Packers could be 9-0 or 0-9 heading into Sunday's game. Regardless, I hope Mike McCarthy gets a warm reception. He deserves it. Only four men in this organization's illustrious 103-year history have led the Packers to NFL titles. McCarthy is due his flowers.

Chris from Toronto, Canada

I've been a Packers fan since I was 8 years old. But let me just say, that's not always been easy. This is one of those times that tests our loyalty. Packers nation will rise again. GPG!

This game humbles the best and brightest every week.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Can we see a .500 season from the team this year?

Only if there's a tie.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Some good news? Now the pressure's off. Playoff expectations are near zero. Time to play loose and have fun. Time to salvage what they can from a disappointing season. From a spectator standpoint, maybe we can all just relax a bit and watch what happens.

That's all any of us can do.

Frank from Wake Forest, NC

After the game, I decided to wait a day before submitting my feelings to II. This morning I woke to the news that my sister's husband, my friend, lifelong Packers fan a great man, passed away. It took all the wind out of my sails, because when it comes down to it, it doesn't matter if the Pack wins or loses. Today, the Special Olympics of WI, lost a coach of 50-plus years. So, all I can say about Sunday is that there is next week and another chance.

My deepest condolences for your family's loss, Frank.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

I'm probably not still allowed to say the name "Vic" here, but after watching that game, I did some self-reflection and am continually reminded of how this column has bettered me. Ten years ago, that game would have left me in a sour mood for at least 24 hours. Vic's legacy, and one that you dutifully carry on, is to remind me that it's just a game, and that I can't control it. On to the next one. I want the W, but I also want to see Coach McCarthy welcomed back with open arms.

I don't know where you got that idea. Vic's name is always welcome here. Perspective is important, in both victory and defeat. In this forum, we celebrate, we grieve, we lament. It's all part of the journey.

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