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Mental balancing act between past and future is key in times like these

Packers can’t forget about blowout loss, but can’t dwell on it either

Packers defensive unit
Packers defensive unit

GREEN BAY – It's a fine line all NFL teams walk at some point, and the Packers are walking it now.

With games in this league a week apart, there's a danger in a blowout loss like Green Bay's from Sunday looming too long. Then again, it can't just be dismissed as though it never happened, because then lessons won't be learned.

"Still have it in our memory, but we can't dwell on it" was how second-year linebacker Krys Barnes on Tuesday described the Packers' approach to the coming week.

He talked about the extensive amount of time over the past couple of days spent reviewing the film of the 38-3 loss to the Saints, pointing out mistakes and processing how to fix them moving forward. The past and the future must coexist to make a full, successful recovery.

That doesn't really change after the players' off day Wednesday, and when the new practice week begins Thursday for next Monday's game with the Lions. But each's prominence in the mind does. What comes next mentally jumps in front of what just happened.

"The minute we dwell on it, it could mess us up in the long run," Barnes said. "I'm excited to see what this team does. We have a great spirit. We came in today ready to work. Guys were motivated to keep going.

"This one doesn't define us. It's all about how we bounce back."

The Packers have done that well in Head Coach Matt LaFleur's two-year-plus tenure, never losing back-to-back regular-season games.

Veteran offensive lineman Billy Turner said LaFleur does his best to "embrace positivity, especially in the face of adversity," and he feels the team will respond well.

While Sunday's loss wasn't pretty on either side of the ball, there's naturally less concern with the offense, which led the NFL in scoring last year and is working two rookie starters into the offensive line. The "cohesion" of the group Turner referenced as the key to success up front should only improve.

Greater questions, understandably, lie on defense with new coordinator Joe Barry's debut going so wrong. While learning and growing pains are part of the process with any new playbook, less of that was anticipated with a veteran-laden unit and a scheme change not considered drastic.

The mantra is to stay the course and stay together to work through the unexpected letdown of an opener.

"That's the good thing about Coach Barry, he's the same guy every day," Barnes said. "He has ownership in this as well as all of us. That's a big thing for us as unit to take ownership in all the wrongs that we have done and continue to push forward and make our way to not make those wrongs again."

There's also been no shortage of the players taking it upon themselves to turn things around, no matter how much the coaches say publicly their plans and preparation weren't adequate.

LaFleur often says the best teams are player-led ones, and this one remains built that way, too.

"In the locker room there's a lot of guys that spoke up and said their piece as far as what it was and how we felt about the game, from the time the game ended to now," Barnes said.

"I'm excited to push forward with this unit. There's a lot of great leaders on this team, a lot of great players, so there's some good things ahead of us for sure."