GREEN BAY – Monday was a day of self-reflection for the Packers.
Not just about Sunday and the team’s worst performance of the season, but about Saturday and Friday as well, and everything that led up to the humbling loss to the Chargers.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur said it all will be examined, from the Green Bay workouts coming off a Sunday night road game to the travel schedule to the Saturday walk-through in Los Angeles.
With another West Coast trip, to San Francisco, looming after next week’s bye, LaFleur wants everything under a microscope to make sure the players are better prepared, physically and mentally, for the next such excursion.
“I think anytime you go out there and you have a game like that, you kind of look at everything you did,” LaFleur said. “I think all of us coaches, players, have to look inward and make sure we were doing the right things and really learn from that experience so we don't have another one of those moving forward.”
Before the next West Coast trip, though, there’s a home game with NFC contender Carolina at Lambeau Field heading into the Packers’ bye week, and Monday was used to start turning the page toward that contest.
The film review from the 26-11 loss to the Chargers was carried out in the normal fashion. It was just the least fun of any film session in this 7-2 season.
“It was a normal Monday – how we do every other Monday,” LaFleur said. “We showed the good, which, unfortunately, there wasn’t much in this game, and then we showed the bad and just talked about it. We’re always going to be honest with our guys. You’ve got to be real with yourself. That’s exactly what happened.”
The bad was in all phases and fell on both players and coaches. Communication was lacking all around, including LaFleur feeling he didn’t stress enough how much better the Chargers – a 12-4 playoff team a year ago – were than their 3-5 record coming in.
The defense continued to hemorrhage big plays and struggled to stop the run against a team that had no running game to speak of for the last month. LaFleur is well aware the “same issues” keep cropping up and teams are going to keep testing the Packers with the “same formula” until they improve.
Specifically on offense, LaFleur was critical of himself for not sticking with the run early when the game was still within reach, for not calling a better game to help the pass protection on the edges, and for getting impatient with the offense against a defense that was going to make the Packers sustain long drives.
“They don’t give up a lot of big plays,” he said of the Chargers. “It’s keep everything in front of you, and make you be patient and make you earn it. We weren’t patient yesterday. You can’t try to force the big play in this league. If you do, you get what happened yesterday.”
As for his team’s ability to process it all correctly and rebound effectively against 5-3 Carolina, LaFleur believes the right makeup exists to do precisely that.
“I love that locker room, and I think we’ve got the right guys in that locker room,” he said. “But I told them, you can’t talk about it. You’ve got to be about it. We’re going to have to put in the work, and it’s going to be tough work, hard work. We’ve got a heck of an opponent coming here.”