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Packers' film review was 'tough watch in every phase'

Short week or not, all the breakdowns must be processed with players

Head Coach Matt LaFleur; QB Jordan Love
Head Coach Matt LaFleur; QB Jordan Love

GREEN BAY – So little time, so much to go over.

Matt LaFleur's initial film review of Monday night's loss to the Giants took place, as usual, on the wee-hours flight home, and he walked off the plane with a laundry list of issues on a short week.

"Obviously you take a long, hard look at the film, and that was a tough watch in every phase," LaFleur said Tuesday, less than 12 hours after the team's plane landed in Green Bay. "You've got to learn from it, and then you move on. It's a quick turnaround."

With Sunday's home game vs. Tampa Bay fast approaching, here are some items in each phase that stood out to LaFleur for review with the players when the team reconvenes on Wednesday.

Special teams: A missed field goal by Anders Carlson and fumbled punt by Keisean Nixon most directly impacted the scoreboard.

"You muff a punt, you've got to just stay down, cover it up," LaFleur said, "and we had a couple penalties."

Those two personal fouls, one on Anthony Johnson Jr. and the other on Rudy Ford, affected field position. LaFleur suggested the blindside block call on Johnson was questionable, and he's looking for clarification from the league on how to coach the players better if indeed his block was illegal.

He chalked up the Giants punt returner slamming into Ford on a short punt as a "freak" play on a mis-hit punt that left the unaware Ford in the returner's path as he charged forward for the catch.

Offense: Quarterback Jordan Love's two turnovers on consecutive possessions in the second quarter were costly given the positive field position the Packers had on both. They also delayed the offense's ability to find a rhythm after Love began the game with several misfired passes, though he did eventually settle in and move the ball more steadily, particularly down the stretch.

But LaFleur felt some big-play opportunities were missed when the Giants' defensive fronts weren't identified correctly, and therefore the pass protection wasn't clean when some downfield routes had a chance.

"You've got to be on top of it at all times," LaFleur said of a disguising, shifting defense like New York's. "And then just being able to throw and catch."

Defense: LaFleur pointed to four explosive runs that he called "brutal" and accounted for 109 of New York's 209 rushing – a 32-yard run by receiver Wan'Dale Robinson off a wildcat pitch from running back Saquon Barkley, a 26-yard read-option run by QB Tommy DeVito, and then consecutive 17- and 34-yard runs by Barkley in the fourth quarter.

"Teams are going to get plays on you. You just can't make a bad play worse by whether it's missing a tackle or missing an assignment," LaFleur said. "We had a couple of those that really, really hurt us in the game."

DeVito also had a 13-yard run on a read-option, and on those similar plays, defenders were not sound with their responsibilities in terms of who takes the dive versus who takes the quarterback. Barkley's biggest run ended with his non-touched fumble but those back-to-back plays, which featured multiple missed tackles, gained 51 of his 86 rushing yards in the game.

The ultimate disappointment, though, came on the final drive, particularly two plays where Green Bay's man-to-man coverage surrendered easy yardage.

On the first two snaps, the Giants took two checkdown throws that totaled 12 yards and "you're fine with that," LaFleur said. But in man coverage on the next two plays, New York receivers were wide open against cornerbacks Carrington Valentine and Nixon, respectively, for gains of 9 and 32 yards to get into field-goal position in the final minute.

"We're playing way off, which we shouldn't be, in that situation," he said of the 9-yard gain. "We called another man coverage. That's when we got beat on that 7-cut. We've just got to be better with our eyes. You can't be peeking in the backfield. You've got to keep your eyes on your work. Unfortunately we didn't, and we got gashed. That ultimately did us in.

"If we're calling man, we've got to be tighter."

All of that is a lot to deal with, but LaFleur emphasized the short week can't be allowed to shortchange the efforts to review what went wrong.

"You absolutely go over everything," he said. "You've got to get some of this stuff cleaned up, no doubt about it. The big ones are some of the unforced errors.

"You've got to clean up your mistakes but ultimately you've got to learn from every situation that you're in, both positively and unfortunately when you lose. Otherwise, I don't know what we're doing if we're not learning from those situations."

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