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Packers making it too hard on themselves to win

Head Coach Matt LaFleur reviews the loss in Washington

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – Details, details, details.

It's just one word yet it encompasses so much regarding what's wrong with the Packers' offense.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur on Monday rattled off a laundry list of items that got the Packers in trouble at different times in Washington – illegal formations, blocking and catching fundamentals, route decisions, communication.

The miscues relegated the Packers to so many second- and third-and-longs the offense never found any flow, nor ran enough plays, getting only 40 snaps through 3½ quarters before going full-on hurry-up late in the game.

"We put ourselves in so many bad situations that it was hard to get it going," LaFleur said.

"All that stuff adds up. When you don't go out there and play with great fundamentals and do all the little things right, it's hard to win a game in this league."

It didn't help the Packers remain banged up, though LaFleur is loath to make excuses. At receiver, Sammy Watkins returned from a hamstring injury, but Randall Cobb (ankle) and Christian Watson (hamstring) were out, while Allen Lazard (shoulder) got hurt during the game.

The offensive line, already shuffled around during the week, then had to replace left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) somewhat last minute, so rookie Zach Tom made his first NFL start in his place. That allowed Elgton Jenkins at left guard, Jon Runyan at right guard and Yosh Nijman at right tackle to play all their newly assigned positions they had repped during the week.

On balance, LaFleur thought the offensive line was "pretty decent," though in pass protection it benefited from a game plan designed for quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get rid of the ball quickly the vast majority of the time.

Still, losing Bakhtiari so late in the week was a major curveball. "We're a better offense with him, no doubt about it," LaFleur said. He added that his practice and workout plan will continue to be discussed so that Bakhtiari can hopefully play regularly on game day, though that's suddenly an iffy proposition again.

As for the defensive effort, LaFleur was pleased with the first half, but the Commanders converted several third downs in the second half to extend drives, consume clock, and add to their lead.

The first half took more out of the defense than it should have, though, in two key instances, which contributed to wearing down in the second half. First, punt returner Amari Rodgers' muff gave Washington back-to-back possessions (LaFleur added Rodgers' status on special teams is under evaluation).

Then, following another back-to-back for the defense due to De'Vondre Campbell's pick-six, Green Bay's offense ran just four plays – including a 6-yard loss on a running play, plus a holding penalty – to give the ball back to the Commanders again.

"We've got to do a better job playing complementary football because it's not at the standard that is sustainable for winning," LaFleur said. "I mean, there are moments here and there in every phase, but the consistency at which we go out there and play and coach, it just hasn't been there."

But LaFleur made it clear what "bothers" him the most is the lack of attention to those details, because they mostly come down to mental focus and concentration.

"The negative is we're sitting here at 3-4. The positive is I think a lot of this stuff is correctible," LaFleur said. "I think our players are urgent with it, but it's got to be better, and it's got to get better like yesterday."

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