Packers must 'hit the reset button'

2019 team dealing with its first dose of adversity


GREEN BAY – The Packers already have learned in 2019 they can win, and that they can build on victories.

Now they're about to find out whether they can bounce back from a tough loss.

"Like I told the team, you have to hit the reset button," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours after Green Bay absorbed its first defeat of the season, a down-to-the-wire 34-27 decision to Philadelphia. "It's zero-and-zero each week and you're trying to go 1-0 for the week.

"I think you can find out a lot about a lot of people in times of adversity, and this is our first real test of adversity. But I think we have the right character, I think we've got the right leadership in that locker room that our guys will stick together and will fight to go win and play the next game."

That next game will be in nine days on the road at Dallas, which will be sitting atop the NFC East at either 4-0 or 3-1 depending on the Cowboys-Saints result Sunday night.

LaFleur said preparation for the Cowboys will begin in earnest on Monday after most of the players and staff take the weekend off. One thing he's waiting to find out is the status of star wide receiver Davante Adams, who left Thursday night's game after 10 catches and 180 yards with a toe injury that is being further evaluated.

For now, the long-term prognosis is "tough to say" and any preliminary planning for next week will have to allow for the possibility Adams might have to miss some time.

"You definitely have to factor it in," LaFleur said. "I think we'll have a better indication of where we stand once we get through the weekend."

Regardless of how much Adams' injury opens the door for reserve receivers Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepherd to get more involved in the offense, the Packers know they have to sharpen up in red-zone and goal-to-go situations after four prime scoring opportunities – two in the second quarter and two in the fourth – produced just six points on a pair of field goals in the loss to the Eagles.

The run defense is the other priority after a third straight game of struggles, and while LaFleur credited Philadelphia for scheming well to open holes, he's more focused on the teamwork aspect of his defensive front than anything the opponent is doing. The Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott is on deck.

"We talked about going into the game that everybody has to do their job, you have to do your one-eleventh," LaFleur said. "There were certain plays guys didn't do their job to the best of their ability. A few other times we had communication errors.

"What I challenged our guys on, not only the defense but offense and special teams, we have to be on the details."

An opponent turned in a long kickoff return for the second straight game, and the rushing attack hasn't produced much the last two contests, either. The flaws within the 3-1 Packers are clear and will get due attention.

As LaFleur headed home late Thursday night following his first loss as a head coach, he had already processed his frustrations with the pass interference replay reviews and had turned his focus inward.

"What I usually think about is what can we do better," he said. "Whether win or lose, it's about our process. Surely we were all disappointed. That was a hard-fought football game against a real quality opponent.

"But at the same time it's always what else can we do, because there's more out there for us."

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