2019 Week 9 - That's What Cheese Said

A few themes from the locker room this week: the loss was humbling and this team intends to bounce back the right way. 

The word “humble” was tossed around the locker room a lot following Sunday’s 26-11 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Packers fell to 7-2 on the season, losing their first road game.

“They definitely coached better than we did today. They definitely played better,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur. “And that’s life in the National Football League. You better come and bring your “A” game each and every week or you’ll have a performance like we had today.”

Defensively, the team still struggled to eliminate explosive plays, giving up a 56-yard completion to Chargers receiver Mike Williams. Running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler also had 16-yard runs on the day. 

“It’s been an issue for us all year, giving up explosive plays.” said defensive lineman Kenny Clark. 

Offensively, the Packers couldn’t find any rhythm. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a measly 161 yards through the air, and the team combined for only 45 yards on the ground. In fact, through the entire first half, Green Bay only accumulated 50 yards on offense. 

“This was a good learning experience for us. We’ve gotta come ready to play. I don’t think we were locked in from the start, unfortunately,” said Rodgers at his post-game press conference. “I’m not sure exactly the reason, but I don’t think the focus was there from the start.” 

Star wide receiver Davante Adams returned to the field after missing four games, but his return didn’t have the offensive impact the team had hoped for. While he did acknowledge he doesn’t feel completely back to normal, he still was targeted 11 times, hauling in seven receptions for 41 yards. 

The target with the second-most targets was running back Jamaal Williams who hauled in all 6 targets for 39 yards. No other player had more than four targets on the day.

“Offensively, there was no rhythm whatsoever,” said LaFleur, citing the false start penalties, delay of game penalty, and sacks as disruptions to the team’s rhythm. 

“I gotta do a lot better job putting our guys in position, because we really didn’t even get into the game plan. It was a spread, throw it all over the yard kind of game, and that’s not where we want to be.”

Rodgers acknowledged that playing behind the sticks for most of the day took the team out of its game plan, saying that there were plans in place for both Adams and Jones, but the offense was never able to get going and get to those plans. Jones had only eight rushing attempts for 30 yards on the day. 

“I gotta do a better job of staying committed to that run game, just to help our guys be in a better position,” LaFleur said. 

Rodgers addressed a few possible reasons for the team’s sluggish performance, attributing the team maybe not taking care of themselves the right way in the two-day travel span, the L.A. heat, or being tired.

“Those are just excuses,” he added. “The facts are that we weren’t locked in from the start, and that’s a little disappointing.”

The Packers had eight penalties for 45 yards on the day, many of those penalties stifling drives and putting the team in long-yardage situations. 

“We still had a lot of stuff that we wanted to get to. Stuff that we’d worked on all week,” said Rodgers. “Again, the lack of execution and the penalties, negative yardage plays definitely hurt us today.”

“That wasn’t our standard, our brand,” added left tackle David Bakhtiari of the offensive line’s struggles all day. “As an individual, as an offensive line, as an offense, as a team, we’ve got an ability to humble yourself, adapt, grow, and know that wins don’t come easy in this league.”

Defensively, the Packers played “bend don’t break” football for the entire first half, limiting the Chargers to three field goals. Even still, limiting the opposing team to field goals won’t always win football games, as Green Bay found out on Sunday. 

“We held them to field goals, but they shouldn’t have even been in field goal range a couple times,” said cornerback Jaire Alexander. He, too, acknowledged that the defense needs to limit the explosive plays that get opposing offenses into scoring range. 

The Super Smith Bros both tossed around the same word again at their post-game locker room interview, “humble.”

“It was a wake-up call for us,” said Za’Darius. “We’re 7-1, and I don’t feel like it, but some people probably got comfortable in this situation. And to lose this game shows a lot, and brings us back to earth and where we need to be and how we need to work each and every day to prepare.”

“We’re going to bounce back better, and we’re going to play a whole lot better next week,” added Preston. 

That, too, was a theme in the locker room after the team’s second loss of the season. It’s up to the players and coaches to learn from this and make adjustments before a daunting matchup against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. 

“We’ve gotta hit the reset button like we say every week, win, lose, or draw, and get back to the drawing board and just be more prepared for these situations,” said LaFleur. 

“I think this’ll be a good thing for us. Regroup, go back home, and play another good team before the bye,” said Rodgers. 

Everything is still in front of this team. The entire NFC North lost on Sunday, so the standings remain the same for another week. At 7-2, the Packers still lead the division and hold the tiebreaker against all three opponents with a 3-0 division record. 

“I feel pretty confident that we’re going to respond,” said Rodgers, referencing the two tough games up next on the team’s schedule in the Panthers before the bye week and the San Francisco 49ers on the road the week following. 

“We’ve gotta respond the right way and go into the bye 8-2, and this week will be interesting to see the leadership step up. But I feel pretty optimistic, much like, you know maybe ‘16, with some of those losses where you just felt like you still had something special even though you had a dud like today.”

This team still feels that it can be special. Now it’s time to refocus and prepare for a surging 5-3 Panthers team with perhaps the most dynamic weapon in the game right now, Christian McCaffrey. 

“We’re going to come out here and practice good, we’re going to be focused, and get a W in Lambeau,” finished Alexander. 

 

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (12)

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albert999's picture

November 05, 2019 at 04:04 pm

They better all get a good night sleep Saturday night and come prepared and alert and ready to start fast!
Go Pack Go

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Lare's picture

November 05, 2019 at 04:40 pm

I'm not impressed with the "bend don't break" defense. It seems to be bending and breaking.

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Houndog's picture

November 05, 2019 at 05:31 pm

"The bend but don't break" defense? LOL!
I've seen some pretty severe bending the past few weeks, and maybe even a few cracks from being bent too often. The middle remains a big problem giving up steady yardage on both running and passing plays.
Why are we not reading about the FAs the Packers had in for try-outs each week? Is the F/O content?
Are guys like Mohammed Wilkerson that terribly out of shape that he can't play, he was supposed to be the answer a year ago before breaking his leg.
Is D.J. Swearinger that big of a problem in a locker room, he's played as a hybrid DB/LB, and is listed as the 2nd best F/A available behind Antonio Brown?
To make the moves Gute made in the off-season, and then stand back and watch while it's not working and do nothing? Kinda' reminds one of a former GM now referred to as a consultant.

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Johnkh's picture

November 05, 2019 at 05:51 pm

The main problem is they keep playing the same formation on defense no change up teams have figured that out fast and we see the same problem every week.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 05, 2019 at 09:06 pm

They have ILBs that cannot crash the gaps fast enough to plug the run and/or blitz fits because they do not have recovery speed to move back into coverage. So keep them focused on run fits and gap pressure. Take your chances to get the QB down in lieu of getting shredded trying to have them play cover.

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baldski's picture

November 06, 2019 at 02:28 am

Phil Rivers seems to have borne this out. He said at his presser after the game that the Packers kept giving him the same look.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 05, 2019 at 06:46 pm

There's a serious lack of talent on the Dline and at ILB.
We have 1 guy at ILB who is NFL-worthy.
And we have 1 guy on the DL who is at least an average NFL DL, Kenny Clark. All the others are JAGs. I had hope for Montravius, but he's AWOL.
Why can't we get a pissed off nasty mean guy in there like a John Randle, BJ Raji, Gilbert Brown, etc.

Nobody's perfect, but this might be worth a flier> https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/28015663/dolphins-waive-dt-robert-nk...

And at ILB, Malcolm Smith was just released. I think he'd immediately be our #2 ILB.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 05, 2019 at 09:32 pm

If the dolphins don’t think he is any good then why should we?
Smith? Same story.
Ah, but who knows, maybe a workout?

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porupack's picture

November 05, 2019 at 09:48 pm

>>>>This was a good learning experience for us. We’ve gotta come ready to play. I don’t think we were locked in from the start, unfortunately<<<

The fact that GB lost doesn't bother me much. The fact that professional athletes groomed their whole lives, and paid, and many in second or third contracts, tell us.... wow, we just learned that we have to come ready to play.

hahahahahahha. hahaahhhahhhahhaa. We got a different kind of learning challenge to worry about than just absorbing playbook and scheme. SO if I'm coach, I'm going to have a chalkboard and write the learning objectives for this week: #1 Wake up on Sunday and come ready to play fellas. Uniforms: Check. Overnight bag and extra jockstrap: Check. Endzone celebration; Check. #2 By the coin toss, do your "locked-in" routines..

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 06, 2019 at 02:05 am

Kenny Clark is the most double-teamed player in the NFL, per Bill Barnwell/ESPN stats. Aaron Donald is second. Clark is still good, but it's not because Clark is better than Donald. Montravius Adams is on the ground too much: he just isn't good. Yes, he "flashes" (what an overused word) some juice now and then, but he is looking exactly like his scouting report predicted. Lowry has some good games but also gets pushed around too much.

The Packers play 2 DL, 2 OLBs, one ILB and often an undersized hybrid. Teams routinely see 5 or 6 in the box. Redmond doesn't help much against the run and doesn't make the pass defense sufficiently better. Few MLBs could handle the job description for Pettine's MILB: maybe Brian Urlacher (or Kuechly) could do it.

Greene was better and I hope that Campbell can replicate Greene's performance, or even improve on the results. Hard to say: Green played 124 snaps in 2018 and 2019 combined, so it may be that opposing offensive coordinators simply adjusted their attacks to take advantage of the structural problems of Pettine's scheme and it simply happened after Greene went down and was replaced by Redmond. Campbell played 112 snaps in 2018, and had a PFF grade of 85.

Another problem is that the Packers don't perform much better against the run even when they do use 3 DL. Lancaster is reasonably stout, but has zero juice. Christian McCaffrey must have been thinking that the Packer game is one that could propel him into serious MVP consideration. Preston Smith, Martinez and Redmond can't cover CMC and the run defense looks open to exploitation. TE Greg OIsen at age 34 still has a pulse (he is averaging 41.4 yds/game) and also probably is salivating given GB's problems with TEs.

So, I am placing hope in the notion that Campbell >> Redmond. With Kawaan Short on IR, everyone can run against Carolina. Carolina has a couple of very young WRs who are doing pretty well, but could have used the veteran presence of Chris Hogan, also on IR. Most of all, they have a 2nd year back-up QB, Kyle Allen out of Texas A&M before transferring to the Houston Cougars. He started the first three games for Houston but was benched in favor of someone I've never heard of. Allen was an UDFA signed by Carolina, then by NYJ, and then again by Carolina. It is up to Pettine to confuse Allen. So far, Allen has been okay at managing games and avoiding too many mistakes, despite being sacked on 9.5% of his attempts (AR and Kirk Cousins are both at 5.9%).

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baldski's picture

November 06, 2019 at 02:38 am

The Packers were beat mentally by the Chargers something Lombardi would not tolerate.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 06, 2019 at 03:59 am

Reading some of the comments this week since getting embarrassed by the Chargers is ALMOST as disturbing as the way the Packers played this past Sunday. Lots of Fans jumping on Gute, coaches, and several players.

Now I'm not saying there isn't some blame to go around to some of those taking the heat, BUT let's remember the F***ing MESS Gute inherited when he took over in January of 2018. THAT'S LESS THAN 2 YEARS AGO!

The Packers are 7-2 in 2019 and if ANYONE was asked if this team was 7-2 after week 9 would they take it, I'd say it would have been a resounding YES. Go back and look at some of the posts after the schedule release and not many had them at 7-2 after week 9. MANY fans had the Packers at 8-8 or 9-7 at best.

Do the Packers have some problems? Yes. Do they have "Holes" on this team? Hell Yes. BUT if you look at what Gute has done in LESS than 2 years I'd say he's done a pretty damn good job. There's a hell of a lot FEWER holes on this roster than there was on January 7th, 2018 when he was hired as the GM.

Gute has been given the task of trying to build a SB roster with a $134 million dollar QB, a somewhat limited amount of cap money to spend and not much more when hired. I'd say THIS team is a hell of a lot better than the one Thompson left him with. The Packers are 7-2 with a VERY REALISTIC shot at 12-4 or possibly 13-3. Not too shabby folks, not too shabby at all.

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