As he has done every time the Packers have hit a bump in the road this season, Head Coach Matt LaFleur first pointed the finger at himself this week. That didn’t exonerate anyone else. It set an example to follow.
“I think it allows everybody else to kind of see where the critique should start with, for ourselves,” Rodgers said. “It should start with our own performance and our own preparation and execution. If the head coach is doing it and the leaders on the squad are doing it, then everybody should be doing it as well.”
Rodgers reiterated how much he likes this locker room. No one is playing the blame game nor dividing the team. With the Packers having missed the playoffs the last two years, the locker room is full of young players who haven’t been part of an NFL playoff push before, but Rodgers isn’t concerned, saying “ignorance is bliss.”
In other words, the veterans who understand the stakes better will put plenty of pressure on themselves, so the young and carefree provide the counterbalance the locker room needs.
Last but not least, for all the hand-wringing amongst fans and pundits about the debacle against the 49ers and what it means or shows, the players are looking at it as no more than one game. Some might call it denial, others would contend it’s healthy.
Yes, the loss could be damaging to playoff seeding and circumstances down the road, but the Packers weren’t going to beat anybody the way they played last week, so there’s no reason to dwell on who the opponent was.
“I mean, we didn’t just lose seven games in a row, so we can stop acting like it’s the end of the world,” said Adams, admonishing the media for all the doom-and-gloom questions. “Let’s stop being dramatic.”
Added veteran cornerback Tramon Williams: “We understood it was a game against a top-quality opponent, but that’s in the bank now. We lost a game, we learned from it, we got to work.”
An opportunity was lost, and no one is happy about it. But moving on is what this league is all about.
The Packers got their feet wet in September, found a bit of a rhythm in October, and took a step back in November with two dud performances.
As the calendar turns to December, the Packers must turn the page, too.