GREEN BAY – There’s another game to play in four days. That’s all that matters now.
Sunday’s 30-16 loss to Dallas at Lambeau Field must collect mothballs, mentally speaking, in a little over 12 hours from when it ended.
It’s really the only way for the Packers to proceed here, and they know it.
“Right now it stings,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Home losses are tough. The only silver lining here is we play again in four days. We can wash this taste out of our mouth very quickly.”
The effort to do so will begin immediately. In a short week, time spent getting frustrated over what happened against the Cowboys is time wasted getting ready for the Bears.
“We have to flip this thing around quickly,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “When you play a Thursday night game after a Sunday game, you have to move on the next day. We’ll work exclusively on Chicago tomorrow.”
McCarthy continued to lament the passing game not being “clean,” and he stressed the importance of learning from a loss like Sunday’s.
The Packers aren’t playing their best. That’s obvious, but equally obvious is they aren’t at their best health-wise, and that’s going to be even tougher to change by Thursday.
Running back Eddie Lacy needs to recover quickly from a 17-carry outing on a bad ankle, and it’s TBA on right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back).
McCarthy already announced that cornerback Quinten Rollins (groin) would be out again this week, keeping the secondary thin with Sam Shields (concussion) and Damarious Randall (re-injured groin) presumably longshots at best. LaDarius Gunter’s bounce-back ability may be most important of anyone’s.
It could be overstating it to call Thursday night a potential turning point, but maybe it becomes one. A 4-2 record, followed by a short break to rest and heal, would look a lot better heading into four road games over the next five weeks. A 3-3 mark leaves far less margin for error going forward.
The long-term implications are for the outsiders to ponder. Inside, Rodgers doesn’t believe there’s any loss of confidence within the locker room.
“I really don’t. I think it’s going to highlight the kind of team we have,” he said. “I think adversity highlights the pride of your team and the ability to bounce back hopefully from things like this, or not. Hopefully it’s a positive reaction.”
The Lambeau crowd’s reaction was to boo at times, but Rodgers said it’s part of the deal.
His two fumbles (one lost) and interception weren’t siting well with him after the game, as expected, and he also mentioned off-target throws to Richard Rodgers and Randall Cobb that could have changed things.
Of his quarterback, McCarthy said “this was definitely not his best day.” Nothing will be glossed over, but Rodgers has to turn the page quickly, too.
“We have to do a better job of hitting the ones we’re used to hitting,” he said.
“We’re hard on ourselves, and I’m as hard as anybody on myself, so I’m going to get it fixed.”
Some players spoke afterward of the quick turnaround being a blessing in disguise. It’s up to them to make that possibility the truth.
Spofford: Turnovers bother McCarthy most in loss to Cowboys
Hodkiewicz: Packers remain confident in their defense despite loss
Hodkiewicz: Eddie Lacy grits through ankle injury