GREEN BAY, Wis. — Geronimo Allison provided answers for just about every question that came up Thursday night.
“It’s execution all across the board,” he said.
He described how he took a hard hit after a 31-yard catch and two plays later came back to score a 19-yard touchdown.
“You took the lick, so be it,” Allison said. “Get up, move on to the next one.”
But here’s one thing Allison — and everyone else in the Packers’ locker room — can’t answer: How will coach Matt LaFleur react in the days that follow a loss?
They’re about to find out on Friday and in the days leading up to next week’s key game at the Dallas Cowboys. LaFleur staved it off for nearly a month, winning his first three games as an NFL head coach. But perhaps a coach’s work doesn’t really begin until he loses for the first time.
And in that regard, Allison had no clue what to expect after Thursday’s 34-27 loss to the Eagles at Lambeau Field.
“No,” he said. “It’s new.”
But Allison believes that works both ways.
“I think it’s new for him, too, to see how the guys are going to respond,” said Allison, who caught three passes for 52 yards in the loss. “We’ll look at verbal cues and non-verbal cues. We’ll be looking at him to see how Coach responds, but vice versa he’ll be looking at us to see how his guys respond.”
LaFleur’s immediate messages were simple, according to Allison and other players.
“Learn from it and see how we can move forward,” Allison said.
“Stick together,” veteran cornerback Tramon Williams said.
Thursday’s loss might have exposed the Packers’ defense as overrated after it beat middling quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins and Joe Flacco to start the season. The Packers sacked those three quarterbacks a combined 12 times. They never sacked Philadelphia’s quick-throwing Carson Wentz.
The cracks in the run defense that Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook (who had a 75-yard touchdown run) and Denver’s Phillip Lindsay (two rushing TDs) exposed were busted open by the Eagles and their 176 rushing yards and two scoring runs.
“This wasn’t us,” Packers outside linebacker Preston Smith said. “We didn’t show you all who this defense really is tonight.”
While the defensive fixes will have to come from coordinator Mike Pettine, it will be LaFleur who must set the tone after a loss.
As Williams said, that was bound to happen “eventually.”
And now that it has, what’s next?
“I still have a really good vibe,” Williams said. “The team, just the vibe of the team, everybody’s sticking together at this point. I don’t feel any tension at all, no tension at all is going on in this locker room, and that’s a great thing. Obviously, it’s our first sign of adversity and like you said, this up-and-coming week it’s going to be curious how we respond, but I’m not even really worried about it. I know how we’re going to respond.”
Williams went on to explain how he knows.
“I know it already,” he said. “It typically shows its face really fast. I would have already known. I would have saw it on the sideline, I guarantee you that. But I didn’t see anything on the sideline, didn’t see any finger-pointing. Everybody remained composed throughout the game.”
The Packers are still in a favorable position at 3-1 through the first quarter of the season, but it’s how they — and their coach — react now that may determine what happens the rest of the way.
“I think we’re a building football team,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I think we’re a good football team. To be a great football team, you have to win these kind of games when you’re playing really good opponents.”