Yellow Flags Raise A Red Flag For Sherman


After reviewing the film from Sunday's 16-13 win over the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman was pleased with his team's performance, especially in a second half that saw them erase a 13-point deficit.

One thing that concerned Sherman - and most followers of the Green and Gold - was their continuing habit of picking up more than their share of penalty flags in the contest.

The Packers were penalized nine times against the Lions, accumulating 99 yards in the process. The occasion marked the fourth straight game the team has been flagged seven or more times, with the number of infractions reaching double-digits in two of those games.

Through 13 games, Green Bay has been penalized 95 times for 789 yards, a figure that is worse than 20 of the 31 other teams in the NFL. Consider that these same Packers incurred only 88 penalties in the entire 2003 season, third-fewest in the league, and you can understand why the issue is one of the major concerns of the coaching staff.

Sherman seemed particularly bothered by some of the penalties against his defensive backs in pass coverage.

"We have not been a highly been a highly-penalized team in the past, and we certainly are one (now) - particularly in this stretch right now as of late," Sherman said. "The penalties (Sunday), we had two on offense - we had a false start by Ahman Green and we had the holding penalty that was called on the screen. And defensively, a couple times we were offside, we had hands to the face, which we've had now the last couple weeks which is not something that's a hard call to make - it's easy to see - plus the fact that it's easy to prevent in my mind.

"Then the hands down the field. We play a lot of man coverage and obviously you're a little more susceptible in man than zone because you're on an island one-on-one with an offender. But there was no need for them because we had them covered - we just didn't have to reach out and make the contact that we made. Two of the penalties I have questions in regard to defensive penalties, but it's something that we're going to clean up this week and we'll get rid of it."

The most noticeable penalty from Sunday's game was one that Sherman wasn't sure should have been thrown. The Packers executed a screen pass nearly flawlessly in the third quarter and Green used his blocking to go 79 yards for an apparent touchdown.

However, one of the six officials felt that rookie center Scott Wells was guilty of holding during his block, negating the touchdown. Luckily for the Packers, they were able to overcome the setback and drove nearly 90 yards down the field for a touchdown, coming on a pass from Brett Favre to Donald Driver on a 23-yard pass.

"From the angle I had on the field and from the numerous times that I watched it on tape, I didn't feel like it was a penalty," Sherman said Monday when asked about the call against Wells. "I tried to be as objective as you possibly can be - obviously, I'm a little more objective today because we were able to overcome that and score a touchdown."

Many of the other flags in the game did raise the ire of the coach, though, and he said there will be steps taken this week to minimize the laundry on the ground when the Packers take the field again next Sunday. One such step will be a few extra participants when the team returns to the practice field Wednesday.

"The refs will be here on Wednesday and we have a couple other things in store to make sure that we address it," said Sherman.

Sherman's thoughts were immediately on cutting down the number of penalties, even in the post-game locker room Sunday.

Before informing the team that they would be rewarded with an off-day on Monday, the coach added one condition - he made them promise there would be no penalties next week.

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