Against Minnesota at Lambeau Field in Week 7, the Green Bay Packers benefitted from the instant replay system, which didn't give Vikings coach Brad Childress and his staff a clear view of Andrew Quarless' dropped touchdown pass. By the time NBC showed the definitive replay, Mason Crosby has already banged through the extra point.
On Sunday at Atlanta, the Packers were on the other side of things.
By the time Fox had shown the definitive replay of Tony Gonzalez's dropped fourth-down catch, the Falcons had run a play. That was a key play, with Atlanta marching to the game's first touchdown.
"Anytime you have a play you're looking to challenge, really it's based on information," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. "There was really no information that would have led me to challenge that play."
McCarthy said the decision on whether to challenge a play comes down to "significant information" vs. "blind information." Because none of the coaches had access to a good replay until it was too late, McCarthy was stuck with going with what he saw live on the field – McCarthy said it looked like Gonzalez had both hands under the ball -- plus referee Pete Morelli's track record of overturning few calls. That the Falcons didn't rush to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball also played a role in McCarthy's decision
Chalk it up to one of the perks of playing at home. In the aforementioned Minnesota game, the Packers' scoreboard operator didn't show a reply that would have helped Childress. And the same thing happened at Atlanta, with the Falcons' scoreboard operator now showing a replay. That puts it in the hands of the networks to show a definitive replay before the ball can be snapped. But in Atlanta, there was such a long delay between the live action and the TV feed reaching the press box that the Packers had almost no chance to challenge other that McCarthy taking a wing-and-a-prayer challenge of a call that he didn't thing was blown in the first place.
"I think the camera angles are phenomenal, particularly when you play in a national TV game where there are more cameras available," McCarthy said when asked about the system. "Every stadium is different, particularly on the road. It's part of our game. I think it does fall into the category of home-field advantage sometimes. Yeah, I'm pleased with it."
Starks might get chance
With No. 2 halfback Dimitri Nance suffering a concussion against the Falcons, rookie sixth-round pick James Starks has a chance to make his NFL debut on Sunday against San Francisco.
Starks has been practicing for the last six weeks after spending the first six weeks on the physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury that cost him all of training camp and most of the offseason work.
"At some point, you instill certain things in your kids growing up, just like your parents did with you," running backs coach Edgar Bennett said. "At some point, they put us in certain situations and hoped that they taught us well. It's similar to that. Obviously at some point, he's going to hit the field running. We try to do the best we can to prepare him for each and every situation that might come up. I think he's a very instinctive young man. He's physical, he's big, he's got size, he's got speed. We want to make sure he's well-prepared, and he will be when his time comes up."
McCarthy said Brandon Chillar (shoulder) and Spencer Havner (hamstring) will be out for Sunday. Both aggravated old injuries and both were on the sideline on the Falcons' game-turning kickoff in the final minute. Plus, Pat Lee (ankle) probably will be out. Receiver Greg Jennings (foot strain) might miss practice time.
Moss to Miami?
Assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss has interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Rams and Raiders the last couple of years. This year, his alma mater, Miami, is looking for a new coach after firing Randy Shannon on Saturday.
"From one aspect, my heart goes out to Randy," Moss said. "I played with him; I know what type of guy he is. I know what he wants, I know what he's all about, and it's unfortunate that he got let go. So I really feel bad for him. With that said, I'm not going to comment on whether I'd like (the job) or not. I have not been contacted. I will not pursue anything. They will have to contact me. Miami, I love. It's so electric to me, as far as the city, the vibe, the energy. It's where I started, it's where I learned everything about football. Everything I learned, I learned at the University of Miami. It is a very, very, very special place to me."
-- We broke down the playoff situation on Sunday. Not that Daryn Colledge cares: "We're not even talking about playoffs, man. We're talking about the San Francisco 49ers. We need that eighth win. We can't start talking about the playoffs yet."
-- Speaking of the 49ers, the Packers get a little break with San Francisco playing Arizona on Monday night. That means a short week to make their trek to Green Bay.
-- Also speaking of the 49ers, this is the game in which the Packers will wear their throwback uniforms. The blue-and-gold uniforms were worn when the Packers won their first NFL title in 1929.
-- McCarthy, on the Falcons' key kickoff return: "They went with a middle return. Really didn't get any penetration from the backside. The coverage element, as far as not getting the penetration, was the first breakdown. It was obviously a poor tackling technique with the high tackle. There they are, they're out there on the 50-yard line."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.