Secondary sliced and diced

Nearly a day after the Packers' secondary got treated like branches in a chipper during a 47-17 loss at Philadelphia, the shock and awe from the performance persisted.

"What happened yesterday came as a total, total surprise to me," defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer said. "It was just one of those days that you had mental errors, you had missed tackles, had penalties."

The mental errors came primarily in the Packers' zone defense, which was riddled time and again by Terrell Owens and the Eagles' receivers. The missed tackles turned short gains into big gains and big gains into touchdowns. The penalties came in waves, especially against rookie starter Ahmad Carroll and the aggressive Al Harris.

Despite the second consecutive game for the history books — a week after allowing a franchise-record 448 yards to the Rams' Marc Bulger, the Eagles' Donovan McNabb upped the ante to the tune of 464 yards despite sitting out the final minutes of the game — Schottenheimer said there's nothing wrong that can't be fixed. Quickly.

"We had a bad day yesterday. Those things will get fixed and they'll get fixed in a hurry," he said.

Harris reiterated his displeasure of the defensive game plan, which called for a large dose of zone and less of the man-to-man coverage in which he has excelled all season. Harris relished a matchup with Eagles superstar Owens but didn't get it as often as he would have liked. Owens finished with eight catches for 161 yards, but his one big play, a 45-yard touchdown, came against the zone.

"Everybody in this league knows what we're good at. We're a man team," Harris said. "That's what we are. I think we do better in man. That's all I know."

Packers coach Mike Sherman, meanwhile, reiterated his statement that the defensive backs must be able to play zone and man with equal success.

"You have to be able to play both. I don't care, at this level, the college level, the high school level. You have to be able to line up in a two-deep zone and be able to defend the pass," Sherman said.

Rookie Ahmad Carroll struggled mightily, regressing back to some of his preseason mistakes. Joey Thomas again looked lost on occasion. Sherman, however, said the veterans were as much as fault as the rookies. Starting safety Mark Roman, in particular, had a brutal day trying to cover running back Brian Westbrook.

"I think as a collective group we have to improve back there," Sherman said. "Recognition and reaction time to what they see certainly isn't what it needs to be. I wouldn't just put it on the young guys, although they are guilty as charged. But it's a collective effort and we have to improve back there."

Making matters worse, starting safety Darren Sharper's knee just isn't getting any better. He tore the posterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee against Dallas back in October, and while he's started the last couple games, it's clear the injury has robbed Sharper of his game-breaking abilities. He aggravated that injury lifting weights on Thursday.

"I'm seeing stuff out there, but I can't get to it," said Sharper. "What I usually do is go out and make something happen, but it's a little tough right now. I'd love to be able to try and change things and that's what we need right now, someone to make plays, but it's real hard for me to do that now.

"I can still help the defense, though, by helping guys prepare and just playing smart out there and doing my job."

Sharper agreed with Sherman in that the success of the defense ultimately hinges on the play of the players, not the scheme of the coaches.

"We have to go out there and play what's called and execute it properly," Sharper said. "When you're a professional, you're getting paid to go out there and play and you have to know what your responsibility is. And we're not doing that as a unit."

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