Calling all zebras

Packers coach Mike Sherman is doing his part to improve the local economy.

With yellow flags nearly equaling white snowflakes the last two games, Sherman spent part of his Monday thumbing through his Rolodex to hire a few area prep football officials to officiate this week's practices.

In the last two games, the Packers have seen 21 penalties marched off against them for 193 yards. And that's just the accepted penalties. A week after committing 12 penalties for 99 yards at Philadelphia, the Packers were busted nine times for 94 yards Sunday against Detroit.

"It's something we're going to clean up this week, and we'll get rid of it," Sherman said.

The flags have been raining particularly hard in the secondary. The chief offender there has been rookie first-round pick Ahmad Carroll. Carroll has been flagged seven times in the last two weeks, with those penalties coming in bunches. Carroll was penalized three times over the span of two possessions during the second quarter at Philadelphia. A defensive holding gave the Eagles a first down as they went up 21-0, and pass-interference and illegal-contact penalties helped put the Eagles up 28-0.

On Sunday, Carroll was whistled for three penalties in the first half of the opening period. He lined up offside on the opening possession. On the Lions' next trip, Carroll was hit with a 27-yard pass-interference call and defensive holding. That penalty was declined because cornerback Al Harris was called for pass interference, and that helped put the Lions on the board with a field goal.

The good news for Carroll is he's generally in position to make the play. The bad news is the barrage of penalties hasn't broken him of his habit of grabbing at the receiver he's covering instead of trusting his speed and technique.

"As I told him last week, ‘You're a good enough athlete that you're going to win with your feet. You're there,' Sherman said.

Carroll has to clean up his play because the opposition will continue targeting him rather than the rock-solid veteran Harris.

"He's overly physical for a young corner at times," Sherman said of Carroll. "To his credit as well, he has no fear. He's very physical with his hands. He gets a little too 'handsy' with his opponent downfield sometimes. But he is very physical, which is a part of him that I really like.

"So we don't have a poor athlete getting beat. It's just the discipline down the field he needs to have. You can get away with it in college. And we've talked to him about this since he got here, and I had a big talk with him last week about it. So I believe it's something that we'll be able to get fixed."

Harris has been guilty plenty of times as well, but much of that is a byproduct of his physical, in-your-face style. The pass-interference call against the Lions, however, probably should have gone against receiver Roy Williams considering Harris was closest to the ball.

"The hands to the face was a good call. It wasn't intentional, but it was a good call. But the second call, he gets me on pass interference, and I'm falling forward," said Harris, who quickly protected his pocketbook by adding "(the referee is) a professional, and I respect his call."

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