Penalty-prone Packers marching backward

When it comes to curing their penalty problems, the Packers are going backward.

In a hurry.

After having nearly 200 yards of yardage walked off against them in the last two weeks, the Packers were assessed with 12 penalties for 101 yards in Sunday's 28-25 upset loss to visiting Jacksonville.

Usually one of the least-penalized teams in the league under coach Mike Sherman, the reason behind the rash of penalties — and, more importantly, why they are becoming more instead of less frequent — is a mystery to Sherman.

"I'm not sure," said Sherman. "We had a lot of mistakes tonight. We have to get them cleaned up."

As has been the case in recent weeks, the secondary picked up more than its share of the infractions. Sherman attributed that on inexperience, with rookie Ahmad Carroll starting and rookie Joey Thomas playing in the nickel package. Veteran starter Al Harris also has been flagged numerous times this season, though that's understandable given his style and the fact he's been stuck to the opposing teams' best receiver all season.

"They have been talked to and scolded during the course of the week on what we can't do, so that was frustrating and disappointing," Sherman said.

Carroll, in fact, practiced with boxing gloves during the week in hopes of eliminating his tendency toward grabbing at his man. He was hit with just one of the penalties Sunday, though the Jaguars didn't test him often as they stuck to the running attack for most of the afternoon.

Afterward, Carroll and Harris leveled some thinly veiled criticism at the officials and the league.

"If you are in man-to-man, (if) you are in bump-and-run coverage, just take the bump out of it and play run," Carroll said. "Because you can't touch the receiver. The five-yard rule is not in affect. (But) whatever the refs call, I agree with."

Harris, who was flagged for holding and pass interference, echoed those sentiments.

"You make a good play and they take it away from you," Harris said. "They make a good play on a foul and they give it to them. It's almost to the point of ‘What is it?' Is it us? Is it our team? Is it something personal?'"

It wasn't just the secondary, however.

On a Packers drive spanning the first and second quarters, guard Marco Rivera was called for holding, turning a second-and-8 at the Jaguars' 24-yard line into a second-and-18 from the 34. The Packers had to settle for a field goal to cut an early deficit to 7-3.

On one play in the second quarter, linebacker Hannibal Navies was flagged for pass interference on a pass to tight end Kyle Brady and defensive end Aaron Kampman was busted for roughing the passer. Kampman's penalty — he was called offsides earlier in the drive to turn a third-and-6 into a second-and-5 — was declined because Navies' infraction gave the Jaguars 28 yards.

Later in the drive, Harris was called for defensive holding on a third-and-4 play. On the next play, quarterback Byron Leftwich completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith.

The penalties are frustrating Harris as they nullify his strength: aggressive play.

"We're all held accountable for what we do," Harris said. "Not to take anything away from the Jacksonville quarterback and receivers, but it gets to the point when you are just frustrated. You can touch the receiver within five yards, but then when you do it's a foul."

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