Paying the price for penalties

Sherman resorting to high school-like drills to get point across

Coach Mike Sherman has gone old-school during practice this week in his latest attempt to crack down on his team's troublesome propensity for getting into trouble on the field.

Players who are penalized by a local crew of three officials or commit a turnover are promptly subjected to running a good distance. Generally, from one end of the expansive outdoor field to the fence on the other end and/or doing some situps.

"That's a long field - that's a 200-yard field. Nobody wants to be running that," running back Tony Fisher asserted Thursday following a practice that he said included quite a number of winded participants.

"We had a few too many penalties today, so there was a lot of running. We have a couple of more days to get it out of our system."

On the heels of committing 36 penalties totaling 274 yards in four preseason games, the transgressions were alarmingly unprecedented in a season-opening loss at Detroit on Sunday.

The mischievous Packers were cited 18 times for breaking the rules, of which 14 were enforced for 100 yards. It's the greatest number of penalties for one game with Sherman as coach since 2000 and the team's highest in nearly 18 years.

"What we did last week was unacceptable, and we know that," right tackle Mark Tauscher said. Sherman has prided himself on coaching teams that have been highly disciplined. In his first five years, the Packers averaged only six penalties for 49 yards per game.

One game into this season, they rank second in the league behind the notorious lawbreakers from Oakland, who were penalized 16 times for 149 yards.

Eight of the Packers' penalties were charged to the offense, with four negating gains of 75 yards. Cornerback Ahmad Carroll, a chief offender as a rookie last season, committed four infractions on defense and lost his starting job this week to Joey Thomas.

Since his constant directives in meetings have seemingly fallen on deaf ears, Sherman resorted to the high school-like punitive measure of having players run in practice to pay for their inexcusable mistakes.

"There's only so much a coaching staff can do," Tauscher said. "It's up to the players to start executing better and more crisply. We have to start taking some ownership. The coaches coach, and we play. The coaches aren't the ones out there getting penalties. They're putting us in the best position to make plays, and if we don't start doing it, we're going to continue to struggle."

Packer Report Top Stories