Packers notes

Gado goes from starter to bench

No sooner had he become the feel-good story of the season a week earlier than undrafted rookie running back Samkon Gado got on the bad side of head coach Mike Sherman.

Gado fumbled the football on the second play of the second half of the 20-17 loss to Minnesota on Monday. Although fullback Vonta Leach recovered the ball, Sherman kept Gado on the sideline for all but two plays the rest of the game.

Gado had two fumbles in the Nov. 13 win at Atlanta, and both of those were recovered by teammates. Sherman stuck with the former practice-squad player in his first pro start, and Gado made amends by rushing for 103 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

Sherman said his reasoning for pulling Gado from Monday's game didn't solely stem from his latest mishap.

Third-down specialist Tony Fisher took over as the featured back as the Packers became more reliant on their passing attack because of an abysmal performance from the running game. They finished with a season-low 21 yards in 14 carries -- Gado managed but 7 yards in 10 carries.

"Certainly, the fumble didn't help much," Sherman said. "I would have been more willing to get him back in there. But, we were in a different type of game. We were not having any success with anybody running the football. Fisher was the backup choice in regard to (pass) protection and route running and things of that nature.

"It's not a knock against Gado. There just weren't a whole lot of opportunities in there for rushing. But, certainly, he has to hold on to the football."

Fisher returned to action after missing the previous two games because of a broken rib. He picked up 14 yards in four carries.

Man? zone? Oh, no!
Miscommunication in the secondary contributed to the Vikings' getting a big pass completion in the final minute of the fourth quarter that led to Paul Edinger's game-winning, 27-yard field goal.

Second-year cornerback Jason Horton, filling in for an injured Mike Hawkins as the nickel back, allowed Koren Robinson to run free behind him and haul in a 35-yard throw from Brad Johnson.

Sherman said Horton was supposed to be in single-man coverage on the play. Horton, however, claimed he heard a call in the huddle for a Cover 2 alignment and figured he would get over-the-top help from safety Nick Collins.

"If it's my fault, I'll take the blame," Horton said. "I wasn't playing man-to-man. I thought we were in zone, the same coverage as we were in the play before. If I was playing man, I would have been on him."


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