Packers cornerback Al Harris skipped the offseason workouts to send a message to the front office that he wants a new contract. Packers safety Marquand Manuel missed most of training camp with a calf injury.
On Sunday against the Chicago Bears, a meltdown by Harris or Manuel allowed the Bears to score an easy touchdown and take control early.
Chicago started the game by calling three running plays and two passes. The runs to standout halfback Thomas Jones netted just 6 yards, but they had the desired effect.
On second-and-8 from Green Bay's 49, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman faked a handoff to Jones. Harris lined up across from Bears receiver Bernard Berrian but let Berrian run past him, apparently thinking he'd have safety help. That was supposed to come from Manuel, but he was peeking into the backfield and bit on the play fake. That allowed Berrian to run past him, and Grossman threw a perfect pass for the touchdown.
In the locker room after the game, Harris took the blame, though the replay seemed to pinpoint Manuel as the guilty party. Either way, the Bears led 7-0.
A 7-0 deficit is an especially tough deficit to overcome if you're a young Packers offense facing a stalwart Bears defense, but Green Bay didn't do itself any favors with its short-yardage ineptitude.
On a third-and-1 on the Packers' first series, Ahman Green didn't have a chance. By the time fullback Vonta Leach delivered his lead block, six Bears defenders were on the Packers' side of the line of scrimmage.
On the next series, the Packers faced third-and-3. This time, Brett Favre had his foot stepped on by left guard Jason Spitz. Favre fell on his keester, and wound up being touched down for a sack. The Bears would tack on a field goal to make it 10-0.
On the next series, the Packers faced another third-and-1. The play appeared to be well blocked, but when Leach delivered the lead block, he fell sideways, and it looked like Green tripped over Leach's leg and fell just inches from the first down. On fourth-and-1, center Scott Wells had two Bears defenders lined up over him. He blew out the player to his left, Ian Scott, and if Favre had stayed on his feet and followed Wells' block, he would have easily snuck for the first down. Instead, it looked like his feet were stuck in mud, and he just sort of fell forward into a heap of players. He didn't gain even half an inch, and the Bears capitalized with a field goal that made it 13-0.
Noah Herron fumbled away the kickoff and the Bears added another field goal. Game over.
Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.