Packers feeling slighted by bad calls

The Packers are feeling the sting of what they view as bad and critical calls by the officials, and they are taking a sarcastic tone with the NFL's apologies and explanations.

  • While a lot of attention is being paid this week to the stricter sanctions being levied by the NFL for hard hits, which isn't sitting well with many players, those in the Packers' locker room aren't happy for a different reason.

    A strong sentiment among Green Bay players is they are the victims of bad calls by the officials in games this season.

    The latest questionable instance came in Sunday's overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins. Referee Ed Hochuli's crew waited a few minutes through a TV timeout before calling a penalty on backup linebacker Robert Francois for illegal formation on a Dolphins punt. That gave Miami a first down and led to a fourth-quarter touchdown after the Packers' offense had taken to the field following the punt.

    The Packers were incensed by the call. Video from the game shows Francois was aligned correctly a yard off the football across from the long snapper.

    Green Bay's only recourse, which it has been accustomed to doing in recent weeks for other debatable penalties, is to send a grievance letter to the league office and await a response.

    "The only thing we can look forward to is getting an apology for it, if it was wrong. That'll make us feel better," defensive end Cullen Jenkins said with a sarcastic tone about the Francois penalty.

    What is made of the apologies the Packers receive from the league for calls that shouldn't have been made?

    "I don't know, but we should start framing them and hanging 'em up," Jenkins said. "Instead of putting up division championship banners and things like that, we should just put up apology letters."

  • The trade of Randy Moss back to the Vikings two weeks ago from the New England Patriots means the All-Pro receiver will be returning to Lambeau Field for the first time since his infamous in-game stunt.

    Moss fake mooned the crowd while standing at the back of the south end zone after he scored his second touchdown in the Vikings' 31-17 upset of the Packers in an NFC wild-card playoff game Jan. 9, 2005.

    Minnesota traded Moss to the Oakland Raiders that offseason.

    A trade to the Patriots in 2007 kept Moss from returning to Lambeau in a Raiders uniform that season.

    Only five current Packers were with the team when Moss last played in Green Bay: receiver Donald Driver, offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, center Scott Wells and Jenkins.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 18 — Sacks by the Minnesota Vikings of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the teams' last three games, all Vikings victories. Rodgers was sacked 14 times in Minnesota's two-game sweep last season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to find a way to pull out the close games. Each player has to put it upon himself to go out there in the pressure situations and rise up and play well. We're just not doing it." — Defensive end Cullen Jenkins, on the Packers' 1-11 record in games decided by four points or less since 2008.


  • Head coach Mike McCarthy isn't tipping his hand on whether the onetime starting tandem of cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby could be in uniform for Sunday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Harris and Bigby, along with rookie running back James Starks, practiced Wednesday for the first time since they were placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of the season. All three players were required to sit out the first six weeks.

    The Packers have a three-week window in which they can put the PUP players on the 53-man roster, release them or keep them on PUP for the rest of the season.

    The team isn't rushing Starks back onto the field. The sixth-round draft pick out of Buffalo hasn't played a game in more than 21 months, having missed his senior season in 2009 because of shoulder surgery. Starks missed the bulk of the Packers' offseason workouts and all of training camp because of a hamstring injury.

    Veterans Harris and Bigby are much further along in their recoveries from knee and ankle surgeries, respectively. Harris, in particular, can't be ruled out from playing right away Sunday since he's nearly 11 months removed from having his left knee reconstructed.

    "They're refreshed. They're energized," McCarthy said of Harris and Bigby. "We're going to work 'em through, and we'll see where we are day by day and by the end of the week. Will it be this week, will it be next week? Time will answer that question."

  • OLB Clay Matthews returned to practice Wednesday, albeit on a limited basis, after missing the last game because of an aggravated hamstring strain. Matthews, the league leader with 8.5 sacks, expects to play Sunday.

  • WR Donald Driver, who has a team-high 28 catches for 307 yards and three touchdowns, is nursing a quadriceps injury he aggravated in the last game and didn't practice Wednesday. Head coach Mike McCarthy said Driver's condition is a source of concern. It would be a surprise, though, if Driver isn't available for Sunday's big matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. He has missed only one game for an injury reason the last nine years.

  • DE Mike Neal will miss a second straight game because of a shoulder injury he aggravated in practice last week. The rookie played effectively as a fill-in for an injured Ryan Pickett in the Oct. 10 loss at the Washington Redskins. Pickett, who missed the last game, has a chance to play this weekend after returning to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

  • ILB Brandon Chillar is making progress this week in an attempt to return to game action after missing the last three outings because of a shoulder sprain. Chillar had been playing a lot in nickel situations before the injury.

  • WR Greg Jennings set a team record in Sunday's overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins. The fifth-year pro's career-long 86-yard touchdown catch was his fourth reception of at least 80 yards in regular-season games, eclipsing the all-time record of three by Driver.

  • DT Jay Ross was signed to the practice squad Wednesday, taking the spot of RB James Johnson, who was released. The 6-3, 302-pound Ross originally signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie out of East Carolina this year.

  • Viking Update Top Stories