Sabotage a Stranger to Packers Locker Room

After intentionally lining up in the wrong spot in Detroit's loss to Green Bay last month, receiver Titus Young is no longer part of the Lions' equation. His childish antics wouldn't fly in Green Bay's carefully crafted locker room.

The Green Bay Packers got a little help from an unexpected source when they held off the Detroit Lions last month.

Detroit receiver Titus Young, a second-round pick last year, intentionally lined up in the wrong spot on several occasions and was benched for the final drive of the game. Young was sent home when the Lions showed up for work the following Monday for the Thanksgiving game against Houston. He was inactive against the Texans and again last week against Indianapolis. Young was placed on injured on Wednesday with an ongoing knee problem that will need surgery.

"Unless he doesn't show up for it," Lions coach Jim Schwartz joked to his beat writers on Wednesday.

"There's issues on every, single team," Schwartz said in his conference call with Packers beat reporters on Wednesday. "It was disappointing, because there's no greater story in the NFL than a second chance or redemption and those kind of things but, in this case, that opportunity wasn't taken advantage of."

There might be issues on "every, single team," but Young's antics went to the extreme.

Packer Report surveyed several members of the team and a couple of the coaches. Nobody had experienced a case of intentional sabotage by an unhappy player.

"Not on purpose. No, never happened," said running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, whose resume includes being a four-year starting quarterback in college, a starting quarterback in the NFL, two stints as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL and a one-year run as offensive coordinator for Buffalo.

"Intentionally? Not that I recall," said offensive coordinator Tom Clements, whose resume includes winning a national championship at quarterback for Notre Dame, four stints as a quarterbacks coach in the NFL and now his second time as an NFL offensive coordinator.

"Why?" receiver Donald Driver asked.

Because Young was upset with his role. Young caught 33 passes this season, a distant second on the team behind Calvin Johnson's 86.

"I've never heard of someone doing that just because he's mad," Driver said.

Having players upset with their roles is nothing new, whether it's a high school team or the NFL. The Packers are no exception, though the veteran leadership wouldn't let individual wishes get in the way of team goals.

"It wouldn't go over well at all," Driver said. "We'll call a timeout and we'll fix it, one way or another. It wouldn't happen in a game. Now, we have lined it up wrong but not intentionally, but if a guy does that and you know that he's trying to hurt the team, then you have to fix it."

Whether it was high school, Butte College, Cal or Green Bay, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he wasn't sure if a receiver had intentionally lined up in the wrong spot because he wasn't getting enough passes thrown his way.

Rodgers, knowing there's not enough passes to make everyone happy in every game, takes a proactive approach.

"The thing that we like to do is we like to have an open-door policy," he said. "For me, personally, when I'm talking to those receivers, I like to remind them, ‘Hey, I'm right here. My locker's right here.' I enjoy having those conversations. Mike (McCarthy) has always said ‘conflict is good.' When there's been some times – James (Jones), I remember last year he was upset that he wasn't getting more opportunities at times, Jermichael (Finley) has said some things at times. The key for us is we like to keep things within our walls and talk things out. We've done a good job of that, especially during the five years I've been able to start. Just talking through things and making sure that if there's an issue, let's nip it before it becomes an on-the-field issue and you guys see it and it becomes bigger than it has to be."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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