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Cory's Corner: Packers Must Clean It Up

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Cory's Corner: Packers Must Clean It Up

Many people have wondered why the Packers have gotten off to a mediocre start after six games. 

A manageable early schedule should’ve afforded the Packers a 5-1 record, but instead Green Bay is treading water in the very tight NFC at 3-2-1.

It’s not for a lack of talent because we have all seen the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. The defense isn’t as talented but judging from Kevin King’s interception vs. San Francisco, it has players that can step up in big spots.

The reason the Packers are in a quagmire is because they aren’t disciplined. They have the second-most penalties in the league. The only team in front of them is Pittsburgh and that’s no surprise given how much of a soap opera the Steelers locker room has become.

But it’s not just the run-of-the-mill holding or false start. It’s the face mask, taunting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that really hurt teams. Those fouls are discipline issues and must be stopped.

A key example is cornerback Tony Brown. Undrafted free agents are usually pretty expendable, so after he got a taunting penalty at Detroit two weeks ago, I thought the Packers would surely let him go. Obviously, coach Mike McCarthy thought otherwise and Brown doubled down from his performance at Ford Field with another 15-yard penalty, this time being flagged for unnecessary roughness vs. San Francisco. I thought the Packers would definitely let Brown go after that one, but McCarthy held firm and said, “Tony will definitely learn from that one.”

At this point, McCarthy needs to send a message to the rest of his team that they need to clean it up. Cutting Brown would’ve made the rest of the locker room take notice and it would’ve sent a clear message that McCarthy means business this year.

After taking in Rodgers’ outburst and seeing the Packers routinely play undisciplined and sloppy football, that’s a stain on McCarthy’s coaching. By and large, this is a young football team that is still learning on the job. He may not like being the disciplinarian, but sometimes that’s the only medicine.

This team has the tools to win the NFC North and advance to the NFC Championship Game. But those things will only happen if the Packers play tighter and start holding each other accountable.

There’s a reason the Patriots are dead last in penalties and have zero face mask fouls. It’s because Bill Belichick knows that those little yellow flags cost teams yards, first downs and ultimately games. There’s no reason to throw games away just because you cannot be smart enough not to taunt someone.

Those are things that must be taught and if a player doesn’t receive it, that player cannot remain on the team because he will ultimately be an example for poor behavior.

McCarthy has a choice: Continue the status quo or start teaching accountability.


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.'s picture

remember bostick? undisciplined...same old story with mccarthy

4thand1's picture

You get a thumbs down for mentioning that name.

Coldworld's picture

Perhaps the reason MM is not throwing Brown under the bus is that he has actually looked like he has potential. For me he looks like he could be a find.

He plays hard, perhaps a little too hard, but he is not the first player trying to make it to go a little over the line. If the penalty in Detroit was naive in a pro context, it was also borderline if not by rule by what is often not called. The penalty last week was a poor call. Contact began in bounds. For me that’s how a player should play: the ball isn’t dead till it is dead.

To sacrifice possible potential based upon these two calls would be ridiculous. That would be bad management indeed.

Just because a player is a UDFA does not make them expendable—Shields, Williams, Allison are obvious reminders of that fact (though Brown has yet to prove he is worthy of such comparatives). We need to look a bit deeper before we write off careers because of rookie over enthusiasm.

Personally I think Brown May prove to be a keeper and his attitude, tempered by experience, a positive. We all complain about players we think play soft. He appears to do the opposite.

4thand1's picture

Totally agree Coldworld.

Turophile's picture

I was always fairly contemptuous of the Bill Parcells mindgames where he summarily cut a player (who was unlikely to make the cut anyway) for any minor reason, to scare the others.

If you can't make a mistake, you can never learn from it. You tolerate it as long as the player doesn't keep on doing it. Keeping on doing the same thing wrong........that is what should get a player cut.

I'll go with Coldworld's take over Cory's on this, not because I like sloppiness, but because young players need time to figure things out at this level. Coaches are a big part of helping a player adjust and Martinets who like the fear factor are lesser coaches than those 'detail-oriented but inspiring' ones.

You have a problem with your game you are not sure how to fix ? Do you go to a Martinet - no - you conceal the problem and try to work it out on your own or with another players help. With a more positive coach you see him and ask him to help you.

The trick (for coaches) is to make it very clear what you want, and be both consistent and relentless. The NFL is a very tough job for players. Most players, good college players, never last more than a year or three in the NFL. Anyone with the talent to be worth more than that is valuable, even players that come and go quickly have value for providing depth on a cheap contract.

Bert's picture

I agree that Brown may have some talent but disagree about his penalty last week. It was actually pretty dumb.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree with Coldwater. But I am not so sure that Brown didn't earn both penalties, and that they were dumb.

flackcatcher's picture

Both were really borderline. What we don't know is what guidance the NFL is issuing to its field officials this year. What we do know is last year, both flags might not have been thrown, but a warning would have issued to both the player and head coach the first time. Also, the NFL watches certain players who they perceive as 'dirty'. Just like teams do video study, so does the NFL. CM3 had no business on the NFL watch list, and the push back shamed the NFL front office to take him off. Brown, being a FA rookie has no such protection, and nor does he deserved it. Still with the wide variance in how the game officials are calling the games, they must be as frustrated as we are.

Nick Perry's picture

"They have the second-most penalties in the league. The only team in front of them is Pittsburgh and that’s no surprise given how much of a soap opera the Steelers locker room has become."

There's one very common theme going on between the Packers and Steelers you didn't mention. BOTH teams have coaches who have been the HC for over 10 years and have underachieved, at least IMO. If Rodgers had some of those defenses Pittsburgh had he have more than one SB. Time for change.

Doug Niemczynski's picture


Packer Fan's picture

Couldn't agree more. Morrison had two holding penalties on special teams last week. There were 5 or 6 special team penalties at Detroit. You can count on Jackson getting one or two penalties per game. Brown is just the tip of the iceberg. I think Matthews has corrected the roughing the passer penalties. But MM does not have control sufficiently over the players. I have already said this. Brown and Morrison should be inactive for the next game and told why. Something they should think about. MM does things like that for ball security. But I haven't seen improvement. But we still have time to correct these mistakes. If MM wants to.

4thand1's picture

Negativity on blogs, l have to laugh. A lot of people claim to know what's best for "their" team. The Packers have made major changes but it's not enough in the eyes of many. They will assess the season when the season is over and move on from there, they won't seek the advice from the average fan. A lot of you have said it's a two year project, and that seems to be clearly evident as this season crawls along. We have no idea how the locker room feels about Mike McCarthy and firing him may not be the answer. With a bye to prepare for Rams, it will be the ultimate litmus test for this years team. If the Packers get embarressed, the fire everyone crowd will be at a fever pitch.

TheBigCheeze's picture

....another football "expert" who thinks they have all the answers.....I have to laugh.....truth is....the fans know a WHOLE LOT MORE than McFatty gives them credit for.....i.e......."football is a simple game".......McCarthy has that stereotypical Irish stubbornness......the writing is right in front of his big, fat face.....and he stubbornly refuses to make the proper adjustments......I've had it with that idiot.....#HIRE-MIKE-HOLMGREN-NOW!!!!!!........

4thand1's picture

I never claimed to be an expert, just observations from hysterical people. You just proved my point loud and clear.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Is there a point to this comment?

Tarynfor12's picture

" We have no idea how the locker room feels about Mike McCarthy and firing him may not be the answer."

Aren't we fans subjected to the ' optimistic ' views each and every player speaks regarding each other and coaches weekly? Is this not what we're expected to believe is the locker room feelings of each?

4thand1's picture

We can't express views or pass judgement until we see players making statements publically. Then usually, at that point the writing is on the wall for a coach. AR shows some frustration once in a while and always walks it back.

stockholder's picture

MM is in a be patient mode. Something the press isn't. Brown. = Speed. New and a Rookie, = mistakes will happen. MM wants loyalty. Staying with players gives him loyalty. Veterans like House, Dix, etc. may leave. It's a position that won't be drafted for starters. We saw Morrison make errors too. So MM can't change direction when No one is next in line. Injuries have forced him to play draft picks earlier than planned. But anyone knows that for this team to go, they can't shoot themselves. A learning curve must be part of it. Burks was called and was hurt. Weather the storm. The holding must stop. The sloppy play on defense is being called. It's not just MMs discipline. All the coaches must get in line. It's on them too.

ILPackerBacker's picture

I am amazed anyone kept reading after the "It’s not for a lack of talent because we have all seen the playmakers on the offensive side of the ball." comment.

My ribs still hurt.

Playmakers on offense. i wish there was a column to vote on called "YES THEY REALLY SAID THAT" because this would tie the moron at ESPN who just said CLAY is making plays and the defense needs more guys like him.

The best thing you can say about play makers on Green Bay is that the coach won't put the potential play makers on the field, outside of injury.

Tundraboy's picture

Lol. Like the announcer during the last game, stating that the Packers are well known for screen passes.

Lare's picture

As opposed to the Patriots, I doubt if "accountable" is a word many people in the NFL would use to describe the Packers organization.

Tundraboy's picture

Fumble though and your nailed to the bench.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"Many people have wondered why the Packers have gotten off to a mediocre start after six games."

Isn't this about the 3th season in a row this happens?

Tundraboy's picture

Since 2012 it seems, even when the record was good, the team would still be sluggish.

cinpackback's picture

It has been sloppy play and that is on the coaching staff, when it continues week after week...

PAPackerbacker's picture

Couldn't agree more.

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