I’ve taken the Detroit Lions to task before for the their sloppy play and frequent penalties, but this week, it was the Green Bay Packers who nearly doomed themselves with careless penalties. The Packers gave the Lions 80 yards on nine penalties in the game.
The pre-snap penalties are the really frustrating ones. Given the way the Packers defense likes to play, I’m fine with the “over aggressive” penalties like defensive holding and pass interference, but the pre-snap ones are just brain farts. The Packers, who have generally been pretty sound at avoiding pre-snap penalties this season, just couldn’t seem to stop jumping offside.
Much of the sloppiness is due to the fact that this was a new offensive line playing together in their first full game. With right tackle Bryan Bulaga suffering a season-ending hip injury last game, left guard T.J. Lang has swung over to right tackle and Evan Dietrich-Smith is at left guard. Dietrich-Smith and Lang were responsible for the majority of the false starts and holding penalties.
These things happen as offensive linemen are adjusting to playing with new linemates, so it’s not too big of a deal for one game, especially when you factor in the difficulties that can come with noise in a dome. As the season goes on and games get tighter, however, these kind of mental errors can cost teams victories.
Lang and Dietrich-Smith are not rookies and will have to cut out the silly errors as the Packers make their push down the stretch. Green Bay’s line will grow increasingly comfortable with each other as they get more time on the field together and I think they’ll be able to return to form – just as long as no one else gets injured because they don’t really have any backups!