GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the fourth straight game, a Packers player has been fined by the NFL for an illegal in-game hit. This week, it’s cornerback Tramon Williams receiving a $21,000 fine for unnecessary roughness.
Williams was flagged late in the third quarter of Green Bay’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, when he struck running back Toby Gerhart on an incomplete pass near the sideline.
Coach Mike McCarthy was livid with the call on the field despite replays appearing to show some helmet-to-helmet contact between Williams and Gerhart.
“We’re trying to get our guys to play harder and be more physical,” McCarthy said Monday. “We’ve had some things where guys are trying to do it the right way, going with their shoulder and so forth. So when you do have a tight call, a gray-area hit, there’s a little bit of ‘Here we go again.'”
This string of fines for the Packers began with tight end Ryan Taylor being docked $21,000 for what the NFL deemed an illegal block despite no flag being thrown on the play.
In Green Bay’s next game, linebacker Brad Jones was fined $15,750 for hitting Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford near the head. Last week, safety Jerron McMillian was fined $21,000 for unnecessary roughness and making helmet-to-helmet contact with a defenseless player.
“We’ve had some tough calls go against us,” McCarthy said. “So you have to just continue to coach through that. The league has obviously made it a priority. The fines reflect that. You don’t want to see anybody lose any money, especially when the intent is not there. We’re not intending to hit helmet to helmet. I don’t think anybody is coaching or teaching that.
“It’s tough when you see a call go the other way when you don’t agree with it.”
Following McMillian’s fine, he told FOXSportsWisconsin.com that the NFL “has a hit out” on the Packers, considering all the recent fines. McMillian added that he was told by the team’s coaching staff to not change anything about the way he hits and that he didn’t do anything wrong to justify the fine he received.
“It’s an aggressive game out there,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Friday. “I don’t think we’re a dirty team and you’ve seen the flag come out and our guys be fined. I know what we coach, and I don’t think we’re a dirty team. It’s a fast game. It’s a fast game sometimes, and it’s hard to calculate.
“Jerron McMillian, he went down for the body and he was playing aggressively. I haven’t seen it where guys are basically just trying to go head to head. We try to coach them within the rules. Sometimes, there’s that fine line, which I think has happened to our guys at times.
“From a coach’s perspective, you try to make sure that you aren’t coaching anything that’s borderline. I don’t think that we do. I think we know the rules. But yet, you don’t want to coach passiveness into your defensive players. It’s an aggressive game. The next thing you know, a guy’s standing waiting for a guy to catch the ball because he doesn’t want to get fined. Now you’ve got problems.”