GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers are hoping that starting cornerback Damarious Randall has learned from a very visible mistake.
Randall was benched in the second half of the 35-14 win on Sept. 28 against the Chicago Bears. After a long weekend off for the team, Randall appeared to be back in the regular rotation at cornerback when the Packers returned to practice on Wednesday.
“Well he’s a young player. Young players are going to make mistakes and learn from them,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Thursday.
“So we felt that Damarious has done that and we’re moving forward,” Capers added. “That’s the way you grow, is you learn from things and so then you put it behind you and you use it to move forward in terms of going out and getting the job done.”
A first-round draft pick in 2015, Randall sat on the bench with both his arms outstretched at his side. He did not join teammates standing on the sideline while the defense was on the field for the nationally-televised night game. Coach Mike McCarthy later sent Randall to the locker room.
A replay showed Randall lined up in the slot on his last play against Bears receiver Kendall Wright, who caught a 5-yard touchdown pass with 8 seconds left in the second quarter. Randall turned around and threw both his arms up in apparent frustration after the score.
Randall cited an “internal matter” several times on Wednesday when asked what happened, echoing comments made by McCarthy.
Asked what he learned from the situation, Randall said “Just kind of growing up. Just being a little bit more professional.” He has also addressed the issue with the team.
“The fact that he was able to get up and let us know that he was wrong and he’s going to make it right, I think, hopefully, that’s what we need from him,” veteran linebacker Clay Matthews said. “Ultimately, his name is going to be called again, and we’re going to expect him to make plays against great receivers moving forward.”
Capers said the defense was in man coverage at the time with a blitz called. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt added that Randall did not blow coverage on Wright.
“The only thing I will say is, I’ve read a couple things about him blowing a coverage,” Whitt added on Thursday. “Which is weird to me, if you don’t know what the coverage call is, how you can write that he blew a coverage? Which he did not blow a coverage. Other than that, everything else, we’re ready for Dallas.”