Cory’s Corner: Officiating style will decide Lions-Packers

Coaches and players will never put an emphasis on the officiating, but when it comes down to playoff seeding, it really matters.

The Buffalo game was a prime example. The Bills’ secondary really pushed the envelope in terms of physical play. Remember, the NFL put a point of emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding in the offseason. Preseason games turned into penalty carnivals as there were 27 illegal contact penalties in the first 17 preseason games.

There were only 37 of those penalties all of last year.

In the Buffalo game, the Bills were ticketed for defensive holding just once and weren’t penalized for illegal contact at all.

This is a copycat league. Coaches study frames of game video just to spot something another coach used to get a win. You can bet that the Lions are going to want to outphysical the Packers’ wide receivers. Take them off their routes, take them out of rhythm with Aaron Rodgers and perhaps force a turnover.

But that’s where the zebras come in. Will they adhere to the point of emphasis or will they let the defenses play and dictate the flow of the game?

The Lions have been called for illegal contact four times this year, tied for sixth in the league. And they’ve been called for defensive holding six times, tied for 16th.

The Packers will know very early if the refs are going to let an extra shove, grab or arm in the back will be called.

Obviously if the refs call it tight and by the book, the receivers will be happy. Guys like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb will be allowed to run their routes unfettered. The only thing they have to worry about is where to attack a weak Detroit secondary that is giving up 232 yards passing a game.

But if they let them play, it could be another long day for the Packers. And with 74 percent of the Packers’ passing offense being predicated by the wide receivers, timing and rhythm are of utmost importance.

Nelson, Cobb, Rodgers or even Mike McCarthy would never admit to atrocious officiating. Complaining about that has always been known as sour grapes. The coach that is happy with the outcome usually cites that the refs made the same calls when his offense was on the field.

However, Green Bay isn’t your everyday offense. It is complete with hand signals, stare downs and just about any other nonverbal communication that you can think of to keep this offense, that’s ranked second by scoring over 30 points per game, humming.

The Lions know that they don’t have the horses to keep up. In order to make it even, Detroit will make Green Bay’s wide outs earn every inch.

But the question is, will the refs allow it?


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


10 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Officiating style will decide Lions-Packers

  1. Good article, we should have known Buffaklo was going to be a struggle when we learned that the crew on the game had called only 2 illegal contact penalties all season! In addition to the physical play, it appeared to me Shwartz figured out a way to “disconnect” our WRs from AR, through what each was “reading”. This seemed to account for the numerous “misreads” on back shoulder throws early?

  2. Sorry Cory – couldn’t disagree more. If GB plays Seattle in the NFC CG, how the refs call DPI and defensive holding could determine the game. Not Detroit. GB is simply better at every position on the field except DT/DE.

    Point 2 – As much as I wish it was the case, Detroit’s secondary isn’t weak. We all thought it would be going into the year. But it’s pretty darn good.

    Won’t matter ultimately though. Pack rolls.

    1. I agree it is not weak but it is not elite either, If the O line gives Aaron time I believe he will pick apart the secondary this game unlike the first meeting. Bulaga was coming off injury playing in his first game back and Linsley was only in his 3rd pro game but now they all have 13 more games under their belts and have gelled into a good unit. I think they will give Aaron that time now and also open lanes for Lacy better this time around.

  3. I just hope they penalize Donkey Kong Suh and the other dirty bastards when they start stomping on our players. And they will, they do every game. Call it refs or karma will kick you in the ding ding…

  4. Sounds like the excuse list is being comprised;

    The game tape of players and the Refs should let you know if the game is going to be or possibly become a rumble in an alley…be prepared…expect the unexpected and kick arse however it goes down. 🙂

    1. Well, I tend to agree with you that blaming referees are almost always very low and weak excuse. Why almost? Well, I watched game at Bills. Those were DPI by rules from earlier seasons which were not called. 5 of them not called by referees is game changer. Especially if they are not called on 3rd downs…

  5. Agreed that officiating can influence a game, but to use the title “Officiating style will decide Lions-Packers” is pushing it.

    Good article, but a less dramatic and realistic title would improve your product.

    Good luck to you. I know this is a little picky, but it’s meant to improve your end product.

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