And while McCarthy couldn’t quite bring himself to say that the 15-yard personal foul penalty on Tramon Williams for his hit on Minnesota Vikings running back Toby Gerhart was the right call, he acknowledged he could see why the flag was thrown.
“I could see why he would call it,” McCarthy said after seeing the play on film. “I could see why the flag was thrown from the angle of the referee based on the body action of the running back, too. I think that definitely had something to do with it.”
After Williams made helmet-to-helmet contact with Gerhart on quarterback Christian Ponder’s overthrow and side judge Keith Washington threw the flag. McCarthy reacted, then got even angrier after the replay was shown on the Lambeau Field scoreboard.
Williams said Sunday that he would appeal if the NFL fines him. If the league does punish him harshly, Williams would join Nick Perry, Brad Jones, Ryan Taylor and Jerron McMillian in the Packers’ club of players who’ve incurred five-figure fines for hits.
“Player safety is at the forefront of what they’re trying to get done here. I don’t disagree with anything like that,” McCarthy said. “I will say this: we’ve had some hits from our guys … We’re trying to get our guys to play harder and be more physical. 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.’
“I’m talking about Brad Jones, Ryan Taylor, McMillian. We’ve had some tough calls go against us. 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.”
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Williams was in a difficult position.
“Geez, those are tough. You coach guys to just stay down on the frame of the body and not go up to the head, but the guy’s breaking full speed and he’s trying to go for the ball and unfortunately the flag went out,” Capers said.
“You certainly don’t want to coach the aggressiveness out of guys. I liked his aggressiveness on him. You just say, ‘Hey, try not to go helmet to helmet and try to go to the frame of the body.’ Certainly you don’t want to wait until he catches the ball. So you’ve got to go aggressively to the ball. There’s going to be collisions. So now you say, just make sure you lower the contact point as much as possible.”
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