Clinton-Dix brushes off sideline scene
Before he apologized on Twitter for giving veteran linebacker Julius Peppers a piece of his mind, Green Bay Packers safety Ha Ha ClintonDix tried to make it seem like his sideline outburst was just an attempt to fire up his teammate.
“That’s what he said?” Peppers said after the game. “Oh.”
It was pretty clear from the video Fox showed during the broadcast of the Packers’ 37-29 loss to the Carolina Panthers that he was doing more than just giving him a pep talk. Peppers reacted angrily to Clinton-Dix’s comments and eventually nose tackle B.J. Raji shoved the safety away.
The argument came after the Panthers scored their final touchdown with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
“Just really emotion,” Clinton-Dix told a couple of reporters after the game. “Just talking to him, telling him to keep us going and keep us pumped up. That was it, just a lot of emotion, a lot of things going on.”
Peppers was sitting on the bench when Clinton-Dix approached him. He stood up and was in a defensive posture as though he was defending himself verbally as Clinton-Dix confronted him.
Seconds later, Raji came to Peppers’ defense, raising his arm and pointing for ClintonDix to get out of that area of the bench. Clinton-Dix said something to Raji that angered him and he shoved the safety as teammates Mike Pennel and Morgan Burnett intervened.
Burnett gave Clinton-Dix a bear hug and escorted him out of the area.
Burnett and then later safeties coach Darren Perry came over to talk to Clinton-Dix, and Pennel and Sam Shields, who was not dressed for the game, tried to calm Raji. So what happened? “It’s an in-house thing, and it’s up to us to take care of it,” Raji said.
Asked why Raji shoved him out of the way, Clinton-Dix said:
“You have to take that up with B.J. I don’t know what’s wrong with B.J. Just a lot of emotions. B.J. was pumped and trying to make some plays and things are happening. Sometimes you get the best of it, but it got us turned up a little bit.”
After the Packers left the locker room, Clinton-Dix took to Twitter to apologize for his behavior.
“I apologize for my play and sidelines issues,” he tweeted. “We are good just two emotional guys with heart and passion trying to find away to win.” A second tweet said: “I will never disrespect a HOF player and a guy I’ve been watching since I was a little kid. Misunderstanding, I apologize to my packer Fans.”
Coach Mike McCarthy downplayed the incident, saying it didn’t worry him.
“It is football,” he said. “Things happen on the sidelines. I think of it as once again, go back to my answer before, I think it is a product of us not playing to our standard and sometimes things like that happen. I have no concerns.”
Lacy OK: The good news for Packers running back Eddie Lacy is that the groin injury he suffered against Carolina on Sunday doesn’t appear serious.
Lacy went through a regular workout Monday with the rest of the team, and there’s a chance he will be ready to practice this week.
The bad news for Lacy is that James Starks is healthy and on a roll.
When the Packers play the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the offensive coaching staff will have to make a decision whether to go with Starks as the primary runner or stick with Lacy in an attempt to get him out of a long slump.
“My job’s getting our players ready and if they’re going through a tough spot to try to make them better,” McCarthy said. “They don’t come much better than Eddie Lacy. He’s an excellent teammate. He’s happy-go-lucky.
“There’s things he’s not do- ing very well right now, and he’s working to correct them. It’s my job to help him.”
It’s also McCarthy’s job to win games, and as he said during his Monday news conference, “Lord knows we haven’t won a game in a while.”
The key to the offense’s struggles the past two weeks — besides facing two of the best defenses in the NFL — may start with the inability to run the ball. Having a rushing attack would at least help keep opposing pass rushers from making a beeline straight at quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Starks provided a spark with both his running and receiving.
In the running game, he finished with just 39 yards on 10 carries, but on a couple of runs he read his blocks well and made solid cutbacks. In the pass game, he had six receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown, most of it on screens.
“James Starks has done an outstanding job, so he deserves the right for playing time,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said. “It was obvious in yesterday’s game with his overall production.
“Eddie, he’ll have more opportunities. I guess yesterday was really more injury-related than anything else. We’ve definitely got to get him going.”
Lacy, who has fought an ankle problem since Week 2, has 78 yards rushing on 33 carries (2.36 avg.) over the last four games. Worse yet, he has a fumble in each of his last three games, the lone turnover in the second quarter against the Panthers.
First impressions: Just because rookie Jake Ryan had a team-leading 10 tackles doesn’t necessarily mean he has taken over Nate Palmer’s spot at inside linebacker.
Palmer was benched in the first half against the Panthers, and Ryan filled his spot next to Clay Matthews the rest of the game. Ryan and Palmer will probably have to battle it out in practice this week to see who starts against Detroit.
“Just OK,” McCarthy said when asked about Ryan’s performance. “He had some productivity, but it wasn’t as clean as he would like and as we like.”
Quarless nearing return: This is the week that tight end Andrew Quarless can return to practice after being placed on injured reserve / designated to return six weeks ago.
Once he starts practicing, Quarless has a two-week window to work before the Packers have to decide whether to activate him or keep him on injured reserve.
Quarless said that his injured knee has responded well and that he was hoping to be cleared so he could begin practicing.
The earliest he can participate in a game would be Thanksgiving night against Chicago.
Injury report: Cornerback Casey Hayward is in the concussion program and will need to pass several tests before he’ll be allowed back on the field.
McCarthy did not address the status of Shields (shoulder) and Quinten Rollins (neck), but both have a chance to return this week. The Packers found themselves playing rookie Damarious Randall and second-year pro Demetri Goodson at the two starting cornerback positions after Hayward went out.
House cleaning: Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said he was not about to let Bank of America Stadium become Lambeau South.
That’s why in pregame warmups, he went up to a banner that was hanging over the railing and ripped it down.
“It was a Green Bay banner in Bank of America Stadium,” Newton said. “It just doesn’t match. No disrespect to any Green Bay Packer. It’s just a respect thing. We take pride in having the edge of playing in Bank of America Stadium, playing in front of the Carolinas each and every week.
“It’s my due diligence to pro- tect this house. We played in Green Bay last year and I didn’t see any ‘This is Panthers Country’ signs in their stadium. Either somebody was going to have to take it off or I take it off.”
Daniels waiting for payday: Defensive lineman Mike Daniels has made little headway in negotiations with the Packers on a new contract.
Daniels was earmarked this year to be their top target among the 14 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in March.
Mindful of the ever-increasing NFL salary cap, Daniels is seeking in the neighborhood of $10 million per year, according to sources, while the Packers hope to land Daniels for several million less per year.
Agent Brian Mackler is representing Daniels in talks with team negotiator Russ Ball.
Daniels has been the Packers’ best defensive lineman for a second straight season.
There are about 10 defensive linemen with roles and weight comparable to Daniels with contracts that average more than $10 million.
The list includes Miami’s Ndamukong Suh ($19.1 million), Houston’s J.J. Watt ($16.7M), Buffalo’s Marcell Dareus ($15.9M), Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy ($13.6M), Detroit’s Haloti Ngata ($12.2M), Arizona’s Calais Campbell ($11M), New Orleans’ Cameron Jordan ($11M), Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins ($10.7M), Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward ($10.5M) and San Diego’s Corey Liuget ($10.25M).
“Why wouldn’t he get $10 (million)?” an NFL personnel director said this week. “Most of those guys are bigger, but who’s more disruptive?
“I think Mike Daniels is a good player. I think he and Liuget are on a par.”
The Packers have the eighth-most room under the salary cap at $10.43 million.
“It’ll be a slow, tedious negotiation,” said the personnel man. “The loyalty stuff is out. It’s all about the money.”