One of the most common complaints over the past few years among Detroit Lions fans is the amount of times the Green Bay Packers get away with holding penalties during the season. Some cry conspiracy, others deny it altogether. Then there’s a subset of people that believe there is a deliberate coaching style the Packers utilize to get away with it. Our own Andrew Kato falls into that category, when he talked about this very issue back in September:
“If there was a random occurrence of grasping on an isolated play like Warford doing it once on the Lions’ side, that would merely be a bad one-off play. When play after play all coming in a row on the same drive and involving all five Green Bay starting offensive linemen doing the same thing, that’s too strong a pattern to be anything other than intentional technique being coached by the team.”
Plenty thought Kato was a bit crazy back then, but now a player from the Atlanta Falcons is saying essentially the same thing. Here’s what Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said after Sunday’s win over Green Bay (via USA Today):
"They’re a team that gets away with a lot of stuff as far as holding calls and everything. So, when the thing isn’t going his way, when the game’s played fairly, it tends to be a problem.”
It’s an interesting comment for Jarrett to make, because the Packers were not even called for a single offensive holding penalty all game. In other words, Jarrett either noticed the holding incidents on tape while studying the Packers or noticed it in-game. But Jarrett’s comments also suggests the refs did something different in regards to monitoring holding, perhaps hinting that the Packers were warned and the officials were looking out for it.
For what it’s worth, the Packers were called for 16 holding penalties all year (t-15th most).
Regardless of what you believe to be going on, it’s interesting to see some of the same complaints hurled toward the Packers that Lions fans have been screaming about for years.