Packers Blown Special Teams: 4th Quarter Penalty

While the Green Bay Packers 5 yard penalty on LB Robert Francois with 7:18 to go in the 4th quarter didn't directly lead to a score, it gave the Dolphins a fresh set of downs. Four plays later, the Dolphins scored on a TD pass to TE Anthony Fasano. It forced the Packers to execute a game tying TD drive, instead of a game winning TD drive, a few minutes later. Here's the explanation from the Journal-Sentinel:

It is a penalty that takes more than one person to actually see. You’ve got one official who’s looking and he sees that there’s a man directly over the center. After the play, then he has to check with the two guys that are on the line of scrimmage to see if that man was up within a yard of the line. And so it takes that communication between the officials.

Here's what Greg Bedard said after reviewing a still shot:

While Francois was not a yard-and-a-half off the ball as McCarthy claims (maybe that far from the center's head) Francois was around a yard and maybe a few inches more from the ball. The penalty shouldn't have been called.

Fine. It's not technically a penalty because (as the still shot shows) Francois was back over a yard off the snapper. 

But why did he have to be lined up directly over the snapper anyway? If he had just been told to stand a yard either to his left or right, then he wouldn't have given the refs anything to talk about. And from what I recall, he was just dropping back to block anyway. Why did the coaches allow him to stand in that spot anyway? Or maybe they didn't and the player made a mistake?

A critical mental error for a team that has no room for mental errors now that they're missing some of their top playmakers. And part of the reason why their record stands at 3-3 and why they aren't winning some of these close games.

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