CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jaire Alexander wasn’t even supposed to be on the field for the coin toss when the Green Bay Packers cornerback crashed the captains’ meeting at midfield, nearly costing his team possession. team in Sunday’s 33-30 victory over the Carolina Panthers. .
Alexander, who joined three Packers captains Aaron Jones, Quay Walker and Eric Wilson in midfield, called heads and won the toss.
When referee Alex Kemp asked his choice, Alexander said the Packers wanted to go on defense, which, technically speaking, is not the same as choosing to defer. Had Kemp not clarified, it could have cost the Packers a possession, and the Panthers could have started both halves.
Typically, the winner of the coin toss can choose to receive, kick off, or defer their choice to the second half. With Alexander saying they wanted to be on defense, this could have been interpreted as choosing to kick off.
It’s possible that the only reason Kemp checked and asked Alexander if he meant a postponement was because coach Matt LaFleur made it a point in the pregame meeting with the officials to inform them of their choice if they win the draw.
LaFleur didn’t seem happy with Alexander, who was playing for the first time after missing six games with a shoulder injury.
“It was a big mistake,” LaFleur said of Alexander’s call. “It’s something you look at with the guys before you go in every time to say ‘Hey, we win the toss, we’re going to postpone.’ “I went to the officials before the game, made sure they knew what we were going to do. We had an incident earlier this year where we had a similar situation, so I always try to be proactive in this approach.”
LaFleur added that he thinks Kemp clarified because “I don’t think they ever want to be wrong.” Alexandre did not seem to realize his mistake.
“I said, ‘I want our defense out there,’ and they all looked at me like I was crazy,” Alexander said. “I’m like, I mean, it’s pretty simple what I said, like I want the defense to be out there. They like, ‘You mean defer?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I guess.'”
Why Alexander entered into the draw was a mystery. The Packers do not have season-long captains, but rotate weekly. When asked if Alexander was added as a game captain by the coaches or by Alexander himself, LaFleur responded, “Yeah.”
Alexander said, “It’s just okay. I don’t think coach knew I was from Charlotte, so…”
It was another chapter in a bizarre season for Alexander, who had been healthy enough to practice for more than a month but hadn’t played since injuring his shoulder on Nov. 5.
His return didn’t help the Packers’ struggling defense or struggling defensive coordinator Joe Barry. Panthers rookie Bryce Young threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
Asked if it was concerning to give up 30 points to a team that has only won two games, Alexander replied: “Um, yes, it is. Honestly. But we just have to play the game. call that is called”, which could be answered. like a shot at Barry. But Alexander then added that it was “a pretty good game plan.”
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