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Packers WRs hoping opponents don't cash in on dropped balls

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Dropped passes can prove costly to any NFL team. For James Jones and the Green Bay Packers, those drops hit where it hurts the most -- in the wallet.

Jones said Packers wide receivers have established an informal system of punishment when a catchable ball gets away: The offending wideout has to buy a $100 electronics store gift card for each of his fellow receivers.

"If it hits your hands, you should catch it," Jones said, referring to a recent drop. "It hit my hands, so I bought Best Buy cards."

Jones said the added incentive is a sign of Packers receivers' high standards.

"We pride ourselves on not dropping the football and being playmakers," Jones said. "So we just said that if we drop a ball that we should catch, we have to have consequences. So this is what we came up with."

And while the Packers are 6-0 going into Sunday's game at Minnesota, the past couple of weeks have gotten expensive.

Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin walked away from Sunday's 24-3 victory over St. Louis with a handful of lingering concerns about the offense, and dropped passes were at the top of his mind.

"It's safe to say when you have 10 drops in two weeks, that's a concern," Philbin said. "So we have to get back to catching the football better."

According to STATS, LLC, the Packers have dropped only nine passes all season, placing them squarely in the middle of the NFL and nowhere near the Cleveland Browns' league-high 17.

But drops are a subjective statistic, and Philbin is a tough grader. The coordinator wondered if his receivers were too focused on getting yards after the catch, a cornerstone of the Packers' offense.

"I think a couple of them early, it was clear that their intentions were good and they wanted to maybe advance the football and make a guy miss and move the chains forward, and I think they maybe just didn't take care of first things first," Philbin said. "That's what it looked like on tape to us."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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