Sydney Speaks! Groundhog Day at Lambeau

Same old same old in Packers' loss to Steelers

My wife once took me to a movie starring Bill Murray about a guy that got stuck on the same day over and over again. As I was watching Green Bay's game against Pittsburgh Sunday it struck me that I've seen this before from the Packers - penalities, bad coaching decisions, and stupid mistakes which contributed to another loss. Let's look at what really happened!

Mike Sherman out-coached himself in many different ways. The most glaring one was when he decided to empty the backfield against the blitz on third-and-12 early in the second quarter, making Brett Favre a sitting duck. The Packers paid for it. A fumble, a sack and a return for 77 yards turned out to be a 14-point swing and changed the game. Truly a bad decision.

Also, I question his commitment to sticking with the run against on of the best run-stopping teams in the league instead of opening up the game plan and throwing the ball. Why would Mike Sherman run the ball 28 times with Samkon Gado? It just doesn't make sense to me.

Another problem again was the no sense of urgency when trailing by 10 points. I understand Mike Sherman's thoughts realizing he had three timeouts and if they used them right there was plenty of time if they scored a touchdown. The problem is that where in the game was there ever a feeling that they were going to score? This isn't the offense of the past and he has to stop thinking it is.

Defensively, what was Jim Bates thinking? Why didn't he blitz the Steelers on first down against the run? Why didn't they have 8 or 9 guys in the box to make Charlie Batch beat them? Remember he hasn't started a game in four years.

Also, please let's not say any more that Sherman hasn't lost the team because he won't. It has nothing to do with him or his coaching style. It has to do with these guys being professional and playing with and for pride, as well as a better pay day. Who knows? They may be auditioning for their jobs. LOOK IN THE MIRROR!

Brett is the leader of the Pack and Sunday he made a few mistakes. On that blitz where he fumbled with the empty backfield it was his responsibility to get rid of the ball. He knew the blitz was coming. HE HAS TO THROW IT HOT AND AWAY! A crucial mistake that changed the game, a 14-point swing.

Then on fourth and 4 late in the game when they needed a first down, he must make a better decision. He has to run the ball and keep the chains moving. A first down was more important and a sure thing opposed to going for it all, thinking Bubba Franks would make an incredible play in the end zone.

Also, the other problem I had with the offense which I will put on Brett is why all the dummy audibles? When the team is in the red zone the golden rule is not hold the offensive linemen on the line of scrimmage in their stances too long because they will get jumpy. Brett has to understand the situation and his players and their real ability. Besides that, Brett played well and under control. But everyone had a hand in the offense's inability to put points on the board. Donald Driver's drop was just a case of a lapse of concentration which was very costly as well as Chatman and Driver's illegal shift penalties. These are the starting receivers making these mistakes at crucial back-breaking times. NO EXCUSES.

The Packers defense played good enough to win. All but three points they gave up was after a turnover. They played good enough considering the fact that Jim Bates held them back most of the game. When they were allowed to blitz they got home most of the time. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila did show up for a sack, which is what he does best, but against the run it's a joke! Aaron Kampman played as he usually does - hard and aggressively. Robert Thomas got a nice interception that was thrown right at him, but he played very well, as well as the rest of the linebackers. Nick Barnett had an opportunity to make a big play tackling Duce Staley for a loss on his touchdown run, but it didn't happen. Duce slipped right through his fingers, just like this season is slipping away. Who would have guessed that as good as this defense has played that it is the strength of this team this year. Statistically the offense might be better, but statistics are for losers and 1-7 isn't a winning record.

William Henderson is a warrior as well as Brady Poppinga. The Packers had a nice punt return by Chatman, but what good did it do? Then again it was nice to see a good return.

As for Ryan Longwell, he seems to be going through what the rest of the Packers are going through, which is JUST NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH. At least this time he didn't blame it on the holder for his 31-yard missed field goal attempt.

Doesn't it seem like we've discussed these things before? Let's see … BAD COACHING, PENALTIES, PLAYER MISTAKES and LOSSES!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

Packer Report Top Stories