Packers Living Out Their Own Groundhog Day, Over and Over Again. All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, Green Bay Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy has been living the same game, over and over again.

1) Get a lead

2) Get conservative, keep opponent in the game.

3) Fail to get first downs to kill the clock in the latter part of the fourth quarter

4) Hand the ball back to your opponent with a chance to tie or win

5) Survive…  thanks to a big stop by the defense, often near your own end zone.

The Packers have lived out this scenario in both games so far in 2011. It’s also how they won four out of the last six games last season, including the Super Bowl.

But since the Packers’ Groundhog Day always ends the same way, (with a win) we shouldn’t be concerned, right?

Well, unlike Bill Murray, who tried like hell to get out of the loop he was stuck in, McCarthy seems resigned to let the scenario repeat indefinitely. Murray eventually found himself in the same position.

But then Murray tried a different approach, taking advantage of his knowledge of how the day will play out to try to make improvements to the day, helping to improve himself and all of those around him. Then eventually, the loop was broken.

So how about it Mike, why not use your knowledge of repeating history to your advantage? Make some changes in your “day” (game calls) when you get in those same situations next time. Perhaps you’ll break the loop.

I can assure you, Packer fans will appreciate it.



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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


23 thoughts on “Packers Living Out Their Own Groundhog Day, Over and Over Again.

  1. Well said, Al. I thinks some of the assistant coaches are helping to ensure that the loop continues.

  2. i thought this was MMs poorest game since the lions debacle last year. going for it at the end of the first half was not a smart decision. sure jennings should have made that catch, but if carolina moves the ball and puts points on the board (which they were doing all day) that call is talked about all day today. you have to punt that ball in that situation IMO.

    I never like five wide with an empty backfield on the one yard line. back shoulder is beautiful when it works, but when it doesnt you have no chance. starks was running really well, he probably should have had more consistent touches.

    defense has a long way to go right now. i was hoping the first game was due to drew brees, which it was to an extent. but the panthers had guys running free all game…with two and three man routes. cannot have that.

    but it was a road win, which i will always gladly take. but there were a lot of warts on display.

    1. I agree that I would have punted. However, I don’t have a huge problem with them going for it, but I do have a big problem with the play. Personally, I’m looking to complete a high percentage pass to just get me 5 yards and nothing more.

      As for the defense, you couldn’t be more correct. How can guys be so wide open when they were in max protect most of the time? There were a ton of blown coverages is the only explanation. I wish I could do a film study on that, but you can’t analyze the secondary from the tv tape…

    2. Completely agree with it being a poor game by MM. Poorest…maybe. It was obvious ARod was a little off. When it became obvious, instead of having him “shoot out of the slump,” why not hand the ball off to your 4+ ypc back? GB needs to learn that, although ARod is usually amazing, he doesn’t need to be in order to win.
      Also, when it’s painfully obvious that CMIII is going to be triple-teamed on third and long, make that their mistake and overload a blitz from the opposite side, dropping him into the flat and rolling the safeties over the top of the blitz.

  3. Almost 900 yards per game is not inexcusable, it is horrendus. Capers you better stop this and stop this now. With an ordinary offense the Packers would be 0-2 right now. Something is wrong, seriously wrong with your base defense. I always felt comfortable with Capers at the helm of the D. No more! It’s time for you to figure out what’s going on. Another game like this and the season could go south fast.

    As much as we (include me) bitch about the play calls and the offense, they won both games. QB ratings of 131 and 119 are not too bad. They scored 42 point and 30 points also not too bad. Effectively the offense only played 3 qtrs yesterday. First qtr. = 3 plays.

    Ground Hog Day = a D problem more than an O problem. Capers, it’s time to wake up.

    Now with Collins and maybe Pickett we are looking for even more D troubles in the week(s) ahead. I might sugest one change, dump Wslden now. He is awful.

    1. the defense was horrendous, but did create 4 turnovers. the packers got what…13 points off of those 4 TOs. for a win on the road, i do not think the meetings on either side will be very pleasant this week. a lot was let to be desired from the performance of the players and staff.

      like i said before, i do not think DC designed the defense to have receivers running free when the opponent is in max protect.

      i think DC was caught on his heels a little bit to start the game witht he play action. i think he expected the panthers to atleast attempt to run the ball early.

      1. summation: hard to tell if it was execution or gameplan that was at fault. it looked to me that it was more on the side of execution.

    2. The last two week plan of the defense is to take away the run and force QBs to make perfect passes. We have limited pass rush on one side until Neal comes back onto the Dline in the nickel and 3-4 base. Wynn is strong on run but zero real pass rush.

      So we play to Wynn’s strength and shut down the run. You have to admit you can see them setting up a scheme and match up on defense that puts the team in its best place to succeed. We can’t pass rush well in our base so we take one thing we can do-run stop- and rotate Woodson like an extra LB/S or adjust cover 3 to look like a cover 1 man to man to try and take away throwing lanes and cause mayhem when what the QB sees is not reality.

      When Green Bay got the lead we ran a 2-5 (2 DTs and 5 LBs)Pyscho package which is begging the other team to run and Carolina said no way. They knew they needed chunks of yards or the clock would kill them.

      Slowly the pressure ratcheted up on Newton and the mistakes cost them

  4. Normally, I really like your articles but I don’t realy understand this one. If the game would have ended with 3:20 left then I would agree with you. However, in the final 3 minutes McCarthy called an out-of-character pass to Nelson that sealed the game. I am sure that many, including myself, were expecting 3 runs, a punt and a Carolina drive down to tie the game but that didn’t happen. IMO McCarthy should get credit for doing exactly what you are requesting – “Make some changes in your “day” (game calls) when you get in those same situations next time.”

    1. In actuality, we’re both right. My scenario played out a little earlier than usual. As the Packers couldn’t make a first down and gave the ball back to Carolina with 7 minutes left up by 7 and a chance for them to tie the game. It took a defensive stop with 3 minutes left on the 6 yard line to prevent Carolina from tying the game.

      As you point out, a bit later, the Packers threw on first down and Nelson broke it for a TD. You are right he deserves some credit for that, but my Groundhog day scenario did, in fact, play out, albeit a little earlier…

      1. i think it was pretty obvious that rodgers audibled to the jordy pass. maybe mm gave him a run/pass option there, but it was definitely a run when they came to the line.

    2. Thank you Joe. Finally a voice of reason who resists being a Mon. morning QB. You can’t blame MM for allowing that very long rec. to Smith which put them in scoring position at the end of the game and made us sweat it out. .Lets not panic ,it was a classic trap game because of the following reasons: away from home,second game of season ,facing a new coach with a confident young and talented QB,with the Bears next. That’s a game that usually results in a loss. We spotted them thirteen pts. and still won the game.

  5. Why is nobody talking about Cobb’s fumble? Seriously, that was HUGE. Everyone’s crying about Capers, but come one people, it’s Slocum that’s just screwing absolutely everything up!

    1. slocum is probably the worst coach on the staff IMO, but i do not know how you can blame him for the Cobb fumble. You can either blame cobb for not being strong with the ball, or you can blame ryan taylor for getting stoned on his block and pushed back into cobb.

      but i think cobb is to blame for that one. that was a pretty routine play to fumble on.

  6. So, I guess this forces Capers to sit down and rethink his defensive philosophy this year. At least that’s some good news. Maybe we can defer the pad level crap for a couple of weeks. If and that’s an unsure if, Tramon comes back maybe CW goes to Safety. They need to get some rush help for CM3. Has anyone else noted how effect the screen was on the right side? Actually it was effective on both sides. #28 had 100 yards receiving on 6 catches. 16.5 per catch.

  7. Darren Sharper was in GB last week. He holds no grudge against. There is a roster spot available, just saying.

  8. What’s scary is McCarthy goes into conservative play calls, team lets opponents hang around till the end and Packers are 0-16 when losing in 4th Qtr. Have not regained leads and won at end of games under McCarthy. Keeping offense rolling to keep opponents off the field works if first downs are accomplished, keep the hammer down on offense. Defense can’t continue to win every game in the end. Defense saved the Bears game at season’s end, the Eagles game, the title game against Bears and SB, when Packers run up score against Falcons in playoffs it took pressure off the defense.

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