Sydney Speaks! Still too many unknowns

I know that there has only been one preseason game and that the Green Bay Packers have only been in training camp for roughly three weeks, but what really has changed to make the Packer fans believe this team is good enough to win the division, let alone be good enough to get into the playoffs? I watch practice and I see who the players and the pretenders. This team has more questions than answers. Here are some of the questions!

Offense
Do the Packers really have replacements for Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera I'll try not to mention these guys anymore because they can't be the measuring stick. They are not here so everyone must move on. However, you could count on them and knew what they were going to do and how they were going to respond in the field of battle. Rivera and Wahle were tested and passed the test. Now the staff is trying to figure out who can replace them with a seventh rounder in William Whitticker and two often hurt linemen from other teams.

Adrian Klemm is a converted tackle who hasn't stayed healthy in his career, and Matt O'Dwyer lacks the athletic ability needed by guards in this offense. Because of this other linemen are being shuffled around becoming the jacks of all positions, but master of NONE.

Between me and you what's happening at TE is a crime. The Packers have one of the top 10 TE's in the business sitting at home because he is wanting some security. So, they are allowing Ben Steele and David Martin to masquerade as NFL TE's. Talk about unknowns. You don't know if Martin can stay healthy and we know for sure that Steele has trouble catching a COLD.

We know Brett will be Brett which means he play like the Hall of Fame quarterback he is at one moment then the next make a bonehead play. The problem is this team can't win unless Brett plays great, but then again isn't that an unknown itself? So ask yourself is this offense better? I didn't talk about the receivers and runningbacks because except for Ahman Green's fumbling everything else is determined by the offensive line doing their jobs which will allow Brett to throw and running room to run. Again this is an unknown because can these new linemen create running room. I think not, but time will tell!

Defense
There are so many unknowns about this side of the ball that you don't know where to start. So let's start with the leader Jim Bates – a brilliant mind but the problem is that he doesn't play a down. He can only put them in position. They have to make the plays and that's another unknown.

Look at the D-Line. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila against the run gets bounced around like he's in a pin ball wizard game. As for Cletidus Hunt or Grady Jackson, I don't know which one of them is the biggest joke. Is it Grady because he want's more money but can't pass the team physical? Or Hunt because he has that mystery injury that must have happened on the way to dinner last Thursday night before the scrimmage on Friday? As for Kampman I have nothing but respect for his play and effort, but the sad fact of the matter is that he shouldn't be starting in the NFL.

The other unknowns: Can James Lee be consistent? Can the rest of the youngsters stay healthy enough to contribute on the D-LINE? As for the linebackers we might see a little improvement because the scheme allows them to play deeper, then react coming downhill to make plays. Unfortunately the scheme works if the linebackers are protected by the front four, not allowing the O-Linemen to get to the linebackers. Will this happen? Another question to be answered.

As for the secondary there is nothing but unknowns. Can Ahmad Carroll learn to play without holding? Can Joey Thomas ever stay healthy enough to get on the field except as a nickle back? Will the youngness of the secondary cost them too many games and penalties? Look at the youth of the secondary except for Al Harris and, OK, we will put Mark Roman in that bracket as well. Where else is the experience coming from? That's some serious unknowns!

Special teams
With Ryan Longwell you have the best and with B.J. Sander, boy, do you have an unknown. If you are like me I'd like to have more answers than questions!


Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail any questions for Harry to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at packrepted@aol.com.


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